The bubble surrounding boom sprinter Nervous Witness has well and truly burst after the galloper grabbed an unwanted piece of Hong Kong racing history, becoming just the second horse this century to go under as a $1.1 favourite.

The David Hayes-trained four-year-old joins Sacred Kingdom as the only two runners in the last 20 years to fall short at that prohibitive quote with Ricky Yiu Poon-fai’s champion finishing a narrow second to Absolute Champion in the Centenary Sprint Cup on January 27, 2008.

To put it in context, HK$21,229,116 of the HK$30,184,558 in the win pool was invested on the son of Star Witness.

After crushing his rivals in his first two starts, punters expected Nervous Witness to extend his unbeaten run to three in Sunday’s Class Three Suisse Programme Handicap (1,000m) and piled in as if it was a fait accompli. It was not.

Zac Purton was able to settle just behind the speed aboard Nervous Witness but there was an audible gasp from the crowd of 15,928 when it became clear he was in a world of trouble with 300m to go.

Cordyceps Six went past him as if he was standing still, coming away to win in uber-impressive fashion, beating Run Run Cool by two lengths with Nervous Witness another half-length back in third, just edging out Hong Kong debutant Seizing The Moment in a photo.

The result was a baffling one for connections, who were struggling to come to terms with it in the aftermath.

“I’m in a bit of a state of shock,” Hayes said. “Zac said he felt lethargic when it was time to go, maybe the gut-buster took more out of him than we thought.”

If you want to take a positive view of things, the loss releases the pressure in terms of expectations and comparison with legendary ownermate Silent Witness, who won his first 17 starts.

Zac Purton talks to David Hayes after Nervous Witness’ defeat.

Hayes has also been through something similar before with All Thrills Too, who went up 29 ratings points after his first two dominant wins before getting rolled as a short-priced favourite in his third outing. He went on to win the Group One Hong Kong Sprint in 2002.

But to the victor go the spoils and Cordyceps Six was nothing short of exceptional, even being eased down by jockey Jerry Chau Chun-lok approaching the line.

“We kind of spoilt the party with the favourite, I’ve seen very few horses at that price since I’ve been in Hong Kong,” trainer Richard Gibson said.

Trainer Richard Gibson and Jerry Chau celebrate Cordyceps Six’s win.

“We always had the advantage of the rail with this horse and I think in any normal Class Three race I would feel we would have a good chance from this position (barrier nine), but he’s improved a lot since his last win.

“You’re never confident against a horse that’s $1.1 favourite – we’ve been reading great things about the favourite for a long time, so to win so easily is a feather in the horse’s cap.”

Nervous Witness wasn’t the only horse to have his unbeaten run ended at Sha Tin on Sunday, with the John Size-prepared Blaze Warrior finishing second to Ima Single Man (Karis Teetan) in the Class Three Cyber Colors Handicap (1,400m).

Blaze Warrior’s streak finishes at three but he won’t lose any admirers as he plots a course towards the Classic Series, where he could clash with his conqueror again.

Tony Cruz’s four-year-old flashed his credentials with a strong effort, sticking on strongly despite settling three-wide without cover in transit.