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British Triple Crown Winners ( and near misses)
Fri, Sep 14th, 2012

As Camelot targets the second UK Triple Crown since 1935 we thought we would look back on the horses who made history by landing all three races and those who failed or just never bothered trying.

To win the Triple Crown a horse needs to land the 2,000 Guineas over Newmarket's straight mile in early May, the Derby over Epsom's switchback mile and a half in June and the St Leger over Doncaster's sweeping extended mile and three-quarters in September. To win all three a horse must have a combination of speed, stamina, soundness and durability as well as class. With breeders increasingly focused on speed the last and longest leg - the St Leger - has lost much of its lustre. Marcus Townend only this week speculated that:

At one time the Coolmore axis would have run a mile (and three-quarters) from Saturday's race. They make stallions and a Leger winner was poor business with breeders hooked on speed.

Whatever about the business aspect few horses are capable of peaking over three times at varying distances and on three very different courses. Since the running of the first 2,000 Guineas in 1809 (the other two Classic races are older) just 15 horses have won all three races. Reinforing the "horses for courses"  mantra three of those, Pommern, Gay Crusader and Gainsborough, did not have to show the versatility required by different tracks, as their wartime races were all run at Newmarket.

Triple Crown Winners ( note all 15 were favourite !)

  •  1853 West Australian (6/4)
  •  1865 Gladiateur (8/13)
  •  1866 Lord Lyon (4/7)
  •  1886 Ormonde (1/7)
  •  1891 Common (4/5)
  •  1893 Isinglass (40/75)
  •  1897 Galtee More (1/10)
  •  1899 Flying Fox (2/7)
  •  1900 Diamond Jubilee (2/7)
  •  1903 Rock Sand (2/5)
  •  1915 Pommern (1/3)
  •  1917 Gay Crusader (2/11)
  •  1918 Gainsborough (4/11)
  •  1935 Bahram (4/11)
  •  1970 Nijinsky (2/7)

Triple Crown Near Misses

Of the 2,000 Guineas and Derby winners who have attempted the Triple Crown, more have actually succeeded than failed. The most recent to succeed, Nijinsky, was the last to try. The idea that a potential stallion should demonstrate the quality of stamina has become less popular in recent times. As Lester Piggott observed last week the change has happened in parrallel with the expansion of the elite international calendar.

2,000 Guineas and Derby winners who tried and failed in the St Leger

Nine have tried and failed ...

  •  1843 Cotherstone - 4/7 favourite, second to Nutwith (100/6), beaten a head
  •  1869 Pretender - 5/6 favourite, unplaced behind Pero Gomez (3/1)
  •  1882 Shotover - 100/15, third to Dutch Oven (40/1), beaten 5½ lengths.
  •  1888 Ayrshire - 2/1 favourite, unplaced behind Seabreeze (5/2)
  •  1894 Ladas - 1/4 favourite, second to Throstle (50/1), beaten 3/4 length
  •  1904 St Amant - 4-1, 6th and last behind Pretty Polly (2/5f)
  •  1909 Minoru - 7/4, 4th to Bayardo (10/11f)
  •  1925 Manna - 7/2 joint favourite, 10th behind Solario (7/2 jf)
  •  1931 Cameronian - 5/6 favourite, 10th and last behind Sandwich (9/1)

2,000 Guineas and Derby winners who did not run in the St Leger

12 horses didnt even try ...

  •  1813 Smolensko
  •  1828 Cadland
  •  1836 Bay Middleton
  •  1863 Macaroni
  •  1911 Sunstar
  •  1939 Blue Peter (St Leger cancelled due to outbreak of war)
  •  1949 Nimbus
  •  1957 Crepello
  •  1967 Royal Palace
  •  1968 Sir Ivor
  •  1989 Nashwan
  •  2009 Sea The Stars

 

 

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