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St. Simon (horse)

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St. Simon
DamSt. Angela
DamsireKing Tom
CountryGreat Britain
BreederPrince Gustavus Batthyany
OwnerDuke of Portland
TrainerMathew Dawson
Major wins
Ascot Gold Cup (1884)
Goodwood Cup (1884)
Epsom Gold Cup (1884)
Leading sire in Britain & Ireland
(1890-1896 & 1900–1901)
Leading broodmare sire in Britain & Ireland
(1903–1907 & 1916)
  1. 4 - Top 10 GB. Racehorses of the 19th Century
    St. Simon Stakes at Newbury
Last updated on 20 July 2006

St. Simon (1881 – April 2, 1908) was an undefeated British Thoroughbred racehorse and one of the most successful sires in the history of the Thoroughbred. In May 1886 The Sporting Times' carried out a poll of one hundred experts to create a ranking of the best British racehorses of the 19th century. St. Simon was ranked fourth, having been placed in the top ten by 53 of the contributors.[1]


St. Simon was bred by Prince Gustavus Batthyany of Hungary and foaled at William Barrow's Paddocks near Newmarket. He was by Galopin, also owned by Batthyany, who won 10 out of 11 races including The Derby. Retired to stud in 1876, Galopin was not an immediate success, covering only 12 mares in his first crop. His stud fee dropped as low as 50 guineas before the success of first Galiard in the 1883 2000 Guineas and then St. Simon established his reputation. Galopin eventually became the leading sire in Great Britain and Ireland in 1888, 1889, and 1898.[2]

St. Simon's dam, St. Angela (by King Tom), was disappointing as a broodmare up to the time she produced St. Simon, her sixth foal, at age 16. Her other notable progeny was a full-sister to St. Simon named Angelica, who later became the dam of champion and major stallion Orme (1889 by Ormonde).[3][4]


St. Simon with jockey up

St. Simon was a brown colt with a small star on his forehead and a few white hairs on the inside of his pasterns and heels. Almost all the foals he sired were bay or brown, with the exception of a gray filly (Tsu Shima) and a gray colt (Posthumus), both out of gray mares.[5] His final height was 16 or 16.1 hands (65 inches, 165 cm) (sources differ), but his fine build made him look smaller. His offspring, especially his fillies, were usually slightly smaller than average. He had a fine head that was slightly dished, clean legs—although quite over at the knee—and a short back. He also had strong quarters and a very good shoulder,[6] which according to the 1916 Bloodstock Breeders Review was "a study. So obliquely was [the shoulder] placed that it appeared to extend far into his back, making the latter look shorter." His girth was said to be 78 inches (2.0 m), and his cannon bone measured 8+12 inches (220 mm) around.

Racing career[edit]

1883: two-year-old season[edit]

Prince Batthyany died in May 1883 while attending the 2000 Guineas, won by his colt Galiard.[2] This led to a dispersal sale of all his stock, at which St. Simon was purchased for 1,600 guineas by the 25-year-old Duke of Portland. Reportedly Batthyany's trainer John Dawson had painted the colt's hocks with a suspicious white substance, perhaps in an effort to discourage bidders. Mathew Dawson, John Dawson's brother, inspected the colt and was satisfied he was sound. St. Simon was moved to Dawson's Heath House stables at Newmarket.[3]

The colt began his racing career under jockey Fred Archer at the five furlong Halnaker Stakes at Goodwood, winning by six lengths. The following day he won the six-furlong Maiden Plate (for which he was eligible because he was a maiden at the time of his entry) by a length, carrying 9 stone 7 pounds (133 lb). He then easily won a five-furlong race against Clochette and Fleta, the five-furlong Devonshire Nursery Plate (against 19 other horses, carrying 8 stone 12 pounds (124 lb) by two lengths at a canter, and the seven-furlong Princes of Wales's Nursery Plate (Doncaster) carrying 9 stone (130 lb; 57 kg) and winning by eight lengths against 21 other horses. St. Simon followed this by a win in a six furlong match against Duke of Richmond to end his two-year-old year considered the best of his age, despite not winning a major stakes race.[3]

1884: three-year-old season[edit]

St. Simon was prevented from running in the classics because the death of Prince Batthyany had invalidated his entries. His three-year-old career began with an unofficial trial race at Newmarket in which he was matched against the leading older horse Tristan at weight-for-age over one and a half miles at Newmarket.[7] St. Simon won very easily by six lengths. St. Simon's first official race of the year was a walkover at the 10-furlong Epsom Gold Cup. He then won the 2½ mile Ascot Gold Cup by 20 lengths, despite having trailed in the beginning of the race, to beat Tristan and Faugh-a-Ballagh.[3] He was so strong that it took almost a whole lap for his jockey to pull him up.[4] In the one-mile Newcastle Gold Cup, he beat his only other competitor, Chiselhurst, by eight lengths, but suffered some damage due to the hard ground. He then defeated former St. Leger winner Ossian by 20 lengths in the 2½ mile Goodwood Cup. Later that year, St. Simon was worked in a set with three colts — The Lambkin (who would win that year's St. Leger), Scot Free (winner of that year's 2,000 Guineas) and Harvester (who had dead-heated in the Epsom Derby) — beating them all with ease.[3]

The Newcastle Cup running caught up to him, producing serious leg problems. St. Simon was kept in training in 1885, and there were hopes of a meeting with the other leading colt of his generation St. Gatien.[8] He did not recover, however, and never raced again, beginning his breeding career at the age of five.

Stud record[edit]

St. Simon retired to stud in 1886 and sired 423 live foals, who between them won 571 races and more than half a million pounds in stake-money from 1889 through the first decade of the twentieth century.[9] Among his progeny were 10 English Classic winners who won 17 classic races between them. The 10 Classic winners is the third-highest total of all-time, behind Stockwell and Sadler's Wells, both with 12. The 17 Classic race wins by his offspring ties him for the all-time record with Stockwell.[10] His classic winners were: Memoir, Semolina, La Fleche (horse), Mrs Butterwick, Amiable, Persimmon, St Frusquin, Diamond Jubilee, La Roche, and Winifreda. The latter three between them swept all five English Classics of 1900 — the only times a sire has accomplished this feat.[10]

Notable progeny[edit]

St. Simon was the Leading sire in Great Britain & Ireland nine times. His notable progeny include:[3][6][11]

St. Simon was also the leading broodmare sire in Great Britain and Ireland six times. As a broodmare sire, his notable progeny include:[3]

  • Cheery, dam of Bromus, and granddam of Phalaris
  • Concertina, dam of Plucky Liege, one of the most important broodmares of the 20th century[12]
  • Festa, dam of Febula, Fels and Fervor in Germany
  • Ondulee, dam of highly influential broodmare Frizette
  • Roquebrune, dam of Rock Sand
  • Signorina, dam of Signorino, Signorinetta
  • Simonath, dam of Flamboyant and granddam of Papyrus

St. Simon's sire line has continued to modern times through Rabelais down to Ribot,[10] the two-time winner of the Arc de Triomphe and a major sire in England and the United States. Ribot left behind many successful sons to carry on the line, although the number of male-line descendants has dwindled in the 21st century.[13] However, St. Simon is a pervasive influence in the breed through other lines of descent. For example, Nearco, inbred 5 x 4 × 4 × 5 to St. Simon, would found the most dominant Thoroughbred sire-line of the following century.[14] Nearco's grandson Northern Dancer, another enormously influential sire, has fifteen crosses to St. Simon in the first eight generations of his pedigree.[15] Pedigree expert Anne Peters refers to his bloodline as "one of the most widespread and omnipresent in the Thoroughbred gene pool today."[3]

St. Simon died when he was 27 years old and his skeleton belongs to the British Museum of Natural History.[4]


Pedigree of St. Simon (11-c), brown horse, 1881
Voltigeur Voltaire
Martha Lynn
Mrs. Ridgway Birdcatcher
Nan Darrel
Flying Duchess
The Flying Dutchman Bay Middleton
Merope Voltaire
Velocidede's Dam
St. Angela
King Tom
Harkaway Economist
Fanny Dawson
Pocahontas Glencoe
Ion Cain
Little Fairy Hornsea
Lacerta (F-No.11-c)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Morris, Tony; Randall, John (1990). Horse Racing: Records, Facts, Champions (Third ed.). Guinness Publishing. ISBN 0-85112-902-1.
  2. ^ a b Martiniak, Elizabeth. "Galopin". www.tbheritage.com. Retrieved 29 July 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Peters, Anne. "St. Simon". www.tbheritage.com. Retrieved 29 July 2016.
  4. ^ a b c Pryor, Peter, The Classic Connection, Cortney Publications, Luton, 1979
  5. ^ "St Simon Offspring". www.pedigreequery.com. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  6. ^ a b Avalyn Hunter. "St. Simon (horse)". American Classic Pedigrees. Retrieved 29 July 2016.
  7. ^ "ENGLISH AND FOREIGN". Otago Witness. 5 July 1884. Retrieved 2012-02-25.
  8. ^ "English and foreign". Otago Witness. 16 May 1885. Retrieved 2011-11-26.
  9. ^ Barrie, Douglas M., "The Australian Bloodhorse", Angus & Robertson, Sydney, 1956
  10. ^ a b c "English Classic Winners". www.highflyer.supanet.com. Archived from the original on 30 November 2015. Retrieved 31 July 2016.
  11. ^ "Horseracing History Online -St Simon". www.horseracinghistory.co.uk. Retrieved 31 July 2016.
  12. ^ "Plucky Liege".
  13. ^ Peters, Anne. "Kentucky Sire Lines for 2015". bloodhorse.com. Retrieved 31 July 2016.
  14. ^ "Nearco". www.pedigreequery.com. Retrieved 31 July 2016.
  15. ^ Avalyn Hunter (2003). American classic pedigrees (1914-2002) : a decade-by-decade review of Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont winners, plus Kentucky Oaks and Coaching Club American Oaks (1st ed.). Lexington, Ky.: Eclipse Press. p. 351. ISBN 1-58150-095-5.

External links[edit]