The other Santa Claus…

‘Tis the festive season and here at Montjeu.com we are keen to enter into the spirit of things.  Not wishing to upset anyone with religious sensitivities I won’t speculate on the pedigree of Jesus 🙂 and I won’t mention King of Kings to avoid upsetting the hundreds of breeders who used that flop. I considered writing about the Blandford Stakes winner Kris Kringle, the great Generous and decent sire Cadeaux Genereux but at the end of the day it was an easy decision. These days Christmas has little to do with religion and everything to do with the man in red, so I dusted off my history books and did some research on Santa Claus.

The equine Santa Claus was one of the best horses trained in Ireland in the 20th Century. At two he won the National Stakes and entered the winter as ante-post Derby favourite. At three he was successful in the Irish 2000 Guineas, Epsom Derby and Irish Derby. He also finished second in the King George to the four year old Nasram and the Prix de l’Arc to Prince Royal (beaten 3/4 length).  He was trained on the Curragh by Mick Rogers who had won the 1958 Derby with Hard Ridden. His sire Chamossaire was a St Leger winner and he sired another Leger winner in Cambremer along with 2 other Irish Derby winners in Chamier and Your Highness. His grandsire Precipitation was a winner of the Ascot Gold Cup and his great grand sire Hurry On was one of the leading sires of the early 20th Century siring three Derby winners in the 1920’s in Captain Cuttle, Coronach and Call Boy. His broodmare sire Arctic Prince won the 1951 Derby for Joe McGrath. Interestingly Santa Claus was the last representive of the Godolphin Arabian line to win an Epsom Derby. At stud Santa Claus died early but from 121 foals he had 89 runners, 54 winners and 9 (7%) Black Type winners. These included a pair of Irish classic winners in Reindeer (winner of the 1969 Irish Leger for Vincent O’Brien) and Santa Tina winner of the 1970 Irish Oaks (and closely related to Reindeer).  Bonne Noel won an Ebor and became a National Hunt sire, Father Christmas won the Rose of York stakes and also got a shot at stud. None of his sons made much impact with Reindeer more of a National Hunt sire before he was moved to New Zealand. I noticed Reindeers name in the pedigree of Yachtie the sire of Happyanunoit, who was a Group/Grade 1 winner in Australia/New Zealand and the US. As a broodmare sire Santa Claus’ record is solid but not spectacular. Santa Tina became the dam of Young Mother who won a Prix Vermeille and she is granddam of Equalize a Grade 1 winner of the United Nations Hcp. Santa Claus also sired Sleat winner of the 1970 Sun Chariot stakes and ancestress of Reprimand, Wiorno and a host of other stakes horses. Canaan was an unraced filly who became the great granddam of Yeats and Solskjaer. His stats read 50 mares responsible for 371 foal, 147 winners and 13 (4%) black type winners.  He may not have been a major influence on the breed but Santa Claus is a reminder of a radically different bloodstock world, when stallion books were small but carefully managed and maybe that’s something we should all wish for a return to this Christmas.

SANTA CLAUS (GB) 1961 c

Chamossaire
(GB) 1942
Precipitation
(GB) 1933
Hurry
On (GB) 1913
Marcovil
(GB) 1903
Tout
Suite (GB) 1904
Double
Life (IRE) 1926
Bachelor’s
Double (GB) 1906
Saint
Joan (GB) 1918
Snowberry
(GB) 1937
Cameronian
(GB) 1928
Pharos
(GB) 1920
Una
Cameron (GB) 1922
Myrobella
(GB) 1930
Tetratema
(GB) 1917
Dolabella
(GB) 1911
Aunt
Clara (GB) 1953
Arctic
Prince (IRE) 1948
Prince
Chevalier (FR) 1943
Prince
Rose (GB) 1928
Chevalerie
(FR) 1933
Arctic
Sun (GB) 1941
Nearco
(ITY) 1935
Solar
Flower (GB) 1935
Sister
Clara (GB) 1938
Scarlet
Tiger (GB) 1930
Colorado
(GB) 1923
Trilogy
(GB) 1923
Clarence
(GB) 1934
Diligence
(GB) 1919
Nun’s
Veil (GB) 1930

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