The ability to ‘cash out’ horse racing bets has always been, and probably always will be, a bone of contention. The practice is probably best applied to ‘all-or-nothing’ accumulator bets, where two, three or more winning selections can produce a return that is difficult to resist, particularly with the prospect of losing it all if a later selection is beaten.
The quandary in which punters find themselves has, perhaps, never been better illustrated than by Paul Dean, who made headlines in March, 2021, when cashing out a bet potentially worth £511,000, for a £5 stake, for £250,000 with Betfair. The 40-year-old, who hails from Stockton-on-Tees, placed a long-range, five-fold accumulator on Golden Horde (12/1) in the Commonwealth Cup and Hello Youmzain (10/1) in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot and Shiskin (4/1) in the Arkle Challenge Trophy, Bob Olinger (25/1) in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle and Envoi Allen (9/2) in the Marsh Novices’ Chase.
His first four selections won, leaving him with the choice of letting the bet stand – which, granted that Envoi Allen was, by now, odds-on for the Marsh Novices’ Chase, must have been tempting – or cashing out for a smaller, but by no means small, amount. In any event, after due celebration, a restless night and an early morning walk, Dean ‘bite the bullet’ and partially cashed out his bet, such that he stood to win £300,000 if Envoi Allen won and £250,000 if he didn’t. The decision proved shrewd because, despite starting prohibitive odds of 4/9, Envoi Allen made it no further than the fourth fence. Thus, Dean won £250,000 for a bet that was, effectively, worth nothing at all.