THE busiest day of the year almost turned into a Grand National nightmare for a Clayton bookie when a power cut struck.
Alec Bolton, owner of Clayton Racing on Whalley Road, was cursing his rotten luck when his phones and 18 screens went down just after opening for business last Saturday morning.
The mains fault hit 17 properties in the area, but the next door sandwich shop Rumbletums still had electricity and saved the day by letting Alec run cables into the bookmaker’s to operate with a single TV with Teletext and manual betting slips.
With the help of his staff who came in to work early, Alec still managed a bumper day’s takings – especially after 100/1 outsider Mon Mome won the big Aintree race.
Alec, who has run the shop for 22 years, said: "I opened up at 8.15am and got the first punter in about 10 minutes later.
"While he was marking his slip the lights went out and the TV went dead. I was totally gutted. It’s a massive day for us, equivalent to a week’s takings.
"In the end it was a good day and we took in the region of £20,000."
Electricity was eventually restored just in the nick of time, five minutes before the start of the race.
Alec added: "The regulars wouldn’t have appreciated it because they stop in and watch the live racing but it didn’t bother the Grand National punters who just come in once a year and put on a bet.
"I would say at least 2,000 people came in over the course of the day."
One of the horses which understandably attracted the odd flutter from punters looking for omens was Darkness.
Clayton Racing employee Rosemaree Carter said: "It will certainly be a Grand National Day to remember. Rumbletums really deserves a mention. They made teas and coffees all morning and were due to shut at 1pm but they left us to it and then came back and closed up later."