The Grand National was inaugurated in 1839, while the Cheltenham Gold Cup wasn’t run, as a steeplechase, until 1924 but, in more than nine decades, only one horse has won both races in the same season. That horse was Golden Miller, who reigned supreme in the interwar years and, in 1934, won the two premium steeplechases in the country within the space of 17 days. Fresh from a 6-length victory over Avenger in the Cheltenham Gold Cup – his third in as many years – “The Miller” was involved in a thrilling struggle with Delaneige, who was receiving 10lb, throughout the last half mile at Aintree, but drew away in the closing stages to win by 5 lengths in record time.
Golden Miller would go on to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup again in 1935, and 1936, to become the most successful horse in the history of the Blue Riband event, but would fail to win the Grand National again in three subsequent attempts. In fact, as defending champion, in 1935, he started the shortest-priced favourite in the history of the Grand National, at 2/1, but jumped awkwardly at the tenth fence and deposited jockey Gerry Wilson on the turf alongside the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.
Golden Miller was owned by the Honourable Dorothy Paget, the daughter of a British aristocrat, but a notoriously difficult and, often, madly eccentric, individual. Following the 1935 Grand National, Miss Paget lost patience with trainer Basil Briscoe and moved Golden Miller to Owen Anthony. However, by way of absolving his former trainer and jockey from any blame, Golden Miller fell at the Canal Turn on the first circuit in the 1936 Grand National and refused at the same tenth fence in the 1937 Grand National.
Golden Miller died in 1957, but is commemorated by a statue overlooking the parade ring at Prestbury Park.