Punters celebrate £173,000 payday after backing 1000-1 no-hoper Johnnys Girl in-running before she stormed to victory

LUCKY punters were celebrating a mega £173,000 payday after backing a 1000-1 no-hoper who stormed through to win.

Johnnys Girl had already been the subject of a huge gamble before the off in the 1.05 at Limerick.

Norman Lee's eight-year-old had been slashed from 33-1 to 11-1 as punters poured on for the 2m 6½f race over fences.

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But they were left fearing the worst after seeing her detached from the rest of the runners five flights from home.

Punters can bet mid-race with Betfair and, at that point, Johnnys Girl's odds had plummeted to a massive 1000-1.

It was no surprise given strong travelling 3-1 favourite Kristian Goingwel looked certain to cruise through.

But some shrewd observers noticed Johnnys Girl's massive price and decided that was the perfect time to strike.

A total of £173 was matched at 1000-1.

That price disappeared quickly as the horse made rapid headway on the outer of the pack on the turn for home.

Jockey Gearoid Brouder asked for everything from his ride and she obliged with two to go.

But still a win looked unlikely with Kristian Goingwel absolutely coasting on her inside.

After the final jump though there was only one winner as Johnnys Girl showed huge heart to plough through the heavy turf and win for the first time since February 2018.

The £173 matched by punters at 1000-1 meant Betfair had to pay out £173,000 on winning tickets.

Lee said afterwards: "I think the race fell apart a bit. I told Gearoid to wait and the weight might come into calculations on this ground.

"He gave her a great ride. She’s a slow type of mare but slow horses win races in the right conditions."

In the Racing Post's analysis of the race they said Johnnys Girl is 'clearly no star'.

Probably fair enough given she had lost by a staggering 252 lengths in her previous six runs.

But try telling that to the punters whose huge wins were all down to her.

The biggest winner in British and Irish horseracing history backed before the off was 300-1 He Knows No Fear who won at Leopardstown earlier this year.

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