|Dam||Noble Lassie (GB)|
|Breeder||Major Lionel B. Holliday|
|Owner||1.Mr L.B. Holliday,
2. Nelson Bunker Hunt, Dr & Mrs Franklyn
John R. Gaines (25%) share
|Trainer||1. Walter Wharton (1965-1967)
2. Paddy Prendergast
3. Etienne Pollet (1968)
|Earnings||$366,647; (£18,443 in Great Britain)|
|Observer Gold Cup (1967)
Prix de Guiche (1968)
Prix du Lys (1968)
Prix de Chantilly (1968)
Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (1968)
|Timeform rating: 140
Leading sire in GB & Ireland (1973 & 1974)
Leading broodmare sire in GB & Ireland (1982)
|Last updated on 8 October 2010|
Vaguely Noble (1965-1989) was an Irish-bred Thoroughbred racehorse who competed in the United Kingdom and France. The colt is best known as the winner of the 1968 Group one (G1) Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe when he defeated the best horses from England, France, Ireland and Italy. He was later a leading sire in Great Britain & Ireland and a Leading broodmare sire in GB & Ireland.
Major Lionel B. Holliday bred Vaguely Noble who was foaled in 1965. Vaguely Noble was by Vienna (GB) who won six races and £27,970 before he was exported to France and then to Japan. His dam was the Lancashire Oaks winner, Noble Lassie (GB) was by Nearco (ITY) from Belle Sauvage by Big Game. Noble Lassie was the dam of several other horses, but Vaguely Noble was her only graded stakes winner. Vaguely Noble was inbred to Hyperion in the third and fourth generation (3m x 4f) and also to Bahram in the fourth generation (4m x 4f).
Major Lionel B. Holliday died in 1965; as a two-year-old Vaguely Noble raced in the colours of the Major's son, Brook Holliday. Vaguely Noble was sold at the end of his two-year-old season and was subsequently owned by Americans Wilma Franklyn and Nelson Bunker Hunt.
Racing at age two, Vaguely Noble finished second in his first two races then won his last two, including the Observer Gold Cup by seven lengths, pulling up, to end the 1967 season. In December 1967 he was sold at auction by the Estate of Major Lionel B. Holliday, for 136,000 guineas ($342,720), a record price for a racehorse. He was purchased by Albert Yank, acting as an agent for Dr and Mrs Franklyn.
In 1968 he was sent to race in France where his conditioning was taken over by Etienne Pollet. Vaguely Noble won four of his five starts including the Prix de Guiche (by 3 lengths), Prix du Lys (by 8 lengths), Prix de Chantilly and France's most prestigious race, the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp defeating the brilliant Derby Stakes winner, Sir Ivor.  Vaguely Noble, Ribot, and Sea-Bird were generally considered to be the three greatest winners of the world's premier race, the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.
Vaguely Noble was regarded as one of the best European gallopers of the post World War II-era after winning six of his nine starts in England and France for the equivalent of US$366,647 in prize-money, and earned a Timeform rating of 140.
In 1968 a 25% share in Vaguely Noble was acquired for $1.25 million by John R. Gaines of Lexington, Kentucky to make this a world record stallion syndication valuation of $5 million. Vaguely Noble was sent to stand at stud at Gainesway Farm in Lexington.
Highly successful, he sired 70 graded stakes race winners, and was the broodmare sire of more than 165 stakes winners. In 1973 and 1974 he was the Leading sire in GB & Ireland, mostly due to the victories of his great daughter, Dahlia. Vaguely Noble placed second in 1977 to Bold Ruler with 263 starters earning the equivalent of US$5,293,153 in Europe and North America. Vaguely Noble was also the leading broodmare sire in 1982.
His most important progeny included:
- Dahlia (15 wins, US$1,532,442, inc. Benson and Hedges Gold Cup - twice, Washington, D.C. International Stakes, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes - twice; Eclipse Award for Outstanding Female Turf Horse and was inducted into the United States Racing Hall of Fame, etc.
- El Cuite (won Prix Royal-Oak, Gran Premio d' Italia)
- Empery, 1976 Epsom Derby winner
- Estrapade (Santa Ana Handicap, Arlington Million and Oak Tree Invitational Stakes)
- Exceller (15 wins, US$1,654,002 inc. Prix du Lys, Grand Prix de Paris, Prix Royal-Oak, Coronation Cup, Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud, Canadian International Stakes, Hollywood Gold Cup, Hollywood Invitational Turf Handicap etc.), Jockey Club Gold Cup 
- Friendswood (Gran Premio del Jockey Club and Premio Lydia Tesio)
- Gay Mecene, Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud
- Jet Ski Lady (Epsom Oaks Stakes)
- Lemhi Gold (8 wins, US$1,110445 inc. Jockey Club Gold Cup, Marlboro Cup Invitational Handicap and 1982 American Champion Older Male Horse etc.)
- Noble Bijou (USA) exported to New Zealand where he sired 59 stakeswinners that had 157 stakeswins.
Vaguely Noble died in 1989 at the age of 24 and was buried in the equine cemetery at Gainesway Farm.
|Turkish Blood (IRE)
|Baby Polly (IRE)|
Noble Lassie (GB)
|Brulette (FR)(Family: 1-d)|
- Ahnert, Rainer L. (editor in chief), Thoroughbred Breeding of the World, Pozdun Publishing, Germany, 1970
- Pryor, Peter, The Classic Connection, Cortney Publications, Luton, 1979
- Morris, Simon; Tesio Power 2000 - Stallions of the World, Syntax Software
- Montgomery, E.S, "The Thoroughbred", Arco, New York, 1973 ISBN 0-668-02824-6
- John Gaines: In His Own Words Retrieved 2010-10-9
- du Bourg, Ross, The Australian and New Zealand Thoroughbred", Thomas Nelson, Melbourne, 1980, ISBN 0-17-005860-3
- Bloodhorse Retrieved 2010-10-9
- Thoroughbred Stallion Register - 1984, Australian Jockey Club, ISSN 0155-6134
- The Blood horse
- Australian Stud Book: Vaguely Noble (IRE) – SW progeny Retrieved 2010-10-9
- ASB; Vaguely Noble (IRE) Retrieved 2010-10-10