Of all the sports you can bet on, horse racing arguably provides more surprising results than most others. It is certainly no surprise to see an unfancied horse from the middle of the pack bolt through the field and get its nose across the post first, yet there are still surprises to be had. This week saw two such shocks. With favourites unseated and unfancied horses from the rear taking the post, midsummer has been a bizarre week in horse racing.
Shock As Favourite Is Unseated
This week, Southwell played host to the first of two surprising shocks for bookmakers and punters alike. BoyleSports are known for horse race betting accuracy, but even they couldn’t predict that the favourite would be unseated at the first fence. Nonetheless, that’s precisely what happened to Captain Ivan.
The two-mile, 4.5-furlong novice handicap chase got off to a bizarre start 11-10 favourite Captain Ivan unseated jockey Adam Wedge at the first fence. The Laura Morgan trained eight-year-old then caused carnage for the remaining horses, veering across the track towards Salley Gardens and Zoffalee. Both managed to avoid the trouble, with Salley Gardens taking the win.
While the race was run with minimal runners, the markets didn’t suffer too much. However, the same cannot be said at Beverley 24 hours later.
50:1 Outsider Comes Up Trumps
On Tuesday, another shock hit the markets as Calculus provided trainer Sara Ender with her first flat win. The 1-mile, 4-furlong handicap began without issue. However, despite starting at the rear, the five-year-old opened an enormous gap on the opposition by the halfway point. By the time of the home stretch, Calculus had opened a lead of eighteen lengths.
The young horse began to tire on the straight, but despite a late surge from Terminator, Calculus still won at three-quarters of a length. The thrilling race saw the 50:1 outsider horse stun the bookies and punters alike.
After the win, Sara Ender commented, “that was completely unexpected. He’s always been the same at home; he’s lazy.” She went on to claim that the race at Beverley would be his last run, with Calculus not cut out for the life of a racehorse. However, after the win, Ender has decided that retirement isn’t entirely on the cards. Top bookmakers will be more conservative the next time Calculus winds up at the track.
Lihou’s Revival and Success for Doyle
Calculus wasn’t the only horse to pull off a surprise this week. On Wednesday, Salisbury was the venue for Lihou. A 5-furlong handicap was just the race the horse needed, as it ended a miserable run of 24 races without victory to take the win. Jockey James Doyle put the success down to some “fancy new wheels”, as a farrier had put new shoes on the horse, which he credited winning. It was triple delight for Doyle, as he also triumphed riding Nap Hand and Dancing Harry in other events.
Nap Hand himself was something of a bizarre win. In the past 12 months, owner Alan King had a miserable record of 0-19 when it comes to newcomers. However, Nap Hand’s win on the 6-furlong auction stakes reminded punters of 2002, when King’s Salsalino shocked everyone by beating Oasis Dream to fifth.