11. Broadway Bill (1934) Directed by Frank Capra, Broadway Bill tells the tale of poor Warner Baxter who is pressured by his nagging wife into working in her family’s paper box factory. Bored, he eventually abandons both his job and his marriage to start a new life as the owner of a racehorse called Broadway Bill. BB goes on to win the big race, but tragedy strikes when he drops dead in the Winner’s Circle. Will Warner have to return to the box factory?
12. The Black Stallion (1979) A young boy has ambitions of becoming a jockey to the horse he befriended when the ship they were travelling on is tragically sunk. Only he and the Arabian stallion survive and so the tale, which takes us from a desert island to New York and includes a performance by Mickey Rooney as the boy’s trainer, begins.
13. Ruffian (2007) Made-for-TV movie Ruffian, is set in 1975 and based on the true story of the undefeated legendary racing filly. Unfortunately Ruffian’s story finishes when she suffers a breakdown in a match race at Belmont Park against champion colt Foolish Pleasure and dies. The race caught national attention at the time and was hailed by the press as a “battle of the sexes” – one the ladies didn’t win.
14. On The Nose (2001) Filmed in Dublin, Robbie Coltrane plays a janitor with a gambling problem who needs to raise money to send his daughter to Trinity College. Finding an aboriginal head in a jar (as you do) he soon discovers that the head is able to predict the winner of horse races. A superb cast and a real ripping yarn; this is a great horse racing movie.
15. Charlie Chan at the Racetrack (1936) When a friend of Charlie’s is discovered kicked to death by his own racehorse on board a Honolulu-bound liner, the detective discovers foul play and an international gambling ring. All very tongue-in-cheek and Charlie is as inscrutable as ever.
16. Dick Francis: Twice Shy (1989) One of a series of made-for-TV movies penned by former Grand National jockey Dick Francis. When a computer programmer and part-time mountaineer dies after his safety line is cut a mystery unfolds. Could his death be something to do with the computer programme he has written which allows you to pick the winning horse 65% of the time? Well, what do you think?
17. First Saturday in May (2008) Real life horsey joy and heartbreak as this all-action documentary follows six diverse trainers as they jockey for position along the 2006 Kentucky Derby trail. Tears and tantrums, beer and bravado, even a few laughs as 40,000 foals are whittled down to the 20 who make it into the race. All about horse racing and people.
18. Hot to Trot (1988) We’ve all had the trots at one time or another and in this comedy John Candy plays the voice of a horse, Don, who not only talks and gives hot investment tips but also goes on to win the big race and get the filly. Silly but entertaining, you’ll laugh until you are hoarse.
19. The Rocking Horse Winner (1949) Spooky D.H. Lawrence tale of a young boy who is given a rocking horse for Christmas and soon learns that each time he rides it he’s able to pick the winning horse at the races. He rides his horse too hard to pick the Derby winner for his greedy mother, wins £80,000, then dies in her arms. Oh well, you can’t win them all.
20. International Velvet (1978) We started with a classic and finish with its not so classic seventies continuation. Tipping a passing nod to National Velvet this film sees National Velvet’s heroine all grown up and aunt to young orphan Tatum O’Neil. There’s not much racing in this movie but plenty of horses as Tatum goes on to help Britain win the three day event at the Olympics.