The best odds on a jump race winner were 999 to 1. This was at the 2002 Feast of St Raymond Novice Chase, which was run at Southwell.
The race started with a field of seven runners and three horses had fallen by the time the rest had cleared the third fence. At that time “Family Business”, the favourite at 8 to 11, seemed to be running well, however, backers of this horse were dismayed to see the jockey unseated at the tenth fence.
As often happens when a horse falls, the free betting online odds were laid out at 999-1. At the following fence two more horses went down and there was a further unseating at the following fence.
Various jockeys were able to remount and rejoined the race only to be unseated again or for their rides to refuse. It seemed that no horse would complete the course, however, Tony McCoy somehow got back on Family Business and continued along the course at an ambling pace.
Somehow they cleared all the jumps and reached the finishing post a good ten minutes after the race had started and was declared the winner.
One fortunate punter had bet £4 on Family Business at the 999 to one odds and even though the horse had fallen and he was duly rewarded.
It was five years before Family Business went on to win another race, the Hunter Chase at Chepstow.
The Feast of St Raymond Novice Chase is not the only race that Tony McCoy has been able to salvage from almost certain defeat. He rode Mini Sensation in the 2004 Devon National and the horse was thought to have no chance of winning. It was running at maximum odds, yet McCoy brought it home the winner.
He pulled off a similar trick when riding Shadow Dancer at Market Rasen in a novice hurdle. The horse had been given no chance of winning, but McCoy had heard all they before; he rode the horse to victory.
Of course they can be no repeat of McCoy’s Southwell victory, as, for safety reasons, remounting is no longer permitted.