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Sire Chateau Bouscaut
Grandsire Kircubbin
Dam La Diva
Damsire Blue Skies
Sex Stallion
Foaled 1942
Country France
Colour Brown
Breeder Francois Dupre
Owner Duc Decazes, R. Wallon & P. Magot
William Hill
Trainer Henry Count
Record 26:10-6-4
Earnings 4,116,150 francs in France
£11,344 in England.[1]
Major wins
Prix de Fontainebleau (1945)
Prix Hocquart (1945)
Prix Henry Delamarre (1945)
Prix Jean Prat (four-year-olds) (1946)
Prix Edmond Blanc (1947)
Prix des Sablons (1947)
Grand Prix du Tremblay (1947)
White Rose Stakes (1947)
Winston Churchill Stakes (1947)
Coronation Cup (1947)
Timeform top-rated older horse (1947)
Timeform rating 135
Leading sire in Great Britain and Ireland (1953)

Chanteur (also known as Chanteur II; 1942–1962) was a French Thoroughbred racehorse and sire who was one of a group of French horses, including Caracalla, Marsyas, Arbar and Souverain, which dominated long distance racing in Europe in the immediate post-war years. Unraced as a two-year-old, Chanteur won the Prix Hocquart in 1945 and the Prix Jean Prat in 1946. He reached his peak as a five-year-old when he won six races including the Prix des Sablons in France and the Coronation Cup in Britain. He was also placed in many important races including the Grand Prix de Paris, Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, Prix Royal Oak, Prix du Cadran and Ascot Gold Cup. At the end of his racing career he was retired to stand as a breeding stallion in Britain, where he had considerable success as a sire of winners.


Chanteur was a brown horse with a broad white blaze[2] bred by Francois Dupre at the Haras d'Ouilly stud farm in Pont-d'Ouilly, Calvados. He was the most notable horse sired by Chateau Bouscaut, a French stallion whose wins included the Prix du Jockey Club in 1930 and the Prix du Cadran a year later. Chanteur's dam La Diva was a half-sister to the Grand Criterium winner Pantalon. La Diva later produced La Divine, the dam of Tanerko, a colt who won two runnings of the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud and sired the Derby winner Relko. Chanteur was trained at Chantilly by the Anglo-French trainer Harry Count. Chanteur was reportedly a horse with a strong character: he was the first horse awake at his stable and would "shout" loudly until he was fed. At exercise he refused to exert himself for an ordinarily-dressed stable lad, only showing interest when he was mounted by a jockey in racing silks.[3] When racing in Britain, and later when standing there as a stallion the horse was known as "Chanteur II".

Racing career[edit]

1945: three-year-old season[edit]

The Second World War led to there being little racing in France in the summer and autumn 1944 and Chanteur did not run as a two-year-old. In the spring of 1945 he eastblished himself as one of the leading French colts of his generation by winning the Prix de Fontainebleau and the Prix Hocquart at Longchamp Racecourse before running second to Mistral in the Prix Lupin. From then on Chanteur was campaigned in the highest class. He finished fourth in the Prix du Jockey Club, fourth to Ardan in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud and second to Caracalla in the Grand Prix de Paris.[4] In autumn he won the Prix Henry Delamarre before finishing third in both the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and the Prix Royal Oak.[5]

1946: four-year-old season[edit]

Chanteur's only important win of 1946 came in May when he won the older horses' version of the Prix Jean Prat (the race now known as the Prix Vicomtesse Vigier) over 3,000 metres at Longchamp. In this race he defeated the outstanding six-year-old stayer Marsyas who had won the race for the last two years. He went on to finish second in the Prix des Sablons (Prix Ganay) over 2000 metres and third to Marsyas in the 4000 meter Prix du Cadran.[5] In June 1946, Chanteur was part of an exceptionally strong[6] team of French stayers sent to Royal Ascot. He proved too good for the British opposition in the two and a half mile Ascot Gold Cup, but finished second, two lengths behind his compatriot Caracalla.[7]

1947: five-year-old season[edit]

Chanteur began his final season by showing good form over shorter distances, winning the Prix des Sablons and then moving down to 1500 metres to win the Prix Edmond Blanc. He was then sent to Britain where he won the £5,000 Winston Churchill Stakes at Ascot on 24 May and the £2,000 White Rose Stakes at Hurst Park four days later.[8] At this point he was bought by the bookmaker William Hill, although he remained in training with Count in France. The price was reportedly £70,000, the biggest sum paid for a racehorse in Britain, with Hill explaining that he was buying the horse primarily for his stud potential.[9] At Epsom Downs Racecourse in June he recorded his most significant international success when he won the Coronation Cup, beating Marcel Boussac's Coaraze. At Ascot later that month, Chanteur started the 2/11 favourite for the £11,316 Ascot Gold Cup, but was beaten four lengths by the French-trained four-year-old Souverain in the most valuable ever run in Britain up to that time.[10] Shortly after the race, Hill announced that the horse would be retired from racing.[11]


The independent Timeform organisation assigned a rating of 135 to Chanteur in 1947 (the first year for which annual ratings were published), making him the equal of Souverain as the highest-rated older horse in Europe. Marsyas, who did not race in Britain that year, was not included in the ratings.[12]

In their book A Century of Champions, based on a modified version of the Timeform system, John Randall and Tony Morris rated Chanteur the thirty-seventh best French-trained horse of the 20th century and the third-best horse foaled in 1942, behind Caracalla and Dante.[13]

Stud record[edit]

Chanteur was retired from racing to stand at Hill's Sezincote Stud in Gloucestershire, England. He had his greatest success in his second season as a breeding stallion when he sired the Epsom Derby winner Pinza whose victories led to Chanteur becoming the Leading sire in Great Britain and Ireland in 1953.[14] His other notable progeny included the British classic winners Cantelo and Only for Life. Chanteur died at the Highclere Stud at Newmarket, Suffolk in 1962.


Pedigree of Chanteur (FR), brown stallion, 1942[15]
Chateau Bouscaut (FR)
Kircubbin (GB) Captivation Cyllene
Avon Hack Hackler
Ramondie (FR) Neil Gow Marco
La Rille Macdonald
La Diva (FR)
Blue Skies (FR) Blandford Swynford
Blue Pill Sans Souci
La Traviata (FR) Alcantara Perth
Toison d'Or
Tregaron Tredennis
Whinstone (Family: 12)[16]


  1. ^ "Boost for New Sires". Sydney Morning Herald. 8 June 1953. Retrieved 2013-01-24. 
  2. ^ "Chanteur II image". Retrieved 2013-01-24. 
  3. ^ "OUR LONDON LETTER Tudor Minstrel Missed The Derby". Townsville Bulletin. 25 Jun 1947. Retrieved 2013-01-25. 
  4. ^ "Caracalla cops Paris Grand Prix". Miami News. 9 July 1945. Retrieved 2013-01-19. 
  5. ^ a b Mortimer, Roger; Onslow, Richard; Willett, Peter (1978). Biographical Encyclopedia of British Flat Racing. Macdonald and Jane’s. ISBN 0-354-08536-0. 
  6. ^ "French horses sway in English racing". Indian Express. 4 November 1946. Retrieved 2013-01-19. 
  7. ^ "Royal Ascot at York: Top 10 Gold Cup-winning performances". Racing Post. 16 June 2005. Retrieved 2013-01-19. 
  8. ^ "Brilliant French Horse Wins Again". The Advertiser (Adelaide). 29 May 1947. Retrieved 2013-01-25. 
  9. ^ "£70,000 for French champion London". The Argus (Australia). 10 Jun 1947. Retrieved 2013-01-25. 
  10. ^ "Ascot Gold Cup To Souverain". The Mercury (Hobart). 20 Jun 1947. Retrieved 2013-01-23. 
  11. ^ "Chanteur II to go to the stud". The Argus (Australia). 23 Jun 1947. Retrieved 2013-01-25. 
  12. ^ Morris, Tony; Randall, John (1990). Horse Racing: Records, Facts, Champions (Third Edition). Guinness Publishing. ISBN 978-0-85112-902-0. 
  13. ^ Morris, Tony; Randall, John (1999). A Century of Champions. Portway Press,. ISBN 978-1-901570-15-1. 
  14. ^ "Leading Sires of Great Britain and Ireland". Retrieved 2013-01-24. 
  15. ^ "Chanteur pedigree". 2012-05-08. Retrieved 2013-01-24. 
  16. ^ "Thoroughbred Bloodlines - Royal Mare - Family 12". Retrieved 2013-01-24.