What’s Your Happiest Racing Memory?

What’s your happiest racing memory?


What’s your happiest racing memory? 

While we await the return of UK racing (hopefully on 1st June but there’s silence in the air) I thought it would be fun if we all focussed on a positive racing memory. Given the age range of readership (20s to 90s I think) they’ll be many a fun racing memory to share. 

So, your challenge, right now as you read this, is to just stop and think – clear your mind and focus on THE racing experience when you were at your happiest. Go… 

You’re thinking of something right this moment, and smiling. Whatever it is, do post a comment below and share it.  I for one fancy a bit of reminiscing and joyous inspiration. I’ll enjoy reading it. 

Maybe it was your biggest win, or it was a shared moment at the races – with friends or family. An equine performance that made you stare in disbelief, or the ride of a certain jockey. Possibly a memory from a smoke filled betting shop or a particular horse race or performance which sticks in the memory. Or you were sitting on your grandad’s knee as he landed a multiple!

Just take a moment to reflect on that happy experience. This is only a bit of fun, but something a bit different and it’s good to reminisce every now and then, and to think about why we love this sport – often it those ‘moments’ that stick in the memory. 


I’ll kick things off…

I’m going to break my own rules and select two memories, both similar…

The happiest i’ve been, and the memories which come flooding back are… 

1.Watching Blessed To Empress win at Chelmsford on 3rd May 2018. This was my first taste of being at the races as ‘an owner’ (a small share) and watching a winning performance. I can still picture it now and all I can do is smile. What made it special was the shared experience- there were 5/6 of us there, on the rails – she was competing all the way, the excitement building – and a ding dong battle to the line. She flashed passed and there was pandemonium. Grown men, jumping around, screaming and hugging like excitable children. Mobile phones flying out of pockets. And then… ‘photo’ ! I paused and stood back as the celebrations continued. Eyes fixed on the big screen, watching the replay. Ah, it was very close. I couldn’t call it. A horrid sinking feeling. A quick flick to the racecard to check her number and an anxious wait for the announcement over the loud speaker. ‘In first place’… and the rest is history. To the owners’ bar to continue the celebrations, via the ‘winning owners lounge’ where we indulged in the replay again, and again. And again. While emptying them of complimentary champagne. What a night. And she was 16/1, which was some sort of cherry on the cake but that isn’t what mattered. That feeling is hard to explain but you’re so pleased for the horse, her lass Annie, trainer Amy and all your fellow syndicate holders – to celebrate together. Magic. 


2.Having mentioned Blessed, long suffering readers will know where this is now going … Really Super… the equine love of my life… she’s now won 4 times for us, from 18 runs (and three 2nds where she got within a length of victory) but it’s the first of those that sticks out – at Worcester on 29th August 2018 (that was a fun 5 months from May to August) – it was the 16th run of her life, and she’d yet to win on the previous 15, including for her first trainer on the Flat. She’d finished an agonising 2nd the run before- and now in my mind there was a niggle, a question. We’d seen her grow physically, develop mentally, and we were still dreaming that we had an above average horse on our hands, that should be winning races. We were still dreaming (and continue to do so) This was a big day and I didn’t think much to the opposition, some of whom she’d beaten LTO. She should be winning this race and I had high expectations. She looked a picture before the race, something different about her from her last run  – it was game day. I trusted my eyes, my reading of her and the oppo, and darted back to the bookmakers – I had a fair chunk on for me, I think she was 12s or so, and in the 10 minutes leading up to the race her Betfair price crashed (the men responsible may be reading this!) as it did track side, sent off 4s. I think I got more on at 10s. I was betting to back up my opinion that she had to be winning today, if the dream that she was ‘decent’ was to be kept alive. We knew we had a horse on our hands, she just had to start showing it.  As it happened she tanked through the race and Jack was fairly quiet up the straight, when many others started rowing away. Would she find for pressure, go through with it and kick on after the last? Yes she would. A going away 3.5l victory come the line. Jubilation. There’s some prat jumping around in the video below  – it was pure emotion, for all those reasons stated above. Delighted for the horse, her lad Connor who comes into shot below, and the whole team. And again, doing it with a like minded group – sharing in the experience. We had a horse on our hands, time to get excited. Even more champagne! She proceeded to win again a month later in a C3 and has since won over fences, at Kempton in November. A line can be put through her last run, in a swamp. She’ll be back on a racecourse in the coming months, where there ‘could’ be even more to come. Fingers crossed. But she’s done us proud. 

So, those are my two fondest racing memories so far. There are various big winners on here, or glorious ‘hot form’ periods that make me smile and spur me on, esp when I know others have been on. But as yet I can’t beat those memories above, and wouldn’t mind feeling it again one day soon. 

You will have your own, so please do share 🙂 

I look forward to reading,

cheers, Josh 


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Do join in the conversation below, we're a friendly bunch.. all questions welcome, and do share your selections or thoughts

80 Responses

  1. Most recent one for me was Too Darn Hot winning the Sussex Stakes. Antepost betting can be very difficult to get right but after his win in France managed to get a bit of 7/1. After getting beaten on seasonal re-appearance and in the Irish 2000 Guineas and St James Palace Stakes not to mention being ruled out of the 2000 Guineas I was glad to see him win a domestic Group 1 with that man Frankie Dettori on board proving he was a champion after all and silencing the doubters. He’d be retired a few days after that win due to injury but I always smile thinking about that win and him going out on a high.

    1. good stuff Phil…yep I too remember watching that win, and it did feel satisfying, for the horse and connections etc. If you play AP, you’ve got to remember and celebrate those great long range bets you get right – takes some doing. Some of us find just betting on the day tough enough!! 🙂

      1. Has to be AW Champions Day 2019 and being in the parade ring explaining tactics to the Jockey on behalf of the trainer.

  2. Mine would have to be our Ziga Boy’s first SkyBet Chase win. Conditions were horrendous, games, snow, rain and sleet and we watched the race from the steps on the outside of the grandstand. As he led the field in the straight we ran down the steps, well we assume we did as neither of us can remember! What I do remember is jumping up and down and screaming as he crossed the line and then, having clocked a bookie looking at me as though I was nuts, shouted “I don’t care what I look like, we just f**king won!”

  3. Hi Josh – right up my street this – I have a few if need be. I’ll go with my first big winner – 1992 Aintree Foxhunters – and I’ll try and keep this brief with a few points. This was my 3rd Aintree, now on 30!! My only account in those days was with Tote Credit where you had to ring up and put your bets on – imagine doing that if you had loads of bets!! In those days the Tote used to do an offer for members where if you bought a ticket for Thursday you got one free for Friday (Tickets I think were around £15, might be wrong)!! No chance of that ever happening again. I do have a decent record in the Foxhunters at Aintree and managed to pick the winner this year – Gee A -have to be honest I haven’t got a clue why!! Main thing about this was that it came in at 66/1, I remember being gutted because I had done it on the Tote and it ONLY paid 58/1 – so my HUGE £1ew pay out was reduced some what. One of my favourite races this and I have put the link below if anyone would like to watch it. Keep an eye on how Gee A takes the Canal Turn and the rather dodgy negotiating of the elbow at the finish. Enjoy!!

    1. Well Harry, no pressure then for future Aintree Foxhunters, will be eagerly awaiting your thoughts next year now! That’s some win – the Tote seem to be making a comeback, new consortium with various ideas etc – it would be good to have a strong Totepool option again, and hopefully they can make it worthwhile for punters.

    2. Blimey!! What a race, just watched it again and I think I had 50p e-w on it at the time, remember it, but, don`t remember it being as good a race as that!? Love the Foxhunters, both at Cheltenham and Aintree, you always think they are beat some of these horses, turning in I would have been laying Gee-A like mad, it`s a far more funnier old game than football.

    When at about aged 13 i was quite astute at picking out winners by jockey colours 😉 and how close the “sprinter~” horses back and fore hooves used to get whilst walking around the paddock ( the closer they were the faster they went according to my grandad ? 🙂 ) and dads face after i picked the winner and after hours of deliberation his horse well beaten 🙂 ….. bad part of that is if my dad lost on the day it was a packet crisps on the way home … but if he won it was fish and chips !! 🙂 happy days … other than that backing YAHOO in the 1989 (year of the GB’s Wedding) gold cup and getting the f/c with dessie .. again happy memories 🙂

    bestest regards
    lord gb ( ready like a coiled spring 🙂 )

    1. I mean not to make you feel old GB, but I was born in 89!! 🙂 🙂 they sound like fantastic memories to me, and ones to cherish forever. That’s what its about.

  5. Have a lifetime of happy memories through racing and it will be impossible to break it down to one and it is still ongoing the latest episode, through the latest virus.
    A friend that i met dancing has her own company and one product she sells are wheelwashers disinfecting system after talking to her that horse racing could be interested and so they have designed and built the first ever walk through disinfection system specifically for horses, the brochure as just been sent to 453 trainers, so exciting times are ahead, and i feel privilaged that my thoughts have been put into production for the benefit of the trainers.

    1. Sounds like exciting times ahead Colin, good luck to her/the business.

      I’m sure there must be the odd memory that really sticks out/makes you smile?!

  6. Happiest? Seeing Arkle anytime, especially when beating Mill House for the first time. Worst and best? Seeing the wonderful brave effort of Crisp losing out in the Grand National beaten in the last few yards by Red Rum, when conceding the latter lumps of weight, having been 20 lengths clear 2 fences out. A superb effort but costly for me !!!

    1. Urgh… were you counting your money Brian, with Crisp… or was there always something niggling thinking he may get done? Those are the most painful for defeats when you’re on – long drawn out agony when the line just doesn’t come in time!

  7. from a betting and over the sticks point of view coneygree,who I saw win the kauto star novices at Kempton and backed, a few quid each week,ante post for the gold cup which of course he won. my best flat memory was being at ascot for frankie s 7,only backed the first and last but what a day

    1. Coneygree – I think that’s up there as one of my fav performances in recent years, esp given connections, his inexperience and his style – what a run that was. I imagine it being pandemonium on that day at Ascot!

  8. Hi Josh Loads of great days racinG back to the early sixtiesbut the absolute top was at Longchamp first sunday in october 1986.My late wife and I had come to watch one of the greatest racehorses ever and was right on the winning line when Pat Eddery produced a tremendous display surging down the outside to bring home the majestic DANCING BRAVE in first place what a day !!
    the cherry on the cake was I had an antepost e.w double with Dallas in the Cambridgeshire .
    then about ten years ago we were on holiday in Kent and we went to an antiques fair and on one of the stalls was a print of a picture of the same race and from the angle of the horses the guy must have been stood next to me .The picture now hangs on my office wall!!

    1. Great memories to cherish Pete – and that’s some punting there with the EW double! I don’t think such moments of racing clarity when track side ever leave you really. And as hobbies etc go, i’m not sure the emotions can ever bet matched.

  9. RIPON Beano
    My wife and I have been avid racegoers and one day the daughter and her then boyfriend now husband asked to come racing with us to see why we enjoyed the races so much so off to Ripon we went. Now I had got my eye on a horse (French Grit) who was a half decent sprinter but that smidgen better with firm in the going description which it was this day in 97. Anyhow we were giving the young uns a crash course in how to paddock watch and look for best prices and where the bar was. All the important things to know!
    Cutting a long story short by some fluke I had backed all the previous winners and the beer was going down nicely, then it was time for FGs race the main race of the day. The family were keen to follow me in as I was on a hot streak so I said that the horse I had been waiting for all day was FG so they all dispersed in the hunt for best odds. I’m stood at a bookies board wanting 16s but he was going 14s so I waited and waited and close to the off time I did a quick run down the line of bookies but still no 16s so I thought I’d had a good day my pockets were full so I let it run. Of course it won by a cosy length at 14s. The family all came rushing over whooping and a hollering as they had all got on at 14s. They didn’t believe me when I said I’d let it run unbacked.
    Seeing the joy on their faces having backed it and had a great day’s racing took the sting out of it for me. There in a nutshell is why we love racing whether on the up or down. It gets into your blood for a lifetime.
    Dave (now a great grandad looking forward to taking him racing one day).

    1. Great stuff Dave – yep I totally get that – when you see other people’s joy etc it really does give you a good feeling. When at Cheltenham in Jan I was with a friend – and he’d invited one of his friends who I didn’t know, and his daughter/her BF – they’d never been racing before – I had one of my better days, inc picking out Galahad Quest in the paddock (and it was NW in a juvenile hurdle), Simply The Betts and Back on The Lash in the last … well, the two newbies were hooked – they couldn’t get enough of the paddock, and the racecards, and trying to work out why something may run well/the price etc. Picked out a couple of winners themselves also. A top day all in, and with any luck some fans for life. Obv backing winners helps!

  10. What a good idea Josh. My happiest moment concerns a big (for me) win and a woman. There has to be a woman, surely?
    Some context: I have been betting all my life and first became interested in racing when I was a slip of a lad. In 1966 I was seven years old, my grandpa came to live with us and he liked a shilling each way most days. I picked out a horse in each race from the Daily Express, rushed home from school to get the results, and by the time I was nine I was working out how much I would have won or lost to a shilling each way level stake. (I wish I still had the reams of paper I wrote it all out on). Fast forward, and I am still a very small-stake punter who loses most years, but love the whole game.
    It’s early 2013. After a couple of rehearsals, I have met a woman who for me is ‘the one’ (maybe the latest ‘the one’). We met before Christmas 2012 and have had a blissful few weeks. I ask her if she would like to go to Cheltenham with me and we book up for Champion Hurdle day. Lovely. The evening before, I’m looking at the card. I love the big handicaps, so I try to work out the JLT H’cap Chase (now the Ultima). Lurking at the bottom of the handicap is a horse I have followed all season, Golden Chieftain, trained by Colin Tizzard, with Brendan Powell on board. Rated 132, he had been steadily dropped since being hiked to 141 after winning at Worcester the previous October. He had run a blinder in December off 138 to finish third at Cheltenham in what I still call the Massey Ferguson, a bad blunder – to which he was prone – putting paid to his chances three out. I checked the prices, expecting about 20/1, 25/1 tops. I couldn’t quite believe Victor’s 50/1. I always go a bit mad on Cheltenham Tuesday (don’t we all?) so bravely stuck on a tenner each way, a big bet for me. My girlfriend and I had a lovely evening and set off early for Prestbury Park.
    Cut to about 2.57pm. The race is on. Golden Chieftain, having been well placed throughout, starts to challenge when he hits three out, recovers, takes it up from the favourite Our Mick at the next and powers away. As we watch him storm up the hill – six, eight, ten lengths clear – I turn to T almost unbelievingly shout “that’s mine!!” and give her the biggest, loveliest kiss. This had never happened to me before. £10 at 50/1! And I’m in love! I checked my Victor account to make sure I had pressed the ‘bet now’ button. Phew! And Wow! I was in heaven. My best racing moment.

    Epilogue: Golden Chieftain ran 18 more times. He went off the boil after Cheltenham but came back to form in 2016 when falls cost him two good wins, including the Midlands National where he fell at the last when seven lengths clear. He was sadly fatally injured during the Scottish Grand National.
    The ‘love of my life ‘ dumped me a few weeks after that great day at Cheltenham. I still don’t know why.

    1. I think I can remember Golden Chieftan’s Festival win – and yep, poor boy – if only he could jump! I remember those latter efforts when he should have won also, and so sad when he lost his life at Ayr. Such a brave horse, gutsy. Those monster priced winners always stick in the mind, esp at Cheltenham!
      Not sure I have any racing stories with women involved as yet, i’ll get working on it! 🙂

  11. Smullen winning the 2015 Irish Oaks on Covert Love which brought in an approximately 30,000/1 5 timer. I could watch him do that forever and literally must have re watched the race at least thirty times! Sadly I picked six horses that day and only 15p e/w on the 5 fold but still my best ever win.

    1. Something for us mere mortals to aspire to!! 🙂 Well done, that’s some top punting. No pressure to put up a winning multiple on here sometime haha

  12. Growing up in the Sixties my Mam and Dad used to take me and my 2 brothers to the Tuesday of the Ebor Meeting at York.In those days there was a Free Course with a Funfair which is where we went. We found an obliging Bookie who would let us back our shilling ew. We brothers are now in our 60″s and Mam and Dad long gone but the happy memories live on.

    1. can’t beat memories like that Lee, sound like great days to me. You still a regular visitor for the Ebor meeting?

      1. Thanks Josh.Yes we try to go to as many Meetings at York as we can including one of the Ebor days.

  13. Hi all…nothing to do with betting. Goodwood when I was about 6 yo …my dad was working as a tic tac for a B’ham bookie…first time I remember seeing grass that solid rich green and lush…..always stuck with me…another working “holiday” for him which was one of many like that though my mum was not best pleased, having to take holidays around racing fixtures all the time!

    1. I’ve still never been to Goodwood which is something I really must put right- one hell of a beautiful spot even on the tv. It’s funny what sorts of things leave an imprint on the mind. They sound like great days to me.

  14. My favourite memories both include the Grand National. I backed Highland Wedding in 1969 and many years later saw an advertisement for a print of a painting of the 1969 Grand National called ‘First Time Round Beechers Brook ‘ featuring Highland Wedding which I immediately ordered but didn’t realise how big it was until it arrived. Fortunately I am able to hang it in the spare bedroom/office and it brings back happy memories even today.
    The second memory is of the 1973 race. A week before the race a friend of mine told me he had a dream in which all the horses fell apart from two, Red Rum and Crisp. A few years later I bumped into Richard Pittman at my local course Haydock Park and told him the story. He shrugged his shoulders smiled and said ‘Did you do the forecast ‘.

    1. I’m not sure Riachard Pitman has ever got over that race! and the poor sod is no doubt reminded often enough, even to this day! 🙂

  15. Like another correspondent, I was at Longchamp when Dancing Brave won the Arc. As he burst clear to pulverise the opposition that gave me a thrill that I’ve never forgotten.

    But another moment that still gives me a warm feeling is the day I went to Nottingham in the 80’s to see Lotus Island run. I belonged to one of the earliest racing ‘clubs’, Full Circle Thoroughbreds run by Colin Tinkler Sr. trainer Nigel Tinkler, his son. On the morning line, Colin had said ‘will win’, So as I had the day off work, I drove from London to Nottingham. Graham McCourt was on board and the horse duly won with ease. I’d had a serious amount (for me) on @ 5/2 and came away with hundreds in my pocket. Winning the money was one thing but it was the fact that (like Josh), ‘my’ horse had won that gave me such joy. And as I drove back to London, I thought ‘I’ve got this game cracked’!……………..

    1. Sounds good Patrick – it is a strange feeling when you ‘expect’ them to perform/win, and even more so if you do have a larger bet than usual on – as you say that’s never really the main driver, just an added cherry on top – but that feeling of being part of a winning horse, and being there when they do, is very hard to describe. Haven’t often felt joy like it.

  16. OMG, this is such a brilliant thread!!!

    Can’t help but love everyone’s memories!!!

    One from me – my Dad – telephone betting.

    Dad calls up the bookies, me and my brother know his account number, he’s trying to put a bet on whilst we’re jumping around the kitchen singing his account number and dancing like clowns – he can’t get the bet on for laughing – guess which horse won

  17. Hi Josh and there is no contest here as my mate ,who had been on the dole, managed to get a license from the JC and we had a very small operation here in Scotland and unbelievably managed to win half a dozen races three at Perth, Ayr and Goodwood…won two with a horse called Carramore Outlaw ridden by Colin Hawkins who passed away recently and bought out of Fred Rimmels yard after Fred had died so his wife Mercy was selling most of the inmates and got him for around £2000 and a couple more one called Timeless Times just a pony of a horse which won a Goodwood claimer ridden by Bruce Raymond and they were all well backed at mad prices. STV news programme sent a camera crew to Perth for Carramore’s second win and we made the news that night so a wonderful day.
    Thanks for the opportunity to remember and put this out there.

    1. That sounds like what dreams are made of Tom! What a story/memory, thanks for sharing. We can all dream of doing something like that! And your friend trained them himself?? Self taught?

      1. He was an aspiring jockey till the weight got the better of him Josh but still rode work in Lambourn and Newmarket for a number of large stables then moved back to Scotland where a family ensued and him and I got involved with an Aberdonian publican and his friend who was in the oil business and it went from there.

  18. One of my fondest memories happened when I was 15yo. My Mum and I went down to Newmarket and stayed in a hotel. My fav trainer at the time was H Cecil. One evening at the hotel we got talking to a guy who was the chauffeur to the Burrell family (Who owned Be My Chief) he said he may be able to get us a visit lined up to Warren Place and would leave a message at the hotel if it was possible. That message arrived the next day, and with great excitement Mum and I travelled from our hotel to Warren Place.

    Remember Henry was massive within the training ranks back then, and to get a visit was beyond what we had hoped for. The only restriction we got told about was not to ask him for a job! The chauffeur probably didn’t realise I was just 15!

    We arrived at WP to be met by Paddy Rudkin, Cecils head lad at the time. He said we could walk around the yard freely and take any pictures. I’ve got pictures of Kris, Hello Gorgeous, Le Moss to name a few. Henry came over to say hello and even posed for a picture too.

    I remember Henry talking to us and saying that he had 15 runners that Saturday but 13 too many!! I can’t remember the names now, but he did mention to two winners. I recall going to a phone box to call my elder brother the news and what to back. Remember I was 15 so didn’t frequent betting shops back then, and my mum wasn’t interested in betting.

    It was just such a fantastic time and looking back now I feel treasured to have shared the experience with my Mum who is terminally ill with Cancer.

    Since then and as I got older, I met him a few times, both here at York or down at Newmarket. He was always very accommodating, friendly and I think I was always in awe of him. Me, I’ll always remember those years back then, my first time ever at Newmarket meeting my hero. But for Henry, I don’t think he remembered the 15yo from York with his Mother!

    1. Ah Dave, great memories to cherish. I remember visiting the yard at a Newmarket Open weekend – Henry had sadly passed away by then but the yard had a friendly feel to it, and quite the setting.

  19. Hi Josh, great thread, enjoying all the memories, mine started as a 6 year old with Freddie coming 2nd 1965 Grand National and Arkle, then Crisp, but it’s winning days on course with friends that are the best – The Thinker stands out with the sudden snowstorm before the Gold Cup when we all huddled in the Guinness tent and it seemed like the whole course decided only one horse would handle conditions, Dessie’s brave win in the GC hated Cheltenham and the ground but wouldn’t be beat, Tipping Tim in the race I still call the Mackeson, 4 of us went off to the bookies still unsure of the bet and regrouped before the race to find we had all backed the same one, then Kicking King and 5 winners on GC day, landing up in 21 Club with Tom Taaffe’s celebration party, watching jockeys riding the finish on top of the bar, what a night that was! Too many to mention, but always that shared experience with real good friends.

    1. That’s a good memory you have James!! 🙂 Yep, I don’t think you can beat those experiences – something about a day at the races with good friends or family, and sharing the joy of winners etc – usually a good day had by all, both at the races, and sometimes after in the local drinking establishments!!

  20. Impossible to pick one out of so many, but on a personal level, watching a horse – Theatre Girl – that I had an eighth share in perform at the Cheltenham Festival. She didn’t win, but the experience was unforgettable. It was the same day that Denman beat Kauto Star in the Gold Cup – superb. Also, early days with my Dad at Beverley Racecourse. He was usually on standby as an Electrical Engineer & took me along as well. The Bookies had no problem taking my sixpenny bets – and usually keeping the money!
    Phil C

    1. that’s the dream I think Phil, if you’re a jumps fan etc – to have a share in a Festival runner – something i’ll aim to achieve one day! I’m sure that was quite the thrill.

  21. Numbersixvalverde 2006 Grand national.
    Nothing will ever top this for me. I just kept putting a a fiver or tenner on every week and telling everyone who’d listen that it was going to win for weeks. My girlfriend at the time was sick to death of me going on about it. We watched it together making sure I’d had sufficient beer in me beforehand to either numb the agony of defeat or enhance the celebration. Like a child waiting for Christmas I waited impatiently for the start reminding my girlfriend as often as I could who was going to win.
    The first half of the race was a nightmare, not even a mention at all, I couldn’t believe my ears. The overwhelming feeling of dread and embarrassment was starting to make it’s presence, I couldn’t look at my girlfriend but could feel her glaring at me with the ‘you idiot’ look on her face.
    Then a glimmer of hope with a mention, then another and another and the hope was coming back fast and the volume went up on the TV and I start screaming him home. When he jumped upsides Hedgehunter the roof nearly blew off, jumping up and down, screaming Numbersixvalverde all the way to the line as my girlfriend sat there dumbfounded and finally smiling, probably from relief it was all over and anticipating a good night out no doubt. I’ve never gone so mad about betting on a horse or watching a race ever. I was just so sure right from the first minute I read about the horse that it would win. I had to watch it again just before this and all the memories came flooding back. Still so exciting to watch for me now though the leaping around and screaming isn’t necessary any more.

    1. I’ve just had to watch that race back Chris – didn’t he jump like a cat over the final 5/6 fences, and you could cheer from the elbow really, although of course always that lingering doubt that they may just tie up!! For a moment I wasn’t sure if he was about to stop.
      What made you think he was ‘the one’ that year? A particular performance, trainer comment etc? top work. No pressure for next season!

      1. The memory is a bit fuzzy but I read an article somewhere which featured the horse and connections and convinced myself the stories behind it all were the makings of a National winner. I think there was a trend at the time for horses doing well in the Irish equivalent which probably sealed it for me.

  22. Having been interested in racing for some 60 years I have obviously a fair few memories some good some bad.My happiest memory is from last year,My brother has owned a few horses over the last 10 years or so and has had a modicum of success, but also a fair amount of bad luck mainly with his horses getting injured and never racing again,( he paid 50k for a yearling that never reached the racecourse).He has however got a horse called Flirtinaskirt who herself was injured so he decided to breed from her. Flirt has one of her offspring in training called Liberty Beach and this is where one my enjoyable memories comes in. Liberty won her maiden at Redcar then went on to take the Hilary Needler at Beverley. I had a phone call that night from my bro ,his 1st words were at last we’ve got a bloody racehorse.Those words were music to my ears as I was so pleased for him. Liberty went on to better things 4th in the Queen Mary at Ascot .1st in the Dragon Stakes at Newbury,and then the creme de la creme winning the Grp 3 Molecombe at Goodwood. Memories of all that don’t come very often.

    1. I like this one! Lovely to hear from a small owner with a lovely horse finally getting the rewards his dedication, love of the game, and optimism deserve. Great story! (Shame about the Lowther – Tudhope got first run on you!).

    2. Superb Keith – I’m not sure you can top racing memories like that – your brother’s persistence rewarded – I can dream of owning one/then breeding from them one day – some shrewd mating pairing having just looked- Cable Bay (Invincible Spirit) the sire, and he looks a good value stallion at 15k this year.
      Is Liberty Beach still around/a plan to breed from her?

      1. Hi Joss, Liberty Beach will run as a 3yo in sprints ,she is looking well and is ready to go.Keep an eye out for her 1/2 sister Virginia Plane a nice big 2 yo also with John Quinn

  23. Hi Josh My favourite racing memory goes back to when Nortons Coin won the Cheltenham Gold Cup.At the time I was a member of the Full Circle Racing Club run by Colin Tinkler.I met up with him earlier in the day and he told me that Graham McCourt,who used to ride most of the Full Circle horses,really fancied the horses chance in the race.I had a fiver each way on it at 100-1 and the rest is history

    1. I bet the heart was racing watching that, Dessie thereabouts jumping the last, then some battle with the 2nd all the way up the straight, and able to relax in the last few strides! Some story.

  24. Hi Josh, There have been a few memorable moments over the years but the one that stands out the most was the 2004 Champion Stakes at Newmarket with Haafad winning. The reason this is most memorable for me is because I was playing in the Ten to Follow competition and had been in the top 10 throughout the seasons. However, by the time we reached the final race of the competition the Champion Stakes, I had slipped into 12 place and out of the money. My focus was on the favourite Doyen who was also in my Ten to Follow team. I had calculate that if Doyen won then I would finish in an agonising 11th place missing out on the money by a point or two. If I’m totally honest, I had written off the chances of Haafad winning the race. Doyen quickly folded and really disappointed but Haafad flew home. I finished 8th overall and won over £4K for a £10 entry fee to the competition.

    Fantastic day.

    1. That’s quite an achievement Dave, and something to be proud of! I suspect that comp will have prominence again in the coming years. And what a way to get into the money.

  25. Mine goes back 54 years when my Grandad took me racing for the 2nd time to Pontefract when I was about 7 or 8… I had been with him to Donny a few weeks before and loved it, I was quite happy collecting all the losing tickets from the betting ring floor with all those colours, numbers and colourful names but the biggest thrill was having my first ever Mister Softee… I literally didn’t know ice cream came that way and could taste so good!

    So when he asked my mum if he could take me to Ponty a few weeks later I begged to go, she consented and gave me half a crown for bets (she was very broad-minded). When we got there it was straight to Mister Softee then down to the ring. My Grandad had backed a winner at Donny called Pontam, and it was running in this race so I said I would have a shilling on (my selection strategy has not improved much during the intervening years), low and behold Pontam won again…. at 50/1!

    When he collected and gave me my winnings it was the first paper money I had ever held, and I was hooked for life.

    1. A mister softie and a big win, what more could you want. I can see why you were hooked after that. Many more 50/1 winners to be found, and icecreams to be eaten! I do like Pontefract, great little track.

  26. Hi Josh, my best memory takes me back to July’ 94, going through the card at York with a £1 ew acca paid over £3,500 and bunking off work on the Monday to collect the winnings from my local Ladbrokes. Great day for an 18 year old!!!

    1. I bet, blimey – quite the achievement and the reward! We can all dream of going through the card when at the races. I’m not sure i’ve met anyone who’s done that before and put in an acca! drinks on you.

  27. Great idea there Josh,so many fond memories,mainly when you pass on a few winners to a friend,still makes me smile when I think about giving the gf a patent bet few years back,was explaining that she was better of doing a patent to a lucky 15 as 1 winner would probably recoup her money,so came the fateful day when i told her to place a patent on 3 of Paddys rides kings Walk 5/1,Colins Sister 12/1 and Diamond Fort 13/2,”cost you 7 euro i says”.While later she rings me saying she only got euro change out of a fifty.f**K I thought shes written it out wrong.Kings Walk 3rd,ear starting to hurt in anticipation.Paddy rides a patient one on CS and pounces at last,palpitations ease,and then Paddy takes DF to lead 2 from home and after stumble at last powers home by 3 lengths.700 euro back and blushes saved.
    If your first visit to a racecourse is Cheltenham before it extended to 4 days your hooked for life.Mine was 1995 festival with a 33/1 AP voucher on Master Oats,an all in hotel coach and tickets package.Not doing much past champion hurdle and then I back Rough Quest at 16/1 ew tenner,saw him get mugged few weeks earlier and with Mick “The Bankrobber” on board might have learned what he needs,takes lead from last and cruises to 3 length win,Miracle Man wins finale at 6/1 with 5 big twenties going in satchel and metamorphising into 700,happy days and won the bus betting comp to boot.Didn’t see much of the Master Oats race in the fog but commentary said he won

    1. brilliant memories Gerry, and many more to be forged in coming years! ‘The Bankrobber’ – what a name for a jockey haha

  28. When I was at university a group of us went to Doncaster for the races. Upon arriving back in Sheffield we preceded to have a cracking night out and towards the end I met a stunning lass in Flares.

    So in all honestly pulling a worldie in Flares some time in 2005 is probably my happiest racing memory.

  29. My favourite and at the same time disappointing memory was when The Thinker won the Gold Cup in the snow. Was managing a betting shop at the time and had decided that The Thinker was going to be my horse for The Grand National so was putting £2 and £5 bets on every week. Come the Gold Cup I thought if it wins this it might not run in the National so with everything being delayed that day I nipped out of the shop and went to Ladbrokes down the road and having calculated how much I would lose if it did not run in the national put my second biggest ever bet on with a reasonable profit returned if won not as much as I would get if won National. Was delighted as it won but needless to say did not run in that years National

    1. Some decent betting foresight there though Paul. Given he won a GC, I can see the disappointment but at least the blow was softened.

  30. Ziga Boy also, like the Hurst’s we enjoyed both those owners days out at Doncaster, but possibly more so the second win as it was done in the same buccaneering manner and he wasn’t thrown in at the weights second time round.

    Tinged with such sadness that he lost his life after a field injury not long after retirement. He was the horse of a lifetime and the best jumper of fences we will ever be associated with. Such happy memories, thanks Ziggy.

  31. Punting wise it was 1981/82 NH season and Little Bay winning at 16/1 ridden by Jonjo O’Neil. The reason as it was the last leg of the ITV7 and I’d had the previous six winners and collected just over £11,000.As an owner every win is so special but all the winners were surpassed by having a runner at the Cheltenham Festival in 2018.

    1. I can see why, punting wise, that one sticks out!! Great picking. I’ll dream of getting Super to the Mares chase next Festival!! I’m not sure she will quite be good enough mind, but still.

  32. Just picked up on this thread Josh, think its a great idea. As a 75 year old who has been going racing since he was 15 whos dad was a back street bookies runner and odd times helped out on a joint at Gosforth Park I obviously have loads of good memories. My favourite though was quite simple. Newmarket on Champion Stakes day years ago. Steve Cauthen brings Indian Skimmer out onto the course,she digs her toes in and refuses to budge, out strides Sir Henry, grabs her ear whispers something and off she goes. When asked what he said to her the great man said that he just told her not to be a silly b and get on with her job.

    1. That’s made me smile Anthony. What a great man he was, such a connection with his horses. Some of them do know who the boss is, and will take the mickey when they’re not around.

  33. For a number of years I worked as a floorman for an on track bookmaker. 3 of us, the bookie, the clerk and myself travelled up and down the country betting at tracks from Sedgefield in the north to Epsom in the south- we did miles each week. The bookie was not the most generous of payers and our wages varied from week to week. Obviously there was no such thing as holiday or sick pay when either he or us could not work- the clerk and I use to have a regular chunter at the unfairness of it all. Then one day we went to Haydock, on the way there the bookie announced that he was going away for 3 weeks holiday, we were aghast, again no money- and neither of us were on any sort of benefits. I was working the Silver Ring, backing horses as instructed over the walkie talkie. In the big race we were very busy , bets all over the place. I kept backing this one horse wherever I could, £500-90 here, £580-90 there, every odds better than 5-1. The horse romped home. Arctic Jack , trained by Sue Smith. I was pulling cash in from every book in the Silver Ring. The clerk came down to the dividing fence to meet me between races. When I saw him I presumed he had come to collect all the cash to pay out the punters in Tattersalls. “Come for the big Wedge?” I said. What’s that? he replied. The winnings on Arctic Jack I said. We didn’t back Arctic Jack he responded, we backed , and he gave the name of another horse.” You have backed the wrong horse” Well we had a quick discussion and decided that it would completely throw the bookmakers system and records if I put all the cash into the hod and I couldn’t give the money back to the Silver Ring bookmakers so we decided to share the winnings and have some holiday pay. Definitely best memory, closely followed by Sea Pigeon winning the Champion Hurdle, but thank you,Sue and Harvey Smith and the great Arctic Jack!

  34. My experiences are not as exciting, glamourous, or emotional as the above but it was the whole days experience that counted and the birthday combined which made it special.
    1968, 29th May, I was living in Guernsey at the time and 29th May was my 20th birthday. I contacted my dad who was a football scout part time if he could get me 2 tickets for the European Cup Final at Wembley as a birthday treat he did 2 x 10/- tickets behind the goals. Yes 10/- shillings, it was 1968 after all. At the same time as I was getting my expensive 10 bob tickets my friend who was sports editor of the Guernsey press contacted me to say he had 2 x £4 tickets near the halfway line which had been repossessed from guys trying to sell them on the black market. So of we went early morning with my Racing Post paper SP life maybe, under my arm. What’s that for he said well you don’t think I’m just going to a football match in the evening do you I replied, we are off to Epsom first to catch the Derby. It was run on a Wed afternoon in those days. So we spent a glorious afternoon at the Derby with my biggest bet ever on Sir Ivor plus 2 smaller wins to boot.
    On the way to Wembley in the tube 2 Benfica fans approached me to ask if we had any spare tickets, they had come all the way from Portugal with no tickets !!. Well as it happens I have 2 tickets for sale, the 2 x 10 bob ones were sold to them for £4 each and you would think I had given them a £100. Man Utd won 4-2 aet.
    Well that’s what I would call a very profitable days racing, football, birthday all rolled into one. One I won’t forget.

  35. Josh – it’s a great thread, but I admit to some disappointment at how much some people’s favourite moment is linked to winning money. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that this doesn’t show a love of racing so much as a love of winning money! Not that I don’t mind winning money – of course I don’t! – but to me Racing is about more than that.

    1. Hmm maybe, but they are generally those sorts of bets that don’t come in very often! Biggies, accumulators etc, and if you’re a small stakes player, I suppose they will stick in the mind – esp if life-changing amount at the time/allowed to treat yourself etc – I think there’s a good mix of memories – i think there are many underlying positives to any money won that isn’t just the actual amount – the puzzle being solved and sharing it with friends etc Racing has many component parts that make it enjoyable I think.

  36. My happiest memory is as a part owner,a very small part I must add.As a member of the Elite Racing Club I was lucky enough to get an owners badge to see Marsha at Newmarket in the Palace House Stakes.Although
    myself and other members were hopeful for a win we couldn’t be confident.She was well turned out and looked a picture.She ran so well and won which was a great thrill,I was lucky enough to get to receive the winners prize.But that was not all,we were taken to the Royal Box to celebrate her win with champagne, sandwiches and cake to celebrate.We also got to meet Lester Piggott which made my day,and I watched the 2000 gns win of Churchill from the Royal Box! In addition to that it was a absolute pleasure to meet and talk to trainer Sir Mark Prescott about Marsha,a gentleman not Marsha Sir Mark obviously.And last but not least jockey Luke Morris who gave Marsha a super ride.

    1. What a horse she was. I’m not sure ‘size of share’ matters to some degree? Obviously sole owning and esp owner/breeder is a different set of emotions again – but even with a small share you still feel part of the horse’s journey, and are just willing them to succeed – and you get experiences like yours every now and then, which can be cherished for a lifetime.

  37. So many memories, think winning the Grand National of which i have done it about 5 times in my lifetime, (not bragging, just being factual). I think the one that sticks for me is Seagram, having just literally stepped off a plane after coming back from the first Gulf war on the Tuesday, said to a couple of friends I would treat them to a day out at Aintree, which back then was still the old stands, think they were thinking of getting rid of Aintree back then, it was the famine years of Aintee, so, we got tickets for main stand quite easily back then. I had said all week I really fancied the sponsors horse and i remember the lads saying I still had Gulf brain as they called it, (Seagram where in fact sponsoring the race that year), Seagram`s form was mediocre and the hot favourite was Garrison Savannah who brought the Gold cup form into the race, my mates were all on that and I stuck steadfast and backed Seagram on the Wednesday at 22/1, the Thursday at 18/1, Friday again at 20/1 and the morning of the race it had drifted out to 22/1 again. I will not tell you how much I had bet, or won, needless to say the majority of what i had save up after my 8 months in the gulf was sunk each way on this “little” horse with a big heart and I remember sobering up a little bit when it looked like it was going to GS, to then fall drunk again on Adrenalin as he surged clear after the elbow of the run in.. again think if you could lay i bet the in running price of Seagram would have been good after the second last, he looked beat.


  38. A few stand out for me, Las Arcs in Golden Jubilee at 33/1 after a cracking season, I couldn’t believe the price! Sprinter Sacre’s comeback and last Cheltenham win was pure racing joy for me, such a talented horse, wonderful to see. But my favourite is Cue Cards win in the King George, so close on the line but closing all the way, we were watching on telly and the family love racing, particularly Boxing Day with 4 generations cheering him on it was such a great moment and a well deserved win for the horse I’d most liked to have seen lift the Gold Cup. Still gives me goose bumps today and just listen to the crowd https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wbwHOTKhyTQ.

    There have been loads of other memories of course, but my favourite day (possibly of my life) started with Somerville Boy looking beat and finishing like a train winning the Supreme Novices, carried on with Footpad’s domination of the Arkle, Lizzie just holding on with Coo Star Sivola in the Ultima and her joy coming back in, Buveur D’Air just holding the game Melon in the Champion hurdle, Benie Des Deiux surprising hot pot Apples Jade and beating outsider Midnight Tour by half a length in the mares hurdle, Ms Parfois (the one that got away on the day!) not quite holding on and going down half a length to the game Rathvinden in the National Hunt Cup, Mister Whitaker just getting up by a head in the aptly names ‘Close’ Brothers – has to be the best days racing I have seen ever seen, the atmosphere was something else and I am so lucky to have been there for it and nearly winning the Jackpot!

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