One in a Million (horse)

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One in a Million
Sire Rarity
Grandsire Hethersett
Dam Singe
Damsire Tudor Music
Sex Mare
Foaled 25 April 1976[1]
Country United Kingdom
Colour Bay
Breeder Mount Coote Waverton Stud
Owner Helena Springfield Ltd
Trainer Henry Cecil
Record 6: 5-0-0
Major wins
Blue Seal Stakes (1978)
Houghton Stakes (1978)
Nell Gwyn Stakes (1979)
1000 Guineas (1979)
Coronation Stakes (1979)
Top-rated British three-year-old filly (1979)
Timeform rating: 116p (1978), 125 (1979)

One in a Million (25 April 1976 – 1992) was an Irish-bred, British-trained Thoroughbred racehorse and broodmare best known for winning the classic 1000 Guineas in 1979. She won both her races as a two-year-old in impressive style and began her three-year-old season with a five length win in the Nell Gwyn Stakes. She won the 1000 Guineas as a short-priced favourite and was awarded victory in the Coronation Stakes on the disqualifiaction of Buz Kashi. She lost her unbeaten record when finishing unplaced in the July Cup and never raced again. After being retired from racing she had considerable success as a broodmare. She died in 1992.


One in a Million was a small, lightly-built[2] bay filly with a faint white star bred in Ireland by the County Limerick-based Mount Coote Stud. She was the only classic winner sired by Rarity who won two running of the Desmond Stakes but produced his best performance when beaten a short head by Brigadier Gerard in the Champion Stakes. Her dam Singe never raced but came from a good family, being a half sister to Deep Run and a granddaughter of Mitrailleuse, a mare whose other descendants included Full Dress, Commanche Run and Swiftfoot (Irish Oaks.[3]

As a yearling, the filly was sent to the Newmarket Houghton sales in October 1977 and was bought for 18,500 guineas[4] by the bloodstock agent Richard Galpin,[5] on behalf of Egon Weinfeld, who raced her in the black and white colours of his company Helena Springfield Ltd. The filly was sent into training with Henry Cecil in Newmarket, Suffolk and was ridden in her races by Joe Mercer.

Racing career[edit]

1978: two-year-old season[edit]

One in a Million made her racecourse debut against nine opponents in the Listed Blue Seal Stakes over six furlongs at Ascot Racecourse in September. She was made favourite for the race after reports that she had performed impressively in a training gallop against her stable companions Formulate and Odeon who had finished first and second in the Hoover Fillies' Mile. After tracking the leaders until the final furlong, One in a Million produced what Timeform described as an "electrifying burst"[4] of acceleration to take the lead and win easily by one and a half lengths from Lyric Dance. In October, the filly was matched against colts as she carried top weight in the Houghton Stakes over seven furlong at Newmarket Racecourse. She took the lead from the start, went clear of the field in the last quarter-mile and won easily by four lengths from Milford, despite being eased down by Mercer in the closing stages. As a result of her win she was made one of the favourites for the following year's 1000 Guineas although Cecil was cautious, describing her as a "rather fragile" filly, who "may not winter well".[4]

1979: three-year-old season[edit]

On her three-year-old debut, One in a Million was matched against the Cheveley Park Stakes winner Devon Ditty in the Group Three Nell Gwyn Stakes over seven furlongs at Newmarket. The race was a trial race for the 1000 Guineas and One in a Million was made the 8/13 favourite.[6] She was restrained by Mercer until half way but then accelerated into the lead and went clear of the field to win by five lengths from Devon Ditty. Three weeks later One in a Million started even money favourite against seventeen opponents for the 167th running of the 1000 Guineas over Newmarket's Rowley Mile course. Her main rivals appeared to be Pitasia (Prix Robert Papin, Criterium des Pouliches), Topsy (Fred Darling Stakes) and Lyric Dance (Free Handicap). She was always going well and settled the race with a burst of acceleration three furlongs from the finish which took her clear of the field. In the final strides she appeared to be tiring slightly but she was never seriously challenged and won by one and a half lengths and a head from the outsiders Abbeydale and Yanuka.[2]

As One in a Million seemed most unlikely to stay further than a mile she was withdrawn from the one and a half-mile Oaks Stakes and next appeared in the Coronation Stakes (then a Group Two race) at Royal Ascot. She started the 10/11 favourite in a field which included Abbeydale, Yanuka, Topsy and Formulate. She took the lead early in the straight and looked likely to win easily but in the final furlong she was overtaken by the outsider Buz Kashi and was beaten one and a half lengths into second place. She was awarded the race after an inquiry by the racecourse stewards, who disqualified Buz Kashi for causing interference to Lightning Record two furlong from the finish. For her next race, One in a Million was brought back in distance to race against specialist sprinters in the July Cup over six furlongs at Newmarket. She never looked likely to win and was eased down by Mercer in the closing stages, finishing unplaced behind Thatching.[2]


In 1978, the independent Timeform organisation gave One in a Million a rating of 116p,[4] sixteen pounds below their top-rated two-year-old filly Sigy. The "p" indicated that the filly was likely to make more than usual improvement. In the inaugural International Classification, she was rated eight pounds below Sigy and four pounds below the leading British-trained fillies Devon Ditty and Formulate.[4] In the following year she was rated 125 by Timeform, eight pounds below the top-rated three-year-old filly Three Troikas. She was the top-rated British-trained filly in the International Classification, fourteen pounds below Three Troikas.[2]

In their book, A Century of Champions, based on the Timeform rating system, John Randall and Tony Morris rated One in a Million an "average" winner of the 1000 Guineas.[7]

Stud record[edit]

One in a Million was retired from racing to become a broodmare at her owner's Meon Valley Stud in Hampshire. She produced eight foals between 1981 and 1990:

One in a Million died at the Meon Valley Stud in 1992.[11]


Pedigree of One in a Million (IRE), bay mare, 1976[1]
Rarity (GB)
Hethersett (GB)
Hugh Lupus Djebel
Bride Elect Big Game
Netherton Maid
Who Can Tell (GB)
Worden Wild Risk
Sans Tares
Javotte Whirlaway
Singe (IRE)
Tudor Music (GB)
Tudor Melody Tudor Minstrel
Fran Acropolis
Trial By Fire (FR)
Court Martial Fair Trial
Mitrailleuse Mieuxce
French Kin (Family: 16-h)[3]


  1. ^ a b "One in a Million pedigree". 8 May 2012. Retrieved 21 December 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d Timeform staff (1980). Racehorses of 1979. Timeform. ISBN 0-900599-29-4. 
  3. ^ a b "Thoroughbred Bloodlines – Lily Agnes – Family 16-h". Retrieved 21 December 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Timeform staff (1979). Racehorses of 1978. Timeform. ISBN 0-900599-27-8. 
  5. ^ Popham, Mark (28 February 2008). "Prominent Agent Galpin Dead". Retrieved 21 December 2013. 
  6. ^ Abelson, Edward; Tyrrel, John (1993). The Breedon Book of Horse Racing Records. Breedon Books Publishing. ISBN 978-1-873626-15-3. 
  7. ^ Morris, Tony; Randall, John (1999). A Century of Champions. Portway Press,. ISBN 978-1-901570-15-1. 
  8. ^ Timeform staff (1985). Racehorses of 1984. Timeform. ISBN 0-900599-40-5. 
  9. ^ "Millionaire's Row Record By Race Type". Racing Post. 2 June 2011. Retrieved 21 December 2013. 
  10. ^ "Number One Spot Record By Race Type". Racing Post. 2 June 2011. Retrieved 21 December 2013. 
  11. ^ "One in a Million". Archived from the original on 20 December 2013. Retrieved 30 August 2013.