The History of the English Triple Crown

Good Evening!

Welcome to a new post here at zoelouisesmithx.com, today’s post is all about the history of the English Triple Crown which will soon be up on us. Let’s jump right into it!


The English Triple Crown is a three race competition which consists of the 2000 Guineas Stakes (1 mile), The Epsom Derby (1 & 1/2 miles) and the St Leger Stakes (1 mile, 6 furlongs & 127 yards.)

The term originated in 1853, before the American version, when West Australian won all three races in the same season. Since then, only 15 horses have completed the English Triple Crown, so let’s have a little look through the years!

In 1862, The Marquis came close when winning the 1st and 3rd legs, the 2000 Guineas and St Leger Stakes. The next year in 1863, Macaroni then came close when winning the first two legs, the 2000 Guineas and the Epsom Derby. The following year in 1864, Blair Athol won the 2nd and 3rd legs, the Epsom Derby and the St Leger Stakes. But it was in 1865 when the next successful Triple Crown winner would emerge, that being Gladiateur who successfully won all 3 races, followed swiftly in 1866 by Lord Lyon who also won all 3.

Ten years later in 1876, we seen Petrarch win the 1st and 3rd legs, the 2000 Guineas and St Leger Stakes, the following year in 1877, Silvio won the 2nd and 3rd legs, the Epsom Derby and St Leger Stakes. It was then 1881 until another horse came close when Iroquois won legs 2 and 3, the Epsom Derby and St Leger Stakes. The following year in 1882, Shotover won the 2000 Guineas and the Epsom Derby but could not complete the Triple Crown. In 1885 Melton won the Epsom Derby and the St Leger Stakes but it was the following year of 1886 when we would see a new Triple Crown winner when Ormonde won the three big races.

In 1889, another horse called Donovan won 2 of the 3 races, those being leg 2 – The Epsom Derby and leg 3 – the St Leger Stakes. However it would be 1891 when another horse became a Triple Crown winner and that horse would be a horse called Common who successfully won all 3 races, followed very quickly by Isinglass in 1893 who also managed to win all three races.

Ladas would be the next horse to come close when winning the 2000 Guineas and the Epsom Derby in 1894. With Sir Visto in 1895 and Persimmon in 1896 both winning the Epsom Derby and St Leger Stakes. The following year in 1897, Galtee More became the 7th horse to complete the Triple Crown, followed very quickly by an 8th winner in Flying Fox in 1899, and a 9th being Diamond Jubilee in 1900.

In 1902, Sceptre won the 1st leg – the 2000 Guineas and the 3rd leg – the St Leger Stakes, but the following year in 1903 we would see the 10th Triple Crown winner crowned when Rock Sand completed the treble. In 1904, St Amant won the first two legs, the 2000 Guineas and the Epsom Derby however not the third, followed by Minoru in 1909 and Sunstar in 1911 who both also won legs 1 and 2 but not the third.

We then seen the 11th, 12th and 13th Triple Crown winners come very quickly, with Pommern in 1915, Gay Crusader in 1917 and Gainsborough in 1918.

In 1925, Manna then won the 2000 Guineas and Epsom Derby but not the St Leger Stakes, followed by Coronach in 1926 and Trigo in 1929 who both won the Epsom Derby and St Leger Stakes. In 1931, Cameronian won the 2000 Guineas and Epsom Derby, with Hyperion in 1933 and Windsor Lad in 1934 both winning the Epsom Derby and St Leger Stakes. The following year in 1935, the 14th Triple Crown winner was crowned when Bahram completed the treble successfully.

In 1939, potentially another horse could have won the Triple Crown when Blue Peter won the 2000 Guineas and the Epsom Derby, however the St Leger Stakes was cancelled due to World War II beginning, so I guess we’ll never know if he could have gone on to be in the history books.

It would then be 1949 before another horse came close when Nimbus won the first two legs, however could not complete the treble. This was followed by Tulyar in 1952 and Never Say Die in 1954 who both won leg 2 and leg 3. In 1957, Crepello then also won the first two legs, but not the third. 3 years later in 1960, St. Paddy then won legs 2 and 3. In 1968, Sir Ivor came close when winning the first two races but not the third. But it would be 1970 when the 15th and final Triple Crown winner was crowned and that was, of course, Nijinsky.

Since the final winning being crowned in 1970, there has been Reference Point who won legs 2 and 3 in 1987, Nashwan who won legs 1 and 2 in 1989, Sea the Stars who won legs 1 and 2 in 2009 and Camelot who also won legs 1 and 2 in 2012.

So, to sum that up, Nijinsky is the only horse to win the Triple Crown post World War II and one of the main reasons for this is the fact that most owners do not attempt to run their horses in the St Leger Stakes as the race is longer and it may diminish the horses stud value in the future. Interestingly enough, no horses that have won the first two races between 1987 and 2012, those being Nashwan, Sea the Stars and Camelot were actually entered into the St Leger Stakes.


So the real question is… Will there ever be another Triple Crown winner again? From my research, I think it would take a very talented horse but also a gutsy owner and trainer for a horse to win all three races again, but never say never. In racing, we all know that anything is possible.

I really enjoy researching the history of these big races and from my viewing figures my readers enjoy them too, so I hope you all enjoyed this one and I will see you all in my next post on Saturday at 11am!

Running Rein: The Disqualified Epsom Derby Winner

Hi Guys!

Welcome to a new post in my Horse Racing History series. Today’s is a shorter post, however I found it very interesting so thought I would share!

On July 1st 1844, The Epsom Derby was run as normal, or so everybody thought… Let’s get straight into it.

For some context, the Derby is a race held every year, starting in 1780 and as continued up until today. The race itself is a race that is run over one mile, four furlongs and 6 yards and is open to three year old colts and fillies and is classed as one of the Classics of the flat racing season.

In the weeks leading up to the 1844 running of The Derby, rumours had started circling in regards to two attempts to substitute three year old horses with similar horses who were four years old and much stronger and mature. At the time Lord George Bentinck who was a well known gambler and owner as well as owning his own stables, sent formal objections to the Epsom Stewards alongside multiple other racehorse owners. However the Jockey Club refused to act.

Nevertheless, The Derby was run as normal. Running Rein owned by Abraham Levi Goodman won The Derby, beating Orlando. However, all was not as it seemed. When returning to the paddock, suspicion was raised by idol gossip of those in attendance, so severe were these suspicions that the horse and jockey were both greeted with catcalls and jeers when returning to the winners circle.

Following the on-going rumours, Lord George Bentinck filed suit on behalf of the runner up, Orlando’s, owners. They declared that they believed the winner, ‘Running Rein’ was not in fact 3 years old and further than that, that ‘Running Rein’ was not even ‘Running Rein’, he was in fact a four year old horse named Maccabeus.

A little later on, a London courtroom was packed out by horse racing enthusiasts who sat through hours and hours of testimony as to the vetting of ‘Running Rein’. This included a local hairdresser who sold hair dye to disguise tell-tale markings on the horse in question. The owner of the horse Abraham Levi Goodman, was told to show the horse to the court. His lawyers at this point admitted that ‘Running Rein’ had vanished and that their client had, for the first time, conceded that ‘some fraud had been practiced’.

It was described by the Solicitor General as ‘a gross and scandalous fraud’. At this point it was deemed that Abraham Levi Goodman was so desperate to win The Derby that he had brought four year old Maccabeus to run in the place of Running Rein. Previous to Goodman buying this horse he had been entered to run in races under his own name, so to keep the lie under wraps, he brought a five year old horse to compete as Maccabeaus. As Maccabeaus was four years old and there had been a massive case of fraud, ‘Running Rein’ was disqualified and the race was awarded to the original runner up, Orlando.

It was later found that this was done, not only to win The Derby, but also due to a monstrous betting ring who had plans to defraud bookmakers. Following one of the biggest scandals in racing, even to today, Lord George Bentinck made strenuous efforts to eliminate fraud within the sport. He proposed a set of rules to cover racing to limit the corruption involved in making and settlement of bets. Another interesting fact is that he is credited with inventing the flag start at race meetings, when introducing this at a race meeting at Goodwood. Prior to this, races were always started by the starter shouting. Just two years after the incident happened, he committed himself to his political career due to his father reportedly disapproving of his activity within racing and gambling, so he sold his entire stable and racing team for just £10,000Reportedly this was a very very low price for the facilities he had at the time.

I tried to research into what had actually happened to the real Running Rein, however I could not find any information whatsoever as to where he was or what had happened to him.


A little bit shorter than my regular posts, but I found this one interesting and thought I would share. Racing has come a long way since back then and there is no way that this would happen in today’s day and age. I hope you all enjoyed this story as much as I did!

An Interview with Ben Curtis

Ben Curtis

Hey guys!

Today I am bringing you an interview with flat jockey Ben Curtis. I really hope you enjoy!

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

Ben: I think my favourite win so far was an early one. The Irish Lincoln on Drombeg Dawn at the Curragh. It was a race that helped kick start my career on a bigger scale.

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

Ben: A horse I was close to working for John Oxx at the time, Sea The Stars was a horse I would have loved to have ridden in a race. He oozed class in all aspects.

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

Ben: I believe as a sport we have bent over backwards to co-operate with all of the bad publicity this subject receives. There is no whips in racing as it is! We are using pillows on sticks. They do not cause any pain only persuade horses through sound. Either way they are always going to be needed for safety purposes and I believe that as long as we, as jockeys, stay within the rules and guidelines that are currently set, the current situation should not be looked at again to appease anyone and we now need to stand our ground on this matter.

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?

Ben: As a jockey I believe it’s hard for anyone to stick to a routine diet with the amount of travelling involved, logistically it is near impossible to plan. Personally I don’t eat breakfast and would often miss lunch. But I love an evening meal and I live by the philosophy once you burn more than you put in then you won’t put on weight. It’s very simple.

Me: What would you say to anyone who thinks racing is animal cruelty?

Ben: Anyone who considers horse racing as cruel are misinformed and uneducated on the matter. These horses receive five star treatment. They are bred to do a job and love what they do. And a visit to any racing stables will highlight the regard and love these horses receive.

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

Ben: It all depends on what you plan for the year. Whether it is to take some downtime in the winter, attack the all weather or focus on jobs abroad. Downtime for me is rare as I like to keep busy and competitive throughout the year. But when I do, I like to spend time with my family and love a day out with a few beers and music with friends and depending on the amount of beers a possible dance.

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

Ben: Mick Kinane was always my idol, but presently looking up to Ryan Moore and Frankie (Dettori) two completely different characters but both masters of their trade.

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

Ben: I’m not pinpointing one but there are a few, the Nunthope as I love York, the Derby or any race at Royal Ascot. 

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

Ben: My main goal first and foremost is riding winners but a group one is my ultimate and what I put all the work in with a view of achieving.

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

Ben: I think Lord Of The Lodge is a classy animal and when the ground is soft a horse called Ainsdale could turn into a high class sprinter.

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

Ben: York and Ascot are both exceptional tracks to ride and both get large crowds and have an atmosphere to boot. 

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

Ben: If you are lucky enough to pursue a job or career that you love, put in the hours, do the work and don’t give up. There are a lot of downs in any career choice but once the highs outweigh them you are on the right track. Always look at where your going, not where you’ve been!

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Firstly, I want to say a massive thank you to Ben for taking some time out to speak with me. He gave some brilliant answers and I really enjoyed this one, I hope you guys enjoyed it too!

I will see you all next Saturday at 11am for An Interview with Max Kendrick!

An Interview with Jamie Spencer

Jamie Spencer

Hey guys!

Today I am bringing you an interview with Jamie Spencer who has achieved brilliant things within the sport. I hope you enjoy this little insight to him!

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

Jamie: Riding a winner at Cheltenham on Pizarro, lots of other more important flat races but jump racing I was born into as my father won the Champion Hurdle.

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

Jamie: Boring selection, but obviously Frankel. He’s been the best horse of my lifetime.

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

Jamie: If it’s not broken, then don’t fix it. Horses are herd animals and generally run together as a pack to see who’s the best, then they need a form of encouragement.

Me: You have won multiple classics in your career as well as being Champion Jockey both in Ireland and Britain, what do you class as your biggest achievement? What are you most proud of this far in your career?

Jamie: Winning the St Leger on Brian Boru in 2003, it was a month after one of my best friends and housemate Kieran Kelly had died from a fall at Kilbeggan.

Me: As a jockey, weight is obviously a huge thing for you guys, is this ever a worry for you?

Jamie: My weight isn’t a major issue so I’m fortunate.

Me: You rode for Aidan O’Brien for a short while as his stable jockey at Ballydoyle, since then he has gone on to break all sorts of records, as have you. How was it working for him?

Jamie: He’s clearly broken all the records, been a genius in the sport. We are all older and wiser now and thankfully he’s supported me to win many Grade 1’s since then.

Me: What would you say to anyone who thinks racing is animal cruelty?

Jamie: We all start in racing because we love the horses, that sentiment never leaves, from a personal point of view.

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

Jamie: It’s an all year round sport, but as I have gotten older I do more for myself so I take plenty of time off. I can’t complain.

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

Jamie: I admire lots of people for varying reasons. For example, Luke Morris is a tremendous advocate of how there is no substitute for hard work. Then you get Andrea Atzeni who’s naturally a gifted horseman. And then there’s plenty who do very well but if I was an owner I wouldn’t use them, so who’s right and who’s wrong? Racing is all about opinions.

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

Jamie: The Derby.

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

Jamie: I’m on the back nine regards being a jockey, I’ve concentrated on other areas of the sport for many years and hopefully will utilise these efforts in the future. The beauty of racing is nothing is a given.

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

Jamie: I’m particularly hopeful Mohican Heights can progress, but like everything at this time of year, it’s a guessing game.

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

Jamie: Ascot. It’s been good to me and I love going there more than any other track.

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

Jamie: If you want to be involved in racing, there are no short cuts. I believe the jockeys adapt so well as they’re not educated enough to realise it’s madness the hours they put in and living the dream of finding the good horse. Outside of racing, well I know nothing else than this game, but I’m guessing if you follow people like Bill Gates or John Magnier’s advice, you won’t go far wrong.

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As always, firstly I want to thank Jamie for taking the time to speak with me, he is a ridiculously talented jockey who has achieved some incredible things so it was an honour to get the chance to ask him some questions.

I hope you enjoyed!

An Interview with Georgia Cox

Georgia Cox

Hiya guys!

Today’s post is with the lovely Georgia Cox who is currently an apprentice jockey for William Haggas, she has gave a cracking interview with some brilliant, detailed answers and I thoroughly hope you enjoy!

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

Georgia: Theydon Grey’s hat trick on the Knavesmire definitely stands out in my mind. looking back now wish I had of enjoyed those days more, as I know now more often that not things don’t always go to plan or as perfectly as we did. Sheikh Ahmed’s yellow and black silks have always been my favourite, having been able to ride a lot of nice horses for him and his team. So, bringing any of their horses  back to the winner’s enclosure means a lot to me. I have always loved watching Mtoto’s replays who of course is also the sire of the great Shaamit and a huge part of Somerville Lodge history!

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

Georgia: This is probably a biased answer but for me it would be Sea of Class. If anyone had read the newsletter I wrote, they would know my thoughts about her greatness. She had a breathtaking presence, an extraordinary aura and gumption beyond belief. She was just completely unique.

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

Georgia: This topic has been done to a death. For me it’s about as boring as Brexit and the question “what’s it like being a girl race riding” Nothing annoys me more than our sport getting a slating. I have felt a smack by other riders during a tight finish so I know that it does not hurt. Unfortunately, horses can’t speak English so you use actions to explain the game, it’s used to keep them going, to cajole them into line. It’s similar to a boxer getting a slap/receipt from their coach. It’s a means to get them to concentrate. These horses weight 500kgs, the stick is air cushioned and it lands on the thickest bit of flesh when their adrenaline is at a high. They are naturally flight animals, but often when I’m waiting to get the leg up in the mornings, my horse will play with my stick, I could rub it all over their face without them flinching. If they associated it with pain, there is no way I would be able to do that, ill-formed and uneducated perception of the stick is ancient.

Me: You ride for William Haggas, as an apprentice jockey, What is it like working for him?

Georgia: I walked in to Somerville Lodge fresh faced at 16 and very shy. Once I started to find my feet, my passion grew stronger and talking about the horses is how I found my voice. 98% of my vocabulary might be horses but that’s when I’m most confident doing what I love. Our horses have everything they could possibly need from: treadmills; salt boxes; vibe plates; 5 horse walkers; spa’s; physio’s; top class farriers and vets and heat lamps fitted everywhere that is possible. So much thought goes into these animals everyday rituals. Having been nearly 7 years now I know a lot of their pedigrees first hand which I find particularly interesting finding the traits they pass down their family. I know our yard like the back of my hand and everything gets done to the highest standard. Somerville Lodge is where the attention to detail and organisation gets taken to another level our horses certainly live the riches life.

Me: What is your favourite race course and why?

Georgia: I have had some great days at York in the past. The facilities there are top class, it’s a very fair track and the best horse always wins. It’s topped off by always having a good atmosphere too. You can’t ask for much more than that.

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

Georgia: The Derby is the race that every jockey dreams about winning. Even people who are not into racing know about how prestigious the Derby is.

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

Georgia: It’s hard to pick just one right now, so many unexposed raw types with so much potential especially at this time of year when they are all coming back in from their winter holidays. Strengthened up, fresh and raring to go. The dream is very much intact for all. They are getting back into their individual routines suited best for them so we are all hoping that ducklings have turned into swans and their top class pedigrees shine through.

Me: What would you say to anyone who thinks racing is animal cruelty?

Georgia: As mentioned above, I’ve been at Somerville Lodge since I was 16 so I can only say based on our yard and if every yard is like ours, no one would dare question the welfare of our horses. We look after our horses better than we do ourselves,  the minute details never go amiss for each individual horse. I know every single one of our horses from sight, pedigree, conformation, character and racing form. These horses are the best looked after animals in the country. If you ever look through the photos in our phones you’ll be swamped with so many photos of horses. They truly are the apple of our eyes.

The racing photographers and twitter pages (like Racing tales/Micheal Harris) should also be commended as pictures can say a thousand words, the moments captured between grooms and horse you can see the love in there eyes. Good twitter pages should be shown support by the likes of itv racing to get more people hooked deeper into the history of the sport.  I think all the yards should be more transparent and you will find more video gems like the Harry Bentley in the stalls to go viral, as things like that happen constantly everyday.

There are so many stories in racing that should get made into movies like Frankel is great but I’d love to see one on the great Sir Henry Cecil himself and how inspiring his journey was. To hit the heights that he did, to then go between 2000 – 2006 not having a single group 1 winner in 2005 only trained a dozen winners to go from 200 horses shrank to 50 how he came back from that is an inspirational story that everyone could do with!

Racing tickets should be cheaper and there should be more competitions for people to win tickets/ merchandise. We are always happy to see more young people to cherish the roots of racing instead of just going for the music concert after. All the good that our sport does could do with being exposed more. There are so many issues with social media and young people these days. Horses are an escape from that. They don’t judge you, they don’t care what you look like or how many followers you have. You see when you have such a strong passion about something, it gives you something to focus on, when other in life is going wrong it’s something to turn too, perhaps even a sense of purpose and direction in life, these days so much of our lives are consumed into staring endlessly at our phones that seem to takes over so much of our lives. when social media gets to much you can always count on the horses to be there waiting for you, they are always happy to see you and can only be good for mental health.

These equine athletes earn us a living and none of them owe us anything. Every horse that comes through our yard, I follow their journey after they leave wherever that might be that they go to. I have many pictures of them in retirement. They give us a reason to get up in the morning. I, like so many others would be lost without these animals. It’s not a job, it’s a lifestyle. A contagious, infectious, addictive lifestyle. It’s a passion like no other. It’s a game like no other where adrenaline is on tap. It’s living in the fast lane. We are the sport of kings and we shall drown out the nonsense.

Me: What is your favourite day of the racing calendar?

Georgia: Royal Ascot has to be the pinnacle of the sport. Five days packed full of top class racing. So much history and so many superstars, human and equine, have passed under that tunnel. It is where dreams are either made or shattered. It is something that every jockey owner, breeder and trainer want on their CV, a Royal Ascot winner.

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

Georgia: If you have a passion for something, follow it. Mine has taken me all over the world and led me to a pretty exciting life. I believe having a good work ethic can get you anywhere. Life is a marathon not a sprint but have your blinkers on to remain focused and un-distracted from your goals. The quickest way to get somewhere is a straight line after all. Having good people around you is important, as a support system but also to inspire you and help you achieve your best. It’s not what happens in life, it’s about how you deal with it all. Be humble and laugh it off!

Me: You have previously ridden in the Queen’s colours, how special was that for you?

Georgia: It’s something I’ve always dreamed of and hugely proud of, to be able to put her majesty famous silks on, has been an absolute honour and I wish there to be many more times ahead yet!

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Interviewing Georgia was fantastic, she is so open and passionate about the sport it is incredible to see. So firstly, as always, I want to say a massive thank you to Georgia for taking the time out to have a chat with me and answer some questions.

I really hope you have enjoyed this post as much as I did writing it.