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Tudor Minstrel

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Tudor Minstrel
SireOwen Tudor
CountryGreat Britain
BreederJohn Arthur Dewar
OwnerJohn Arthur Dewar
TrainerFred Darling
Record10: 8-1-0
Major wins
Coventry Stakes (1946)
National Breeders' Produce Stakes (1946)
2000 Guineas (1947)
St. James's Palace Stakes (1947)
Knights Royal Stakes (1947)
United Kingdom champion two-year-old colt (1946)
Timeform rating: 144
Last updated on 31 May 2024

Tudor Minstrel (1944–1971) was a British-bred champion Thoroughbred racehorse and sire. In a career which lasted from the spring of 1946 until September 1947, he ran ten times and won eight races. He was unbeaten in four races in 1946, a year in which he was the highest-rated two-year-old in Britain, despite ending his season in July. The following year he won the 2000 Guineas, St. James's Palace Stakes and Knights Royal Stakes over one mile but was beaten in his two attempts at longer distances, most notably when starting odds-on favourite for the 1947 Epsom Derby. The horse is rated one of the greatest of the twentieth century.


Tudor Minstrel was a handsome, powerfully built brown horse bred by his owner John Athur Dewar, who inherited his thoroughbred racehorses from his uncle, the Scottish whisky distiller Thomas Dewar, 1st Baron Dewar. These horses included Lady Juror, who became a successful broodmare, producing Fair Trial and Sansonnet. Sansonnet in turn produced the Coronation Stakes winner Neolight before becoming the dam of Tudor Minstrel, who was sired by Owen Tudor, the 1941 Epsom Derby winner.

Racing career[edit]

1946: two-year-old season[edit]

Tudor Minstrel began his racing career by winning races at Bath and Salisbury in the spring of 1946. He was then sent to Royal Ascot where he won the Coventry Stakes by four lengths. In July he won the National Breeders Produce Stakes at Sandown Park by four lengths and was then retired for the season.

At the end of the year, Tudor Minstrel was given a weight of 133 pounds in the Free Handicap, a rating of the best British two-year-olds, making him the leading juvenile of the season.

1947: three-year-old season[edit]

Tudor Minstrel began his 1947 by winning a minor race at Bath and then started 11/8 favourite for the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket. Ridden by Gordon Richards, Tudor Minstrel won the one mile Guineas by eight lengths, from Saravan, with Sayajirao in third.[1] The winning margin was the biggest recorded in the race in the twentieth century. Richards eased the colt down in the final furlong, leading contemporary observers to believe that Tudor Minstrel could have won the race by twenty lengths.[citation needed] In the aftermath of his Guineas win, he was described as the "horse of the century".[2]

In the Derby, Tudor Minstrel started at odds of 4/7 at Epsom on a cold, wet day in front of an estimated 400,000 spectators including the King and Queen. Doubts about his stamina were countered by those who pointed out that his pedigree contained many good stayers, with one observer stating that Tudor Minstrel could win the race even if he were hitched to a cart.[3] He failed to settle in the early stages and tired in the straight, finishing fourth behind Pearl Diver.[4] Later in June, Tudor Minstrel returned to one mile for the St. James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot and won easily. In July, the colt was again tried over middle distances in the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown but finished second behind Migoli.[5]

In Autumn, Tudor Minstrel appeared for the final time and won the Knight's Royal Stakes at Ascot, a race which was the forerunner of the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, beating a field which included Petition and the leading sprinter The Bug.


British rating company Timeform have Tudor Minstrel ranked equal third among post-war European racehorses, level with Brigadier Gerard and behind only Sea-Bird and Frankel.

Stud career[edit]

Retired for breeding purposes, Tudor Minstrel was successful at stud, siring numerous winners including the 1959 Kentucky Derby winner Tomy Lee. Other sons included Sing Sing, Tudor Melody and Will Somers, all three of whom were primarily an influence for speed. Sing Sing sired Song, who in turn sired the brilliant sprinting mare and 1993 European Horse of the Year Lochsong. Tudor Melody was the sire of British champion older horse Welsh Pageant, who had his own success at stud as the damsire of champions Celtic Swing and Ouija Board. The continuation of the Tudor Minstrel male line now depends on the Will Somers line, via the sons of European champion sprinter Cadeaux Genereux.


Pedigree of Tudor Minstrel, brown stallion, 1944
Owen Tudor
Ch. 1930 
Gainsborough Bayardo
Selene Chaucer
Mary Tudor
Pharos Phalaris
Scapa Flow
Anna Bolena Teddy
Queen Elizabeth
Swynford John O' Gaunt
Canterbury Pilgrim
Gondolette Loved One
Lady Juror
Son-In-Law Dark Ronald
Mother In Law
Lady Josephine Sundridge
Americus Girl (Family: 9-c)[6]


  1. ^ "TUDOR MINSTREL, WINS GUINEAS LONDON, Wednesday". Canberra Times. 1 May 1947. Retrieved 1 June 2012.
  2. ^ "Tudor Minstrel Wins English Classic". Burnie Advocate. 2 May 1947. Retrieved 1 June 2012.
  3. ^ "Prospects for the Derby". The Age. Retrieved 13 November 2011.
  4. ^ "40/1 Pearl Diver wins the Derby". Indian Express. Retrieved 13 November 2011.
  5. ^ "Eclipse Stakes To Migoli". The Mercury. 19 July 1947. Retrieved 1 June 2012.
  6. ^ "Thoroughbred Bloodlines - Crab Mare - Family 9-c".