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Sire Pharos
Dam Nogara
Grandsire Phalaris
Damsire Havresac II
Gender Stallion
Foaled 1935
Country Italy
Color Brown
Breeder Federico Tesio
Owner Federico Tesio
Trainer Federico Tesio
Record 14: 14-0-0
Earnings $86,328
Nearco is a thoroughbred racehorse out of Nogara by Pharos. He was born around 1935 in Italy, and was bred by Federico Tesio.
Major wins
Gran Criterium (1937)
Derby Italiano (1938)
Italian 2,000 Guineas (1938)
Gran Premio di Milano (1938)
Gran Premio d'Italia (1938)
Grand Prix de Paris (1938)
Leading sire in GB & Ireland (1947, 1949)
Leading broodmare sire in Britain & Ireland (1955, 1956)
Horse (Equus ferus caballus)

Nearco (1935-1957) was an Italian Thoroughbred racehorse described by Thoroughbred Heritage as "one of the greatest racehorses of the Twentieth Century" and "one of the most important sires of the century."[1] He was not only unbeaten, but also the patriarch of the most dominant sire line in Thoroughbred history.



Bred by Federico Tesio, who also bred Ribot, Nearco was sired by Pharos out of Nogara by Havresac II. Nogara was a good racemare and bred eight good winners from her eight foals, including Niccolo Dell and Nakamuro.[2] He was inbred twice in the fourth generation and twice again in the fifth generation of his pedigree to the great St. Simon.[3]

Stud career

Nearco retired undefeated after fourteen races and with the political turmoil and the possibility of war caused by Benito Mussolini aligning Italy with Germany, in 1938 Federico Tesio sold Nearco to Martin H. Benson of Beech House Stud in Newmarket, England for £60,000 (a world-record for a sire in those days). Nearco's legacy comes primarily from three of his sons: Nasrullah, Nearctic and Royal Charger. In addition, his other sons included Dante, winner of the 1945 Epsom Derby, Sayajirao, winner of the 1947 St. Leger Stakes, and Nimbus, who won the Epsom Derby and 2,000 Guineas in 1949. In all, Nearco had more than 100 of his sons standing at stud around the world which was a world record, apart from St Simon.[4]

Nearco was also the damsire of the French multiple Group One winner, Charlottesville, and damsire of the Epsom Derby winners, Artic Prince (1948) and Tulyar (1952). He was an outstandingly prepotent sire, eclipsed only by his grandson Northern Dancer. In England Nearco sired the winners of 657½ races worth ₤501,665. Nearco was 1st on the Sires List three times, 2nd once, 3rd twice, 4th four times and 5th once.[4]

Among Nearco's many important descendants are Northern Dancer, Secretariat, Seattle Slew, Ballymoss, Shergar, Arkle, Never Say Die, Mr. Prospector, Nasrullah, Nijinsky II (winner of the UK Triple Crown), Royal Palace, Fort Marcy, Better Loosen Up, Sir Ivor, Bold Ruler, Nashua, and Invasor.

Nearco died from cancer on 27 June 1957 and was buried at Beech House Stud.

According to France Galop, from 1994 through 2009 the male bloodline of every Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner goes back to Nearco, his son Nasrullah, and his grandson Northern Dancer.

See also

  • List of Undefeated horses
Pedigree of Nearco
Phalaris Polymelus Cyllene
Maid Marian
Bromus Sainfoin
Scapa Flow Chaucer St. Simon
Cantebury Pilgrim
Anchora Love Wisely
Havresac II Rabelais St. Simon
Hors Concours Ajax
Catnip Spearmint Carbine
Maid Of The Mint
Sibola The Sailor Prince


  1. [1]
  2. Pryor, Peter, “The Classic Connection”, Cortney Publications, Luton, 1979
  3. TesioPower 2000, Stallions of the World
  4. 4.0 4.1 Ahnert, Rainer L. (editor in chief), “Thoroughbred Breeding of the World”, Pozdun Publishing, Germany, 1970


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