I splurged £1m on drink, drugs and women… my life was out of control until one big Cheltenham bet changed everything | The Sun

A 'MAD' former jockey who splurged £1million on drink, drugs and woman in a terrifying downward spiral had the last laugh – after bashing bookies with his monster Cheltenham win.

Paddy Merrigan was a promising young rider who competed against the likes of Ruby Walsh and AP McCoy.

But his life soon spiralled out of control and he admitted 'taking cocaine every day for six months' at his lowest point.

After cleaning up his act he rediscovered his love of racing – and used his knowledge to money-making effect at last week's Festival.

Merrigan, who was known as 'Mad Merrigan' during his riding days, had been banging on about The Real Whacker for weeks.

He had been backing the horse for ages and put money on from 50-1 all the way down to 8-1.

His faith was rewarded when the Patrick Neville-trained chaser took the Brown Advisory in a head-bobbing thriller over 5-4 fav Gerri Colombe.

Merrigan said he 'murdered' the bookies with his bets – including whacking one firm to the tune of £50,000.

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The ex-jockey, who used to work with Neville, said: "The whole of Ireland has backed this horse for six months.

"We have cleaned the bookies, it’s over. 50-1 is the first bet I had, don’t worry about how much I win.

"I can assure you it was the biggest bet of my life. The bookies got educated.

"I went into this business when I left Paddy a few years ago, he came to England, and now I have a tipping service.

"We crushed the bookies. I backed this horse for six months, I told thousands of other people to back him, they all did.

"No one believed in this horse. Paddy and myself, I used to work with him years ago in Ireland, I was assistant trainer with him and through finances and business and Covid, we couldn’t stay together.

"Paddy went to England and I set up a couple of businesses and now the two of us are flying.

"I used to be a jockey, I rode when I was a kid. I came to England when I was 16, I rode winners for Paul Nicholls, Peter Bowen, all the best of them.

"I retired at 20 and I was ten winners clear of being champion conditional. I was one of the best conditionals to ride in this country.

"I’m mentally addicted to this game since I was a kid. The truth be told, I’m the biggest waste of talent that ever stood at Cheltenham.

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"If I took to the horse racing I would have had a good career but it doesn’t matter."

With more than £50,000 in his bank account, we're inclined to agree.

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