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Brigadier Gerard (horse)

Brigadier Gerard
Sire Queen's Hussar
Dam La Paiva
Grandsire March Past
Damsire Prince Chevalier
Gender Stallion
Foaled 1968
Country Great Britain
Color Bay
Breeder John L. Hislop
Owner Mr & Mrs. John L. Hislop[1]
Trainer Dick Hern
Record 18: 17-1-0
Earnings £253,024.70
Brigadier Gerard is a thoroughbred racehorse out of La Paiva by Queen's Hussar. He was born around 1968 in Great Britain, and was bred by John L. Hislop.
Major wins
Middle Park Stakes (1970)
2,000 Guineas (1971)
St. James's Palace Stakes (1971)
Sussex Stakes (1971)
Goodwood Mile (1971)
Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (1971 & 1972)
Champion Stakes (1971 & 1972)
Westbury Stakes (1972)
Lockinge Stakes (1972)
Prince of Wales's Stakes (1972)
Eclipse Stakes (1972)
K. George VI & Q. Elizabeth Stakes (1972)
British Champion Miler (1971)
British Horse of the Year (1972)
Timeform rating: 144 (jointly ranked second with Tudor Minstrel and only behind Sea Bird II)
Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown Park
Horse (Equus ferus caballus)
Last updated on April 24, 2009

Brigadier Gerard (1968–1989) was one of the best and most popular British Thoroughbred race horses of the 20th century winning 17 of his 18 races, which included 13 Group Ones races.

Bred by John Hislop in England and foaled 5 March 1968, Brigadier Gerard was a son of the modest stallion Queen's Hussar and the non-winning mare La Paiva, a daughter of Prince Chevalier. On his female side he traced back to the brilliant fillies' Triple Crown winner Pretty Polly. This beautifully balanced bay colt was named after Arthur Conan Doyle's swashbuckling hero. He was trained during his racing career by Major Dick Hern and ridden in all his races by Joe Mercer.

His first race was in the Berkshire Stakes at Newbury in late June 1970 which, starting at 100/7 the joint outsider of the five runners, he won by five lengths. Brigadier Gerard finished his first season unbeaten in four races including the prestigious Middle Park Stakes. Even so he was rated below the more experienced My Swallow (unbeaten in seven races) and Mill Reef (whom My Swallow had narrowly defeated in the Prix Robert Papin) in the Free Handicap - the end of season handicap for two year-olds.

He entered the season's first colts' classic, the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket, without a preparatory race. As they lined for the race, Brigadier Gerard, Mill Reef and My Swallow had between them won 18 out of their 19 races. In one of the most eagerly anticipated races ever, Brigadier Gerard won in devastating fashion by three lengths from Mill Reef and My Swallow. Brigadier Gerard followed that victory with wins in the St. James's Palace Stakes, the Sussex Stakes by five lengths, the Goodwood Mile by ten lengths, the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes by eight lengths, and the Champion Stakes. At a mile he was unbeatable on anything but very soft ground (he only narrowly won the St James's Palace Stakes on heavy ground). He was kept out of the Epsom Derby by his owners partly to protect him from a difficult race early in the season and partly because they were unsure how far he would stay, as his pedigree was more that of a miler than a middle distance horse (Mill Reef went on to win the race and was never defeated again). At the end of his three year old season he was unbeaten in ten races at distances between five furlongs and a mile and a quarter.

The following year Brigadier Gerard extended his unbeaten run to fifteen with wins in the Lockinge Stakes, the Westbury Stakes, the Prince of Wales's Stakes (setting a new course record), the Eclipse Stakes, and, tackling one and half miles for the first time, beat Parnell to win the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

Then came his sensational defeat in the Benson & Hedges Gold Cup run over an extended mile and a quarter at York. Brigadier Gerard (starting at 1/3) raced against the 1972 Epsom Derby winner Roberto and the runner-up, Rheingold, who started second favourite. Roberto had run poorly in his previous race, the Irish Derby, but, ridden by the American jockey Braulio Baeza ran the race of his life with a bold front running display, which shattered the course record, to defeat Brigadier Gerard by three lengths.

He finished his career with two more wins in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (setting a new course record to win in scintillating style by six lengths) and the Champion Stakes. He retired at the end of his four-year-old season, a winner of 17 races from 18 starts, with total earnings of £253,024.70. On retirement he was the third most winning English classic winner of the twentieth century behind Bayardo (winner of 22 from 25 starts) and his ancestress Pretty Polly (winner of 22 from 24 starts). Brigadier Gerard died in 1989.

Brigadier Gerard was given a Timeform rating of 144, the joint 2nd highest rating ever given for a flat racehorse.

He stood at stud first at the Egerton Stud, Newmarket and later at his owner's East Woodhay Stud. Brigadier Gerard was not a success as a sire, and much less successful than his contemporary and rival Mill Reef, but he did get a classic winner in Light Cavalry who won the St. Leger in 1980.

The Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown is named in his honour.


  1. Biggar, Allan (ed.), The Stallion Review 1977


Pedigree of Brigadier Gerard (14) (B. s. 1968)
Queen's Hussar
March Past Petition Fair Trial
Art Paper
Marcelette William of Valence
Jojo Vilmorin Gold Bridge
Queen of the Meadows
Fairy Jane Fair Trial
Light Tackle
La Paiva
Prince Chevalier Prince Rose Rose Prince
Chevalerie Abbot's Speed
Brazen Molly Horus Papyrus
Lady Peregrine
Molly Adare Phalaris
Molly Desmond


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