Highclere (horse)

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Sire Queen's Hussar
Grandsire March Past
Dam Highlight
Damsire Borealis
Sex Mare
Foaled 1971
Country United Kingdom
Colour Bay
Breeder Queen Elizabeth II
Owner Queen Elizabeth II
Trainer Dick Hern
Record 8: 3-3-0
Major wins
1000 Guineas (1974)
Prix de Diane (1974)
Timeform rating: 129

Highclere (1971–1992) was a British thoroughbred racehorse owned by Queen Elizabeth II. In a racing career lasting from summer 1973 until October 1974 she ran eight times and won three races. Highclere won one minor race as a two-year-old but improved to win the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket Racecourse and Prix de Diane at Chantilly. She later finished second to Dahlia in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot. She retired at the end of the season to become a highly successful and influential broodmare.


Highclere was a bay filly, bred in England by her owner, Queen Elizabeth II. She was sired by the Sussex Stakes winner Queen's Hussar, whose reputation as a stallion had previously rested almost entirely on the fact that he was the sire of Brigadier Gerard. Her dam Highlight won two minor races and was a daughter of Hypericum, who won the 1000 Guineas for King George VI in 1946. As a descendant of the broodmare Feola, Highclere came from the same branch of Thoroughbred family 2-f which produced Round Table, Pebbles and Aureole.[1]

The filly was named after Highclere Castle, the home of the Queen's racing manager, Lord Carnarnvon.[2] Highclere was sent into training with Dick Hern at his stables in West Ilsley in Berkshire. Her regular jockey was Joe Mercer.

Racing career

1973: two-year-old season

Highclere ran three times as a two-year-old in 1973. After finishing second in a maiden race at Newmarket behind Polygamy, she was moved up in class for the Princess Margaret Stakes at Ascot Racecourse, and finished second again, though this time beating Polygamy. On her final start, she won the Donnington Stakes at Newbury, but was not particularly impressive. At the end of the season she was allotted a weight of 109 pounds in the Free Handicap, a rating of the best two-year-olds to have raced in Britain. The rating placed her twenty-two pounds below the top-rated Apalachee, and nine pounds below Bitty Girl, Gentle Thoughts and Melchbourne who tied for the position of best filly.[3]

1974: three-year-old season

On Highclere's first appearance of 1974 she contested the Classic 1000 Guineas over the Rowley Mile at Newmarket. Wearing blinkers for the first time she started at odds of 12/1 in a field of fifteen fillies. The closing stages of the race saw a struggle between Highclere and the Peter Walwyn-trained favourite Polygamy. with the Queen's filly prevailing by a short head.[4] The win gave the British monarch her second fillies' Classic win, seventeen years after Carrozza won the Epsom Oaks.[5] It was believed that the course and distance of the Oaks would not suit Highclere, and so the filly was rerouted to the French equivalent, the Prix de Diane over 2100m at Chantilly. With her owner in attendance, Highclere won by two lengths from Comtesse de Loir.[6] On their return from France Dick Hern and Joe Mercer were invited to dine with the Royal Family at Windsor Castle.[7]

In July, Highclere raced against colts and older horses in Britain's most prestigious all-aged race, the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes at Ascot. Highclere finished second, beaten two lengths by the French four-year-old filly Dahlia, who was winning the race for the second year. Highclere failed to reproduce her best form in her two remaining races. She finished unplaced behind Dahlia in the Benson and Hedges Gold Cup and was also unplaced in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe a race in which Allez France beat Comtesse de Loir by a head. Highclere was then retired to stud.


Highclere produced several winners, the best of whom were the colt Milford[8] and the filly Height of Fashion, both of whom won the Princess of Wales's Stakes. Height of Fashion went on to produce the 2000 Guineas and Epsom Derby winner Nashwan as well as the multiple Group winners Nayef and Unfuwain.[9] Another of Highclere's daughters, Burghclere produced Wind In Her Hair, the dam of Deep Impact.[10] Highclere died in 1992.[11]

Stud Record:

1985 HIGHBROW (GB), bay filly, foaled 1 January, by Shirley Heights (GB) - placed 5 times from 6 starts in England 1988, including 2nd G2 Ribblesdale Stakes, Ascot; LR Glorious Stakes, Goodwood; 4th G2 Park Hill Stakes, Doncaster; G3 Lancashire Oaks, Haydock. Dam of winners.

1992 CLEAR ATTRACTION (USA), bay filly, foaled 2 February, by Lear Fan (USA) - ran once unplaced in England during 1995

Assessment and honours

Highclere was given a rating of 129 by Timeform.[3]

In their book, A Century of Champions, based on the Timeform rating system, John Randall and Tony Morris rated Highclere an "superior" winner of the 1000 Guineas and the forty-sixth best filly or mare trained in Britain or Ireland in the 20th century.[12]


Pedigree of Highclere (GB), bay mare, 1971[13]
Queen's Hussar (GB)
March Past
Petition Fair Trial
Art Paper
Marcelette William of Valence
Vilmorin Gold Bridge
Queen of the Meadows
Fairy Jane Fair Trial
Light Tackle
Highlight (GB)
Brumeux Teddy
La Brume
Aurora Hyperion
Rose Red
Hyperion Gainsborough
Feola Friar Marcus
Aloe (Family 2-f)[1]

Highclere was inbred 3x4 to Hyperion, meaning that the stallion appears in both the third and fourth generations of her pedigree. She was also inbred 4x4 to Fair Trial.


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Hyacinthus Mare - Family 2-f". Bloodlines.net. Retrieved 2012-07-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "The 7th Earl of Carnarvon". Telegraph. 2001-09-13. Retrieved 2012-07-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 Morris, Tony; Randall, John (1990). Horse Racing: Records, Facts, Champions (Third Edition). Guinness Publishing. ISBN 0-85112-902-1.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "English turf classic to Queen's filly". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2012-07-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Queen's quest for the Derby". Brisnet.com. 2011-06-01. Retrieved 2012-07-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Queen jumps for joy". Calgary Herald. 17 June 1974. Retrieved 2012-07-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "The Queen's own sport". Diamondjubileeguide.com. Retrieved 2012-07-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Royal research to name horses". Sydney Morning Herald. 3 April 1979. Retrieved 2012-07-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Schmitz, David (2000-08-02). "Champion Mare Height of Fashion Dies at 21". BloodHorse.com. Retrieved 2012-07-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Classic winner, Classic influence". Ownerbreeder.co.uk. 2012-05-13. Retrieved 2012-07-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Fillies star in Guineas for Unfuwain". Racing Post. 2000-05-10. Retrieved 2012-07-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Morris, Tony; Randall, John (1999). A Century of Champions. Portway Press,. ISBN 1-901570-15-0.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "Highclere pedigree". equineline.com. 2012-05-08. Retrieved 2012-07-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>