A horse named after a city in Game of Thrones proved to be up for the battle at Hamilton on Thursday – netting his backers a huge 999/1 win.
Astapor was rated at just 43 prior to his victory in the 6f novice race on the flat, but the maiden made a mockery of such a lowly billing by romping home ahead of the favourite Parisiac, who was priced at 8/15 with the bookmakers.
Trained by John Riches, who bought the horse for just £1 from Mick Channon, was a 200/1 fancy with the bookies and available at 1000.0 (or the equivalent of 999/1 on the Betfair Exchange), and it has been reported that one punter had the foresight to place a £3 back bet on Astapor via the Exchange.
? 200/1 winner at @HamiltonParkRC
Astapor turns over hot favourite Parisiac with the four-year-old taking a massive step forward to win at the 13th time of asking pic.twitter.com/wI3kuAgx7M
— Racing TV (@RacingTV) June 2, 2022
That’s the joint highest odds returned on a British flat winner in history, and Riches was understandably elated with the result.
“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 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.”
Joining the 1,000 Club
Although an official figure has not been published by Betfair, it’s believed that the number of 1000.0 winners on the Exchange in horse racing alone now numbers over 200 since the platform launched in the year 2000.
There’s been more than 70 since the start of 2019, with a whopping 62 in that year alone.
One of the best days for punters – and worst for layers – came when Lady Monica waltzed home in a maiden hurdle at Nottingham in May 2019. She was a 200/1 SP with the bookies, but hit 1000.0 on the Exchange and some 77 punters were on for a combined stake of £748….costing layers an eye-watering £748,000 in liabilities.
Fantasy Believer was a similarly-unfancied underdog at Kempton in April 2021, with just £13 matched on him at the 999/1 mark. Even more impressive was the fact that he was the back marker heading into the home straight, but the maiden powered past the field to notch the most remarkable victory.
“It was a good effort,” jockey Kieran Shoemark said, understatedly.
Although these numbers are unconfirmed, it’s thought that there have been at least three other instances since 2019 alone in which layers have had to fork out more than £250,000 in total in 1000.0 losses – Keppage (£513,000), a novices’ hurdle winner at Leicester; Wigglesworth (£500,000), who won from off the pace having hit 1000.0 from pre-race odds of 8.0, and Buster Edwards (£289,000), who was a handicap hurdle victor at Haydock.