Sea-Bird (1962–1973)

Sea-Bird (1962–1973)  Celebrated French thoroughbred Sea-Bird is one of the most revered and accomplished racehorses of all time and held the highest Timeform rating ever awarded, 145, until Frankel’s 2012 rating of 147.

 

Named British Horse of the Year in 1965, he is most famous for his wins in two of the biggest races in the world, the Epsom Derby and the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe.

 

His pedigree showed little sign of the greatness to come. While his sire was French Derby runner-up, Dan Cupid, whose sire was the famous American Thoroughbred, Native Dancer, his dam and damsire never won a flat race in their careers.

 

Born in 1962, Sea-Bird was trained by Etienne Pollet at Chantilly, France and started as a two-year-old with wins in the Prix de Blaison at Chantilly and the Critérium de Maisons-Laffitte. He lost his third outing, the Grand Critérium, to his stablemate Grey Dawn, a race that would be his only career defeat.

 

As a three-year-old, he won all five starts including British Classic the Epsom Derby, where he defeated Meadow Court, Irish Derby and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner.

 

After two seasons he retired and headed to the Kentucky farm of American breeder, John W. Gallbreath, who had paid $1,350,000 USD for the rights to five-years of stud duty. Sea-Bird enjoyed a successful career as a stud and sired, amongst others, double French classic and 1974 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winning mare, Allez France and Champion Hurdle winner, Sea Pigeon and Miss Oceana, who sold as a broodmare for a record $7million USD.

 

West Australian (1850 -1870)

West Australian (1850 -1870)  West Australian was a British Champion thoroughbred racehorse and sire, who was the first ever English Triple Crown Champion.

 

Widely regarded as one of the greatest racehorses of the nineteenth century, during his three-year racing career West Australian won nine out of his ten races including three British Classic races and the Ascot Gold Cup.

 

He was foaled in 1850 by Melbourne who had an impressive pedigree and sired seven classic winners. Bred by John Bowes of Streatlam Castle, Country Durham, he was trained by John Scott at his Whitewall stables in Malton, Yorkshire.

 

Scott spotted his talent early and as a colt West Australian made his debut in 1852 at Newmarket in the Criterion Stakes. Despite being beaten by Speed-the-Plough, a few days later he won the Glasgow Stakes by two lengths.

 

He went on to win his eight remaining races and as a three-year-old became the first horse to win the three most important races – the 2,000 Guineas, the Derby and the St. Leger Stakes – all in one season. The Triple Crown term wasn’t used until later, but West Australian is recognized as the first ever winner.

 

He ended his three-year-old season as the leading English money-winner with earnings of £10,950 and, after being sold to Lord Londesborough, went on to win the Ascot Gold Cup in his four-year-old season.

 

After retiring from racing West Australian had a successful career as a stud first at Kirby and then at the Haras de Viroflay near Paris. He sired The Oaks winner, Summerside, 2,000 Guineas winner, The Wizard and Australian who sired Kentucky Derby winner Baden-Baden.

 

Phar Lap (1926 –1932)

Phar Lap (1926 –1932)  Nicknamed the “Wonder Horse”, Phar Lap was one of Australia’s most famous racehorses of the Depression era. The Champion Thoroughbred dominated Australian racing during his four-season career winning the Melbourne Cup in 1930, the Cox Plate twice and the AJC Derby. From 1928 to 1932 he won 37 out of 51 races and became the most famous horse in Australia.

 

Phar Lap was born in New Zealand in October 1926 and despite a distinguished pedigree, including 1890 Melbourne Cup winner Carbine, wasn’t a promising yearling. Gangly and with an awkward gait he came last in his first race and was nicknamed the “ugly duckling of the racecourse”.

 

After running only five times as a two-year-old, his form improved during the next season and he narrowly lost the Melbourne Cup in 1929. He soon hit a winning stride and between September 1929 and March 1932 won 36 out of 41 races. Phar Lap’s success and Melbourne Cup win in 1930 made him a household name in Australia, where horseracing was, by far, the biggest sport of the period.

 

After conquering the tracks of Australia his owner, American businessman David J. Davis turned his attention to the United States. Phar Lap was taken to the U.S. in 1932 and won his first race, the Agua Caliente Handicap in Tijuana, in track-record time. It was to be his last race as well, as shortly after returning to his stables in California he died in mysterious circumstances.

 

There have been claims Phar Lap was poisoned and several investigations have attempted to establish a cause of death.

 

American Pharoah

American Pharoah  American Thoroughbred racehorse American Pharoah was the 2015 Horse Of The Year and 2014 Eclipse Champion Juvenile and one of the most successful and admired of the modern era.

 

Winner of 9 races during his two-season career, as a three-year-old he became the only horse to be named the Grand Slam of Thoroughbred racing after winning both the American Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup Classic.

 

It was the first time in 37 years that a horse had won the American Triple Crown and only the 12th ever in history. American Pharoah broke the track record to claim victory in the Breeders’ Cup after missing it in his first season due to injury.

 

At the end of 2015 he retired to the Ashford stud, in Kentucky, a division of Ireland’s Coomore Stud. Owner and breeder Ahmed Zayat of Zayat Stables confirmed ahead of the 2015 season that he had sold breeding rights to the Ashford Stud, but had retained control over the colt and his racing career.

 

Before the deal was announced it was claimed offers for the stud rights has exceeded $20million and in January 2018 a weanling from his first crop sold for $1,000,000.

 

American Pharoah’s impressive pedigree marked him out from the start as a potential great. A blend of speed on his dam Littlepreincessemma’s side, who was closely related to Storm Wolf and Misty Rosette and stamina on his sire Pioneerof the Nile’s side. His grandsire, Empire Maker, was the winner of the 2003 Belmont Stakes and through this male line he’s closely related to Fappiano and Toussaud.

 

Flying Fox (1896 – 1911)

Flying Fox (1896 – 1911)  British Thoroughbred racehorse Flying Fox was the 1989 English Triple Crown Races and three times French leading sire.

 

The last horse raced by the 1st Duke of Westminster, Hugh Lupus Grosvenor, he was the fourth generation of an impressive male line. Flying Fox was sired by Orme a dual Eclipse Stakes winner, who was sired by Triple Crown winner Ormonde. His dam, Vampire, was a high-strung mare and there were fears her foal would inherit her dangerous temper.

 

While a difficult juvenile to handle, Flying Fox achieved great success under John Porter, the best trainer of the Victoria era. As a two-year-old he won three of his first five starts including the New Stakes and the Stockbridge Foal Stakes in 1898. As a three-year-old he was undefeated and became only the 8th ever U.K. Triple Crown Champion. His win in the 1899 Epsom Derby was in tragic circumstances though, after rival Holocauste shattered his leg while leading the race.

 

The Duke died that same year and Flying Fox was bought at auction for a record 37,500 guineas by French sportsman Edmond Blanc. Blanc had intended to race the four-year-old, but Porter refused to continue training him, so was instead sent to stud at Blanc’s Haras de Jardy horse breeding centre at Marnes-la-Coquette, near Paris.

 

There he had huge success as a stud and sired a classic winner in his first crop, Ajax. He went on to produce numerous other winners and was named Leading sire in France in 1904, 1905 and posthumously in 1913.