The Breeders’ Cup is an event that all horse racing fans look forward to every year, as it sees the very best equine stars from around the world compete against one another for the only time.
While most horse racing enthusiasts are right now concerned with the 2022 Breeders’ Cup odds, there are some incredible movies to keep you engaged and excited for the big event happening in Keeneland in November.
So, to get in the mood for the Breeders’ Cup, what are some of the most inspirational horse racing films that you can watch?
One of the most awe-inspiring movies based on horse racing comes in the form of ‘Champions’. The film, which holds a 6.4 in 10 rating in IMDB, is directed by John Irvin and stars John Hurt and Edward Woodward. It was released in 1984, and was a cultural phenomenon within the world of racing, as it is based on the true story of legendary jockey Bob Champion.
The film follows Champion’s life after being diagnosed with testicular cancer in 1979, and the struggles that he needed to go through. However, it is also a story of triumph, as it shows his full recovery, which leads up to his legendary success in the Grand National in 1981 onboard Aldaniti, which remains one of the most famous stories to come out of the legendary steeplechase.
There are few American horses in history that captured the imagination as much as Seabiscuit. So much so that his story was made into a film following the 2003 release of ‘Seabiscuit’. The flick was based on the best-selling book ‘Seabiscuit: An American Legend’, and was directed by Gary Ross. It boasted an all-star cast, which included Tobey Maguire, Jeff Bridges, and Elizabeth Banks.
The film follows Charles S. Howard’s struggles during his early life, which leads him to trainer Tom Smith. The latter persuades him to buy a colt called Seabiscuit, which many experts labeled as lazy and small. However, thanks to Smith’s revolutionary training the horse would become one of the greatest racehorses in history.
One of the most inspirational horse racing films ever created is Ride Like A Girl. The title was released in 2019 and stars Teresa Palmer and Sam Neill. It follows the heroic true story of Michelle Payne, who dreamt of one day winning the Melbourne Cup. It shows the struggles that all female jockeys go through to make their mark, as Payne is often told that she isn’t strong enough or good enough.
However, the film follows her through the ranks, as she lives out her dream and becomes the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup in 2015. The film took over $11.5 million at the box office, and would also pick up nominations for Best Film and Best Actress at the AACTA Awards.
While the vast majority of inspirational horse racing films are based on real-life events, one that truly deserves mention is National Velvet.
The film was released in 1944 and stars Elizabeth Taylor portraying Velvet Brown. Brown wins a horse in a raffle aged 12 and declares that she will train it and win the Grand National.
After meeting, trainer Mi Taylor, the two name the horse The Pie, and Brown decides to ride the horse herself in the famous steeplechase. Despite going on to win the Grand National, the pair are later disqualified after Brown falls off Pie after crossing the line.
The legacy of this film has been mentioned significantly in previous years, with Rachel Blackmore becoming the first female jockey to win the Grand National in 2021 later admitting to having watched the film and been inspired.