It’s Coming Home. Three words that must have been uttered, sung or slurred a billion times in the past fortnight as England have advanced to the semi-finals of the World Cup.
No horse has ever carried the name but the equine Three Lions was around for a decade, being a regular on British racecourses between 1999 and 2009.
His nine wins in modest company were not enough for Timeform to describe him as ungenuine. He never ran on July 30, either, the day England beat West Germany 4-2 in the 1966 final.
Several of England’s best-known footballers have lent themselves to namesakes.
Gazza was perhaps fittingly out of a dam who was fairly useful in Italy. However, unlike the brilliant midfield player, the horse was devoid of any ability. He ran five times without distinction.
In more recent times, the Australian-bred Shearer never threatened to score - and in truth it is unclear whether he was named after the record-breaking striker or a prolific sheep clipper somewhere in the outback.
Anyway, I digress. We are all looking for signs that football really is coming home and events in the racing world in 1966, mirrored 52 years later, suggests the stars may indeed be aligning.
1: The Derby
1966: the Derby was won by Charlottown, who had won the Solario Stakes over seven furlongs at Sandown as a two-year-old.
2018: the Derby was won by Masar, who also won the Solario Stakes as a juvenile. No other horse has won both races in the intervening 52 years.
2: The Oaks
1966: Valoris, a bay filly trained at Ballydoyle by Vincent O’Brien, won the Oaks at Epsom, having failed to win either of her races as a two-year-old in Ireland.
2018: Forever Together, a bay filly trained at Ballydoyle by Aidan O’Brien, won the Oaks at Epsom, having failed to win either of her races as a two-year-old in Ireland.
3: The Champion Chase
1966: Flyingbolt, the favourite, won the Queen Mother Champion Chase and ended his second season over fences with his unbeaten record in that sphere over intact.
2018: Altior, the favourite, won the Queen Mother Champion Chase and ended his second season over fences with his unbeaten record in that sphere over intact.
4: The 1,000 Guineas
1966: A chestnut filly, Glad Rags, sprung a surprise in the 1,000 Guineas.
2018: A chestnut filly, Billesdon Brook, sprung a 66-1 surprise in the 1,000 Guineas
5: The Gold Cup
1966: Her Majesty The Queen wore a pink hat for Ladies’ Day. Fighting Charlie won the Gold Cup at 15-8.
2018: Her Majesty The Queen wore a pink hat for Ladies’ Day. Stradivarius won the Gold Cup at a Betfair SP of more or less 15-8 once commission had been paid.
6: The Grand National
1966: Anglo, an eight-year-old, gave trainer Fred Winter a second Grand National triumph. The going at Aintree was soft.
2018: Tiger Roll, an eight-year-old, gave Gordon Elliott a second Grand National triumph. The going at Aintree was soft.