Punter’s loyalty to Keane pays off

An 83-year-old punter who has “religiously followed’’ Irish Examiner racing correspondent Pat Keane’s tips for years has been rewarded with a €17,400 windfall.

Keane selected six of the seven winners at Cheltenham on Friday, and retired publican Owen Liston gained handsomely for his faith in the top tipster from a stake of €92 — money he won earlier in the week at the festival.

Owen, from Ballybunion, Co Kerry, pulled off Lucky 15 and Lucky 31 combination bets — a rare achievement — and couldn’t believe his luck.

He watched the racing with friends in Mikey Joe’s bar, Ballybunion.

With plenty of winners in doubles and trebles, Owen knew he was close to sizeable winnings, but did not know how much at the end of the day.

He bets online with Paddy Power and phoned the bookmaker to check the balance on his account after going home.

“He was told he had won €17,400 and just couldn’t believe it,’’ said a friend. “He’s not a big punter by any means and never won anything like that before, but he has always religiously followed Pat Keane, especially for big meetings like Cheltenham.’’

Owen is the father of Kerry football legend Eoin ‘Bomber’ Liston. Another son, Padraig, ex-managing director of Heineken Ireland, died last month at the age of 57.

A quiet man, Owen was not talking publicly about his win but was the toast of Mikey Joe’s, where his luck was celebrated along with St Patrick’s Day activities. Keane, meanwhile, enhanced his reputation with winners Ted Veale (10-1), Our Conor (4-1), Alderwood (3-1), Bobs Worth (11-4), Salsify (2-1) and At Fishers Cross (11-8).


Frits Potgieter is General Manager with Muckross Park Hotel and Spa.You've Been Served: Frits Potgieter, Muckross Park Hotel and Spa

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