Winston Churchill and other greats: Oliver Townend on his heroes

  • In this week’s H&H, guest editor Oliver Townend reveals his heroes.

    Here, to whet your appetite, is a gallery of photos of those he looks up to and below Oliver explains why he admires Vincent O’Brien and Winston Churchill.

    Buy H&H magazine to read the full article and find out what inspires him about the other greats pictured here.

    Oliver says:

    Vincent O’Brien

    “The greatest racehorse trainer of the 20th century, who conquered the National Hunt world before turning to the Flat and winning everything there was to be won, is probably my greatest hero.

    “He did everything to the highest possible standard. The yard he developed, Ballydoyle, remains an iconic place, and it takes a very special person to create something like that.

    “He was known as a gambler when he started out and the authorities didn’t really respect or like him to begin with, but his achievements and ability to train anything meant he became worshipped. He worked his way up from nothing to true greatness.”

    Winston Churchill

    “The politician, who died 50 years ago, was another truly remarkable person whose path wasn’t always straightforward and whose popularity rocketed up and down during his lifetime. But he always rose again.

    “His refusal to surrender to Nazi Germany inspired the country. I admire his straight talking and his way with words — quotes such as: ‘History will be kind to me because I intend to write it’ and ‘I am easily satisfied with the very best’ — are brilliant.

    “He was a horseman, who said: ‘There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man’ and: ‘No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle’. He was a true leader. I have always spent the cocktail parties in the palace during Blenheim Horse Trials reading Churchill’s letters instead of socialising.”

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