A JOCKEY who rode a freak 200-1 outsider to victory smirked: “I’m not that surprised.”
Stan Sheppard was brilliant in the saddle as he coaxed Absolute Steel to the mother of all shocks at Exeter on Sunday.
The Tom Lacey-trained five-year-old gelding had beaten just one horse home in two previous runs and lost a combined 111 lengths.
Odds of 200-1 or a giant 813-1 on the Betfair Exchange told the story of what was expected.
Although Sheppard clearly hadn’t read the script.
He cajoled a dawdling Absolute Steel up the Exeter run-in to see off 4-9 fav Lowry’s Bar in dramatic circumstances.
And incredible £453 was matched on the winner at maximum odds of 1000 on the Exchange – meaning there was £453,000 riding on the horse as he neared the line.
Spare a thought for one punter though, who tried to get £4 on Absolute Steel in-running at odds of 970 only for a measly 1p to be matched.
It meant instead of winning almost £4,000 they were left with just £9.69.
Still, that didn’t matter to Sheppard, who said after landing the joint biggest-priced winner in British racing for 34 years: “I’d say the favourite might have underperformed, but while I’m surprised, I’m not that surprised.
“He had a good look at the first three hurdles in the home straight, but running to the last I was thinking ‘if the favourite comes by me within five strides of the line, I might not get back by him’.
“But when he came at me he picked up well again.”
The horse’s delighted owners, Value Racing Club, wrote online: “Was it a surprise he did what he did? Absolutely not.
“He’s a nice horse. Big, backwards and green as grass.”
Absolute Steel became the tenth British winner at odds of 200-1.
Inspiratrice was the most recent before that, storming to victory at Taunton racecourse – just 45 minutes up the road from Exeter – in December 2022.
But the record remains Equinoctial who won at 250-1 at Kelso in November 1990.
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