Leeds United fans were celebrating – and the bookies left cursing – after a racehorse with a very familiar name pulled off a surprise win in its first competitive outing.
United supporters flocked to back relatively unfancied Marchingontogether at 20/1 in the Beeby Maiden Auction Fillies’ Stakes at Leicester on Tuesday evening and it duly romped home in first place.
A spokesman for bookmaker William Hill told the Yorkshire Evening Post there had been “nothing to suggest” the horse – named after United’s most famous terrace anthem – could win at the first attempt.
He went on: “The race itself was not a huge one in terms of betting turnover, however there was significant money for Marchingontogether – certainly enough to see its odds fall from 20/1 to 10/1 at one point in the day.
“Two of the largest bets we saw were from Northallerton and Scarborough.
“What you often see ahead of the Grand National, for example, is a lot of people backing the name of a horse rather than any discernible form and it would appear that was the case on Tuesday.”
Fans counting their winnings after the race included Dave Carrington, chairman of the Leeds United Supporters Trust.
Dave, who picked up £75 after putting a fiver on the horse at 14/1, said: “It’s nice to have a winner, given that Leeds have been ruining my accumulators for the last six weeks!
“I’ll gladly embrace any little bit of Leeds-related good fortune and I’m taking it as a sign that things are really on the up for us.”
Ridden on Tuesday by Brazilian jockey Silvestre de Sousa, Marchingontogether is owned by BGC Racing and a four-man syndicate that includes Leeds fan Mark Edley, from Rastrick, near Brighouse.
Mark, 47, who works at Huddersfield-based New Leaf Financial Services, said: “The whole thing has been amazing – it seems like half of Leeds put some money on!
“We’ve had so much interest from people wanting shares in Marchingontogether that we’re thinking of getting another horse with a Leeds-themed name.”
The recorded version of Marching On Together is actually called Leeds! Leeds! Leeds! and was the B-side to United’s 1972 FA Cup final single.