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Ribot (horse)

Sire Tenerani
Dam Romanella
Grandsire Bellini
Damsire El Greco
Gender Stallion
Foaled 1952
Country Great Britain
Color Bay
Breeder Federico Tesio
Owner Lydia Tesio & Mario della Rocchetta
(Colours: White, red crossbelts, red cap)
Trainer Ugo Penco
Record 16: 16-0-0
Earnings $294,414
Ribot is a thoroughbred racehorse out of Romanella by Tenerani. He was born around 1952 in Great Britain, and was bred by Federico Tesio.
Major wins
Gran Criterium (1954)
Gran Premio del Jockey Club (1955)
Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (1955 & 1956)
Gran Premio di Milano (1956)
K. George VI & Q. Elizabeth Stakes (1956)
Italian 2-Yr-Old Champion Colt (1954)
Italian 3-Yr-Old Champion Colt (1955)
Italian Champion Older Horse (1956)
United Kingdom Champion Older Horse (1956)
France Champion Older Horse (1956)
Leading sire in Great Britain & Ireland
(1963, 1967, 1968)
Timeform rating 142 - joint 3rd highest
La Gazzetta dello Sport poll :
Ranked No.4 Italian athlete of the 20th century
Premio Ribot at Capannelle Racecourse
Horse (Equus ferus caballus)
Last updated on 7 August 2009

Ribot (1952 – 1972) was a bay Thoroughbred racehorse foaled at the English National Stud on February 27, 1952 by Tenerani out of Romanella by El Greco. He is rated by many as amongst the finest of post-war European flat racehorses.

Ribot was bred by Italy's leading Thoroughbred breeder, Federico Tesio, who personally bred six of the horses that appeared in the first three generations of Ribot's pedigree. He was trained in Italy by Ugo Penco and ridden by Enrico Camici. He was described as being a medium-sized bay with a lovely intelligent head and a perfect temperament and the secret of his success was probably his depth through the heart and there was not a girth at Dormello to fit him.[1] Like many of Tesio's horses, Ribot was named after an artist—in this case, the French realist Théodule-Augustin Ribot. Tesio, who also bred the undefeated in 14 races and prepotent sire Nearco, did not live to see Ribot develop into a champion. After Tesio's death, Ribot was raced by Tesio's widow Donna Lydia and his business partner, Marchese Mario Incisa della Rochetta.


Racing record

Ribot nicknamed 'il Cavallo super' meaning 'the super Horse' won all 16 of his races during three seasons of racing. These included victories, in Italy, in the Gran Criterium, the Gran Premio del Jockey Club and the Gran Premio di Milano. However, the seal of Ribot's greatness were his two victories in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe by three lengths (1955) and a six-length rout from an exceptionally strong field (1956 - though photographs of the finish make it closer to eight and a half lengths). In his only run in England, he laboured somewhat to a five length win on soft ground in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (1956).


Ribot started his career in July 1954 racing at San Siro, taking victory in the Premio Tramuschio. Victory also followed in the Criterium Nazionale before finishing the year off with victory in Italy's most prestigious 2-y-o race, the Gran Criterium. Winning the Gran Criterium won Ribot the accolade of Champion 2-y-o Colt (Italy).


The passing of Federico Tesio led to Ribot not being entered into the major, important 3-y-o Italian races; the Premio Parioli (Italian 2000 Guineas) and the Derby Italiano. Despite this set-back Ribot was entered and was the victor in the Premio Pisa, Premio Emanuele Filliberto, Premio Bembo and Premio Besana. But his victories in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and Gran Premio del Jockey Club still managed to earn him the Champion 3-y-o Colt award (Italy). Ribot added to this, earning himself the European Horse of the Year accolade for his achievements of the year.


Ribot started his 4-y-o campaign with victories in the Premio Guilio Venino, Premio Vittuone, Premio Garbagnate and the highly prestigious Gran Premio di Milano before being sent to England to race in the most prestigious open age race available for the 4-y-o Ribot, the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes. Ribot in the soft ground still managed to labour somewhat to an impressive five length victory. Ribot returned to Italy to win the Premio del Piazzale before returning to France for a second Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. Ribot finished out the year, Champion older Horse in Italy, the United Kingdom and France and again won the award for European Horse of the Year for his 1956 campaign.

Ribot raced over distances from 5f (1000m) to 1m 7f (3000m), in three different countries and on every kind of going describable. He was the ultimate 'super Horse'.

Timeform rated him at 142, the joint-third highest rating (with Abernant) and only behind Sea Bird (145), Brigadier Gerard and Tudor Minstrel (both on 144).

A Century of Champions, written by John Randall & Tony Morris, and published by Portway Press Limited, rated Ribot the #3 horse for the 20th Century, behind only Sea-Bird and Secretariat. The book argues that photographs show Sea-Bird winning the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe by only four and a half lengths (not six lengths), making Ribot's triumph in the Arc the largest winning distance victory (be it six lengths or eight and a half lengths) of what is the world's greatest and most prestigious flat race.

Ribot was named in La Gazzetta dello Sport's poll; the 4th Greatest Italian athlete of the 20th century. Ribot has the Premio Ribot at Capannelle Racecourse named in his honour and has been named Horse of the Century in Italy, the ultimate honour from his native country.

Stud record

Retired from racing, Ribot had an exceptionally successful career at stud. Under a one-year contract, he first stood at Lord Derby's stud in England. In 1959, he was syndicated for a five-year lease at a cost of $1.35 million dollars before being sent to the United States[2] in a deal of such significance that on June 1, 1959 Sports Illustrated did a feature article on it titled The Man, The Horse And The Deal That Made History.

Fiery on the racetrack, Ribot developed a dangerous temperament and had to be handled by the strongest stallion groom at Darby Dan Farm in Lexington, Kentucky, where he stood at stud. In his stall, Ribot had the habit of putting his front feet on the upper edge of the wooden panelling so that he could reach and chew on a high wooden beam. While in his paddock, he was so territorial that he would not tolerate the sight of other stallions. Once, he even refused to calm down until a herd of cows was moved over a hill and out of his vision.[citation needed]

Originally, Ribot was leased by Darby Dan to stand in the United States for five years only. After Ribot's temper had surfaced, no insurance company would offer a policy to cover shipping him back to Europe. A new contract was worked out, and Ribot remained in the United States until his death. He is buried in the equine cemetery at Darby Dan, near his sons Graustark and His Majesty.[citation needed]

He was leading sire in Great Britain and Ireland on three occasions (1963, 1967 and 1968). His progeny included the full brothers Ribocco and Ribero, both winners of the Irish Derby and St. Leger; Ragusa, winner of the Irish Derby, St. Leger, King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes, and Eclipse Stakes; Molvedo and Prince Royal, both winners of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe; Tom Rolfe, winner of the Preakness Stakes; Arts and Letters, winner of the Belmont Stakes; and Graustark. Ribot's son His Majesty sired the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner Pleasant Colony, and his great grandson Alleged, by Tom Rolfe's son Hoist The Flag, emulated him by winning the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in succssive years (1977 and 1978).

At least 15 Ribot stallions stood in Australasia, including Arivederci, Angeluccio, Latin Lover, Boucher (USA), Dies, Ribollire, Heir Apparent, Koryo, Regent's Tale, Ruantallan, Ribotlight, and Headland. The progeny of the 15 imported stallions had won over AUD$7 million until late 1979.[3]

See also

  • List of Undefeated horses


  1. Talmadge Phelps, John and Frank, Dormello-Olgiata, 1961-1962, Derby Publishing Co., Milan, 1962
  2. Montgomery, E.S, “The Thoroughbred”, Arco, New York, 1973 ISBN 0-668-02824-6
  3. de Bourg, Ross, “The Australian and New Zealand Thoroughbred”, Nelson, West Melbourne, 1980, ISBN 0 17 005860 3

  • Mortimer, Roger and Willett, Peter, Great Racehorses of the World, Michael Joseph 1969, p. 186-192.
  • Incisa della Rochetta, Mario, The Tesios as I Knew Them, J. A. Allen & Co. Ltd. 1979.

External links


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