Golden Miller: Cheltenham Festival Legend

Golden Miller is arguably one of the finest National Hunt racehorses in the history of the sport, and certainly the first racehorse to put the Cheltenham Festival on the racing map as his exploits at the Cheltenham Gold Cup became the stuff of legend.

Golden Miller’s life was lived in the stables of charismatic racehorse breeder and owner Dorothy Paget. During her life Paget spent a fortune attempting to breed the best possible racehorses and increase the quality of her stock. Ultimately she failed to profit from her endeavours, however she did have the privilege of breeding two of the finest racehorses of her era in Golden Miller and Insurance.

Dorothy Paget gave Golden Miller to Basil Briscoe for training, and then entered him into his first Cheltenham Festival when he was five years old as a relatively inexperienced jumping racehorse. Ted Leader was Golden Miller’s jockey for the 1932 Cheltenham Gold Cup, and together the duo achieved one of the ultimate feats in horseracing at first attempt – winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Golden Miller, Cheltenham Festival legend, was back in 1933. On this occasion Ted Leader was replaced as jockey by Billy Stott, but the result was the same as in 1932 with Golden Miller emerging as Cheltenham Gold Cup winner for the second year in a row.

The 1993/1994 National Hunt season saw Golden Miller achieve a feat that has never been repeated. The horse was entered into the 1934 Cheltenham Festival with yet another new rider, Gerry Wilson. The legendary horse obliged for the third consecutive year, becoming the first horse to win three Cheltenham Gold Cups. Following this achievement Golden Miller was entered into the 1934 Grand National at Aintree Racecourse and won National Hunt racing’s most famous handicap steeplechase.

By 1935 Golden Miller, Cheltenham Festival legend, had developed a fearsome reputation and one horseracing journalist even described him as ‘God on four legs’. However the Grand National win on the challenging Aintree racecourse had not come without cost, as Golden Miller began to refuse at larger obstacles after that race.

Nevertheless, Golden Miller achieved his fourth Cheltenham Gold Cup winner’s title in 1935. Not content with a Cup tally double that of his nearest rival, Easter Hero, Golden Miller achieved his fifth and final Cheltenham Gold Cup win in 1936. He retired three years later with a record of 28 wins from 52 races.