What are the highest rated Welsh Grand National Winners?

What are the highest rated Welsh Grand National Winners?  Although a prestigious race in its own right, the Welsh Grand National has thrown up its fair share of Cheltenham Gold Cup and Grand National winners. According to Timeform, the three ‘best’ or, in other words, the three highest-rated, Welsh Grand National winners since the early Sixties were Burrough Hill Lad, Master Oats and Carvill’s Hill. Indeed, all three were awarded a Timeform Annual Rating of 182 or more, such that they can be considered truly great steeplechasers of the Timeform era.

Trained by Jenny Pitman, Burrough Hill Lad rose to prominence in the 1983/84, during which he won all five starts over fences. After an encouraging seasonal debut, over hurdles, at Nottingham, Burrough Hill Lad justified favouritism in the Welsh Grand National, despite being ridden at 3lb overweight by John Francome. Three months, and three wins, later, Burrough Hill Lad won the Cheltenham Gold Cup, thereby making Jenny Pitman the first woman to saddle the winner of the ‘Blue Riband’ event.

Rated just 1lb inferior to Burrough Hill Lad, Master Oats, trained by Kim Bailey, had already run in the Grand National at Aintree, falling at the thirteenth fence in 1994, before he won the Welsh Grand National later the same year. The race was run on New Year’s Eve at Newbury, rather than Chepstow, but Master Oats proved himself one of the best staying chasers in training with an impressive, 20-length victory over Earth Summit. The following March, it was a similar story in the Cheltenham Gold Cup; he was ridden clear in the closing stages to win by 15 lengths and the same from Dubacilla and Miinnehoma.


Unlike Burrrough Hill Lad and Master Oats, Carvill’s Hill never won the Cheltenham Gold Cup, despite being sent off even-money favourite for the 1992. However, his 20-length win, from a high-quality field, which included subsequent Grand National winner Party Politics, in the 1991 Welsh Grand National, under 11st 12lb, was one of the easiest ever seen in the history of the race. Sadly, that proved to be his swansong, but Peter Scudamore nonetheless described him as ‘the best staying chaser I rode’.

How many British Classic winners has William Buick ridden?

How many British Classic winners has William Buick ridden?  Having shared the apprentice jockeys’ title with David Probert in 2008, during his time with Andrew Balding, William Buick rode his first Grade 1 or Group 1 winner, Lahaleeb, trained by Mick Channon, in the E.P. Taylor Stakes at Woodbine Racetrack in Ontario, Canada in October, 2009. The following January, Buick replaced Jimmy Fortune as stable jockey to John Gosden at Clarehaven Stables in Newmarket and, the following September, rode his first British Classic winner, Arctic Cosmos, trained by Gosden, in the St. Leger at Doncaster.

Lo and behold, Buick won the St. Leger again in 2011 on Masked Marvel, also trained by Gosden. It would be another decade before he won the oldest Classic again but, in 2021, he guided odds-on favourite Hurricane Lane, trained by Charlie Appleby, to a comfortable 2¾-length win on Town Moor. Indeed, three weeks later, Hurricane Lane went tantalisingly close to becoming the first horse in history to complete the St. Leger – Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe double.

The St. Leger aside, Buick also famously won the Derby on Masar, also trained by Appleby, in 2018. In so doing, he registered the first win in the Epsom Classic for the royal blue silks of Godolphin, for whom he signed in 2015. So, to answer the headline question, Buick currently has four British Classic winners to his name.

How many times did Sir Gordon Richards win the Derby?

How many times did Sir Gordon Richards win the Derby?  Sir Gordon Richards, who was knighted in 1953 in recognition of his services to horse racing, was arguably the most successful Flat jockey in British racing history. During an extraordinary career, between 1921 and 1954, Richards rode a total of 4,870 winners and became champion jockey on 26 occasions.

In 1947, Richards rode 269 winners, thereby setting a British record that would stand until beaten by the incomparable Sir Anthony McCoy 55 years later. Richards also enjoyed considerable success in British Classic races, winning the St. Leger five times, the 2,000 Guineas three times, the 1,000 Guineas three times and the Oaks twice.

However, for much of his career the most important Classic of all, the Derby, proved elusive. In fact, it was not until the so-called ‘Coronation’ Derby, run just five days after he had been knighted, in 1953, that Richards broke his duck in the Epsom Classic. On that occasion, he rode the 5/1 joint-favourite, Pinza, owned by Sir Victor Sassoon and trained by Norman Bertie. Shikampur, owned by the Aga Khan, led the field into the final quarter of a mile, but was soon tackled by Pinza, who drew away in the closing stages to win by four lengths. Aureole, owned by the Queen, came around the outside of the field to finish second, but was always in vain pursuit.

Which is the best Grand National trial?

Which is the best Grand National trial?  Various steeplechases are considered ‘trials’ for the Grand National, officially and unofficially. Ironically, one of the worst of all is the William Hill Grand National Trial, run over 3 miles 4½ furlongs at Haydock in February, which has failed to produce a Grand National winner since Party Politics in 1993. Across the Irish Sea, the Bobbyjo Chase, run over 3 miles 1 furlong at Fairyhouse in February, has produced just one Grand National winner, Hedgehunter in 2005, in its relatively short history. That said, the 2017 winner, Pleasant Company, was beaten just a head in the 2018 Grand National and the 2019 winner, Rathvinden, finished third at Aintree the same year.

The Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase, run over 3 miles 6 furlongs at Cheltenham in March, was inaugurated as recently as 2005, but has since produced two Grand National runners-up and two winners. The 2014 winner, Balthazar, went on to finish second to Pineau De Re at Aintree, the 2017 winner, Cause Of Causes, went on to finish second to One For Arthur and the 2018 and 2019 winner Tiger Roll followed up in the Grand National on both occasions. By contrast, the Becher Chase, run over 3 miles 2 furlongs on the National Course in December, has yet to produce a Grand National winner in the same season; the 2001 and 2004 winners, Amberleigh House and Silver Birch, did go on to win the National, but not until a season or two later.

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