From horses in love to jockeys at war
Steve Dennis with five things you might not know about the Flat
1 Breeding is described as an art or a science, but very rarely it's something different. Signorinetta, winner of the 1908 Derby, was conceived after her dam Signorina neighed to the stud teaser Chaleureux as he passed her paddock every day. Signorina's owner Chevalier Eduardo Ginistrelli, an old romantic, decided the two horses were in love, put them together, and raced the resultant offspring. Signorinetta won the Derby at 100-1 and two days later won the Oaks as well. Love conquers all, see.
2 Until the regulations were changed in 1946, two-year-olds were permitted to race unnamed, only being identified by their breeding. Before 1913, any horse was allowed to run unnamed (and also over distances short of five furlongs) until the Jockey Club put its foot down.
3 The only owner to win the three major European Derbys in one year was Robert Sangster, who swept the board in 1982. Golden Fleece (Pat Eddery/Vincent O'Brien) set the ball rolling at Epsom, and four days later Assert (Christy Roche/David O'Brien) won the Prix du Jockey Club at Chantilly. Later that month, Assert (Roche/O'Brien) was an easy winner of the Irish Derby.
4 Sea-Bird, the greatest European horse of them all until Frankel came along, was the last foal of his dam Sicalade. Did she die of natural causes? While foaling? No – she was determined as being no longer useful for breeding after she foaled the future Derby winner and put down. Moreover, it being France, she reportedly ended up via the butcher's shop as someone's dinner.
5 The 1974 Queen Anne Stakes was won by Brook. That's what the record books say. Actually it was won by the aptly named Confusion, from Gloss and Royal Prerogative. However, the first three home were disqualified after an exceptionally rough final furlong and the Italian-trained Brook, six lengths further back in fourth place, was awarded the race. The three jockeys involved – Greville Starkey, Pat Eddery and Mick Goreham – were all suspended.