There’s not many better feelings than finding a winner at big odds. With Palmerbet’s new Bookie Bag, you can get even Bigger Odds on your best bet thanks to Price Push.
To coincide with the Palmerbet’s Bookie Bag launch, we’ve picked out our most memorable G1 winners at big odds from the last 20 years.
AJAX COPS A SPEAR
It seemed like a mere formality that on Saturday 25th March 1939 the WFA star Ajax would continue on his winning way and make it 19 wins in a row in the Rawson Stakes at Rosehill.
He was that dominant that only two other runners accepted and both of such poor quality that bookies sent Ajax out at the unbackable odds of 40 to 1 on ($1:02) favourite with his two rivals floundering at 33/1.
Rider Harold Badger controlled the race with Ajax in front but some critics suggested he should have let down Ajax earlier as Spear Chief challenged straightening.
They had a good battle last 200m before Spear Chief drove clear final stages to win by half a length in what was one of Australian racings biggest upsets.
AVDULLA AND MAIDEN FILLY IN RACE OF THEIR OWN
When trainer Lee Curtis floated his strong bay daughter of Beneteau LASQUETI SPIRIT to Flemington she was coming off what many would consider an average 4th in a Kembla Grange maiden.
Not a maiden run after nine starts that instils great confidence in taking on any city race but when she travels to Flemington for the $1 million Victoria Oaks (2500m) the $101 odds offered by bookies looked like unders…..but no one told that to the 3yo when she stepped onto the track.
With the blinkers her, rider Brenton Avdulla sent her to the front and just let her roll along at her own tempo and when he got to the 800m he must have been in shock to see how far he led the field by.
When they cornered together and he still had some “gas in the tank” he released the handbrake and she maintained her break last 200m in what was the upset of the 2016 Spring Carnival.
That was the first and last time Lasqueti Spirit ventured into the winners stall.
WHEN THE RETIREE FOUND HIS OLD HEART BEAT
It seems appropriate that in the week we see the retirement of BLACK HEART BART that we remember a day he ripped the heart out of punters when he returned to his best to win the 2019 G1 Underwood Stakes.
He had been one of our WFA stars in bygone days but had not won for over 18 months and his two runs back from spell gave little confidence that he would be competitive in Group 1 company and maybe his best was behind him.
He had won this race before but that was in 2016 when he was at the peak of his form and the $101 on offer in 2019 looked a fair price for a gelding who had already had a tilt at retirement.
But when he balanced up in the Caulfield straight he found that old grit and determination fighting off his younger rivals.
Black Heart Bart went into retirement without winning again.
MIGHTY RIDE MAKES WALKER THE BOSS
When Damien Oliver rode a flashy chestnut to win a Sale maiden at only his second start there was nothing that screamed out MIGHTY BOSS would progress to Group 1 winner.
Despite not winning another race prior to the Spring Mick Price threw him in the entries for the $2 million G1 Caulfield Guineas but after acceptances there was no guarantee of a start as he came in as 1st emergency.
After scratchings he was afforded a start but punters all but ignored him and he went out $101.
Michael Walker took him back near the rear and before the corner he was still well back and ridden for luck back on fence, but as the leaders fanned for the run home Walker railed him like a greyhound and the flashing chestnut mane with red and yellow blinkers drove through last 200m running down the Godolphin runner Kementari.
That was to be the last win for this handsome stallion who unfortunately passed away in 2019 due to complications with colic before he could prove himself as a sire.
AUSTRALIAN CUP WIN JUST DANDY
The 1986 G1 Australian Cup was built as a heavyweight battle between the bold front running WFA star Vo Rogue and the NZ bulldog Bonecrusher.
No one gave a plain gelding trained by a 76 year old trainer Jim Cerchi from Coleraine in Western Victoria with 13 children who had survived two open heart surgeries any hope but horses don’t read the paper and DANDY ANDY certainly did not fear the big names.
He drifted from $33 out to $125 before start time and before the corner at Flemington they could have offered $1001 and no one would have taken it as Vo Rogue spread-eagled the field and looked set for another win from the front as hall of fame jockey Brent Thomson scrubbed poor old Dandy along at least 15 lengths off the leader.
But once Thomson got him to the centre of the track he found a lease of life like his 76yo trainer Jim Cerchi and wore down the tiring Vo Rogue for what was one of Australian racings biggest upsets.
Caulfield Guineas 250/1 !!! “Elementary My Dear Watkins”
It is common to read in form guides, especially Group 1 races, the quote “prefer in something easier” below a horses name and this was the case for the Steve Watkins bred/owned/trained ABARIDY in the 1986 G1 Caulfield Guineas.
Many questioned the place for the son of Arbogast in the quality field but that was a bit unfair as he had won the Exford at 33/1 at Flemington two starts back.
In what was a pretty rough affair rider Gary Doughty sat back out of trouble but whether that was by design or that he could not keep up was open to discussion but before the corner he was riding hard and his mount was still back second last and appeared to be outclassed.
Staying back inside runners straightening he started to knuckle down but still looked hopeless at 200m before weaving a passage final stages and getting up in what must be considered the biggest upset in Australian Group 1 history as his official starting price was a rarely seen 250/1.