L'Escargot (ENG)

Bred in England, L’Escargot was America’s champion steeplechaser in 1969 when he won the Meadow Brook Handicap at Belmont in record time, but his greatest achievement took place six years later when he won England’s prestigious Grand National at the age of 12. In between, he won consecutive editions of the Cheltenham Gold Cup and earned a reputation as a crowd favorite.

L'Escargot and Raymond Guest after winning the 1975 Grand National Steeplechase at Aintree (Gerry Cranham/Museum Collection)
Inducted

1977

Foaled

1963

Sire

Escart III

Dam

What a Daisy

Damsire

Grand Inquisitor

Breeder

Barbara O'Neill

Owner

Raymond R. Guest

Trainer

Dan Moore

Career

1968-1975

Earnings

$213,765

Racing Record

53

Starts

Year Starts First Second Third Earnings
Year Sts 1 2 3 $
1968 5 2 1 0 $5707 $5,707
1969 10 5 2 2 $28547 $28,547
1970 5 2 1 0 $35230 $35,230
1971 7 1 0 2 $19807 $19,807
1972 9 1 5 0 $9657 $9,657
1973 6 0 0 2 $11807 $11,807
1974 7 0 3 1 $18886 $18,886
1975 4 1 1 0 $84124 $84,124

Biography

Bred in England, L’Escargot was America’s champion steeplechaser in 1969 when he won the Meadow Brook Handicap at Belmont in record time, but his greatest achievement took place six years later when he won England’s prestigious Grand National at the age of 12. In between, he won consecutive editions of the Cheltenham Gold Cup and earned a reputation as a crowd favorite.

A chestnut son of Escart III out of the Grand Inquisitor mare What a Daisy, L’Escargot was sold as a 3-year-old to Raymond R. Guest, a former Senator from Virginia who was serving as the United States Ambassador to Ireland at the time.

Trained in Ireland by former steeplechase jockey Dan Moore, L’Escargot won twice in five starts in 1968, then posted a record of 5-2-2 from 10 starts and earned $28,547 the following year, including some quality performances in the United States. Along with his record-setting effort in the Meadow Brook, L’Escargot finished third in the Temple Gwathmey and fourth in the inaugural Colonial Cup, earning American champion steeplechase honors for the year.

In 1970, L’Escargot returned to Europe, where he remained for the duration of his career. Throughout the next six years, he won four stakes races and placed in seven other added-money events in England and Ireland. L’Escargot won back-to-back editions of the coveted Cheltenham Gold Cup in 1970 and 1971 before beginning a quest to capture the famed Grand National at Aintree.

L’Escargot fell in his first attempt at the Grand National in 1972. He finished third in 1973 edition and second in the 1974 running, both of which were won by Red Rum. L’Escargot, however, finally won the Grand National in 1975, romping to a 15-length victory over Red Rum. Guest described winning the Grand National with L’Escargot as “the biggest thrill of my life, the biggest excitement.”

Following his victory at Aintree, L’Escargot was retired with a career record of 12-13-7 from 53 starts and earnings of $213,765. He died at the age of 21 at Guest’s Powhatan Plantation in Virginia.

Achievements

Champion Steeplechase Horse — 1969

Media

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