Despite many attempts over the years, winning the Grand National and the Cheltenham Gold Cup in the same season is a notoriously difficult thing to do.

That’s probably why it has only ever been done once, and that was by Golden Miller in 1934.

One of the most famous racehorses in history, Golden Miller, is known for his incredible achievements in the 1930s. Nearly one hundred years on, he is as famous today as he was then.

Every year, as the new National Hunt season kicks in, there is always potential for another Golden Miller to step out from the shadows.

So far, few five-year-old horses have captured his quality, but it doesn’t stop us from looking or even having a bet on one of the new UK betting sites when we spot an emerging talent.

Will another horse ever be able to win five Gold Cups in a row and win the Grand National? Only time will tell.

But, for now, we focus our attention on the great Golden Miller. So where did it all begin, and how good was he?

The Early Years

Golden Miller was foaled in 1927 at Mill House Stud in County Kilkenny, Ireland. His sire, Goldcourt, was a well-regarded stallion, and his dam, Millers Pride, came from a strong lineage of jumpers.

This solid pedigree laid the foundation for Golden Miller’s future success on the racecourse.

He was bred by Laurence Geraghty, who had a keen eye for promising racehorses, and in his early years, was sold to Dorothy Paget, a prominent and wealthy racehorse owner.

His training was initially managed by Basil Briscoe whose training regime was meticulous, focusing on developing Golden Miller’s natural abilities.

Briscoe’s approach combined steady conditioning with an emphasis on stamina and jumping skills, essential for success in National Hunt racing.

His early training involved extensive schooling over fences, which highlighted his impressive jumping ability. His agility and natural talent quickly caught the attention of racing enthusiasts.

His early career was marked by a series of promising performances in minor races, which set the stage for his remarkable achievements in the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Aintree Grand National.

Owen Anthony later took over his training in 1936, focusing on enhancing the horse’s racing strategy and endurance.

The transition between trainers was seamless, and Golden Miller continued to thrive.

1932 Cheltenham Gold Cup

In 1932, Golden Miller made his first significant mark in the world of horse racing by winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Held on March 3rd, under typical early spring conditions, Golden Miller, ridden by Ted Leader, faced a competitive field.

Despite being relatively young and less experienced than some of his rivals, Golden Miller quickly proved his capability.

Leader, an experienced jockey, rode a strategic race, ensuring that Golden Miller conserved energy for the demanding course.

In the last few furlongs, Golden Miller surged ahead, crossing the line in a winning time of 6 minutes and 41 seconds, a respectable time given the course conditions.

This victory was significant for several reasons. It marked Golden Miller’s first major win, establishing him as a formidable contender in National Hunt racing.

The win also brought recognition to his owner, Dorothy Paget, and his trainer, Basil Briscoe, who had meticulously prepared him for this challenge.

1933 Gold Cup

Golden Miller returned to Cheltenham in 1933 to defend his title, and he did so with an even more impressive performance.

The weather was slightly better than the previous year, and the ground was considered to be in good condition, which contributed to a faster race pace.

Ted Leader once again took the reins, and from the start, the duo looked poised and focused.

Demonstrating his superb jumping ability at each fence, as he came into the final stages of the race, the strategic positioning by Leader paid off.

In the last stretch, Golden Miller found an extra burst of speed, crossing the finish line in 6 minutes 39.8 seconds, a slightly faster time than his previous year’s win.

1934 – Grand National and Gold Cup

In 1934, Golden Miller achieved an extraordinary feat that remains unmatched in the history of horse racing: winning both the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Aintree Grand National in the same year.

Starting with the Cheltenham Gold Cup on March 1st, Golden Miller, ridden by Gerry Wilson, delivered a commanding performance, finishing the race in a record time of 6 minutes 32.6 seconds.

This victory marked his third consecutive Gold Cup win, solidifying his reputation as an elite steeplechaser.

Just weeks later, on March 30th, he took on the gruelling challenge of the Grand National, carrying a whopping weight of 12st 2lbs which is higher than even Red Rum won with.

Already a well-established star from his Gold Cup victories, he went off in the Grand National as one of the favourites.

Ridden by Gerry Wilson, his strategy was to keep Golden Miller in a comfortable position, avoiding the early chaos that often characterises the race.

He navigated the difficult fences with impressive agility, and his consistent performance saw him gradually move up through the field.

As they approached the final fences, Golden Miller surged ahead, crossing the finish line in 9 minutes 20.4 seconds.

The win cemented his legacy as one of the greatest steeplechasers of all time. But he didn’t stop there.

4th & 5th Gold Cup Wins

In 1935, Golden Miller faced the challenging conditions of heavy ground at Cheltenham.

Despite the tough terrain, he once again showcased his exceptional abilities, expertly navigating the difficult course.

He crossed the finish line in 6 minutes 36.6 seconds, marking his fourth consecutive Gold Cup win, an unprecedented achievement.

The 1936 Cheltenham Gold Cup saw Golden Miller aiming for a historic fifth consecutive victory.

With Gerry Wilson once again in the saddle, the race unfolded under more favourable conditions than the previous year.

He maintained a strong, steady pace and cleared the fences with his usual precision, crossing the finish line in 6 minutes 35.8 seconds.

Golden Miller secured his fifth Gold Cup win, a record that still stands today.

His legacy as the only horse to win five consecutive Gold Cups endures, making him an icon in the world of horse racing.

Retirement

Golden Miller retired from racing in 1939. He was moved to owner Dorothy Paget’s farm, where he enjoyed a peaceful and comfortable life.

Paget, who had invested so much in his career and had reaped the rewards of his successes, ensured that he was well cared for.

Golden Miller lived out his retirement years in tranquility, away from the pressures of competitive racing.

He remained at the farm until his death in 1957 at the age of 30, a respectable age for a horse.

Memorials and tributes to Golden Miller can be found at various racing venues, ensuring that new generations of racing enthusiasts learn about his incredible contributions to the sport.