The Greatest Racehorses - Ever

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Combuscan - Waternymph
Foaled 1874 Liver Chestnut Mare
Runs: 54 Wins: 54 Earned: Unknown
Form: 1111111111 - 11111111111111111 -
111111111111111 - 111111111111

Big Race Wins

2000 Guineas (Hungary)

1000 Guineas (Hungary)

Spring Oaks (Hungary)

Autumn Oaks (Hungary) (1877, 1878, 1879)

St Leger (Hungary)

Derby (Austria)

Goodwood Cup (England)

Grand Prix de Deauville (France)

Grosser Preis von Baden (Germany) (1877, 1878, 1879)


Kinscem (whose name means "my Treasure" in Hungarian) was a 19th Century wonder horse, who won all 54 of her races in five different countries between 1876 and 1879. She was bred at the Kisber Stud which was founded in 1853. Following her incredible achievements she was entered into the Guinness Book of Records. That puts your Cigar & Citation's streak of a mere 16 consecutive wins into the shade huh Jen?! She even has a racecourse in her home country of Hungary named after her; Kinscem Park, obviously.

It's A Hard Knock Life

Its fair to say Kinscem had quite a hard life compared to modern day Thoroughbreds, regularily taking part in numerous races in a short space of time. For example as a 4yo in 1878 she ran & won nine races in five weeks and then after two weeks off went on to have three more wins in the space of five days. Then it was back to Vienna for another three victories in four days.

She also regularily won her races by 10 lengths and on two occassions by a distance - 30 lengths plus- (& on one of these such 30 length wins she was giving away a massive 28lb to her nearest rival) so it wasn't as if she scrambled home wearily at any time either. Proof positive that modern Thoroughbreds are too pampered & inbred, which will eventually ruin the breed but thats another topic entriely. (below a painting of Kinscem relaxing in her stall. She looked like quite a thin delicate filly if the paintings of her are accurate but fairly obviously she has powerful shoulders & a deep girth - where her heart & lungs are housed -which may explain her physical superiority over her rivals.)

A Quirky Lady

As with all true greats, Kinscem had a few quirks to her personality. For example she would only eat & drink food & water from her owners stud so whenever she travelled enough supplies were brought to last the entire trip. However on one occassion her usual water supply ran out & she refused to drink anything for three days. Obviously getting desperate her owner ordered a frantic search to find some water she would drink & eventually an old local well was found, whose water must have had a similar taste to the water she was accustomed to for she drank it without any fuss. The well became known as "Kinscem's well" & a plaque was placed near it to let visitors to the village know the part it played in Kinscem's fantastic career.

Another quirk she had was partly developed thanks to her devoted owner. He had a habit of greeting her in the winners' enclosure with a small boquet of flowers which he'd put in the browband of her bridle. She became so used to this ritual that when her ownere was late in getting to the winners' enclosure she'd refuse to let anyone unsaddle her until he'd placed the flowers in her browband.

She would also frequently graze grass before the start of a race; and upon winning she knew when to pull up & would trot into the winners' enclosure of her own accord.


The painting above depicts Kinscem with her lad Frankie & her pet cat, which brings me nicely to my next quirk. Kinscem would happily travel anywhere by boat or train so long as her lad & cat were with her. On one such journey by boat with only hours to go till race time she would not set foot onto the dock because her cat was missing, no matter how hard Frankie tried to pursuade her. Frantic with worry she'd miss the race a search of the entire ship was ordered to find the cat who leisurely turned up on the dock an hour later, where he'd been hunting mice. Upon seeing him, Kinscem trotted down the gang plank with no further fuss. She did make the race & duly won it.

The most famous tale of her love for Frankie is as follows. On a bitterly cold night she woke up to find Frankie curled up asleep near her with no blanket. She pulled of her own blanket & dropped it onto Frankie. Ever since then she refused to have a blanket & whenever one was placed on her back, she's simply drop it onto Frankie.

Frankie himself had no surname & indeed nothing is known about him prior to his involvment with Kinscem. He became known as Frankie Kinscem & even used that name when he served in the Military. His headstone too bears that name.

Kinscem's Legacy

Kinscem only went on to have five foals. Ollyan Nincs (Born 1883) who had 3 filly foals of her own. Budagyongy (Born 1882) who had 2 foals, Talpara Magyar (Born 1885) an unraced colt, Kincs-Or (Born 1886) who tragically died as a 3yo and Kincs (Born 1887) an unraced filly. Kinscem sadly died a few months after the birth of Kincs, due to colic. She was only 13.

Despite an early death decendents of her female line have won the Hungarian 2000 Guineas 5 times, Austrian 2000 Guineas 5 times, Hungarian 1000 Guineas 3 times, Hungarian Derby 3 times, Austrian Derby 3 times, 1 German Derby, 1 Italian Derby, 1 Romanian Derby, 2 Polish Derbys, Hungarian St Leger 5 times, 1 German St Leger and 1 French St Leger.

Below is a bronze statue of Kinscem by Isidore Jules Bonheur

Where Are They Now?

Kinscem is of course long since departed from this world however her skeleton is still, to this day on display in the Hungarian Agricultural Museum.


Co-ed Jen:- I'd never heard of her before now but any horse that can win all 54 of its races deserves to be on this blog. Especially as like you say, races in the 19th century were much tougher contests than they are today. She even left an amazing legacy at stud which is more than can be said for Cigar! ;)

Co-ed Jez:- None of this racing 10 times in its entire lifetime for horses like her. Wouldn't it be amazing to have a horse of her calibre alive today? They certainly don't make 'em like they used to. Nice one babe for bringing this mare to our deserved attention. I can't wait for the next "long forgotten horses of old" installment :D

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Cigar (USA)
Palace Music (USA) - Solar Slew (USA)
Foaled 18/04/1990 Bay Stallion
Runs: 33 Wins: 19 Places: 9 Earned: $9,999,815
Form: 014312230 - 437311 - 1111111111 - 11111223

Horse of The Year 1995 & 1996

Grade (Group) 1 Wins

Dubai World Cup
Breeders Cup Classic
Woodward Stakes (twice)
Jockey Club Gold Cup
Oaklawn H'cap
Pimlico Special
Donn H'cap (twice)
Gulfstream Park H'cap
NYRA Mile (now the Cigar Mile)
Hollywood Gold Cup
Citation Challenge
Del Mar Pacific Classic

Cigar relaxing in his stall. I don't know much about horses but he sure looks handsome.

Mediocre At Best

Despite the brilliance he would go on to show, Cigar did not race as a 2yo nor did he make a successful race debut in early 1993 over 6f on dirt. His trainer tried racing him on grass but he never took to the surface. At the beginning of his 4 year old season (1994) he was shipped to the East Coast where his new trainer Bill Mott gave him a break from racing until July that year where after a few more disappointing runs on grass it was decided to give Cigar one last shot on the dirt. Thank God they did, for the rest as they say is history.


In his 1995 season he became the best horse in North America by winning all of his 10 starts, culminating in the Breeders Cup Classic (watch & learn Coolmore, this is how you win a Classic) at Belmont Park, which was not without controversy as I shall endeavour to explain. The day dawned treatening serious rain & ferocious winds which would make track conditions unsuitable for Cigar.

As with more phenominal horses there are whisperings and rumours that the horse must be recieving outside help, for example be on steriods. For Cigar it was illegal footware, courtesy of trainer Bobby Frankel. Yes the great horse was accused of having shoes that would grip the muddy surface while all his rivals slipped around on their smooth shoes.

Co-ed TJ:- The shoes you refer to are called 'turn downs' which have a small lip of metal bended backover at the tip of the shoe, in effect creating a stud which will get deep into the surface & grip the firmer ground beneath the loose dirt or turf on top. They are illegal because they jar up horses legs something rotten as well as providing an unfair advantage.

Would never have known that. Thank you. I see you are an expert in horses shoes as well as womens! ;D

Cigar & Jerry Bailey after winning the 1995 Breeders Cup

Cigar was submitted to an inspection at the start while the other runners circled around him. He passed. Now it was time to get down to business.

Cigar got a good break from the gates and quickly raced into a handy 7th position into the backstretch. Halfway down the backstretch he had pulled himself into 3rd place, Jerry Bailey his jockey working hard to contain his mounts power, unsure if he'd find anything on the muddy track. A half mile from home racing 4 horses wide Jerry let Cigar have his head. He needn't have worried about the state of the track as from here on in Cigar quickened well till he'd left his rivals toiling in his wake. He won by an emphatic 5 1/2 lengths & broke the track record.

Co-ed Jez:- That was the first time I'd heard of Cigar & wished I'd gotten to know him sooner. He was a great horse. Good choice Jen :D

In an interview after the race Frankel said of his horse, Tinners Way, "He had no shot. He's got size 8 feet, just sliding around out there. You don't think I would have liked to use turndowns?" A bad case of sour grapes methinks.

Making History

As a 6yo Cigar travelled over 6000 miles to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates for the inaugural running of the Dubai World Cup. He won by hald a length from Soul of the Matter, a victory made all the more inpressive as he'd missed 11 days of training due to a bruised foot, was racing on a strange surface, had travelled across 8 time zones and was racing at night on a floodlit track for the first time. (below Cigar in full flow - I know its not a pic of the Dubai World Cup but I din't like those pics & I think this one catches his brilliance better: held on a tight rein & winning easily)

Cigar went on to equal Citation's record of 16 consecutive wins but sadly couldn't better it. He retired to a hero's welcome in 1996 after suffering defeats in his final three starts in a way only American's can do. I can't imagine any English horse having a parade held in their honour. On February 1997 a lifesize bronze statie of Cigar was unveiledin Champions Garden, Gulfstream Park, Florida. He even has a race named after him - the Cigar Mile run at Aqueduct in November. (below the immortal Cigar at Gulfstream Park)

Where Are They Now?

This bit will make TJ's day. Coolmore bought Cigar for $25 million in 1996... the punchline being Cigar proved infertile & sadly has no progeny whatsoever. He now lives at Kentucky Horse Park's Hall of Champions in Lexington.

Co-ed TJ:- Hehehe. You're right that made my day - scratch that. Make it my life. Even Cigar thinks its funny! (below)

Proof that sometimes the best horse in the world is a dud, not a stud.


Monday, July 24, 2006

Giant's Causeway (USA)
"The Iron Horse"
Storm Cat (USA) - Mariah's Storm (USA)
Foaled 1997 Chestnut Stallion
Runs: 13 Wins: 9 Places: 4 Earned: £2,125,230.25
Form: 111 - 1221111122

Crowned European Horse of The Year in 2000

Group Wins

Futurity Stakes Gr 3 7f
Gladness Stakes Gr 3 7f
Prix de la Salamandre Gr 1 7f
St James's Palace Gr 1 1m
Juddmonte International Gr 1 1m 2f
Sussex Stakes Gr 1 1m
Coral Eclipse Gr 1 1m 2f
Irish Champion Stakes Gr 1 1m 2f

Lessons On How To Beat A Street Fighter
There was only ever one way to beat the Iron Horse because you could rarely out battle him onced he'd eyeballed his rival. He'd keep on finding just enough to keep his nose in front almost as if he was taunting his rivals "ha is that all you've got? watch this!" and he'd stick his head out further.

The English 2000 Guineas was the perfect example of the tactics needed to defeat this brave horse. As expect the Iron Horse sat prominently in the field for the first half of the race, a few lengths adrift of the pace setter Primo Valentino. As the leader faded a little over a furlong from home, the Iron Horse found himself at the head of affairs. His jockey called on him for an effort and he started to forge clear, until on the outside King's Best began his late surge for victory, well out of the Iron Horse's line of sight. This enabled King's Best to quickly go clear without a renewed challenge by the Iron Horse who tasted the first defeat of his career. (below The Iron Horse V Kalanisi in the Juddmonte Lockinge at York, one of my favourite pictures of him as you can see just how hard he is trying to win)

Author's note: I don't believe the best horse won that day but I'm sure King's Best supporters will disagree with me.

Coolmore Gets It Right

On his final start of his career the Iron Horse was sent to America to contest the Breeders Cup Classic but this time - you might want to sit down for this - I agreed with the decision. Yeah I know, amazing isn't it?! Why did I agree I hear you cry. Well because there isn't a pedigree in all of equine history better suited to the dirt than the Iron Horses'.

*** NB Any pedigree queries take them up with TJ as she is the expert on horse bloodines. Thank you :D ***

Travelling in mid division for the first half of the race following a slow start which forced him wide into the first turn, he crept up into 3rd place along the back stretch. He was shaken up round the home turn to go after the Albert The Bear and Tiznow in 2nd and 1st place respectively. He made giant strides to nose alongside the mighty Tiznow (blog to follow by Jen I believe) who in turn had just beaten off the attentions of Albert the Bear now weakening into 3rd.

Once again the Iron Horse settled down to fight it out to the wire. Although he tried hard, Tiznow always had the measure of him and even though I was cheering for the Iron Horse I knew in my heart if hearts he'd never over haul the American star, who was simply the stronger on the day. Still, the Iron Horse lost nothing in defeat but simply enhanced his appeal as a future breeding prospect in the States. (below the Iron Horse closing down on Tiznow in the home straight. Breeders Cup Classic 2000)

Co-ed TJ:- It's about time. Though I backed Tiznow as I love the bay with 4 white socks & a stripe (or blaze) thing. Hardly a technical system I know but I don't really follow American racing so have no idea about how good their form is.

Author's Thought

As he was such a lazy horse - regular pilot Mick Kinane once said if you stopped riding him he'd ease up immediately - and had to be driven out to win his races even though they were at Gr 1 level, he still had his critics. Ignorant folk that cannot understand a horse does not have to win a race by 20 lengths to prove he is the best. Giant's Causeway won five Gr 1's on the bounce, 3 of them against his elders, claiming top class scalps such as Sakhee, Fantastic Light (blog by Jen to follow) and Kalanisi (blog also by Jen to follow).

Where Are They Now?

The Iron Horse spent his first season at stud in Ireland at Coolmore to be exact where he sired notable colts Footstepsinthesand winner of the English 2000 Guineas whose career was cut short by a recurring leg injury. He is now at stud at Coolmore Australia & Ireland. And Shamardal a 4 times Gr 1 winner now owned by Godolphin. Then in 2002 he was moved to the Coolmore American base where he has remained ever since. From here he has sired Aragorn a dual Gr 1 dirt winnerm Oonagh MacCool a 4yo filly who is a dual Gr 2 winner and First Samurai an up and coming 3yo star & winner of a Gr 2.

Co-ed TJ:- Don't forget fabulous filly Maid's Causeway also runner up in 2004 1000 Guineas & mirror image of her sire including his battling race style & his off centre stripe.

Ok I won't! ;D

If his offspring continue on their current path we'll be savouring the might of The Iron Horse for generations to come.


Sunday, July 23, 2006

Persian Punch (Ire)
Persian Heights - Rum Cay (USA)
Foaled 13/04/1993 Died 28/04/2004
Chestnut Gelding
Runs: 63 Wins: 20 Places: 19 Earned: £1,008,785
Form: 113133 - 711125223 - 13161 - 475401 -281651321
- 432114 - 2436931201 - 44211411 - P

Notable Race Wins

Jockey Club Cup Gr3 2m (2000, 2002, 2003)

Doncaster Cup Gr 2 2m 2f (2003)

Goodwood Cup Gr 2 2m (2001, 2003)

Henry II Stakes Gr 3 2m (1997, 1998, 2000)

Lonsdale Stakes Gr 3 2m (1998, 2001)

Prix Kegorley Gr 2 1m 7f (2000)

Author's Note: This has to be one of the most difficult blogs I will write. The other is One Man which will follow at a later date.

Proud To Be There Old Friend

Champions Day - Newmarket 18 October 2003

This race defines who Punch was; a front running battler that never gave up no matter how desperate the situation looked. Strides from the line the old warrior looked booked for fourth place but somehow he clawed his way into a photo finish with the equally battle hardened Millenary (blog to follow in the future, courtesy of me). After an agonising wait for what seemed like forever the judge finally announced the winner. Number 2 - Punch. I can only remember one other horse that recieved a cheer so loud - Istabraq winning his third Champion Hurdle (blog also to follow) but then the Irish are a notoriously loud bunch. I don't think I have leapt about so much in my entire (short) life and although I don't remember exactly Im sure there'll have been tears of sheer joy. (below Punch edging out Millenary to win the Jockey Club Cup 2003)

Facile Victory

Doncaster 11 September 2003

You can be forgiven if you think every race Punch contested ended in a sheer guts & determination slog to the line. However one of my other favourite races of his was the 2003 Doncaster cup. Leading from start to finish Punch was never challenged by his five rivals, simply galloping them into the ground with his long, unwavering stride to take victory by 7 lengths. This was his fourth attempt at winning this race having finished 2nd in 1997, 3rd in 2000 and 2nd in 2002.

Co-ed Jen:- That was a great day. I couldn't believe what I was seeing.

A Black Day For Racing

Ascot 28 April 2004

Punch began his 2004 campaign as an 11yo in the Sagaro Stakes, a Gr3 he'd contested twice before in 2000 & 2002 finishing 2nd on both occasions. All went well for him at the head of affairs until 100 yards from home where his jockey Martin Dwyer pulled him suddenly, just as the big horse collapsed to the horror of the packed grandstands and many more viewers watching the TV coverage of the race meeting.

Despite the best efforts of the racecourse vets there was nothing they could do and so Punch slipped away from this mortal earth, having delighted so many people over the years with his gutsy front running style. The cause of his death was a heart attack.

Having owned and lost horses myself I can go some way to understanding how Punch's connections must have felt - utterly distraught. I remember crying my heart out that day once the shock of Punch's death had hit me. (below Punch's noble gaze)


On Champions Day Newmarket 15 October 2005 a life size bronze statue of Punch was unveiled, part paid for by his legions of fans. Every time we go to Newmarket we stop by Punch's statue & gaze up at him, each silently remembering the times we had the privilege to catch a glimpse of him in the flesh. (below the statue at Newmarket showing Punch relentlessly galloping to victory till the end of time)

Even in defeat the old boy gave his all never once shirking from a fight. For him to die on a racecourse doing what he did best was the most fitting end for this glorious gelding. We miss you Punch xXx

- TJ

Co-ed Jen:- Here Here.

Co-ed Jez:- Very moving babe. God bless your soul old boy.

Punch as he'll always be remembered

Fusaichi Pegasus (USA)
Mr Prospector (USA) - Angel Fever (USA)
Foaled - 12/04/1997 Bay Stallion
Runs: 9 Wins: 6 Places: 2 Earned: $1,994,400
Form: 2 - 11111216

Notable Wins:

Kentucky Derby Gr 1 by 1 1/2 lengths

Wood Memorial Stakes Gr 2 by 4 1/4 lengths

Jerome H'cap Gr 2 by 3/4 length

San Felipe Stakes Gr 2 by 3/4 length

The Horse With The Unpronouncable Name!

Well not any more it isn't. To pronounce his name correctly is to say: Foo-Sah-EE-chee Pegasus although he is more affectionately known as FuPeg to his fans and thats what he'll be called for the purpose of this blog.

You may be wondering why I am writing about a yankee horse some may not have heard of or even be interested in. Well for starters its our blog if you don't like it get your own. But mostly its because despite FuPeg having a firery nature - not unlike our TJ :) - he was or indeed still is a magnificent example of the Thoroughbred breed.


Like so many racing greats from America FuPeg was saddled with the term "Triple Crown Horse" before he'd even set foot on a racecourse as a 3 year old, a title made all the more bold by the fact he was beaten on his only start as a 2 year old something which made him look like a rather expensive white elephant for he cost his owner, Fusao Sekiguchi $4 million as a yearling.

FuPeg duly went on to contest the first leg of the Triple Crown, the 126th running of the Kentucky Derby where one of the largest crowds in Derby history had gathered to watch this potential history maker in action. Always travelling out the back in 10th position he slowly came into contention until he was sitting in a much handier 5th position 4 from the rails. As the field of 19 thundered round the home turn FuPegs jockey K Desormeaux asked him to quicken where at the furlong pole, like his Pegasus namesake he grew wings and flew by the other runners to win by 1 1/2 lengths being pushed out by hands & heels duly becoming the first ever Mr Prospector sired horse to win the Run for the Roses. (below is FuPeg & K Desormeaux immediately after their win in the Kentucky Derby)

Not To Be

However fate was to conspire against the magnifcent FuPeg and he only finished 2nd in the Preakness Stakes, the 2nd leg of the Triple Crown behind Red Bullet on a muddy track. Then while being prepared for the 3rd and final leg he picked up an injury kept him out of action for several months. He was slowly brought back to fitness with mind to contending the Breeders Cup Classic later that year. All eyes were upon him on his first race back, the Jerome H'cap, a Gr 2 event over 8f.

Giving away weight of between 4 - 10lbs to his rivals, he raced in 5th position through the first half of the race and rallied gamely to take up the lead in the home stretch from El Corredor, despite not yet being at 100% peak fitness. (below - Fupeg in the post parade prior to his Jerome H'cap win)

Of course FuPeg only managed a disappointing 6th in the Breeders Cup beaten by an older horse once again. Like my two co-ed's I also can't fathom out why so many owners are in a hurry to have their 3 year olds contest a hard race against much more battle hardened older horses instead of giving their bodies the time they need to strengthen up another year or so before tackling the BC.

Co-ed TJ:- That was a rather sensible analysis re 3yos v older horses from you Jen. I'm getting worried! :)

Where Are They Now?

Seems to me most of the time we don't need to say where these stallions end up as you can pretty much guess but here it goes anyway. FuPeg is now owned by Coolmore (purchased for a massive $60mil) and stands at their studs in America and in Australia. His progeny include Gr 1 winner Bandini (owned by Michael Tabor & Derrick Smith) winner of the Blue Grass Stakes and Roman Ruler a top class sprinter & winner of 5 graded stakes races and over $1.2mil who is now also retired to stud.

The future's bright, the future's FuPeg ;D


Hawk Wing
Woodman (USA) - La Lorgnette
Foaled 1999 Bay Stallion
Runs: 12 Wins: 5 Places: 5 Earned: £1,056,738
Form: 1211 - 221227 - 17
Timeform Rating: 136

Notable Races Won:
Juddmonte Lockinge Gr 1 Newbury
Coral Eclipse Gr 1 Sandown (record winning margin of 11 L)
National Stakes Gr 1 Curragh (broke track record)
Futurity Stakes Gr 1 Curragh

Author's Note: Both myself (Jez) & TJ are jointly reviewing HW as we both have a lot of respect for him & both wanted to do his blog so instead of fighting it out we are joining forces for what I suspect won't be the only time.

Luck of The Draw
We'll start with Hawk Wing's first run in the 2000 (English) Guineas in what was to be quite a busy 2002 campaign. Both myself & TJ witnessed the race first hand although you really don't see all that much when at the races themselves so we subsequently watched the race recording once back home.

HW had been touted as the "wonder horse" of the year, a term I hate to hear as it sets the unfortunate individual up for comparative failure. Unluckily for HW he did just that on his seasonal reappearance for he was drawn on the stands side; his main adversary Rock of Gibraltar (his blog will follow at a later date) drawn on the far side where the known quicker ground was. Rocky was kicked on to lead the far side group a furlong from home, HW meanwhile had been making up ground since two furlongs out until now also at the furlong marker he led his group on the stands side but over two lengths down on Rocky such was the differance in the ground - Jez.

I never gave up hope of HW winning and once he hit the dip he seemed to sprout wings and fly, closing down on Rocky with every stride but the post came in time for Rocky and HW had been denied the race by a neck. I have no doubt in my mind whatsoever that the ground was the reason for his regretable defeat - TJ

The Great US Mistake
Once again Ballydoyle made the same completely wrong decision as they went on to do with Leo (see previous blog) by sending HW over to America to contest the Breeders Cup Classic, which is a nigh on impossible task for a 3 year old against older more experience rivals. What is the obsession with Coolmore / Ballydoyle / Magnier with that damn race?! If they want to win it then they should invest in American dirt bred & trained horses instead of sending the best turf performers of their generation to race on a surface they don't like & a style of racing they can't handle. - Jez

TJ - On the plus side I won a small fortune as I backed the race winner Volponi at 40-1. Hehe :D

Not helping my mood babe. For the record HW missed the break and never got into the race at any stage, always sitting at the back of the field. He ran on one paced past horses more tired than himself to finish a lowly seventh, beaten 26 lengths. To redeem themselves for such a catastrophic bad decision Magnier et al declared HW would be kept in training as a 4 year old where he proved how great he was once and for all. (Hawk Wing during a working at Arlington racetrack prior to his BC defeat) - Jez

Juddgement Day

TJ - Very slick title hon :D

Thanks babe! To my mind on this day in 2003 HW put up the single greatest performance either of us have physically seen by a racehorse. We were lucky enough to bare witness to the moment when HW made history by annihilating admittidly what was a weak field in the Juddmonte Lockinge by a record breaking 11 lengths - Jez

Yeah the only dampener of the day was the weather - it rained something terrible & nearly ruined my suit. I agree the field wasn't as strong as it usually is but even so he could have been ridden with mind to winning only a couple of lengths not by 11 so it was still a breathtaking performance especially on such muddy ground which won't have suited him (below HW looking somewhat bedraggled winning the Lockinge).

Sadly this was the last time we'd see him at his best as in his final start at Royal Ascot in the Gr 1 Queen Anne Stakes he finished a well beaten 7th behind Godolphin's Dubai Destination. It transpired he was lame upon finishing the race which would explain his lack lustre performance that day or perhaps the effort of his previous win in such bad ground had taken its toll. We'll never know forsure. - TJ
Everyone's A Critic
The thing that always gets my goat regarding HW is that he constantly got slated by the media who were the ones that hyped him up to be a wonder horse in the first place. He finished second in the best races of his generation as a 3 year old with valid reasons for each defeat. For example in the Epsom Derby where he was beaten by stablemate High Chapparal who went on to be a good horse over distances of 1m 4f - HW was a miler. Believe me those extra 4 furlongs make a heck of a difference. Even when he retired to stud in 2003 he was critisied for winning less than half of his races, the same hack writing the piece failing to take into account all of his places at Gr 1 level. - TJ

Jez - I often thought that guy didn't know FA about horses.

Where Are They Now?
Naturally enough HW now stands as a stallion at Coolmore Ireland. His first crop of foals were born in 2005 and we eagerly await their appearance on the racecourses of England in 2007.

I sincerley believe HW will probably turn out to be one of those horses whose brilliance won't be truly appreciated by the racing world until after his death which I hope is a long time in coming. - Jez

Below is HW posing for his offical stud pic at Coolmore Ireland.

God he is one good looking horse! - TJ

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Sadler's Wells (USA) - Urban Sea (USA)
Foaled 1998 Bay Stallion
Runs: 8 Wins: 6 Places: 1 Earned: £1,621,110
Form: 1 - 1111126
Timeform Rating: 134

Race Wins: 2yo Maiden by a phenomonal 14 lengths

Ballysax Stakes Listed by 3 1/2 lengths

Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial Gr3 by 1 1/2 lengths

King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Diamond Gr 1 by 2 lengths

Irish Derby Gr 1 by 4 lengths

English Derby Gr 1 by 3 1/2 lengths

I Was There
The only time I ever saw Leo in the flesh was when he won the English Derby (pictured below) in June 2001. On that day he became the first Sadler's Wells horse to win the Derby, thus ensuring his place in the history books, not that he hadn't done so already. Like TJ & Bosra Sham I am in love with this horse, who's long easy stride covered the maximum of distance with the minimum of fuss. When M J Kinane kicked for home up the undulating straight Leo quicken magnificently to leave a top class field floudering in his wake. That single moment sent chills down my spine which I haven't felt since.

Divided Opinion
I know this next bit will always be up for debate, which is no bad thing but I always believed Leo was unlucky to be run out of the Irish Champion Stakes by a head after a ding dong battle up the straight with the Godolphin owned older horse, Fantastic Light (a full page on him will follow later courtesy of Jen). I have never prayed so hard for a horse to win a race as I did that day particularily as it was race tactics rather than lack of talent or willingness to win that got Leo beat.

Credit where its due, Godolphin used their pacemaker Give The Slip to good effect sitting just in front of Fantastic Light on the rail and moving smoothly off it to let his stablemate go by as the race hotted up. This in turn forced Leo wide which lost him the vital ground needed for it to be his head on the money at the line (see below From Left to Right - Galileo & Fantastic Light)

Co-ed Jen:- I don't know Jez I still think the older horse would have won it regardless of Leo switching wide as he was a seasoned battler & well Leo wasn't. Sorry! :D

The Breeders Cup
Co-ed TJ:- Lets not go there. It was one of the worst decisions made by Coolmore & the Ballydoyle team in their entire history.

Sorry babe Im going there although I do agree it was a crying shame to send Leo to end his racing career in the Breeders Cup where he finished a creditable sixth on a surface he did not like. I never in a million years thought he'd handle the dirt & its kickback as well as the American style of racing IE flat out from the bell to the wire. How I wish I'd be proven wrong as we gathered at TJ's Breeders Cup party in November 2001. It wasn't meant to be & Leo finished well beaten in the end with brusing to his eyes caused by the kickback throughout the race. (Pictured Below: Galileo taking to the dirt prior to the main event, the Breeders Cup Classic 2001)

Where are they now?

As you would expect Leo is now standing as a shuttle stallion at Coolmore Stud (Ireland) & their Australian operation during the southern hemisphere breeding season. He is already producing good female winners from his first crop of foals including the 2006 Irish 1000 Guineas winner Nightime and 2006 Lancashire Oaks winner Allegretto.

Sadly despite this Leo still doesnt get the recognition he deserves and his sweeping victories are swiftly forgotten by his final two defeats both of which lowered his value at stud dramatically. But surely the defeated warrior on those two occasions was still the same horse that won two Derby's in a canter his brilliance tarnished by decisions made that were out of his control.

I guess its up to his offspring now to place him back up on the pedestal he once adorned within the racing world.


Friday, July 21, 2006

Bosra Sham
Woodman (USA) - Korveya (USA)
Foaled - 28/02/1993 Chestnut Mare
Runs: 10 Wins: 7 Places: 2 Earned: £580,793
Form: 11 / 11211 - 134

What can I say about this grand old girl except she was the one that started my (TJ) obsession with horse racing and especially my love affair with top class fillies way back when in 1996 when I saw her win the 1000 Guineas as a very impressionable 14yo. Y'know the phase - still into horses & ponies but just discovering guys exsist. It was love at first sight & despite all the top class horses (in our tjezjen opinion) that will follow on this blog Bosra remains my favourite of all.

Bosra Sham was bought for £530,000 as a yearling by Wafic Said at the 1994 Tattersalls sales being described as a jewel and a star prior to her turn in the sales ring, an accolade she went on to fulfill in such breathtaking fashion.

Bosra won seven of her ten starts; Fillies Mile Gr 1 Ascot, Fred Darling Gr 3 at Newbury, 1000 Guineas Gr 1 at Newmarket, Champion Stakes Gr 1 at Newmarket, Brigadier Gerard Stakes Gr 2 at Sandown and the Prince of Wales' Stakes Gr 1 which she won by a devastating 8 lengths (pictured below)

I'll always remember I was on holiday in Florida with my family when the Prince of Wales' was run & I made a frantic long distance phone call to my nana back in England to see how she'd faired! That's the effect she had on me.

However despite her brilliance I still can not hear her name & Im sure my co-ed's will agree with me on this without remembering the simply atrocious ride she was given in the Eclipse by a certain Kieran Fallon who I personally have never particularily liked & believe him to be rubbish - something my co-ed's will disagree with!

Co-ed Jez's note:- While I wholeheartedly agree with the passion this girl can feel for a cause I'd like to point out that we think K Fallon is one of the top jockeys of his generation & in no way do we want to be sued for her slanderous comments.

Co-ed Jen: She's right Jez it was a terrible ride & he has made similar mistakes in the past which he really should have learned from the first time so he can't be all that good.

Where Are They Now?

After her racing career Bosra went on to have four colt foals: Shami (by Rainbow Quest) who was owned by Godolphin for several seasons but only ever won two moderate h'caps. He is now owned & trained by David Chapman. Rosberg (by A P Indy) also owned by Godolphin but by their American operation. He won his maiden impressively by 5 lengths and was entered in the Kentucky Derby but sadly picked up an injury prior to the race & had to be withdrawn. Bosra's Valentine (by Sadler's Wells) owned by the Boursley Racing Syndicate is currently racing in Nad Al Sheba (Dubai) and Branded (by Singspiel) who Godolphin bought for the princely sum of £525,000 as a yearling. He is currently being trained in America and is highly regarded.

Sadly none of Bosra's progeny to date have reflected her brilliance and so in 2003 she too was unceremoniously shipped out to America where she was subsequently sold privately to Havana Horse Ltd. She still lives at the stud but has produced no more foals despite numerous attempts to cover her.

It breaks my heart to think this fantastic filly won't leave her mark on future generations but then nobody said breeding champions was easy.

Thanks for listening to my rambling guys :D