One of the biggest winners in New Zealand racing history has giant Warriors forward Ben Matulino to thank for helping him keep his mega payout quiet.
A Mid Canterbury punter collected $450,715 from a $20 easybet on the Triple Trio held over three races at Rotorua on Saturday.
But he was so shocked by the win he didn't know whether to tell his mates at the local pub, where he discovered the windfall.
"I play the Triple Trio most weeks but I am no expert, so I just use the Easybet," said the punter, who still wishes to remain anonymous.
"I wasn't worried about the ticket when the races were actually on but I checked it afterwards and first of all I thought the machine at the local pub was saying I had won $100.
"But then my partner said, 'no, stupid, it is saying you have won over $100,000'. I couldn't believe it but we rang the TAB and found out I had got a whole unit of the Triple Trio, so got $450,000 plus a little bit more for the concessions.
"I was buzzed but I didn't know what to do because you don't want to run around telling people until you have sorted out what you are going to do with it."
Enter Warriors prop Ben Matulino.
The punter is also a Warriors fan and every time they or the Crusaders play he puts $20 on both of their props to be the first try scorers.
"It is a bit of fun backing the fatties to score the first try. Of course they never score, which is why it is always paying so much.
"But then Big Ben got across the line first on Saturday right around the same time I found out I got the Triple Trio.
"I couldn't believe the two things happened around the same time and I was celebrating and was still able to shout my mates at the bar, because I was telling them the reason I was so happy was because of my first try bet.
"So we knocked over a pretty good bar tab and had a great night. And being a Warriors fan and for them to win so big, it was a great day all round."
So what does a self-confessed battling punter do with $450,715, plus what remains of his $800 won on Matulino?
"Nothing crazy. I'll think about it for a while, but I am still on cloud nine."
The Triple Trio fairytale comes at a time when the bet, first introduced in January, was struggling to gain traction in New Zealand.
However, it is about to be part of a major guaranteed pools promotion at the Harness Jewels at Cambridge on May 31.
The TAB will hold its first-ever harness racing Triple Trio that day, guaranteed to $100,000.
They will also guarantee a $100,000 Pick6 to be run for the first time at a harness meeting on the first six races.
There will be $100,000 also guaranteed for the quaddie, while the four Jewels races with the hottest favourites will have $50,000 guaranteed First4s.
"We will pick races with favourites like Adore Me or Follow The Stars for those First4 races because then people feel more like they are taking a trifecta," said the TAB's Michael Dore. "Really, harness races with hot favourites are perfect for First4s as we saw when we did this at the Jewels last year.
"So it will be a huge day for us with so much money up for grabs."
*A South Island punter won more than $450,000 on Saturday's Triple Trio.
*His $20 easybet winning ticket was for a full $1 unit so he scooped the pool.
*He managed to celebrate by spending his winnings from a first-try bet on Warriors' prop Ben Matulino.
*The TAB is guaranteeing huge pools for Harness Jewels day on May 31.