Before mentioning Golden Miller you must first learn more about his eccentric former owner, Dorothy Paget. Dorothy was known as much for her dislike of men as she was for being an owner and a breeder of horses.
She was also apparently hated the colour green just as much. Dorothy was worth over £100 million by today’s standards and she certainly loved spending it. She would often sleep all day and stay awake all night conducting her business along with a bet on the Grand National whilst smoking like a chimney and eating by the lorry load. Part of the business she conducted would be her insatiable appetite for gambling and she didn’t hold back; sometimes betting as much as £2 million in today’s money in a single punt. Paget paid the hefty sum of 12,000 guineas (£441,000 in today’s currency) for Golden Miller along with another horse, Insurance.
Golden Miller made his steeplechase debut in 1931 at Newbury Racecourse where he finished on top but was later disqualified for carrying an incorrect weight. In December of the same year Golden Miller won the Reading Chase before winning the Sefton Steeplechase in January of 1932. Golden Miller’s first big win was the Cheltenham Gold cup which he won for the first time in 1932 and from that point on looked unstoppable. GM went on to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup a further four times to take his total to 5 Gold Cup wins on the trot (1932-1936). This is a record that still hasn’t been broken.
Against nearly every trainer and jockeys advice Paget wanted to run GM in the Grand National and did so in 1934. GM was considered to be a poor jumper for that type of race with him pulling towards the right whilst jumping. It has been suggested Paget only ran Golden Miller in the Grand National to earn as much money as she could in order to You winning the Gold Cup and the Grand National in 1934 creating a double winning year with the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Grand National.
Golden Miller was retired in 1939 with an impressive record of 52-29/7/6 and unfortunately passed away in 1957 from a heart attack. A statue of Golden Miller was erected near the parade ring at Cheltenham Racecourse.
Interesting fact: Fred Varney, a bricklayer, bought a ticket in the Irish sweepstakes and drew Golden Miller. A bookmaker bought a half share in Fred’s ticket for £3,000. When Golden Miller won, he won the top prize of £30,000. He had to give the bookmakers £15,000, which left Fred with £18,000. With the winnings, Fred and his son-in-law founded a coach company and named it Golden Miller Coaches after the horse. After many years, the company was bought and renamed Tellings-Golden Miller. Many of the firm’s coaches have a portrait of the horse on the front or side of the vehicle.