Bookmakers £100,000 Cheltenham Gold Cup winners jackpot captured in the eye of a needle

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A Birmingham artist was commissioned to create a unique Cheltenham Gold Cup sculpture by a bookmaker

A world-renowned micro-artist has carved the name of every horse to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup - onto the head of a NAIL.

Graham Short, 77, spent 400 hours painstakingly etching all 81 individual winners to mark the 100th anniversary of the famous horse racing festival this year.

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The 840 letters engraved on a 2mm x 3mm horseshoe nail are just 20 microns in height - smaller than the width of a human hair which is 100 microns.

The mini masterpiece was commissioned by former bookmaker Bryan Morris, 62, who reckons it's Graham's best ever work and worth in excess of £100,000.

It includes the names of every Cheltenham Gold Cup winning horse since the steeplechase was inaugurated a century ago in 1924.

Micro-artist Graham Short, 77, has carved the name of every horse to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup onto the head of a nailMicro-artist Graham Short, 77, has carved the name of every horse to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup onto the head of a nail
Micro-artist Graham Short, 77, has carved the name of every horse to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup onto the head of a nail | Paul Ward Photography

Graham, from Bournville in Birmingham, said: "Bryan came to me with the idea and asked whether I would like to do it for the festival's centenary. I always like a challenge and went for it.

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"It sits on the head of a horseshoe nail, which are used for attaching the ultra-light aluminium shoes onto a racehorse’s hoof.

"I was sent a dozen of them from a stables in Newmarket and I worked five hours throughout the night for about four or five days at a time.

"It took in total around four months to complete and I think Bryan is very pleased with the end result.

"We have brought it along to Cheltenham this year and I got to speak to groups of schoolchildren in the Royal Box. It's been some experience so far this week."

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Micro-artist Graham Short, 77, has carved the name of every horse to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup onto the head of a nailMicro-artist Graham Short, 77, has carved the name of every horse to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup onto the head of a nail
Micro-artist Graham Short, 77, has carved the name of every horse to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup onto the head of a nail | Courtesy Graham Short

Graham works with ultra-fine needles through a powerful medical microscope while wearing a stethoscope to monitor his heart rate.

He takes potassium, magnesium and beta-blockers to lower his heart to about 25 beats a minute and engraves between heart beats when he is perfectly still.

Every three months he receives a course of Botox injections around his eyes to stop involuntary eye muscle movements disturbing his concentration.

The grandfather-of-two also works exclusively at night when traffic noise and vibrations are at a minimum.

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He added: "About 30 minutes after taking the pills my heartbeat drops to 25bpm. I do a lot of swimming so I can keep fit so I can keep on taking it.

“I also work late at night when most people are at home in bed and there isn’t much noise or vibrations from traffic outside.

"One passing lorry can be feel like an earthquake and I have to start all over again.

"I know what I do is viewed as extraordinary but it has become a normal job to me."

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Micro-artist Graham Short, 77, has carved the name of every horse to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup onto the head of a nailMicro-artist Graham Short, 77, has carved the name of every horse to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup onto the head of a nail
Micro-artist Graham Short, 77, has carved the name of every horse to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup onto the head of a nail | SWNS

The incredible piece, called the "Cheltenham Nail" will be on display all week at the Cheltenham Festival.

Owner Bryan, of Coventry, added: "I came up with the idea a couple of years ago for the 100 year anniversary and Graham said he would give it a go. "He actually did it last year but had to start again as last year's winner was Galopin Des Champs - which was too long to add on.

"I have brought it along to Cheltenham this year and people just can't get their heads around it.

"Some have said 'it's amazing what lasers can do these days' and when I point out the reality, they just cannot believe it.

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"It belongs here on display really rather than in my kitchen - but I'm honoured to own it.

"Graham's work has fetched in excess of £50,000 previously but this is among his best work and I think worth at least £100,000.

"It is the most astonishing piece of horse-racing art ever created."

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