Most of the 21-year-old students hoped to win enough money at the Grand National to pay for their Saturday night outing, but not Cameron Sword, who instead became the youngest winning owner in history.
Sword is one of seven co-owners – calling themselves The Ramblers – of Corach Rambler, who started as the 8-1 favorite for the £1million race and came home in style, leaping to the top over the last fence.
Sword thus easily broke the previous record for youngest winning owner, held by Bryan Borrough who was 23 when his horse, Corbiere, won the race 40 years ago.
Sword, 21, is in his third year of four business studies at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh and fell in love with horse racing during the lockdown, but whatever he does in business he’s unlikely to do better by buying a stake in Corach Rambler , who was already a two-time winner of the Cheltenham Festival, for £4,000.
“Sport was the thing during Covid and after seeing Cheltenham and Aintree I started asking about local coaches,” he said of his proactive approach to a sport in which he was, essentially, a complete beginner.
“I got in touch with Lucinda Russell and Scu [Peter Scudamore, the trainer’s partner] who are 20 miles away and asked them how that worked. The last thing I thought of doing was ending up owning a horse. Eventually Lucinda said she bought this horse for £17,000 which could make a good starter horse.
“We weren’t expecting much, he was very shy at the time, hadn’t come out of his shell and was £4,000 a side with the bills split into seven between us. We are an eclectic bunch and include the breeder Paul Hillis who had told Lucinda that if he bought the horse he would come in for a fee and that’s how The Ramblers began.
“We’re a real mix in terms of age and experience, from me to guys in our 60s. There are four Scottish, one Londoner, one Irish and one now living in Australia and we have all become great friends. We had some special moments together that I think strengthened that bond.”
Corach Rambler might have cost £17,000 but he had already won more than 10 times that in prize money, before winning the £500,000 grand national prize, and with it a slice of racing immortality at Aintree.
Speaking to Telegraph Sport ahead of the Grand National, he said when the nine-year-old won at Cheltenham for the first time, they thought they’d had their day in the sun.
“We really didn’t expect to be here now with two Festival wins.” He explained. “We are shocked. It’s a complete underdog story.
“Regardless of what happens at Aintree, I would recommend it to anyone. There are now many racing clubs offering racehorse ownership for as little as £60 a year when you can go to a stable, talk to the trainer and jockey.
In the wake of her success, her mother returned to racing – she once had a Royal Ascot runner – and went to Ireland and got a “really expensive horse”.
“I think she’s quite jealous that she spent all this money and Corach which cost £17k is the national favourite!” she added. “Although De Legislator, who is also training with Lucinda, won two of his three caps”.
Four decades after his big day Burrough still owns horses and was in Aintree on Saturday to see his Beauport run in the three mile handicap pursuit and the connection with Corbiere remains; Beauport is the bay near Corbiere on Jersey.
“Maybe after 40 years it’s time for someone else to take the record,” Burrough said.
When asked what advice she would give Sword, Burrough said: “Take it all – this sort of thing doesn’t happen very often in life. Take it all in, until the next day’s party.
A version of this article first appeared in front of the Grand National