A lucky punter who scooped £1.4million with a £2 stake at the races has admitted “I’m not a horse racing man”.
White van man Steve Whitely, 61, beat incredible odds by picking all six winners in the Tote jackpot at Exeter Racecourse on Tuesday.
And Steve has vowed not to give up his job as a heating engineer, saying: ”I don’t want to let people down.”
He intends to stay in his £500-per-week job and still plans to downsize to a smaller house as he and partner Jill Dilley approach retirement.
But despite the incredible windfall, Steve is in the doghouse with Jill – after forgetting about her birthday today in the excitement of his win.
Dad-of-two Steve, who lives in a terraced £150,000 two-bedroomed house with Jill in North Tawton, Devon, was back in his white van for work yesterday.
He said: ”I won’t be quitting work just yet. I have to go in – I’ve arranged to do some work for people and that’s what I’ll do. I can let my customers down.
”Besides, I’m not the sort of person who can sit around all day doing nothing, I’ll get bored and turn into a vegetable.
”As you can imagine, it was quite a heavy night after the win. I went out with a few mates to celebrate and have to say it left me with a I am not feeling great today.
”I had one too many drinks and my head is a bit sore to say the least.”
Steve is whisking Jill to Australia to celebrate her 53rd birthday, which they had planned before his win.
But he added: ”I bought Jill a 65p card before the races, but it’s still sat on the side in its cellophane wrapper.
”I didn’t get round to buying her a present before and have been a bit busy since.
”I’m hoping she’ll understand. Obviously I’ll be paying for the Australia trip now so I’m hopeful that will appease her.
”The first she knew of my win was when she saw me being interviewed on the TV so it was her who rang me.
”Of course she was over the moon, although I’m not sure how she will feel today when she sees I haven’t got her a birthday present.”
Steve scooped £1.4 million after picking all six winners at Tuesday’s meeting to win the Tote Jackpot with a £2 bet.
The accumulator prize, which had not been won since February 27, was £1 million at the start of the day, before rising to £2,035,538 by the time it was won.
After tax deductions, Steve took home a staggering £1,445,671.25.
His winners were, Semi Colon the 2-1 favourite, Black Phantom 12-1, Ammunition 16-1, Mr Bennett 16-1, Lundy Sky 5-1 and Lupita 12-1.
Going into the sixth and final race, he was the only punter in the country with a chance to win.
The horse he had picked for the final hurdles race, Lupita, had last won in 2008 – on the flat – and was priced at odds of 12-1.
Its jockey Jessica Lodge, had never won a race.
Steve said: “Why did I pick the last one? Lodge is just a name that sticks in my head. I didn’t know anything about her. I’m not a horse racing man”
The lucky punter has revealed he had planned to downsize and move into a smaller house before the win.
He added: ”I’m nearly 62 so Jill and I had been planning to move in to a smaller place, for when I get decrepit and can’t get up the stairs or move about any more.
“I guess that will still be the plan but we will certainly be able to afford a nicer place than we could before.
”We’ll have our trip to Australia which should give us time to think things through.”