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.
Sadly, the record five-time King George VI Chase and two-time Cheltenham Gold Cup winner died recently after an accident in retirement. 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. 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. 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.
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Here you will also find profiles of Time form’s greatest ever racehorses under Flat, Chasers and Hurdlers categories. Visit the main article here for the full index of the greats covered.
Each year Time form nominates its Champions in Europe in the Racehorses annual, a series which dates back to 1948. Time form profile Frankel, whose rating of 147 is the highest awarded to a Flat horse.
He has literally won everything in front of him, becoming the first horse since Red Rum to win back-to-back Grand Nationals in April. At the Cheltenham Festival in March he extended his winning streak to a record-equalling 18 races with a second consecutive success in the Queen Mother Champion Chase.
He had shown plenty of quality in the past, but few believed he could come out on top and see off the challenge of several great horses including Buyer D’Air and Apple’s Jade in the Champion Hurdle. Owner Andrew Smell has been blind since birth and has never seen a racehorse, yet he appears to have an understanding of the horse.
Paisley Park almost died two years ago from a serious illness yet for trainer Emma LaBelle and Aidan Coleman, he has now provided two Group One wins. He came up against Daughter at the Cheltenham Festival in the Stayers’ Hurdle in March, and though he never looks the classiest of horses, he battles and always finds a way to get to the finishing line first.
Pent land Hills was the surprise winner of the Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival as he saw off the challenge of Cover Sublime and Gardens of Babylon to take the crown. The story around the winner is all the more special with the owners having to pay just £57 a year to own the horse, which is part of a 3,000 strong syndicates.
Blue Point made it back-to-back triumphs in the King’s Stand on Tuesday at Royal Ascot and that cements him as one of the top horses around at this moment in time Following that victory, trainer Charlie Apple by confirmed Blue Point will be retired, ending his career as one of the most successful horses around.
A Queen’s Vase and Good wood Cup win as a three-year-old was just the start of a blossoming career and what he achieved next was simply sublime. He ended that year with a win of the Long Distance Cup on British Champions Day at Ascot.
Calyx unfortunately wasn’t able to run at Royal Ascot this year after sustaining a pastern injury, but is still undoubtedly one of the horses set for a bright future. As a three-year-old he started the year in fine fettle with a Pavilion Makes win over No Nonsense and Once.
Musician Dominic Behan paid tribute to the legend of the track in his song 'Ankle'; and the Republic of Ireland awarded him his own postage stamp in 1981. With the days of Ankle and Red Rum gone by, the national hunt scene desperately needed a new equine hero and Best Mate was happy to oblige.
The gelding from the training stables of Henrietta Knight burst onto the scene in 2000 as a five-year-old and began immediately to collect high honors, chasing records and precedents set by his famous predecessors. Due to health concerns his connections decided to pull Best Mate from the race and retired him after a three-year rampage across the leader boards of the sport.
Man O'War debuted as a two-year-old in 1919 at the Sanford Memorial Stakes; he was the last off the starting line, was put into disastrous disadvantageous positions by his inexperienced jockey and made second place. To this day descendants of Man O'War can be found on the world's racetracks, carrying on the brilliance of their progenitor to audiences of today.
Although Nijinsky was foaled on a stud farm in Canada, he was an immensely influential member of the Irish and English horse racing scene. At the end of his three-year-old season, Nijinsky was retired to a Kentucky farm and went on to enjoy a long and successful career as a stallion.
As a colt, seemingly a pre-requirement for a legendary racer, Par Lap was seen as so ill-built and unsuited for a racing career that owner David Davis refused to pay for his training. Luckily Davis' trainer Harry Tel ford was so desperate to keep the business relationship alive that he agreed to train young Par Lap for free.
In 1929 Par Lap recorded his first victory in his very first career race under a teenage apprentice jockey; in September of the same year he scored a second place in the Chelmsford Stakes. Although his second performance put him on the map as an able race horse, Par Lap proceeded to construct a truly stellar career.
However, the secret of Par Lap's success was unveiled in the autopsy following his death; his heart was much larger than that of a regular horse. What makes this outstanding thoroughbred's achievements even more remarkable, unnecessarily, is that Red Rum suffered from bone disease in his foot, a life-long condition which he never allowed to disable him.
The gorgeous thoroughbred won sixteen of his twenty-one career starts and was showered in honors like no other race horse in the history of the sport. Racing Hall Of Fame in 1974, and into the Kentucky Athletic Hall Of Fame in 2007; streets are named after him in Napa, California and Howell, New Jersey; since 1999 one can purchase Secretariat as a postage stamp; statues in his honor are erected at Kentucky Horse Park and Belmont Park; and Secretariat is currently ranked second in the list of Top 100 Racehorses Of The 20th Century, beaten only by Man O'War.