The Best National Hunt Horses Of All Time


Here are some of the best National Hunt Racehorses of all time. With several hot contenders this season, it will be exciting to see who can break records and tally up the wins to compete with these four legends.

Desert Orchid

Image: CheltenhamFestival.net

Image: CheltenhamFestival.net

One of the most famous and greatest National Hunt horses of all time, Desert Orchid, had an astonishing career winning the King George VI Chase an incredible four times. Not only this but Dessie (stable name) also went on to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 1989. This stunning grey not only won the hearts of racing enthusiasts but the whole nation. There are many other great horses who have achieved similar victories at the same level however, nothing quite compares to this enthusiastic and flamboyant grey’s career. Desert Orchid had a total of 70 runs where he won a staggering 34 times and was placed 19 times. What made him special and more advanced than any other was his versatility. It was not only the greatest races in the National Hunt calendar that made this horse's’ name in the history books but, it was his capability to produce some of the best handicapped runs ever. Most of his life was spent in training with David Elsworth at Whitsbury Manor Racing Stables and partnered with 4 different jockeys including Colin Brown, Simon Sherwood and Richard Dunwoody. Other great wins include the Tingle Creek Chase, the Irish Grand National and the Whitbread Gold Cup. It was in December 1991 that the legend Dessie was retired, making many public appearances to soak up the glory of such a successful career. He lived happily in retirement and lived to a grand old age of 27. His ashes are buried at Kempton racecourse near his statue and the inaugural Desert Orchid Chase is named in memory of Dessie, and takes place late in December each year.

 

Red Rum

Image: Bethq

Image: Bethq

Red Rum was a superb champion thoroughbred steeplechaser, who set an unmatched historic treble when he won the Grand National in 1973, 1974 and 1977 and placed second in the intervening years. This notoriously challenging and difficult race is best described as the ultimate test of a horse's courage and ability with fences which measure over 5 ft in height and width including the world famous the Chair which measures at 5 ft 3 in height, followed by a 6ft ditch. The race consists of two laps of 16 fences over a distance of 4 miles and 4 furlongs. Red Rum also known as Rummie was in training with several trainers over his career but most famously won whilst with trainer Ginger McCain. Unfortunately, Rummie became lame and retired from racing in 1977 but only after a staggering 21 steeplechase wins, 3 hurdle and 3 flat wins. This legend now lives on in memory at his favourite racecourse, Aintree, where his statue stands and he lays buried by the winning post.

 

Kauto Star

Image: BBC Sport

Image: BBC Sport

The third great horse of all time appeared on the racetrack a little more recently than our other legends. The legend that is Kauto Star, won an incredible 23 of a total of 41 races over the course of his memorable career. Big wins include the King George VI an astonishing five times for Somerset based trainer Paul Nicholls. He also won the Gold Cup twice and is the only horse to have won the Gold Cup and regain it after having lost it. Other wins include the Betfair Chase four times.  He is known as one of the most successful steeplechasers of the modern era and became the first horses to win over £2 million in total prize money whereas Desert Orchid won £654,066 during his career. His total prize money won was helped by a £1,000,000 bonus for the completion of the 2006/07 Stayers Chase Triple Crown. With plenty to be proud of, owner Clive Smith retried Kauto Star in 2012 at the age of 12. He sadly died in a freak accident whilst based with British Event rider Laura Collett where he had been training to do Dressage; one of the three disciplines in Eventing.

 

Denman

Image: Getty Images

Image: Getty Images

Last but by no means least is former giant of jumps racing, Denman, an Irish-bred thoroughbred by Presenting. Another great to come out of Paul Nicholls yard, Denman won 14 out of a total of 24 under rules races. His most memorable wins were the Hennessy Gold Cup in 2007 and 2009, and the Cheltenham Gold Cup the following year with now retired jockey Sam Thomas on board. This chaser was stable mates with Kauto Star and was his  biggest rival. The ‘Tank’ as he was also known, gave Kauto Star a run for his money in the 2008 Gold Cup, beating him by seven lengths. Denman’s career was short lived after an injury during training for the Lexus Chase in 2011 and retired in 2012. His life after racing still continued with Team Chasing and Hunting but was recently retired from all work in 2017. Denman’s career performances are honoured by the Betfair Denman Chase which is run at Newbury racecourse in February.

Top 5 Best Hen & Stag Do Racecourse in the UK

Hen and stag do's have become synonymous with going to the races in recent times. At the same time racecourse attendance is going up year on year. So, it may come as no surprise that these two boozy events have coincided with each other. As a matter of fact, it just so happens the big racecourses around the country coincide with the notorious party cities of the UK. Coincidence? I think not.

5) Epsom Downs - Famous globally for hosting one of the biggest horse racing events in the UK (the Oaks & Epsom Derby), the downs has to make my list for this reason. These couple of days constantly offer an unbeatable experience in terms of atmosphere, history and passion. The course is one I have been to many, many time having lived so close to the downs.

When the sun is shining and the drinks are flowing it’s hard to beat. However, this racecourse makes my list for more reasons than one. One may be in the ‘heart of the Surrey countryside’ (their words not mine), but in reality you’re just a stone's-throw away from the city of London. A short taxi ride to Epsom station (around 5 minutes away) will allow you to board a train direct to Waterloo. London may not be everyone's cup of tea but there is certainly no denying of a shortage of things for hen/ stag parties to do!

derby-balcony-queen-laugh-hero.jpg

4) Aintree - I’m sure this was the first racecourse on everyone's mind when you read the word’s hen/ stag; and I’d probably have to say it was mine when I thought about writing this article. The truth is, Liverpool is the most humorous, vibrant and welcoming city I have ever been to. Not only this, a night out in Liverpool is up there with some of the best nights out I have ever had. Ever. There just seems to be such a buzz to whichever place you go. Not only this, it won’t cost you an arm and a leg for the drinks on the night either! Oh yeah, and I suppose the Grand National is alright as well.  

Stands-Ainnn1.jpg

3) Cheltenham - Where do I start. Cheltenham is my favourite racing festival in the UK calendar. This 4 day event is perfect for any hen/ stag party (booze, booze, booze). Unlike the Grand National where there is an obvious bigger buzz around the day of the Grand National, Cheltenham has this ‘buzz’ consistently throughout the 4 days. The town center gets rather rowdy in the evenings and every person you meet is in a similar mindset of simply having a good time. Highly recommend attending this festival to anyone I meet! As such, this course certainly makes it on my list.

grandstand-horses-from-track-hero.jpg

2) Newcastle - Like liverpool, this is an obvious hen/ stag party city. I see a lot of similarities between the two cities - the atmosphere is friendly, humorous and people are up for a good time. However, unlike the previous 3, no event stands out more than the other fixtures.That being said, the Unibet Fighting Fifth (this year on the Saturday 2nd December) is the standout one to attend for me. If you attend this date I’m sure the atmosphere would be spectacular in the city centre, especially being so close to Christmas.

Newcastle-upon-Tyne-bridges-and-skyline_cropped.jpg

1) Ascot - A highlight of any British racing fans calendar, the Royal Ascot festival is the pinnacle of horse racing in the UK (at least in my opinion). This fun packed 5 day event showcases some of the best horses from all around the world competing against one another! Having recently been refurbished, Ascot is certainly up there with some of the most modern racecourses in the world.

Ascot is particularly appealing to race goers and hen/ stag parties alike due to its fun, vibrant atmosphere at the course. Not only this, but like Epsom, Ascot had a direct train running to and from Clapham Junction frequently; meaning a night out in London is certainly on the cards. Once in London, it seems as if there is an endless possibilities of places to go. Whether you want to keep it civilised and eat in an upmarket restaurant, or you want that little more rowdy night out, London has it all

whole grandstand hero.jpg
Share Us!

Share Us!

<

Top 10 UK Rejected Horse Names

Horse racing. Perhaps best known for its historical roots, association with the royal family & a classy, elegant day out. However, these owners certainly take all the above and chuck it in the bin! In no particular order, here is our top 10 rejected UK horse names of all time!

It must be noted that some of the names we simply cannot post. Some are golden, others.. Well, I’ll leave it up to your imagination to figure that out.

10) Yoghurt Cannon - A far from flattering name has left innocent minds imagining squeezy yoghurt tubes being squeezed too quickly. Those of you who thought any different should bath in holy water and hang your heads in shame!

Yoghurt.jpg

9) Yehbutnobutyeh - A reference from the hilarious Little Britain character Vicky Pollard which took the country by storm between 2000 - 2007. This horse would’ve had those of you who like to put your money on names, rather than any study on form certainly lumping £2.50 ew whenever this name popped up.

vikypollard.jpg

8) Hugh Gass - Something which Bart Simpson himself would’ve been proud of prank calling Moe’s tavern. A hilarious play on words and certainly worthy of making my top 10 list.

7) Nowyouratit - A very innocent British way to insult one another & one I personally find quite hilarious. I just have visions of this horse finishing last every time.

6) Ride Me Jockey - As I’m sure you could have predicted, there is a common theme of rude phrases going on here. If you listen closely enough you can hear the school children giggling in the background as the announcer calls this one out.

5) The Fat Jockey - I’m one of the biggest admirers for the work and effort jockeys go to in order to maintain their slim frame. However, just the thought of an overweight jockey trying to compete as he finishes stone dead last has a humorous connotation associated to it.

4) Prick - I'm not too sure this was a reference to sharp stabbing pain. 

3) Chris P Nutts - I think this name was a little unfortunate to be rejected. It’s very close to the name I’d call my racehorse, if I had one (Chris P Bacon). Oh well, better luck next time!

nuts1.jpg

2) - Are We Dare Yet - You can’t help but say this name in your head and not imagine a Kevin & Perry-esque moody teenager in the back of the car moaning to their parents. Likewise, I’m sure there’d be a few moody Kevin & Perry-esque adults roaming around the racecourse after this horse loses.

1) Esajollygoodfello - Again, I struggle to see why this got rejected. An old time classic which would have been sure to be stuck in the heads of all the punters upon reading it.

Moet & Chandon July Festival Tips

Jack Nice, a specialist in form analysis and currently working at Ralph Beckett’s Group One winning stable, gives us his insider's view on the week of racing at Newmarket for the July Festival: who to back, who to follow and where to go! There is no better man to guide us through the week than Jack and he starts by telling us who he fancies in one of the first big races of the week. 


The Bahrain Trophy
I am looking forward to seeing Atty Persse step up to Group company in the Bahrain Trophy on Thursday, and he is a worthy favourite at 3-1. The race is usually won by a horse that has ran well at Royal Ascot, a trend that he fits after winning the King George V Handicap, but I think the value in the race lies with Wolf Country. 

He was impressive when winning a 12f Listed race at Saint-Cloud in May, before a gallant effort in the Dante where the front five pulled clear. The winner, Permian, has gone on to win the G2 King Edward VII at Royal Ascot, beating the Dante third, Crystal Ocean, into third again. The second, Benbatl, won the G3 Tercentenary Stakes at Royal Ascot, and Rekindling, the fourth, has won the G2 Curragh Cup. Wolf Country should enjoy the step back up in trip judging on his Listed win in France, and providing he handles the likely quicker ground he should run well at around 7-1. I would be waiting until post-declarations to see if he definitely runs before having a bet. If not, it is hard to see past Atty Persse. 

Princess Of Wales's Stakes
I am also looking forward to seeing Frontiersman, who runs in the Princess Of Wales’s Stakes on Thursday. He has improved massively this season, resulting in a second last time to the mightily tough Highland Reel. He has since won the G1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot, beating the subsequent Eclipse winner Ulysses and G3 winner Johannes Vermeer, who re-opposes here. Frontiersman came from a very uncompromising position that day, and ran as though he didn't handle the camber at Epsom. He has been impressive when winning both his previous visits to Newmarket, albeit on the Rowley Mile, and should take a good deal of beating here.

The Falmouth Stakes
The Falmouth looks slightly weaker than previous years, and Roly Poly is definitely the right favourite on account of her last two second place finishes behind the three-time G1 winning filly Winter. Arabian Hope did well to get past the tough Golden Stunner at York Last time, and has earnt her chance at this level. That form has already taken a boost with Spark Plug winning a Listed race at Sandown. Although she is up in grade here, she is back against her own sex and could outrun her odds.  

The Superlative Stakes
The Superlative Stakes on Saturday looks an open affair, but I was very impressed with the debut of Richard Fahey’s Great Prospector. A scopey son of Elzaam, he was held up towards the rear and travelled powerfully before passing the whole field down the stands rail to win easily. There are mixed messages to the form of the race, but the fourth and seventh have won since. Providing he handles the undulations at Newmarket, he can hopefully run a big race. 

The July Cup
The July Cup revolves around Caravaggio, and rightly so. He was hugely impressive at Ascot in The Commonwealth Cup, and the stiffer track here at Newmarket looks likely to be ideal for him. This will be the first time that he has tackled older horses and although in receipt of 6lbs it is still a tough ask. As much as he is still the most likely winner, he is priced accordingly, and I would rather take a chance on the older and more experienced Limato repeating his impressive win in the race last year. 

Renault Sport Trophy Handicap
The closing race of the festival is a competitive 12f 3yo+ 0-90 Handicap. Here And Now is a brilliantly tough and uncomplicated horse with a classy pedigree, being by Dansilli out of Oaks winner Look Here. The form of his last race at Chester could not have worked out better with the second third and fourth all winning since. He is not guaranteed to run there as he has a few options, but he is one to keep on side for the rest of the season. 

Hot Jockey & Trainer
In terms of a jockey and trainer combo to follow, I would stick with Charlie Appleby and William Buick, who both have a great strike rate at the course and have some good ammo to go to war with. Mark Johnston would be another trainer I would have onside, for the same reasons. 

Newmarket & July Course Tips
I would advise anyone going to the July Course for the first time to make sure that they head to the pre-parade ring. Sheltered by tall trees and away from the hustle and bustle of a usual raceday, it is a calm envionment to see the horses up-close before the race. There are always a few well-known paddock judges on hand to offer advice!

 

There are a big list of traditional resturants to head to after racing; The Packhorse Inn, The Pantry, The Tackroom, The Old Plough and The King’s Head. For a Chinese - The Fountain, Indian - Montaz and a Thai - Khobkhun, which is very good fun.

Going to Royal Ascot?

Be first past the post at Royal Ascot this year by downloading the Racing Insider app now for the insiders guide to a day at the races.  Whether its advice on where to put your hard earned cash, how to style a winning outfit or which bar to head to for the best view of the track, Racing Insider has you covered.  

Read More
Share Us!

Share Us!

<

In