Red Rum: What Makes a People’s Horse?

Good Evening!

Welcome to another post here at zoelouisesmithx.com. Today is another part in my What Makes a People’s Horse series and with the Grand National fast approaching there is no better time to write this post! This one is a horse I wanted to look into, because let’s be honest, he will always go down as one of the greatest there ever was and that is, of course, the absolute legend that is Red Rum. So without further ado, let’s just get right into it.


Red Rum was foaled on May 3rd 1965, by Quorum, out of Mared. He was bred in Ireland by breeder Martyn McEnery at Rossenarra Stud in Kells, County Kilkenny. He was named Red Rum when Martyn McEnery took the last three letters of his dam and sire, respectively. Red Rum was sold as a yearling at the sales in Dublin for 400 guineas.

Initially, Red Rum was bred to win one mile races, little did anyone know, he would end up winning over the longest distance he could. He started his career running in a five furlong flat race at Aintree Racecourse (Oh the irony), where he dead heated. As a two year old he ran another 7 times including a win over 7 furlong at Warwick Racecourse. In his early career he was ridden twice by Lester Piggott. Another interesting fact, comedian Lee Mack was a stable lad at the time and he had his first ever riding lesson on Red Rum. (Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/lilyallen/celeb_leemack.shtml)

Very early in Red Rum’s career, disaster struck when he was diagnosed with Pedal osteitis – a debilitating, incurable bone disease.

Red Rum was passed around trainer to trainer to trainer when he became a jumper as he was written off by many. However, Donald ‘Ginger’ McCain, who at the time, was running his very modest horse training establishment in Southport behind a car showroom, brought Red Rum at Doncaster for just £6,000. When he got Red Rum home, he actually found that he was lame, at the time worrying that he had wasted Noel Le Mare’s money.

Donald ‘Ginger’ McCain looked after Red Rum by taking him for therapeutic gallops and swims on Southport beach, this seemed to help treat his pedal osteitis.

We then move onto the 1973 Grand National at Aintree Racecourse, a far stretch from the five furlong sprint he started his career in. Eight year old Red Rum carried a weight of 10-5 starting the race at 9/1 under Brian Fletcher. Crisp, an Australian chaser with Richard Pitman riding led the field practically the whole way round, when he jumped the last fence, he was 15 lengths clear of Red Rum, however Red Rum, with Brian Fletcher on board made up the ground two strides from the finishing post and pipped Crisp on the line by three quarters of a length. They were 25 lengths clear of L’Escargot (11/1) and Tommy Carberry in 3rd. Red Rum won the race in a record time of 9:01.9. – If you have not seen this race then you can watch it right here and I highly recommend you do! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCjhsE6kox4

In 1974, Red Rum once again went to Aintree to try and retain his title, this time carrying 12 stone, a whole 23 pounds more than in 1973. At 11/1, Brian Fletcher took the ride again. Where once again, Red Rum won the race, beating last years 3rd place, 17/2 shot L’Escargot with Tommy Carberry on board.

Just a few weeks later Red Rum and Brian Fletcher headed to Ayr, Scotland for the Scottish Grand National, where carrying 11-13 he ended up winning. To this day, he is the only horse to have won both the English Grand National and Scottish Grand National in the same season.

We then move on to 1975, this is where the tables reversed. This time Red Rum, carrying 12 stone for a second time, under Brian Fletcher and starting as the 7/2 favourite, finished 15 lengths behind L’Escargot and Tommy Carberry who carried 11-3 as a 13/2 shot.

In 1976, Tommy Stack took the ride as Brian Fletcher had angered trainer Donald ‘Ginger’ McCain by telling the press that Red Rum no longer felt ‘right’ after a defeat. This time Red Rum carried 11-10 and started at 10/1. However, he was held off by Rag Trade (14/1) and John Burke, carrying almost a stone less, 10-12.

Moving swiftly into 1977, Red Rum was thought to be ‘too old’ at the age of 12 to win the Grand National again, for a third time. He had started the season poorly, winning at Carlisle before seeming lacklustre in the next four races. At the time, people said that trainer Donald ‘Ginger’ McCain had lost all confidence in him, however he redeemed himself in his final race before Aintree, seemingly back in fine form. Initially Red Rum was given the top weight for the Grand National, however it had dropped to 11-8. He started the race as the 9/1 joint favourite under Tommy Stack, and breaking all records, he won the race to Churchtown Boy (20/1) and Martin Blackshaw in second place. To this day, Red Rum’s record of winning 3 Grand National’s still stands.

In 1977, Red Rum also visited the BBC Studios to appear on Sports Personality of the Year. (https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/av/sports-personality/25316270) where he delighted viewers when he recognised the voice of jockey Tommy Stack who was appearing via a video link.

Also in 1977, Red Rum helped open the Steeplechase Rollercoaster at Blackpool Pleasure Beach as well as switching on the Blackpool Illuminations.

Now a three time Grand National winner, in 1978, Red Rum was entered to run again, however the day before the Grand National took place he had a canter at Aintree Racecourse and he was declared out of the race due to a hairline fracture, however he was still allowed to lead the post race parade. It was at this time that it was decided Red Rum would be retired.

The evening of Red Rum’s retirement, he was the lead story on every news channel as well as front page news for every newspaper the following day.

After retiring from racing, Red Rum became a national celebrity, he would lead the Grand National parade every year up until the 1990’s, but not only this, he also opened supermarkets, appeared on playing cards, paintings, jigsaw puzzles and more. He had many books wrote about him as well as a song called Red Rum by a group called Chaser, written by Steve Jolley, Richard Palmer and Tony Swain.

On October 18th 1995, at the age of 30, Red Rum sadly passed away. He was buried at the winning post of Aintree Racecourse. The epitaph reads ‘Respect this place, this hollowed ground, a legend here, his rest has found, his feet would fly, our spirits soar, he earned our love for evermore.’ I was lucky enough to visit Red Rum’s final resting place and the feeling you get whilst standing there is one I cannot describe, he was a very special horse, one I could only have wished I was around to see.

In the early 1970’s, the future of the Grand National was uncertain, however Red Rum’s record breaking few years ensured huge public support for the fund to buy Aintree Racecourse and put it in the hands of the Jockey Club.

20 time Champion Jockey AP McCoy later said of Red Rum:

Red Rum’s feats, of three Nationals and two seconds, are legendary. They will never be equalled, let alone surpassed. They say records are there to be broken, but Red Rum’s at Aintree is one which will stand the test of time.”

Later, a life sized statue of Red Rum was put up at Aintree Racecourse as well as a smaller bronze statue inside Wayfarers Arcade in Southport.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/horseracing/8775130/Tony-McCoy-jump-jockeys-owe-Ginger-McCain-a-huge-debt-for-saving-the-Grand-National.html

On September 19th 2011, Red Rum’s trainer Donald ‘Ginger’ McCain passed away aged 80.

Red Rum had 100 runs, 24 wins, 15 seconds and 23 thirds, earning him £146,409.80.


Overall, I don’t think I even need to say anything. Red Rum is a legend within horse racing, but also to people who don’t even support the sport. In 2006, 11 years after his death, a survey found that Red Rum was the not only the best known racehorse, but also the best known equine animal, with 45% of Britons naming him and 33% naming Black Beauty. This to me is enough proof that Red Rum is a people’s horse. Personally, I was not even alive when Red Rum was, but I know who he is, I have watched his races and I have loved him just as much as those who did witness his greatness first hand. If new generations know him and love him, this furthers the proof that he is a people’s horse.

With Tiger Roll being pulled out of the 2021 Grand National, it may be many years until a horse wins 3 Grand Nationals to equal Red Rum’s record and even longer for a horse to come along and beat it – If it ever is beat.

I loved this post, there is not much information on Red Rum’s smaller victories, most of the articles and pages I have read focus on his Grand Nationals, English and Scottish, but not much else. I hope you all enjoyed this one and I will hopefully see you in my next post!

Best Mate: What Makes a People’s Horse?

Good Evening!

Welcome to another post here on zoelouisesmithx.com. Today’s post is a new post in my What Makes a People’s Horse series all about Best Mate, thank you to @WattyRacing for this suggestion. Let’s just get right into it!


Best Mate was foaled on 28th January 1995 by Un Desperado out of Katday. He was bred by breeder Jacques Van’t Hart and owned by Jim Lewis who sent him into training with Henrietta Knight.

Best Mate started his career on 14th November 1999 at Cheltenham in a National Hunt Flat Race (Bumper). He had Jim Culloty on board and a starting price of 10/1, shocking a lot of people, he won by 3/4 lengths to Hard To Start (14/1). A couple of weeks later, he then headed to Sandown on 3rd December 1999 for a Novices’ Hurdle where he started as the 5/4 favourite, again under Jim Culloty, he easily won by 10 lengths to Rosco (100/30).

We then move into the new millennium and on the 8th January 2000, Best Mate headed back to Sandown for the Grade 1 Tolworth Hurdle. Here he started at 4/1 under Jim Culloty, here he finished second by 2 and 1/2 lengths to the 11/8 favourite Monsignor.

Best Mate took a 66 day break before heading back to Cheltenham, this time for the Festival and the Grade 1 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle on the 14th March 2000. Under Jim Culloty again, he started the race at 6/1, where he finished second by 3/4 of a length to Sausalito Bay (14/1), however beating the 5/4 favourite Youlneverwalkalone by 1 and 1/4 lengths. Next up for Best Mate was Aintree on the 7th of April 2000 for a Grade 2 Novices’ Hurdle, where as the 4/11 odds on favourite, under Jim Culloty, he beat Copeland (9/2) for AP McCoy and Martin Pipe by 2 and 1/2 lengths.

Best Mate then took a 193 day summer break before returning to the track at Exeter on the 17th of October 2000, this time for a Novices’ Chase. He started as the 1/2 favourite and unsurprisingly won by 2 and 1/2 lengths under Jim Culloty to Bindaree (3/1). Just under a month later, with Jim Culloty, Best Mate headed back to Cheltenham for a Novices’ Chase in the November meeting on the 12th of November. This time starting as the 8/13 odds on favourite, where he won comfortably by 18 lengths to Fathalkhair (33/1) for Richard Johnson and Brian Ellison.

Swiftly we move into 2001 and after an 83 day break, Best Mate returned to Sandown on the 3rd of February for a Grade 1 Novices’ Chase and as the 5/4 favourite, under Jim Culloty, he won by 13 lengths to Crocadee (5/1). Best Mate avoided Cheltenham and after a 63 day break he headed to Aintree on the 7th of April for the Grade 1 Aintree Hurdle, under Jim Culloty as the 3/1 favourite he finished second by 14 lengths to Barton (9/1) for jockey Tony Dobbin and trainer Tim Easterby.

Best Mate then took a 213 day summer break before returning to Exeter on the 6th of November 2001. As the odds on 8/13 favourite under Jim Culloty he won by 20 lengths to Desert Mountain I (14/1) for jockey Joe Tizzard and trainer Paul Nicholls. We then move forward a couple of weeks and on the 24th of November 2001 Best Mate headed to Ascot for the First National Gold Cup, here he started as the 8/13 favourite under Jim Culloty where he finished second by just 1/2 length to Wahiba Sands (4/1) for AP McCoy riding for Martin Pipe.

One month later, on Boxing Day 2001, Best Mate headed to Kempton for the King George Chase, this time being rode by Champion Jockey AP McCoy, where they started at 5/2, however they could only manage a second by 3/4 of a length behind Florida Pearl (8/1) for jockey Adrian Maguire and trainer Willie Mullins.

We then move into 2002 and back to the Cheltenham Festival, so after a 78 day break, Best Mate headed to Cheltenham on the 14th of March 2002 for the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Here he was back under his regular jockey Jim Culloty where they started at 7/1 and won by 1 and 3/4 lengths to Commanche Court (25/1).

After winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Best Mate had a 254 day summer break before returning to the track in November, this time heading to Huntingdon on the 23rd of November for the Peterborough Chase, starting as the 8/15 favourite under Jim Culloty, Best Mate won by 8 lengths to Douze Douze (7/2). Just over a month later on Boxing Day 2002, Best Mate headed to Kempton for the King George Chase, where as the 11/8 favourite, back under Champion Jockey AP McCoy, Best Mate won by 1 and 1/2 lengths to Marlborough (14/1) for jockey Timmy Murphy and trainer Nicky Henderson.

As we head into 2003, Best Mate took a 77 day break before returning to the Cheltenham Festival on the 13th of March 2003 to try and retain his Gold Cup title. With regular jockey Jim Culloty taking the ride on the 13/8 favourite, he won by 10 lengths to Truckers Tavern (33/1) meaning he was now a duel Gold Cup winner.

After impressively winning his second Gold Cup, Best Mate took a 254 day break before returning to Huntingdon for the Peterborough Chase, here he was the 8/13 favourite under Kim Culloty, however he could only manage a second place to Jair Du Cochet (100/30). To end 2003, on the 28th of December, Best Mate crossed the Irish Sea and headed to Leopardstown for the Grade 1 Ericsson Chase, here he started as the 8/11 favourite under Jim Culloty where he won impressively by 9 lengths to Le Coudray (14/1).

The 2004 Cheltenham Festival quickly came around and after an 81 day break, Best Mate headed straight into his third Gold Cup on the 18th of March, where as the 8/11 favourite, under Jim Culloty, he successfully won his 3rd consecutive Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Best Mate then took a 246 day break before returning to Exeter on the 19th of November 2004 where he won the William Hill Chase as the 4/7 favourite, this time under Timmy Murphy. Best Mate ended 2004 by heading back over to Leopardstown for the Grade 1 Lexus Chase on the 28th of December 2004, however as the 9/10 favourite, back under his regular jockey Jim Culloty, he could only manage a second place, finishing behind Beef Or Salmon by 7 lengths.

The plan was for Best Mate to head straight to the Cheltenham Festival to try and win a 4th Gold Cup however just 8 days before he was due to run, he was withdrew from the race after he burst a blood vessel on the gallops. So therefore Best Mate wouldn’t be seen again until the 1st of November 2005, when he returned to Exeter, sadly, this day turned out to be the saddest day for racing fans, jockey Paul Carberry pulled up on Best Mate during the running of the Haldon Gold Cup, however when he dismounted, Best Mate stumbled and fell to his knees, sadly he collapsed and died of a suspected heart attack.

When Best Mate died, it made national news with everybody within the sport and outside of the sport feeling absolutely heartbroken at the loss of a complete legend. Government regulations meant that his body could not be buried at Exeter like his owner wanted, instead Best Mate was cremated and on the 10th of December 2005, his ashes were buried beside the winning post at his much loved course Cheltenham.

In March 2006, a life size bronze sculpture of Best Mate was unveiled at Cheltenham Racecourse, which still stands to this day. There is also a bronze stature near to the farm in Lockinge where he trained. In March 2007, Best Mate was named one of the ‘elite 12’ on the Cheltenham Hall of Fame.


So there we have Best Mate’s career. I don’t even think we need to go into much detail about his career, because as you can see he was a complete legend. However, let’s have a look at his career form:

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So from that, as you can see, Best Mate had 22 races, winning 14 of them and finishing 2nd in 7 of them, the 22nd, sadly being where he pulled up before his life ended. This means that in Best Mate’s career, he never once fell. Matching Arkle’s record, Best Mate won three consecutive Cheltenham Gold Cup’s and he was the first horse to win multiple Gold Cup’s since L’Escargot who won in 1970 and 1971.

So, to sum it up, Best Mate was an unreal horse who everybody fell in love with. I was alive during his time, but I was young and don’t really remember much about him, but even though, he is still a horse that I know of and have been told about many a times by my family and those online who were lucky enough to remember him. I don’t think I need to say anymore about him, he was a legend and always will be and I’m so happy that his statue remains at Cheltenham so generations like my own can respect him for what he did during his career.

I want to thank you for reading this post and I hope to see you all in my next one!

10 of The Most Beautiful Racecourses in the World

Good Evening!

Welcome to a new post here at zoelouisesmithx.com. Today’s post is a little different for me, but I was inspired this week on Twitter when I seen photos of racecourses around the world that look absolutely stunning, so I wanted to create a post where I look at some of the most beautiful racecourses I could find and any information I could also find. So in no particular order, here are, in my opinion, 10 of the most beautiful racecourses in the world.


Parx Racing at Parx Casino

Based in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, USA, Parx Racing was formally known as Philadelphia Park. It opened as the Keystone Racetrack on November 4th, 1974 and was purchased by International Thoroughbred Breeders on December 28th 1984 for around $40,000,000, they then changed the name as well as the look of the track. Whilst International Thoroughbred Breeders owned the course, they began to put major improvements in place, including the construction of a turf course. In December 1990, Greenwood Racing Inc brought Philadelphia Park.

On December 18th 2006 a temporary casino opened on the first and third floor of the racetrack. 3 years later on Decemeber 18th 2009, a standalone casino opened. In 2010, the name was changed from Philadelphia Park to Parx Racing.

Website: https://www.parxracing.com/


Flemington Racecourse

Based in Flemington, Victoria, Australia, Flemington Racecourse opened in March 1840 known as the Melbourne Racecourse, by the late 1850’s, the name Flemington was more commonly used after Flemington in Morayshire, Scotland. This was because the approach road from Melbourne crossed Moonee Ponds Creek and passed through a property owned by James Watson, he named the property after his wife Elizabeth’s hometown.

In 1840, the land was acquired from the Lang brothers and regarded as Crown Land by the government. In 1848, the Governor of New South Wales formally ordered that the site of 352 acres would be considered a public racecourse and he appointed six men as trustees of the area. In 1871, the government passed a Victoria Racing Club Act, which made the club the new trustees of the racecourse. In August 2006, Victoria Racing Club became Victoria Racing Club Limited, meaning the club is now governed by a board of directors who are elected by members of the club.

Flemington Racecourse is famously the home of the Melbourne Cup since 1861 where it was ran in front of just 4000 people, a vast difference from the 100,000 people who attended in 1880, which was a phenomenal amount at the time as the population of Melbourne at the time was only 290,000.

The Melbourne Cup is very popular with British and Irish trainers and jockeys with the likes of Ryan Moore, Joseph O’Brien, Charlie Appleby having won the race in previous years.

Website: https://www.flemington.com.au/


Chantilly Racecourse

Based in Chantilly, Oise, France, Chantilly Racecourse opened on May 15th 1834. In 1879, the main grandstand, which still exists today, was built by famed architect Honoré. Chantilly Racecourse was built in connection to the already existing Grandes Écuries (Great Stables) which were built by estate owner Louis Henri, Duc e Bourbon, Prince of Condé in 1719. Designed by the architext Jean Aubert, the stables are 186 meters long and considered the most beautiful in the world.

L: http://domainedechantilly.com/en/private-events/our-spaces/great-stables/ – R: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/550354016956816539/

In 1886, the Duc d’Aumale donated the racecourse to the Institut de France. In 1982, the Living Museum of the Horse was created as part of the stables. In July 2006, the museum was acquired by the Foundation for the Safe-keeping and Development of the Chantilly Domain, presided over by the Aga Khan IV.

Chantilly Racecourse is managed by France Galop and is the home to the Prix du Jockey Club since 1843, Prix de Diane Longines since 1843 and the Prix Jean Prat since 1858. In 2016 and 2017, Chantilly hosted the Qata Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe weekend whilst Longchamp was being reconstructed.

Website: https://www.france-galop.com/en/node/60


Meydan Racecourse

Based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Meydan Racecourse opened on March 27th 2010, replacing Nad Al Sheba Racecourse which formally occupied the same site. The Grandstand is over 1 mile in length and can accommodate over 60,000 spectators. The racecourse also includes The Meydan which is the worlds first five-star trackside hotel, with 285 rooms, restaurants, a racing museum, a gallery, nine-hole golf course and 72 corporate suits.

The racecourse has hosted concerts by Lady Gaga, Elton John, Kylie Minogue, Janet Jackson, Sia, Toni Braxton, Seal, Jennifer Lopez and more. The interior of the track was also used as a filming location for Star Trek Beyond.

But more importantly, Meydan Racecourse is the home the Dubai World Cup which has seen the likes of Silvestre de Sousa and William Buick, amongst others win the race.

Website: http://www.dubairacingclub.com/visit/meydan-grandstand/about-meydan-grandstand


White Turf Racing Association, St Moritz

Saint Moritz is an upmarket ski resort primarily known for its world-class winter sports. However on 3 days a year, in February, they hold the White Turf event where horses and jockeys compete on a frozen lake with the Engadine Mountains hovering over them.

Each year, this event attracts more than 35,000 spectators. Not only for the gallop and trotting races but also the fan favourite skijöring, where skiers are pulled behind unsaddled horses around a 2,700 meter icy track

Website: https://www.whiteturf.ch/en/


Santa Anita Park

Based in Arcadia, California, USA, Santa Anita Racecourse opened on December 25th 1934. In 1907, Elias J. Baldwin opened the original Santa Anita Park Racetrack slightly east of the current location of Arcadia Park. In 1933, the legalisation of pari-mutuel gambling (of which I understand is essentially tote/placed betting) inspired San Francisco dentist Dr. Charles H Strub and movie mogul Hal Roach to create what we now know as Santa Anita Park in it’s current location at the foot of San Gabriel Mountains.

As of 2019, Santa Anita Park has held the Breeders Cup a record breaking 10 times.

Website: https://www.santaanita.com/horse-racing/live-racing/


Ascot Racecourse

Based in Ascot, Berkshire, England, Ascot Racecourse opened on August 11th 1711 by Queen Anne and is located approximately 6 miles from Windsor Castle. Ascot holds 13 of Britain’s 36 annual Flat Group 1 races and 3 Grade 1 Jumps races. Approximately 600,000 people visit Ascot Racecourse per year.

In 2004, Ascot Racecourse was closed to a £220 million redevelopment. This is the single biggest investment in British Racing. It was then reopened on June 20th 2006 by Queen Elizabeth II.

Ascot Racecourse is famously the home of Royal Ascot, which includes races such as the Queen Anne Stakes, Gold Cup, King Edward VII Stakes and many more.

Website: https://www.ascot.co.uk/


Happy Valley Racecourse

Based in Wan Chai District, Hong Kong, Happy Valley Racecourse opened in 1845 to provide horse racing for British people in Hong Kong. This area was previously swampland but the only flat ground that the Hong Kong Government deemed suitable, so they prohibited rice growing in the surrounding area. The first race was ran in December 1846.

Sadly, one of the things Happy Valley is known for is when on February 26th 1918 a temporary grandstand collapsed causing a fire which killed at least 590 people in attendance.

Happy Valley Racecourse currently has seven storey stands and holds around 55,000 people, the inner field is used for football, hockey and rugby.

Website: https://www.happyvalleyracecourse.com/


Laytown Racecourse

Based on the beach at Laytown, County Meath, Ireland, Laytown Racecourse is the only racing event run on a beach under the Rules of Racing, the first race started in 1868. Racing takes place once a year, in September.

Many top Irish jockeys have ridden winners at Laytown Racecourse, including Ruby Walsh, Colin Keane, Pat Smullen, Joseph O’Brien and Declan McDonogh. Amateur jockeys including Nina Carberry, Patrick Mullins, Jamie Codd, Katie Walsh and Derek O’Connor have also had winners at Laytown Racecourse.

Website: http://laytownstrandraces.ie/wp2/


Cheltenham Racecourse

Last, but not least, it is of course, Cheltenham Racecourse. As a jumps fan based in England, is there anywhere better to go? Cheltenham Racecourse is ased in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England. In 1815, the first organised flat race meeting took place on Nottingham Hill, the first races on Cleeve Hill took place in 1818. Over the next decade, the popularity of horse racing soared, with crowds of 30,000 visiting the racecourse for its annual two day July meeting which featured the Gold Cup, a 3 mile flat race.

In 1830, the meeting was disrupted by the congregation of Cheltenham’s Parish Priest Reverend Fancis Close who had spent the previous 12 months preaching the evils of horse racing. In 1831, the grandstand was burnt to the ground. To overcome the violence, the racecourse moved to it’s current venue of Prestbury Park.

Cheltenham Racecourse is most famously known as the home of the Cheltenham Festival. Four days of racing which takes place in March each year and includes some of the biggest races in British racing including multiple Grade 1 races such as the Arkle Challenge Trophy, Champion Hurdle, Queen Mother Champion Chase, Stayers’ Hurdle, Ryanair Chase, Triumph Hurdle, Cheltenham Gold Cup and many many more.

In 2015, Cheltenham Racecourse opened the £45 million Princess Royal Stand with a capacity of 6,500. This completed the redevelopment of the racecourse.

Website: https://www.thejockeyclub.co.uk/cheltenham/


So there we have it, in my opinion, 10 of the most beautiful racecourses in the world. Whilst doing my research, I can see there are literally so many incredible tracks and I found it very hard to choose just 10, so many I can do another in the future of different courses. If you have any you think I have missed do send them to me on Twitter so I can add them to a list to potentially cover in the future.

This was a very different post for me, but I thoroughly enjoyed researching these and I hope you all enjoyed it too! I shall see you all in my next post!

An Interview with Eoin Walsh

Good Morning!

Welcome to a new post here at zoelouisesmithx.com. I hope you all had a brilliant final day of Cheltenham yesterday! Today I am super excited to bring to you an interview with Eoin Walsh. He has recently returned from a pretty serious injury, so I caught up with him about all things racing, including his recovery and the importance of the Injured Jockeys Fund. Let’s jump right into it!


Me: What is your favourite race of your career, win or lose?

Eoin: My favourite race would have to be when I won on Zeeband at Thirsk for Roger Varian. It wasn’t the biggest race in the world, but I rode him out every morning since I started at Roger’s and he wasn’t the most straight forward in the mornings, he’s quite a difficult ride. To actually get on him and to get a win on him was fantastic and it meant a lot to me.

Me: If you could ride any horse that you never have, past or present, what horse would you choose?

Eoin: I think I’d have to go for a horse from the past. I think I’d pick Frankel. The way he won the Guineas was phenomenal and every other race he won was breath-taking. He was just a freak. I’d have loved to have had a go on him.

Me: What are you opinions surrounding the discussions of banning the whip?

Eoin: My opinion on banning the whip is absolutely ridiculous. The whip is out there as a corrective measure and an encouragement method. It’s not there to harm or hurt the horse. All of us in racing love our animals, there’s nobody who’s out there to hurt the horse. It’s absolutely ridiculous.

Me: As a jockey, weight is obviously a huge thing for you guys, so what would you eat on a regular day? Are there any periods across the year where you can actually just eat everything and anything or is it a strict kind of diet all year round?

Eoin: For me, I struggle with my weight quite a lot. I’m one of the heavier, taller jockeys in the weighing room. A typical day for me in the summer whilst I’m racing would probably be have a coffee in the morning, a coffee at lunch time and if I’m lucky, get home and have some dinner. Other than that, I wouldn’t eat a lot. In my off time, I tend to let myself go and enjoy myself but I do have to pay the price for it when I come back.

Me: So you’ve recently came back from quite a bad injury, how hard is it to return to the sport that put you into that position?

Eoin: I’ve never really thought about retiring from this injury. It’s more of a case of wanting to, I’ve got a good job at Roger Varian’s so I just felt the quicker I got back, the quicker I got going again. We’re coming into the flat season so I didn’t want to be joining the string half way through the season when all the jockey’s key positions were already filled. I wanted to get back before the turf so I could get fit and I’ll be available when wanted for the flat season.

Me: On from that, horse racing is one of the very few sports to have a charity who do the work the Injured Jockey’s Fund do, how important are they to jockeys and the sport as a whole?

Eoin: The Injured Jockey’s Fund are absolutely phenomenal. They are a great bunch of people and a massive help to all of us jockeys and we could not thank them enough.

Me: Racing is an all year round sport, so when you do get some down time, what do you like to do?

Eoin: With the world hopefully returning to normal fairly soon, I hope that in a down time I’d be able to travel to Thailand with friends, Callum Shepherd, Kieran O’Neill and Stefano. We like to get away for a couple of weeks, let our hair down and make the most of our time off.

Me: Who do you look up to in the weighing room?

Eoin: I would probably look up to the likes of Adam Kirby and James Doyle the most. They’d be my two favourites, they’re very good jockeys, very good horsemen and two nice people.

Me: What is one race you’d love to win?

Eoin: When it comes to a race I’d love to win, I’m not going to be fussy. I’ll take any race, I’m just happy when I’m crossing the line in front. There’s no particular race I’d want to win at this stage. Just every winner matters to me, so yeah, any winner, any horse I can ride that wins.

Me: What’s your overall goal in racing over the upcoming few years?

Eoin: My overall goal the next couple of years would be to establish myself as one of the main riders for one of the big yards in town. I’d love to hope it’ll be Roger Varian’s but I’ll hopefully get my opportunity somewhere.

Me: What would be your ‘horse to watch’ for the next season or two?

Eoin: I’d once again have to go for my old favourite Zeeband as a horse to follow. I think he’s gonna be a very, very nice four year old this year. I thought, personally, anything he did last year would be a bonus towards this year. I think he’s rated near the 90’s now and I think he’ll improve further. I think he could be a class act this season over the longer distances.

Me: What is your favourite racecourse to ride at and why?

Eoin: I love riding at either of the Newmarket Racecourses. Mainly because I don’t have to travel far but because they’re just such prestigious courses and riding a winner there last season was absolutely amazing even though there was no crowd.

Me: With the Grand National coming up and it being announced Tiger Roll won’t run, do you fancy anything at the moment?

Eoin: I really hope Bristol De Mai wins the Grand National. It would be lovely for Nigel Twiston-Davies. He’s a very good trainer and I just love the horse as well, he’s just an absolute legend of the game.

Me: What is your best advice for young people who have a passion they want to follow, whether that be racing or something else?

Eoin: I can only answer for kids coming into racing, but my one bit of advice is just keep your head down, ask as many questions as you can, learn as much as you can from the older lads that have been around and just keep yourself to yourself and try and stay out of trouble. Coming into racing is very difficult for anyone, it’s not easy leaving home but you just need to get yourself around a good group of people and hopefully you can bring yourself forward.


I want to thank Eoin for his time to answer some questions, I know how busy he is now he’s returning to the saddle so I appreciate his time. For me, I think it’s incredible how strong jockeys are, mentally and physically. If I had been hit with an injury as severe as Eoin’s, I don’t know if I could come back and have the mindset that Eoin has but also other jockeys have too. I think it’s a testament to their strength when jockeys can come back and normally they’re better and stronger than ever when they do so.

I have had a busy two weeks on my website with 9 posts in 12 days and I have absolutely loved it, I hope you’ve all enjoyed the past 2 weeks posts and I will see you all on Wednesday evening at 6pm for my next one!

The History of the Cheltenham Gold Cup

Good Evening!

I hope day 3 of the Cheltenham Festival was a good one for you all and I hope tomorrow’s fourth and final day is even better. This evening I bring to you my final post of the week, The History of the Cheltenham Gold Cup. I hope you enjoy this one and I hope you learn something new!

The Cheltenham Gold Cup is a Grade 1 National Hunt race run on the new course (since 1959), it was first ran in 1924 and is ran over 3 miles, 2 furlongs and 70 yards with 22 fences to jump. The race is open to 5 year olds and over and is ran on the final day of the Cheltenham Festival every March.

In 1924, the winner was Red Splash for jockey Dick Rees for trainer Fred Withington for owner Maj. Humphrey Wyndham.

The first horse to win the race twice in a row was Easter Hero who won as the favourite both times in 1929 and 1930. Firstly he won for jockey Dick Rees for trainer Jack Anthony and owner John Hay Whitney, the second time winning for jockey Tommy Cullinan for the same trainer and owner.

The next horse to make an impact in the race would be Golden Miller, winning in 1932 rode by Ted Leader, in 1933 rode by Billy Stott, in 1934 and 1935 rode by Gerry Wilson – all for Trainer Basil Briscoe and owner Dorothy Paget. Then a fifth and final time in 1936 for jockey Evan Williams, trainer Owen Anthony and owner Dorothy Paget.

We then move forward over ten years to 1948, 1949 ad 1950 where Cottage Rake won all three years for jockey Aubrey Brabazon, trainer Vincent O’Brien and owner Frank Vickerman

The next horse to dominate the sport wouldn’t be until Arkle came along in 1964, winning three years in a row in 1964, 1965 and 1966 for jockey Pat Taaffe, trainer Tom Dreaper and the owner, the Duchess of Westminster.

In 1970 and 1971, L’Escargot won for Tommy Carberry, trainer Dan Moore and owner Raymond R. Guest. In 1986, Dawn Run won for Jonjo O’Neill, Paddy Mullins and Charmian Hill. Desert Orchid won in 1989 for jockey Simon Sherwood, trainer David Elsworth and owner Richard Burridge.

The next horse to make an impact in the Gold Cup would be Best Mate who won in 2002, 2003 and 2004, each time with Jim Culloty riding for trainer Henrietta Knight and owner Jim Lewis.

We then move forward a couple of years to the Kauto Star vs Denman rivalry. In 2007 Kauto Star won for jockey Ruby Walsh, trainer Paul Nicholls and owner Clive Smith. In 2008, Denman won, beating Kauto Star by 7 lengths, for Sam Thomas, Paul Nicholls and Barber / Findlay. Then in 2009, Kauto Star winning again beating Denman by 13 lengths for Ruby Walsh, Paul Nicholls and Clive Smith.

We then have winners such as Imperial Commander (2010) for Paddy Brennan, Nigel Twiston-Davies and Our Friends in the North. Synchronised (2012) for AP McCoy, Jonjo O’Neill and J.P. McManus. Bobs Worth (2013) for Barry Geraghty, Nicky Henderson and The Not Afraid Partnership. Coneygree (2015) for Nico de Boinville, Mark Bradstock and The Max Partnership.

We also have Don Cossack (2016) for Bryan Cooper, Gordon Elliott and the Gigginstown House Stud – who I wrote about just a few weeks ago, you can read that here: https://zoelouisesmithx.com/2021/02/27/don-cossack-what-makes-a-peoples-horse/

In 2017, Sizing John won for Robbie Power, Jessica Harrington and Ann & Alan Potts. In 2018, my favourite horse ever, Native River winning for Richard Johnson, Colin Tizzard and Brocade Racing, again I wrote about him a few weeks ago, you can read that here: https://zoelouisesmithx.com/2021/02/10/native-river-what-makes-a-peoples-horse/

We then have another double winner with Al Boum Photo winning in both 2019 and 2020 for Paul Townend, Willie Mullins and Mrs J Donnelly.

Some things to note, the race was abandoned in 1931 due to frost, again in 1937 due to flooding, the again in 1943 and 1944 due to World War 2. The 2001 running was cancelled due to a foot and mouth crisis, a substitute race was ran at Sandown.

The most successful horse in the race is Golden Miller who won a total of 5 times, one after another, in 1932, 1933, 1934, 1935 and 1936.

The leading jockey is Pat Taaffe who won a total of 4 times. Three times on Arkle (1964, 1965 & 1966) and once on Fort Leney (1968)

The leading trainer with 5 wins in total is Tom Dreaper who won with Prince Regent (1946), Arkle (1964, 1965 & 1966) and Fort Leney (1968).

The leading owner with 7 wins is Dorothy Paget who won with Golden Miller (1932, 1933, 1934, 1935 & 1936), Roman Hackle (1940) and Mont Tremblant (1952).

Now onto some interesting facts about the race. Out of the last 12 winners, 11 of them have been aged between 7 and 9. And out of those last 12 winners, 5 of them have been favourites or joint favourites, with 7 out of the last 12 being in the top 3 of the betting.

Out of the last 12 winners, 10 of them have won on their previous run before the Cheltenham Gold Cup, 9 out of 12 of the last winners had ran within the last 77 days and 12 out of 12 of the last winners had their last run 33 days or longer before the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Only 3 out of the past 12 winners ran in the King George VI Chase at Kempton on their last run, 2 of the 3 won. And 3 out of the past 12 winners ran in the Denman Chase at Newbury as their last run, all 3 of them won. Out of the last 12 winners, 9 of them were rated 166 or higher, with 6 out of 12 being rated 170 or higher. All 12 of the previous winners had won at least one Grade 1 race with 6 out of 12 winning at least 2.


So there we have it, the history of the Cheltenham Gold Cup. I hope you all enjoy tomorrow’s final day of the Festival, I know I’m very much looking forward to it! Again, I hope you all enjoyed this post and maybe learned something new.

My next post will be on Saturday (20/03) at 11am when I bring to you an interview with Eoin Walsh, so I hope to see you then!

The History of the Stayers’ Hurdle

Good Evening!

I hope day 2 of the Cheltenham Festival was a successful, enjoyable one for you all. Today I am looking back at the history of tomorrow’s Stayers’ Hurdle, so let’s get right into it!

The Stayers’ Hurdle began back in 1912 and is ran over 2 miles, 7 furlong and 213 yards. It is for four year olds and older and is ran on the third day of the Cheltenham Festival each year.

The first winner of the race in 1912 was Aftermath for jockey J. W. Pullen for trainer Newey Hednesford for owner A. Newey. The next two runs of the race in 1913 and 1914 were both won by Silver Bay for jockey W Catling, trainer Fitton Lewes and owner G. H. Hearman.

The next notable winner was called Warwick, who won once in 1923 for I. Morgan, trainer Tabor and owner S. Cohen, then again in 1925, for jockey George Duller, trainer W. Payne and owner Jesse Brown.

The next notable winner would be over 50 years later when Galmoy won in 1987 for jockey Tommy Carmody, trainer John Mulhern and owner Miss D. Threadwell the again for the same trio a year later in 1988.

We then wait for over 10 years, when in 2002 and 2003 we had Baracouda who won both times for jockey Thierry Doumen, trainer François Doumen and owner J.P. McManus. A few years later Inglis Drever would achieve this also winning twice in a row, three times in total, once in 2005 for Graham Lee, trainer Howard Johnson and owners Andrea & Graham Wylie, then again 2 years later in 2007 for jockey Paddy Brennan, then again in 2008 for jockey Denis O’Regan for the same trainer and owner.

Next up would come the most successful horse in the Stayers’ Hurdle to date, Big Bucks. Big Bucks starting his winning streak in 2009 winning for jockey Ruby Walsh, trainer Paul Nicholls and owners the Stewart Family, he would then win again in 2010, 2011 and 2012 for the same trio.

Some horses to note in the following years include More Of That (2014) for Barry Geraghty, Jonjo O’Neill and J.P. McManus. Thistlecrack (2016) for Tom Scudamore, Colin Tizzard and John & Heather Snook. Nichols Canyon (2017) for Ruby Walsh, Willie Mullins and Andrea & Graham Wylie. Penhill for Paul Townend, Willie Mullins and Tony Bloom, Paisley Park (2019) for Aidan Coleman, Emma Lavelle and Andrew Gemmell. The finally the 2020 winner, Lisnagar Oscar for Adam Wedge, Rebecca Curtis and owners, Racing For Fun.

Now onto some interesting things to note about the race. The Festival was not run between 1916 and 1919 because of World War 1. Between 1928 and 1929, the race was dropped from the Festival programme. The race was then abandoned in 1931 due to frost and again in 1937 due to flooding. Between 1939 and 1945 it was once again dropped from the Festival programme, before in 1947 it was abandoned due to snow and frost. The race was also cancelled in 2001 due to a foot and mouth crisis.

As I mentioned above, the most successful horse (since 1972) in this race up until today is Big Buck’s who won a total of four times in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.

The leading jockey (since 1972) being Ruby Walsh, who won a total of 5 times on Big Buck’s (2009,2010, 2011 & 2012) as well as Nichols Canyon (2017).

Moving onto the leading trainer (since 1972), Paul Nicholls, who has won a total of 4 times, all four times with Big Buck’s (2009, 2010, 2011 & 2012).

There are two leading owners in the Stayers’ Hurdle (since 1972), both with 4 wins each:
The Stewart Family – Big Buck’s (2009, 2010, 2011 & 2012)
Andrea & Graham Wylie – Inglis Drever (2005, 2007 & 2008) and Nichols Canyon (2017).


So there we have the history of the Stayers’ Hurdle. I am looking forward to tomorrow’s renewal, I think it should be a brilliant race. I hope you all enjoyed today’s post and again, learnt something new.

I shall see you in tomorrow’s post where at the same time of 6pm for The History of the Cheltenham Gold Cup!

The History of the Queen Mother Champion Chase

Good Evening!

I hope you’ve all had a brilliant first day of the Cheltenham Festival. I hope you all had plenty of winners and are excited for tomorrow’s day. Focusing in on tomorrow, tonight’s post is all about the Queen Mother Champion Chase, I hope you enjoy and I hope you learn something new as you read!

The Queen Mother Champion Chase is a Grade 1 National Hunt Steeplechase and is ran over 1 mile 7 furlong and 199 yards and is open to five year olds and older. The race takes place at the Cheltenham Festival on the 2nd day, the Wednesday, first taking place in 1959.

The first winner in 1959 was Quita Que for jockey Bunny Cox, trainer Dan Moore and owner Mrs D. R. Brand.

The first horse to win twice in a row followed up for the next two years, 1960 and 1961, both won by Fortria, both times for jockey Pat Taaffe, trainer Tom Dreaper and owner George Ansley.

The next horse to win twice in a row was Drinny’s Double who won in 1967 and 1968, both times for jockey Frank Nash, trainer Bob Turnell and owner Paul Mellon. This wouldn’t happen again until 1976 and 1977, when Skymas won for jockey Mouse Morris, trainer Brian Lusk and owner Matt Magee. It then happened again for the next two years when Hilly Way won the 1978 and 1979 running of the race, firstly for jockey Tommy Carmody, trainer Peter McCreery and owner J. W. Sweeney, the second time with Ted Walsh riding.

The next notable horse was Badsworth Boy who, to this day, holds the record for being the most successful horse in the race. He won in 1983, 1984 and again in 1985. All three times with Robert Earnshaw riding for owner Doug Armitage, the first two runs being for trainer Michael Dickinson and the final time for trainer, from the same family, Monica Dickinson.

The next notable name is Pearlyman, who won twice, once in 1987 and again in 1988. The first time rode by Peter Scudamore for trainer John Edwards and owner Valerie Shaw, the second time with jockey Tom Morgan on board. The next two years were then won by the Barnbrook Again, in 1989 Simon Sherwood rode for trainer David Elsworth and owner Mel Davies, in 1990 with Hywel Davies on board.

We then have Viking Flagship who won twice, once in 1994 and again in 1995. Firstly for Adrian Maguire riding for trainer David Nicholson for owners Roach Foods Ltd, secondly for Charlie Swan.

Other notable winners include One Man in 1998, Edredon Bleu in 2000, Moscow Flyer in 2003 as well as 2005, Master Minded who successfully won in 2008 and 2009, both times for Ruby Walsh riding for Paul Nicholls for owner Clive Smith. We then have Sizing Europe winning in 2011, Sprinter Sacre who won in 2013 and again in 2016, Sire de Grugy who won in 2014, Altior who won in 2018 and 2019, both times for Nico de Boinville, Nicky Henderson and owner Patricia Pugh. We then have the 2020 winner of this race, Politologue for jockey Harry Skelton for Paul Nicholls for owner John Hales.

Some interesting things to note, in 1980 Chinrullah finishished first, however was later disqualified after testing positive for a banned substance. And the 2001 running was cancelled due to a foot and mouth crisis, a substitute race was later run at Sandown.

As I mentioned above, the most successful horse is the only horse to have won this race 3 times and that is Badsworth Boy who won in 1983, 1984 and 1985.

There are two leading jockey’s in the race, both with 5 wins:
Pat Taaffe – Fortria (1960 & 1961), Ben Stack (1964), Flyingbolt (1966) and Straight Fort (1970)
Barry Geraghty – Moscow Flyer (2003 & 2005), Big Zeb (2010), Finian’s Rainbow (2012) and Sprinter Sacre (2013)

There are 3 leading trainers in the race, all with 6 wins each:
Tom Dreaper – Fortria (1960 & 1961), Ben Stack (1964), Flyingbolt (1966), Muir (1969) and Straight Fort (1970)
Nicky Henderson – Remittance Man (1992), Finian’s Rainbow (2012), Sprinter Sacre (2013 & 2016) and Altior (2018 & 2019)
Paul Nicholls – Call Equiname (1999), Azertyuiop (2004), Master Minded (2008 & 2009), Dodging Bullets (2015) and Politologue (2020)

We then have three leading owners, all with 3 wins each:
George Ansley – Fortria (1960 & 1961) and Straight Fort (1970)
Doug Armitage – Badsworth Boy (1983, 1984 & 1985)
John Hales – One Man (1998), Azertyuiop (2004) and Politologue (2020)


So there we have it, the history of the Queen Mother Champion Chase. I am very much looking forward to tomorrow’s renewal of the race, I think it always turns out to be a good race and tomorrow should be no different. I hope you all enjoyed this post and hopefully learned something new whilst reading.

I will hopefully see you all in tomorrow’ evening’s post at the same time of 6pm for The History of the Stayers’ Hurdle!

The History of the Champion Hurdle

Good Evening!

This week, in honour of the Cheltenham Festival, I have decided to write up one post per evening at 6pm, and it will be a new series within itself where I pick one race for the following day and I focus in on the history of the race. Past winners, records and hopefully new bits of information you and I may not even know! So, with that being said, let’s just get right into it.

The Champion Hurdle is a Grade 1 National Hunt hurdle race ran on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival over 2 miles and 87 yards, and is for horses who are 4 years and older.

The first running of the Champion Hurdle took place on the 9th of March 1927. There were 4 runners and it was won by 8 lengths by the 11/10 favourite Blaris who was rode by George Duller for trainer Bill Payne and for owner Mrs H. Hollins at a time of 4 minutes and 13.6 seconds.

On the 1st of March 1932, there were 3 runners and the 4/5 favourite Insurance won by 12 lengths for jockey Ted Leader, trainer Basil Briscoe and owner Dorothy Paget in a time of 4 minutes 14.2 seconds. The following year, he was the first horse to successfully retain his crown. On the 7th of March 1933, Insurance won again as the 10/11 favourite out of 5 runners, this time winning by 3/4 of a length in a time of 4 minutes 37.6 seconds, this time with a different jockey on board, Billy Stott.

The next horse to successfully retain his crown 2 years in a row would be over 10 years later. National Spirit won the race firstly on the 12th of April 1947 by 1 length in a time of 4 minutes 03.8 seconds at 7/1 for jockey Danny Morgan, trainer Vic Smyth and owner Len Abelson, beating 13 opponents. Following it up with another victory on the 2nd of March 1948, winning by 2 lengths in a quicker time of 3 minutes 54.8 seconds. This time with Ron Smyth riding and beating 11 other competitors as the 6/4 favourite.

We then have Hatton’s Grace who successfully won the race 3 years in a row. Starting on the 7th of March 1949 winning by 6 lengths at 100/7 against 13 other competitors at a time of 4 minutes 0.6 seconds for jockey Aubrey Brabazon, trainer Vincent O’Brien and owner Mrs Harry Keogh. Followed up by another win on the 7th of March 1950, winning as the 5/2 favourite against 11 other competitors by 1 1/2 lengths in a slightly quicker time of 3 minutes, 59.6 seconds for the same jockey Aubrey Brabazon. We then move forward a year to the 6th of March 1951, where once again Hatton’s Grace won by 5 lengths at 4/1 this time under Tim Molony at a time of 4 minutes 11.2 seconds beating 7 other competitors.

Sir Ken then went on to do the same thing, winning on the 4th of March 1952 as the 3/1 favourite, the 3rd of March 1953 as the 2/5 favourite and the 2nd of March 1954 as the 4/9 favourite, all for jockey Tim Molony, trainer Willie Stephenson and owner Maurice Kingsley.

It would then be over 15 years before another horse did the same successfully. Persian War won on the 20th of March 1968 at 4/1 again on the 19th March 1969 as the 6/4 favourite and again for a third time on the 18th of March 1970 as the 5/4 favourite. All for jockey Jimmy Uttley, trainer Colin Davies and owner Henry Alper.

The next two years, the Champion Hurdle would be won by Bula. Firstly on the 18th of March 1971 as the 15/8 favourite then again on the 15th of March 1972 as the 8/11 favourite, both for jockey Paul Kelleway, trainer Fred Winter and owner Bill Edwards-Heathcote.

The next horse to win the Champion Hurdle twice, however not two years in a row, would be Comedy of Errors. He was only one of two horses to ever regain the Champion Hurdle title after losing it. Firstly on the 14th of March 1973, winning at 8/1 for jockey Bill Smith, trainer Fred Rimell and owner Ted Wheatley. On the 13th of March 1974, Comedy of Errors then came second as the 4/6 favourite behind Lanzarote (7/4) for jockey Richard Pitman, trainer Fred Winter and owner Lord Howard de Walden. The next year on the 12th of March 1975, Comedy of Errors then made a comeback and won as the 11/8 favourite, this time for jockey Ken White.

We then have Night Nurse, who won twice, once on the 17th of March 1976 as the 2/1 favourite and again on the 16th of March 1977 at 15/2. Both for jockey Paddy Broderick, trainer Peter Easterby and owner Reg Spencer.

The second placed horse in 1977, Monksfield then won twice in a row. Once on the 15th of March 1978 at 11/2 for jockey Tommy Kinane trainer Des McDonogh and owner Dr Michael Mangan followed up by another win on the 14th of March 1979 as the 9/4 favourite, this time for jockey Dessie Hughes.

The next two years were then won by Sea Pigeon, on the 11th of March 1980 at 13/2 for jockey Jonjo O’Neill, trainer Peter Easterby and owner Pat Muldoon. Then winning again on the 17th of March 1981 as the 7/4 favourite, this time for John Francome.

Another notable winner is Dawn Run who won on the 13th of March 1984, winning as the 4/5 favourite under Jonjo O’Neill for trainer Paddy Mullins and owner Charmian Hill. Dawn Run went on to win many races including the Cheltenham Gold Cup 2 years later.

The next winner to strike three times in three years is See You Then. Firstly on the 12th of March 1985 winning at 16/1, again on the 11th of March 1986 as the 5/6 favourite then again on the 17th of March as the 11/10 favourite, all for jockey Steve Smith Eccles, trainer Nicky Henderson and owner Stype Wood Stud.

The next notable winner to win the race 3 years in a row was Istabraq. He won on the 17th of March 1998 as the 3/1 favourite, again on the 16th of March 1999 as the 4/9 favourite then again on the 14th of March 2000 as the 8/15 favourite. All three times under Charlie Swan for trainer Aidan O’Brien for owner J.P. McManus.

The next horse to mention is Hardy Eustace who firstly won on the 16th of March 2004 at 33/1, then again the following year on the 15th of March 2005 this time as the 7/2 favourite. Both times for jockey Conor O’Dwyer, trainer Dessie Hughes and owner Laurence Byrne.

Now we move on to Hurricane Fly, who is only the second of 2 horses to regain his Champion Hurdle title after losing it. His first win coming on the 15th of March 2011 as the 11/4 favourite. Then on the 13th of March 2012, he finished third as the 4/6 favourite behind winner Rock On Ruby (11/1) and second place Overturn (9/2). Then on the 12th of March 2013, he regained his title, this time winning as the 13/8 favourite. Both times winning for jockey Ruby Walsh, trainer Willie Mullins and owner Creighton / Boyd.

We then have winners such as Faugheen (4/5F in 2015) and Annie Power (5/2F in 2016), both for Ruby Walsh, Willie Mullins and Susannah Ricci.

The next horse to win the Champion Hurdle twice in a row was Buveur d’Air who successfully won for the first time on the 14th of March 2017 at 5/1 for Noel Fehily, trainer Nicky Henderson and owner J.P. McManus. In his second win, he won on the 13th of March 2018 as the 4/6 favourite, this time under Barry Geraghty.

On the 12th of March 2019, J.P. McManus had another win, this time Espoir d’Allen at 16/1 for jockey Mark Walsh and trainer Gavin Cromwell. Followed up by another winner on the 10th of March 2020, Epatante as the 2/1 favourite, this time for jockey Barry Geraghty and trainer Nicky Henderson.

Things to note: In the 1947 running of the Champion Hurdle, it was finally run on the 12th of April after being postponed twice due to winter snows. In 1931, the race was abandoned totally due to frost. In 1943 an 1944, the race was not run due to World War 2. And then in 2001, the running was cancelled due to a foot and mouth crisis, instead a substitute race was run at Sandown.

Now onto some interesting statistics and records. The 2008 winner Katchit and 2019 winner Espoir d’Allen are the only horses who were 5 years old to win since See You Then in 1985, in fact, 13 of the past 16 winners were aged between 6 and 8 years old. Extended on from that, only four horses over the age of 8 have won the race since 1951, the most recent one was Hurricane Fly who was aged 9 when winning in 2013.

Another interesting fact is that 11 of the past 19 winners have been trained in Ireland and 19 of the last 28 winners had actually won at Cheltenham before. 14 of the past 18 winners had raced in the previous 7 weeks and 24 of the last 27 winners were in the top 6 of the betting. Also worth mentioning that 31 of the past 37 winners won the last time out.

On to the most successful horses in the race, winning 3 times each:
Hatton’s Grace – 1949, 1950 and 1951
Sir Ken – 1952, 1953 and 1954
Persian War – 1968, 1969 and 1970
See You Then – 1985, 1986 and 1987
Istabraq – 1998, 1999 and 2000

Now onto the most successful jockeys, all with 4 wins each:
Tim Molony – Hatton’s Grace (1951) & Sir Ken (1952, 1953 and 1954)
Ruby Walsh – Hurricane Fly (2011 & 2013), Faugheen (2015) and Annie Power (2016)
Barry Geraghty – Punjabi (2009), Jezki (2014), Buveur D’Air (2018) and Epatante (2020)

The leading trainer in the race is Nicky Henderson who has had 8 wins in the Champion Hurdle, those being: See You Then (1985, 1986 & 1987), Punjabi (2009), Binocular (2010), Buveur D’Air (2017 & 2018) and Epatante (2020).

With the leading owner being J.P. McManus who has had 9 wins, those being: Istabraq (1998, 1999 & 2000), Binocular (2010), Jezki (2014), Buveur D’Air (2017 & 2018), Espoir d’Allen (2019) and Epatante (2020).


So there we have it, the history of the Champion Hurdle. I, for once, cannot wait for tomorrow’s run of the Champion Hurdle and the Festival to start as a whole, so I enjoyed looking through the history of the race. I hope you all enjoyed reading and hopefully you have all learned something new, I know I did.

I shall see you all tomorrow night at the same time of 6pm for The History of the Queen Mother Champion Chase!

Galileo: What Makes a People’s Horse?

Good Evening!

Welcome to a new blog post here at zoelouisesmithx.com and a new piece in my What Makes a People’s Horse series. However, today’s is slightly different. I have decided to focus on Galileo today, however the difference being, he is more well known for his ability to produce incredibly talented offspring opposed to his career on the track. So today, as normal, I will go through his racing career, which was a very short one but I will also have a look at some of the horses he has produced whilst being based at Coolmore Stud. So, without further ado, let’s just jump right into it.

Galileo was foaled on the 30th of March 1998, by Sadler’s Wells out of Urban Sea. He was bred by David Tsu and Orpendale in Ireland, “Orpendale” is a name used by Coolmore Stud for some of their breeding interests.

Interestingly. Galileo’s sire Sadler’s Well (1981-2011) went on to sire the winners of over 2000 races, which included 130 Group 1/Grade 1 races. He was the most successful sire in the history of British racing, being named the 14 time record breaking leading sire in Great Britain and Ireland. Galileo’s dam Urban Sea (1989-2009) went on to be the dam of Sea the Stars, Black Sam Bellamy, My Typhoon and many more.

Galileo was owned by Sue Magnier and Michael Tabor and was sent straight into training with Aidan O’Brien at Ballydoyle.

Galileo’s first race came when he was 2 years old on the 28th of October 2000 when he ran at Leopardstown. He was the Evens favourite and Mick Kinane took the ride. Impressively, Galileo won by 14 lengths to Taraza (5/2) with Johnny Murtagh on board.

Galileo took a 170 day break, before returning to Leopardstown on the 16th of April 2001 for a listed race over 1 mile 2 furlong, where as the odds on 1/3 favourite under Mick Kinane again he beat stable companion Milan (7/1) by 3 1/2 lengths. Just one month later, he returned to Leopardstown, this time under Seamie Heffernan, starting as the odds on 8/15 favourite, winning again, this time by 1 1/2 lenghts to Exaltation I (10/1).

Galileo then travelled across the Irish sea for a Group 1 at Epsom in the Derby Stakes Class A Showcase Race, where he started the race as the 11/4 joint favourite under Mick Kinane. He beat the other joint favourite Golan by 3 1/2 lengths. After this race, reports said Mick Kinane had described Galileo as the best horse he had ever ridden.

One month later, Galileo returned to Ireland to the Curragh for the Irish Derby on the 1st of July, where he was made the odds on 4/11 favourite under Mick Kinane. He won by 4 lengths after his jockey eased him in the closing stages.

On the 28th of July 2001, Galileo returned to England to Ascot this time for the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes. He started the race as the 1/2 favourite, with regular jockey Mick Kinane riding. Galileo won by 2 lengths to the second favourite Fantastic Light (7/2) with Frankie Dettori on board.

Galileo returned to Ireland and attended Punchestown on the 8th of September 2001, where he went to the Irish Champion Stakes. He was the 4/11 favourite under Mick Kinane, however unfortunately the tables were turned and this time he finished second behind Fantastic Light (9/4) with Frankie Dettori.

For Galileo’s last ever race he headed to Belmont Park in America for the Breeders’ Cup on the 27th of October 2001. This was his first time racing on dirt and he started at 100/30 under Mick Kinane, however he could only manage 6th place. Immediately after this race his retirement was announced.

Galileo was retired to Coolmore Stud in County Tipperry, he was stood there during the Northern Hemisphere breeding season, then moved to Coolmore Stud in New South Wales, Australia during the Southern Hemisphere breeding season. However since 2012, he has stood exclusively in Ireland.

So now, let’s jump in to what I think everybody is here for and what he is mainly known for, his offspring. I’m going to go through some of the notable horses, however there are a lot so I won’t mention every single name, I will try and pick out multiple from each year.

The first horse I am going to mention is Nightime who was foaled on the 5th of April 2003, out of Caumshinaun. She went on to win the Irish 1,000 Guineas in 2006 before being retired in 2007 and has since become a successful broodmare. Also foaled in 2003 on the 14th of February, Sixties Icon out of Love Divine, who went on to win the St Leger Stakes as a 3 year old in 2006, he also went on to win five other Group races before being retired to stud.

Galileo also produced jumps horses, one being Celestial Halo who was foaled on the 7th of May 2004 out of Pay The Bank. He went on to be trained by Paul Nicholls, and in March 2008 at 4 years old won the Grade 1 Triumph Hurdle as well as finishing second in the Champion Hurdle in 2009, also winning multiple other races throughout his career.

Also foaled in 2004 was Soldier of Fortune who was foaled on the 20th of February out of Affianced. He went on to win the Group One Irish Derby in 2007 as well the Group One Coronation Cup in 2008.

Moving into 2005, we have Alandi who was foaled on the 4th of April out of Aliya. He went on to win the Vintage Crop Stakes, Ballycullen Stakes, Irish St Leger and Prix du Cadran all in 2009. He was retired in 2012 and became a breeding stallion in Poland.

We also have New Approach who foaled on the 18th of February 2005 out of Park Express. He went on to win the Tyros Stakes, Futurity Stakes, National Stakes and Dewhurst Stakes all in 2007 and the Epsom Derby, Irish Champion Stakes and Champion Stakes in 2008. He also won the award for the European Champion Two Year Old Colt in 2007, the European Champion Three Year Old Colt in 2008 as well as the Irish Horse of the Year in 2008. He was retired and stands as a stallion for the Darley Stud, spending half of his year at the Dalham Stall Stud at Newmarket and the Northwood Park Stud Farm in Victoria, Australia for the other half of the year where he has produced horses such as Masar, Dawn Approach and Talent.

On the 12th of February 2006, Rip Van Winkle was foaled out of Looking Back. He went on to win the Tyros Stakes in 2008, the Sussex Stakes and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes both in 2009 and the International Stakes in 2010. He was retired to Coolmore Stud in 2010 and went on to sire 3 Group 1 winners, Dick Whittington (2012), Te Akau Shark (2014) and Jennifer Eccles (2016). He sadly passed away on the 1st of August 2020 at 14 years old after suffering a short illness.

In 2007, on the 20th of April, Cape Blanco was foaled out of Laurel Delight. He went on to win the Tyros Stakes and Futurity Stakes in 2009, the Dante Stakes, Irish Derby and Irish Champion Stakes in 2010 and then the Man o’War Stakes, Arlington Million and Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Stakes in 2011. He also won the Irish Three Year Old Colt in 2010 and the American Champion Male Turf Horse in 2011.

In to 2008, we see probably the most famous offspring of Galileo’s produced and that is, of course, Frankel who was foaled on the 11th of February out of Kind. Frankel went on to be unbeaten in his fourteen race career, winning over £2.9 million with wins in many big races. The Royal Lodge Stakes and Dewhurst Stakes in 2010, the Greenham Stakes, 2,000 Guineas Stakes, St James’s Palace Stakes, Sussex Stakes and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes all in 2011. Then the Sussex Stakes, Lockinge Stakes, Queen Anne Stakes, International Stakes and Champion Stakes all in 2012. Frankel was then retired and stood at Banstead Manor Stud at Cheveley in Suffolk where he was born. Some noticeable offspring of Frankel includes some Group 1 winners including Call the Wind, Cracksman, Dream Castle, Mirage Dancer, Mozu Ascot, Soul Stirring, Veracious, Without Parole, Anapurna, Logician, Quadrilateral and Grenadier Guards.

Another key horse in 2008 to mention is Nathaniel who was foaled on the 24th of April out of Magnificent Style who won the King Edward VII Stakes and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes in 2011 as well as the Eclipse Stakes in 2012. Nathaniel was retired to stand stud as the Newsells Park Stud and out of his first set of foals, included a horse that almost everybody knows… Enable. Enable went on to win the Cheshire Oaks in 2017, Epsom Oaks in 2017, Irish Oaks in 2017, King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes in 2017, 2019 and 2020, the Yorkshire Oaks in 2017 and 2019, the Prix de l’Arc Triomphe in 2017 and 2018, the September Stakes in 2018 and 2020, the Breeders’ Cup Turf in 2018 and the Eclipse Stakes in 2019.

On the 25th of February 2009, Noble Mission was foaled out of Kind. He went on to win the Newmarket Stakes and Gordon Stakes in 2012, the Tapster Stakes in 2013 and the Gordon Richards Stakes, Huxley Stakes, Tattersalls Gold Cup, Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud and Champion Stakes in 2014. He also won the Cartier Champion Older Horse award in 2014. Noble Mission then went on to sire a Grad 1 winner in Code of Honor.

Moving into 2010, we start with Magician who was foaled on the 24th of April out of Absolutelyfabulous. Magician went on to win the Dee Stakes, Irish 2,000 Guineas and Breeders’ Cup Turf in 2013 and the Mooresbridge Stakes in 2014. As well as winning the Cartier Champion Three Year Old Colt Award in 2013.

We also have Ruler of the World who was foaled on the 17th of March 2010 out of Love Me True. He went on to win the Chester Vase and Epsom Derby in 2013 and the Prix Foy in 2014. It was announced on the 24th of October 2014 that he would be retired and stand alongside his father Galileo at Coolmore Stud. A notable offspring of Ruler of the World’s is Iridessa who went on to win the Fillies’ Mile, Pretty Polly Stakes, Matron Stakes, Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf.

Into 2011, we have Australia who was foaled on the 8th of April out of Ouija Board. Australia went on to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Trial in 2013, then winning the Epsom Derby, Irish Derby and International Stakes in 2014. He also won the World’s top rated intermediate distance horse as well as the World’s top rated three year old colt both in 2014. On the 11th of October of 2014, it was announced Australia had developed a hoof infection and a suspected abscess and due to continued lameness the decision was made to retire him. He was to stand alongside his father Galileo at Coolmore Stud. Notable offspring include Galilo Chrome (2017) who went on to win the St Leger Stakes as well as Order of Australia (2017) who won the Breeders’ Cup Mile.

Also foaled in 2011, was Marvellous who was foaled on the 9th of January out of You’resothrilling. Marvellous went on to win the 1,000 Guineas in 2014.

In 2012, we have Found who was foaled on the 13th of March out of Red Evie. She went on to win the Prix Marcel Boussac in 2014, the Royal Whip Stakes and Breeders’ Cup Turf in 2015 then the Mooresbridge Stakes and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in 2016. She also won multiple awards including: Top rated European Two Year Old Filly in 2014, the World’s Top Rated Three Year Old Filly in 2015, the Top Rated European Female and Top Rated Irish Horse and the Cartier Champion Older Horse all in 2016. Found then became a broodmare, her first foal being a colt by War Front called Battleground on the 10th of May 2018. Battleground went on to win the Chesham Stakes and Veuve Cliquot Vintage Stakes and finished second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.

Also foaled in 2012 was Gleneagles who was foaled on the 12th of January out of You’resothrilling. He went on to win the Tyros Stakes, Futurity Stakes and National Stakes in 2014. He was also the first past the post in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardère, however he hampered multiple horses so was put back to 3rd place. He also won the 2,000 Guineas, Irish 2,000 Guineas and St James’s Palace Stakes all in 2015. He also won the Cartier Champion Two Year Old Colt in 2014.

Another incredible horse foaled in 2012 is Highland Reel who was foaled on the 21st of February out of Hveger. Highland Reel went on to win the Vintage Stakes in 2014, the Gordon Stakes, Secretariat Stakes and Hong Kong Vase in 2015, the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and Breeders’ Cup Turf in 2016 then the Hong Kong Vase, Coronation Cup and Prince Wales’s Stakes in 2017. Highland Reel currently stands at Coolmore Stud with a Stud Free of €10,000 for 2021.

On the 22nd of February 2012, Order of St George was foaled out of Another Storm. He went on to win the Irish St Leger Trial Stakes in 2015, 2016 and 2017. The Irish St Leger in 2015 and 2017. The Saval Beg Stakes in 2016, 2017 and 2018. The Ascot Gold Cup in 2016, the British Champions Long Distance Cup in 2017 and the Vintage Crop Stakes in 2018. He also won many awards, including the Top Rate Irish Racehorse and the World’s Top Rated Racehorse (Extended Distance) in 2015 then the Cartier Champion Stayer both in 2016 and 2017. Order of St George currently stands at Castlehyde Stud with a 2021 Stud Fee of €6,500.

Moving into 2013, we have Alice Springs who was foaled on the 4th of May out of Aleagueoftheirown. She went on to win the Tattersalls Millions Two Year Old Fillies’ Trophy in 2015, the Falmouth Stakes, Matron Stakes and Sun Chariot Stakes all in 2016.

On the 14th of March 2013, Idaho was foaled out of Hveger. He went on to win the Great Voltigeur Stakes in 2016, the Hardwicke Stakes in 2017 and the Ormonde Stakes in 2018. At the end of the 2018 season he was retired and stood at Beeches Stud with a 2021 Stud Fee of €3,500.

Another 2013 foal is Minding who was foaled on the 10th of February out of Lillie Langtry. She went on to win the Moyglare Stud Stakes and Fillies’ Mile in 2015, the 1,000 Guineas, Epsom Oaks, Pretty Polly Stakes, Nassau Stakes and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes in 2016 and the Mooresbridge Stakes in 2017. She also won the Cartier Champion Two Year Old Filly and Top Rated European Two Year Old Filly in 2015. As well as winning the Cartier Champion Three Year Old Filly, Cartier Horse of the Year, Irish Horse of the Year and the World Top Rated Three Year Old Filly all in 2016.

Moving into 2014, we have Churchill who was foaled on the 31st of December out of Meow. He went on to win the Chesham Stakes, Tyros Steaks, Futurity Stakes, National Stakes and Dewhurst Stakes all in 2016, then the 2,000 Guineas and Irish 2,000 Guineas in 2017. He also won the Cartier Champion Two Year Old Colt and the Top Rated European Two Year Old in 2016. Churchill currently stands at Coolmore Stud and has a 2021 Stud Fee of €30,000.

Also in 2014, we have Winter who was foaled on the 15th of February out of Laddies Poker Two. She went on to win the 1,000 Guineas, Irish 1,000 Guineas, Coronation Stakes and Nassau Stakes all in 2017.

In 2015, Happily was foaled on the 27th of February out of You’resothrilling. She went on to win the Silver Flash Stakes, Moyglare Stud Stakes and the Prix Jean-Luc Lagadère all in 2017. As well as the Cartier Champion Two Year Old Filly in 2017.

Also foaled in 2017, we have Kew Gardens who was foaled on the 20th of January out of Chelsea Rose. He won the Zetland Stakes in 2017, the Queen’s Vase, Grand Prix de Paris and St Leger in 2018 as well as the British Champions Long Distance Cup in 2019. In June 2020, it was announced that Kew Gardens would retire from racing and stand at Castlehyrde Stud with a 2021 Stud Fee of €5,000.

Another horse foaled in 2015, was Magical who was foaled on the 18th of May out of Halfway to Heaven. She went on to win the Debutante Stakes in 2017, the Kilboy Estate Stakes and British Champions Fillies & Mares Steaks in 2018. The Alleged Stakes, Mooresbridge Stakes, Tattersalls Gold Cup, Irish Champion Stakes and Champion Stakes in 2019, followed by the Tattersalls Gold Cup, Irish Champion Stakes and Pretty Polly Stakes in 2020. In December 2020, connections announced that Magical would be retired to become a broodmare.

We now move into 2016. On the 19th of May Anthony Van Dyck was foaled out of Believe’N’Succeed. He went on to win the Tyros Stakes and Futurity Stakes in 2018, the Derby Trial Stakes and Epsom Derby in 2019 and the Prix Foy in 2020. Unfortunately Anthony Van Dyck was put to sleep on the 3rd of November 2020 when he broke down in the Melbourne Cup at only 4 years old.

On the 22nd of February 2016, Japan was foaled out of Shastye. He went on to win the Beresford Stakes in 2018 and the King Edward VII Stakes, Grand Prix de Paris and International Stakes in 2019. He failed to win in 5 attempts as a four year old in 2020.

Another horse foaled in 2016 was Search For A Song out of Polished Gem. She went on to win the Galtres Stakes and Irish St Leger in 2019 and the Irish Leger again in 2020.

Now onto 2017, we have Love who was foaled on the 13th of April 2017 out of Pikaboo. She won the Silver Flash Stakes and Moyglare Stud Stakes in 2019 and the 1,000 Guineas, Epsom Oaks and Yorkshire Oaks in 2020. As well as winning the Cartier Champion Three Year Old Filly in 2020.

We also have Mogul who was foaled on the 3rd of April 2017 out of Shastye. He has went on to win the Juvenile Stakes in 2019 followed by the Gordon Stakes, Grand Prix de Paris and Hong Kong Vase in 2020.

Peaceful was foaled on the 22nd of January 2017 out of Missvinski, who won the 1,000 Guineas in 2020. As well as Serpentine who was foaled on the 20th of March 2017 out of Remember When, who won the Epsom Derby in 2020.

The final horse to mention is Shale who was foaled on the 26th of March 2018 and in 2020 won both the Silver Flash Stakes and the Moyglare Stud Stakes.


So, all in all, Galileo had a wonderful career, although it was short. He then went on to produce some of the best horses we’ve all had the honour of watching, some of those who have gone on to produce some incredible horses also. Overall we wouldn’t have some of the talented horses we see today if it wasn’t for Galileo. Currently and for many years now, since 2008, Galileo’s Stud Fee has been privately negotiated, but it is believed that he is the most expensive stallion in the world.

In 2016, after Minding won the 1,000 Guineas, Galileo became the sire of winners of all five British Classics. In 2018, there was a rumour that his Stud Fee was as high as €600,000. In August 2018, Galileo passed his own sire’s record of the most European Group races as a sire with Sizzling giving him his 328th. On the 1st of June 2019, Galileo had sired 192 Group winners. In the 2019 Derby, Galileo was the sire, grandsire or great-grandsire of 12 out of 13 runners and was the broodmare sire of the 13th horse. On the 9th of November 2019, Magic Wand became his 84th individual Group/Grade One winner, putting him level with Danehill for the most winners sired.

So, with all of that being said, I can see why so many people love Galileo. I decided to write a post up about him because it was slightly different. He is a people’s horse but mainly for the horses he’s produced, opposed to his own career so I thought it would be interesting to research it all a little more and name some of those incredible horses he has given us.

I enjoyed researching this one and I hope you all enjoyed reading it. This one is a very long one, so I do apologise for that but I felt like it was one I really wanted to do. I shall see you all in my next post!

Kauto Star: What Makes a People’s Horse?

Good Evening!

Welcome to another post in the What Makes a People’s Horse series here at zoelouisesmithx.com. This series is turning out to be a very popular one and I am super excited that I have been given 100+ horses to look into as per my followers on Twitter. So this means I will be continuing to share more posts and focus on horses that have been suggested. Today’s is all about Kauto Star who was suggested to me by 100’s of people, however the first being @G_Carter31 over on Twitter. So without further ado, let’s get right to it!


Kauto Star was foaled 19th March 2000, by Village Star out of Kauto Relka. He was bred by Mrs Henri Aubert in France. Originally he was sent into training in France by Serge Foucher.

Whilst in training with Serge Foucher, Kauto Star made his hurdle debut at Bordeaux Le Bouscat Racecourse in France on the 1st March 2003, where he finished second out of two horses. He then ran again on the 14th April 2003, this time at Enghien where he won, before heading to Auteuil on the 4th May 2003 for another hurdle race over 1 mile 7 furlong where he won again by a head.

After a 146 day break, Kauto Star returned to Auteuil another 3 times during 2003, on the 27th September, 11th October and 2nd November, where he won, fell and placed 2nd respectively. We then head into 2004, after a 126 day break Kauto Star headed to Auteuil another 4 times, on the 7th March, 27th March, 24th April and 30th May, where he finished 3rd, 5th, 3rd and 1st respectively.

During this time, Kauto Star caught the attention of Paul Nicholls who had seen a video of him in action. He arranged to buy Kauto Star through Anthony Bromley, a bloodstock agent in France. Paul then arranged for owner Clive Smith to purchase him for €400,000.

On the 15th November 2004 Kauto Star officially moved to Paul Nicholls’ yard in Ditcheat ready for the 2004/2005 season. His first race in the UK took place on the 29th December 2004 when he headed to Newbury for a Novice Chase with Ruby Walsh taking the ride. Starting as the 2/1 joint favourite, Kauto Star won by 9 lengths to the other joint favourite Foreman under AP McCoy.

We now move into 2005 and on the 31st January Kauto Star headed to Exeter where he finished 2nd out of 2 finishers in a Novice Chase with Ruby Walsh riding as the 2/11 favourite behind Mistral De La Cour (20/1) for Andrew Thornton.

Kauto Star took a 274 day break, before returning to Exeter on the 1st November 2005, again with stable jockey Ruby Walsh riding. He started at 3/1 for the Grade 2 Haldon Gold Cup Chase, where he finished 2nd behind Monkerhostin (10/1) for Richard Johnson and Philip Hobbs. On the 3rd December, Kauto Star headed to Sandown for the Grade 1 Tingle Creek, where he started as the 5/2 joint favourite with Mick Fitzgerald taking the ride. He ended up winning by 1 1/2 lengths to the other joint favourite Ashley Brook for AP McCoy.

With his first Grade 1 under his belt, Kauto Star took a 102 day break before heading straight to the Cheltenham Festival in 2006 on the 15th March for the Queen Mother Champion Chase. He started as the 2/1 favourite under Ruby Walsh, however ended up taking his first fall on British soil. Paul then gave Kauto Star a 221 summer break before heading to Aintree on the 22nd October 2006 for the Grade 2 Old Roan Chase where, under Ruby Walsh, he won as the Evens favourite, beating stable companion Armaturk (13/2) by 21 lengths.

Kauto Star then headed to the Betfair Chase at Haydock on the 18th November 2006 where he won as the 11/10 favourite under Ruby Walsh. Kauto then made a reappearance in the Tingle Creek at Sandown on the 2nd December to try and retain his title. Successfully doing so by winning by 7 lengths as the odds on 4/9 favourite, again with Ruby Walsh. Next for Kauto Star was the second leg of the Stayers Chase Triple Crown, the King George Chase on Boxing Day 2006, where he won by 8 lengths as the 8/13 favourite, again under Ruby Walsh.

Heading into 2007, Kauto Star went to Newbury on the 10th February for the Grade 2 Aon Chase. As the odd on 2/9 favourite, again under Ruby Walsh, Kauto Star won by a neck to AP McCoy on L’Ami (6/1). We then move on to the third and final leg of the Stayers Chase Triple Crown, the Cheltenham Gold Cup at the Cheltenham Festival on the 16th March 2007. With Ruby Walsh on board and starting the race as the 5/4 favourite, the pressure was well and truly on. Everybody had their hearts in their mouths when he hit the final fence, however, he stayed on strong and won by 2 1/2 lengths to AP McCoy on Exotic Dancer. By winning the Betfair Chase, King George and Gold Cup, Kauto Star won the Stayers Chase Triple Crown £1 million bonus and also finished the season as the top rated chaser.

Kauto Star then took a 226 day, very well deserved, summer break, before returning to Aintree on the 28th October 2007 to try and retain his Old Roan Chase crown. Unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be. Kauto Star with Ruby Walsh on board, finished second as the 11/10 favourite, 1 1/2 lengths behind Monet’s Garden (9/4). He then headed to Haydock to retain the Betfair Chase title, this time under Sam Thomas due to regular jockey Ruby Walsh being out injured with a dislocated shoulder. He started the race as the odd on 4/5 favourite where he beat Barry Geraghty riding Exotic Dancer. We then move on to the King George on Boxing day 2007, where Kauto Star aimed to retain his next crown. With regular jockey Ruby Walsh returning to take the ride, they started as the odd on 4/6 favourite, winning easily by 11 lengths to Our Vic (12/1).

Swiftly moving into 2008, Kauto Star took a 52 day break, before returning to the track, this time at Ascot on the 16th February for the Grade 1 Ascot Chase. He started as the 4/11 favourite with Ruby Walsh taking the ride. At this point in the career, stable jockey Ruby Walsh had announced his intention to ride Kauto Star in the Gold Cup opposed to Denman, who Sam Thomas would be booked to ride. In his final preparation for the Gold Cup, Kauto Star won by 8 lengths to Monet’s Garden (6/1).

The question on everyone’s lips when heading into the Cheltenham Gold Cup on the 14th of March 2008 was if Kauto Star could successfully complete the Stayers Chase Triple Crown once again, or if his very successful and talented stable mate Denman would hinder that. Kauto Star started as the 10/11 favourite to try and retain his crown, with Denman starting at 9/4. With Ruby Walsh riding Kauto Star and Sam Thomas riding Denman, this looked to be a brilliant head to head. Denman took up the race with a circuit to go and ended up winning by 7 lengths, with Kauto Star finishing second by a short head to another stable companion Neptune Collonges (25/1) with Mick Fitzgerald riding. Kauto Star’s season ended at Aintree on the 3rd of April 2008 in a Grade 2 Chase. He started as the 4/7 favourite under Ruby Walsh, where he lost by just a nose to Our Vic (9/1).

We then head into the new season and after a 212 day summer break, Kauto Star headed to Ireland to Down Royal on the 1st of November 2008 for a Grade 1 Champion Chase. He started as the 2/5 favourite with Ruby Walsh taking the ride again. This time beating Mark Walsh on Light On The Broom (50/1) by 11 lengths. Returning back to England, next for Kauto Star was his attempt at another Betfair Chase at Haydock on the 22nd of November. Regular jockey Ruby Walsh was out injured with a ruptured spleen, meaning Sam Thomas took the ride. Starting as the 2/5 favourite, his old fierce competitor Exotic Dancer (7/2) being his main opposition in the betting. Unfortunatly it was not meant to be, with Kauto Star stumbling on landing and unseating Sam Thomas after the last.

Kauto Star then headed to Kempton on Boxing Day 2008 to try and win his third King George. Kauto Star started as the 10/11 favourite with regular jockey Ruby Walsh returning to take the ride. Despite making a mistake at the last, Kauto Star went on to win by 8 lengths to AP McCoy on Albertas Run (25/1).

Moving into 2009, Paul Nicholls made the decision that Kauto Star would best run fresh, so unlike previous season, he would not run again before Cheltenham where he would be aimed for the Gold Cup, again taking on the current holder and stable companion Denman. So after a 77 day break Kauto Star headed to the Gold Cup where he started as the 7/4 favourite with Ruby Walsh taking the ride, with second favourite being Denman at 7/1 and third stable companion Neptune Collonges being 15/2 then Kauto Star’s fierce rival Exotic Dancer at 8/1. Kauto Star moved into the lead after jumping the third last fence, before pulling clear and going on to win by 13 lengths to Denman (7/1). He then ended the season as the top rated steeplechase horse for the second time.

Kauto Star started the new season after a 253 day break, heading to the Betfair Chase at Haydock on the 21st November 2009. He started the race as the 4/6 odds on favourite with Ruby Walsh riding. Kauto Star and Imperial Commander were 24 lengths clear from Madison Du Berlais, with Kauto Star winning by just a nose to Imperial Commander (9/1). Kauto Star then headed straight to Kempton on Boxing Day to attempt to win his fourth consecutive King George VI Chase. With Ruby Walsh riding again, starting as the 8/13 favourite, Kauto Start went clear with three fences left to jump, before eventually winning by 36 lengths to Madison Du Berlais (10/1). Winning by such a distance, meant he broke Arkle’s 44 year old record of winning by 30 lengths which directly lead to a rule change dispensing with the traditional winning distance of “a distance” which had previously been used for wins of more than 30 lengths.

After winning the King George for a 4th time, Kauto Star was awarded a Racing Post Rating of 192, the highest ever earned by a Nation Hunt horse. Timeform also gave him a rating of 191, the highest given to a horse in almost 40 years. This made him the joint third highest rated steeplechase of all time, level with Mill House and only behind Arkle who was rated 212 and Flyingbolt who was rated 210. Kauto Star was officially rated 193, which is the highest ever awared to a chaser.

We now move into 2010. After an 83 day break, Kauto Star headed straight to the Cheltenham Festival Gold Cup on the 19th of March. With Ruby Walsh taking the ride again, he started as the 8/11 favourite. He travelled well throughout, before crashing through the 8th fence which knocked him back a few places. Then at the fourth to last fence, in fifth place, Kauto Star fell awkwardly, landing on his neck. Luckily, he got to his feet, looking unscathed. When he returned to the unsaddling area, he was applauded by everyone in the grandstands who were just happy he had survived an awful fall to fight another day.

After a 232 day break, Kauto Star headed to Down Royal for a Grade 1 Champion Chase. He started as the 4/7 favourite under Ruby Walsh and went on to win by 4 lengths to Sizing Europe (5/1).

With the Kempton Boxing Day meeting being postponed due to snow, the King George took place on the 15th of January 2011 and this is where Kauto Star headed next. With regular jockey Ruby Walsh being injured, Champion Jockey AP McCoy came in for the ride. Starting the race as the 4/7 favourite, unfortunately he could only manage a 3rd place behind winner Long Run (9/2) and second place Riverside Theatre (10/1), both trained by Nicky Henderson. This was the first time that Kauto Star had finished outside of the top two in a completed race, due to this there were calls for Kauto Star to be retired. After the race, it was discovered that he was suffering from an infection and for the first time in his career, he had bled during the race. However, trainer Paul Nicholls announced that Kauto Star would still be trained for the Cheltenham Gold Cup as originally planned.

So that is exactly what happened, Kauto Star headed straight to the Gold Cup on the 18th of March 2011 after a 62 day break. He started the race at 5/1, meaning for the first time since 2005, he was not starting as the favourite of this race. With Ruby Walsh taking the ride, they only managed a 3rd place behind favourite Long Run (7/2F) and stable companion, Denman (8/1). Kauto Star headed to Punchestown on the 4th of May 2011 for the Punchestown Gold Cup. He started as the 10/11 favourite under Ruby Walsh, however ended up being pulled up with Ruby Walsh saying he was “never travelling”. As before, Kauto Star was applauded as he returned to the stables.

After being pulled up at Punchestown, the call for Kauto Star to be retired were even stronger than before. However, connections said that their intention was to bring him back into training after a summer break and assess his condition to see if he could continue, only if they were happy with his physical and mental wellbeing.

Kauto Star took a 199 day summer break, before heading to Haydock on the 19th of November to compete in the Betfair Chase where he started the race at his longest odds in his UK career at 6/1 under Ruby Walsh. Kauto Star made this is fourth victory in this race, winning by 8 lengths to the favourite Long Run (6/5F). Kauto Star had now won the Betfair Chase in 2006, 2007, 2009 and now 2011, meaning that he became the only horse to have won two different Grade 1 jump races four times, with the other being the King George, which he had won in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. Speaking of the King George, that is what came next for Kauto Star on Boxing Day 2011. Starting at 3/1, Kauto Star with Ruby Walsh riding, beat the Evens favourite Long Run, by 1 1/4 lengths.

In 2012 the main aim was to go straight to the Gold Cup. However at the end of February, Paul Nicholls announced that Kauto Star had suffered a fall during routine schooling at Ditcheat, which put his Gold Cup hopes in doubt. However, after intensive physiotherapy and walking exercise, he showed a rapid improvement and just a week before the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Kauto Star headed to Wincanton for a racecourse gallop. Here, he pleased connections and the decision was finally made that he would run in the Gold Cup. He started the Gold Cup at 3/1 under Ruby Walsh, however he was pulled up with Ruby Walsh saying he was “not stretching out”. No major injury was revealed, however owner Clive Smith made comments that he would most likely be retired.

As expected, at the end of October 2012, Kauto Star’s retirement was announced. With owner Clive Smith saying:

He’s had a magnifficant career and I’m mighty proud of him. We’ve decided to retire him as of today. I’d always thought he had done enough. It’s been the journey of a lifetime. He’s a wonderful, wonderful horse and a good friend of mine.”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/horse-racing/20137124

And trainer Paul Nicholls saying:

Clive and I had been talking about it during the summer. We both knew it was the right thing to do, it was an unanimous decision. We have had nine superb years with the horse but, after seeing him in his work these past few weeks, myself, Clifford (Baker, head lad) and Dan (Skelton, assistant trainer) were of the opinion that the time had arrived to retire him. Of course, as owner, the final decision rested with Clive, but he agreed that the horse had done enough.”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/horse-racing/20137124

Paul also described the horse as:

He’s definitely one of the greatest, it’s hard to compare generations but in my lifetime he’s been the best and probably will be the best.”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/horse-racing/20137124

With Ruby Walsh, Kauto Star’s regular jockey also commenting on him:

He’s the horse of my lifetime. I’m very lucky to be the one who got to ride him. He was an amazing horse to ride and an amazing horse to be part of and I loved every minute of riding him.”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/horse-racing/20137124

And Mick Fitzgerald, who rode Kauto Star in his 2005 win in the Tingle Creek saying:

You’d have to say Kauto Star is right up there with the best (there’s ever been).”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/horse-racing/20137124

When being retired, trainer Paul Nicholls and owner Clive Smith disagreed on what should happen with Kauto Star now. On the 11th of December 2012, Kauto Star left Ditcheat and was sent to Laura Collett and Yogi Breisner, who coached the Great Britain dressage team, who assessed him to determine if he would be suitable for their sport. At the time, owner Clive Smith said of Paul Nicholls:

He is trying emotional blackmail, saying that Kauto Star would be better off staying at Ditcheat to be Clifford Baker’s hack. I always want to do the best for Kauto Star. We are going to try it, what is wrong with that?”

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/horseracing/9738182/Kauto-Star-dressage-row-sparks-split-between-Clive-Smith-and-Paul-Nicholls.html

After going through his incredible career, I am going to go into a few facts about Kauto Star, so lets just jump into it.

Firstly, let’s go through Kauto Star’s race record

21/11F2353/112/21F/111111/211122/1U11/11F/133/P11P/

So let’s now sum those numbers up!

41 Races
23 x 1st
7 x 2nd
4 x 3rd
1 x 5th
3 x Fall
1 x Unseated Rider
2 x Pulled Up

So, all in all, Kauto Star won over £3.7 million pounds in prize money including a £1 million bonus for winning the Stayers Chase Triple Crown and a £400,000 reward for heading the BHA Table of Merit, both in the 2006/2007 season. In his career, Kauto Star won the Gold Cup twice in 2007 and 2009, he won the Betfair Chase 4 times in 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2011 and he won the King George a record of five times in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011.

On the 24th of June 2015, it was announced that Kauto Star was seriously injured when taking a fall in his paddock. He was sent to the Valley Equine Hospital where he received intensive medical treatment over the weekend. However multiple injuries were to severe and on the 29th of June at 3pm, Kauto Star was sadly put to sleep. The veterinary assistant, Hattie Lawrence, reporting that:

Three bones appear to have been fractured. There also appears to have been a fracture to the spine at the base of the neck. This ultimately was the most significant injury as it produced the paralysis that made it impossible for him to stand.”

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2015/jun/30/kauto-star-put-down-badly-injured-fall

With Laura Collett saying:

It’s an honour and a privilege to have been involved with him and had him in the yard. It’s just horrendous. He was out in the field, the same field he was out in very day, we don’t really know what happened.”

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2015/jun/30/kauto-star-put-down-badly-injured-fall

Owner Clive Smith also commenting:

I was away at the time. I saw him on Friday and by that time he’d had what appeared to be a mild injury, but things gradually changed. He was not responding to treatment on Thursday and Friday and various complications came over the weekend. Although he made an improvement and rallied, as he always did in races, on Monday morning it was very bad. I came back down from Scotland and the decision was taken with Hattie Lawrence to euthanise the horse.

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2015/jun/30/kauto-star-put-down-badly-injured-fall

Clive Smith then went on to describe the last few minutes with him:

The real injury that has caused the problem is a neck injury, at the base of the neck between C6 and T2 (vertebrae). It affects the spinal chord and in the end, it paralyses through the legs. When I saw him yesterday afternoon, he was lying there and I fed him some grass and stroked him and tried to spend the last few minutes with him. The decision had to be taken an there was no other course of action to take. Unfortunately he was not able to stand and then he had the pelvic injury.”

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2015/jun/30/kauto-star-put-down-badly-injured-fall

Clive Smith also commented on Kauto Star and how much he was truly loved:

He had a beautiful nature and he will be sadly missed by a lot more people than you could ever imagine. The response I used to get around the racecourses, people used to come and talk about him all the time. He really has been well loved by everybody and I’m sure he’ll continue to be so. He just loved the attention, he was a little bit of a show off. He liked being stroked and given lots of Polos. He was a particularly extrovert type of horse and he was so talented as well, which makes it all the more difficult to take in. I just feel so sorry he didn’t have chance to have a longer life.”

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2015/jun/30/kauto-star-put-down-badly-injured-fall

So, in summary, Kauto Star was a ridiculously talented horse and will always go down as one of the most successful steeplechasers in racing. He won some huge races, had some massive rivalries but all in all was just an incredible horse all round. I was lucky enough to grow up watching Kauto Star as a child with my dad, I don’t remember much, but researching this post I have sat watching YouTube videos and I have loved it. The crowd go wild each time and it’s clear to see how loved he was, is and always will be.


I really hope you all enjoyed this post and I will hopefully see you all in my next one!