- Gambler’s long history of gatecrashing VIP events ends at Cheltenham horse racing festival
- The driver from Colchester, UK has led out cup winners, entered VIP parties and shaken hands with boxing heroes
A gambling fan’s long career of gatecrashing major sporting events may have come to an end this month at the Cheltenham Gold Cup horse race. The cheeky chancer has made a reputation over the years for bluffing his way past security and into the VIP and winner’s areas at top events around the world.
Busted in the winner’s enclosure
Richard Melia, aged 56 and from Colchester in England, successfully slipped past security and was able to lead Sizing John as the horse made its way to the winner’s enclosure at Cheltenham. Management at Cheltenham have yet to decide what action to take against Melia, who has held his hands up to the prank and fully accepts whatever punishment might come his way, according to an interview with the Racing Post.
Security under review
Security processes at the racecourse are now under scrutiny, but Melia says the stewards on duty that day have no reason to doubt their abilities. He called it the toughest one he’s managed yet. His other exploits include getting into the ring the year that Animal Kingdom won the Dubai World Cup and at the boxing in Vegas where, following the fight, he was able to shake hands with Floyd Mayweather.
As well as racing, Melia likes to talk his way into VIP areas at major golf tournaments. This has enabled him to meet golfers Tiger Woods and Jean Van Der Velde and former US President George W Bush.
Parties with Hollywood stars
One of his favorite memories happened when he visited South Africa in 2010. At the FIFA World Cup, he managed to sneak into the VIP party by walking in with Leonardo Di Caprio. Security just assumed they were together.
Melia, who works as a driver, says his secret is just to be confident. He says that if you act like you belong, people assume you belong, and should he actually get stopped he just walks away.
While we would not condone the antics of Mr Melia, we do at least recognise the audacity of the man. Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned in the casino environment. Land-based casinos are full of lavish freebies for whom they consider to be VIPs. ‘Comps‘ at casinos can range from free meals, entertainment and even accommodation.
Perhaps if you act with a certain confidence and authority, like Mr Melia has, then maybe you could bag some top treatment and service, all free-of-charge, at your next casino visit.