John Henry (1975 to 2007)

John Henry (1975 to 2007)  American champion Thoroughbred John Henry was one of the most celebrated and successful racehorses of the 20th century.

 

Considered one of the best closers of recent history, he twice claimed the Eclipse Award for Horse of the Year in 1981 and again in 1984. During his racing career John Henry won 39 out of 83 and a record-breaking $6,591,860 USD in earnings.

 

A winner of more graded stakes than any other Thoroughbred, 25, he is one of only three hoses to win the Santa Anita Handicap and is the only double winner of Grade I race, the Arlington Million.

 

A Goal Chance Farm foal, John Henry was born in 1974. Sired by Ole Bob Bowers and Once Double, his pedigree included graded stakes race winner, Double Jay and 1961 Hollywood Gold Cup winner, Prince Blessed.

 

John Henry began his racing career running in minor stakes and mid-level claiming races. His breakthrough came when, as a three-year-old, he was bought by businessman Sam Rubin who owned the Dotsam Stables. Taken on by trainer Robert Donato, John Henry won 6 out of 19 races he entered and ended the season as a stakes winner.

 

After the 1979 grass season ended in New York, Rubin sent John Henry to California where under trainer Ron McAnally he enjoyed six stake race winning-streak, helping him emerge as a huge talent.

 

After retiring from the track John Henry was sent to the Hall of Champions, Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. He died in October 2007, aged 32 after developing kidney problems.

 

Armistice Day

Armistice Day

On Armistice Day let’s take a moment to reflect on the role of horses in the first world war. A staggering 8 million horses were killed during the war and the above formation, was a 650 man tribute taken by officers of the Auxiliary Remount Dept No.326 in New Mexico in 1915.

Horses had been used to carry vital supplies to the front line. A million horses left the UK for the front line. Just 60,000 returned.

Makybe Diva

Makybe Diva  Record-breaking Thoroughbred Makybe Diva is one of the most famous and accomplished racehorses in Australian history.

 

The British-bred, Australian-trained racehorse is the only winner of three consecutive Melbourne Cups, (2003, 2004, 2005) and has also claimed victories in the Australian Cup, BMW Stakes, the Werribee Cup and the Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

 

Twice named Australian Champion Racehorse of the Year, she is the only horse to win both the Sydney and Melbourne Cups in the same season.

 

Sired by double Irish Classics winner Desert King, Makybe Diva was foaled in 1999 in the U.K before being shipped to Australia with her dam, Tugela. She was initially trained by top trainer David Hall, before switching to Lee Freedman in 2004 after Hall moved to Hong Kong.

 

Makybe Diva made her race debut July 2002 as a three-year-old, coming fourth at Benalla, Victoria. She was upgraded to a four-year-old when she ran again three weeks later and secured her first victory. It was the start of a six-race winning streak and Makybe Diva began to emerge as a racing talent.

 

After a shaky start the 2003-2004 season, she came from the back to win her first Melbourne Cup in November 2003 by a length and a half. She repeated the twice more, setting history in 2005 by becoming the first ever horse to claim victory three times and in consecutive years.

 

After glory on the track, Makybe Diva was retired and started breeding. She produced four foals in total including Rockstardom, who as a yearling, sold at auction for $1.5million AUD.

 

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.