Over the years I’ve received the odd quizzical email as to why the site is called Nags Head? Such messages are almost exclusively from abroad, because, well, if you’re from the United Kingdom you’ll certainly be familiar with the term. Rather amusingly, and unbeknownst to be there is actually a rather pretty looking beach town in North Carolina, US called Nags Head, and so this may be replacement for some of the confusion.
Essentially though, in UK terms ‘Nags Head’ (with a nag being a horse) is used as a popular name for pubs in the UK. You’re likely to have seen a Nags Head pub at some point, likely with a regal looking horse sign outside! Though of course the name itself wasn’t plucked out of thin air and it in fact heralds back to days of old in times of piracy. Legend has it that a look out on land would hang a brightly lit lantern around the neck of a placid horse on shore, and that this would be a guide to pirates to shore along with their various treasures and trinkets.
In modern times though, Nags Head, very much came to prominence due to being the name of the public house in the massively popular BBC1 comedy series Only Fools and Horses, which ran from 1981 – 2003. All of the well known characters of the show, which drew audiences of up to 24 million in its heyday. It’s well known characters Dell Boy, Rodney, Uncle Albert, Boyce, Trigger and co helped contribute towards some of the most iconic moments in UK comedy. Who can forget the bar scene, or that time Dell and Rodney went to the casino and emerged into the bright sunshine of the following day by the time they left. Of course this was pre-internet, long before https://www.choiceonlinecasino.com/casino-games/ and co. Other characters and scenarios such as the Driscoll brothers and Tony Angelina are as funny to think about now as 20 odd years ago.
As the height of the show there was even a show set in the USA, which is quite some way from the shoes Peckham, London roots. It was set in a top USA casino like the aforementioned hilarious UK scene, but instead Miami with all the sunshine, bright lights and mayhem that come along with it! So the next time you see a Nags Head sign, be sure to consider both the history of it, and also how it came to prominence in households around the country. Then do and guy yourself a pint!
Comparing steeplechasers from different generations, in an effort to determine which was the ‘greatest’ of all time, is a popular, but ultimately, futile activity. However, although he raced long before the advent of Timeform ratings or any other empirical measure that would allow comparisons to be made, Golden Miller must surely be considered, at least, one of the greatest.
Owned by Dorothy Paget – an extremely wealthy, but plain, hefty woman, with a reputation as fearsome as the horse himself – and trained, initially, by Basil Briscoe, Golden Miller won the Cheltenham Gold Cup five consecutive times between 1932 and 1936. Even allowing for the fact that the Cheltenham Gold Cup, at that time, was not the ‘Blue Riband’ event it later became, no other horse – not even the mighty Arkle – has won the race more than three times.
Of course, following his third win in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, in 1934, as a seven-year-old, Golden Miller went on to win the Grand National under top weight of 12st 2lb. Not only did he beat Delaneige by 5 lengths but, in so doing, he beat the previous course record, which had stood for 72 years, by 9.6 seconds. In fact, his winning time of 9 minutes 20.4 seconds wouldn’t be beaten for 40 years and, even then, it took the legendary Red Rum to do so. Golden Miller remains the only horse ever to have won the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Grand National in the same season.
Despite being described by one racing journalist as ‘a god on four legs’, Golden Miller fared less well on subsequent attempts in the Grand National. In fact, his refusal on the first circuit in 1935, when sent off the shortest-priced favourite in National history, caused Paget to fall out with Briscoe and transfer Golden Miller to Owen Anthony. Anthony saddled the horse to win a fifth, and final, Cheltenham Gold Cup in 1936, but Golden Miller failed to complete the National Course again in 1936 and 1937.
Horse racing is certainly no stranger to oddball horse names. Just the other year Horsey McHorseFace (an homage to boaty mcboatface) gained worldwide attention when he won the Lathan Arthur Thompson Memorial Maiden in Australia. Other funny horse names that have raised anything between a titter and a belly laugh include the likes of Hoarse, Hugh Janus, Oh no it’s my mother in law, magic carpet burns and passing wind.
Funny horse names aren’t just a modern occurrence though. We see that here with a racehorse called Potooooooo born all the way back in 1773. His owner, Willoughby Bertie, already had the bright / strange idea of naming the horse Potatoes. This rather unflattering name was to take another twist though, when Bertie instructed a stable lad to write down the horses name. Instead of writing Potatoes, he wrote down Pot-8-O’s, as in literally the word Pot followed by eight O’s. The owner found this error rather amusing and so instead of correcting it the name stuck. It creates a funny little place for Potoooooooo in history, as the story lives on to this very day!