One of the most popular horses of all time, Red Rum is recognized as one of the finest Thoroughbred steeplechasers of all time. With a historic treble when it won the Grand National in 74, 74 and 77, it came second in both 75 and 76 to what would have been unprecedented levels of victory. However, the fact it won three times and finished up runner-up twice in the hardest race on the horseracing circuit is impressive enough!
Ridden by the likes of Tommy Stack and Brian Fletcher, this horse was known to be an incredible beast of legendary stamina and determination.
It was also known for an incredible jumping capacity, with over 100 races under its belt without a single fall in that period. Indeed, it’s Grand National history is down to that capacity to stay strong. The 1973 comeback is considered by many to be among the finest comebacks in the history of the Grand National. The 77 triumph was voted by a UK poll as the 24th greatest sporting moment to ever take place.
With over £140,000 in winnings taken over a 30-year life, Red Rum was a horse that had an incredible level of potential and output. One of the interesting tales about Red Rum, too, is that famous UK comedian Lee Mack got to his enjoy his first ever riding lesson on the famous steed.
Although the only other major win that Red Rum managed across its career game in the 1974 Scottish National, it still holds a massive statue at Aintree to commemorate a unique life. Also, it has a Red Rum Handicap Chase event that takes place at Aintree.
When it died aged 30, it was front page news on most national newspapers and it was buried at the winning post of Aintree Racecours. It was named as the best-known racehorse in the UK, and could even be credited with saving the Grand National. Interest was waning at the time, but the arrival of Red Rum sparked public interest once again and, thus, the legendary event was saved!
The talented and impressive Nijinsky was a powerful horse that was known as Nijinsky II to most who seen it run. A Canadian-bred and Irish-trained horse, it was a thoroughbred and a sire. At one stage the talk of the European racing scene at the age of two, it went unbeaten in five races. The next season, it wowed audiences by being the first horse in close to four decades to win the prestigious English Triple Crown!
However, the Nijinsky is known for its work as a sire as much as for a glittering career that seen it win close to $700,000 for its jockeys. It helped to establish the reputation of Northern Dancer, one of its sires. It also became, for a time, the leading sire in the whole of Great Britain and Ireland, as well as the top broodmare sire in the whole of North America.
It even had a movie made after it; the 1970 movie known as A Horse Called Nijinsky. It won the Horse of the Millenium award from The Sun, and also has Canadian and Irish events named after it; the Nijinsky Stakes. From 1969-1970, the horse won an incredible 10 major wins, with wins at the likes of the Epsom and Irish Derbies as well as the Railway, Anglesey, Beresford, Dewhurt and Gladness Stakes.
Incredibly, it sired over 155 Stakes/Group winners and is the only sire to have a winner of both the Kentucky and Epsom Derbies in the same year. From the likes of Ferdinand and Golden Fleece to Niniski and Sky Classic, this produced some rather amazing specimens that carried on the noble name long after it had passed on.
Retired to stand at stud at Caliborne Farm near Paris, Kentucky, the mastermind was syndicated in August for close to $5.5m.
Known and respected for a long and dominant career, Nashwan was an American-British thoroughbred horse and sire. Having won two of its first starts by the age of 2, Nashwan soon became one of the most dominant horses of its generation. It won the likes of the 2000 Guineas, the Epsom Derby, the Eclipse Stakes and both the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes. Sadly, the horse lost its retirement race at the Prix Niel, retiring to become a successful sire of winners.
Known for its well-built form and its chestnut color, Nashwan was well-loved from its earliest days as a racehorse. It was trained by Major Dick Hern and also ridden around by Willie Carson for every race that it took part in. Apparently, the name of the horse was chosen because it’s supposed to be the Arabic word for joy.
Over its career, Nashwan made just short of £800,000 – not bad for a little over 7 races!
It ended its career with a Timeform rating of 135, which showcases just how impressive this horse was across what was a short and ultimately hugely successful career path. Indeed, it was rated as the third best British-trained horse at the age of three in the late 1980s. from there, it went on to become one of the most respected and beloved horses of its generation.
After its career was over, it became a breeding stallion at the Shadwell Stud. It was part of the likes of Swain – dual winner of the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes – as well as Bago, who won the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
Sadly, Nashwan died on July 19th, 2002, after minor leg injury complications became problematic and the horse was unable to recover, leaving behind a legacy worth remembering.
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A uniquely powerful British thoroughbred, the name of Frankel is a name that people have grown to love. With close to £3m in earnings across its career already, it’s become the star horse for many fans of the sport. Indeed, it enjoyed a fourteen-race career and was unbeaten in all of them. It was, by May 2011, ranked as the finest horse alive on the planet.
With wins at the likes of the Royal Lodge Stakes, the Dewhurst Stakes and the Middle Park Stakes early on, Frankel was soon winning the likes of the Classic 2000 Guineas and the Sussex Stakes alongside the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. This continued for some time, winning the International and Champion Stakes in 2012.
It’s last ever race came at the Champion Stakes, in fact, when it won by over a mile and a quarter and then retired from the sport. Indeed, the major highlight for Frankel is probably the awarding of the 143 rating by the prestigious Timeform. This rating was the highest handed out in decades, and the fourth highest of all-time. By 2012, it was raised to 147 – the rating kept until the end of the stellar career it had enjoyed. At retirement, then, Frankel signed off as the highest rated horse in the history of the Timeform records!
From its 2010 Royal Lodge Stakes win, then, right to its dominant Champion Stakes win just 2 years later, this horse led one of the most incredible careers ever seen in horse racing. Only one rider ever had the joy of sitting on the back of this steed; Tom Queally. It was also trained by Henry Cecil.
In a wonderful but short career, then, Frankel came in, made history, and signed off as a true legend of the sport of horseracing for sure.