The 2020 Royal Ascot meeting will be remembered for many things but, amongst them, history being made in the Coventry Stakes as 150/1 outsider Nando Parrado became the meeting's biggest-priced winner.
Horse racing in Britain had just resumed behind closed doors on 1st June after a 76-day suspension. was eerily silent with empty grandstands but the racing was just as intense as ever and Clive Cox's young sprinter carved his name into the history books.
|Where||Ascot Racecourse, Berkshire|
|When||Tuesday 20th June - Saturday 24th June 2023|
|How to watch||bet365 Sports Live Streaming, ITV Racing & Sky Sports Racing|
Three days after racing resumed, Nando Parrado debuted in a 6f Newmarket maiden and was beaten five-lengths in finishing fifth of 11.
There was no hint then of what was to unfold at Ascot 16 days later. The Group 2 Coventry Stakes featured the likes of Admiral Nelson as favourite for and Ryan Moore after he'd debuted with a win at the Curragh a week before, while Mark Johnston's Qaader – a Newbury winner the same day Admiral Nelson scored in Ireland – was the shortest price of the UK-based runners.
With the early months of the turf season wiped out, the programme book was thrown out and perhaps it shouldn't have come as a major shock when Nando Parrado upset the odds.
Adam Kirby had him front-rank throughout and when fellow outsider Thunder Of Niagara began to wilt with a furlong to go, they went clear. Qaader emerged from the pack but couldn't bridge the gap under Jim Crowley.
While punters were left shell-shocked as he ran out the biggest-priced winner in the long history of Royal Ascot, winning trainer Cox suggested post-race that the biggest shock to him was the starting price for the son of Kodiac.
"The price was a shock. He is a proper horse and we loved him from the start. It was always the plan to come here, it was just a sideways step on his first run," said the winning trainer.
"When I saw the price I thought it was a bit of an insult. "You have only got to look at the horse. He has got a real stamp of class about him and he has clearly shown that."
Nando Parrado took his name after one of the survivors of a 1972 plane crash in the Andes that was the subject of a best-selling book and subsequent film.
The previous record was held by 100/1 shots Fox Chapel, who won the 1990 Britannia Stakes, and 2008 Windsor Castle victor Flashmans Papers.
Fox Chapel, trained by Richard Hannon Snr and ridden by Gary Hind, won just seven races from 77 races under rules, including five over hurdles.
Flashmans Paper had run well in a pair of maidens at Windsor and Kempton prior to lining up in the Windsor Castle.
Steve Drowne brought the Jim Best-trained youngster almost from last to first and they ran down favourite Bushranger for David Wachman and Johnny Murtagh in the dying strides.
There have been plenty of winners at odds of 50/1 down through the years, while Amfortas scooped the King Edwards VII Stakes in 1996 for Clive Brittain.
There were some notable upsets at Royal Ascot in 2022, including 50/1 The Ridler landing the Norfolk Stakes for Richard Fahey and Paul Hanagan and 40/1 Holloway Boy winning the Chesham Stakes for Karl Burke and Danny Tudhope – just holding off 80/1 chance Pearling Path!