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Saturday, 14 December 2019

Mudawin


Horse racing is notoriously unpredictable but, even so, triple-figure winners are something of a rarity. In the history of the Grand National, which was first run in 1839, just five winners have been returned at odds of 100/1. Some 100/1 winners fully deserve their stupendous starting price – and only manage to win by some outlandish fluke, or ‘act of God’ – while others, patently, do not.

The victory of Mudawin, at 100/1, in the Ebor Handicap at York in 2006 is a case in point. Originally owned by Hamdan Al Maktoum and trained by Marcus Tregoning, for whom he won a couple of races as a three-year-old, Mudawin was off the course for 645 days before making his debut for Jane Chapple-Hyam in March, 2006. Three starts later, he won a handicap over a mile-and-a-half at Kempton in May under John Egan. He finished a creditable third, beaten 2½ lengths and 2 lengths, in a higher grade handicap over a mile-and-three-quarters at Goodwood the following month and, reunited with Egan, won again on his second attempt at that distance at Sandown Park two weeks later.


However, on his next start, over two miles at Ascot – for which he was sent off joint-fourth choice of the nine runners, at 8/1 – Mudawin went lame and, understandably, was eased down in the closing stages to finish a long way last, beaten 52 lengths. Question marks about his well-being appear to be the only reason that, a month later, he was sent off at 100/1 for the Ebor Handicap. Admittedly, he was contesting the most valuable handicap race in Europe but, even so, he had won two of his three starts prior to his Ascot misfortune and was racing off a handicap mark just 3lb higher than when winning at Sandown.

Having been held up at the rear of the 19-strong field at York, as was customary, Mudawin was matched at odds of up to 269/1 on the Betfair betting exchange, but made headway on the outside of the field with over of a quarter-of-a-mile to run. The well-fancied pair Young Mick and Glistening disputed the lead inside the final furlong but, despite hanging left in the closing stages, Mudawin stayed on well to lead in the final strides to win by a head and a short head. His starting price, of 100/1, was the longest in the history of the Ebor Handicap, first run in 1843.