Vaguely Noble Vaguely Noble has the distinction of being the joint-third highest rated horse – alongside Brigadier Gerard, and inferior to only Frankel and Sea-Bird – to race on the Flat in the post-war era, according to Timeform. Bred, and originally owned, by Major Lionel Brook Holliday, but subsequently inherited by his son, Lionel Brook Jnr., Vaguely Noble was trained privately, by Walter Wharton in Newmarket, in the early part of his career.

Vaguely Noble raced four times as a juvenile, winning twice. His most notable success as a two-year-old came in the Observer Gold Cup – now the Vertem Futurity Trophy – at Doncaster, where he sluiced through the mud to win by seven lengths. However, at the end of his two-year-old campaign he was sold for an eye-watering 136,000 guineas – at the time, a world record for any thoroughbred at auction – to American owners Nelson Bunker Hunt and Wilma Franklyn.

After a brief spell in Ireland with Paddy ‘Darkie’ Prendergast, Vaguely Noble was transferred to Chantilly-based trainer Etienne Pollet. During his three-year-old campaign in France, Vaguely Noble won four of his five starts. He won the Group Three Prix de Guiche, over 1,800 metres, at Chantilly, before stepping up in distance to win the Group Three Prix du Lys at Longchamp and the Group Two Grand Prix de Chantilly, both over 2,400 metres.

However, the best was yet to come from the Vienna colt; sent off favourite for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp, Vaguely Noble raced prominently throughout, took the lead with a quarter-of-a-mile to run and galloped on resolutely to beat the Derby winner, Sir Ivor, by three lengths. In so doing, he became a third winner of the Longchamp showpiece for Etienne Pollet, after La Sorellina in 1953 and Sea Bird in 1965. All told, Vaguely Noble won six of his nine races, never finished outside the first three and earned just over £287,000 in total prize money.

Man o'War Man o’War’s career spanned 21 races, and in those events, the stallion won 20 times. Foaled in 1917, Man o’War wasn’t just a fantastic race horse but a national hero in post-World War I America. The stallion’s career lasted just two years before he was put out to stud; but in that time, a legend was created.

Trained by Louis Feustel, Man o’War made his official race debut at Belmont Park in June 1919 and he won the race by six lengths. The horse’s next three races would all come within 17 days, and the majestic stallion won them all.
Man o’War’s rookie season wasn’t over and the stallion continued to be entered into races and he collected win after win. In all, Man o’War triumphed at five major races in 1919, and following the season, he was awarded the American Champion Two-Year-Colt Award.

Man o’War followed up his debut season with an even better showing in 1920. The stallion had a new jockey installed in the saddle. Clarence Kummer was given the reins and the duo didn’t look back.

When Man o’War’s three-year-old season dawned, his owner Samuel Riddle, decided against running the Kentucky Derby. His focus was on the Preakness Stakes, a race he far preferred. Riddle’s focus paid off as Man o’War won the race in his first event of the season. Eleven days later, the stallion won the Withers Stakes. Next up was the Belmont Stakes which saw Man o’War set a world record time of 2:14 1/5.

Further triumphs included the Dwyer Stakes, Jockey Club Gold Cup and Travers Stakes. By the time the season ended, Man o’War would be crowned American Horse of the Year.

At the end of the 1920 season Man o’War was retired to stud. Six years later, Man o’War became the leading sire and remained in the top two for three of the next 10 years.

In 1943, after a successful racing and stud career, Man o’War passed away from a heart attack. He was 30-years old when he died. In 1957, Man o’War was voted into the US Racing Hall of Fame.

Tudor Minstrel Tudor Minstrel was a son of 1941 Derby winner Owen Tudor and a grandson of 1933 Derby winner Hyperion but, ironically, suffered just one of two defeats in his ten-race career in the 1947 renewal of the Epsom Classic. Nevertheless, Tudor Minstrel was awarded a Timeform Annual Rating of 144, which places him joint-third on the list of highest-rated horses to race on the Flat since World War II, alongside Brigadier Gerard and inferior to only Frankel and Sea-Bird. Indeed, Phil Bull, founder of Timeform, described Tudor Minstrel as ‘the fastest I have ever timed’.

Owned by John Arthur Dewar and trained by Fred Darling, Tudor Minstrel was the leading juvenile in Britain in 1946. He won all four starts, notably winning the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot and the National Breeders’ Produce Stakes – now the National Stakes – at Sandown by four lengths apiece.

The following season, after winning his preparatory race at Bath, Tudor Minstrel was sent off 11/8 favourite for the 2,000 Guineas and turned the Newmarket Classic into a procession, winning, eased down, by eight lengths. The official winning margin remains a record but, according to some observers, could easily have been doubled.

On the strength of his bloodless victory at Newmarket, Tudor Minstrel was sent off 4/7 favourite for the Derby at Epsom. However, the combination of pulling hard and continually lugging right, on the left-handed course, put paid to his chance and he eventually finished a tried fourth behind Pearl Diver.

Nevertheless, dropped back to a mile for the St. James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot later the same month, Tudor Minstrel recorded another easy victory. His second attempt beyond a mile, in the Eclipse Stakes, over a mile-and-quarter, at Sandown the following resulted in his second defeat, but his finished his racing career on a high note by winning the Knights’ Royal Stakes – now the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes – at Ascot, back over a mile, on his final start.