Scratch (horse)

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BreederMarcel Boussac
OwnerMarcel Boussac
TrainerCharles Semblat
Record12: 7-1-0 (incomplete)
Major wins
Solario Stakes (1949)
Prix de Guiche (1950)
Prix Greffulhe (1950)
Prix du Jockey Club (1950)
St Leger Stakes (1950)
Prix Jean Prat (1951)
Timeform rating: 134

Scratch, also known as Scratch II (foaled 1947) was a French Thoroughbred racehorse and sire best known for winning the Prix du Jockey Club and the classic St Leger Stakes in 1950. Scratch won the Solario Stakes in England as a two-year-old and emerged as one of the best of a very strong generation of French-trained colts in the following year. He won the Prix de Guiche and Prix Greffulhe in the early part of the year and then defeated the year's outstanding three-year-old colt Tantieme in the Prix du Jockey Club. In the autumn of 1950 he won the St Leger by defeating Vieux Manoir, who had beaten him in the Grand Prix de Paris. He won the Prix Jean Prat as a four-year-old before being retired to stud where he had an unremarkable record as a sire of winners in Europe and South America.


Scratch was a chestnut horse with a white star and a white sock on his right hind leg[1] bred by his owner Marcel Boussac. He was sired by Pharis, the undefeated winner of the 1939 Grand Prix de Paris. Scratch's dam Orlamonde was an unsuccessful racehorse but produced several other winners including Damno, who won the Prix d'Arenberg. Orlamonde's dam Naic was a half sister of the Prix du Jockey Club winner Ramus and also produced the Grand Prix de Deauville winner Jock.[2] Scratch was sent into training with Charles Semblat at Chantilly.

Racing career[edit]

1949: two-year-old season[edit]

Scratch won twice as a two-year-old in 1949. In late summer he was sent to England for the Solario Stakes of seven furlongs at Sandown Park Racecourse. He was ridden by the British-born, French-based jockey Charlie Elliott and won at odds of 7/4.[3]

1950: three-year-old season[edit]

In the spring of his three-year-old season, Scratch won the Prix de Guiche over 1800 metres at Chantilly Racecourse and the Prix Greffulhe (beating L'Amiral) over 2100 at Longchamp Racecourse. He was beaten into second place by Lacaduv in the Prix Noailles at Longchamp.[4]

In June, Scratch faced Lacaduv again in the Prix du Jockey Club over 2400m at Chantilly. Scratch was ridden by the Australian jockey Rae Johnstone and started at odds of 3.8/1 against fourteen opponents. In an extremely close finish, Scratch won by a short-head from the Francois Mathet-trained Tantieme, with Lacaduv in third place.[5] In his next race, Scratch was moved up in distance for the Grand Prix de Paris over 3000m at Longchamp. He finished fourth behind Vieux Manoir, Alizier and Lacaduv.[4]

On 9 September, Scratch was sent to England to contest the St Leger over 14 furlongs at Doncaster Racecourse in which he was again opposed by Vieux Manoir. Ridden by Johntone, he started at odds of 9/2 in a field of fifteen runners. Saturn made the early running before Vieux Manoir, the favourite, took the lead five furlongs from the finish. Scratch was not among the early leaders but finished strongly to overtake Vieux Manoir inside the final furlong and win by a length,[6] with the two French colts finishing five lengths clear of the British filly Sanlinea. He became the first French horse to win the St Leger since Rayon d'Or in 1870.[7] Scratch's win gave Semblat his third British classic of the 1950 after winning The Derby with Galcador and the Oaks with Asmena and helped to make him British Champion trainer despite the fact that he had never set foot in the country during the season,[8] On his return from England, Scratch ran in France's most prestigious race, the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe over 2400m at Longchamp. He finished fourth of the twelve runners behind Tantieme, Alizier and L'Amiral.[4]

1951: four-year-old season[edit]

In May 1951 won the older horses' version of the Prix Jean Prat over 3000m at Longchamp. He finished unplaced behind Pan in the Ascot Gold Cup and was again unplaced behind Supreme Court in the inaugural running of the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes.[4]


In 1950, the independent Timeform organisation gave Scratch a rating of 134, placing him two pounds below the top-rated three-year-old Tantieme.[9] In their book, A Century of Champions, based on the Timeform rating system, John Randall and Tony Morris rated Scratch a "superior" winner of the St Leger.[5]

Stud record[edit]

Scratch was retired from racing to become a breeding stallion. In his third and final season at stud in Europe he sired Dushka, a filly who won the Prix de Diane in 1958. In 1955 Scratch was offered for sale at auction: he was sold for £52,500 and exported to Argentina.[4]


Pedigree of Scratch (FR), chestnut stallion 1947[10]
Pharis (FR)
Pharos (GB)
Phalaris Polymelus
Scapa Flow Chaucer
Carissima (FR)
Clarissimus Radium
Casquetts Captivation
Orlamonde (FR)
Asterus (FR)
Teddy Ajax
Astrella Verdun
Saint Astra
Naic (FR)
Gainsborough Bayardo
Only One Son o' Mine
Omorca (Family: 14-f)[2]


  1. ^ "Video Stills: THE ST. LEGER - British Pathé". 2012-04-05. Retrieved 2013-10-11.
  2. ^ a b "Thoroughbred Bloodlines - Honoria - Family 14-f". Retrieved 2013-10-11.
  3. ^ Abelson, Edward; Tyrrel, John (1993). The Breedon Book of Horse Racing Records. Breedon Books Publishing. ISBN 978-1-873626-15-3.
  4. ^ a b c d e Mortimer, Roger; Onslow, Richard; Willett, Peter (1978). Biographical Encyclopedia of British Flat Racing. Macdonald and Jane’s. ISBN 0-354-08536-0.
  5. ^ a b Morris, Tony; Randall, John (1999). A Century of Champions. Portway Press. ISBN 978-1-901570-15-1.
  6. ^ "French colt wins St Leger". Star-News. 10 September 1950. Retrieved 2013-10-11.
  7. ^ "Foreigners win St Leger Stakes". Spokesman-Review. 11 September 1950. Retrieved 2013-10-11.
  8. ^ Vamplew, Wray; Kay, Joyce (2005). Encyclopedia of British Horse Racing. Routledge.
  9. ^ Morris, Tony; Randall, John (1990). Horse Racing: Records, Facts, Champions (Third Edition). Guinness Publishing. ISBN 0-85112-902-1.
  10. ^ "Scratch pedigree". 2012-05-08. Retrieved 2013-10-11.