Golden Miller

Golden Miller  Owned by trainer Basil Briscoe, Philip Carr and, finally, the Honourable Dorothy Paget, Golden Miller has the distinction of being the most successful horse in the history of the Cheltenham Gold Cup. The horse once described by racing journalist Sidney Galtrey as “a god on four legs” won the Blue Riband event at the Cheltenham Festival five years running between 1932 and 1936.

However, fresh from his third Cheltenham Gold Cup win, in 1934, Golden Miller also won the Grand National and remains the only horse ever to have won both races in a single season. Trained by Basil Briscoe and ridden by Gerry Wilson, Golden Miller won the National by 5 lengths from Delaneige in a time of 9 minutes 20.4 seconds. In so doing, he broke the course record, of 9 minutes 30.0 seconds, set by The Huntsman in 1862; his winning time wouldn’t be beaten until 1974, when Red Rum beat Crisp in a time of 9 minutes 1.9 seconds.

It’s often said that the Grand National is the supreme test of horse and rider and, despite winning in 1934, Golden Miller failed to complete the National Course on four other occasions. On his first attempt, as a six-year-old, in 1993, he fell at the Canal Turn on the second circuit. In 1935, he was sent off the shortest-priced favourite in the history of the race, despite carrying 12st 7lb, but unseated rider Gerry Wilson at the fence after Valentine’s Brook on the first circuit. In 1936, trained by Owen Anthony and ridden by Evan Williams after Dorothy Paget fell out with previous trainer Basil Briscoe, he fell at the Canal Turn on the first circuit and in 1937 he refused at the same fence where he’d unseated Gerry Wilson two years earlier.

Manifesto

Manifesto  Manifesto may no longer be a household name, but his exploits around the turn of the twentieth century earned him a place in the inaugural Grand National Hall of Fame at Aintree Racecourse. In a ten-year period, Manifesto ran in the world famous steeplechase a record eight times, winning twice, in 1897 and 1899, and finishing in the first four on four other occasions. In fact, his 1899 victory, which came under 12st 7lb, equalled the weight carrying record in the Grand National.

Manifesto made his debut in the Grand National, as a seven-year-old, in 1895, when finishing fourth to Wild Man Of Borneo. He returned the following year, but parted company with his owner, Harry Dyas, who’d replaced previous jockey Terry Kavanagh, after colliding with a rival at the first fence. Undeterred, Dyas, who was a notorious gambler, sent Manifesto to Curragh trainer Willie McAuliff. The following season Manifesto was back at Aintree where, reunited with Terry Kavanagh, he was sent of 6/1 favourite and duly obliged, winning by 20 lengths.

In 1898, Manifesto was sold to John Bulteel for £4,000 and transferred to Willie Moore. However, he missed the National after escaping from his box and injuring himself. He was back at Aintree in 1899, though, shouldering 12st 7lb to a five-length victory over Ford Of Fyne.

Manifesto never won the Grand National again, but put up some fine weight carrying performances in defeat. In fact, he finished third three times, under 12st 13lb in 1900, under 12st 8lb in 1902 and under 12st 3lb in 1903. It was only on his eighth, and final attempt, as a sixteen-year-old, in 1904 that he finished outside the first four after completing the course. On that occasion, he finished an honourable eighth behind Moifaa.

Lord Gyllene

Lord Gyllene  The 1997 Grand National will always be remembered as the one and only “Monday National”, after coded IRA bomb threats caused Aintree Racecourse to be evacuated and the race to be postponed by 48 hours on the previous Saturday. However, Steve Brookshaw – now retired from the training ranks but, at the time, in just his second season as a National Hunt trainer – will always remember the winner of that historic Grand National, Lord Gyllene. In fact, when interviewed 20 years later, Brookshaw said, “It was my 15 minutes of fame; the biggest day of my life.”

Owned by the late Sir Stanley Clarke, Lord Gyllene was a New Zealand-bred gelding who had previously completed a hat-trick at Uttoxeter, including the Singer & Friedland National Trial, and finished second, when favourite, in the Midlands Grand National, also at Uttoxeter. In the Grand National, Lord Gyllene was ridden by Tony Dobbin and, having taken the lead at the second fence, led the field a merry dance for two circuits of the vast course.

The eight-year-old jumped superbly throughout, although only narrowly avoided calamity at the water jump, when nearly carried out by a loose horse. He led by 6 lengths or so approaching the second last fence and in the last half mile pulled further and further clear, eventually winning by 25 lengths. His winning margin was the biggest since Red Rum romped home for his historic third National win in 1977. The gallant topweight, Suny Bay, who’d pursued him vainly for most of the way, finished second with 100/1 outside Camelot Knight third, a further 2 lengths away.

Lord Gyllene ran just twice more for Brookshaw, without distinction, and after two years off the course with injury was eventually retired, as a 13-year-old, in 2001. At the time, new trainer Martin Pipe – for whom Lord Gyllene never ran – said, “Lord Gyllene is not up to full training. His owner Sir Stanley Clarke and I agreed that retirement was the best thing and he will be given a lovely home.”