Billionaire Sir Richard Branson punted £100 on 2022 Randox Aintree Grand National 50-1 winner Noble Yeats, ridden by pal Sam Waley-Cohen.

“I’ve only bet on horses twice in my life. A 100-1 winner at the Kentucky Derby, and our dear friend Sam Waley-Cohen’s incredible 50-1 winner at the 2022 Grand National!,” said Branson.

Branson, 71, who watched the £1m 40 runners race from Necker Island, quipped: “Congratulations Sam and all the family. Sam has now retired from racing horses.

“I’m now planning to retire from betting on horses! I was definitely born under a lucky star.

“I’ve only bet on horse racing twice in my life. The first time was at the Kentucky Derby in 2005, which was the first racing meet I’d ever attended.”

Virgin founder Branson, who posted a photo on Instagram showing himself and his family watching the Aintree Grand National from Necker Island, said: “I ran into Jerry Moss, an old friend from the music business who co-founded A&M Records with Herb Albert.

“I asked him if he was still in the industry, and he explained he now bred horses.

“He had entered his first horse in the race, Giacomo. But it was a 100-1 outsider, so he didn’t recommend betting on it.

“A few minutes later, reporters from CNN and ESPN spotted me and I agreed to a live interview.

“When they asked for my tip, I said Giacomo, as it was the only horse I knew.

“The 2022 Grand National saw our close family friend Sam Waley-Cohen riding in his final ever race.

“He is a 39-year-old amateur jockey and successful entrepreneur, who decided to have one last go at achieving his lifelong dream of winning the Grand National.

“His horse, Noble Yeats, was a 50-1 outsider bought by his father Robert just two months ago.

“We had a roomful of friends and family cheering him on Necker.

“The grandkids were so excited as I pointed at the screen showing him move up from 20th all the way to the front.

“Unbelievably, he won the race. I’ve never shouted at the TV more, and never cried so much with a sporting result,” said Branson.

Caption: Richard Branson watched 2022 National on Necker Island with family and friends.