A huge blunder has cost a punter or a betting syndicate HK$30 million while boosting by seven times the winnings of 1,200 lucky tierce bettors.
The Jockey Club is also smiling as instead of earning just around HK$1.75 million in commissions on the tierce pool of Race 9 at Sha Tin yesterday, it picked up more than HK$9 million.
The strange series of quick bets raised the tierce pool from HK$7 million to HK$37 million. All the bets were on a single combination which, if successful, would have resulted in a payout of just HK$11 for every HK$10 - the minimum the club must pay by law.
Had this happened, the club's commission on the race would have just been HK$4 million.
Chief executive Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges said the club had looked into the bets and the accounts from which they came were clean.
"There is no suspicion of any illegal activities," he said. "There is also no evidence that this was part of a money-laundering exercise."
He suggested it could be a human error or a faulty computer system on the part of the unlucky punter.
A betting official said the fact that the HK$30 million came from a series of bets on identical numbers suggested it could have been a system error.
"Anyone who is a punter will tell you that no one bets HK$30 million on a HK$7 million pool," he said.
"What is even more weird is that this was a single tierce, which is very hard to get and for which the payment would have been only HK$11. It makes no sense."
Tierce punters have to choose three horses in a race which will finish first, second and third in the right order. It is recognized as a high-risk and high- return bet.
The massive bet was placed on Nos 10, 9 and 8 - or horses Masquerader, Rumba King and Ka Ying Kid - in that order. None of the three was a fancied runner, showing win odds of 11, 11 and 28 respectively.
The actual winning numbers were, in order, 6, 2 and 1 - Bundle of Love, Cosmic Boom and Silver Grecian.
There were 1,276.8 winning units. But instead of taking home around HK$3,000 each - the payout without the massive bet - winners each got to take home HK$21,786.
"Those who had the correct combination must have been laughing all the way home," the betting official said.
The huge bet boosted yesterday's turnover to HK$1.33 billion, with the government taking HK$154 million in betting duty.