Nil desperandum — so long, that is, as you have men like Tony McCoy and Ryan Moore riding in your cause.
Yesterday both found themselves facing similarly steep odds, albeit on very different animals, in very different theatres, but each produced a vintage response to pull the race out of the fire.
Moore had the advantage of riding one of the most accomplished Flat horses on the planet in Presvis, making his first appearance since Royal Ascot in a Group Two race at Meydan. By last summer, Presvis seemed badly in need of a break, following consecutive campaigns overseas.
He looked right back to his best, however, in winning at the Dubai International Carnival for the third year running.
As has happened so often in the past, he soon found himself with an enormous amount of ground to retrieve, dropped in from a wide draw and detached from the rest of the field by perhaps four lengths.
Moore kept his cool and weaved his mount through the field on the bridle to burst clear in the final furlong. Best of the rest was the pride of Epsom, Steele Tango.
Luca Cumani, his trainer, will now aim Presvis at the Dubai Duty Free Stakes over the same course and distance on World Cup night.
“I was very pleased as I thought he would need the race. Ryan gets on with him like a house on fire,” he said.
McCoy had a rather more obdurate escort, as befits a mediocre handicap chase at Warwick. Even so, while it is all very easy with hindsight, it does seem as though some people will never learn, for if McCoy has proved anything over the past 15 years, it is that you should not write off his chances.
Merely to see Folie A Deux tailing off leaving the back straight proved hopelessly inadequate reason to assume the game was up.
Some incorrigible exchange punters, however, got it into their heads to lay the 9-4 favourite at the maximum in-running odds, Betfair later reporting £142 laid at 999-1. It was not long before this ceased to look a smart idea.
The opportunists watched in horror as McCoy gradually prompted a renewal of interest in Folie A Deux and as they closed on the other five between the last two fences there could suddenly be only one outcome.
Sure enough, Folie A Deux stayed on to wear down Earl Grez in the final strides.
“I knew I still had a chance at the second last,” said McCoy. “It wasn't a great race. Once I was able to grab hold I was able to get him running.”