Tudor Minstrel

Tudor Minstrel the greatest miler to have graced the British Turf in the last Century

  • foaled in 1944 by Owen Tudor out of Sansonnet
  • By Harsh Thakor
  • With reference to Timeform 50 years and Julian Wilson’s great Racehorses.

Tudor Minstrel British-bred Champion Thoroughbred Racehorse

Before Brigadier Gerard Tudor Minstrel was the greatest miler to have graced the British Turf in the last Century. Over a distance of a mile he was invincible and was rated by Gordon Richards as the best horse he had ever ridden.

Tudor Minstrel was trained by Fred Darling who at that time was suffering from ill-health. He was unbeaten in 1946 in 4 starts as a two year old,topping the free handicap.

The following season he had a prep race at Bath as a preparation for the 2000 Guineas. He won it in a canter and became a red-hot favourite for the 2000Guineas.

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In this race Tudor Minstrel gave one of the most superlative displays by a racehorse over a mile in the last Century. He simply shot away from the high-class colt Petition like a missile cruising. Those at Newmarket that day felt they had never witnessed such a spectacular athlete before. Tudor Minstrel had become to flat racing what Roger Bannister was to athletics over a mile. The turn of foot he displayed was electrifying. Although the official winning distance was 8 lengths in reality it was more like 11 or 12!(Those days the measuring was highly inaccurate and thus the distance verdict was sometimes under-estimated)

The great horse became a red hot favourite for the Epsom Derby at 7 to 4 one, the shortest odds for any Derby favourite in the last Century. Unfortunately 2 weeks before the Blue Riband it was discovered that Tudor Minstrel could not work out on a left -handed course. Jockey Gordon Richards felt the colt was never at home on a left-handed course. In the Epsom Derby racing fans witnessed one of the last Century’s greatest upsets in the Blue Riband Race when Tudor Minstrel was beaten. After hitting the front at Tattenham corner he went on to only finish 4th. In the initial stages of the race the colt resisted Gordon Richards holding him up. When Gordon released him the colt flew but only for his energy to be dissipitated. The main reason the colt lost was that it failed to stay.

In the St James Palace Stakes at Ascot Tudor Minstrel made mincemeat of his rivals but again tasted defeat in the Eclipse Stakes. There, on watered going, Migoli out ran him.

Tudor Minstrel retired on a winning note in the Knights Royal Stake at Ascot. He won the race pulled up from Vagabond 2nd. However the colt was stone cold at the finish however much he confirmed his superiority.

Tudor Minstrel at stud sired Class horse like Sing Sing, Tudor Melody and Kentucky Derby winner Tomy Lee. The superstar was exported to America in 1959.

Tudor Minstrel was awarded a rating of 142 by Timeform only behind Sea Bird and Brigadier Gerard and on par with Ribot. Racing experts placed Brigadier Gerard ahead as the Brigadier was a more durable,versatile and consistent horse who could win in all types of going. Like Brigadier Gerard Tudor Minstrel could never win a big race over a mile and a half.

His ranking amongst the greats of all-time is a moot point but his place is a certainty. He was certainly the greatest horse trained by Fred Darling.