A 103-YEAR-old believed to be Britain's oldest punter is hoping for a winner on this year's Grand National - after betting on the race for more than seven decades without success.

George Atkinson has placed bets on the Grand National each year since the 1940s but he has never managed to back a winner, and fears the 2014 race is his last chance.

And after such a long run of betting, he has decided to pin his hopes on 2011 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Long Run, owned by Robert Waley-Cohen and trained by Nicky Henderson.

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Mr Atkinson said: "Any winner is nice - but the national would be a dream come true - I could die a happy man."

George, from Swaffham, Norfolk, placed his first bet on the National in the 1940s after leaving the Army.

He said: "I can't remember the name as it lost - in fact they all lose. I've never even had a place.

"I was once told to back Oxo in 1959 but I didn't place a bet on it - it won and I've regretted it for 55 years."

The widowed father-of-seven goes to his local branch of William Hill in Swaffham twice a day and the company has given him a £103 bet - £51.50 each way - and he has decided to put it on Long Run - whose odds of winning are currently at 14/1

Yvonne Dobinson, manager, said: "George is proof of how hard it is to win the Grand National but we will be cheering Long Run on for his sake."