Five of the most historic horse races

Horse racing is one of the most exhilarating sports in the world. From outside underdogs approaching from behind in the last couple of furlongs to bookies’ favourites capturing the hearts of spectators around the world, every race has a story to tell.

Of course, the greatest races rely on the trinity of the best horses, jockeys and trainers. While a race can be over in a matter of minutes, the hard work and preparation that goes into creating world champions is rarely witnessed by the public. With that in mind, we’re going to take a look at five of the most historic horse races of all time.

Omaha versus Quashed, Gold Cup (Ascot, 18th June 1936)

Omaha had taken the US Triple Crown just a year previously, while Quashed had been victorious at the Oaks – and the pair came eyeball-to-eyeball in the biggest all-age race of the flat season. This was a contest that was nail-biting from start to finish. Quashed held a narrow lead throughout the final quarter of a mile, with Omaha catching up steadfastly. The two were indistinguishable as they passed the post. In the absence of photo finish technology, the victory was handed to Quashed.

Crisp versus Red Rum, Grand National (Aintree, 31st March 1973)

While the outcome of this race made the record books, it’s worth watching a recording to witness Crisp’s incredible front-running performance – one which is often overshadowed by the success of the eventual winner. At twenty lengths clear while approaching the last fence, it’s difficult to consider how any opponent could have caught him. However, fatigue took hold, allowing Red Rum to romp home by three-quarters of a length.

This was arguably one of the most exciting races for sports betting fans to take a flutter on in the history of the Grand National.

Monksfield versus Sea Pigeon, Champion Hurdle (Cheltenham, 14th March 1979)

Depending on who you speak to, the late-70’s is regarded as the golden age of hurdle racing. Monksfield started the race as the clear favourite, and for the most part, was well ahead of the pack. However, Sea Pigeon cruised alongside him during the last flight. Monksfield steadfastly lowered his head and battled on to reach the finish line by three-quarters of a length, in one of the most stunning performances Cheltenham has ever witnessed.

Arkle versus Mill House, Gold Cup (Cheltenham, 7th March 1964)

This race is so ingrained in popular culture that there’s even a song –Dominic Behan’s ‘Arkle’ – penned in tribute to it. During heightened political tensions, this contest was a showdown between Ireland’s Arkle and Mill House of England. Both horses jumped flawlessly, but it wasn’t until the final hill that Arkle eased into the lead, winning by five lengths.

Streamline versus Terra Promessa, Azeri Stakes (Oaklawn Park, 18th March 2017)

Horse racing was one of the first activities US citizens placed bets on, and its popularity continues to this day. At 3/10 odds, Terra Promessa was a sure-fire winner before the horses had even left the traps. However, it was Streamline who put in the performance of a lifetime to win by three lengths at 10/1. Terra Promessa – a regular bookies’ favourite at the time – traipsed home in fifth place in one of the biggest US horse racing upsets in recent history.