Belfast Telegraph

Weatherman Barra Best forecasts Grand National winner Many Clouds - and takes home £200

TV man has flutter on the name and comes up trumps - again

By Sara Neill

The weather is notoriously hard to predict.

But for popular forecaster Barra Best, it has proved to be right on the money when it comes to picking winning horses.

The BBC Northern Ireland weather presenter is celebrating after he picked not one but two big winners by backing horses with weather-related names.

The sun was shining on the 33-year-old on Saturday when he scooped more than £200 by taking a Grand National flutter on Many Clouds - a sight he is more used to seeing on the map. That win came just five days after he picked the winner of the Irish Grand National- Thunder and Roses.

When it comes to backing horses, Barra has not been that lucky in the past, but this year his fortune changed as quickly as our notorious weather.

He said: "We do have a tradition in our house of doing the Grand National every year.

"We close our eyes and pick one on the page, and that's what we've always done in the past. I usually never had any luck. In fact, I think one year I came fourth and won about £1.50."

Barra's winning formula started on Easter Monday, when he put a wager on the Irish Grand National.

"We had taken a drive to Armagh for the day, and I thought I'd put a bet on. I looked for a horse that had a name which was weather-related and put £2.50 each way on Thunder and Roses," he explained.

"I didn't even know what I was doing, I had to ask the guy in the bookies to put it on for me."

When Katie Walsh rode the gelding to victory at Fairyhouse, Barra thought the sun was shining on him.

"I picked up £80, and I was delighted with that. I never win anything on the horses!" he said.

When it came to the Aintree Grand National, the canny forecaster remembered his earlier win and was determined this year his bets would not be a 'mist' opportunity.

"When the Grand National rolled round a few days later, this time I thought I would stick with the weather-related horses. And, after looking at all of their names, I put £5 each way on Many Clouds and The Rainbow Hunter.

"I wasn't expecting much, and thought if I win, I win, if not at least I tried.

"But when Many Clouds came in first, I couldn't believe it. I got two wins in one week, and that's after doing it for more than three decades."

With odds of 33/1 for jockey Leighton Aspell to claim his second consecutive victory at Aintree, picking the winner was a breeze for Barra, just like the payout.

He collected £216 from the bookmakers, and added to the Easter Monday windfall, the broadcaster has tucked away the tidy sum of almost £300.

He celebrated with his online followers by tweeting a picture of the betting slip and the caption: "I love clouds!!! #GrandNational #ManyClouds."

And what does a weatherman do with the extra cash?

He said: "My sister and I are planning to go to Liverpool in May, so maybe I'll keep it until then and we can go out for a nice dinner when we're over. Or I might treat myself to a nice shirt instead."

This new-found luck at the betting shop has not gone to his head.

"I'll keep to one bet a year, I think. It's what I've always done, I've never been a gambling person. I've had one win in 30 years, that's the only time my luck has come up, so I don't think it's a winning streak."

Bookmakers, meanwhile, were breathing a sigh of relief after AP McCoy came fifth at Aintree in what was his last ride in the Grand National. The Moneyglass man was the favourite to win on Shutthefrontdoor at 6-1, a win which would have seen the bookmakers lose some £200m.

Despite being in the hunt until the final moment, the unrivalled champion jockey could only finish fifth.

The County Antrim rider was planning to bring his retirement forward if he had won the Grand National. He will now race until the end of the season in 12 days' time.

Belfast Telegraph


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