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Wednesday, 24 July 2019

What is the Great Metropolitan Handicap?


It's a question I doubt many will have the answer to. Since 1985, the Great Metropolitan Handicap has become just another middle distance handicap, albeit run over the same course and distance as the Derby – that is, a mile and a half on Epsom Downs – but, in its modern incarnation, is a pale imitation of the race which, in its heyday, was contested by first rate horses. The Great Metropolitan Handicap was devised by London publican Samuel Powell Beeton, who banded together with other licensees and bookmakers to sponsor a race – one of the first of its kind in Britain – at the Epsom Spring Meeting.

Inaugurated in 1846, ‘The Publicans’ Derby’, as the race was known in its early years, was originally run over the extreme distance of two and a quarter miles. Participants started at the winning post, ran the ‘wrong’ way up the straight, nearly as far as Tattenham Corner, before meandering across the North Downs to rejoin the racecourse ‘proper’ at the mile marker.

While the North Downs was public land, not ideal for horse racing, in terms of maintenance, the Great Metropolitan Handicap continued in its original, unique form for over a century. Indeed, in 1947, it had the distinction of being the first horse race in Britain in which the newly-introduced photo-finish camera was used to determine the result.

However, 1985 marked the end of an era, when the distance of the Great Metropolitan Handicap was reduced to a mile and a half and the race was run, for the first time, the ‘right’ way round on the Derby Course. In 2018, total prize money for the Great Metropolitan Handicap was £25,000 which, in real terms, is substantially less – in fact, just over £11,000 less, accounting for inflation – than the £300 raised by Beeton and his associates to sponsor the inaugural running of the race.




Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Thursday, 18 April 2019

15 Funny and Meaningful Horse Quotes

If your horse says "no", you either asked the wrong question, or asked the question wrong - Pat Parelli

Any money I put on a horse is a sort of insurance policy to prevent it from winning - Frank Richardson

A dog may be man's best friend...but the horse wrote history - Author Unknown

A great horse will change your life. The truly special ones define it… – Author Unknown
I've spent most of my life riding horses. The rest I've just wasted - Author Unknown

A man on a horse is spiritually as well as physically bigger than a man on foot.  – John Steinbeck

What the colt learns in youth he continues in old age – French Proverb

A horse is dangerous at both ends and uncomfortable in the middle - Ian Fleming

A horse doesn't know whether the rider on his back wears a dress or pants away from the track -
Diane Crump

God forbid that I should go to any Heaven in which there are no horses  – R.B. Cunninghame Graham

Whenever I was upset by something in the papers, Jack always told me to be more tolerant, like a horse flicking away flies in the summer - Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

This is really a lovely horse and I speak from personal experience since I once mounted her mother -  Ted Walsh - Horse Racing Commentator

That was the first time I saw a horse start from a kneeling position! - Henny Youngman

A difference of opinion is what makes horse racing and missionaries - Will Rogers

A horse gallops with his lungs, perseveres with his heart, and wins with his character. - Federico Tesio