Paul McCartney watches his horse Drake’s Drum at Aintree

Saturday, March 26, 1966
Timeline More from year 1966
Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool, UK

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In July 1964, Paul McCartney bought a racehorse named Drake’s Drum for £1,200 as a gift for his father, Jim.

On this day, March 26, 1966, Paul and Jim went to Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool to watch Drake’s Drum win the Huyton Plate, a race that precedes the famous Grand National. Drake’s Drum won another race at Newbury Racecourse in November 1966.

In later years, Paul retired Drake’s Drum to his High Park Farm in Scotland.

From Liverpool’s Aintree Racecourse – The Beatles History (
From Liverpool’s Aintree Racecourse – The Beatles History (
From Liverpool’s Aintree Racecourse – The Beatles History (
From Liverpool’s Aintree Racecourse – The Beatles History (

Beatle Horse Goes To Wirral

Mr. Jim McCartney, father of those cheerful lads, Paul and Mike (McGear) McCartney, has switched the training quarters for his horse, Drake’s Drum, which Paul gave him for a birthday present a couple of years ago.

Hitherto, Drake’s Drum has been trained by Colonel Wilfred Lyde near Middleham, in Yorkshire. Now he has moved to the stables of Colin Crossley, at Neston, Heswall, Wirral, only about a mile from Jim McCartney’s home.

The owner told me today: “Colin Crossley’s place is so much handier for me to get to. What’s more, of course, it is so central for racing in the South and Midlands, and I shall be able to see Drake’s Drum running more often. There was no falling-out or anything like that between Colonel Lyde and me. We talked over the question of bringing the horse down here, and Colonel Lyde agreed that it would be a good move.“

So Drake’s Drum joined Colin Crossley’s yard a few days ago and Colin will be getting him ready for the coming Flat racing season after he has had a little time to get acclimatised.

Mr. Crossley has enjoyed spectacular success in the present National Hunt a few days later. Drake’s Drum was beaten into second place only by inches in the valuable St. George’s Stakes. Then he ran third at Lanark.

A fortnight later, Drake’s Drum was a hot 2-1 favourite when winning a £414 sprint at Ripon — and Mr. McCartney couldn’t get there to see it happen. Bookmakers all over the country took a hiding over the result for Beatles’ fans everywhere had their shillings and half-crowns on the horse.

Drake’s Drum hasn’t won since, but Jim told me: “I’ve been over to see him at Neston and he’s looking fine.

From Liverpool Echo – January 10, 1966
From Liverpool Echo – January 10, 1966


Drake’s Drum, winner of the Huyton Plate, the flat race which preceeds the Grand National at Aintree today, had to put up with second billing when he came into the winner’s enclosure. Leading him in was surprise visitor, Paul McCartney, one of Liverpool’s famour Beatles.

Paul, who arrived only a few minutes before the race, exclaimed: “It’s one of those things you just never expect to happen. This is the first time I have ever been to Aintree and to come on Grand National day and lead in a winner for my father — oh!

Paul, who bought Drakes Drum for his father. Mr. John McCartney, as a birthday present two years ago, said: ”I wanted my father to share a bet of £5 each-way but he said no, we’ll only have £2 each-way between us.

Which was a great pity,” he said ruefully when he heard that the horse started at 20-1.

Mr. McCartney senior, was accompanied by his wife Angela, Paul’s step-mother. ”This is wonderful and I am so glad that Drake’s Drum won the first time Paul has been able to see him run,” he said.

It was a tight finish with Drake’s Drum just getting up by a head from Rich Como with Chips, last year’s winner, only another head behind third.

Of Northern jockey Norman McIntosh’s riding of Drake’s Drum, Paul McCartney, said in Beatle language: “He did a bomb.

From Liverpool Echo – March 26, 1966
From Liverpool Echo – March 26, 1966

Beatle Paul’s dad has 20/1 winner

THERE could not have been many Beatle fans in the Newbury crowd today, for Drakes Drum, a present from Paul McCartney to his father, started at 20/1 in the Winterbourne Stakes and came home a comfortable winner.

Eric Apter, formerly with J. A. Waugh and now attached to Colin Crossleys Wirral stables, sent Drakes Drum to the front before the last furlong and his mount had no difficulty in countering the challenge of Condora.

Lucky course

Paul gave Drakes Drum to his father, Mr. Jim McCartney, a couple of years ago and he was sent to me last Christmas because his owner lives nearby at Heswall,” said Crossley. “Mr McCartney senior, who is very keen on racing, had hoped to fly down today as I had told him his horse stood a good chance. Unfortunately, he could not make it.”

The Cheshire trainer added: “Newbury is certainly one of my luckiest courses. I have had only three runners here and two of them. Tamorn over hurdles, and now Drakes Drum, have been successful.

The 5/1 favourite, the well-drawn March Queen, lost many lengths at the start and as a result, was never a factor.

From Evening Post – November 3, 1966
From Evening Post – November 3, 1966

From Beatles horse runs at Chester. Father of Paul, Mr James McCartney,… News Photo – Getty Images – Beatles horse runs at Chester. Father of Paul, Mr James McCartney, pictured with his horse ‘Drakes Drum’ at Chester races. July 1964. (Photo by Mirrorpix via Getty Images)
From Paul with Drake’s Drum. Scotland, 1971⁣ #LindaMcCartney #PaulMcCartney #Scotland #1971 #35mm #DrakesDrum #horsesofinstagram | Instagram

Last updated on October 21, 2023

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