'He turned out to be rather like me, good looking but of very limited ability'
Throughout racing, you have always had the good, the bad and the ugly. However, on a few special occasions fans are graced with the downright wacky.
They may have slipped your mind, but they have not been erased from history and have brought us some of the funniest – and most dramatic – moments ever seen on the track.
In a new series by the Racing Post, we take a look back at some of the wackiest races ever run, this time remembering Leg Lock Luke snatching defeat from the jaws of victory at Taunton.
Former Irish point-to-pointer Leg Lock Luke was always going to garner plenty of attention once he'd been sold to race in Britain at the Cheltenham sales in 2015 as he is named after the nickname given to ITV Racing and Sky Sports pundit and ex-jockey Luke Harvey.
The son of Indian River attracted plenty of interest at the sales and not just because of his name as he had previously won a point-to-point at Loughrea for trainer Eugene O'Sullevan and was knocked down to owner Terry Warner for £100,000.
Sent into training with Colin Tizzard, Leg Lock Luke evidently showed plenty of prowess on the gallops but did not transfer it to the track in his first four hurdles races in 2016 – he was beaten by 33 lengths, 43 lengths, 32 lengths and 45 lengths.
Switched to fences the following season, Leg Lock Luke had managed three placed efforts out of his five starts but had not looked the most willing prior to heading to post at Taunton on March 20, 2017, when he was sent off 2-1 favourite to beat six rivals under Tom O'Brien.
O'Brien knew Leg Lock Luke pretty well, having ridden him in all his starts over the bigger obstacles. He had the then seven-year-old in the van for much of the journey before sending him for home four out.
He then had to get serious with his conveyance in the straight when he hit the second-last, but he stuck on well and had the race in safe keeping until a dramatic turn of events in the shadow of the post.
The chute back into the paddock is just before the winning post at the Somerset track and while holding the challenge of eventual winner Bajardo, Leg Lock Luke was more like Jaw Lock Luke and decided to make an early exit 75 yards out when veering violently left-handed, forfeiting the race and unseating O'Brien.
The in-running comment
Jumped left 1st, led until 3rd, tracked leader, upsides 6th, led 4 out, ridden after 3 out, hit next, 2 lengths up when veered badly left final 75yds and unseated rider
What they say
Luke Harvey, At The Races reporter
The story goes that a friend of mine owned a horse with Eugene O'Sullivan in Ireland and before it ran in a point-to-point he wanted to call it Leg Lock Luke after me. So I had a phone call from the Irish Turf Club asking me if I minded and I laughed and said, 'No, as long as it's not useless!'
Anyway, he won his point-to-point and then they sold it to the Tizzards for £100,000, but for the new owners he turned out to be rather like me, good looking but of very limited ability.
He'd come to win his race at Taunton that day but on the run-in veered across the course and decided to pull himself up next to the chute where they come out on to the track. They do it at loads of places if they want to get out of it. I was working down there for ATR that day and me and the cameraman went over to the horse and I shouted 'Leglock, pull yourself together, you're better than that!' at the horse and the crowd just loved it.
They tried everything to win a race with him. I remember when they first got him I asked Joe Tizzard if he was any good and he told me he was one of the few horses in the yard who could match strides with Cue Card. Obviously, a bit like me, he flattered to deceive as he was stone useless.
People always thought I owned Leg Lock Luke, which I didn't as Terry Warner owned him. People kept coming up to me and asking why I kept hold of the horse as he's no good but many were surprised when I replied to say he wasn't mine. As if I didn't need it enough, I was much maligned because of that horse, who I think is now back with Eugene in Ireland.
What happened next
Remarkably the Tizzard team managed to get two wins out of Leg Lock Luke the following season but he lost his way and was switched to Tom George.
After two pulled-up efforts for that stable, the gelding was sold for just £700 in March 2019 and went back to Eugene O'Sullevan, since when he has run without distinction on the point-to-point circuit.
More from our Wacky Races series:
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