2012 will be one for the record books. Quite apart from the Olympics and horrible weather, it saw some great feats from the equine and human stars of horse racing. From the emergence of Sprinter Sacre, to Big Buck’s' record breaking winning streak, the phenomenon that was Black Caviar, Camelot’s assault on the Triple Crown, Richard Hughes' seven timer and, above all, the magnificent dominance of Frankel over all who dared oppose him.
Every racing fan will have their own personal highlight and memory from 2012. I went around the Horseracing Museum asking our staff for the moment they will most remember. The curator Graham could barely choose one! He was saddened by the closure of Hereford and Folkestone, but is pleased that Clare Balding will be fronting the new Channel 4 racing programme. His own treasured moment was meeting and interviewing Sir Peter O’Sullevan for the Friends of NHRM Newsletter.
Our historian Alan recalls the hysteria surrounding the arrival of Black Caviar, especially her incredible compression suit. He still chuckles at the Racing Post headline the day after her heart stopping Diamond Jubilee win: Strewth! Summed it up perfectly.
Ros found the close finish to the Grand National thrilling, while tours manager Fiona regrets not betting on Mayson at 10-1 in the July Cup. Museum Trustee Tim Cox remembers the breath taking moment that Frankel breezed past St Nicholas Abbey in the Juddmonte International Stakes, when he showed just what a horse could do.
I have two defining moments from 2012. The first being Kauto Star’s midrace exit from the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the touching reception he received from the crowd. It showcased all that is great about jump racing and the respect and love shown to an old champion as he withdrew from the battlefield.
The other came at York after Frankel’s Juddmonte International romp. As the stands descended into hysteria and hats were flung into the air, the gentleman next to me wiped his eyes and said quietly, “Now I can say I’ve seen two of the greatest: Arkle and Frankel”.
Let’s hope 2013 is just as memorable. Happy New Year from everyone at the Museum.
By Alice Kay