$18 bet turns into $21k
Five Christchurch men were $21,000 better off on Tuesday night after a chance $18 bet on the Melbourne Cup.
Maurice McDermott, Brett Jewell, Dave Gallagher, Tim O'Connell and Tony Smaill decided to invest a small collect from a Friday-night catchup at Halswell Tavern last week on Tuesday's great race.
They took three easybet trifectas and one hit the jackpot when Green Moon, Fiorente and Jakkallberry filled the first three positions.
The syndicate won half of the whopping $42,000 dividend, with each man winning $4106.
The win was especially sweet for Jewell and Gallagher who rarely bet. Neither of them watched the race.
Jewell was outside feeding his chickens and Gallagher was stuck in traffic after work.
"Neither of them believed me when I rung them and told them," McDermott said.
"They both laughed and said 'yeah, right' and all that - it took a while for them to actually figure out that I wasn't kidding," he said.
None of the group had any immediate plans for their windfall although Jewell did shout morning tea for his workmates yesterday.
"None of them believed me I don't think, but when I brought out the savouries I think they started to realise I was telling the truth.
"I think I might invest a few more dollars on the races now."
The men finally gathered a little later on in the night to have a few celebratory beers over their success.
Tuesday's betting on the Melbourne Cup was high throughout the country, with wagering for the day resting at $20 million - the highest figure for a single day in more than six decades.
Canterbury plunged $1.03m, an increase of 14 per cent on the $884,000 invested last year.
That left Canterbury with the third-best increase in turnover behind Southland (20 per cent) and Northland (16 per cent).
In total $8.62m was spent on the Melbourne Cup alone.