Sunny Ledgend stole the show at Exeter on Tuesday, and caused an upset in the Horse Racing results, as he showed up his rivals in the afternoon’s three-mile Handicap Chase – setting off as a whopping 66/1 outside.
The Andrew Martin owned, and trained, Gelding headed after the third hurdle and led the pack come the 11th. The 15-year-old thoroughbred stayed at the front of the pack from four out and narrowly held-off favourite Ballybreen – who is more than half his age – by just over a length.
“That was the first time I have sat on him and it was a pleasure to ride him – he went round like a five-year-old and had an absolute blast out there,” jockey Richard Patrick said.
“A brilliant start, and with ten stone on his back in the testing ground I thought he would take some pegging back.
“He had his ears pricked and was doing nothing in front. I prayed for something to come to him as he was getting slower and slower and idling like mad but he was as brave as a lion.”
Martin’s Midnight Mustang was also looking to cause an upset in the race as a 25/1 outsider. However, after tracking his stablemate on the home turn, he had nothing left in his tank come the last hurdle and eventually slipped down to fourth.
The victory marked the veteran’s 52nd start of his career, and seventh win under rules, after scooping his first “National Hunt” Maiden Hurdle at Bangor-on-Dee way back in 2012 – beating Addiction, who was ridden by the legendary Grand National winning jockey Leighton Aspell, by two lengths.
The shock victory also marked Sunny Ledgend’s first win since the Squire Osbaldeston Handicap Chase at Leicester in 2017, which he won by an impressive 10 lengths – beating Jonjo O’Neill’s Power Symbol, who was an outright favourite at 15/8, by an impressive 10 lengths.
After pulling-up three out in a Handicap Chase at Uttoxeter in May 2018, which was eventually won by 11/8 favourite Mrsrobin, it took Sunny Ledgend 621 days to return to the track. A Handicap Chase at Market Rasen in January marked his first race in over a year-and-a-half, and he set-off as short as 7/1. However, jockey Shane Quilan could do no better than steer him to a fourth-place finish, 37 lengths behind pace-setter Balgemmois.
The 15-year-old was back at Sedgefield the following month for another Handicap Hurdle. This time, further out at 28/1 and with Ben Poste in the saddle. Sunny Ledgend was always at the rear and struggled in the final circuit before finishing second last – this time 34 lengths behind winner Miss Zip.
Meanwhile, Martin’s horse also had two cracks at the Cheltenham Festival back in 2012 and ‘13. Sunny Ledgend set-off 100/1 in the Novices’ Hurdle at the Prestbury Park meeting eight years ago and couldn’t overcome his massive outsider status finishing 13th.
The 15-year-old returned to the Gloucestershire course the following year a much shorter 25/1 for Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Chase. However, after hitting the first hurdle he chased the leaders and eventually finished sixth, whilst the race was won by the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained 16/1 outsider Same Difference.