As 2019 draws to a close, Haydock racegoers witnessed arguably one of the most unlikely finishes of the decade on Monday, as Buster Edwards came from the clouds to win the Bryn Gates Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle.
David Pipe’s charge was a winner last time out in first-time blinkers at Hereford, and was sent off the 7-2 favourite to follow up on Merseyside, under Welsh Grand National-winning jockey Jack Tudor.
However, from an early stage Tudor, 17, was niggling his mount along – and turning into the straight for the final time, it looked a lost cause for his supporters, with Passam, Donnie Brasco and Strike West beginning to battle out the finish.
But while his in-running odds went out to the maximum 999-1, Buster Edwards suddenly consented to run on after jumping the last and began to make rapid headway.
The concern then was if the post would come too soon – but as he flashed past everything on his inside, he had actually won by a cosy head from Strike West.
Speaking from Taunton, Pipe said: “You don’t see them win like that very often!
“Jack and the horse kept persevering, and he kept responding. I’d like to see a full replay tonight.
“He’d won in first time-blinkers before and travelled well, so I don’t know why he ran like that.”
Tudor told Racing TV: “Mr Pipe told me not to get there too soon, and we didn’t. They went real fast and he was just flat out.
“I was always rowing away on him and just behind the bridle. He was always saving a bit and responding to the whip all the time, but I didn’t think he’d finish as well as he did.
“I tried to switch him to keep his mind thinking and brought him wide and then he flew to the line. He really did fly after the last.
“I can’t really believe how the past week has been, it’s been brilliant.”