Horse racing may not be as popular in Russia as it is in other countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States. Nonetheless, it has still had an effect on some of the biggest events around the globe. The biggest race to take place in Russia every year is the President of Russia’s Cup.

This event takes place from the Moscow Hippodrome every year and was famously won in 2014 by Kentucky-trained Lucky First. On that occasion, the horse trained by Sergey Bondarenko and A.M. Uzdenov won the event to claim the $291,000 prize fund. However, which other jockeys, trainers and horses have had a connection to Russia and enjoyed dominance around the world?

Magomet A. Kappushev

Magomet A. Kappushev was famous for being the man to train and ride horses for Russian President Vladimir Putin. However, he decided to have a step up in competition by travelling to the United States to see if his skills could transfer to a different style of racing.

He revealed that racing was different in the United States compared to Russia, but that didn’t stop him from having a successful spell in the US, as well as in Asia and Dubai.

Over the course of his career away from Russia, he saddled up for 91 races and enjoyed a place finish in 26 of these. That included five finishes in third and 12 finishes in second. He won nine races throughout his career, with the last of those coming in 2017.

Kappushev had a respectable win percentage of 10% in the USA. His final five races all come on board Golden Decision, with Kappushev winning his final meeting at Gulfstream Park in September 2017.

Jimmy Winkfield

While Jimmy Winkfield was born in the United States, he did help elevate the standard of racing in Russia to new heights. In fact, it could be said that if there was no Winkfield, then there probably wouldn’t have been a career for Kappushev in the United States. Winkfield was born in Kentucky in 1880, and he enjoyed a stellar racing career.

In the US, he won the Clark Handicap, the Tennessee Derby and the Latonia Derby. He also won back to back Kentucky Derby’s in 1901 and 1902.

Not content with success in the USA, he ventured to Russia and saw his dominance on the track continue with five wins in the Russian Oaks, and four successes in the Russian Derby.

Winkfield also went on to win the Warsaw Derby on two occasions and was named the Russian Champion Jockey on three occasions. He was forced to leave Russia in 1917, but he continued his success by racing in France. He retired from the sport aged 50 after racing in more than 2,500 races.

Russian Hero

There is no bigger race in the world of horse racing than the Grand National. The competitive race sees horses have to navigate their way around 30 fences across four miles and two and a half furlongs. The winner of the race in 1949 had a connection to Russia as it was called Russian Hero.

A bet on the nine-year-old in 1949 would have been hugely lucrative as it began the race with a special price of 66/1, which was the joint-highest in the field. However, Russian Hero was still able to cruise to success under the guidance of Leo McMorrow and eventually won the Grand National by eight lengths.

The winning ride was trained by George Owen, and the team got £13,000 for winning, which is a fraction of the prize fund that on offer in the modern era of the Grand National.

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