Beating the Odds: Montpelier's Battleship and the British Grand National

Research & Collections

In 1938, an American horse campaigned by a prominent Virginia race horse owner won the ultimate steeplechase, the British Grand National, and was catapulted into international fame. Over 200,000 viewers watched the race at Aintree, and many more read or heard about the story soon after. Owned by Marion duPont Scott, Battleship remains the only horse to win both the American (1934) and English (1938) Grand National steeplechase races.

To commemorate the 75th anniversary of this historic event and to honor the enduring legacy of Marion duPont Scott, The Montpelier Foundation and the Montpelier Steeplechase and Equestrian Foundation will launch a Battleship-themed exhibit on March 29, 2013. Beating the Odds will be on view through November 10, 2013 in the William duPont Gallery at the Montpelier Visitor Center.

Generous financial support for Beating the Odds was provided by the following:

  • The Virginia Thoroughbred Association
  • Horse Racing Trips Worldwide
  • National Steeplechase Foundation


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Grand National 1938, Water jump 
Courtesy of The Montpelier Foundation,
a National Trust Historic Site, 


Battleship's Accomplishments On Display

Beating the Odds will feature objects, documents, and photographs illuminating Battleship's victories at Aintree and throughout his racing career. Of particular interest are sculptures by Carroll K. Bassett, Battleship's winning trophies, and congratulatory telegrams sent to jockey, Bruce Hobbs and trainer, Reg Hobbs. 

Courtesy of The Montpelier Foundation,
a National Trust Historic Site, 
duPont Scrapbook 13, pg. 37, img. 004