Has a horse won the Grand National and Scottish Grand National in the same year?

Has a horse won the Grand National and Scottish Grand National in the same year?  Notwithstanding the change of date in 2022, made to accommodate Easter, on April 17, the Scottish Grand National, run over 3 miles, 7 furlongs and 176 yards at Ayr, is traditionally staged a week or two after the Grand National at Aintree. Consequently, few horses attempt the Aintree-Ayr double and those that do have precious little recovery time between the two races.

However, one horse has won the Grand National and the Scottish Grand National in the same season. That horse was, of course, the incomparable Red Rum, who did so in 1974. That year, the Grand National fell on March 30 and the Scottish Grand National on April 20, fully three weeks later.

At Aintree, Red Rum was sent off 11/1 third favourite to become the first horse since Reynoldstown, in 1936, to win back-to-back renewals of the Grand National. Despite top weight of 12st 0lb, he did so in style, drawing clear in the closing stages to beat L’Escargot by 7 lengths, eased down.

Despite misgivings from various quarters, including jockey Brian Fletcher, trainer Donald ‘Ginger’ McCain sent Red Rum to Ayr where, under a 6lb penalty, he was saddled with 113st 13lb. The rest, as they say, is history; under a patient ride, Red Rum jumped upsides the leader, Proud Tarquin, three fences from home, led over the final fence and readily asserted on the run-in to win by 4 lengths.

Fast Forwarding to 2024 and can history repeat itself? In 2023 Kitty’s light won both the Scottish Grand National and the Gold Cup, an impressive double. This year though the thoroughbred is around 12-1 with horse racing betting sites to win the Grand National and similar odds with bookmakers to win the Scottish Grand National too. Now that would be a nice double to have come up and I’m sure some punters will be temped to put a few quid on just that outcome!

Why don’t fillies run in the Derby?

The Derby, or the Derby Stakes, to give the race its full title, is run over a left-handed, undulating mile and a half at Epsom Downs in Surrey, South East England on the first Saturday in June. The race is open to three-year-old colts and fillies, with the latter receiving a 3lb weight allowance from their male counterparts. Despite that significant advantage, which effectively equates to a two-length ‘head start’ over the Derby distance, modern trainers are loath to pitch their fillies in against the colts.

Historically, six fillies have won the Derby, but none has done so since 1916 and none has even attempted to do so since Cape Verdi finished unplaced, as favourite, in 1998. Of course, colts are, on the whole, physically bigger and stronger than fillies, such that it takes an exceptional middle-distance filly to beat male opposition on the track, especially at the highest level. Fillies also have the option of running in their own Classic, the Oaks, which is run over the same course and distance as the Derby on the previous day. The Oaks is restricted exclusively to fillies, who compete at level weights and, despite offering far less guaranteed prize money than the Derby – £548,450 compared with £1,561,950 in 2023 – is evidently the preferred option for contemporary trainers.

Of course, in the racing industry, prize money is not the be-all and end-all, especially for powerhouse breeding operations, such as Coolmore, Godolphin and Juddmonte. A Derby-winning broodmare is all very well, but a Derby-winning stallion – who can cover hundreds of mares a year, as opposed to producing just a single foal – is an altogether different proposition, economically. The last Derby winner to be retired to stud, Masar, who is from the family of Sea The Stars, stands at the Dalham Hall Stud in Newmarket for a relatively modest £14,000 per offspring, but Sea The Stars himself stands at Gilltown Stud in Kilcullen, Co. Kildare for an eye-watering €180,000 a time.

Horse racing jokes designed to tickle your funny bone!

Horse racing jokes designed to tickle your funny bone!  Horse racing can be a serious affair for jockeys, trainers, owners and indeed I expect the horse. And that’s before to get to the punters and those cheering them on. So let’s have a light hearted moment and inject some humour into the sport of kings. Whether good jokes, or bad, it can bring a smile, and so let’s start with a few one liners:

Why don’t horses ever use smartphones?

Because they can’t stand the “neigh”-sayers online

What did the jockey say to the horse before the race?

“Don’t worry, I’ve got your back!”

What do you call a horse who lives next door?

“neighbour”!

Why did the horse sit on the fence?

Because he wanted to be a “stable” influence!

What do you call a horse who likes to be center stage?

The mane attraction!

 

Not impressed? Well here’s another selection of horse jokes – and more here. Remember to hold your sides before you read them:

 

A horse walks into a bar. The bartender starts with the expected “Why the long f…” but the horse suddenly cuts him off and looks him in the eye.

“I’ve heard that one a thousand times. ‘Why the long face!’ In fact, I hear that everywhere I go.”

“I do apologise” says the bartender. “Let’s start again, how’s life?”

The horse replies, “Stable.”

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Why did the horse die?

Medical Neigh-ligence

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Why did the scarecrow become a successful jockey?

Because he was outstanding in his field!

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Why was the psychic horse disqualified from the Grand National?

It kept trying to cross the finish line before the race started!

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What did the horse say when it fell?

“I’ve fallen and I can’t giddyup!”

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How do you make a small fortune in horse racing?

Start with a large one!

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What did the gay horse say to the other gay horse?

Haaaaay!

What’s a horse’s favorite sport?

Stable tennis!

What did the pony say when he had to call in sick?

“Sorry, I’m a little hoarse.”

What’s a ghost’s favorite horse race? The Cheltenham Ghoul-cup!

What did the horse say when it saw its photo?

I look absolutely fabulous! That’s one fine filly/frame.”

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A horse goes to sit in a movie theatre and the lady in the seat beside him says “Excuse me… are you a horse?” “Why yes, I am,” says the horse. “Then what are you doing at this movie?” The horse: “I really liked the book.”

Why did the horse break up with his girlfriend?

She was always “horsing” around!

How about this one for the worse horse racing joke ever told:

 

What kind of bread does a horse eat?

Thoroughbred.

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And can you figure out this mind mind bender:

Q: How did the cowboy ride into town on Friday, stay for three days, and ride out on Friday?

*DRUMROLL PLEASE*

 

A: His horse’s name was Friday

 

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I hope some of these puns / jokes made you laugh. Feel free to email us with some of your own horse or horse racing relates jokes if you have any. Anything that tickles the funny bone will get added!

 

What’s the history of Royal Ascot?

What's the history of Royal Ascot?  Ascot Racecourse is, of course, situated in the Royal County of Berkshire, South East England, which is, in fact, the only English county to warrant the ‘Royal’ epithet. Berkshire has been closely associated with the British monarchy for nearly a millenium, not least because of the presence of Windsor Castle, originally constructed by William I, a.k.a. ‘William the Conqueror, in the late eleventh century and a royal residence pretty much ever since.

As far as Ascot Racecourse is concerned, the association with the British Royal Family is nowhere near so lengthy, but still dates back to the reign of the much-maligned Queen Anne, in the first half of the eighteenth century. In fact, three years before her death, aged 49, in 1714 – apparently, after succumbing to ‘gout, dropsy, hemorrhage and stroke’ – ‘Brandy Nan’, as she was known, identified Ascot Heath as a likely location for ‘horses to gallop at full stretch’. That they did, for the first time, on August 11, 1711, with the inaugural running of Her Majesty’s Plate, contested over three separate heats, of four miles apiece.

It was not until 1794, during the reign of King George III, that the first permanent building was raised on Ascot Heath, while the first reference to a Royal Stand, albeit temporary, also dates back to the same decade. However, the Royal Enclosure, which originally consisted of a two-storey, permanent grandstand surrounded by a lawn, was decreed by King George IV in 1822 and did not officially become known as such until 1845; by that stage, it had already been further developed for the inaugural visit of Tsar Nicholas I, as a guest of Queen Victoria, the previous summer.

King George IV also began the tradition of the Royal Parade, or the Royal Procession, as it is now known, in 1825. At two o’clock each afternoon, the reigning monarch and the Royal party arrive at the so-called Royal Gates, at the top of the Straight Mile, and process along the track in front of the racegoers, who can number up to 70,000, to the Royal Enclosure.

The Gold Cup, which, nowadays, forms the highlight of the third day of the Royal Meeting, a.k.a. Ladies’ Day, was inaugurated in 1807, making it the oldest surviving race of the week. Indeed, the Gold Cup, remains one of just three perpetual trophies presented during Royal Ascot.

Indeed, it was the establishment of the Gold Cup that, in many ways, laid the foundation for Royal Ascot as we know it today. The traditional, four-day, Tuesday to Friday format had been in place since 1768, but the meeting did not earn the ‘Royal’ epithet until 1911 and, until 1939, remained the only fixture of the year at the Berkshire track.

Fast forward to the early years of the twenty-first century and, in 2002, the four-day Royal Ascot meeting was extended to five days, by way of celebrating the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. Hitherto, Royal Ascot had been immediately followed by a less formal fixture, without a Royal presence, on the Saturday. However, the new format proved hugely successful, such that the ‘Ascot Heath’ Meeting, as was, ceased to be and the Royal Meeting has continued as a five-day affair ever since.

In 2013, an unusual situation occurred insofar as the winner of the Gold Cup was owned by the late Queen Elizabeth II, who thereby became the first reigning monarch in history to win the ‘flagship’ race of the week. Obviously, Her Majesty could not present the Gold Cuo trophy to herself, so instead took delight in receiving it from her son Prince Andrew, Duke of York.

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