Golden Miller

1927 - 1957

The Miller

Horse racing
Bronze - Judy Boyt - 1989
Cheltenham racecourse, Cheltenham

The Cheltenham festival to promote racing over 'jumps' grew from strength to strength in the 1920s. In 1924 a new race was established: the Cheltenham Gold Cup. It became the ‘blue riband’ of the festival. And the horse that firmly established the event’s reputation, and captured the public’s imagination like no other, was the legendary Golden Miller. He dominated the Cheltenham Gold Cup with five successive wins from 1932 to 1936. In 1934, he achieved an unprecedented double with victory in the Grand National at Aintree. It was the first time (and, so far, the only time) that a horse has won both these great jump races in the same season. Golden Miller was a superstar.

A fourth Gold Cup victory came in 1935 in one of the great races of the century, a three-quarter length victory in a heart-stopping finish and a record time. In 1936 a fifth successive Gold Cup victory confirmed his total and extraordinary dominance – and he would probably have won in 1937 but for snow causing the meeting to be cancelled. Aged 11, he was beaten for the first time in the Gold Cup in 1938. Many of the crowd were tearful. The great reign of Golden Miller had come to an end.

He was part of the fabric of sport in the 1930s – as famous as any footballer or athlete. In 1989, more than 30 years after his death, a splendid half life-size statue of Golden Miller, by sculptor Judy Boyt, was erected at Cheltenham racecourse. The Miller continues to be a central part of the course and festival that he helped to make so famous.