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The horse that became a sofa

 article about The horse that became a sofa
2014-08-13 10:13:09
For many racing fans all over the world, the Grand National is the "Daddy" of all races. Held at Aintree racecourse near Liverpool, England, each April, the race is legendary and many of its winners enter folklore. Movies have been made about fictional and real winners over the years, whilst drinks, pubs, songs and much more have been named to honour winners of the race, and one winner even got his name on stamps of the realm.

But no tale of a Grand National winner and what became of the horse after the race is quite as bizarre as that of "Vanguard", the 1834 winner who became a sofa!

After winning the great race (then called the Liverpool and National Handicap Steeplechase) Vanguard was given as a gift to his jockey Tom Olliver. Tom had such a high opinion of Vanguard that when the old horse died, he ordered a sofa made of his hide so he could still enjoy sitting on his favourite mount. Apparently, though, the other remains of the horse were used to make glue – with the meat going to help feed the poorer people of Liverpool. As for the sofa – it now resides at Aintree racecourse.

Meanwhile, the 2014 Grand National winner, Pineau de Re was honoured by the 1,000-year-old Worcestershire village of Claine's in which the horse resides by the addition of a "home of…." sign.

Quite what will happen to the winner of the Grand National 2015 is anyone's guess. Perhaps the winning jockey will order something more fitting for the modern age after the horse's passing – like a mobile phone cover, or a bomber jacket perhaps?
As for the most famous winner of all, Red Rum – well he's buried right next to the winning post where he belongs.

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