Hurdler Orion's Might finally comes good – at the 51st attempt
It takes a patient set of connections to persist with a horse who has not won in 50 attempts, but that's exactly what Matt Sheppard and owners Lost In The Summer Wine were doing with Orion's Might.
Their patience finally paid off on Saturday evening when the seven-year-old got his head in front in the 2m handicap hurdle at Uttoxeter.
Orion's Might, who was trained by Nigel Carolan in Ireland for his first 36 starts on the Flat and over hurdles, had finished second on five occasions, including just over two weeks ago on his 50th start at Towcester, and was sent off a well-supported 9-2 joint second favourite to belatedly lose his maiden tag.
Ridden from the front by trainer's son Stan Sheppard, Orion's Might quickened approaching two out and after a good jump at the last gamely held on from the fast-finishing Dr Dunraven, winning by a length and a quarter.
Matt Sheppard said: "It was very satisfying seeing him finally get his head in front as he's always shown at home he has a bit of ability.
"Every so often he runs a good race when he's down to a winning mark, and then he runs into one and goes back up the handicap again.
"He's extremely tough despite not being very good and he's given the owners some great days out."
Now he has finally cracked the hurdling game, thoughts could turn to sending Orion's Might over fences.
"We might give him some practice over fences this week at home with a mind to sending him chasing," added Sheppard.
"He's a very odd horse mind you and has had a bit of an issue at the start, but since we put the hood on him he seems to act a lot better.
"He likes fast ground and there's every chance he could win again if the handicapper is nice!"
Here's three who never managed to break the losing habit!
Quixall Crossett attracted a worldwide fan club in turning losing into an art form and is Britain's most famous maiden. He managed to finish second twice under rules but could not muster a win in any of his 103 races, the last of them coming in November 2001.
Famous in Japan for losing all 113 starts, which earned her the touching sobriquet 'the shining star of losers everywhere'. The filly, whose name translates to Glorious Spring, became a phenomenon as she represented a message of relentless positivity in the face of failure at a time the nation was at a low ebb. Her final race was in September 2004.
Acquired in a trade for a 1988 Ford truck, Zippy Chippy ran up a 100-race losing streak in the 1990s and early 2000s in the US. He eventually became the face of failure in a campaign to keep kids in school!