| Shock win at
Leopardstown beats 30-year-old record
These are difficult times for optimists but a low-profile race at
Leopardstown on Thursday lifted the spirits of pinsticking punters, as well as
those of most bookmakers, by providing a winner at the record-breaking odds of
300-1. He Knows No Fear was the horse in question and his name could surely be
applied to any bettor taking a chance on him, as the colt had achieved next to
nothing in his only previous race, barely beating the ambulance to the
He is trained by Luke Comer, for whom racing is very
much a sideline compared to the property developing business that made him
wealthy. We havent time, really, to concentrate on it,
Comers brother, Brian, said once and perhaps that explains why
Comer-trained horses have become a byword for hopelessness; this was their
first winner on the Flat for nine years.
With that in mind, the many
punters who made Agitare the hot favourite on Thursday must have been counting
their money when their handsome chestnut went clear in the straight, with only
a horse in the Comer colours to beat. Alas for them, He Knows No Fear produced
a relentless surge up the middle of the track to poke his nose in front with
inches to spare.
Incredibly, the bookmaker Paddy Power said almost 100
of its customers had backed the winner, albeit to small stakes, which is
perhaps an indication that the spirit of optimism dies very hard indeed.
These punting heroes have either been struck by divine inspiration or are
extremely shrewd form judges, said a spokesman, a note of bitterness
perhaps detectable behind the sarcasm.
Ladbrokes Coral reported 63
winning bets taken through their websites, the biggest stake being £2.50
each-way. But a single punter in their Main Street, Dublin branch had been
braver, they said, staking 100 each-way for a payout of 36,000.
Comers assistant, Jim Gorman, revealed that staff at the yard had
thought enough of He Knows No Fear to have a few quid on when he made his
thoroughly disappointing racecourse debut. Perhaps some of them had enough
insight to go in again but, if so, Gorman omitted to mention it.
All our horses have been running well in the last few weeks and
knocking on the door without winning, he added, so its just
great to get a winner. The 300-1 starting price trumps the 250-1 at which
Equinoctial was returned when winning a £2,000 race at Kelso back in
1990. The previous record in Ireland was 200-1, set by another jumper,
Killahara Castle, three years ago.
Comers yard was last in the
headlines in 2017, when he was repeatedly fined by the Irish authorities for
failing to comply with regulations on how his stable should be run. Among other
infractions, he was found to have provided inadequate supervision for his
horses and to have refused officials access to his training premises.
At one stage, he was threatened with a six-month suspension of his
licence and that year ended with a 50,000 bill from the Turf Club in
fines and costs. Comer, who did not respond to requests for comment, is
presumably a lot happier about the racing side of his business now.
Knows No Fear returned 999/1 (seen as 1000) on the Betfair Exchange - the
biggest possible price.
Betfair Spokesman, Barry Orr, said: "As you can
imagine, its highly unusual for any horse to have a Betfair SP at the
ceiling price of 1000 (999/1) on the Exchange but thats what we had
"And in a truly bizarre turn of events, never seen before on the
Betfair Exchange, not only did the winner have a Betfair SP of 1000 but he also
traded at those odds in-running, while the runner-up, and even-money favourite,
Agitare, traded at the basement price of 1.01 (1/100).
Previous huge-price shocks
Equinoctial was for almost 30
years the longest-priced winner ever in the UK and Ireland, returning at the
phenomenal odds of 250-1 in a novice handicap hurdle at Kelso in November 1990
for Durham-based trainer Norman Miller.
Killahara Castle. Irelands
biggest previous winner. Her victory at Thurles in December 2017 saw the John
Burke-trained mare notch a piece of history, as she joined the 200-1 winner
club at the expense of an odds-on favourite.
Intercessor The John
Gallagher-trained three-year-old was the complete outsider and totally
unfancied in a field of 10 for a one-mile novice stakes at Newbury on June 13
2020. Given a no-nonsense ride by apprentice star Cieren Fallon, Intercessor
made virtually all the running and hung on by a head in a bunch finish
with just half a length covering the first five.
Maoi Chinn Tire
Making a first start for new trainer Jennie Candlish, on his jumps debut, Maoi
Chinn Tire was initially a sprinter on the Flat but he was good value
for his Listed hurdle win at Wetherby, over two miles on October 29 2010. Nine
of his 13 wins in 83 races across the codes came after his shock victory
and he also finished fourth at 100/1 in a Grade One juvenile hurdle at Aintree.
Lights Of Broadway The mare was having her third run for Jo
Hughes when winning a novice hurdle at Taunton on January 9 2012, staying on in
the hands of Mark Grant to beat another outsider, 50/1 chance Wishes And Stars,
by three-quarters of a length.
Dandy Flame Trained and owned by
Berkshire-based Jose Santos, a Monday evening at Wolverhampton on July 25 2016
was the scene of Dandy Flames turn-up. Making a mockery of the form book,
he surged two and three-quarter lengths clear of Elegantly Bound in the hands
of Renato Souza.
Arctic Blue Another having his first run for a
new trainer, Patrick Rodfords five-year-old won a two-mile novice hurdle
at Chepstow on March 23 2005 in the hands of 10lb claimer Keiran Burke.
Beechy Bank Having her first run back for Mary Hambro after a
brief spell with Richard Phillips, the then four-year-old faced eight rivals in
an extended mile-and-a-half contest at Warwick on September 21 2002 and was
ridden by Vince Slattery. Leading over a furlong out, the filly dug deep to
beat Miss Gigi by a length.