Burrough Hill Lad

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Burrough Hill Lad
GrandsirePrincely Gift
DamGreen Monkey
DamsireCourt Harwell
CountryGreat Britain
BreederStan Riley
OwnerStan Riley
TrainerJenny Pitman
Record27: 17-2-3 (Steeplechases)
Major wins
Mildmay Novices' Chase (1982)
Welsh National (1983)
Anthony Mildmay, Peter Cazalet Memorial Chase (1984)
Gainsborough Chase (1984, 1985, 1986)
Cheltenham Gold Cup (1984)
Charlie Hall Chase (1984)
Hennessy Gold Cup (1984)
King George VI Chase (1984)
Timeform Champion Jumper (1984/1985)[1]
Timeform rating: 184

Burrough Hill Lad (1976–2004) was a British Thoroughbred racehorse. Named after Leicestershire village Burrough-On-The-Hill,[2] he competed in National Hunt races and won seventeen times from twenty-seven runs in steeplechases. His performances in 1984, when he won the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Hennessy Gold Cup and King George VI Chase saw him rated one of the best horses in the history of the sport.


Burrough Hill Lad was a big, powerfully built[3] brown gelding, bred by his owner, Stan Riley. He was sired by Richboy out of the mare Green Monkey. He was trained throughout his career by Jenny Pitman at Lambourn in Berkshire.

Racing career[edit]

Burrough Hill Lad recorded his first important win when he took the Mildmay Novices' Chase as a six-year-old in April 1982.

In the 1983/1984 National Hunt season, he established himself as a contender for the Cheltenham Gold Cup when he won the Welsh National at Chepstow Racecourse in December. In March he started at odds of 7/2 for the Gold Cup and won by three lengths from Brown Chamberlin. He was ridden by Phil Tuck as his regular jockey, John Francome, had been claimed to ride Brown Chamberlin.[4]

Burrough Hill Lad produced his best form in the autumn of 1984. After winning a warm-up race at Wincanton Racecourse, he carried a weight of 168 pounds in the Hennessy Gold Cup. In what has been described as one of the great weight-carrying performances, he survived a bad mistake at the seventh-last fence to win by four lengths from RSA Chase winner Canny Danny, who was carrying 147 pounds.[5] He then won the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby Racecourse, beating Wayward Lad by ten lengths. He then took the weight-for-age King George VI Chase at Kempton Park on Boxing Day, narrowly defeating Combs Ditch over a course and distance which Francome felt was unsuitable for the horse.[3] He sustained an injury in early 1985 which prevented him from defending the Gold Cup.

Burrough Hill Lad returned in February 1986 with a win in the Gainsborough Chase, but a leg injury ended his season shortly afterwards.[6] The gelding was expected to return in the 1987 Gold Cup, but Pitman was unable to get him fully fit and withdrew him from the race.[7]

In March 1988, Burrough Hill Lad pulled up lame after a training gallop and was retired.[8]


Timeform gave Burrough Hill Lad a peak rating of 184, the seventh highest ever awarded to a steeplechaser.[9]

In their book A Century of Champions, based on the Timeform rating system, John Randall and Tony Morris ranked Burrough Hill Lad as the ninth-best steeplechaser of the 20th century.[10]

Pitman described Burrough Hill Lad at his peak as resembling "a Rolls-Royce against stock cars".[5]


Burrough Hill Lad spent his retirement at Frickley in Yorkshire. He died in January 2004 at the age of twenty-eight.[4]


Pedigree of Burrough Hill Lad (GB), brown gelding, 1976[11]
Richboy (GB)
Princely Gift
Nasrullah Nearco
Mumtaz Begum
Blue Gem Blue Peter
High Top Hyperion*
Rockefella Majano
Green Monkey (GB)
Court Harwell
Chambiges Prince Rose
Prince Chevalier Hyperion*
Right Monkey
Holywell Blandford
Double Life
Leighvino Buckleigh
Ebb Tide (Family: 9-e)
  • Burrough Hill Lad was inbred 4x4 to Hyperion, meaning that this stallion appears twice in the fourth generation of his pedigree.


  1. ^ Morris, Tony; Randall, John (1990). Horse Racing: Records, Facts, Champions (Third Edition). Guinness Publishing. ISBN 0-85112-902-1.
  2. ^ Naden & Riddington, p.106
  3. ^ a b Horse Racing. "John Francome has fond memories of King George victories". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-07-21.
  4. ^ a b "Burrough Hill Lad dies". BBC News. 2004-01-29. Retrieved 2012-07-21.
  5. ^ a b Cook, Chris (2009-11-27). "Claims Five: The best weight-carrying performances". Guardian. Retrieved 2012-07-21.
  6. ^ "Burrough Hill Lad to miss Gold Cup again". Glasgow Herald. 7 March 1986. Retrieved 2012-07-21.
  7. ^ "Burrough Hill Lad is out of the Gold Cup". Glasgow Herald. 11 March 1987. Retrieved 2012-07-21.
  8. ^ "The Lad retires". New Straits Times. 8 March 1988. Retrieved 2012-07-21.
  9. ^ "Timeform's greatest racehorses". Timeform.com. Retrieved 2012-07-21.
  10. ^ Morris, Tony; Randall, John (1999). A Century of Champions. Portway Press. ISBN 978-1-901570-15-1.
  11. ^ "Burrough Hill Lad pedigree". equineline.com. 2012-05-08. Retrieved 2012-07-21.

Further reading[edit]

  • Naden, Gavan; Riddington, Max (2014). Burrough Hill Lad: The Making of a Champion Racehorse. Chequered Flag Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9569460-6-5.