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Devon Loch

Devon Loch
Sire Devonian
Dam Coolaleen
Grandsire Hyperion
Damsire Loch Lomond
Gender Gelding
Foaled 1946
Country Great Britain
Color Bay
Owner HM Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother
Devon Loch is a thoroughbred racehorse out of Coolaleen by Devonian. He was born around 1946 in Great Britain.
Horse (Equus ferus caballus)
Last updated on January 19, 2008

Devon Loch (1946–1963) was a famous racehorse. Its most memorable moment by far came in the 1956 Grand National steeplechase, when owned by HM Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. The horse was 45 metres from the winning post and in the lead, when suddenly the horse appeared to jump up and slip over, leaving ESB to overtake and win. Although jockey Dick Francis tried to cajole the horse, it was unable to continue. Afterwards, The Queen Mother famously said "Oh that's racing".[1][2]

According to some reports, Devon Loch suffered a cramp in the hindquarters and this caused the collapse. However, another report claims that a shadow thrown by the Water Jump (which horses only traverse on the first circuit of the Aintree course) may have confused Devon Loch into thinking another jump was required and - confused as to whether he should jump or not - he half-jumped and collapsed. It seems likely that such confusion caused him to fail to continue. On the DVD Horse Racing's Greatest Ever Races, Dick Francis stated that the massive crowd cheer for an expected Royal winner distracting the horse is a more likely explanation.

Reports that the horse had suffered a heart attack were dismissed, as Devon Loch recovered far too quickly for this to have been the case. Devon Loch was put down during or shortly after a cold winter in 1963.

Modern use

"To do a Devon Loch" is a metaphor now used in modern day sports and otherwise to explain the sudden, last-minute failure of teams or a sportsman to complete an expected victory, e.g. "Man United can only hope Chelsea do a Devon Loch collapse"[3] and "Lewis Hamilton surrender the championship having led Kimi Räikkönen by 17 points with just two races remaining was a Devon Loch calamity".[4]


Footnotes </dt>


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