Musical Bliss

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Musical Bliss
SireThe Minstrel
GrandsireNorthern Dancer
Foaled25 February 1986
CountryUnited States
BreederSterlingbrook Farm
OwnerSheikh Mohammed
TrainerMichael Stoute
Record5: 3-0-0
Major wins
Rockfel Stakes (1988)
1000 Guineas (1989)

Musical Bliss (1986–2006) was an American-bred, British-trained Thoroughbred racehorse and broodmare who won the classic 1000 Guineas in 1989. In a racing career lasting from July 1988 until August 1989, the filly ran five times and won three races. In 1988, Musical Bliss won both her races including the Rockfel Stakes at Newmarket Racecourse. On her first appearance as a three-year-old, she won the 1000 Guineas but ran poorly in her two other races and was retired from racing at the end of the year. Her record as a broodmare was mixed.


Musical Bliss was a bay mare with a white blaze and a white sock on her left hind leg, bred in the United States by Sterlingbrook Farm. She was sired by The Minstrel, a Canadian-bred horse who won The Derby in 1977. As a breeding stallion, The Minstrel sired Bakharoff, Minstrella, Opening Verse, L'Emigrant and Palace Music.[2]

Musical Bliss was sent as a yearling to the Keeneland sales where she was bought by Sheikh Mohammed. The filly was sent to England to be trained by Michael Stoute at Newmarket, Suffolk and was ridden in four of her five races by Walter Swinburn.

Racing career[edit]

1988: two-year-old season[edit]

Musical Bliss made her first appearance in a six furlong maiden race at Ascot in July 1988. She started the 8/11 favourite and won by four lengths from Command Performer.[3] The filly was off the racecourse for almost three months before her second and final start of the year, when she was moved up in class to contest the Group Three Rockfel Stakes at Newmarket. She started slowly, but took the lead inside the final furlong and won by two lengths from Jaljuli.[4]

1989: three-year-old season[edit]

Musical Bliss made her first appearance as a three-year-old in the 1000 Guineas over the Rowley Mile at Newmarket on 4 May. She started at odds of 7/2 in a field of seven fillies, the smallest number of runners since 1904.[5] The other leading contenders were the Nell Gwyn Stakes winner Ensconse, who started 7/4 favourite and the Cheveley Park Stakes winner Pass The Peace.[6] Swinburn sent Musical Bliss into the lead from the start and set a steady pace before quickening inside the last quarter of a mile. In the closing stages she was challenged by her stable companion Kerrera, but held on to win by a length, with Aldbourne beating Ensconse in a photo-finish for third.[7] The win gave Michael Stoute his first winner of the race, after training the runner-up on six occasions.[8]

A month later, Musical Bliss was moved up in distance and started 4/1 second favourite for the Gold Seal Oaks over one and a half miles at Epsom. She was ridden by Michael Roberts, after Walter Swinburn elected to ride Stoute's other runner Aliysa, and his replacement Greville Starkey was claimed by his stable to ride a 40/1 outsider.[9] Musical Bliss was never able to challenge the leaders and tired in the closing stages to finish seventh of the nine runners, more than ten lengths behind Aliysa, who won comfortably.[10] The winner was subsequently disqualified after a post-race test revealed traces of a banned substance.[11]

On her only other racecourse appearance, Musical Bliss was matched against colts and older horses in the Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville Racecourse. She was never a factor in the race and finished eighth of the ten runners behind Polish Precedent.[12]


Musical Bliss was retired to become a broodmare for her owner's Darley Stud.[13] She produced at least nine foals and four winners.[1] The most successful of her progeny was the filly Muscadel, which won the Listed Prix Liancourt at Longchamp in 1997.[14] Musical Bliss died in 2006.[15]

Stud Record

1994 Muscadel (GB) : Bay filly, foaled 1 January, by Nashwan (USA) - won 2 races including LR Prix de Liancourt, Longchamp from 4 starts in France 1997

1998 Raneem (USA) : Bay colt, foaled 13 February, by Gone West (USA) - won 3 minor races in France and Dubai 2000-2003

2003 Festival Hall (USA) : Brown gelding, by Gone West (USA)

Assessment and honours[edit]

In their book, A Century of Champions, based on the Timeform rating system, John Randall and Tony Morris rated Musical Bliss an "inferior" winner of the 1000 Guineas.[16]


Pedigree of Musical Bliss (USA), bay mare, 1986[17]
The Minstrel (CAN)
Northern Dancer
Nearctic Nearco
Lady Angela
Natalma Native Dancer
Victoria Park Chop Chop
Flaming Page Bull Page
Flaring Top
Bori (USA)
Cohoes Mahmoud
Belle of Troy
Tap Day Bull Lea
Lucretia Bori
Bold Ruler Nasrullah
Miss Disco
Arietta Tudor Minstrel
Anne of Essex (Family:2-i)[18]


  1. ^ a b "July 2004 catalogue" (PDF). Tattersalls. Retrieved 2012-10-03.
  2. ^ "Stallion directory, great stallions, Northern Dancer". Archived from the original on 2012-08-25. Retrieved 2012-10-03.
  3. ^ "Virginia Water Maiden Stakes". Racing Post. Retrieved 2012-10-03.
  4. ^ "Rockfel Stakes". Racing Post. Retrieved 2012-10-03.
  5. ^ Morris, Tony; Randall, John (1990). Horse Racing: Records, Facts, Champions (Third Edition). Guinness Publishing. ISBN 0-85112-902-1.
  6. ^ "Guy's classy filly is ready to steal the show". Glasgow Herald. 4 May 1989. Retrieved 2012-10-03.
  7. ^ "1000 Guineas". Retrieved 2012-10-03.
  8. ^ Martin Talty (8 May 1989). "Another second for Stoute, but he also had the winner". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2012-10-03.
  9. ^ "Musical Bliss for Roberts in Oaks". New Straits Times. 10 June 1989. Retrieved 2012-10-03.
  10. ^ "Gold Seal Oaks". Racing Post. Retrieved 2012-10-03.
  11. ^ "Racing: Aga cool on return". The Independent. 29 June 1993. Retrieved 2012-10-03.
  12. ^ "Prix Jacques le Marois". Racing Post. Retrieved 2012-10-03.
  13. ^ "Bloodstock briefing: 1,000 Guineas winners have mixed record as broodmares". Free Online Library. 2003-04-30. Retrieved 2012-10-03.
  14. ^ "Muscadel". Racing Post. Retrieved 2012-10-03.
  15. ^ "Mare Produce Records- Bori". The Jockey Club Information Systems, Inc. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  16. ^ Morris, Tony; Randall, John (1999). A Century of Champions. Portway Press. ISBN 1-901570-15-0.
  17. ^ "Musical Bliss pedigree". 2012-05-08. Retrieved 2012-10-03.
  18. ^ "Thoroughbred Bloodlines - Crucifix - Family 2-i". Retrieved 2012-10-03.