Cameronian (horse)

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Cameronian in a photo by Frank Griggs.
DamUna Cameron
CountryUnited Kingdom
BreederThomas Dewar, 1st Baron Dewar
OwnerJohn Arthur Dewar
TrainerFred Darling
Record9: 5-0-3
Major wins
2000 Guineas Stakes (1931)
Epsom Derby (1931)
St. James's Palace Stakes (1931)
Champion Stakes (1932)

Cameronian (1928–1955) was a British Thoroughbred racehorse and sire. He won the 2000 Guineas Stakes and the Derby in 1931 but finished unplaced in the St. Leger in his attempt to win the English Triple Crown. He returned as a four-year-old to win the Champion Stakes in 1932.


Cameronian was a small[1] bay horse, bred by his first owner, the Scottish whisky distiller Thomas Dewar, 1st Baron Dewar. On Lord Dewar's death in 1930, the unraced two-year-old colt was inherited by his nephew[2] John Arthur “Lucky” Dewar.[3] The death of an owner had traditionally canceled all of a horse's entries, but a rule change in 1929 meant that Cameronian's status was not affected, allowing him to take part in the Classics.[4]

Cameronian's sire, Pharos was a top class racehorse who won the Champion Stakes and went on to become a highly successful stallion.[5] He sired many good winners including the French champion Pharis and the unbeaten Nearco, who became one of the most influential stallions of the 20th Century. Cameronian was the third of seven Derby winners trained by Fred Darling at Beckhampton, Wiltshire.[6]

Racing career[edit]

1930: two-year-old season[edit]

Cameronian was slow to mature as a two-year-old and ran only once, winning a minor race at Salisbury. He was not rated in that year's Free Handicap, a rating of the leading two-year-olds.[7]

1931: three-year-old season[edit]

Cameronian began his three-year-old season by running third to Philae in the Craven Stakes at Newmarket, beaten just over a length.[8] His effort was attracted attention and he was introduced into the Derby betting as second favourite.[9] In the 2000 Guineas three weeks later he started at 100/8 and was ridden by Joe Childs,[10] as the stable jockey Fred Fox rode the more fancied Lemnarchus.[11] On heavy ground which had forced the withdrawal of the likely favourite Jacopo.[12] Cameronian won by two lengths from the French colt Goyescas[7]

In the Derby at Epsom a month later Cameronian started 7/2 favourite. Ridden by Fox[13] he broke quickly and was then steadied to track the leaders in the early stages before moving into the lead as the field entered the straight. Orpen emerged as his main challenger, moving alongside Cameronian two furlongs out but after a "terrific struggle"[14] Cameronian prevailed by three quarters of a length. Sandwich, who had been badly drawn and been hampered during the race finished strongly to take third. The win for the favourite was extremely popular with the public, though not with the bookmakers, several of whom "welshed" (failed to pay out winning bets) on the race. At the victory celebration, Dewar, who described himself as "the most delighted man in the world", decorated the Savoy Hotel with a hundred miles of tartan ribbon.[15]

Cameronian was sent to Royal Ascot two weeks later for the St. James's Palace Stakes over one mile. He recorded a popular victory, winning by three lengths from Trinidad in "brilliant" style.[16]

The colt was then rested until the September, when he started odds-on favourite for the St Leger at Doncaster Racecourse, despite doubts from some experts about his ability to stay the one and three quarter mile distance.[17] His attempt to become the first Triple Crown winner since Rock Sand in 1903[18] however, ended in failure. He pulled hard on the way to the start where, according to Fred Fox, he "went mad", becoming highly agitated and kicking out at other horses. In the race the colt fought Fox's attempts to settle him. By the straight he was exhausted and dropped out to finish last of the ten runners behind Sandwich.[19] Although Cameronian was found to be running a temperature after the race he soon recovered. His connections were unable to explain his poor effort, with Darling explicitly ruling out the possibility of the horse having been "got at".[20] Plans to retire the colt at the end of the season were revised.[21]

1932: four-year-old season[edit]

At four, Cameronian began in June by finishing third in a "stirring" finish to the Coronation Cup at Epsom, beaten a head and a short-head by the five-year-old Salmon Leap and Goyescas.[22]

In September he ran a close third to Firdaussi, when attempting to give the winner twelve pounds in the Jockey Club Stakes.[11] On his final start he recorded his most important victory since the Derby by beating the three-year-old Dastur in the Champion Stakes.[1]


In their book A Century of Champions, John Randall and Tony Morris rated Cameronian as an "average" Derby winner.[23]

Stud career[edit]

Cameronian made a promising start to his stud career by siring the St Leger winner Scottish Union in his first crop of foals.[24] His son Finis won the wartime Gold Cup in 1941, but in the same year Cameronian was sold and exported to Argentina,[25] where he died in 1955.[11]


Pedigree of Cameronian (GB), bay stallion, 1928
Pharos (GB)
Polymelus Cyllene
Maid Marian
Bromus Sainfoin
Scapa Flow
Chaucer St. Simon
Canterbury Pilgrim
Anchora Love Wisely
Una Cameron (FR)
Bayardo Bay Ronald
Rosedrop St. Frusquin
Cherry Tree Hampton
Svelte St. Simon
Fine Lady (Family: 1)


  1. ^ a b Anne Peters Thoroughbred Heritage. "Pharos". Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  2. ^ "LAST OF FIVE BROTHERS". 1933-11-02. Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  3. ^ "John Dewar". Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  4. ^ "PRIZE-WINNERS IN SWEEPS". 1931-06-05. Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  5. ^ Anne Peters Thoroughbred Heritage. "Pharos". Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  6. ^ "Frederick Darling". Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  7. ^ a b "THE TWO THOUSAND". 1931-04-30. Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  8. ^ "Craven Stakes won by Philae". Calgary Daily Herald. Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  9. ^ "Jacopo is held Derby favourite". Calgary Daily Herald. Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  10. ^ "Joseph Childs". Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  11. ^ a b c Mortimer, Roger; Onslow, Richard; Willett, Peter (1978). Biographical Encyclopedia of British Flat Racing. Macdonald and Jane's. ISBN 0-354-08536-0.
  12. ^ "Cameronian Newmarket Race Victor". Schenectady Gazette. Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  13. ^ "Frederick Fox". Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  14. ^ "WON BY THE FAVOURITE". 1931-06-04. Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  15. ^ "THE DERBY". 1931-07-11. Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  16. ^ "NINE WIN AT ASCOT". 1931-07-30. Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  17. ^ "DONCASTER ST. LEGER". 1931-09-09. Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  18. ^ "Cameronian seeks Triple Turf Crown". Montreal Gazette. Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  19. ^ "CAMERONIAN RUNS LAST". 1931-09-24. Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  20. ^ "ACCIDENT AT WASHDYKE". 1931-10-21. Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  21. ^ "CAMERONIAN RECOVERED". 1931-10-31. Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  22. ^ "Cameronian beaten in Coronation Cup". Calgary Daily Herald. Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  23. ^ Randall, J and Morris, T. . Portway Press, 1999, p. 137.
  24. ^ "Scottish Union". 1938-09-10. Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  25. ^ "Britain's Strange Exports". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 2011-11-04.

External links[edit]