Reports11 February 2024

Major shock as 200-1 shot Absolute Steel denies 4-9 favourite - but jockey says 'I'm not surprised'

Absolute Steel: beats five-timer seeking odds-on favourite Lowry's Bar
Absolute Steel beats Lowry's Bar to score at odds of 200-1Credit: RacingTV

The 200-1 shot Absolute Steel caused a major shock when recording his first success over hurdles to become the joint longest-priced winner of a race in Britain since 1990.

The Tom Lacey-trained five-year-old was sent off the rank outsider for the 2m2½f novice hurdle having been beaten by a combined total of 111 lengths in his first two starts.

Absolute Steel had finished last on his debut in a Market Rasen bumper before beating just one rival home on his hurdles debut at Chepstow in December.

Josh The Boss, who had contested a Grade 2 on his previous start, and odds-on favourite Lowry’s Bar, bidding for a perfect five-timer over hurdles, were among Absolute Steel’s seven rivals. However, despite veering left and right approaching most of his hurdles, he made all under Stan Sheppard to deny Lowry’s Bar by a length and a half and defy a Betfair SP of 813-1.

It was the first time a winner had returned at 200-1 in Britain since Inspiratrice’s win at Taunton in December 2022, with the longest-priced winner in Britain being Equinoctial at 250-1 in a Kelso novice handicap hurdle in November 1990.

The record for the longest-priced winner in Ireland is 300-1, held jointly by Sawbuck (at Punchestown in 2022) and He Knows No Fear (Leopardstown, 2020).

“I didn’t think he was as bad as his last run at Chepstow, that was very poor," Sheppard told Racing TV. 

“I was actually relatively happy enough with him at Market Rasen. I know he finished last, but he wasn’t really beaten overly far and we didn’t go that fast. He sort of stayed going the same speed turning in.

“I’d say that Nigel’s [Twiston-Davies] horse [Josh The Boss] and Philip Hobbs’s [Lowry’s Bar] horse have probably slightly underperformed there, but I’m not that surprised.”

Lowry's Bar's rider Micheal Nolan suffered further frustration when his mount and 6-4 favourite Goshhowposh was pulled up in the Pertemps qualifier won by Shallow River.

Longest-priced winners in Britain

250-1 Equinoctial, Kelso, November 1990
200-1 Beechy Bank, Warwick, September 2002
200-1 Arctic Blue, Chepstow, March 2005
200-1 Maoi Chinn Tire, Wetherby, October 2010
200-1 Lights Of Broadway, Taunton, January 2012
200-1 Dandy Flame, Wolverhampton, July 2016
200-1 Intercessor, Newbury, June 2020
200-1 Runninwild, Redcar, May 2021
200-1 Astapor, Hamilton, June 2022
200-1 Inspiratrice, Taunton, December 2022
200-1 Absolute Steel, Exeter, February 2024

Mullins on the mark

Willie Mullins failed in his bid for a first Betfair Hurdle on Saturday, but the trainer was successful with his first runner at Exeter, when Fun Fun Fun landed the 2m½f Listed novice hurdle.

Daryl Jacob, who rode Simon Munir and Isaac Souede’s Betfair Hurdle favourite Ocastle Des Mottes to finish eighth, fared better for the same connections on Fun Fun Fun, who beat Grade 1 second Favour And Fortune by half a length.

“She’s been a great mare since she’s joined us and has got a very willing attitude,” said Jacob. “I liked the way she knuckled down from the back of the last, it was really impressive. She’d probably jump a fence in the future."

Fun Fun Fun ridden by Paul Townend at Thurles
Fun Fun Fun: a successful first runner for Willie Mullins at ExeterCredit: Caroline Norris

The Patrick Mullins-bred six-year-old was trimmed to 8-1 (from 10-1) for next month’s Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. 

Malina Girl provided the Irish challenge in the Premier meeting’s other Listed contest, but Gavin Cromwell’s Cheltenham winner was beaten into second by Carole’s Pass, to the tune of seven and a half lengths in the feature 3m mares’ chase.

The Jack Quinlan-ridden winner of the £40,000 event was recording her first victory since scoring at Newbury in November 2022. 

Tied at the top

Harry Cobden levelled the scores in the jump jockeys’ championship, as he joined Sean Bowen on 121 winners at the top of the leaderboard, when helping Teeshan make a successful debut under rules for Paul Nicholls in the bumper.

Read these next:

Luke Comer strikes with another huge outsider as 200-1 chance topples 8-11 favourite 

300-1 stunner equals record for longest-priced winner in Britain and Ireland 

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