Wheelie bin cleaner fails to win £5.5m as horse fades

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Craig Brazier celebrates his win

Craig Brazier, a 39-year-old wheelie bin cleaner from Nottinghamshire, watched his horse, Tumblewind, enter the final furlong in first place. For a moment he thought he was on course to win a spectacular £5.5 million jackpot, but in the last few seconds it faded, and dropped back to finish 11th.

So why was he able to smile about it later that day?

Brazier came within a whisker of winning £5.5 million, but he couldn't complain, because this was just his bonus race - he'd already won £1.3 million.

As we reported last week, he'd staked £2 and successfully guessed the winners of six horse races. He'd won a share of a £10 million pot with seven other winners.

On Saturday, he had the chance to bump up his winnings. He and the other winners had the opportunity go into a syndicate together - where each member of the syndicate could choose a horse, and if one of them won they would all share the £5.5 million. Alternatively they could go it alone - and choose a horse on their own with the chance of winning the jackpot to themselves.

In the end three of the other winners formed a syndicate - which picked the winner - and they shared the jackpot.

Brazier had no hard feelings. Before the race he hold the Racecourse owners: " I'm more than happy with what I won last Saturday and I'm treating the extra money as exactly what it is – a bonus."

Afterwards he told the Nottingham Post: "I have enjoyed every minute. It's been absolutely brilliant and for a few seconds it looked like my pick Tumblewind had a great chance. But I'd backed the winner too many times on the all weather without winning, so I'd never have picked it. They did well and we're all happy."

Big losers

He can take some crumbs of comfort that his missed opportunity was a drop in the ocean compared to the sums some punters have lost. The late Australian media tycoon Kerry Packer is said to have lost up to £25 million at casinos in just 10 months - more than half of it during a three-week losing streak in London in 1999.

In 2007, Terrance Watanabe said that he had spent his entire personal fortune in one year - gambling at the Caesars Palace and Rio Casinos. He lost almost $127 million. It's thought to have been one of the biggest losing steaks in Las Vegas history.

Robert Maxwell holds the record for the fastest loss ever. He is said to have lost $2 million in a minute, playing three roulette tables at a time at a London casino.

At the end of last year an Arsenal fan in Uganda bet his house on his club beating Manchester United in a key match - and lost. He bet against a United fan who put his car and his wife up again the bet.

But possibly the most extraordinary loss of all time was Australian Harry Kakavos, who tried to take a casino to court last year for allowing him to lose £1 billion in 14 months despite the fact he was a gambling addict. In May 2006 he lost $164 million in five and a half hours.