Marwell (horse)

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GrandsireSir Gaylord
DamLady Seymour
DamsireTudor Melody
Foaled21 May 1978[1]
BreederEdmund Loder
OwnerEdmund Loder
TrainerMichael Stoute
Major wins
Molecomb Stakes (1980)
Flying Childers Stakes (1980)
Cheveley Park Stakes (1980)
Fred Darling Stakes (1981)
Gus Demmy Memorial (1981)
King's Stand Stakes (1981)
July Cup (1981)
Prix de l'Abbaye (1981)
Timeform rating 133 (1981)
Timeform top-rated two-year-old filly (1980)
Top-rated European two-year-old filly (1980)
Timeform top-rated three-year-old filly (1981)
Top-rated European three-year-old filly (1981)

Marwell (21 May 1978 – October 2003) was an Irish-bred, British-trained Thoroughbred racehorse and broodmare. A specialist sprinter, she won ten of her thirteen races, including several against colts and older horses, and was the highest-rated filly of her generation in Europe at both two and three years of age. She won all five of her races as a two-year-old in 1980, including the Molecomb Stakes, Flying Childers Stakes, and Cheveley Park Stakes. In the following year, she was beaten over a mile in the classic 1000 Guineas but returned to sprinting to win the King's Stand Stakes July Cup and Prix de l'Abbaye. She was retired from racing at the end of 1981 and became a successful broodmare. Marwell died in 2003.


Marwell was a bay filly with no white markings bred by her owner, Edmund Loder, at the family's Eyresfield Stud near the Curragh in County Kildare.[2] She was sired by Habitat, an American-bred, British-raced miler who became one of the leading European stallions of the 1970s and 1980s. His other progeny included Habibti, Rose Bowl, Flying Water, and Steinlen[3] and he was the British Champion broodmare sire on three occasions.[4] Her dam, Lady Seymour, was undefeated in two races, including the Phoenix Stakes (then a Group Two race) in 1974. As a daughter of My Game, Lady Seymour was also closely related to the Ascot Gold Cup winner Paean and the Oaks winner Unite.[5]

Loder sent his filly into training with Michael Stoute at his Freemason Lodge stable in Newmarket, where she was an exact contemporary of Shergar. She was usually ridden by Lester Piggott in her early races, before Stoute's new stable jockey Walter Swinburn took over in 1981.

Racing career[edit]

1980: two-year-old season[edit]

As a two-year-old in 1980, Marwell was unbeaten in five races, beginning with a four-length success in the Chesterfield Stakes over five furlong at Newmarket Racecourse. After one minor win, she was moved up in class and sent to Goodwood Racecourse in July for the five-furlong Molecomb Stakes. Ridden by Lester Piggott, she won the Group Three event at odds of 4/6[6] from Swan Princess with the Queen Mary Stakes winner Pushy in third place. Stoute considered moving the filly up in distance for the Lowther Stakes at York Racecourse in August but opted for the Prince of Wales's Stakes on the following day. She defeated Welshwyn by one and a half lengths despite carrying a seven-pound weight penalty for her Goodwood success.[7] With Piggott serving a suspension, Greville Starkey took the ride on Marwell when the filly was matched against colts in the Group Two Flying Childers Stakes at Doncaster Racecourse in September. She was made the 4/11 favourite[6] and after starting slowly took the lead approaching the final furlong and drew clear of her opponents to win by three lengths despite being eased down in the closing stages. On her final appearance of the season, Marwell contested the Cheveley Park Stakes, then the only Group One race in the United Kingdom restricted to two-year-old fillies. Ridden again by Piggott, she won at odds of 4/9[6] from Welshwyn and Pushy.[7]

1981: three-year-old season[edit]

On her first appearance of the 1981 season, Marwell was moved up in distance for the seven-furlong Fred Darling Stakes at Newbury Racecourse, a trial race for the 1000 Guineas. Ridden for the first time by the nineteen-year-old Walter Swinburn, she won, although her opposition was not regarded as particularly strong.[8] On 30 April, Marwell was one of fourteen fillies to contest the 1000 Guineas over Newmarket's Rowley Mile course. Despite doubts about her ability to stay the distance, she was well-fancied but finished fourth, a length behind favourite Fairy Footsteps.[9] Although her defeat was widely attributed to a lack of stamina, Swinburn later stated that the filly could have won the race had she not been in season.[10] On 19 May, Marwell returned to sprinting for the Gus Demmy Memorial Stakes over six furlong at Haydock Park Racecourse and produced a "most impressive performance" to beat July Stakes winner Age Quod Agis.[9]

In June, Marwell was matched against colts and older horses at Royal Ascot in the King's Stand Stakes, one of three Group One, all-aged sprints run in Europe at that time. Starting the 5/4 favourite, she overtook the front-running Standaan approaching the final furlong and pulled clear with what was described as "a blistering turn of acceleration"[11] to win impressively. On her next appearance, she ran in the six_furlong July Cup at Newmarket, in which she was opposed by Moorestyle, the outstanding sprinter of 1980. Swinburn had to attend a disciplinary hearing at the Jockey Club on the morning of the race but had a car standing by and reached Newmarket in time to ride the filly.[11] Marwell and Moorestyle moved to the front of the field a furlong from the finish before the filly accelerated clear to win. Marwell returned to five furlongs for the Group Two William Hill Sprint Championship on soft ground at York Racecourse in August. In what was considered a major upset, she finished second, beaten two and a half lengths by Sharpo, who recorded the second of his three wins in the race at odds of 14/1.[12]

At Haydock in September, Marwell sustained another upset defeat in the Vernons Sprint Cup when she was narrowly beaten by Runnett, a four-year-old who had finished third in the King's Stand Stakes. On her final appearance, Marwell was sent to France for the Group One Prix de l'Abbaye over 1000 metres at Longchamp Racecourse in October. She won her third Group One of the year, beating Sharpo into second place.


In 1980, the independent Timeform organisation awarded Marwell a rating of 124, making her the highest-rated two-year-old filly. In the official International Classification, she shared first place with Tolmi, the winner of the Princess Margaret Stakes. In the following year, Marwell was the rated the best three-year-old filly of the year by the International Classification and by Timeform, with the latter organisation rating her at 133.[13] In their annual Racehorses of 1981, Timeform commented, "Sprinting will be fortunate indeed to see her like among the so-called weaker sex inside another few seasons".[14]

In their book A Century of Champions, John Randall and Tony Morris rated Marwell the 26th+best filly trained in Britain or Ireland in the 20th century and placed her 35th in their list of sprinters.[15]

Breeding record[edit]

After her retirement from racing, Marwell returned to her birthplace at Eyresfield and became a broodmare. She produced at least eight individual winners, including two who succeeded at Group One level:

Marwell was retired from stud duties in 2002 at the age of 24[21] and was euthanised at Eyresfield in the following October. Swinburn paid tribute to Marwell, calling her "a fabulous filly who did as much to get me established as Shergar" and "a very special friend".[10]


Pedigree of Marwell (IRE), bay mare, 1978[1]
Habitat (USA)
Sir Gaylord (USA)
Turn-To Royal Charger
Source Sucree
Somethingroyal Princequillo
Little Hut (USA)
Occupy Bull Dog
Miss Bunting
Savage Beauty Challenger
Lady Seymour (GB)
Tudor Melody (GB)
Tudor Minstrel Owen Tudor
Matelda Dante
Fairly Hot
My Game (IRE)
My Babu Djebel
Flirting Big Game
Overture (Family:14-c)[5]


  1. ^ a b "Marwell pedigree". 2012-05-08. Retrieved 2013-07-11.
  2. ^ "Marwell's influence still as strong as ever; BLOODSTOCK DESK". Racing Post. 30 May 2007. Retrieved 2013-06-21.
  3. ^ "Habitat". 2002-02-03. Archived from the original on 2011-11-28. Retrieved 2012-08-04.
  4. ^ "Leading Broodmare Sires of Great Britain and Ireland". Retrieved 2012-08-04.
  5. ^ a b "Thoroughbred Bloodlines - Pretty Polly - Family 14-c". Retrieved 2013-06-20.
  6. ^ a b c Abelson, Edward; Tyrrel, John (1993). The Breedon Book of Horse Racing Records. Breedon Books Publishing. ISBN 978-1-873626-15-3.
  7. ^ a b "White a Gold" (12 June 1981). "Welshwyn to succeed as a sprinter". Glasgow Herald. Retrieved 2013-07-11.
  8. ^ "Martin Gale" (30 April 1981). "Go Leasing each way looks best bet for guineas". Glasgow Herald. Retrieved 2013-07-11.
  9. ^ a b "White and Gold" (19 June 1981). "Speedy Marwell has credentials". Glasgow Herald. Retrieved 2013-07-11.
  10. ^ a b Geoff Lester and Lee Mottershead (31 October 2003). "Swinburn pays tribute to sprinting star Marwell". Racing Post. Retrieved 2013-07-10.
  11. ^ a b "White and Gold" (9 July 1981). "Marwell can underline claim to sprint title". Glasgow Herald. Retrieved 2013-07-11.
  12. ^ "HEROES OF YORK; Sharpo (Nunthorpe Stakes 1980–82)". Racing Post. 14 August 2011. Retrieved 2013-07-11.
  13. ^ Morris, Tony; Randall, John (1990). Horse Racing: Records, Facts, Champions (Third Edition). Guinness Publishing. ISBN 0-85112-902-1.
  14. ^ Timeform (1984). Racehorses of 1983. Timeform. ISBN 0-900599-40-5.
  15. ^ Morris, Tony; Randall, John (1999). A Century of Champions. Portway Press. ISBN 978-1-901570-15-1.
  16. ^ "Selaah race record". Racing Post. 2011-06-02. Retrieved 2013-07-10.
  17. ^ "Wellspring race record". Racing Post. Retrieved 2013-07-10.
  18. ^ "Marwell's Kris race record". Racing Post. Retrieved 2013-07-10.
  19. ^ "Littlefeather race record". Racing Post. 2011-06-02. Retrieved 2013-07-10.
  20. ^ "Music Celebre race record". Racing Post. Retrieved 2013-07-10.
  21. ^ "Sprint star Marwell retired from stud duty". Racing Post. 24 April 2002. Retrieved 2013-07-10.