Stuart King is in with a chance to win £1 million in Paddy Power’s ‘Millionaire Chase’ race

It’s not every day someone nearly misses out on the chance to become a millionaire, but that was almost the case for Derry man Stuart King.

Monday, 15th February 2021, 7:02 pm
Updated Tuesday, 16th February 2021, 10:32 am
Banbridge Town manager Stuart King, who has a chance of winning £1 million celebrates winning the 2018 Bob Radcliffe Cup with his wife Bernice, son Charlie and daughter Lucy. Picture by Alan Weir/Pacemaker Press

The Banbridge Town manager admitted he had to be ‘nagged’ by his wife Bernice, to take Paddy Power’s call to tell him he was selected to be in the ‘Millionaire Chase’ race, where one lucky punter could win £1 million.

King, who has already won £10,000 as part of Paddy Power’s promotion, explained that the bookmaker decided to make one punter a millionaire in 2021.

“To be honest they were ringing me quite a bit to tell me I had won £10,000 and I was now in with a chance to win £1 million but I wasn’t answering my phone,” he stated.

“But it was my wife who told me; ‘look answer the phone, that person has been ringing you all week’, so I answered and it was Paddy Power telling me that I was in the ‘Millionaire raffle and did I know the craic?’ I told him ‘yeah’, but to be honest I didn’t believe it was him and I thought it was one of the boys taking the hand.

“Anyway Paddy Power said; ‘listen if you don’t believe me I’ll email you now of the video links of your name coming out and if you reply to the email, I’ll have £10,000 in your account in half an hour’ and I was like ‘aye dead-on’, as I still didn’t believe him, but to be fair the money was in my Paddy Power account within 30 minutes, so I withdrew it within 10 seconds.

“So since then there has been 11 people who have already won £10,000 and then we all had a horse for the ‘Millionaire Chase’.”

Since then the 39-year-old drew second favourite ‘Thaki’ ahead of last Saturday’s ‘Millionaire Chase’ race at Chelmsford, but the entire card was called off as the track was unraceable. So for the second time the race has had to be rescheduled, much to King’s frustration.

However the ex-Linfield man conceded ‘Thaki’ owner, Dean Forrester contacted him prior to the postponement and told him how his horse was performing at the stables, which in turn meant last week he had few restless night's sleep.

“After another draw I got the second favourite ‘Thaki’, so then I had such a sweat and then whenever I tweeted about having ‘Thaki’, the owner Dean Forrester contacted me straight away and he was giving me updates. He said there was only one horse they were scared of and said that I had a ‘hell of a chance of winning this’, so I was all excited and then the race got cancelled because of the weather.

“It’s crazy because there were other race meetings going but they decided to pick the all weather track to ensure the race would finally happen, but that was called off, so we received an email from Paddy Power saying he can’t believe this has happened again and we’ll get back to you with our next plan.

“Whenever I was on the second favourite and spoke to the owner I couldn’t sleep for a couple of nights, because I was thinking I did have a hell of a chance of winning this and becoming a millionaire, but the race was cancelled and I now have to wait and see what happens next. The next draw may mean I’m on an outsider, as it’s just pot luck, but either way it’s amazing.

“At this stage I would be happy enough if they split the money 11 ways, so I would get £100,000 out of it, look I have already won £10,000, so if they gave me another £100,000 I would take it no sweat.”

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Paddy Power decided to try and give one punter a chance to win a life changing amount of money and King, who concedes he wouldn’t be a big gambler, hopes he can be that lucky guy.

“Paddy Power just decided because of Covid-19 they offered 11 punters a chance to win £1 million,” he explained.

“They did six qualifying races to get into their ‘Millionaire Chase’, I think it was one race every Saturday before Christmas, so you bet £5 on the qualifying race and if your horse won you obviously got your winnings but you also got entered into a draw and then after each race Paddy Power picked out a winner to get into the ‘Millionaire Chase’ race and whoever wins that race wins the £1 million.

“Look, it’s amazing. I did three £5 bets before Christmas and I actually didn’t win any of them, so I was drawn out as a wild card and it’s absolutely frightening, to be honest I’m not a big gambler and just because of that Paddy Power Millionaire promotion, I just thought why don’t I try to win a £1 million just for a laugh and now I have a chance of actually doing that.”

The ex-Glenavon, Ballymena United and Ballyclare Comrades winger admits he has been contacted by former team-mates and old friends when news broke that he was in with a chance of becoming a millionaire.

“To be honest my phone hasn’t stopped,” he insisted.

“Thousands of messages from people I haven’t spoken to or heard from in ages, from football people in England to ex-team-mates, but it’s class and good craic.

“To be honest everyone is just wishing me well and hoping that my horse can win the big one.”