Our new series continues with Ben Linfoot and David Ord picking out the best race they've witnessed on a racecourse. We want yours too.
We want your feedback. What's the best race you've ever seen live? Check out details of how to contact us towards the foot of the article - and the early views from our readers.
David Ord - Frankel 2011, 2000 Guineas
It has to be Frankel – and it has to be the 2011 2000 Guineas.
Anyone who was on the Rowley Mile on the 30th April will never forget what we saw. Races aren’t supposed to unfold like this.
We knew Frankel was keen – too keen for his own good at times – but the Juddmonte team had that covered. Rerouted, who had finished second in the Free Handicap, was put into the Classic to give his team-mate a lead at an even gallop for the first three quarters of the race.
As it turned out that job was akin to being Henry VIII’s marriage counsellor.
It went wrong from the start, in this case literally. The pair were posted on either flank of the field in one and 13 and when the stalls opened both saw daylight.
Michael Hills aboard the 66/1 outsider took a glance over his right shoulder after half-a-furlong but by then Frankel was in stride and in charge. He didn’t need any help.
Tom Queally was in no mood for a fight and let his partner roll – what followed was unparralled.
Four lengths clear after three furlongs, six by halfway, he was in splendid isolation on the nation’s TV screens and in full flow.
“At the Bushes and Frankel is 15 lengths clear” course commentator Ian Bartlett roared. The silence that had befallen Newmarket as the early drama unfolded was now replaced by unadulterated celebration.
Dubawi Gold and Native Khan made late inroads into the advantage but by then the race was over and the procession was under way. Frankel was roared to the line and back to the winners’ enclosure.
No-one, not even the late, great, Sir Henry Cecil had seen anything like it.
What followed only added to the legend of the greatest racehorse I’ve ever seen but what he did – that day at Newmarket – will burn brightest with me. Utterly, utterly, remarkable.
Ben Linfoot – Black Caviar 2012, Diamond Jubilee
I was fortunate enough to see Frankel many times and if I’m being honest three of his runs would be in my top three live experiences on a racecourse.
However, in the interests of diversity, I’ll go with the next cab off the rank which is Black Caviar’s dramatic success in the 2012 Diamond Jubilee at Royal Ascot.
It was a memorable summer in the UK for many reasons, what with it being the London Olympics, and earlier that very week Frankel himself had blasted away the Queen Anne field by 11 lengths.
With that fresh in the memory big things were expected of Black Caviar in the Diamond Jubilee and Peter Moody’s mare generated just as much excitement as Frankel thanks to a career record of 21 wins from 21 races.
Ascot was awash with those peachy-pink colours of hers, you couldn’t move for Black Caviar flags, and there was not an eyebrow raised at her odds of 1/6 even with class horses like Moonlight Cloud and Society Rock in opposition.
She looked a picture in the paddock. A huge, imposing mare. If travelling halfway across the world for a horse race had taken anything out of her you couldn’t tell by looking at her. She was gorgeous.
In the first half of the race things went as expected. She broke well from her stall towards the stands’ side and she soon moved up into a prominent position under Luke Nolen.
Travelling well, Nolen nudged her up into the lead, but she didn’t put lengths between herself and the field and a dreaded feeling of ‘she could get beaten here’ certainly came over me in the stands.
Still, she went over a length clear at the half-furlong pole and it was just after that Nolen dropped his hands. “He’s easing up!” exclaimed commentator Simon Holt and it seemed like the whole grandstand took an intake of breath and winced as Moonlight Cloud got within a head.
Nolen realised his mistake just in the nick of time to push her out for victory, but we were mighty close to seeing one of the biggest upsets of all time due to a catastrophic jockey error. As it was, her unbeaten record remained intact and so it would for the rest of her glittering career.
It wasn’t one of her very best performances, but she did it, halfway across the world, despite being a notch below her peak. She was magnificent and I’ll never forget the day she came to Royal Ascot.
Send us the races you've seen live that stand out most - and why?
Send your comments into email@example.com and if you’ve any ideas for topics you want covering over the coming days and weeks please let us know.
Chris Honey: In June 1965 I was 17 years old and in thrall to Horse Racing. I had attended a few meetings but had a very small salary at that time and had to limit my outings. Thanks to the generosity of my older brother i was able to attend that year's Derby at Epsom. I loved the day in general but was particularly in awe of the sight of Sea Bird II skipping away from a high class field as if they were selling platers. His subsequent destruction of a stellar field in that year's Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe marked him out as the best horse ever. And this racegoer was lucky enough to witness one of his finest hours.
Jon Soden - email
It's no coincidence that I have a number of memorable moments from the Festival over the years. Being a part of the roller-coaster emotions of the 'Tatts' crowd for Quevega's sixth Mares Hurdle, which looked unlikely until the last, is definitely one of them but two others from the same hallowed turf stick in the mind.
The first, Sprinter Sacre regaining his two-mile chasing crown in 2016. The roar of the crowd as he rounded the home bend a length ahead of Un De Sceaux was deafening and still goosebump-worthy even now.
The second, an example of how horse racing can take you from high to low at the click of a finger. Many Clouds and Thistlecrack engaging in a titanic battle up the Cheltenham hill in the 2017 Cotswold Chase. I had taken a position at the walkway to the parade ring, ready to warmly receive two brave warriors. Unfortunately only one returned.
The remainder of the card seemed insignificant thereafter and I can't recall such a downtrodden atmosphere at a racecourse as the Cheltenham faithful mourned the loss a true stalwart.
Andrew Morris - email
Faugheen, Champion Hurdle, 2015
This race had it all. Faugheen, the new pretender to the crown, came to the festival a hot favourite, unbeaten in nine career starts. Ruby Walsh had decided to partner him ahead of two time race winner and my all time favourite hurdler, Hurricane Fly. 2014 winner Jezki was also in the field, along with The New One, so unlucky 12 months earlier when badly hampered by the fall of the ill fated Our Conor. Ruby wasn't going to mess around. He sent him to the front and while he wasn't foot perfect at the second last he quickened off the bend and it was never in doubt. Arctic Fire, that lovely game boy chased him home, with The Fly a gallant third. It was a passing of the torch, a financial boost personally and Matt Chapman of all people hugged me as we watched on the big screen in the parade ring as he crossed the winning line. Faugheen is now obviously one of the most loved horses of recent years, with his vulnerabilities making him more popular than ever. But that day he really was Faugheen The Machine and the world was at his feet. A happy day.
Alan Simkins - Twitter
Imperial commander winning the Betfair Chase in (I think) 2009...
Laurie Cole - email
Dear SL, my Greatest race was Desert Orchid’s win in the Cheltenham Gold Cup when I was there with twenty pals.
Yes the gallant Ten Plus would have won the race had he not fallen at the second last, but in attritional conditions, which he didn’t really like, the roar that greeted the magnificent grey as he came into the straight was unbelievable and the level of sound continued all the way to the line.
It did seem for a few seconds that the gallant Yahoo would spoil the party, which he did at Aintree weeks later, but the Orchid galloped to the line amid a level of noise that I never heard in 30 years of attending the Gold Cup.
Papers, hats, cups and umbrellas were thrown into the air and again the noise was deafening as he passed the main stand, where I stood.
Desert Orchid was not the best NH Horse I have seen, but his Gold Cup win will live with me forever.
Kind regards, Mr Laurie Cole
Geoff Davidson - email
Michael Dickinson's first five home, Desert Orchid's or Dawn Run's Gold Cup.
Tough call, but the latter gets it. A massive hug from the (total stranger) Irishman next to me.
Jennifer Skippings - email
On a cold, misty and wet Friday in November Morning in 1987, I went to HQ for the last meeting of the year. The first race on the card was the now sadly defunct Soham House Stakes over a mile for 2 year olds. It was before noon as a couple of the races had been split meaning a very early start.
The odds-on favourite was the Guy Harwood trained Assatis, two years previously he had sent out Dancing Brave to win the race and he proved to be quite useful at 3. The field was littered with well bred newcomers from powerful yards. Inspecting the runners in the pre-parade ring and parade ring is essential especially at that time of year as many of the runners were just out for a spin.
Second favourite was a Luca Cumani trained newcomer named Kahyasi, he looked very well, his coat marked him out as the pick of the paddock. Consequently he attracted the support of some shrewd judges. Sadly I was not that shrewd, it being only my second appearance on the racecourse.
There was a bit of a delay as one of the runners was reluctant to go into the stalls, but once they were underway the race unfolded in typical fashion for a race on the straight Rowley Mile. While Assatis travelled well, Kahyasi travelled better. Ray Cochrane made sure he kept his mount balanced going into the dip and let him extend as he met the rising ground. He ran out a ready winner from Assatis. Down the field were several performers that went on to prove more than useful the following season.
Kahyasi went on to win the Derby and was a moderately successful sire. Assatis won the Hardwicke at Royal Ascot twice, once at odds on and once at 50/1 as well as winning a group 1 abroad.
As well as Dancing Brave, the Soham House Stakes also threw up Warrshan and Belmez in the next 2 editions. However, the 1987 renewal must stand as the best morning race run in this country.
Andrew Pelis - email
I've been privileged to see many great performances down the years; certainly Kauto Star's second Gold Cup and the reception Denman got in the aftermath, is right up there.
But two race days and events stand out for me:
The first, is Vautour's incredible win in the 2015 JLT Novices' Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.
It was a staggering performance. He jumped like a stag and galloped Grade One winners silly, winning by 15 lengths.
It was a true wow moment and afterwards, his vanquished rivals were exhausted, all coming back blowing hard, with heads bowed.
Vautour? Well he was on his toes as Ruby struggled to contain him in the post-race TV interview. It was extraordinary to see this athletic horse still so full of himself, literally dancing on his toes like a ballerina - and such a contrast to his rivals.
Vautour was of course a narrow second in a King George and had the world in front of him. He was only seven when we lost him.
An immense talent and there could have been so much more to come from a horse who had won five Grade Ones at the time of his sad demise.
On the Flat, the final Champion Stakes day at Newmarket has to be there. Sir Henry Cecil trained the ultimate double with Frankel landing the Dewhurst and Twice Over his second Champion Stakes. It was a gloriously warm October afternoon and the crowd gave three cheers to the maestro of Warren Place. A beautiful moment.
Douglas Milne - email
Like both Ben and Dave it's Frankel for me. The Juddmonte International, the only time I saw Frankel live. I just had to go that day as it would be my last chance.
I stood a few rows back in the winners enclosure and watched the race on the big screen. I wanted a ringside seat for the after race celebrations. Frankel, as always, didn't disappoint, by now he was the complete racehorse. As they fanned across the track, Queally motionless 2f out, this was it. And when he pressed the accelerator Frankel did as only Frankel could, made daylight finish 2nd.
I remember Frankie returning to the winners enclosure celebrating having "won" the photograph for 2nd on Farhh, touching off St Nicholas Abbey. He knew even he was not headlining that day.
Sir Henry was looking really gaunt that day, the effects of cancer evident. But this was a day of celebration, and he knew the greatest horse of all time had just delivered a performance that defined his career as a trainer. Turned from headstrong monster into the perfect racehorse, from the 2000 Guineas to the Juddmonte. Legacy assured for horse and trainer.
Steve Giles - email
For me the greatest race that I ever witnessed was the Punchestown Gold Cup 2017 when Sizing John just beat Djakadam by a short head. Both horses upsides jumping the last and gave everything all the way to the line. At times both horses had the lead and even after they both passed the line no one in the crowd really new who had one.
My brother and I were both on Sizing John and soaking up a tremendous atmosphere at a fantastic festival. Great horses, great riders, and photo finish after 3m 2f, great sportsmanship and a great crowd. All components to make this the best race I have ever witnessed.
Derek Rolland - email
Has to be Dorans Pride wining the stayers hurdle at chelty many moons ago . Having had a decent investment on him for me, to see Shane Broderick sitting motionless on the winner at top of the hill was incredible. My mate in front of me in the main stand at Cheltenham on the day was deafened as I shouted him home.
Anon - email
I've been lucky enough to go to most Newbury meetings over the last 25 years and seen some famous races but two lesser known events stand out.
The first was the future Champion Hurdler Rock On Ruby winning the introductory hurdle at the Challow Hurdle meeting in 2010 in thick fog.
Racecourse commentary was being relayed from one of the cars following the race, but the riders had become so strung out that all eyes were peering to pick out the colours emerging after the last hurdle. I've never known so much suspense in a race. The other was Rakti winning the Lockinge in 2005, breaking the old course record by a second and a half, leaving the rest of the field in his scorching hoofprints.
John Oswin - email
I’ve been lucky enough to see many many races live but the one that sticks in my mind is the Juddmonte at York in 2012 won by Frankel. The queue on the A64 to get to York was ridiculous, something big was going on...
This was the first time Frankel had attempted 1 mile 2 furlongs, having won all his previous races at either 7 furlongs or 1 mile. The talk was whether he would stay the extra 2 furlongs.. I was sure it wouldn’t be a problem for such a class horse but the chap next to me by the parade ring was telling me what a good horse Twice Over was and a specialist at the distance.
When the race started, Bullet Train (Frankel’s pacemaker) wasn’t even needed with the pace the two Aidan O’Brien horses went off at.. it was blistering and they (Robin Hood and Windsor Palace) were doing all they could to run the finish out of Frankel in order to help St Nicholas Abbey, O’Brien’s other horse. Frankel must have been the best part of 10 lengths behind turning for home but made the ground up effortlessly before the 2 pole. St Nicholas Abbey and Farhh were then his main dangers but neither could go with him.. just less than 2 furlongs from home, the point of no return, and still cruising, Tom Queally gave him a shake of the reins and the response was electric. Off such a fast pace and now in unknown territory distance wise, Frankel extended away and put 7 lengths between him and the runner up at the line. I knew my 4 year old son and I had witnessed a special horse producing an awesome performance whilst my wife sat at the back of the stand with a headache!!
All the best everyone and take care at this testing time
Barry Hill - email
Whilst I would not rate it anywhere near the best race of all time, the one that is imprinted in my memory is What’s Up Boys’ win in the Coral Cup in 2000. He had started his hurdling career with wins in his first two novice races, the second being very impressive. He flopped at Cheltenham on soft going behind Bindaree, for reasons Philip Hobbs could not explain, and then was the 5/4 favourite, but finished tailed off behind Shotgun Willie at Uttoxeter. The going that day was described as soft, but attending the meeting that day I rated it as hock deep and very testing.
He was entered in the Coral Cup at Cheltenham, with a very fair handicap mark , Paul Flynn claiming 3lbs off his back and on good going. I am always willing to forgive any horse a bad run on heavy going and, as one who enjoys picking out long shots, I went to Cheltenham optimistic, but obviously not confident. Studying the prices on the day it was clear that he was going to be a lot bigger price on the Tote than with the bookmakers so I had a decent punt on the Tote.
The race started and he was prominent, but dropped back in the field and coming down the final hill I could not locate him and the racecourse commentary never mentioned him and I had given up any hope of collecting any return. As always in the Coral Cup there was a massive field and approaching the final hurdle there were still around 12 horses in contention. Suddenly, I saw this horse begin to improve quickly from maybe 10 lengths back and soon realized it was What’s Up Boys. As they started up the run in I began to be hopeful that he would run into a place, but he just kept passing horse after horse and, miraculously, got up on the post to win by a neck. He started as a 33/1 shot, but paid over 73/1 on the Tote.
Such victories are the reason I continue to follow and enjoy horse racing and the fact that I remember so clearly after 20 years proves how much it thrilled me. Remembering that also brings back memories of all his future victories, together with those of the other great horses, Bindaree and Shotgun Willie he raced against in his early days
Terry Broughton - email
Thursday 30th May 2013, National Stakes, Three of us at Sandown, for some reason we all watched the race apart from one another, we met in the bar after the race, we always share our views, and we all spoke at the same time, Rizeena is a certainty for The Queen Mary at Royal Ascot!! The way she quickened from 2 out was breathtaking, it was the first time in around 30 years of going racing we all agreed on something, she was the talk all the way home,and for the next few weeks, being at Royal Ascot for The Queen Mary was just superb, we insisted that everyone with us, about 10 in total backed her, and how she was allowed to go off at 6/1 was incredible.