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My Top 50 Fillies & Mares

3/1/16

You may have noticed that The Racing Post are running what is sure to be a popular January-long ‘Queens of the Turf’ series, highlighting the best fillies and mares to have given us so much pleasure over the years. A little further down this blog I have listed my top 50 fillies/mares.

Three or four years back I had the idea to write a book on such a subject featuring the top fillies and mares from the last 50 years but never got round to it despite preparing a lot of the groundwork. The idea was for an A-Z double spread of the Top 50 with a secondary listing of the next 50 fillies/mares that would be given one page each. Such a book might have seemed strange not to also recognise the all-time great fillies/mares from further back in time so would have included a third section to recognise those including Pretty Polly, Sceptre, Sun Chariot, Petite Etoile, Meld, Kincsem, Musidora, Sweet Solera, Godiva, Mumtaz Mahal, Coronation, Pearl Cap, Noblesse, Diadem, Gladness etc. etc.

In terms of content I had planned to include (1) a quality photograph, (2) an essay on each filly/mare’s career and why she was so endeared by the racing public, (3) owner/trainer/breeder details, (4) her race record (runs, wins, 2nds, 3rds, prize money won, official rating), (5) a listing of major victories and awards, (6) her pedigree (three-generation), (7) colour and year of foal, (8) what she went on to achieve as a broodmare, (9) a thumbnail by a different leading racing figure explaining what she meant to him/her, (10) connections’ quotes from archives and (11) a ‘For More Information’ section listing books, videos or YouTube clips at the bottom of each filly/mares’ profile.

Now that it is a topical subject thanks to The Racing Post series, and rather than my initial groundwork go to total waste, I may as well publish my personal run down of the Top 50 somewhere so it may as well be here! These lists always create great debate and doubtless you’ll disagree with my order in many cases (it’s not purely based on who was the best) and even highlight mares I’ve not included but here goes anyway.

I should stress that this list is from three years ago so it doesn’t include Taghroodha, Annie Power, Minding, Found and Winx who would all get in there.

1. DAWN RUN

What Made Her Special: The only horse in history to win the Champion Hurdle and Cheltenham Gold Cup in addition to being the only horse in history to win the Champion Hurdle in Great Britain, Ireland and France.

Big Race Wins: Cheltenham Gold Cup, Champion Hurdle, Irish Champion Hurdle, French Champion Hurdle, Christmas Hurdle, Aintree Hurdle, Ascot Hurdle, John Durkan Memorial Chase

 

2. MIESQUE

What Made Her Special: Group 1 winner at two, three and four and the first back-to-back winner of any race at The Breeders’ Cup and dam of the French 1000 Guineas winner, East Of The Moon, and French 2000 Guineas winner and world class sire, Kingmambo. 

Big Race Wins: Breeders’ Cup Mile (x2), 1000 Guineas, Poules D’Essai Des Pouliches, Prix Jacques le Marois, Prix du Moulin, D’Ispahan, Prix Marcel Boussac, Prix de la Salamandre.

 

3. TREVE

What Made Her Special: Dual winner of the Arc where she posted the highest Timeform rating for a filly in the race since 1949 when first successful.

Big Race Wins: Prix de ‘Arc de Triomphe (x2), Prix de Diane, Prix Vermeille

 

4. OH SO SHARP

What Made Her Special: The fillies’ Triple Crown winner of 1985, a feat last achieved by Meld in 1955, who went on to sire a Group 1 winner and was the granddam of the St Leger winner, Shantou.

Big Race Wins: 1000 Guineas, Oaks, St Leger, Fillies’ Mile.

 

5. GOLDIKOVA

What Made Her Special: The only three-time winner of any Breeders’ Cup race and winner of more Group 1 races (14) than any other European-trained horse in history.

Big Race Wins: Breeders’ Cup Mile (x3), Prix D’Ispahan (x2), Poule d’Essai Des Pouliches, Queen Anne Stakes, Prix Jacques le Marois, Prix du Moulin, Falmouth Stakes, Prix de la Foret, Prix Rothschild (x4).

 

6. BLACK CAVIAR

What Made Her Special: Attained international superstar status being undefeated in 25 starts, 15 of which were Grade or Group 1 event and she was officially the best horse in the world for 18 months and European Champion Sprinter in 2012.

Big Race Wins: Diamond Jubilee Stakes, Lightning Stakes (x3), Patinack Farm Classic (x2), William Reid Stakes (x2), Australia Stakes (x2), Newmarket Handicap, BTC Cup, C F Orr Stakes, Robert Sangster Stakes, Goodwood Handicap.

 

7. ZENYATTA

What Made Her Special: A 13-times Grade 1 winner and, in doing so, broke the world record of eight consecutive Group/Grade 1 races with her only defeat in 20 career starts when given an injudicious ride attempting to defend her Breeders’ Cup Classic title (beaten only a head) and remains the only filly/mare to win the race. American Horse of the Year for 2010.

Big Race Wins: Breeders’ Cup Classic, Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic

 

8. PEBBLES

What Made Her Special: The first British-trained horse to win at the Breeders’ Cup after beating an exceptionally strong field in the Champion Stakes and becoming the first filly to ever win the Eclipse.

Big Race Wins: 1000 Guineas, Champion Stakes, Breeders’ Cup Turf, Eclipse, Sandown Mile.

 

9. BOSRA SHAM

What Made Her Special: Described by Sir Henry Cecil, who trained 15 British Classic winners with fillies, as the best filly that he ever trained despite her feet causing serious training difficulties. The highest rated horse in Europe or America over 1m2f as a three-year-old and the top rated older filly/mare in Europe as a four-year-old.

Big Race Wins: 1000 Guineas, Champion Stakes, Prince Of Wales’s Stakes, Fillies’ Mile, Brigadier Gerard Stakes.

 

10. ZARKAVA

What Made Her Special: An unbeaten Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and dual French Classic winner and European Horse of the Year for 2008.

Big Race Wins: Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, Poule D’Essai Des Pouliches, Prix de Diane, Prix Vermeille, Marcel Boussac.

 

11. DAHLIA

What Made Her Special: European Champion three-year-old who was one of only two horses to win the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes twice and equally as brilliant when transferred to be trained in America winning four big international prizes.  

Big Race Wins: King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes (x2), Juddmonte International (x2), Irish Oaks, Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud, Prix Saint-Alary, Prix Niel, Man O’War Stakes, Canadian International, Washington DC International, Hollywood Invitational Hancdicap,

 

12. OUIJA BOARD

What Made Her Special: The winner of seven Group/Grade 1 races in three different continents who was European Champion Three-Year-Old Filly in 2004, European Horse of the Year in 2004 and 2006 and European Champion Older Horse in 2006.

Big Race Wins: Oaks, Irish Oaks, Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (x2), Hong Kong Vase, Prince Of Wales’s Stakes, Nassau Stakes, Princess Royal Stakes.

 

13. TRIPTYCH

What Made Her Special: Hard as nails running 41 times in five seasons capturing nine Group 1 wins including a brace of Champion Stakes and Coronation Stakes victories (also placed twice in the Arc and King George) and becoming the only filly to beat the colts in the Irish 2000 Guineas before finishing second to Oh So Sharp in the Oaks.

Big Race Wins: Champion Stakes (x2), Coronation Cup (x2), Irish 2000 Guineas, Juddmonte International, Irish Champion Stakes, Prix Ganay, Prix Marcel Boussac.

 

14. SUN PRINCESS

What Made Her Special: Dual British Classic winner who won the Oaks by 12 lengths on only her second start and also finished runner-up in the Arc and bred a Dewhurst Stakes winner.

Big Race Wins: Oaks, St Leger, Yorkshire Oaks. 

 

15. DANEDREAM

What Made Her Special: The only filly/mare in history to win both the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

Big Race Wins: Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Grosser Preis Von Baden (x2), Grosser Preis Von Berlin, Italian Oaks.

 

16. MAKYBE DIVA

What Made Her Special: The only three-time winner of the Melbourne Cup. Enough said.

Big Race Wins: Melbourne Cup (x3), Cox Plate, BMW Stakes, Turnbull Stakes, Australian Cup, C F Orr Stakes, Sydney Cup.

 

17. TIME CHARTER

What Made Her Special: Winner of Group 1 races at three, four and five and British Champion Three-Year-Old Filly in 1982 and British Champion Older filly in 1983.

Big Race Wins: Oaks, King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Champion Stakes, Sun Chariot Stakes, Prix Foy, Coronation Cup.

 

18. SALSABIL

What Made Her Special: A three-time Classic winner notably when beating the colts all ends up in the Irish Derby, the first filly to do so in 90 years.

Big Race Wins: 1000 Guineas, Oaks, Irish Derby, Prix Vermeille, Prix Marcel Boussac, Fred Darling Stakes.

 

19. USER FRIENDLY

What Made Her Special: A three-time Classic winner who came within a neck of adding the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe when second to Subotica in 1992.

Big Race Wins: Oaks, Irish Oaks, Yorkshire Oaks, St Leger.

 

20. INDIAN SKIMMER

What Made Her Special: Four-time Group 1 winner who is arguably the best grey filly/mare in Europe since Petite Etoile in the late 1950s and early 1960s who took the scalp of Miesque in the French Oaks and is the granddam of the great South African mare, Ipi Tombe. Also placed in the Breeders’ Cup Turf and Eclipse.  

Big Race Wins: Prix de Diane, Champion Stakes, Irish Champion Stakes, Sun Chariot Stakes, D’Ispahan, Prix Saint-Alary, Gordon Richards Stakes, Musidora Stakes.

 

21. ALL ALONG

What Made Her Special: Led home a 1-2-3-4 for fillies in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and the only European-trained horse and first filly to be crowned American Horse of the Year following four Group/Grade 1 wins in three different countries during an incredible autumn of 1983 and also went on to finish second in the inaugural Breeders’ Cup Turf in 1984.

Big Race Wins: Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, Washington DC International, Rothmans International Turf Classic, Prix Vermeille.

 

22. LOCHSONG

What Made Her Special: Progressed from top class handicapper to Champion Sprinter for two seasons and European Horse of the Year in 1993.

Big Race Wins: Prix de l’Abbaye (x2), Nunthorpe Stakes, King’s Stand Stakes, Temple Stakes, King George Stakes (x2), Palace House Stakes, Stewards’ Cup, Portland Handicap.

 

23. SNOW FAIRY

What Made Her Special: Dual Classic-winning globetrotter who amassed career earnings of just shy of £4 million having attracted no interest when sent to the sales as a yearling and her breeder paid 1,800 euros to release her.

Big Race Wins: Oaks, Irish Oaks, Irish Champion Stakes, Hong Kong Cup, Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Cup (x2). 

 

24. MARLING

What Made Her Special: A daughter of Marwell who was a four-time Group 1 winner but unfortunate not to have made that five when an unlucky-in-running, close runner-up in the 1000 Guineas.  

Big Race Wins: Irish 1000 Guineas, Coronation Stakes, Sussex Stakes, Cheveley Park Stakes, Queen Mary Stakes. 

 

25. IN THE GROOVE

What Made Her Special: One of the most popular fillies of the early 1990s who was raced frequently and possessed a killer turn of foot, four of her seven wins were achieved at Group 1 level as were four of her placed runs.

Big Race Wins: Irish 1000 Guineas, Champion Stakes, Juddmonte International, Coronation Cup, Musidora Stakes, Sandown Mile. 

 

26. SONIC LADY

What Made Her Special: Although unsuccessful when sent off favourite twice for the Breeders’ Cup Mile, she won three Group 1 races in 1986 including breezing past colts and older horses in the Sussex Stakes.

Big Race Wins: Irish 1000 Guineas, Coronation Stakes, Sussex Stakes, Falmouth Stakes (x2). 

 

27. QUEVEGA

What Made Her Special: Unbeaten since May 2009 and the only horse to win the same race at six successive Cheltenham Festivals.

Big Race Wins: Mares Hurdle (x6), World Series Hurdle (x4).

 

28. MIDDAY

What Made Her Special: Can boast a Breeders’ Cup success amongst six Group/Grade 1 wins who is the only three-time winner of the Naasau Stakes and was also narrowly beaten when runner-up in the Oaks.

Big Race Wins: Nassau Stakes (x3), Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, Yorkshire Oaks, Prix Vermeille.

 

29. MIDWAY LADY

What Made Her Special: Dual British Classic winner whose granddaughter, Eswarah, followed in her footsteps by winning the Oaks.

Big Race Wins: 1000 Guineas, Oaks, Prix Marcel Boussac, May Hill Stakes. 

 

30. PAWNEESE

What Made Her Special: Horse of the Year in Britain in 1976 winning two Classics by a combined total of 16½ lengths and is just one of two three-year-old fillies to beat colts and older horses in the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes.   

Big Race Wins: Oaks, Prix de Diane, King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

 

31. ISLINGTON

What Made Her Special: A dual Yorkshire Oaks winner who also won at The Breeders’ Cup thus ending 1993 with the title of American Champion Female Turf Horse.

Big Race Wins: Yorkshire Oaks (x2), Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, Nassau Stakes, Musidora Stakes –for 1993. 

 

32. RIDGEWOOD PEARL

What Made Her Special: The best filly or mare trained in Ireland over at least the last three decades being European Horse of the Year in 1995, all four of her Group/Grade 1 wins were achieved in different countries.

Big Race Wins: Breeders’ Cup Mile, Irish 1000 Guineas, Coronation Stakes, Prix du Moulin.

 

33. FINSCEAL BEO

What Made Her Special: Came closer than any other filly to win all three major European 1000 Guineas as was only denied by a head in France having won Classics in Great Britain and Ireland.

Big Race Wins: 1000 Guineas, Irish 1000 Guineas, Prix Marcel Boussac, Rockfel Stakes.

 

34. ATTRACTION

What Made Her Special: Became the first of only two fillies to win both the 1000 Guineas and Irish 1000 Guineas despite demonstrating a most distinctive and unusual helicopter action have been born with crooked forelegs.

Big Race Wins - 1000 Guineas, Irish 1000 Guineas, Coronation Stakes, Matron Stakes, Cherry Hinton Stakes, Queen Mary Stakes.

 

35. RACHEL ALEXANDRA

What Made Her Special: The first filly to win the Preakness Stakes for 85 years after winning the Kentucky Oaks by 20 lengths, she was American Horse of the Year in a perfect 8-8 season in 2009.

Big Race Wins: Preakness Stakes, Kentucky Oaks, Haskell Invitational, Mother Goose Stakes.

 

36. URBAN SEA

What Made her Special: A surprise winner of the Prix de l‘Arc de Triomphe but a sensational broodmare being the dam of the Derby winners, Galileo and Sea The Stars.

Big Race Wins: Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe

 

37. MARWELL

What Made Her Special: Champion European Two-Year-Old Filly and Champion European Three-Year-Old Filly and also the dam of two Group 1 winners including Marling.

Big Race Wins: July Cup, Prix de l‘Abbaye, King’s Stand Stakes, Cheveley Park Stakes, Flying Childers Stakes, Molecomb Stakes, Fred Darling Stakes.

 

38. ALLEZ FRANCE

What Made Her Special: The first filly in history to win over $1 million, she became the catalyst for Daniel Wildenstein’s substantial investment into horseracing after winning the Arc.

Big Race Wins: Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, Poule D’Essai Des Pouliches, Prix De Diane, Prix Vermeille, Prix D’Ispahan, Prix Ganay (x2), Prix Dollar.

 

39. BALANCHINE

What Made Her Special: Godolphin’s first big success story was named Horse of the Year in 1994 following wins in the Oaks (after a narrow defeat in the 1000 Guineas) and against the colts in the Irish Derby easily beating the subsequent King George winner, King’s Theatre.

Big Race Wins: Oaks, Irish Derby

 

40. DUNFERMLINE

What Made Her Special: The winner of two British Classics in the colours of The Queen in Silver Jubilee year winning the Oaks and St Leger, beating the dual Arc winner, Alleged, into second in the latter.

Big Race Wins: Oaks, St Leger.

 

41. HABIBTI

What Made Her Special: Champion Sprinter and British Horse of the Year in 1983.

Big Race Wins: July Cup, Prix de l’Abbaye, King’s Stand Stakes, Nunthorpe Stakes, Haydock Sprint Cup, Moyglare Stud Stakes, Lowther Stakes.

 

42. HATOOF

What Made Her Special: French-trained US Champion Female Turf Horse in 1994.

Big Race Wins: 1000 Guineas, Champion Stakes, Prix Rothschild, E P Taylor Stakes, Beverley D Stakes, Prix de l’Opera.

 

43. DIMINUENDO

What Made Her Special: The top-rated European-trained filly of 1988 and a length away from being a three-time Classic winner having finished second in the St Leger.

Big Race Wins: Oaks, Irish Oaks, Yorkshire Oaks, Fillies’ Mile, Cherry Hinton Stakes, Musidora Stakes.

 

44. STANERRA

What Made Her Special: The first European-trained winner of the Japan Cup who also won two pattern races in the space of four days at Royal Ascot in 1983.

Big Race Wins: Japan Cup, Prince Of Wales’s Stakes, Irish Champion Stakes, Hardwicke Stakes.

 

45. HIGHCLERE

What Made Her Special: Dual Classic winner owned by The Queen and second in the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes who later became a highly influential broodmare.

Big Race Wins: 1000 Guineas, Prix de Diane.

 

46. RUFFIAN

What Made Her Special: Unbeaten in ten starts before suffering fatal injury in her final race in final start in 1975 and is widely regarded as the all-time American great filly or mare. Her story was told in the 2007 film, Ruffian, and in many books.

Big Race Wins: American Oaks, Mother Goose Stakes, Acorn Stakes

 

47. ESTIMATE

What Made Her Special: Provided the highlight of the domestic 2013 Flat Season when giving The Queen her first winner of the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot.

Big Race Wins: Ascot Gold Cup, Sagaro Stakes, Queen’s Vase.

 

48. KOOYONGA

What Made Her Special: European Champion Three-Year-Old Filly and as a four-year-old she became only one of two fillies/mares to win the Eclipse.

Big Race Wins: Eclipse Stakes, Irish 1000 Guineas, Coronation Stakes, Matron Stakes, Bayerisches Zuchtrennan.

 

49. LADY REBECCA

What Made Her Special: A Prestbury Park favourite and three-time winner of the Cleeve Hurdle who won seven times at Cheltenham amongst 13 wins from 19 starts.

Big Race Wins: Cleeve Hurdle (x3)

 

50. MOONLIGHT CLOUD

What Made Her Special: Ten-time Group race winner including six Group1s (two of which in the space of eight days) with a sensational turn of foot.

Big Race Wins: Prix Jacques le Marois, Prix du Moulin, Prix Maurice De Gheest (x2), Prix de la Foret, Prix Rothschild)

 

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