Bois Roussel

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Bois Roussel
GrandsirePrince Chimay (GB)
DamPlucky Liege (GB)
BreederLeon Volterra
Owner1) Leon Volterra
2) Hon. Peter Beatty
TrainerFred Darling
Record3: 2-0-1
Earnings£9,228¾ plus 105,600 ff[1]
Major wins
Prix Juigné (1938)
Epsom Derby (1938)
Leading broodmare sire in Great Britain & Ireland (1959, 1960)
Last updated on 31 October 2011

Bois Roussel (1935–1955) was a French-bred Thoroughbred champion racehorse and a leading broodmare sire. He won the 1938 Epsom Derby on his second racecourse appearance.


He was named for Haras du Bois-Roussel, the breeding farm in Alençon where he was foaled. His breeder was Leon Volterra who acquired his sire, Vatout, and his dam as part of his purchase of Haras du Bois Roussel from American, Jefferson Davis Cohn. According to Thoroughbred Heritage, his dam, Plucky Liege, was one of the most important broodmares of the 20th century.[2] At the time of foaling Bois Roussel Plucky Liege was 23 years old.

Racing career[edit]

Bois Roussel did not start as a two-year-old. Raced at age three by Leon Volterra, he made his racing debut in early 1938 at Longchamp Racecourse in Paris, winning the Prix Juigné, an event for unraced colts and geldings. Shortly thereafter, Volterra sold Bois Roussel for £8,000 to the Hon. Peter Beatty, son of Admiral David Beatty and grandson of Chicago department store magnate, Marshall Field.

His new owner sent Bois Roussel to England to run in June's Epsom Derby. Making just the second start of his career, bettors sent the colt off at 20/1 odds. Ridden by jockey Charlie Elliott Bois Roussel scored an upset victory in England's most prestigious race. He was slowly away and among the back markers entering the straight. In the final quarter mile he produced what the Glasgow Herald described as "an astonishing burst of speed"[3] to come from well off the pace and take the lead inside the final furlong. He won going away by four lengths from Scottish Union and the favourite Pasch.[4] In winning, he earned more in prize money than Beatty had paid for him.[5]

In his only other race start, Bois Roussel ran third to the undefeated Nearco in the Grand Prix de Paris.[6]

Stud record[edit]

Bois Roussel was rested as a four-year-old and went to stud in stud duty in England, in 1940 at a fee of 300 guineas. His stud career was satisfactory without being spectacular. Among his progeny were:

He was not a leading sire but was second on the list of sires of winners in both 1947 and 1949. Bois Roussel's daughters were also outstanding producers who made him the Leading broodmare sire in Great Britain & Ireland in 1959 and 1960.[6]

Bois Roussel died in October 1955, in France at age 20 because of severe laminitis.[6]


Pedigree of Bois Roussel (FR), brown stallion, 1935
Vatout (FR)
B. 1926
Prince Chimay (GB)
Ch. 1915
Chaucer St. Simon
Canterbury Pilgrim
Gallorette Gallinule
Vashti (FR)
B. 1921
Sans Souci Le Roi Soleil
Vaya Beppo
Plucky Liege (GB)
B. 1912
Spearmint (GB)
B. 1903
Carbine (NZ) Musket
Maid of the Mint Minting
Concertina (GB)
B. 1896
St. Simon Galopin
St. Angela
Comic Song Petrarch
Frivolity (Family: 16-a)[7]

See also[edit]

List of leading Thoroughbred racehorses


  1. ^ Pickering, Martin (1981). Pedigrees of Leading Winners 1960–1980. London: J.A. Allen & Co. Ltd. p. 13. ISBN 0-85131-372-8.
  2. ^ Anne Peters. "Plucky Liege". Retrieved 2013-02-07.
  3. ^ "Spectacular finish by Bois Roussel". Glasgow Herald. 2 June 1938. Retrieved 2013-02-07.
  4. ^ "THE DERBY 1938". British Pathe. Retrieved 2013-02-07.
  5. ^ "Sport: At Epsom Downs". Time. 13 June 1938. Archived from the original on August 26, 2010.
  6. ^ a b c Leicester, Sir Charles (1974). Bloodstock Breeding. London: J.A. Allen & Co. pp. 313–321. ISBN 978-0-85131-129-6.
  7. ^ Morris, Simon; Tesio Power 2000 – Stallions of the World, Syntax Software