Sweet Solera

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Sweet Solera
Sire Solonaway
Grandsire Solferino
Dam Miss Gammon
Damsire Grandmaster
Sex Mare
Foaled 1958
Country Ireland
Colour Chestnut
Breeder Mrs D. M. Walker
Owner Mrs Magnus Castello
Trainer Reginald Day
Record 8: 6-1-1
Earnings £40,165
Major wins
Cherry Hinton Stakes (1960)
1,000 Guineas Trial Stakes (1961)
Thirsk Classic Trial (1961)
1000 Guineas (1961)
Epsom Oaks (1961)
Honours
Timeform top-rated European three-year-old filly (1961)[1]
Timeform rating: 129
Sweet Solera Stakes at Newmarket

Sweet Solera (1958–1978) was an Irish-bred, British-trained Thoroughbred racehorse. In a racing career lasting from June 1960 until June 1961, the unfashionably-bred filly ran eight times and won six races. As a two-year-old she was beaten in her first two races, but her five-lengths win in the Cherry Hinton Stakes at Newmarket Racecourse was enough to see her rated among the best juveniles of the year. Sweet Solera was unbeaten in four races including the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket and Oaks at Epsom. She was then retired to stud, and had some success as a broodmare.

Background[edit]

Sweet Solera was a "big, handsome"[2] chestnut filly with a broad white blaze and a long white sock on her left hind leg,[3] bred in Ireland by Mrs D. M Walker. Her sire, Solonaway won the Irish 2000 Guineas over a mile, but was better known as a sprinter. In the year of Sweet Solera's birth he was exported to Japan, where he became Champion sire in 1966.[4] Her dam, Miss Gammon, won three minor races and was a half-sister of Royal Rasher, who won the Del Mar Oaks in 1957. She was a member of Thoroughbred Family 11-f which also produced Colombo, Aunt Edith and Meadow Court.[5] An unusual feature of Sweet Solera's pedigree was the presence in the fourth generation of Call Boy: the 1927 Epsom Derby winner was almost sterile and sired very few foals.

Sweet Solera's pedigree was not considered an impressive one[6] and when she was sent as a yearling to the October sales at Newmarket she was bought for 1,850 guineas by the trainer Reg Day, acting on behalf of Mrs S. M. Castello.[7] Day, who began training racehorses as a teenager in 1900, prepared the filly for racing at his Terrace House stables at Newmarket, Suffolk.[8]

Racing career[edit]

Sweet Solera's two-year-old season lasted less than two months. She began her racing career at Kempton Park in June 1960 when she finished second in the Rivermead Stakes. Later that month she was moved up in class to contest the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot and finished third behind Cynara. In July Sweet Solera recorded her first success when she won the Princess Stakes at Newmarket, beating Ambergris by three lengths. The runner-up subsequently boosted the form when she defeated colts in the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster. In the Cherry Hinton Stakes at the same course she was an impressive winner, beating Palatina by five lengths. Sweet Solera was being prepared for a run in the Cheveley Park Stakes in October when she contracted a respiratory infection which brought an end to her season.[6] At the end of the year she was given a weight of 128 pounds, the fifth highest in the Free Handicap, a rating of the season's best two-year-olds.[9] The top weight of 133 pounds was given to the French-trained filly Opaline, who had won the Cheveley Park Stakes in Sweet Solera's absence.

On her three-year-old debut, Sweet Solera won the 1000 Guineas Trial Stakes at Kempton Park on 3 April, beating Who Can Tell, who subsequently won the Fred Darling Stakes. Twelve days later, she was then tried against colts for the first and only time in the Thirsk Classic Trial over one mile at Thirsk Racecourse. She won by three-quarters of a length from the colt Henry The Seventh,[2] but appeared fortunate not to be disqualified, having hampered the runner-up in the closing stages.[6] Henry the Seventh went on to win several major races including the Eclipse Stakes. In the 1000 Guineas over the Rowley Mile at Newmarket, Sweet Solera was ridden by Bill Rickaby and started the 4/1 joint favourite with Mystify in a field of fourteen fillies. She won by one and a half lengths from Ambergris with a gap of six lengths back to Indian Melody in third.[10] The time of 1:38.14 was over a second faster than that recorded by the colt Rockavon in the previous day's 2000 Guineas.[11] Despite doubts about her stamina over the one and a half mile distance, Sweet Solera started 11/4 favourite for the Oaks at Epsom a month later. The race saw a duplication of the Newmarket form, with Sweet Solera beating Ambergris by one and a half lengths.[7] Sweet Solera never raced again.

Retirement[edit]

The best of Sweet Solera's offspring was Bon Appetit, a filly sired by Major Portion, who won the Prix Vanteaux in 1970. Bon Appetit's daughter Batave, a Group-placed sprinter, produced the colt Bigstone, whose wins included the Sussex Stakes and the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.[12] Sweet Solera died in 1978.[13]

Assessment and honours[edit]

Sweet Solera was given a Timeform rating of 129 in 1960 and 127 in 1961, when she was the highest rated three-year-old filly in Europe.

In their book, A Century of Champions, based on the Timeform rating system, John Randall and Tony Morris rated Sweet Solera an "average" winner of the 1000 Guineas and Oaks.[11]

The Group Three Sweet Solera Stakes for two-year-old fillies is run at Newmarket in August.[14]

Pedigree[edit]

Pedigree of Sweet Solera (IRE), chestnut mare, 1958[15]
Sire
Solonaway (GB)
1946
Solferino
1940
Fairway Phalaris
Scapa Flow
Sol Speranza Ballyferis
Sunbridge
Anyway
1935
Grand Glacier Grand Parade
Glaspia
The Widow Murphy Pomme-de-Terre
Waterwitch
Dam
Miss Gammon (GB)
1947
Grandmaster
1942
Atout Maitre Vatout
Royal Mistress
Homorarium Colorado Kid
Emolument
Rasher
1942
His Grace Blandford
Malva
Bacona Call Boy
Etona (Family 11-f)[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Morris, Tony; Randall, John (1990). Horse Racing: Records, Facts, Champions (Third Edition). Guinness Publishing. ISBN 0-85112-902-1. 
  2. ^ a b "Sweet Solera is voted best". Evening Times. April 26, 1961. Retrieved 2012-07-31. 
  3. ^ "Sweet Solera image". sporthorse-data.com. Retrieved 2012-07-31. 
  4. ^ "Leading Sires of Japan". Tbheritage.com. Retrieved 2012-07-31. 
  5. ^ a b "Kermesse - Family 11-f". Bloodlines.net. Retrieved 2012-07-31. 
  6. ^ a b c Mortimer, Roger; Onslow, Richard; Willett, Peter (1999). Biographical Encyclopedia of British Flat Racing. Macdonald and Jane’s. ISBN 0-354-08536-0. 
  7. ^ a b ""Solera" wins the Oaks". Evening Times. 2 June 1961. Retrieved 2012-07-31. 
  8. ^ "Person Profile : Reginald Day". Horseracing History Online. Retrieved 2012-07-31. 
  9. ^ "Fillies with outstanding Oaks claims". Glasgow Herald. 1 June 1961. Retrieved 2012-07-31. 
  10. ^ "Newmarket race won by Sweet Solera". Montreal Gazette. 28 April 1961. Retrieved 2012-07-31. 
  11. ^ a b Morris, Tony; Randall, John (1999). A Century of Champions. Portway Press,. ISBN 978-1-901570-15-1. 
  12. ^ "Bigstone". equineline.com. 2012-05-08. Retrieved 2012-07-31. 
  13. ^ "Mare Produce Records- Miss Gammon". Equineline.com. The Jockey Club Information Systems, Inc. 
  14. ^ "Khor Sheed a belter for Luca at Newmarket". Daily Mirror. 2010-08-07. Retrieved 2012-07-31. 
  15. ^ "Sweet Solera pedigree". equineline.com. 2012-05-08. Retrieved 2012-07-31.