Top 10 British and Irish Racehorses of All Time

When picking out their bets to include when taking advantage of the best Horse Racing Betting Offers, fans are always on the lookout for the next superstar. On the US Racing scene, the names of Secretariat, American Pharoah, Seabiscuit, and Zenyatta, will forever be ingrained in racing folklore thanks to their phenomenal exploits at the track.

However, the US is not alone in producing superstar performers. Across the Atlantic, Great Britain and Ireland have also proved fertile breeding grounds for equine excellence.

Listing the “top ten” British racehorses of all time can be subjective, as opinions may vary among enthusiasts and experts. However, there are those stars who are generally accepted as being amongst the greatest in the sport’s history, with the following ten likely to feature on the lists of most horse racing fans:

  1. Frankel: Undefeated in his 14-race career, Frankel is considered one of the greatest racehorses ever. He dominated races from 2010 to 2012 and retired as a legend. Now one of the most sought-after stallions in the sport, Frankel is in the process of ensuring his brilliance passes down the generations.
  2. Arkle: A steeplechaser from the 1960s, Arkle is often regarded as the greatest jumps horse of all time. He won three Cheltenham Gold Cups, an Irish Grand National and King George VI Chase and was known for his extraordinary jumping ability. Almost 60 years after his final success, he continues to set the standard against which all other steeplechasers are measured.
  3. Red Rum: Famous for winning the Grand National three times (in 1973, 1974, and 1977), Red Rum is an iconic figure in British racing history. Bred in Ireland but trained in England by Ginger McCain, this star of the 1970s remains synonymous with Britain’s most famous race.
  4. Brigadier Gerard: An exceptional flat racehorse from the 1970s, Brigadier Gerard won 17 of his 18 career starts – including a Classic success in the 2000 Guinea and two events at the Royal Ascot Festival – and is considered one of the best milers of all time.
  5. Galileo: Trained in Ireland by master handler Aidan O’Brien, Galileo soared to victory in the 2001 Epsom Derby. However, that sizzling success was nothing compared to his exploits at stud. The son of the great Sadler’s Wells has been crowned Champion British and Irish sire on 12 occasions.
  6. Nijinsky: Winner of the English Triple Crown in 1970 (2000 Guineas, Epsom Derby, and St. Leger), Nijinsky’s achievements are legendary. Whilst US Triple Crown winners crop up with relative frequency, as of 2023, Nijinsky remains the most recent British Triple Crown hero.
  7. Shergar: Known for his remarkable Epsom Derby win in 1981, Shergar’s career was tragically cut short after he was stolen and never recovered. One can only imagine what this Sir Michael Stoute-trained colt may have gone on to achieve had he not met with such a sad demise.
  8. Mill Reef: Another brilliant horse from the 1970s, Mill Reef won the Derby, the Eclipse Stakes, and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, showcasing his versatility. A contemporary of the brilliant Brigadier Gerard, the 1970s was a golden period for British racing.
  9. Desert Orchid: A beloved steeplechaser known for his grey coat and incredible jumping ability, Desert Orchid won numerous prestigious races, including four King George VI Chases. Whenever a poll is conducted to name the most popular grey of all time, the horse known affectionately as “Dessie” invariably tops the list.
  10. Kauto Star: Perhaps the only chaser in the modern era to compare to the awesome Arkle. Kauto Star lit up the track with two Cheltenham Gold Cup triumphs and a record-setting five wins in the King George VI Chase.