“Madam, if that wins I will streak around Kelso naked.”
This was the response that reporter and tipster Gordon Brown gave a lady who asked his opinion of Equinoctial back in 1990, on the day the horse would go on to win at odds of 250/1.
The naked streaking never happened, thankfully, but that lady is probably still ruing the day she listened to that advice.
A field of 9 would race for the Grants Whisky Novices’ Handicap Hurdle on the 21st November 1990, and the longest odds of any of them aside from Equinoctial was 16/1. The eventual winner then was not only an outsider, but a complete no hoper.
The reason the horse was so unfancied, was because in the 4 races it had run since a 213 day break and two trainer changes, it had come 8th out of 10 beaten by 62 lengths, been pulled up twice, and fell once – Equinoctial could barely finish a race, let alone do so ahead of another horse.
On the 21st November 1990 though, things were going to be different.
Equinoctial hung around the middle for the most part, but given his record the fact that he was even still going was a bonus. Then, with four jumps to go he started gaining ground on the leaders, and by the time he got to the flat it was just a case of holding off the other runners, which he did, storming past the finishing post with a 3.5 length lead and astounding the world of horse racing.
Kelso had rarely seen such an exciting race.
At the time, Equinoctial was the longest odds horse to win a race in history, a record he would hold until 2018 when He Knows No Fear crossed the line first at 300/1 at Leopardstown.