Dubai Millennium Bred at the Dalham Hall Stud, on the outskirts of Newmarket, Dubai Millennium was originally named ‘Yaazer’, but was renamed by his owner, Sheikh Mohammed, as a two-year-old. As a juvenile, he was trained by David Loder in Newmarket, but ran just once, hacking up by five lengths, at long odds-on, in an ordinary maiden stakes race at Yarmouth in October, 1998.

Thereafter, Dubai Millennium was transferred to Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor and spent the winter at his Al Quoz Stables in Dubai before returning to Godolphin Stables in Newmarket in preparation for a three-year-old campaign. After two easy wins, again at odds-on, over a mile and a mile-and-a-quarter at Doncaster and Goodwood, the Seeking The Gold colt was sent off at 5/1 favourite for the Derby at Epsom. However, on his first attempt at Group One level and his one and only attempt over a mile-and-a-half, Dubai Millenium was found wanting, eventually trailing in a well-beaten ninth of sixteen behind Oath.

Nevertheless, dropped back in distance, Dubai Millenium won his next three starts, including the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot. As a four-year-old, he reappeared in the Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid al Maktoum Challenge at Nad Al Sheba – his first attempt on dirt – again winning easily. In the Dubai World Cup, over the same course and distance, three weeks later, he produced a devastating display to beat Behrens and Public Purse by six lengths and five-and-a-half lengths. Dubai Millenium did not race again until June, when winning the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot, impressively, by eight lengths. Supporters of the horse were no doubt rushing to to calculate their winnings in advance of his next outing!

In August, 2000, ‘sabre-rattling’ between Sheikh Mohammed and Michael Tabor, owner of the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes-winner Montjeu, led to the arrangement of a traditional, head-to-head match between the two colts, worth $12 million to the winner. The match was to take place over a mile-and-a-quarter, on turf, on a British racecourse within a month or two, but no sooner had it been announced, than Dubai Millenium suffered a career-ending injury in training. Dubai Millennium was awarded a Timeform Annual Rating of 140, which places him in co-eighth place, alongside such luminaries of the sport as Dancing Brave, Sea The Stars and Shergar, in the all-time list from the Timeform era.

Nashwan Nashwan was bred and owned by Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, in whose famous blue and white colours he raced, trained by Major Dick Hern in West Isley, Berkshire and ridden, exclusively, by Willie Carson. The son of Blushing Groom is probably best remembered for his 5-length defeat of 500/1 outsider Terimon in the Derby in 1989, but also had the distinction of being the first horse since Nijinksy, in 1970, to complete the 2,000 Guineas – Derby double. He also remains the only horse ever to win the first two colts’ Classics, plus the Coral-Eclipse Stakes and the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes in the same season.

Foaled on March 1, 1986, Nashwan raced twice as a juvenile, winning a well-contested maiden stakes race, over 7 furlongs, at Newbury on his debut in August, 1988 and following up in the Listed Autumn Stakes, over a mile, at Ascot two months later. He reappeared in the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket, for which he started 3/1 favourite. Always prominent, he took the lead with two furlongs to run and, although strongly challenged by Exbourne, Danehill and Markofdistinction, quickened again close home to win by a length.

Following his well-chronicled win in the Derby, Nashwan took on the older horses for the first time in the Coral-Eclipse Stakes at Sandown, again winning easily by 5 lengths. Two weeks later, he started at prohibitive odds of 2/9 for the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot, but was ultimately all out to hold Cacoethes – whom he had comfortably beaten by 7 lengths in the Derby – by a neck.

Connections declined an attempt at the Triple Crown, favouring the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe over the St. Leger so, after a short break, Nashwan was sent to Longchamp for a preparatory race in the Prix Niel, a Group Two contest over the same course and distance as the Arc. Sent off at 1/5 for what appeared a formality, Nashwan held every chance inside the final quarter of a mile, but could only keep on at one pace to finish third, beaten 2 lengths, behind Golden Pheasant. He had run his last race and was retired at the end of the season having won all but one of his seven starts and over £793,000 in prize money.

Nashwan was humanely euthanised in July, 2002, after complications following a supposedly minor operation on a hind leg, at the age of 16. His death came just two months after that of his erstwhile trainer, who had earlier described him as “the best horse I’ve ever trained”.

Mishaps and Mayhem at the Grand National With any global level sporting event it’s vital that everything is running like clockwork. You can’t very well have the floodlights going out in a World Cup final or the starting pistol not working in the Olympics 100m dash. The very same applies to the Grand National. Surely one of the most recognised and respected horse races in the world, the Grand National attracts massive domestic and worldwide audiences. With that in mind, it becomes a must to iron out any potential kinks in the proceedings. But of course everyone and everything is fallible and there are enough factors at play for things to occasionally go awry. So , I present to you, the mishaps and mayhem at the Grand National

2 horse race

Often we hear the description, ‘a two horse race’ but perhaps it’s never been more true than at the 1928 grand national. Of course, it’s hard to tell from year to year how many horses will actually complete the gruelling Grand National course and its tricky hurdles, but it’s safe to say that the obvious answer isn’t two! To top off the madness, the eventual winner, Tipperary Tim, was a 100-1 shot. In fact even the 2nd place horse, Billy Barton, had fallen too, but the jockey remounted. Some happy punters, and probably quite a few confused ones, that day!

Scared of your own shadow

There’s certain scenarios you don’t consider coming about as you’re selecting your Grand National betting tips. You might not be familiar with the details, but this incident involving Devon Loch in the 1956 Grand National, has been televised and viewed on YouTube countless times. In a ‘what could possibly go wrong?’ moment never to be forgotten, Devon Loch snatched defeat from the jaws of victory just 40 yards from the finish line. The horse jumped, seemingly for no reason, before performing what can best be described as a cross between the splits and a belly flop, right in front of owners, the Queen and the Queen Mother. All of this led to its closet rival ESB breezing to victory is unexpected fashion. Many theories have been posited as to what happened on that fateful day, ranging from being scared of his own shadow, to imagining that there was a jump there. Should have gone to Specsavers?

Faulty start

We’re into the modern age with this third and final bizarre incident from the 1993 Grand National. The starter may as well have said ‘On your marks, get set, don’t go’, as the start was botched not once but twice. On the second false start several of the jockeys didn’t get the message that they’d been called back, leading to mayhem as some returned to the start line whereas the majority made their way around the track. In all 30 of the 39 runners carried on racing and consequently the race was declared void. To many it’s known as the Grand National that never was, though due to the cancellation of the 2020 Grand National we now have another year that ticks that box. The winner was Esha Ness, but under such conditions sadly it’s not a victory that counts for much, if anything.

With this zany recap, let’s hope that we’ve got the madness out of our system and that the Grand National 2020 goes off like a dream. Enjoy the race!