Horses you wish you could ride: a heated debate

  • We couldn’t resist using an image of Frankie Dettori’s famous flying dismount in this week’s Horse & Hound magazine (out today, 11 June 2015) — what better way could there be to celebrate the 44-year-old’s glorious Derby win with Golden Horn?

    “It was brilliant, the horse was magnificent. I was just a passenger,” he said in the winner’s enclosure.

    Of course, Dettori was more than just a passenger — but it was a nice tribute to the fabulously talented John Gosden-trained colt, who remains unbeaten in four out of four races.

    While Frankie and Golden Horn enjoy their moment, we are on the hunt for what it is that makes a horse truly great. It’s a question that led to heated arguments at H&H HQ. Is it purely down to the partnership of rider and mount, or should it be judged entirely on results?

    There has to be athleticism, but also brains (but perhaps not too much of the latter). Without question it helps if the horse is telegenic. So we’ve approached it in a different way: to ask eight equestrian stars which horse — past or present — they wish they could have ridden. Their answers, teased out by Martha Terry (horse of choice: Kauto Star), are telling.

    William Whitaker reveals that his uncle John would always say of Milton (pictured) that he had the kind of intelligence that meant he was “always really ‘with you’”. And David Broome, when asked how his choice, Gem Twist, would fare over modern, more technical courses, responds simply: “He would leave them all in his wake.” Watch your heels, Hello Sanctos.

    You can join the debate, and see which horse others have voted for as their dream ride, online at www.horseandhound/readerschoice

    Kylie O’Brien (Stroller)

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