Gay Future

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Gay Future was the racehorse at the centre of an attempted coup by an Irish betting syndicate in Great Britain in 1974. The plot involved a Scottish trainer named Antony Collins initially presenting a poorly-performing horse at his stables as if it were the real Gay Future. This lowered the expectations of reviewers, and hence raised the betting odds on offer, when the real horse was entered in a race at Cartmel in Cumbria.

On the same day, two additional horses trained by Collins were entered in earlier races at other courses, but these were withdrawn shortly before the races. Syndicate members had used bookmakers away from the courses to place a large number of double and triple wagers, which involved Gay Future in combination bets with these additional horses. The last-minute withdrawals now meant that a large number of bets would roll over onto Gay Future.

As the race start time approached, syndicate accomplices at Cartmel ensured that the long odds (10 to 1) against Gay Future were not lowered by on-course punters. Gay Future won easily, but bookmakers became suspicious at the unusual betting patterns. A follow-up police investigation resulted in syndicate leaders being convicted of attempted fraud, although they received relatively small fines from a sympathetic judge [1].

The Gay Future affair was subsequently dramatised in Murphy's Stroke, a 1979 made-for-TV movie starring (a then-unknown) Pierce Brosnan and Niall Toibin.

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