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Sire Pharos (GB)
Grandsire Phalaris
Dam Nogara
Damsire Havresac II
Sex Stallion
Foaled 1935
Country Italy
Colour Brown
Breeder Federico Tesio
Owner Federico Tesio
Trainer Federico Tesio
Record 14: 14-0-0
Earnings $86,328
Major wins
Gran Criterium (1937)
Premio Tevere (1937)
Premio Chiusura (1937)
Derby Italiano (1938)
Premio Parioli (1938)
Gran Premio di Milano (1938)
Gran Premio d'Italia (1938)
Grand Prix de Paris (1938)
Leading sire in GB & Ireland (1947, 1949)
Leading broodmare sire in Britain & Ireland (1955, 1956)

Nearco (January 24, 1935 - June 27, 1957) was an Italian bred Thoroughbred racehorse described by Thoroughbred Heritage as "one of the greatest racehorses of the Twentieth Century" and "one of the most important sires of the century."[1] He was not only unbeaten, winning 14 races at distances from 5 furlongs (1,000m) to 1 mile 7 furlongs (3,000m), but also the patriarch of the most dominant sire line in Thoroughbred history.


Bred by Federico Tesio, who also bred Ribot, Nearco was sired by Pharos out of Nogara by Havresac II. Nogara was a good racemare and bred eight good winners from her eight foals, including Niccolo Dell'Arca and Nakamuro.[2] He was inbred twice in the fourth generation and twice again in the fifth generation of his pedigree to St. Simon.[3]

Racing record[edit]

Two year old season[edit]

June 1937 Premio Colico San Siro - WON

September 1937 Premio Menaggio San Siro - WON

September 1937 Premio Vimercate San Siro - WON

September 1937 Criterium Nazionale San Siro - WON

October 1937 Gran Criterium San Siro - WON

October 1937 Premio Tevere Capannelle - WON

November 1937 Premio Chiusura San Siro - WON

Three year old season[edit]

February 1938 Premio Ministero Agricoltura e Foreste Pisa - WON

April 1938 Premio Parioli (Italian 2000 Guineas) Capannelle - WON

May 1938 Premio Principe Emanuele Filliberto San Siro - WON

May 1938 Gran Premio del Re (Derby Italiano) Capannelle - WON

May 1938 Gran Premio d'Italia San Siro - WON

June 1938 Gran Premio di Milano San Siro - WON

June 1938 Grand Prix de Paris Longchamp - WON

Stud career[edit]

Nearco retired undefeated after fourteen races. With the political turmoil and the possibility of war caused by Benito Mussolini aligning Italy with Germany, in 1938 Federico Tesio sold Nearco to Martin H. Benson of Beech House Stud in Newmarket, England for £60,000 (a world-record for a sire in those days). The potential importance of Nearco's progency was forecast in the provision of a bomb shelter to ensure Nearco's survival should London be subject to an air raid. Nearco's legacy primarily comes from three of his sons: Nasrullah, Nearctic and Royal Charger. His other sons included Dante, winner of the 1945 Epsom Derby; Sayajirao, winner of the 1947 St. Leger Stakes; and Nimbus, who won the Epsom Derby and 2,000 Guineas in 1949. In all, more than 100 of Nearco's sons have stood at stud around the world, which is a world record, apart from St Simon.[4]

Nearco was also the damsire of the French multiple Group One winner Charlottesville, and damsire of the Epsom Derby winners Arctic Prince (1948) and Tulyar (1952).

He was an outstandingly prepotent sire, eclipsed only by his grandson Northern Dancer. In England, Nearco sired the winners of 657½ races worth ₤501,665. He was 1st on the Sires List three times, 2nd once, 3rd twice, 4th four times and 5th once.[4]

Some of Nearco's descendants were ranked among the Top 100 U.S. Racehorses of the 20th Century by The Blood-Horse magazine: #2 Secretariat, #9 Seattle Slew, #19 Bold Ruler, #24 Nashua, #35 Ruffian, #43 Northern Dancer, #57 Riva Ridge and #86 Fort Marcy. Other notable descendants were Ballymoss, Shergar, Arkle, Never Say Die, Mr. Prospector, Nasrullah, Nijinsky II (winner of the UK Triple Crown), Royal Palace, Better Loosen Up, Sir Ivor, and Invasor. Sireline descendants of Nearco include eight of the nine horses to earn over $10,000,000 in stakes wins. These horses are Deep Impact, Makybe Diva, Narita Brian, Sunline, Symboli Kris S, T M Opera O, Viva Pataca and Vodka.[3]

Nearco died from cancer on 27 June 1957 and was buried at Beech House Stud.

According to France Galop, from 1985 through to 2010 every Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner can trace a blood-line back to Nearco, his son Nasrullah, and his grandson Northern Dancer.[3]

Tabulated pedigree[edit]

Pedigree of Nearco (ITY) Br.h. 1935
Pharos (GB)
B. 1920
Br. 1913
Polymelus Cyllene
Maid Marian
Bromus Sainfoin
Cheery by St. Simon
Scapa Flow
Ch. 1914
Chaucer St. Simon
Cantebury Pilgrim
Anchora Love Wisely
B. 1928
Havresac II (FR)
Br. 1915
Rabelais St. Simon
Hors Concours (FR) Ajax
Simona (GB) by St. Simon
Catnip (IRE)
B. 1910
Spearmint (GB) Carbine (NZ)
Maid Of The Mint
Sibola (USA) The Sailor Prince (GB)
Saluda (family: 4-r)[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Pryor, Peter, “The Classic Connection”, Cortney Publications, Luton, 1979
  3. ^ a b c d Morris, Simon; Tesio Power 2000 - Stallions of the World, Syntax Software
  4. ^ a b Ahnert, Rainer L. (editor in chief), “Thoroughbred Breeding of the World”, Pozdun Publishing, Germany, 1970

External links[edit]