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Noel Murless, Dick Hern & Vincent O’Brien

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Three trainers who dominated the latter half of the 20th century

Noel Murless, Dick Hern & Vincent O’Brien

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   Sir Charles Francis Noel Murless (1910-1987), rode first as an amateur and then as a professional jump jockey for Martin Hartigan at Weyhill. Thereafter, he worked as assistant trainer to Hubert Hartigan (Martin’s brother), in Ireland. From 1935, Murless trained successfully from Hambleton, near Thirsk, albeit with horses of limited ability. However, on the retirement of Fred Darling at the close of the 1947 Flat season, Murless took over Beckhampton, retaining the association with Gordon Richards. The following year he was Champion Trainer for the first time and topped the lists a further eight times in his career.

In 1952, Murless moved to Warren House at Newmarket, and when Sir Gordon retired two years later, Murless appointed the teenage Lester Piggott as the new stable jockey. Murless (like Fred Darling) trained 19 Classic winners. He had five winners of the Oaks: Carrozza (1957), Petite Etoile (1959), Lupe (1970), Altesse Royale (1971) and Mysterious (1973). He also trained three winners of the Derby: Crepello (1957), St Paddy (1960) and Royal Palace (1967). The historian Roger Mortimer wrote of him: “Murless is a lean, lined, worried looking man….and though friendly and courteous, it is difficult to visualise any sort of party of which he could possibly be the life and soul.”

 

  William Richard ‘Dick’ Hern (1921-2002), was born in Somerset and, after serving in the North Irish Horse in World War II, held the position of coach to the British gold-medal winning equestrian team in the 1948 Olympics. In 1957, having worked as assistant trainer to Michael Pope, he took over the Lagrange Stable at Newmarket.

Champion Trainer four times, he trained the winners of 16 Classic races including Brigadier Gerard, winner of the 1971 Two Thousand Guineas and rated the greatest winner of that Classic in the 20th century. Hern also trained – three winners of the Oaks – Dunfermline (1977), Bireme (1980) and Sun Princess (1983) and three Derby winners: Troy (1979), Henbit (1980) and Nashwan (1989). Strong in the face of adversity, Hern continued to train after a hunting accident in 1984 that left him confined to a wheelchair. Furthermore, in 1988, soon after undergoing major heart surgery he learned that William Hastings-Bass (later Lord Huntingdon), was to replace him as resident trainer at the Queen’s West Ilsley Stables. However, a compromise was later agreed, enabling Hern to share the stable with Hastings-Bass for a year, before moving to Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum’s Kingwood House Stables in Lambourn. And it was from that stable that Hern turned out Nashwan to win the Derby.

 

   Vincent O’Brien (1917-2009), is widely regarded as the greatest trainer of the 20th century, both on the Flat and over the jumps. His 16 British Classic victories included, two winners of the Oaks – Long Look (1965) and Valoris (1966), and six winners of the Derby, notably Sir Ivor (1968) and Nijinsky (1970 Triple Crown). Over the jumps, he trained the winners of three consecutive Grand Nationals between 1953 and 1955 – Early Mist, Royal Tan and Quare Times – four Cheltenham Gold Cups and three Champion Hurdles.

Born in 1917, near Churchtown, Co. Cork, Michael Vincent O’Brien supervised the training of his father’s small string at Clashganniff from the late 1930’s and, a year after his father’s death in 1943, he took out a licence to train. In 1951, the year he married Jacqueline Witternoom from Perth, Australia, he moved to Ballydoyle, Cashel, Co. Tipperary, where he developed a training establishment par excellence.

In the mid-1970’s, O’Brien formed a partnership with Robert Sangster and John Magnier. Together, they purchased yearlings with good pedigrees, many by Northern Dancer, turned them into champions and stood them at Coolmore Stud. Lester Piggott usually rode O’Brien’s runners in England.

A man of quiet, gentle genius, Vincent O’Brien retired from training in 1994. His first Classic winner in Britain was Ballymoss (1957 St Leger) and his last, El Gran Senor (1984 Two Thousand Guineas). In the 1984 Derby, El Gran Senor was beaten a short head by Secreto, trained by Vincent’s son David.

 

 

The Herod line from Woodpecker to Dr Devious but where next?

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The Herod line

from Woodpecker to Dr Devious

But where next?

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Herod (b.c. 1758) Eight times Champion Sire

The Herod – Woodpecker sire line, although for many years secondary to the now expired Herod – Highflyer line previously shown, has up to the death of Dr Devious in March 2018, been a source of notable horses in England and France for more than two centuries. A commentary on the notable offspring and a male-lineage chart follow.

WOODPECKER (ch.c. 1773)

“A large, coarse horse with wide lop ears”, Woodpecker was bred and raced by Sir Charles Davers of Suffolk. A chestnut colt by Herod out of Miss Ramsden by Cade, Woodpecker, won 15 races, including the Craven Stakes at Newmarket, from strong opposition, three times, in 1778, 1779 & 1781. In addition, at the same Course he twice beat the local champion Pot-8-o’s.

Sent to Lord Egremonts’ Petworth Stud, he was four-times runner-up to Champion Sire, Highflyer (also by Herod), from 1789 to 1792. His progeny included Buzzard (see below) and the 1800 Oaks winner Ephemera.

BUZZARD (ch.c. 1787).

Like his sire, Woodpecker, due to the prominence of Highflyer, Buzzard was never Champion Sire. However, mated with a daughter of Alexander (b. 1790) by the all-conquering Eclipse, they produced three colts to give the lineage a powerful start, with Castrel (ch.c. 1801), Selim (ch.c. 1802) and Rubens  (ch.c. 1805), the latter two Champion Sires, with Selim siring six Classic winners and Sultan (b.c. 1816).

SULTAN (b.c. 1816)

Owned and bred by William Crockford, the founder of Crockford’s Club, Sultan won 14 races, including two Gold Cups at Newmarket and was second in the Derby. He was Champion Sire six times, from 1832 to 1837, siring eight Classic winners, including Bay Middleton (b.c. 1833).

BAY MIDDLETON (b.c. 1833)

Bay Middleton (b.c. 1833) Jem Robinson up

Bred by 5th Earl of Jersey, Bay Middleton was unbeaten in his seven races, winning the Two Thousand Guineas and Derby. Put to stud at the Turf Tavern, Doncaster at a fee of 30 guineas, he was twice Champion Sire, getting four Classic winners, including The Flying Dutchman (br.c. 1846).

THE FLYING DUTCHMAN (br.c. 1846)

After winning the Derby and St Leger, The Flying Dutchman, was beaten in the Doncaster Cup by his only rival – Voltigeur – that years  unbeaten Derby and St Leger winner.  A return match for 1,000 sovereigns  was made for the following spring over two miles at York, when  the weights allotted  by  Admiral  Rous were: The  Flying  Dutchman 8st 8 ½lb and Voltigeur 8st. An enormous crowd gathered on the  Knavesmire  to see The  Flying  Dutchman  win  by a length. He never ran again. At stud he sired the 1856 Derby winner, Ellington, then in 1858, he was sold to France for £4,000. After which his sire-line continued to flourish in France for eleven generations.

DJEBEL   (b.c. 1937)

Bred in France by Marcel Boussac and trained by Albert Swann at Chantilly, Djebel ridden by Charlie Elliott, won the  Two  Thousand  Guineas easily beating his 20 rivals. However, due to the  war he was  unable  to  come over  for  the  Derby.  He later won  the French Two Thousand Guineas equivalent, the Poule  d’Essai  des  Poulains, which was delayed until autumn. Djebel went on to win the  Prix  de l’Arc  de  Triomphe as  a  five-year-old. In all he  won 15 of his 22 races and never finished out of the first three. He was Champion Sire in France four times and sired the English Classic winners,  My Babu (1948 Two Thousand Guineas) and Galcador (1950 Epsom Derby).

AHONOORA (ch.c. 1975)

Bred by the Wyld Court Stud in G.B., Ahonoora, a bright chestnut colt by Lorenzaccio, surprisingly regenerated the Woodpecker line. A popular sprinter, he won seven races, including the Stewards’Cup and King George Stakes at Goodwood and the William Hill Sprint Championship at York. At stud he sired Dont Forget Me, winner of the 1987 English and Irish Two Thousand Guineas and Dr Devious, winner of the 1992 Epsom Derby.

DR DEVIOUS  (ch.c. 1989)

Dr Devious (ch.c. 1989) with trainer Peter Chapple-Hyam

Bred by Lyonstown Stud in Ireland, Dr Devious was sold a record four times before his Derby victory. A whole-coloured chestnut by Ahonoora out of the unraced Rose of Jericho, by Alleged, he was trained by Peter Chapple-Hyam at Manton in Wiltshire. He ran six times as a juvenile, winning four, including the Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket. At three, Dr Devious became a truly International horse, running nine times in five different countries – seventh in the Kentucky Derby, he later won the Epsom Derby by two lengths from St Jovite, who he beat again to win the Irish Champion Stakes.

In January 1993 Dr Devious was sold yet again, for around £3 million, and sent to stud at Zenya Yoshida’s Shadai Farm in Japan. In 1998 he returned to Ireland to stand at Coolmore Stud, until eventually relocating to Italy, where he was twice Champion Sire. Although failing to make his mark as a stallion, his offspring included, Collier Hill (ch.g. 1998), who won 10 flat races and two N.H. races, including the Stockholm Cup International and the Irish Field St Leger, and Demophilos (b.c. 1998), second in the Rothmans Royals St Leger. Dr Devious died in Sardinia in March 2018.

So, is this the end of the Byerley Turk – Herod – Woodpecker sire-line? It could well be.

However, most racehorses today have a mixture of all the founding fathers in them as the lines intermingle under the influence of 24 generations of Throughbred breeding. The fascination with sire-lines is because many famous sires have had a prepotency, influencing the offspring of their sons,  grandsons and further. A famous example of this is the Champion Sire Birdcatcher (ch.c. 1833), whose near hindleg flank was ticked with grey hairs and like his bay sire, a bunch of white hairs at the butt of his tail. His scattered grey hairs, known as Birdcatcher ticks were past on for many generations.

 

The key to the WOODPECKER chart below: Classic winning colts in RED, fillies in GREEN. Races won 1 1000 Gns, 2 2000 Gns, D Derby, O Oaks, L St Leger, A Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, ** Champion Sire, all dates are of race victory,

From the top menu take a look at Michael’s BOOKS FOR SALE

 

Sam Chifney & The Escape Scandal

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Sam Chifney & The Escape Scandal

Sam Chifney (1753-1807), at his peak, was the greatest jockey seen on the Turf up to that time. He was the first jockey to introduce riding tactics and became famous for his late ‘Chifney rush’.

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Chifney rode four winners of the Oaks – Ceres (1782), Maid of the Oaks (1783), Tag (1789) and Hippolyta (1790) and the Derby winner Skyscraper (1789), pictured below, with Sam aboard. Note the horse’s clipped ears, which was the fashion at the time.

 

The Druid describes Chifney in Post and Paddock, “He was about 5ft 5in in height, weighed  about 9st 5lb, in the winter months, and could ride, if required for a great race, 7st 12lb to the last. With the exception of Frank Buckle, perhaps no man was so exactly built for his profession.”

Chifney was a dandy in appearance; curls framed his face from under his jockey’s cap and he wore bunches of ribbons on the tops of his riding boots. Whilst there was never any doubt about his ability in the saddle, his race riding was sometimes open to suspicion.

On Thursday, 20th October, 1791 at Newmarket, in what was to become known as “The Escape Scandal”, Chifney rode the 6-y-o Escape, for the Prince of Wales (later King George IV).

Escape, by Highflyer out of a Squirrel mare, was at the time thought by Chifney, “Much the best horse in England”, however, with 8 st 4 lb over two miles (Ditch-in), starting at odds of 1-2, he finished last of four to Mr Dawson’s Coriander.

The following day, against similar opposition, Escape (pictured aside), carried 8 st 13 lb, over an extended 4 miles (Beacon Course) and completely reversing the form, won at 5-1. Accusations that Chifney had pulled Escape the first time to get better odds the next day were commonplace, some suggesting that the Prince was aware of the plan. However, when summoned before the Stewards of the Jockey Club, Chifney claimed that Escape, untried for two weeks, needed the first race ‘to clear his pipes’ for the next day. He therefore, had no bet on him the first time, but 20 guineas the next day, when unbeknown to him two rouges of the ring had seen to it that Escape was over fed on the day of the race. On course, the rouges took much of the Escape money pushing out the price to 5-1 in spite of the Prince’s hefty wager.

In investigating Chifney’s account of the proceedings, I have to say he comes out more sinned against than sinned.

Nevertheless, the Stewards refused to accept his explanation and treated the case as yet another example of the jockey’s dishonesty. Sir Charles Bunbury, the senior steward, then informed the Prince of Wales that if he continued to engage Chifney, no gentleman would start against him. Soon after, rather than make Chifney a scapegoat, the Prince gave up racing and sold his horses. Even so, he continued to pay Chifney’s £200 annuity, telling him: “You have been a good and honest servant to me.”

In 1795, Chifney published his autobiography Genius Genuine, in which he describes his slack rein method of riding “as if you had a silken rein as fine as hair, and that you were afraid of breaking it…..This is a true way a horse should be held fast in running.”

Samuel Chifney married the daughter of Newmarket trainer, Frank Smallman; they had two sons, William, who owned and trained the great Priam to win the Derby in 1830 and Samuel, who rode nine Classic winners, including the Derby winners Sam(1818) and Sailor (1820). They also had four daughters, one of whom married a Mr Weatherby of Newmarket and another, the Newmarket trainer Butler, to become the mother of the Triple Crown winning jockey, Frank Butler (West Australian 1853).

Chifney left Newmarket for London in 1800. Six years later, pursude by creditors, he sold the Prince’s annuity for £1,260.

However, having invented and patented a bit for horses, he proposed, “If the Jockey Club will be pleased to give me 200 guineas, I will make them a bridle as I believe never was, and I believe never can be, excelled, for their light weights to hold horses from running away.” The Jockey Club refused and going alone he became indebted to the saddler, Latchford, for £350. Ironically, the bit named after him is still in use today.

Imprisioned for many years as a debtor in Fleet Prison, when released, he moved to a humble dwelling in Fleet Lane opposite the prison, where he died on 8 January 1807, aged 52.

Escape, went on to win 11 races and became a prominent sire. As a footnote, when an unruly yearling, kicking out in his box, he got his foot wedged between the boards. Bravely his groom released him uninjured, giving rise to his name Escape.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Marquis of Hastings scoops the Pocket Venus, alas!

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The Marquis of Hastings scoops the Pocket Venus, alas!

  On Derby Day 1867, London society’s most romantic drama was played out before 300,000 racegoers on Epsom Downs. Surrounded by intrigue and scandal, the Marquis of Hastings and Mr Henry Chaplin had vied for the love of the season’s beauty, Lady Florence Paget, known in society as “The Pocket Venus”.

Both men had wealth, good looks and charm. However, each were tainted by the ‘win at all costs’ passion of a reckless gambler.

The story begins at Mr Blenkiron’s sale of Middle Park Stud yearlings at Eltham, Surrey, on Saturday, 17 June 1865, where the rivalry between the feckless Marquis of Hastings and Henry Chaplin took a twist from which one of them would never recover.

“Lot 27, a chestnut colt by Newminster out of Seclusion…” A small but good-looking, dark chestnut yearling entered the sales ring. Harry Hastings and Henry Chaplin, standing on opposite sides of the ring, watched the bidding rise in 50’s. Newminster, a St Leger winner, had already sired three Classic winners, including Derby winner Musjid, and his stock were commanding good prices. Harry Hastings held the bid at 850 guineas until Chaplin came in at 900. One more bid each then Hermit was knocked down to Henry Chaplin at 1,000 guineas.

The Sale continued … “Lot 28, a chestnut colt by Dundee out of Shot…”, was sold to Mr Merry, also for 1,000 guineas. Coincidentally, this yearling, later named Marksman, was to run second to Hermit in the Derby.

Henry Chaplin was the eldest son of the Reverend Henry Chaplin,Vicar of Ryhall in Rutlandshire. When only 19 he inherited the estate of Blankney in Lincolnshire from his uncle Mr Charles Chaplin. He went to Christ Church, Oxford in January 1859 and was given the nickname “Magnifico” on account of his grand life style. A year later he took the Prince of Wales “under his wing” and, before Chaplin left in December 1860, he had “kept an eye” on a shy and nervous Harry Hastings for a term.

In 1864, Chaplin became engaged to the beautiful Lady Florence Paget, youngest daughter of the Marquess of Anglesey. The announcement received extensive coverage in The Morning Post and The Times, while according to society magazines, Florence was “the rage of the park, the ballroom, the opera and the croquet lawn.”

 Ironically, before the engagement, Harry Hastings had also courted Lady Florence, but, the characters of the two men could not have been more different. Henry Chaplin was a respected figure of the establishment; masculine, handsome, kind and generous. Harry Hastings, on the other hand, had all the hallmarks of a selfish rake. Even so, his air of “little boy lost” appealed to Florence’s strong mother instincts and, whereas Harry needed her, Chaplin showed that he could be self sufficient. Previously, when rumours of their engagement were circulating, he had gone off on a big game expedition in India, leaving Hastings to escort her through the social scene.

After the engagement, Chaplin, proud to have scooped “The Pocket Venus”, generously included Hastings in their intimate circle. Poignantly, on the evening of Friday, 15 July 1864, from a box at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, the three of them listened to the famous soprano Adelina Patti’s last night performance of Gounod’s “Faust.”

   The following morning, Lady Florence tried on her newly delivered wedding dress for what everyone believed would be “The Wedding of the Year.”  Then, at 10 a.m., she drove alone, in her father’s brougham from the St George’s Hotel in Albemarle Street to the Vere Street entrance of the fashionable store, Marshall and Snelgrove. Walking through the store to the door in Oxford Street, she was met by Lord Hastings. The couple then drove off to  St George’s Church, Hanover Square, Euston, where she married Harry and became the Marchioness of Hastings. No members of her family were present. The bride was given away by Hastings’s friend Freddy Granville and at the reception, held at the Granvilles’ lodgings in St James’s Place, Lady Florence found a quiet room to write the following heartfelt apology to Henry Chaplin.

                                                                                                      Saturday, July 1864

HARRY – To you whom I have injured more deeply than any one, I hardly know how to address myself. Believe me, the task is most painful and one I shrink from. Would to God I had had moral courage to open my   heart to you sooner, but I could not bring myself to do so. However, now the truth must be told. Nothing in the world can ever excuse my conduct.    I have treated you too infamously, but I sincerely trust the knowledge of my unworthiness will help you to bear the bitter blow I am about to inflict on you.

I know I ought never to have accepted you at all, and I also know I never could have made you happy. You must have seen ever since the beginning of our engagement how very little I really returned all your devotion to me. I assure you I have struggled hard against the feeling, but all to no purpose. There is not a man in the world I have a greater regard and respect for than yourself, but I do not love you in the way a woman ought to love her husband, and I am perfectly certain if I had married you, I should have rendered not only my life miserable, but your own also.

And now we are eternally separated, for by the time you receive this I shall be the wife of Lord Hastings. I dare not ask for your forgiveness. I feel I have injured you far too deeply for that. All I can do now is to implore you to go and forget me. You said one night here, a woman who ran away was not worth thinking or caring about, so I pray that the blow may fall less severely on you than it might have done. May God bless you, and may you soon find some one far more worthy of becoming your wife than I should ever have been.

 Yrs.

FLORENCE

  Henry Plantagenet, 4th and last Marquess of Hastings, was the classic Victorian example of a young man with plenty of money and little experience on the Turf. Sadly, Harry was less than two years old when his father died. And this, coupled with the sudden death of his elder brother seven years later, left the young Harry with a vast inheritance.

Generous and charming with friends, he treated his employees badly and, when Master of the Quorn, he would often quit the hunt at midday for a session of cards or dice.

And so the eternal triangle was assembled. After being deserted by Lady Florence, Henry Chaplin threw himself fervently into racing, buying horses “as though he were drunk and backing them as if he were mad!” He had, however, an ace up his sleeve. That ace was Hermit.

Under the management of Captain Machell, Hermit was trained at Newmarket by Bloss. And, as time passed, it became obvious that an exciting bargain was in prospect.

First tried over four furlongs on Bury Hill, with the useful filly, Problem, Hermit beat her by two lengths, giving her 35lb.Two months later on 20 February, Problem won the Brocklesby Stakes at Lincoln from a big field, and followed it up by beating Hippia, a future Oaks winner, at Northampton. Captain Machell then hurried to London and backed Hermit to win the Derby for a large sum of money at odds of 20-1.

Hermit made his racecourse debut at Newmarket in the spring of 1866 where, in the race before the Two Thousand Guineas, he was beaten three-quarters of a length by Cellina over four furlongs. The Machell camp were not downhearted however; Cellina had a previous victory and her experience had told. Three weeks later at Bath, Hermit reversed the placings with Cellina, winning by a neck.

In the Woodcote Stakes at Epsom, Hermit came up against Achievement, a brilliant filly who went on to win the One Thousand Guineas and St Leger the following year. She beat him by three lengths in a scintillating performance. Later, however, Hermit progressed to win at Ascot and then twice at Stockbridge, beating Vauban on both occasions.

Vauban had won seven of his 15 races as a two-year-old and the following season won the Two Thousand Guineas by two lengths from Hermit’s stable companion Knight of the Garter, with Marksman a head away third.

With the Derby approaching, Captain Machell and Henry Chaplin now had a direct line to Vauban and Marksman through Knight of the Garter. A trial was arranged with Hermit to concede 10lb to Knight of the Garter over a mile. Hermit proved his superiority and the stable’s ante-post vouchers looked gilt-edged.

Soon after, plans were made for a further trial, this to be run a week before the Derby over one and a half miles, with the four year-old Rama, a Doncaster Cup winner, conceding 14lb. Captain Machell, however, leaving nothing to chance, insisted on both horses having a rough gallop on the Monday, to allot the trial weights more accurately.

Hermit, ridden by Henry Custance, after travelling exceptionally well, gave a tremendous cough and stumbled. The colt’s nose and mouth were cleaned up and, to keep the incident a secret, Custance took him home “the back way”. A thorough examination followed, when it was discovered that Hermit had burst a blood vessel in his nostril.

Hermit’s chance in the Derby now looked remote, yet despite Chaplin wanting to scratch Hermit, Captain Machell refused to give up hope and persuaded him to delay his decision. When the news of Hermit’s gallop spread, Custance was approached by Mr Pryor to ride his fancied entry, The  Rake.  Accordingly, Chaplin, not wishing to deprive his jockey the chance of winning the Derby, wrote to Pryor, releasing him.

Almost immediately after, came the news that The Rake had also broken a blood-vessel in his final preparation. In a further twist, Machell, in the light of Hermit’s encouraging response to treatment, suggested to Chaplin he re-engage Custance. Pryor, however, remained set on running The Rake and refused to release him. The case then went to the Stewards, who judged that Chaplin’s letter to Pryor constituted a release and gave Prior the decision, adding, that as both horses had broken blood-vessels, in all fairness he should relinquish his claim. This, Pryor refused to do, compelling Custance, to endure the eventual irony.

To rub salt into Custance’s wound, the day before the Derby he witnessed Bloss’s horses do their final work at Epsom. Custance recalls in his Riding Recollections, “Hermit was sent to canter a mile on the Derby course. This was the first canter he had done since he had broken his blood-vessel, nine days previously. Hermit used to pull a bit, and he got the best of the boy coming round Tattenham Corner, fairly ran away with him, and, the ground being as hard as iron, he bounded over it like a cricket ball. Chris Fenning, who was standing with me, said: ‘“Be jabbers, I never saw a horse like that! He will win the Derby.”’

Captain Machell, meantime, determined to keep Hermit’s blood cool, gave him very little hay and covered him with only a light blanket. Most of his work was downhill and, on the Saturday, before the Derby, Hermit did six one-mile canters the reverse way of the Rowley Mile.

The snowstorm before the Derby

Derby Day arrived with snow showers throughout the day, allowing fate to give our story yet another twist – for this would surely cool Hermit’s blood. His appearance in the paddock, however, was far from convincing. Baily’s Magazine reported, “One would say, ‘Ah poor Hermit!’ and then passed by on the other side; and another would turn up his nose as if at tainted air, and exclaim, ‘Pah! ‘a corpse!’ and there was no good Samaritan to say one good word in his favour.”

To illustrate the intensity of feeling the race brought, a first- hand account of the race from Amphion of  Baily’s Magazine follows:

“Just as the horses reached the post, the welcome sun shot through the clouds a momentary beam, as if in honour of the contest, upon the issue of which the minds of that vast multitude were hanging in excited suspense.  Gazing over that sea of heads in front of us, the eye wandered up the serried ranks which lined the course far and away past Tattenham Corner to the beginning of the furzes at the top of the hill. Waiting for the hoarse roar which drowns the last notes of the ‘warning bell’ have you, reader, ever analyzed your feelings at that moment when that bright bevy of coloured specks is dimly seen over the black mass at the starting-post ‘now advancing now retreating,’ now breaking away, now turning back, or waiting for some companion who declines to join the melee?

Who has not felt that half-pleasurable, half-painful sensation, when the mind hangs between hope  and fear, the feeling that upon this ‘maddest, merriest day’ the issue of that contest will be decided which has cost us so much thought, so much  study, such long anxious deliberation. How do we yearn for, yet fear the end; how slowly passes the time until the long rainbow line is stretched in marshalled order across the course. Then as for the last time we strive to anticipate, though by a few minutes only, the verdict of the judge comes the roar of thousands, like the sound of many waters, and the Derby cloud flies up the slope, and are lost sight of for a few seconds behind the hill. Here they are at last, Vauban with a slight lead then Marksman, Van Amburgh, and The Palmer close together, with Hermit at their heels: a shout as Palmer has cried enough, and Hermit creeps up to the leaders; then loudly screams the Ring as Fordham begins to ride the favourite, and his backers groan responsive: at the distance Marksman leads until the stand is reachcd, and now for the death-struggle. Marksman, ridden with the most consummate judgment, still holds his own; but a touch may upset him, while Daley calls vigorously on Hermit, who responds most gamely, and finally defeats Marksman by a neck; the favourite a bad third, Wild Moor a respectful fourth, then Van Amburgh, Owain Glcndwr, and Tynedale, and the ruck.   Middle Park forever!”

Immediately after, Captain Machell was a rich man, having won over £60,000 (over £4 million today), for his patience and determination, while the stable won a further £90,000 (over £6 million today).

Captain Machell was 29 years old at the time of “Hermit’s Derby”. He joined the army in 1855 and reached the rank of Captain in 1862, but the following year, he sensationally resigned his commission when refused permission to see the St Leger. An accomplished athlete, he won many wagers for jumping from the floor on to a mantelpiece and, for jumping over a billiard table. In 1864 he moved to Newmarket and after a successful start as an owner, he proved an exceptional judge of jumpers, owning three Grand National winners: Disturbance (1873), Reugny (1874) and Regal (1876). As manager for Henry Chaplin, he showed great patience and ingenuity to win the Derby with Hermit, and later, he assisted Colonel Harry McCalmont to win the 1893 Triple Crown with Isinglass. At his height, Captain Machell was one of the most powerful and most knowledgeable men in racing and it was he who advised Henry Chaplin to buy Hermit at the Middle Park Sales.

Hermit’s Derby pilot, John Daley (1846-c.1890), was the son of a Newmarket trainer. He had his first race when only 11 years old, weighing in at 3st 10lb. At Royal Ascot in 1860, he rode four winners, including the Coronation Stakes on Allington. In 1867, Captain Machell booked Daley to ride Hermit in the Derby only days before the race and, with his usual flair, promised him £100 for the ride, a further £100 if placed and £3,000 if he won it, which he did. Two days later, Daley won the Oaks on Hippia for Baron Meyer de Rothschild at odds of 11-1. But thereafter, he struggled to do the Classic weight of 8st 10lb, although he did ride Macgregor to win 1870 Two Thousand Guineas, albeit at 1lb overweight.

While Hermit’s victory had brought riches to Captain Machell and Henry Chaplin, to the 4th Marquess of Hastings he had brought disaster and debts of £120,000 (over £8 million today). Hastings had laid Hermit for the Derby at generous prices to the owner’s stable for over a year, in a vendetta against Henry Chaplin. At a party on the evening of the Derby, Hastings vowed he would make the Ring settle his debts for him, but the defeat of Achievement in the Oaks “turned the screw a little tighter”.

Harry Hastings arrived at Tattersalls on the Monday, having fully mortgaged his estates with Padwick the moneylender and having accepted Henry Chaplin’s proposal giving him time to pay. He was cheered to the man. In a gambler’s world, Hastings would not accept defeat; after all, his Lady Elizabeth was favourite for next year’s Derby!

The year passed with mixed fortunes. Another Derby Day dawned and Harry had summoned enough credit for one enormous plunge on Lady Elizabeth. She was backed at all rates down to 7-4 favourite, but was hopelessly beaten. Harry had her out for the Oaks two days later, but she disappointed again. Hastings was now totally destroyed. After a cruise upon his yacht, off the coast of Norway, he returned home to Donnington to die at the age of 26.

The cause of death was given as Bright’s disease, brought about by excessive eating, drinking and worry. Finally, upon his deathbed, he whispered, “Hermit’s Derby broke my heart, but I didn’t show it, did I?”

Florence married again, 18 months after Harry’s death. Her overtures to Chaplin had fallen on stony ground, but she still needed to be part of the social scene. As before, her second marriage came as a complete surprise to her friends, for she married a man who was not only seven years younger than her, but another highflying gambler of the Turf. Tall, slim and charming, his name was George Chetwynd. And although popular with some, the Honourable George Lambton recalled, “He was more talked of, more envied and in some quarters more disliked than any man of the fashionable world.”

Even so, Florence had four children by him – one son and three daughters. When she died, aged 64, in 1907, there were many letters of condolence and a great number of wreaths, but not one from Henry Chaplin.

Hermit, of course, had outlived Harry Hastings and soon after his Derby victory, won twice at Royal Ascot, including the St James’s Palace Stakes. Later, he finished second to Achievement in both the St Leger and the Doncaster Cup but, save for a small sweepstake on the same Doncaster Cup day, he never won again in 13 outings.

Thereafter, Hermit went to stud at Blankney for the modest fee of 20 guineas, but, his success surpassed all anticipation. He was Champion Sire seven consecutive years from 1880 to 1886, getting the winners of seven Classic races, including the Derby winners Shotover (1882) and St Blaise (1883), by which time his fee had risen to 300 guineas. Living to the age of 26, Hermit died on 29 April 1890.

Henry Chaplin, meanwhile, devoted much of his time to politics. A typical Tory squire, he became the Minister of Agriculture and was raised to the peerage in 1916. He died in 1923, and to the end of his life, he openly admitted that Hermit was the best friend he ever had.

 

 

 

 

 

The Darley Arabian & his descendants

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The Darley Arabian

& his descendants

The Darley Arabian, was a handsome bay colt with a large white blaze and three white feet (the off-foreleg bay). Born in 1700, he stood 15 hands high.

Thomas Darley, the agent of an English mercantile company in Aleppo, Syria and, a member of a local hunting club, he purchased the colt, then two years old, for a very moderate sum.

Eighteen months later, he shipped him to his father, Richard Darley, to stand at Buttercrambe, now called Aldby Park, near York. After Richard Darley died in 1706, his eldest son Henry succeeded to Aldby and became owner of the Darley Arabian.

Both the sire and dam of the Darley Arabian belonged to the perfect Arabian strain of Managhi (also spelt Mannicka and Manicha).

The Darley Arabian was Champion Sire in 1722. His most important progeny were: Flying Childers (b.c. 1714), the first truly great racehorse and Champion Sire of 1730 and 1736, and his older brother, the unraced Bartlet’s Childers (b.c. 1716), who became Champion Sire in 1742.

His other important descendants were Eclipse (ch.c. 1764), winner of all his 18 races and from whom 97% of all thoroughbreds racing today descend; Pot-8-o’s (ch.c. 1773), sire of three Derby winners, incl. the Champion Sire, Waxy (b.c.1790), whose son Whalebone (br.c. 1807) emulated his father and perpetuated the line.

See below the sire-line  of the Darley Arabian. The colts are in Red, fillies in Green. Classic winners have date of victory in CAPS.

Key to Classics: Derby  (D); Oaks (O); St Leger (L); 2000 Guineas (2); 1000 Guineas (1); stars either side indicate Champion Sire.

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The Byerley Turk & his descendants

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The Byerley Turk & his descendants

 The Byerley Turk, a brown colt  born c1684, was taken from the Turkish Army at Buda in 1687, where obtained by Captain Robert Byerley of County Durham, who rode him at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. When the promoted Colonel Byerley retired from military service, the Byerley Turk, now thought to be an Arabian from all available portraits, was sent to stud, first at Midridge Grange, then from 1697, he stood at Goldsborough Hall, Knavesborough in Yorkshire.

His Notable Progeny were:

JIGG (Sir R. Mostyn’s) -.c. c1701 ex daughter of SPANKER. Sire of PARTNER ch.c. 1718, won 4 races and four times Champion Sire within 1737-1743.

BASTO (Sir W. Ramsden’s) b.c. 1703 ex BAY PEG by LEEDES ARABIAN. Ran only at Newmarket, where on separate occasions he beat SQUIRREL, BILLY, CHANCE, TANTIVY and BRISK over four miles or longer.

Also ARCHER (Duke of Rutland’s); BLACK HEARTY (Duke of Rutland’s); GRASSHOPPER -.c. c1695, won Town Plate, Nottingham and SPRITE (Duke of Kingston’s).

Famous descendants of the Byerley Turk include HEROD. HIGHFLYER and SIR PETER TEAZLE – In total Champion Sires for 31 years, the latter winning the Derby for the 12th Earl of Derby.

 

THE MALE LINEAGE CHART OF THE BYERLEY TURK

The colts are in Red, fillies in Green. Classic winners have date of victory in CAPS. Key to Classics: 2000 Guineas (2); 1000 Guineas (1); Derby (D); Oaks (O); St Leger (L); stars either side indicate Champion Sire.

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The Godolphin Arabian & his descendants

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The Godolphin Arabian

& his descendants

 

Registered first as an Arabian in the General Stud-Book 1791, and Pick, 1803. Volume I General Stud Book 1808 (page 516) states:

“That he was a genuine Arabian, his excellence as a Stallion is deemed a sufficient proof.”

THE Godolphin Arabian was foaled in the Yemen in 1724 (from Jilfan blood). A brown bay colt, with a little white on his off hind heel, and standing 14.3 hands high, he was exported via Syria to Tunis, as one of four horses to be presented by the Bey of Tunis to the King of France.Three of these were taken to the Brittany forests and turned out to improve the local stock. The fourth horse, the Godolphin Arabian, is popularly believed to have drawn a cart through the streets of Paris, where the Englishman, Edward Coke, is said to have purchased the six-year-old for £3. However, another source relates that Coke acquired the colt, via the French Court, through the Duke of Lorraine. Whichever version is true, Coke sent the horse to his estate at Longford Hall in Derbyshire.

When Edward Coke died in August 1733, aged only 32, he bequeathed his bloodstock to Roger Williams, the proprietor of the St James’s Coffee House in London, who also acted as a bloodstock agent. He then sold the Arabian, believed at the time to be named Shami, to Francis, 2nd Earl of Godolphin; the horse, thereafter, was known as the Godolphin Arabian.

Of the eye-witness accounts that survive, Vicomte de Manty, having seen the Arabian in France, described him as having “beautiful conformation, exquisitely proportioned with large hocks, well let down, with legs of iron…whose only flaw was being headstrong…his quarters broad in spite of being half starved, tail carried in true Arabian style”. His poor condition, referred to at the time, may have been due to his voyage from Tunis.

Later, in England, the well regarded author and veterinary surgeon William Osmer Wrote: ” There never was a horse..so well entitled to get racers as the Godolphin Arabian .. his shoulders were deeper, and lay farther into his back, than those of any horse yet seen. Behind the shoulders, there was but a very small space ere the muscles of his loins rose exceedingly high, broad, and expanded, which were inserted into his quarters with greater strength and power than in any horse…yet seen.”

There is no record of the Godolphin Arabian having ever raced; neither are there any details of his pedigree. At stud, however, he was an outstanding success, and, despite only siring about 80 foals in a stud career lasting 22 years, he was Champion Sire three times (1738, 1745 and 1747). Amongst his mates was the well-bred Roxana (born 1718), by the Champion Sire, Bald Galloway out of a sister to Chanter, who produced only three foals, two of them to the Godolphin Arabian: Lath (b.c.1732), who was unbeaten, and thought to be the best horse seen at Newmarket since Flying Childers (1715); and Cade (b.c. 1734), winner of a King’s Plate at Newmarket. Sadly, Roxana died two weeks after foaling Cade, who had to be reared with cow’s milk.

Later, three sons of the Godolphin Arabian dominated the sires’ list for almost 20 years: Cade, was Champion Sire five times; Regulus (b.c. 1739), eight times and Blank (b.c. 1740), three times. However, it was Cade’s son Matchem (b.c. 1748) who perpetuated the sire-line, winning eight races and being Champion Sire three consecutive years from 1772.

The Godolphin Arabian died at Gog Magog, near Cambridge, in December 1753, aged 29 years. He was given a wake with cakes and ale, and solemnly buried under a gateway at the stable. A stone slab marked his gravesite, which still exists today, within the Wandlebury Ring.

The lasting influence of the Godolphin Arabian in the pedigrees of the following generations can be gauged by the fact that, 50 years after his death, every one of the first 76 British Classic winners had at least one strain of him in their pedigree. Also, all but three of the 115 mares born in or before 1803 who went on to become dams of Classic winners, had also inherited the Godolphin’s genes.

See below the lineage chart of the Godolphin Arabian. Colts are in Red, fillies in Green. Classic winners with date of victory in CAPS.

Key to races won: 2000 Guineas (2); 1000 Guineas (1);  Derby  (D); Oaks (O); St Leger (L); King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes (K); Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (A); while stars either side indicate Champion Sire.

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Lady James Douglas – Trailblazer

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Lady James Douglas – Trailblazer

This year celebrates the 100th anniversary of Lady James Douglas’s achievement of being the first woman to own and bred an Oaks winner – Bayuda in 1919; this, a year after she became the first woman to own and bred a Derby winner – Gainsborough – a Triple Crown winner to boot.

Born in France in 1854, Martha Lucy Hennessey was the daughter of Frederick Hennessey, a member of the Irish Hennessey’s who had made their fortune from producing Cognac.

The mother of five children she was twice widowed before buying the Harwood Estate, near Newbury, in 1910. Seeking advice from her neighbour, the celebrated trainer, John Porter of Kingsclere, she set about founding Harwood Stud with the purpose of producing high quality yearlings for the sales.

After a slow start due to the Great War, the success of Gainsborough was followed by the filly, Bayuda. Sired by the St Leger winner, Bayardo, out of Jessica, a mare that bred nine winners, much was expected from Bayuda. She did not disappoint. In the Autumn Stakes at Newmarket, she ran a close second to the season’s top juvenile, The Panther, and followed up by winning the Cheveley Park Stakes in a canter.

However, after two moderate performances against the colts and a disappointing three-year-old debut in the One Thousand Guineas, behind Roseway, she was allowed to start at 100-7 for the Oaks. Two furlongs out Roseway took up the running, but the diminutive Bayuda, showing her breeding to stay on strongly and win by one and a half lengths.

Sadly, at stud, she proved difficult to get in foal and produced only one winner from two live foals. However, Lady James was not done with yet and bred the 1930 Oaks winner, Rose of England, for Lord Glanely.

In 1940, due to ill-health, Lady James Douglas sold her mares. Her Harwood Stud was bought by Mr Herbert Blagrave on condition Gainsborough ended his days there.

Lady James died in 1941.

Gainsborough (Joe Childs up) the 1918 Triple Crown winner

See below the lineage chart for the sire-line and progeny of Gainsborough.

Classic winners with date of victory in CAPS – colts in Red, fillies in Green.

Stars either side indicate Champion Sire.

The 2019 Investec Oaks – Anapurna

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THE 2019 INVESTEC OAKS

RUN on Friday, 31 May, 2019, as the Investec Oaks, over the Derby Course of one mile and a half and 6 yards, Epsom Downs. For three-year-old fillies, 9st 0lb. Value to winner £297,727.

1st   ANAPURNA             Frankie Dettori    8-1

2nd  PINK DOGWOOD    Ryan Moore        3-1

3rd  FLEETING                 Wayne Lordan    25-1

Distances: a neck and 1¼  lengths

Also ran: 4th Manuela De Vega (Harry Bentley) 16-1; Delphinia (Seamie Heffernan) 66-1; Frankellina (James Doyle) 12-1; Mehdaayih (Robert Havlin) 11-4 Fav; Maqsad (Jim Crowley) 4-1; Blue Gardenia (Jamie Spencer) 100-1; Peach Tree (Donnacha O’Brien) 33-1;Tarnawa (Chris Hayes)  20-1: Tauteke (Andrea Atzeni) 25-1; Sh Boom (Tom Queally) 100-1; Lavender’s Blue (Silvestre de Sousa)  16-1 (tailed off). 

Commentary: An intriguing renewal, the first four in the market all having won their established trials: Mehdaayih 11-4 favourite, following an impressive Cheshire Oaks performance and the need to be supplemented; Pink Dogwood a solid 3-1 and Ryan Moore’s pick of the Aidan O’Brien quartet from taking the Salsabil Stakes; Maqsad 4-1, after her victory in Newmarket’s Pretty Polly Stakes and the John Gosden trained, Frankel filly, Anapurna, the choice of Frankie Dettori and now 8-1, following her six-length victory over Tauteke in the Lingfield Oaks trial.

From the stalls, Peach Tree, Tauteke, Lavender’s Blue and Anapurna fronted the field. On settling down, Lavender’s Blue and Peach Tree took them along from Anapurna and Tauteke. With a steady pace down to Tattenham Corner and racing in pairs, Delphinia and Maqsad waited behind the front four.

Into the straight, the pace increased to two furlongs out, where Pink Dogwood, made rapid headway on the outside to join a line of four – Maqsad, Tauteke, Peach Tree and Anapurna (rails). Then, forging ahead inside the final furlong, he was joined and finally outstayed by Anapurna in a thrilling finish. Fleeting, with Wayne Lordan aboard, came from last in the straight, to finish third.

Notably, this was Frankel’s first Classic winner and Dettori’s fifth Oaks, 25 years on from his first, Balanchine in 1994. An extra 12 yards had been added to the distance to protect the ground on the inner rail for Derby day.     

14 ran.

2 min. 36.09 sec.                                                                                                                                                   

BRED by Meon Valley Stud.

OWNED by Helena Springfield Ltd.

TRAINED by John Gosden at Newmarket, Suffolk.

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The winner, ANAPURNA, inbred 3 x 3 to SADLER’S WELLS, has won 3 races from her 4 starts, incl. the Racebets Oaks Trial Fillies Stakes, Lingfield and the Investec Oaks Stakes.   

The sire, FRANKEL b.c. 2008 ex KIND by DANEHILL, (unbeaten), won 14 races incl. Two Thousand Guineas Stakes, St James’s Palace Stakes, Sussex Stakes, (twice), Queen Anne Stakes, International Stakes, York, Champion Stakes. Sire of 7 Group 1 winners since retiring to Judmonte’s Banstead Manor Stud in 2013, of which ANAPURNA is his first Classic winner.

The dam, DASH TO THE TOP b.f. 2002 by MONTJEU ex MILLENIUM DASH, won 2 races from 8 starts incl. EBF Hoppings Stakes, Newcastle. Second in Yorkshire Oaks. She is the dam of 4 other winners and descends from One In A Million, winner of the 1979 1,000 Guineas.

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The 2019 Investec Derby – Anthony Van Dyck

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THE 2019 INVESTEC DERBY

Run on Saturday, 1 June, 2019 as the Investec Derby Stakes over the Derby Course of one mile and a half and 6 yards, Epsom Downs. For three-year-olds; entire colts 9st 0lb, fillies 8st 11lb. 355 entries. Value to winner £921,537.

1st ANTHONY VAN DYCK   Seamie Heffernan 13-2

2nd MADHMOON            Chris Hayes           10-1

3rd JAPAN                         Wayne Lordan       20-1

Distances: won by 1/2 length and a nose.

 Also ran: 4th Broome (Donnacha O’Brien) 4-1; Sir Dragonet (Ryan Moore) 11-4 Fav; Circus Maximus (Frankie Dettori) 10-1; Humanitarian (Robert Havlin) 33-1: Norway (Jamie Spencer) 33-1; Line Of Duty (James Doyle) 25-1; Sovereign (P.B Beggy) 50-1; Hiroshima (Brett Doyle) 100-1; Bangkok (Silvestre de Sousa) 9-1; Telecaster (Oisin Murphy) 5-1 (tailed off, last).

Commentary: As the choice of Ryan Moore from Aidan O’Brien’s seven runners, Sir Dragonet, eight-length winner of the Chester Vase, headed the betting at 11-4. Remarkably, he was the only horse in the field without Galileo in his pedigree. The first five in the betting were all sired by Derby winners and all had won their previous race: Broome 4-1(Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial), Telecaster 5-1 (Dante Stakes), Anthony Van Dyck 13-2 (Lingfield Derby Trial) and Bangkok 9-1 (Sandown Classic Trial).

On a sunny day, the field got under way on good to firm ground. Sovereign cut out the pace and after two furlongs led by two lengths from Norway, Telecaster and Circus Maximus, while Broome and Humanitarian, having missed the break, remained at the rear. Approaching the mile-marker, Sovereign, keeping up the pace, led by two lengths from Norway, Circus Maximus and Telecaster.

Down the hill, round Tattenham Corner and into the straight there was little change, until two furlongs out, when Ryan Moore sent Sir Dragonet to the front. Immediately challenged by Madhmoon, the pair battled to the furlong pole, where Madhmoon nosed ahead. Meanwhile, Heffernan switched Anthony Van Dyck to the rails, with Broome and Japan closing fast on the wide outside. Anthony Van Dyck then benefitting from the space and the rail, pressed on to win by a half-length. The four-strong chasing pack of Madhmoon, Japan, Broome and Sir Dragonet were covered by a nose and two short heads. The victory gave Aidan O’Brien his seventh Derby winner, equalling the feat of Robert Robson, John Porter and Fred Darling, and for Mrs John (Sue) Magnier and Michael Tabor, Anthony Van Dyck was their record eighth Derby winner.

13 ran. Time 2 min 33.38 sec.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

BRED by Orpendale, Chelston & Wynatt.

OWNED by  Mrs John Magnier, Mr M Tabor & Derrick Smith.

TRAINED by A P O’Brien at Cashel, Co Tipperary.     

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The winner, ANTHONY VAN DYCK, had won 5 races (from 9 starts), incl. Galileo Irish EBF Futurity Stakes, The Curragh, RaceBets Derby Trial Stakes, Lingfield, Investec Derby Stakes.

The sire, GALILEO b.c. 1998 by SADLER’S WELLS ex URBAN SEA, won 6 races (from 8 starts) incl. Ballysax Stakes & Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial Stakes, Leopardstown, Vodafone Derby Stakes, Budweiser Irish Derby, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes, Champion Sire in G.B. & Ireland ten times – 2008 & 2010-2018. Sire of NEW APPROACH ch.c. 2005 ex PARK EXPRESS by AHONOORA, won  Dewhurst Stakes, Vodafone Derby Stakes, Irish Champion Stakes, Champion Stakes (Course record time), Newmarket; FRANKEL b.c. 2008 ex KIND by DANEHILL, (unbeaten) won Dewhurst Stakes, Two Thousand Guineas Stakes, St James’s Palace Stakes, Sussex Stakes, (twice), Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, Lockinge Stakes, Queen Anne Stakes, International Stakes, York, Champion Stakes; RULER OF THE WORLD ch.c. 2010 ex LOVE ME TRUE by KINGMAMBO, won Chester Vase, Investec Derby Stakes, Prix Foy; AUSTRALIA ch.c. 2011 ex OUIJA BOARD by CAPE CROSS, won Investec Derby Stakes, Irish Derby, International Stakes, York.

The dam, BELIEVE’N’SUCCEED b.f. 2005 by EXCEED AND EXCEL ex ARCTIC DRIFT, ran twice in Australia without being placed. She has bred 2 winners from 4 runners, incl. her first foal BOUNDING b.f. 2010 by LONHRO, a Champion sprinter in New Zealand, where she won 5 races incl. Railway Stakes, Ellerslie.

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