Red Rum, Frankel and Kauto Star have joined the likes of Spider-Man, Black Panther and Captain Marvel by being immortalised in their own comic book, Magnificent Racehorses, which is being released in the run-up to the Randox Health Grand National at Aintree this weekend.
The world’s first comic book showcasing British racehorses as heroes has been published in an effort to increase the profile of the sport’s greatest stars and promote Britain’s second biggest spectator sport. The comic is the brainchild of The Jockey Club, which runs some of the world’s leading racecourses, including Aintree, Cheltenham, Epsom Downs and Newmarket.
The Magnificent Racehorses comic tells some of the greatest stories of British racing with its most iconic runners given the superhero treatment by Marvel artists Martin Griffiths and Simon Furman. The ten hero racehorses were selected after a poll by The Jockey Club involving several thousand racing fans.
Her Majesty The Queen, who is The Patron of The Jockey Club and has been a Champion Racehorse Owner twice, even makes an appearance in the comic alongside one of her prized horses.
Paul Fisher, Chief Executive of Jockey Club Racecourses, said:
“Horseracing is the second biggest spectator sport in Britain and we want to ensure a new generation of fans are constantly discovering the drama and excitement of its stories. Working with some of the best artists to immortalise British racing’s greatest stars in comic book form will hopefully appeal to our sport’s existing fans and inspire new ones including youngsters to experience the thrill of racing themselves.”
The 24-page Magnificent Racehorses comic is available to download directly and there is also a competition for your chance to win one of 10 signed copies by the 2019 Grand National winning jockey, ITV’s Ed Chamberlin and Sir AP McCoy.
In addition, on Saturday morning (6th April) an exclusive 2019 Randox Health Grand National story will be revealed.
The full list of Magnificent Racehorses featured in the comic are:
Eclipse first, the rest nowhere, was the famous saying that followed this undefeated 18th Century champion, whose prowess on the track then led to him becoming the most important stallion in the history of horseracing. As many as 95% of today’s Thoroughbreds can be traced back to Eclipse, including the stars of Magnificent Horses.
2) Red Rum
Few horses have captured the imagination of a nation quite like Red Rum, who the late Donald ‘Ginger’ McCain trained to win the Grand National a record three times in 1973, 1974 and 1977, and finish second in the two intervening years. Rummy’s retirement in 1978 was front page news and he remains synonymous with the world’s greatest steeplechase more than 40 years on.
Nijinsky was named after the famous Russian ballet dancer who claimed he would come back to life as a horse and in homage to his father, Northern Dancer. The graceful Nijinsky was one of the greatest horses ever to race on the Flat, ridden by star jockey, Lester Piggott, to victories that included Britain’s Triple Crown of the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, The Derby at Epsom Downs and the St. Leger at Doncaster in 1970 – a feat that has never since been repeated.
4) Desert Orchid
Much revered among racing aficionados and the wider public alike, Desert Orchid earned a reputation for his attacking style of racing and will to win. Affectionately known as Dessie, the grey will be remembered for a glittering career that included winning four King George VI Chases and a Cheltenham Gold Cup between 1986 and 1990.
A tall, strapping chaser, Denman was nicknamed ‘The Tank’. The 2008 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner was known for his fierce galloping and disdain for the fences he jumped, as well as his enduring rivalry with stablemate and best friend, Kauto Star.
6) Kauto Star
Kauto Star is one of the most loved and equally successful steeplechasers of all time, amassing more than £3 million in prize money in a career that saw him win two Cheltenham Gold Cups and a record five King George VI Chases between 2006 and 2011. Like his stablemate, Denman, he was trained by Paul Nicholls, one of the finest Jump trainers of his generation.
Frankel is officially rated as the best racehorse of all time with a perfect racing record. He won 14 times in 14 career starts, including 10 Group 1 prizes. The manner of his victories – particularly the QIPCO 2000 Guineas at Newmarket in 2011 – often left onlookers open-mouthed, such was his devastating pace and power. Once established, the late Sir Henry Cecil-trained superstar added an additional 20% to crowds wherever he raced, such was his popularity. Frankel is now enjoying his second career as a stallion at home in Newmarket at Prince Khalid Abdullah’s Juddmonte Farms.
8) Sprinter Sacre
Nicknamed ‘the Black Aeroplane’, Sprinter Sacre was one of the most majestic two-mile chasers ever to grace Britain’s racecourses. Having won his first Queen Mother Champion Chase at The Cheltenham Festival in 2013, he provided one of the most emotional moments in the history of Jump Racing when he regained that crown in 2016, having had two seasons interrupted by illness and injury. Sprinter retired in 2016 after ending the Jump season with an imperious display in the Celebration Chase at Sandown Park, having won an astonishing 18 of his 24 career races.
Enable has already earned her place in history having won the last two Prix de l’Arc de Triomphes, and would rewrite the record books if she won the race for an unprecedented third year in 2019. Europe’s dominant middle-distance horse today, the John Gosden-trained mare has won several of Britain’s leading races under top jockey Frankie Dettori.
With his distinctive white star marking and will to win, incredibly Altior is undefeated over fences in 18 starts. According to his jockey Nico de Boinville, Altior “doesn’t know how to lose”. In 2019 Nicky Henderson’s superstar chaser won his second consecutive Queen Mother Champion Chase at The Cheltenham Festival. Just how many more races can Altior win?