Your Majesty (horse)

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Your Majesty
Your Majesty.png
GrandsireSt. Simon
CountryUnited Kingdom
BreederJack Barnato Joel
OwnerJack Barnato Joel
TrainerCharles Morton
Record12: 5–1–1
Major wins
St. James's Palace Stakes (1908)
Eclipse Stakes (1908)
St Leger Stakes (1908)
Leading British money winner (1908)

Your Majesty (1905–1934) was a British Thoroughbred racehorse and sire, best known for highly unpopular wins the Eclipse Stakes and the Classic St Leger Stakes in 1908. The colt ran at least twelve times and won five races in a career which lasted from June 1907 until July 1909. Your Majesty was campaigned against the best of the year's two-year-olds in 1907 but won only once from five starts. The following season he finished unplaced in the 2000 Guineas and missed the Derby through illness. He then won four races in succession: the St. James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot, the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown Park, the St George Stakes at Liverpool and the St Leger at Doncaster. He was the leading money-winner of the British season but his successes were poorly received owing to the unpopularity of his owner. Your Majesty stayed in training as a four-year-old but failed to win. He was retired to stud where he became highly successful as a breeding stallion in Argentina.


Your Majesty was a dark-coated bay colt, standing 15.3 hands high, bred by his owner Jack Barnato Joel, the South African mining magnate and three-time British flat racing Champion Owner.[1] The colt was foaled at Joel's stud at Northaw House in Middlesex.[2] Joel sent his colt to his private trainer Charles Morton at Letcombe Bassett in Berkshire.[3] At the end of his three-year-old season Morton described Your Majesty as "a natural stayer" and "dead game", but admitted that the colt tended to be nervous and excitable.[4]

Your Majesty was sired by Persimmon, whose wins included the 1896 Derby, St Leger, Eclipse Stakes and Ascot Gold Cup and who went on to be British champion sire on four occasions.[5] Your Majesty's dam, Yours, who failed to win a race herself,[2] had previously produced Our Lassie, a filly who won The Oaks for Jack Joel in 1903. Our Lassie went on to become an influential broodmare, being the direct female ancestor of Mill Reef, Blushing Groom and Wollow.[6]

Racing career[edit]

1907: two-year-old season[edit]

Your Majesty's racing career began at Royal Ascot in June 1907, when he finished unplaced in the five furlong New Stakes behind Sir Archibald. The following month he showed his first sign of promise when he finished second to Vamose in the Prince of Wales's Stakes at Goodwood. Your Majesty's remaining starts of 1907 took place at Newmarket. He recorded his first win in the Boscawen Stakes and then contested two of the season's most prestigious two-year-old races. In the six furlong Middle Park Stakes he was unplaced behind Lesbia, a filly who had previously dead-heated with Vamose in the Imperial Produce Stakes. In late October Your Majesty ran unplaced in the seven furlong Dewhurst Stakes. which was won by the filly Rhodora.[7]

1908: three-year-old season[edit]

In the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket in May 2008, Your Majesty lost a great deal of ground at the start before finishing strongly to take sixth place behind the American-bred Norman, who won from Sir Archibald and White Eagle.[8] The colt was then trained for The Derby but was withdrawn from the race after contacting strangles, a bacterial respiratory infection.[9]

In the summer of 1908, Jack Joel brought a prosecution for blackmail against Robert "Bob" Sievier, a racehorse owner and trainer. Joel claimed that during Sievier's time as the proprietor of a newspaper called "The Winning Post", he had attempted to extract money from Joel in return for not publishing potentially damaging stories.[10] The British public appear to have sided completely with London-born Sievier and became hostile towards Joel who, as a foreigner and a Jew, was regarded as an outsider.[7][11]

Your Majesty returned to the racecourse for the St. James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot. Ridden by the nineteen-year-old[12] Walter Griggs, he started at odds of 8/1 and recorded his first important success. He was then matched against older horses and in the ten furlong Eclipse Stakes at Sandown Park on 17 July. The £10,000 race was one of the most important of the season and Your Majesty was a 100/8 outsider in a field in which Lesbia and White Eagle were considered the main contenders. Despite heavy rain, the race attracted a very large crowd which included the King although Jack Joel stayed away. In the race, Griggs struggled to find a clear run for Your Majesty in the straight and switched the colt to the wide outside. As the more fancied horses struggled in the closing stages, Your Majesty produced a strong run to take the lead and won by two lengths from his fellow three-year-olds Santo Starto and Siberia.[13] The result was received with a "storm of execration" from the pro-Sievier crowd and the winner returned to a "savage outburst of hoots and groans".[14]

Your Majesty then confirmed his position as a leading contender for the St Leger by winning the St George Stakes at Liverpool. At Doncaster on 9 September, Your Majesty started a well-backed 11/8 favourite for the St Leger against nine opponents including Norman and the filly Signorinetta, the winner of the Derby and Oaks. Ridden as usual by Griggs he was settled in sixth place before moving up to fourth on the final turn. He took the lead from the pacemaker Pom early in the straight and established a clear advantage. In the closing stages he was strongly challenged by White Eagle, but ran on under strong pressure to win by half a length with a gap of four lengths back to Santo Strato in third. Despite the winner being heavily backed by the public, Griggs and Your Majesty returned to the winner's enclosure in what was described as "a chilling silence".[7] Griggs, who regularly rode the colt in training, described Your Majesty after the race as "the gamest horse I ever rode".[12]

At the end of the year, Your Majesty's earnings of £19,268 were the greatest for any British horse in 1908 enabling Persimmon to claim his third sires' championship[15] whilst Joel became British flat racing Champion Owner for the first time and Morton claimed his only trainers' title.[16]

1909: four-year-old season[edit]

Your Majesty remained in training as a four-year-old, but did little to add to his reputation, and became difficult to train. His most notable performance came on 1 July when he finished third behind Dark Ronald in the Princess of Wales's Stakes at Newmarket's July course.[17] Later in the month he was unplaced in the Eclipse Stakes behind the leading three-year-old Bayardo.[18] Late in the season he reportedly broke down and was withdrawn from his remaining engagements.[19] Despite his modest form in 1909 he was still highly regarded and Joel reportedly turned down an offer of £35,000 for the horse.[20]

Assessment and honours[edit]

In their book, A Century of Champions, based on the Timeform rating system, John Randall and Tony Morris rated Your Majesty an "average" winner of the St Leger and the best horse in Britain in 1908.[21]

Stud record[edit]

Your Majesty stood as a stallion in England for six seasons, during which his most successful offspring was Princess Dorrie, a filly who won the 1000 Guineas and The Oaks for Jack Joel in 1914. In the previous year he had been sold for £22,500 and exported to Argentina where he was based at the Haras Punta Lara.[22] Following the success of Princess Dorrie, the stallion was bought by a French syndicate, but on the outbreak of war in 1914 he was returned to Argentina[23] to stand at the Ojo de Agua stud. He was champion sire in Argentina in 1920 and 1926.[24] Your Majesty died in 1934 at the age of twenty-nine.


Pedigree of Your Majesty (GB), bay stallion, 1905[25]
Persimmon (GB)
St. Simon
Galopin Vedette
Flying Duchess
St. Angela King Tom
Perdita II
Hampton Lord Clifden
Lady Langden
Hermione Young Melbourne
La Belle Helene
Yours (ITY)
Master Kildare Lord Ronald
Violet Melrose Scottish Chief
Your Grace
Galliard Galopin
Grand Duchess Lozenge
Ladylike (Family: 22-d)[6]
  • Your Majesty was inbreeding|inbred 3 × 4 to Galopin, meaning that this stallion appears in both the third and fourth generations of his pedigree.


  1. ^ "Person Profile : Jack Joel". Horseracing History Online. Retrieved 2012-09-02.
  2. ^ a b "Our Lassie". 1942-07-13. Retrieved 2012-09-06.
  3. ^ "Person Profile : Charles Morton". Horseracing History Online. Retrieved 2012-09-02.
  4. ^ "TURE GOSSIP". Auckland Star. 31 October 1908. Retrieved 2012-09-06.
  5. ^ "Leading Sires of Great Britain and Ireland". Retrieved 2012-09-06.
  6. ^ a b "Grand Duchess - Family 22-d". Retrieved 2012-09-05.
  7. ^ a b c "THE RACING WORLD". Auckland Star. 21 October 1908. Retrieved 2012-09-05.
  8. ^ "RACING IN ENGLAND". Otago Witness. 13 May 1908. Retrieved 2012-09-06.
  9. ^ Mortimer, Roger; Onslow, Richard; Willett, Peter (1999). Biographical Encyclopedia of British Flat Racing. Macdonald and Jane’s. ISBN 0-354-08536-0.
  10. ^ "SIEVIER AND JOEL. SENSATIONAL EVIDENCE. LONDON". Adelaide Advertiser. 14 July 1908. Retrieved 2012-09-05.
  11. ^ "THE TURF. NEWS AND NOTES". Evening Post. 22 July 1908. Retrieved 2012-09-06.
  12. ^ a b "TURF GOSSIP". Auckland Star. 28 November 1908. Retrieved 2012-09-06.
  13. ^ "THE TURF". Evening Post. 2 September 1908. Retrieved 2012-09-06.
  14. ^ "JOEL AND SIEVIER". Evening Post. 20 July 1908. Retrieved 2012-09-06.
  15. ^ "SPORTING INTELLIGENCE". Otautau Standard and Wallace County Chronicle. 15 December 1908. Retrieved 2012-09-06.
  16. ^ "SPORT AND PASTIME. The Turf". Evening Post. 16 January 1909. Retrieved 2012-09-06.
  17. ^ "ENGLISH RACING". Evening Post. 2 July 1909. Retrieved 2012-09-05.
  18. ^ "TURF GOSSIP". Auckland Star. 4 September 1909. Retrieved 2012-09-05.
  19. ^ "IN A NUTSHELL". Otago Witness. 24 November 1909. Retrieved 2012-09-05.
  20. ^ "IN A NUTSHELL". Otago Witness. 11 August 1909. Retrieved 2012-09-05.
  21. ^ Morris, Tony; Randall, John (1999). A Century of Champions. Portway Press. ISBN 1-901570-15-0.
  22. ^ Liz Martiniak Thoroughbred Heritage (1908-02-18). "Persimmon". Retrieved 2012-09-05.
  23. ^ "THE TURF". Dominion. 1 September 1914. Retrieved 2012-09-06.
  24. ^ "Leading Sires of Argentina". Retrieved 2012-09-05.
  25. ^ "Your Majesty pedigree". 2012-05-08. Retrieved 2012-09-05.