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£1 horse becomes joint biggest-priced Flat winner in Britain with 200-1 success

Astapor: sprung a 200-1 shock in the 6f novice stakes at Hamilton
Astapor: sprung a 200-1 shock in the 6f novice stakes at HamiltonCredit: John Grossick

Thursday: Hamilton

John Riches made history by training the joint biggest-priced winner on the Flat in Britain since Racing Post records began when Astapor won the 6f novice stakes under Harry Russell at 200-1.

The 76-year-old former fish merchant trains just five horses at his Pilling base in Lancashire, all of which run in his own colours, and he revealed he paid Mick Channon just £1 for the horse last May.

He said: "I bought Rain Cap off Mick, who was another horse I bought off him who kept coming last. I rang him up and I said 'Mick, what the heck is this?', the next minute he said 'Sorry about that, I'll give you another one' and he gave me Astapor. I gave him a pound for him."

Riches said that Astapor, a 12-race maiden with a rating of 43 prior to the race, was very highly strung at home and the drop back to six furlongs from a mile and a half was key to his shock success.

Astapor (centre) power clear of 8-15 favourite Parisiac in the 6f novice stakes
Astapor (centre) power clear of 8-15 favourite Parisiac in the 6f novice stakesCredit: John Grossick

"When we put him on the gallops he was a bit fizzy. His head was all over the place and it took me forever to calm him down," he said.

"I got in his box, I gave him mints, he wouldn't accept them but then he eventually did. Then I just talked to him and stroked him. People say it's all behind the ears but it's all about the eyes."

Riches has something of a magic touch as he eventually trained Rain Cap to win twice and will take home £3,942 for Astapor's success.

He added: "It wasn't a shock as such as I knew if he could lie up with them he would keep going. Me and my wife were jumping all over and saying 'go on, go on!'

"I've always loved racing and racehorses and my mother did too. They're such lovely, marvellous looking animals. I have a strong bond with all of them."

Channon, who was more than happy to confirm the story, said: "I've sold John a few horses over the years and I'm absolutely delighted for him. He's had to be very patient. Next time I see him, the fish and chips are on him!"

Astapor returned a Betfair starting price of 999-1 and became the sixth Flat horse to win at odds of 200-1, joining 1822 St Leger winner Theodore, Beechy Bank, Dandy Flame, Intercessor and Runninwild.

Replays, results and analysis

Don't miss the Racing Post Royal Ascot Guide 2022. Only £14.99, the 192-page guide is packed with tips and information for the five-day festival of top-class Flat racing, including profiles of the leading horses and the lowdown on the top trainers and jockeys. Order your copy here or call 01933 304858. Use the code ASCOTJUBILEE to get £2 off for a limited period only.

Maddy PlayleDigital journalist

Published on 2 June 2022inReports

Last updated 19:28, 2 June 2022