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


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