Jump to: navigation, search

Noblesse (horse)

Sire Mossborough
Dam Duke's Delight
Grandsire Nearco
Damsire His Grace
Gender Filly
Foaled 1960
Country Great Britain
Color Chesnut
Owner Evelyn Olin
Trainer Paddy Prendergast
Record 5: 4-0-1
Earnings US$134,688 (equivalent)
Noblesse is a thoroughbred racehorse out of Duke's Delight by Mossborough. She was born around 1960 in Great Britain.
Major wins

Blue Seal Stakes (1962)
Timeform Gold Cup (1962)
Musidora Stakes (1963)

British Classic Race wins:
Epsom Oaks (1963)
English Champion Two-Year-Old Filly (1962)
Noblesse Stakes at Cork Racecourse
Horse (Equus ferus caballus)

Noblesse (1960-1972) was a champion thoroughbred racehorse and was also the greatest filly ever trained in Ireland. Owned by American Evelyn Olin, she was sired by Mossborough, who also sired the great Ballymoss, and was out of the mare Duke's Delight (by His Grace). Having been bought as a yearling for 4,200 guineas by the Anglo-Irish Bloodstock Agency, she went into training with the legendary Irish trainer, Paddy Prendergast on the Curragh. Noblesse was not the most handsome filly, being small and light-framed but when galloping she had an attractive, easy-moving action. Although trained in Ireland she never actually raced on Irish soil.


Champion 2-y-o

Paddy Prendergast was known as an outstanding trainer of juveniles and when Noblesse travelled over to England as a two-year-old to make her debut in Ascot's Blue Seal Stakes, she was preceded by a tall reputation. Starting a short-priced favourite, she lived up to the hype with a very impressive 5-length victory. This was followed by just one more run that season when taking on the colts in the Timeform Gold Cup (now known as the Racing Post Trophy) at Doncaster which, at the time, was the richest two-year-old race in Europe. Impressive though she was at Ascot, her performance at Doncaster was even more so, settling the issue in a few strides a furlong from the finish and passing the post on a tight rein with a 3-length advantage. She is still the only filly ever to have triumphed in this prestigious race. The performance earned her the title of Champion two-year-old filly for 1962 and she finished the season as ante-post favourite for both the 1,000 Guineas and Epsom Oaks in 1963.

Classic Success

The following spring was one of the coldest on record and as a result, Noblesse was very slow to come to hand, meaning that Prendergast was unable to get her ready in time for the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket. She eventually re-appeared at York in May for the Musidora Stakes, a recognised trial for the Oaks at Epsom. Again she was very impressive, quickening away from her rivals inside the final two furlongs to win eased down by six lengths. This resulted in her starting as a red-hot 11/4-on favourite for the Oaks a few weeks later.

The performance of Noblesse in the Oaks of 1963 was one of the finest performances ever seen in the race. When asked to quicken by her jockey Garnet Bougoure approaching the final furlong, she sprinted away from her rivals and won in a canter by 10 lengths. Rarely had a classic race been won as easily and it was described in Tony Morris and John Randall's acclaimed publication 'A Century Of Champions' as "the crushing Oaks victory which made her Ireland's greatest filly." Indeed it led many to regret at the time that she had not been in the field for the Derby a couple of days earlier. However it was hoped that she would get the chance to take on Derby winner Relko in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot the following month. Unfortunately though, she injured a hock and had to be withdrawn, leaving the way clear for her stable companion Ragusa to win the race.

Final Start

As a result of her hock injury, it was decided to give Noblesse a couple of months rest before preparing her for a tilt at Europe's richest race, the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp in October. Her preparatory race was to be the Prix Vermeille which is run over the same course and distance as the 'Arc'. Ridden by Lester Piggott in the 'Vermeille', Noblesse started a short-priced favourite but was surprisingly beaten into third place, showing none of her summer sparkle. However, the reason for her poor performance was soon evident as she returned lame to the unsaddling enclosure and with very little time left to get her back fit and ready to run in the 'Arc', it was decided to retire her. It was a sad end to a short but otherwise glittering career and it came as no surprise when she was named Champion three-year-old filly for 1963. Timeform, racing's highly respected judges, summed her career up as follows:

"The 'sixties saw some lowly-rated Oaks winners but the 1963 winner was one of the best. Noblesse (rated 133) beat her Oaks field by the staggering margin of ten lengths, her fourth race and fourth win........Noblesse is a small, rather lightly-made filly, long and low, strongest behind the saddle, no beauty to look at, except when she is galloping; her action is fluent and effortless, and she has a perfect temperament for racing. She had only five races in her career, but she was not a robust filly, and even if she had kept fit, a more severe programme might have been to her detriment. In the first four of her races she hardly needed to gallop seriously for more than fifty yards, but she won all of them by a wide margin, and her turn of foot was something to marvel at."


Noblesse retired to stud in America and proved to be a very successful broodmare. She had 5 foals before her untimely death in 1972 but all five won races, two of them being stakes winners whilst all of them were stakes placed. However, it was her final foal, Where You Lead (by Raise A Native), who ensured that her name would live on indefinitely. She emulated her mother by winning the Musidora Stakes at York and made a valiant attempt to add the Oaks at Epsom but had to make do with second place behind the 1,000 Guineas winner Mysterious. However, it was as a broodmare that Where You Lead really excelled. Amongst the winners she bred were Slightly Dangerous (by Roberto), a graded winner who also finished second in the Oaks and she in turn bred English and Irish Derby winner Commander in Chief (by Dancing Brave), Champion 2-y-o & 3-y-o colt Warning (by Known Fact) as well as seven other foals who won or were placed in stakes races. Where You Lead also bred I Will Follow (by Herbager), a stakes winner in France who bred the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and Coronation Cup winner Rainbow Quest (by Blushing Groom), himself a leading sire.

It was her 3 daughters who ensured that the legacy of Noblesse would live on for many years to come and right up to the present day you will find her name in the pedigrees of numerous top-class racehorses. The Noblesse Stakes, a Group 3 race for fillies and mares which is run every year over one-and-a-half miles at Cork racecourse represents a lasting tribute to one of the greatest racehorses ever trained in Ireland.

See also



Premier Equine Classifieds


Subscribe to our newsletter and keep abreast of the latest news, articles and information delivered directly to your inbox.

Did You Know?

Modern horse breeds developed in response to a need for "form to function", the necessity to develop certain physical characteristics in order to perform a certain type of work... More...

The Gypsy Cob was originally bred to be a wagon horse and pulled wagons or caravans known as Vardos; a type of covered wagon that people lived in... More...

Archaeological evidence indicates that the Arabian horse bloodline dates back 4,500 years. Throughout history, Arabian horses spread around the world by both war and trade.... More...

That the term "Sporthorse" is a term used to describe a type of horse rather than any particular breed... More...