Call Me Freddie just prevailed to land a gamble in the second division of the Mallow Handicap Hurdle at Cork on Saturday.
Trained by Sam Curling, the six-year-old had shown little form since finishing second in a bumper at Carlisle in November 2019 when campaigned by Jedd O’Keeffe.
Call Me Freddie was forecast to be the outsider in a field of 15 at Cork, with Ian McCarthy originally booked to ride. However, it was announced at 2.18pm that Grand National-winning jockey Rachael Blackmore would be in the saddle.
Blackmore had to work hard for the win aboard Call Me Freddie though, with the gelding, who was eventually sent off the 11-4 favourite having been a 40-1 chance, battling it out with Wild Atlantic Lady after the last.
The challenger briefly got her head in front, but Call Me Freddie found a little extra under Blackmore’s drive, edging back in front by a neck at the line.
Curling said: “He had been very disappointing on softer ground and we actually sent him to the sales, but he was sent back.
“He had done a couple of good bits of work, but I don’t know where all the money came from.
“He ran in a maiden hurdle over three miles and you’d think he’d want soft ground, but he obviously doesn’t.
“He’ll run away during the summer and he’ll have no bother jumping a fence – he’d jump fences better even, as he jumps Easyfix hurdles better.”
Curling explained the necessity for a switch in rider, adding: “It is unfortunate for Ian as he forgot to sign in (for yesterday’s health screening) and he’ll get back on him the next day.”
Paddy Power spokesman Paul Binfield said: “Hats off to the punters who backed the winner – we saw plenty of support from 40s down throughout the day and we felt the writing might be on the wall when we saw the pilot change. A proper, old-fashioned coup and well done to all involved.”