A HOSPICE is in the running for a cash windfall after a generous bookies gave the Hartlepool Mail £50 to bet on the Grand National.
And Chisholm Bookmakers is also offering readers a free £2 flutter on the most popular horse race of the year.
This Saturday will see 40 horses gallop around Aintree as millions of people watch in pubs, homes and businesses across the country.
The bookies in Mulberry Rise, near The Tall Ships pub in Hartlepool, has handed the Mail £50 to bet on the race, with any winnings going to Hartlepool & District Hospice.
Last year we had a punt on 14-1 shot What A Friend, but were left ripping up our slip as the much-fancied runner pulled up at fence 27.
This year we are going for Becauseicouldntsee at 20-1 after manager of Hartlepool’s Chisholm Bookmakers, Phil Allison, tipped the chaser to get a place this weekend.
And Mr Allison is so confident of picking a winner that he’s putting his own £10 bet on Becauseicouldntsee to be victorious and said he will also donate any winnings to the hospice also.
We have backed it at £25 each way with Mr Allison telling us the nine-year-old has proven form over long distances on a variety of services and came runner-up in the Kim Muir at the recent Cheltenham Festival.
The horse, trained by Noel Glynn, is described as an aggressive, front-running type who is a good fit for the Aintree course.
If that proves right and it is triumphant in the 4.15pm race, we will secure the hospice £525 and the organisation will also pick up money if it finishes in the first four.
Mr Allison said: “I really think it has a chance, but there are no certainties in the Grand National. That’s why everyone loves it.”
And he told the Mail his shop has already seen an influx of people keen to get their bets on early.
He added: “People have been coming in for the last two to three weeks to put bets on and this week is always very busy. It gets busier and busier up until they set off.
“It’s the best race of the year for betting. Everyone has a go, it’s the kind of event where your grandma has a go as well.
“We have a lot of people asking ‘how much tax do I pay on that’, but there hasn’t been tax for years, people just come in for the Grand National once a year and forget.
“We provide simple slips for people to fill out to make it as easy and quick as possible.”
People bet from 10p to hundreds and thousands of pounds on the race, but it isn’t just individual horses that they like to back.
“We have people asking for grey horses, how old the winner will be, if it’s Irish or how many will finish. There’s a book for just about everything now.”