Betfred boss, Fred Done, went from bookie to dream-maker at Haydock on Saturday, as he surprised the racecourse's veteran cloakroom attendant, Maureen Radcliffe, with a VIP afternoon in the Park Suite along with his 300 guests to enjoy a seven race card, the feature of which was the Group One, Betfred Sprint.
Fred, whose company also sponsor the Cheltenham Gold Cup at the Festival in March, heard that Mo is the Lancashire track's longest serving employee, following 25 years of service as a cleaner and cloakroom attendant. Fred was keen to acknowledge Mo's efforts over the years as the bookmaker has established close relations with the track, so you can imagine the 74 year-old's delight when the bookmaker turned up to inform her "forget about the coats, you’re upstairs as our guest of honour."
Mo was presented with champagne and flowers by Haydock General Manager, Jason Fildes, before enjoying a meal, drinks and an afternoon of top quality flat racing. What's more, not only did Mo still get her £50 wages for the day, she finished in profit! Beaming at the end of her VIP treatment, Mo said "I call Fred my toy boy because he’s a few years younger than me. I thought he just wanted his usual cuddle but couldn't believe it when he told me that I'd joining him for a slap up lunch.” She added “I don’t drink champagne but everything has been brilliant. I only ever bet £2 a race but my daughter and I are going home £24 up..."
Fred said, "Mo’s a lovely lady who always greets everyone with a smile. She is dedicated to her work. It was nice to reward her and there wasn’t a dry eye in the room when she was announced as our VIP guest because everyone knows her."
With the jumps season just around the corner, it will be interesting to see if Fred has any surprised up his sleeve for those employees at the National Hunt tracks that Betfred have deals with.
Meanwhile, on Monday, the market for the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup reacted to the news that the Paul Nicholls trained Silviniaco Conti, who has ridden in the last three renewals, is unlikely to run in the race next March. Vautour, winner of the Supreme in 2014 and JLT, this year, remains the 4/1 ante-post favourite with the sponsor.