Tree Of Liberty, trained by Kerry Lee and ridden by Jamie Moore, earned an unwanted place in racing’s record books at Ludlow on Thursday when he was beaten at 1-20 in a three-runner novice chase to become the shortest‑priced loser in British jump racing history.
Tree Of Liberty’s two opponents in the two-mile event, one the 20-1 chasing debutant Cap’n, appeared hopelessly outclassed and the bookmakers duly priced him up as a prohibitive favourite, set to return just 5p in every pound to his backers. Moore set out to make the running on the market leader but could not carve out a significant lead and was just three lengths up on his pursuers turning in.
Cap’n and the 25-1 chance Over To Midnight closed the gap in the home straight and all three horses were in the air together at the third-last. Over To Midnight took a heavy fall at the second-last but Cap’n stayed on strongly in the closing stages to beat Tree Of Liberty by two-and-a-half lengths.
The upset completed a miserable 24 hours for Tree Of Liberty’s jockey and trainer, after they were found in breach of the “non-triers” rule by the stewards at Chepstow on Wednesday. Moore was banned for 14 days, including the Grand National meeting at Aintree, for his ride on Lee’s Kings Monarch in a novice hurdle, while the trainer was fined £3,000 for what the officials decided was a case of “schooling in public”.
According to the respected Timeform organisation, Tree Of Liberty is the shortest-priced loser over jumps in Britain. Four horses had previously been beaten over obstacles after starting at odds of 1-14, the most recent being Nicky Henderson’s Zaynar, who finished a length behind Quwetwo in the Morebattle Hurdle at Kelso in 2010.
The only horse beaten at a shorter price in Britain since the second world war was Royal Forest, with the champion jockey Gordon Richards in the saddle, who was sent off at 1-25 for the Clarence House Stakes on the Flat at Ascot in September 1948, but could finish only second. Richards was also beaten on Glendower, at 1-20, at Chepstow a year earlier , having been unseated when his mount whipped round at the start.
Beaten favourites are usually good news for bookmakers but Tree Of Liberty may have been too short to attract any interest. “All the money we took was for the two outsiders,” Rupert Adams, of William Hill, said on Thursday. “As a result, we’ve actually ended up losing on the race.”
Ludlow’s chief veterinary officer later said that Tree Of Liberty was found to be bleeding from his nose after the race.