Derby winning Lineage
As the Derby Historian, I should like to draw attention to the six Derby winners who were not only sons of Derby winners, but who also sired a Derby winner themselves – so forming a threefold prepotent sire line.
For example, the latest of these was, Mill Reef (won 1971) – Shirley Heights (1978) – Slip Anchor (1985).
Mill Reef also won the Eclipse Stakes, the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes, the Prix de l’ Arc de Triomphe and the Coronation Cup.
Notably, after fracturing his near-foreleg, he was the first horse in England to benefit from the insertion of a steel plate into his leg, in an operation that took six hours. His son, Shirley Heights, also won the Irish Derby and sired the ‘trap to line’ Derby winner Slip Anchor.
In the history of the Derby there have been six such trios of the grandsire, sire and foal, all being successful in Epsom’s great race.
The first trio was Waxy (won 1793) – Whalebone (1810) – Lap-dog (1826) and Spaniel (1831).
Waxy and Whalebone were both Champion Sires, while in contrast, Whalebone’s sons, Lap-dog and Spaniel, both won the Derby as 50-1 outsiders.
The next set also started with two great racehorses, Bay Middleton (won 1836) and The Flying Dutchman (1849), however, the latter’s foal, Ellington (1856), owned by Admiral Harcourt, produced no notable progeny.
Doncaster (won 1873), Bend Or (1880) and Ormonde (1886), proved a very strong trio. Doncaster also won the Goodwood and Ascot Gold Cups; BendOr , interestingly, added the City & Suburban and Epsom Gold Cup, and his foal, Ormonde, not only won the Triple Crown, but became the outstanding Derby winner of the 19th century.
Next come the popular trio – Spearmint (won 1906), Spion Kop (1920) and Felstead (1928). Spearmint was by the great American horse Carbine; Spion Kop was ex Hammerkop, a Cesarewitch winner who was 17-y-o when foaling her only winner; while Felstead went on to sire the 1938 One Thousand Guineas and Oaks winner Rockfel.
Our final trio here is of Gainsborough (won1918), Hyperion (1933) and Owen Tudor (1941).
Gainsborough won the wartime Triple Crown, with all legs run at Newmarket; his son, Hyperion, was probably, the best loved horse in England between the wars and was Champion Sire six times. His colt, Owen Tudor, added the wartime St Leger and Gold Cup, before siring the celebrated miler, Tudor Minstrel (rated 142 in 1947) and Abernant, twice winner of the July Cup and Nunthorpe Stakes, (rated 139 in 1950).
I hope you agree, an all together interesting collection, and pillars within the history of the Derby Stakes.