Jockey smirks ‘I’m not that surprised’ after freak 200-1 winner becomes joint biggest-priced for 34 years

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.

2⃣0⃣0⃣-1⃣ WINNER!

Absolute Steel causes a HUGE shock down @ExeterRaces as he repels the challenge of odds-on favourite Lowry’s Bar in the novice hurdle.

The winner was beaten 99 lengths at Chepstow last time.@tflacey | @StanSheppard9

— Racing TV (@RacingTV) February 11, 2024

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.

He Knows No Fear and Sawbuck hold the record in Ireland having won at 300-1.


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