Hyperion (horse)

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Foaled(1930-04-18)18 April 1930
Died9 December 1960(1960-12-09) (aged 30)
CountryUnited Kingdom
BreederEdward Stanley, 17th Earl of Derby
OwnerEdward Stanley, 17th Earl of Derby
TrainerGeorge Lambton
Record13: 9–1–2
Major wins
New Stakes (1932)
Dewhurst Stakes (1932)
Prince of Wales's Stakes (1933)
Chester Vase (1933)
Epsom Derby (1933)
St Leger Stakes (1933)
Leading Sire in GB & Ireland
(1940, 1941, 1942, 1945, 1946, 1954)
Leading Broodmare Sire in Britain & Ireland
(1948, 1957, 1967, 1968)
Last updated on 1 September 2022

Hyperion (18 April 1930 – 9 December 1960) was a British-bred Thoroughbred racehorse, a dual classic winner, an outstanding sire, and considered to be one of the most important Thoroughbreds of the 20th century.[1]

Owned by Edward Stanley, 17th Earl of Derby, Hyperion won GBP £29,509 during his racing career—a considerable sum at the time. His victories included the Epsom Derby and the St. Leger Stakes. He was the most successful British-bred sire of the 20th century and the champion sire in the UK six times between 1940 and 1954.[2]


Hyperion was born on 18 April 1930.[3] He was by the good Thoroughbred sire Gainsborough, who was one of three wartime Triple Crown winners in the United Kingdom. His dam, Selene, was by Chaucer, a talented son of the undefeated St. Simon. Selene was also the dam of such good sires such as Sickle (GB) (sireline ancestor of Native Dancer and Sea Bird), Pharamond (US), and Hunter's Moon (GB). Hyperion was linebred 3x4 to St. Simon.

The colt was bred and owned by Edward Stanley, 17th Earl of Derby, who hired George Lambton to train him.

According to writer Avalyn Hunter on Hyperion's conformation: "[Hyperion was a] muscular, powerfully built chestnut horse...he was short-legged and long-bodied for his height [15.1 hands (61 inches, 155 cm)], and somewhat ewe-necked and straight-shouldered, but had excellent action. He was light-boned below the knee. Although he had a distinct personality, and could have a mind of his own, he had a calm disposition. He was a thoroughly lazy horse at work, which was unfortunate as he needed a good deal of training to get into top condition, but was a determined performer on the race course."[3]

Racing career[edit]

As 2-year-old, in 1932, Hyperion won the New Stakes at Ascot and the Dewhurst Stakes, plus a dead-heat in the Prince of Wales Stakes, from five starts in 1932. He was undefeated in four starts. In 1933, as a 3-year-old, Hyperion went on to win the Chester Vase, the Epsom Derby, the Prince of Wales Stakes, and the St. Leger Stakes.[3]

He raced four times at the age of 4, winning two races, the March Stakes (ten furlongs) and the Burwell Stakes (showcase handicap), both contested at Newmarket. In his main race, the Ascot Gold Cup, he placed third, after Felicitation and Thor. The 2.5 mile race indicated that he was not a true stayer. In the Dullingham Stakes at Newmarket, only two horses started where the 3-year-old, Caithness, carrying 8 st. 1 lb. defeated Hyperion carrying 10 st. 2 lb. by a short head.

Stud record[edit]

He was retired to stud when he was 5 years old. He was a highly successful sire until his death on 9 December 1960, at the age of 30.

An important stallion, he sired the winners of 752 races, including 53 stakes winners that had 84 stakes wins, and was the leading sire in Great Britain & Ireland for six times, counting amongst his progeny:[4]

Hyperion's daughters foaled the winners of 1,196 races and GBP £1,131,346. He was also the damsire of Nearctic, who in turn sired Northern Dancer, the 20th century's greatest sire. He is also the damsire of Citation, one of the greatest American champions.

In Australia and New Zealand, Hyperion's descendants have exerted a profound influence on the racing and breeding industry. This influence was introduced via Hyperion's foreign based sons and also by his imported sons, Empyrean [(GB) H, 1944], Helios [(GB) H, 1937], High Peak [(GB) H, 1942], Red Mars [(GB) H, 1941], and Ruthless [(GB) H, 1941], as well as paternal grandsons such as "Star King" (by Stardust (GB) H, 1937) later known as the outstanding sire, Star Kingdom.

Lord Derby commissioned equine artist Martin Stainforth to paint a portrait of Hyperion.

A lifesize statue modelled by John Skeaping in bronze of Hyperion stands at the front of the Jockey Club headquarters on Newmarket High Street. From 2009, his skeleton has been exhibited at the National Horseracing Museum (also in Newmarket), lent by the Animal Health Trust to replace the skeleton of Eclipse.[3][5]

When Hyperion died, Lord Derby and associates toasted him from a bottle of cognac that had been opened in honor of Winston Churchill, and drank to "The two greatest Grand Old Men of our time."[2]


Pedigree of Hyperion (GB), chestnut stallion, 1930
Bay 1915
Bay 1906
Bay Ronald Hampton
Black Duchess
Galicia Galopin
Br. 1907
St. Frusquin St. Simon
Rosaline Trenton (NZ)
Bay 1919
Brown 1900
St.Simon Galopin
Canterbury Pilgrim Tristan
Bay 1913
Minoru Cyllene
Mother Siegel
Gondolette Loved One
Donogola (Family No. 6)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Hyperion". Thoroughbred Heritage Portraits. Retrieved 3 October 2023.
  2. ^ a b Randall, John (23 August 1999). "John Randall on the 100 makers of 20th-century racing (Part 4)". The Racing Post. Retrieved 19 April 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d Hunter, Avalyn. "Hyperion". American Classic Pedigrees. Retrieved 3 October 2023.
  4. ^ "Hyperion - SW progeny". Australian Stud Book. Australian Turf Club Limited and Victoria Racing Club Limited. Retrieved 31 August 2011.
  5. ^ "Good Old Hyperion". National Horse Racing Museum. Retrieved 3 October 2023.

External links[edit]