Ard Patrick

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Ard Patrick
Ard Patrick2.jpg
Ard Patrick. Lithograph after H. Sperling
Sire St. Florian
Grandsire St. Simon
Dam Morganette
Damsire Springfield
Sex Stallion
Foaled 1899
Country Ireland
Colour Brown
Breeder John Gubbins
Owner John Gubbins
Trainer Samuel Darling
Record 11:6-3-2
Earnings £26,616[1]
Major wins
Imperial Produce Stakes (1901)
Epsom Derby (1902)
Prince of Wales's Stakes (1902)
Princess of Wales's Stakes (1903)
Eclipse Stakes (1903)
Leading sire in Germany (1911, 1913, 1914)
Last updated on 12 June 2011

Ard Patrick (1899–1923) was an Irish-bred, British-trained Thoroughbred racehorse and sire. One of the leading two-year-olds of 1901, he improved in 1902 to win The Derby, defeating the filly Sceptre. He returned from Injury problems to record his most important success when he defeated Sceptre and the Derby winner Rock Sand in the 1903 Eclipse Stakes at Sandown Park Racecourse. He was then retired from racing and exported to Germany where he became a successful sire of winners.


Ard Patrick was an exceptionally big brown horse, reportedly standing 17 hands high,[1] who was bred by his owner John Gubbins at his Knockany Stud near Bruree, County Limerick, Ireland, (at that time part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland) and named after the nearby village of Ardpatrick (Ard Pádraig). He was sired by St Florian, a well-bred horse by St Simon, who had an unremarkable record both as a racehorse and as a sire. He was a member of Thoroughbred Family Number 20, which at that time had a poor record of producing breeding stallions.[2] His dam, Morganette, by Springfield was a roarer and did not advance beyond selling plates in her racing career, but proved an excellent broodmare. Before giving birth to Ard Patrick she had produced Galtee More who won the Triple Crown in 1897, and also Blairfinde a winner of the Irish Derby.[3][4]

Gubbins sent his colt into training with Sam Darling at Beckhampton in Wiltshire.[5]

Racing record[edit]

1901: two-year-old season[edit]

Ard Patrick was a "powerful and massively-built youngster"[6] who was slow to mature and did not appear on the racecourse before autumn. He made his debut in one of the season's most valuable races for juveniles, the six furlong Imperial Produce Stakes at Kempton on 12 October. Carrying 119 pounds he won by a head from Royal Lancer who was carrying three pounds more.[7] Four days later he met Royal Lancer again in the Clearwell Stakes at Newmarket and won by a neck, receiving three pounds. On his third and final start of the year he finished second to the black filly Game Chick in the Dewhurst Stakes. At the end of the season Ard Patrick was being offered by the bookmakers at odds of 7/1 for the following year's Derby, the other leading fancies being Duke of Westminster (the horse, not the owner) and William Collins Whitney's American import Nasturtium.[8]

1902: three-year-old season[edit]

Ard Patrick as a three-year-old

According to press reports, Gubbins turned down an offer of 20,000 guineas for his colt from an unnamed source.[9] As a three-year-old, Ard Patrick was slow to reach peak fitness. In the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on 30 April he was ridden by Kempton Cannon and started at odds of 9/2 in a field of fourteen runners behind the joint favourites Sceptre and Duke of Westminster. Sceptre won the race in a record time of 1:39.0, beating Pistol by two lengths with Ard Patrick a further three lengths further back in third.[10] He then finished second in a Three-year-old Plate over one mile at Kempton in which he attempted to conceded twenty-two pounds to Royal Ivy and was beaten two lengths.[11] On his final start before the Derby, Ard Patrick finished first in the Newmarket Stakes on 14 May, beating Fowling Piece by a head, but was disqualified for "bumping and boring" and relegated to third place behind Fowling Piece and Royal Lancer. He had looked likely to win easily before struggling and drifting from a straight course in the last fifty yards, leading some[12] to question the colt's attitude.[13]

At Epsom Downs Racecourse on 4 June, Ard Patrick was ridden by the American jockey John "Skeets" Martin and started at odds of 100/14 for the Derby in a field of eighteen runners. Sceptre who had also won the 1000 Guineas started evens favourite, having been the subject of an unprecedented gamble which saw her backed to win over half a million pounds.[14] The King and Queen were in attendance for the "Coronation" Derby but the crowd was smaller than usual as a result of heavy rain. Ard Patrick was in the leading group from the start and went to the front just after half way, followed by Sceptre, Rising Glass and Csardas. In the straight Ard Patrick pulled clear and won easily by three lengths from Rising Glass, with Friar Tuck third and Sceptre fourth.[15] According to "Robin Hood" in The Australasian Ard Patrick confounded those critics who had questioned his temperament as he "finished like a lion and as straight as an arrow."[16]

The remainder of Ard Patrick's three-year-old campaign was disappointing as he failed to reproduce his Epsom form. At Royal Ascot on 17 June he started 11/10 favourite for the thirteen furlong Prince of Wales's Stakes in which he was required to concede weight to seven opponents. The Duke of Westminster's Cupbearer, who was receiving thirteen pounds from the Derby winner, won the race by three-quarters of a length from Ard Patrick, but was disqualified for "bumping and boring" the runner-up and placed last after an objection. Ard Patrick then developed leg trouble and was withdrawn from the Eclipse Stakes, which was won by Cheers, a colt he had beaten at both Epsom and Ascot.[17] He also missed the St Leger his intended autumn target, which was won in his absence by Sceptre.[18] Ard Patrick returned on 1 October for the £10,000 Jockey Club Stakes over one and three quarter miles at Newmarket. Carrying 131 pounds, he finished third to Rising Glass (119 pounds) and the four-year-old Templemore (122).[19]

1903: four-year-old season[edit]

The finish of the 1903 Eclipse Stakes: Ard Patrick beats Sceptre

Before the start of the 1903 season, Gubbins reportedly turned down an offer of £15,000 for Ard Patrick from Samuel S. Brown of Pittsburgh.[20] Ard Patrick showed his best form in two races as a four-year-old. He made his first appearance on 1 July in the £10,000 Princess of Wales's Stakes at Newmarket. He conceded weight to his opponents and won "in a canter" from Royal Lancer and Cheers.[21] Before his next race, Ard Patrick was sold as a prospective stallion to Count Lehndorff acting for the German government for £21,000, although a condition of the sale was that he would run in Gubbins' colours in his remaining races.[3]

The 1903 Eclipse Stakes at Sandown on 17 July was one of the most anticipated British races of the early 20th century with Ard Patrick and Sceptre facing that year's Epsom Derby winner, Rock Sand. The race thus brought together "the three best horses in England",[22] and perhaps "the most valuable field of horses that ever started in a race in any part of the world".[23] The King was among the immense crowd which was drawn to Sandown for the "Battle of Giants".[1] The odds at the start were 5/4 Rock Sand, 7/4 Sceptre and 5/1 Ard Patrick. Ard Patrick was settled in third behind Rock Sand in the early stages by his rider Herbert "Otto" Madden, before going to the front and leading into the straight. As Rock Sand weakened, Sceptre emerged as the only challenger and looked the likely winner a furlong from the finish but Ard Patrick rallied and got the better of a "desperate finish"[24] to win by a neck with Rock Sand three lengths away in third. The contest was favourably compared to the race for the 1887 Hardwicke Stakes between Ormonde, Minting and Bendigo.[25] This was the second time in three attempts that Ard Patrick had beaten Sceptre.

A rematch between Ard Patrick, Sceptre and Rock Sand was expected in the Jockey Club Stakes,[26] but Ard Patrick's leg problems recurred and he never raced again.[27]


In their book A Century of Champions, John Randall and Tony Morris rated Ard Patrick a "great" Derby winner and the twentieth best British-trained racehorse of the 20th Century. The authors described Ard Patrick as "the greatest unsung hero of British Flat racing."[28]

Stud record[edit]

Retired to stud duty, he was the Leading sire in Germany three times and notably sired Deutsches Derby winner, Ariel, the successful mare Antwort and the dams of Herold and Alchemist.[29][30] On 5 April 1923 it was reported that Ard Patrick had died after failing to recover from the effects of an experimental procedure known as a "Steinach rejuvenation operation".[31]


Pedigree of Ard Patrick (IRE), bay or brown stallion, 1899[14]
St. Florian (GB)
St. Simon
Galopin Vedette
Flying Duchess
St. Angela King Tom
The Palmer Beadsman
Madame Eglentine
Jenny Diver Buccaneer
Morganette (IRE)
St. Albans Stockwell
Viridis Marsyas
Maid of Palmyra
Lady Morgan
Thormanby Windhound
Alice Hawthorn
Morgan La Faye Cowl
Miami (Family: 5-j)[32]


  1. ^ a b c "A BATTLE OF GIANTS". Otago Witness. 2 September 1903. Retrieved 2012-02-13. 
  2. ^ "SPORTING NOTES". Star. 10 July 1902. Retrieved 2012-02-13. 
  3. ^ a b Leicester, Sir Charles, Bloodstock Breeding, J.A. Allen & Co, London, 1969
  4. ^ "Morganette". 1917-01-30. Retrieved 2012-02-13. 
  5. ^ "Horseracing History Online - Person Profile : Samuel Darling". Retrieved 2012-02-13. 
  6. ^ "Turf Topic". New Zealand Free Lance. 21 December 1901. Retrieved 2012-02-13. 
  7. ^ "SPORTING". Evening Post. 14 October 1901. Retrieved 2012-02-13. 
  8. ^ "SPORTING". Hawera & Normanby Star. 26 February 1902. Retrieved 2012-02-13. 
  9. ^ "IN A NUTSHELL". Otago Witness. 16 April 1902. Retrieved 2012-02-13. 
  10. ^ "RACING IN ENGLAND". Otago Witness. 18 June 1902. Retrieved 2012-02-13. 
  11. ^ "IN A NUTSHELL". Otago Witness. 2 July 1902. Retrieved 2012-02-13. 
  12. ^ "THE DISQUALIFICATION OF ARD PATRICK". Otago Witness. 2 July 1902. Retrieved 2012-02-13. 
  13. ^ "THE NEWMARKET STAKES". Wanganui Chronicle. 16 May 1902. Retrieved 2012-02-13. 
  14. ^ a b "THE ENGLISH DERBY". Otago Witness. 11 June 1902. Retrieved 2012-02-13. 
  15. ^ "RACING IN ENGLAND". Otago Witness. 23 July 1902. Retrieved 2012-02-13. 
  16. ^ "SPORT AND PASTIME. The Turf". Evening Post. 26 July 1902. Retrieved 2012-02-13. 
  17. ^ "ECLIPSE STAKES". Manawatu Standard. 19 July 1902. Retrieved 2012-02-13. 
  18. ^ "SPORTING". Wairarapa Daily Times. 18 September 1902. Retrieved 2012-02-13. 
  19. ^ "SPORTING". Evening Post. 3 October 1902. Retrieved 2012-02-13. 
  20. ^ "Turf Topic". New Zealand Free Lance. 18 April 1903. Retrieved 2012-02-13. 
  21. ^ "SPORTING". Star. 4 July 1903. Retrieved 2012-02-13. 
  22. ^ "SANDOWN PARK". Star. 18 July 1903. Retrieved 2012-02-13. 
  23. ^ "IN A NUTSHELL". Otago Witness. 29 July 1903. Retrieved 2012-02-13. 
  24. ^ "RACING IN ENGLAND". Otago Witness. 22 July 1903. Retrieved 2012-02-13. 
  25. ^ "ENGLISH RACING". Auckland Star. 26 August 1903. Retrieved 2012-02-13. 
  26. ^ "SPORTING". Wanganui Herald. 5 August 1903. Retrieved 2012-02-13. 
  27. ^ THE RACING WORLD. Auckland Star. 24 October 1903. Retrieved 2012-02-13. 
  28. ^ Morris, Tony; Randall, John (1999). A Century of Champions. Portway Press,. ISBN 1-901570-15-0. 
  29. ^ Pryor, Peter, The Classic Connection, Cortney Publications, Luton, 1979
  30. ^ "pedigree". Retrieved 2012-02-13. 
  31. ^ "NEWS AND NOTES". NZ Truth. 5 May 1923. Retrieved 2012-02-13. 
  32. ^ "Miami - Family 5-j". Retrieved 2012-02-13.