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Best Eventing Horses Of All Time

author
Danielle Fletcher
• Sunday, 22 November, 2020
• 9 min read

While our most diligent readers will know the delightful Lena more carries the most British Evening (BE) points since records were digitized, how many of the other top 20 horses can you name? Check your knowledge against our gallery (above) of the top 20 brilliant event horses, based on BE points.

race horses female
(Source: horsetvlive.com)

Contents

These special equine athletes have represented their countries at international championships while competing successfully at the very highest level throughout their long and illustrious careers. Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Ankle, with jockey Pat Gaffe, trainer Tom Draper and the horse’s owner, Anne Duchess of Westminster at the 1965 Spring at the RDS.

The Olympic, world and two- time European champions have broken every record, but, best of all, ‘Blueberry’ has a delightful temperament and adores the lap of honor. Ridden by Ginny Colgate (now Elliot), he won Badminton, Burgher, world and European titles, plus two Olympic medals in 1984.

Played 13 high-goal seasons consecutively from 1998 with Argentine brothers Matías and Pablo McDonough; the former says: ‘He had a lot of courage and a big heart. He and Sir Harry Llewellyn won 78 international competitions and captured public imagination with the only British gold medal at the 1952 Olympics.

Galloped into the history books under the legendary Lester Biggest in 1970 by winning the British Triple Crown, a feat that no horse has achieved since. The alliance of this unremarkable-looking but genuine horse and the extraordinary talents of his German rider Michael Jung has rewritten evening history: they’re the first pair to hold Olympic, world and European titles simultaneously.

Gallant Household Cavalry horse that miraculously survived the IRA bombings in Hyde Park in 1982; he underwent eight hours of surgery, becoming a national symbol of defiance against terrorism. A beautiful mover that glided over the turf, his temperament was quiet enough for Clare Balding, his trainer’s two-year-old daughter, to sit on him unattended and was probably what saved him when he broke his leg.

zenyatta race horses horse races racehorses foal history war front racing thoroughbred greatest american most age famous thoroughbreds win mike
(Source: www.casino.org)

Charming gray named after a World Heritage Site, bred and ridden by crack Kiwi horseman Andrew Nicholson. Popular chestnut ridden by household name David Brooke; they won European titles in 1967 and 1969 and a bronze medal at the Mexico Olympics.

A fluent jumper with a potent turn of foot, he was sent to Aidan O’Brien, the up-and-coming trainer of the time, and, after his 1998 debut at Punches town, was sent out favorite for every race he lined up for. The Marquess of Rockingham’s celebrated racehorse makes the list for his heart-stopping image in the National Gallery; Stubby’s 1762 painting is a life size work on the scale usually reserved for kings.

The only horse to have won Great and Little Badminton (with owner Capt Martin Whiteley in 1965), he was the backbone of British teams in a golden era, securing medals galore, including gold at the 1968 and 1972 Olympics. Record-breaking, extravagant-moving black stallion that lifted dressage to a different meridian with Dutch rider Edward Gal until 2010, when he was sensationally sold to Germany for millions.

Handsome, athletic bay gelding forever associated with National Hunt’s great double act, Henrietta Knight and her late husband, Terry Biddlecombe. John Whitaker’s old-fashioned Irish heavyweight had a distinctive white blaze, a swishing tail and a habit of bucking violently after the last fence that was beloved by the public.

The Queen rode Burmese at Trooping the Color 18 times consecutively (1969–86) and comforted her when a member of the crowd fired six blank shots in 1981. Brilliant evener that won Badminton and Burgher, but found real stardom when he and Jane Holderness-Roddam where stunt doubles for Tatum O’Neal and Arizona Pie in the 1978 film International Velvet.

secretariat famous horse triple crown racehorses 1973 preakness race racing winners most horses racehorse stakes ever belmont history legacy six
(Source: puntersport.com)

Even more remarkably, her owner, Robert Silver, a serial womanizer and bankrupt, ran her in unsuitable races simply to refuel his pockets. Back in British dressage’s nondescript days, Jennie Loriston-Clarke’s stallion salvaged honor with our first medal in the sport, bronze, at the 1978 World Championships at Good wood.

The triple Champion Hurdler (1968–1970) was one of the greats despite a catalog of misfortunes, which included losing two teeth in one race and knocking himself out on the back of a hurdle in another. Like a giant, prehistoric Matisse, the 374ft-Bronze Age white horse that leaps across an escarpment on the Berkshire Downs is one of our most uplifting landmarks and has launched a multitude of pub signs.

The Queen’s home-bred, rangy, accident-prone gray was deemed too strong for Princess Anne, but Mark Phillips, who won Badminton on him in 1974, describes him as the best he’s ever ridden. Time form Top Horses of All Time | Greatest Racehorses to use My BetslipPlacing a Single Replacing a Multiple Manage bookmakers Simply click a price on Race Passes, and we’ll take you off to place your bet with your favorite bookmaker.

Select the bookmaker prices you want to display on Race Passes by switching the toggles between show and hide in the Bookmaker Manager, or use the Currently Showing selection screen. Note that Bet fair Exchange prices are available to logged in customers only and are not included in the best odds' calculation.

“Great care is taken to keep the level of Time form ratings consistent from one season to the next” Time form ratings express in terms of pounds the level of form a horse has shown.

horse eventing breeds equestrian history escapes writes jung michael re place
(Source: www.equestrian-escapes.com)

Great care is taken to keep the level of Time form ratings consistent from one season to the next (after due allowance has been made for various factors that might alter the overall picture), so that comparisons between different generations can be made. A horse that achieves a rating of 140 or higher on the Flat can be considered among the greats of the Time form era.

Hawk Wing's spectacularly one-sided victory in the 2003 Judgment Locking Stakes at Newbury, which he won by eleven lengths from Where Or When, was one occasion where Time form's annual rating (136) met with criticism. “Hawk Wing's performance in the Locking created plenty of debate, not least because it raised fundamental issues about how the merit of horses should be assessed.

Many appear to think that handicapping is simply a matter of finding a horse which has run to form--a 'yardstick'--and basing the entire assessment of a race on this assumption... It is just possible, of course, that Hawk Wing himself was the only horse to give his true running at Newbury and that he did not improve upon his previous efforts.

It could, on the other hand, be argued that our assessment of Hawk Wing is conservative, though his rating reflects a single performance and does not define him as the 'champion' of 2003. Other horses over the year, notably Fabric, achieved a greater number of top-class performances.

I watched him jump two 5-foot white gates set 60 feet apart taking only three strides in between. Bold Minstrel was on the evening team in the 1964 Olympics at Tokyo, with Mike Plumb aboard.

horses race
(Source: www.youtube.com)

Bold Minstrel was the easiest keeper you ever saw, and had the affectionate stable name of “Fatty.” After his Olympic evening career, he went show jumping for the U.S. Equestrian Team, ridden by the legendary Bill Standards.

I was willing to dress up like the Phantom of the Opera to watch quality show jumping. It was even more special when Bill Standards came out of the corner next to me on his way to a 6-foot 7-inch nuisance wall.

I still think that when Secretariat made his move at the top of the stretch in the Belmont to win the Triple Crown, he defined equine greatness. I was watching television with a boisterous, knowledgeable crowd of horsemen that afternoon.

We were standing in the shade of the oak trees at the Naperville show grounds. There was the usual horseman's chatter throughout the race, and a fair amount of noise, but when jockey Ron Turnout put his hands down and Big Red began to pull away from a quality field, the crowd fell silent.

That must be the greatest compliment: A group of expert horsemen were struck speechless by sheer compelling, dominating excellence. Equip Biomechanics (a company in Lexington, Ky., that conducts biometrical analyses of Thoroughbreds) says that 2006 Preakness Stakes winner Bernardino had a 26.5 foot stride, while Secretariat had a 24.8 stride.

citation horse triple crown winner horses santa anita derby winners 1950 kentucky racehorses racing race 1948 racehorse working male usa
(Source: puntersport.com)

However, if you look at Secretariat's “splits” (his time per furlong) in the Belmont, you don't see how any horse in the world could beat him. To find out which three horses made Jim's list of top eventinghorses of all time, see the April 2008 issue of Practical Horseman magazine.

Somehow, I missed the hullabaloo over the Beyer Speed Figures given to Bolt d’Or and Paradise Woods recently. In fact, I’m ashamed to say that I only learned of the controversy yesterday, while reading Matt Hess’ fine piece on Bolt d’Or.

And not just a little better, but about three lengths better (based on the point values for various distances outlined in Beyer’s book “Picking Winners”). “If we were to take Bolt d’Or’s time at face value, he would equal the fastest Beyer Speed Figure by a 2-year-old in the last 25 years,” Beyer explained to the Daily Racing Form ’s Marcus Harsh.

I mean, my feeling was, what good is a figure if it doesn’t express the ability of the horses ?” And that, my friends, is the problem: True speed figures don’t necessarily measure ability.

What I fear Beyer has forgotten is that we see great performances from otherwise average (relatively speaking) athletes all the time. He’s a former pitcher for the Oakland A’s who had a career record of 26-36, with a 4.16 earned run average… oh, and he also pitched a perfect game on May 9, 2010.

horses belmont triple crown winners
(Source: bleacherreport.com)

Look, I loved Chinook Pass, and he was named Champion Sprinter of 1983, but in ’82, when he set the world record for five furlongs, he was still a relative unknown to those outside the Pacific Northwest. Hollywood Harbor set the world record at 5 ½ furlongs in an allowance race and his only start outside the state of Washington resulted in a ninth-place finish in the ungraded Harry Henson Stakes at Hollywood Park.

My point here is simply that ability and fast final times aren’t always in alliance. In one instance, I generated a random number between 60 and 120 to represent the raw Beyer Figure assigned in each race.

Interestingly, Gerard and other Beyer team members have bristled at the notion that their numbers have morphed into performance ratings, à la Time form.

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