The Greatest Racehorses - Ever

Monday, October 16, 2006

Nijinsky (CAN)
Northen Dancer - Flaming Page
Foaled 1967 Bay Horse Deceased 1992
Runs: 13 Wins: 11 Places: 2 Earned: $677,177
Form: 1111 - 111111122
Timeform Rating: 140

15th Ever Triple Crown Winner
Champion 2yo 1969

Big Races Won
Railway Stakes 1969
Beresford Stakes 1969
Angeles Stakes 1969
Dewhurst Stakes 1969
Gladness Stakes 1970
English 2000 Guineas 1970
English Derby 1970
Irish Derby 1970
King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes 1970

Nijinsky was a very difficult horse temperamentally and had to be handled with the greatest patience by all who worked closely with him. He had his own ideas about life and would often rear up, sweat profusely and on ocassions refuse point blank to canter. He also had a vivid dislike for starting stalls.

As mentioned above Nijinksy was the 15th and last horse to win the English Triple Crown. IE the 2000 Guineas, Derby and St Leger races, since Bahrain achieved it in 1935. Not only did he manage to join an excluse club and forever secure his place in history but he confirmed to the racing public what an extrodinary talent he was by slamming high class fields by 2 1/2L, 2 1/2L, 1L respectively. He clocked one of the fastest times ever recorded for the Derby in 2 mins 34.68 sec, a feat made all the more remarkable as he's been suffering from a bout of colic (where a horses' intestines become a twisted, knotted mess) only two days before the race.


It wasn't just his own age group that suffered at Nijinsky's hooves as he bettered a vintage crop of elders in the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes, including English Derby winner Blakeney, Coronation Cup winner Caliban, Italian Derby winner Hogarth, French Oaks winner Crepellana and Washington International winner Karabas. Ascot has never before or sinces witnessed a field demolished in such easy fashion, with the great Nijinsky making top class horses look like mere trainers hacks.

In August of that year (1970) Nijinsky became sick again with a bout of ringworm which set him back several weeks in his training for the St Leger, although of course this didn't worry the great horse too much and he duly won by a length on the bridle, thus cementing his now legendary status into the hearts of racegoers everwhere, forever.

Sadly the great horse ended his career with two defeats. The first came in the Arc de Triompe where he was beaten a head by the French Derby & French St Leger winner Sassafras, having been denied a run on several occassions in the closing stages. His jockey, the usually brillant Lester Piggot has been criticised for leaving Nijinsky with too much to do ever since as he defied trainer's orders to lie up with the pace rather than come from behind. I for one certainly wouldn't have argued with the phenomonal Vincent O'Brien, the original master of Ballydoyle.

Vincent rightly wanted his colt to end his career on a high so Nijinsky's swansong was in the aptly named Champion Stakes at Newmarket. However someone did not read the script and so it was that Lorenzaccio took the race by 1 1/2L from Nijinsky who must surely by now have been feeling the effects of a long, hard season, his battles with illnesses and of course many miles of travelling.

Nijinsky retired to Claiborne Farm in Kentucky in 1970 having been syndicated for $5.5million which was a record sum for the time. His success story continued at stud as he's sired Lammtaara 1995 English Derby, Arc & King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner, Shahrastani 1986 English & Irish Derby winner, Golden Fleece 1982 English Derby winner, Ferdinand 1986 Kentucky Derby winner, Ile de Bourbon 1978 King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner, Royal Acadamy 1991 Breeders Cup winner, Shadeed 1985 2000 Guineas winner, King's Lake 1981 Irish 2000 Guineas winner, Caerlon French Derby winner and Green Dancer who is a proflic sire himself. In 1992 Nijinsky sadly passed away at the age of 25, which is a grand age for a thoroughbred.

In 1976 Nijinsky entered the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. He was also honoured in Ireland too with a lifesize bronze statue placed at The Curragh racecourse. Nowadays he has a race; the Nijinsky Stakes held at Woodbine, Canada, named in his honour to serve as a permanant reminder to Canada's greatest equine export.

TJ

2 Comments:

  • Statistically,the greatest reacehorse ever.To win the triple Crown in addition to the Irish Derby and the King George is an unprecedented feat and had he not suffered from a bout of ringworm would have been the only horse ever to win the Epsom Derby,Irish Derby,King George and the Arc.(won 11 races consecutively including the 5 plum races)His King George win has to be seen to be believed-it was like seeing a waltz being performed.An equivalent to a prophet to horse racing.To me,bar Mill Reef and Brigadier Gerard the graetset ever Bristish racehorse who was unfairly given a rating of 138 by Timeform,below Shergar,Dancing Brave,Vaguely Noble and Generous.Later Racing Post scaled his rating to 140 and rectified his rating deservingly.

    By Anonymous Harsh Thakor, at 6:55 AM  

  • The first picture with Lester Piggott is NOT Nijinsky!! It is RIBACO winning the 1969 St. Leger. Nijinsky had three white socks, if you check your other pictures you will see his white socks.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:34 PM  

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