Flying Carpet won the Gauteng Summer Cup at Turffontein on Tuesday – in one of the biggest shock feature-race results in the history of South African horse racing.
The winner started at 20-1, while second-placed Majestic Mozart was at 18-1, third-placed Golden Pheasant at 30-1 and fourth horse Johnny Hero at 90-1.
These four runners made up a Quartet bet result that paid out a staggering R4.1 million.
The Summer Cup card was postponed for three days after a washout on Saturday. The delayed meeting still managed to attract a whopping R11-million Pick 6 pool, just shy of the R12 million forecast at the weekend but phenomenal for a midweek fixture.
Trained by Sean Tarry and brilliantly ridden by Calvin Habib, Flying Carpet started at odds of 20-1, after being backed in from 40-1 on race day – signifying a betting coup for some canny punters.
A few pundits said before the race that the four-year-old colt was well-handicapped on earlier comparative form, carrying just 4kg.
The two-time winner from 15 starts had done creditably in a succession of feature races – without grabbing attention – since his last win in February, but most analysts believed a few Summer Cup rivals had his measure.
Tarry said afterwards the colt’s earlier experiences in feature races had been tough. “He’s had to wait. He had those battles and maybe was a bit weak. But on handicapping he had a chance.”
Jockey Habib, who fought his way back to fitness after suffering a fractured back in a fall, said: “It feels likes dream. Four months ago I couldn’t have imagined this. I must give a big thank you to Mr Tarry, who gave me a chance.
“Everything went to plan in the race. When I asked him, he gave me everything,” added Habib.
Race favourite War Of Athena (3-1) finished fifth, with other fancied horses Malmoos, Got The Greenlight and Bingwa unplaced.
Tarry won an earlier supporting feature race on the card, the Grade 3 Magnolia Handicap, with filly Sound Of Warning.