During the week of the Royal Wedding guest blogger, Amy Bennett looks back at Pall Mall a Royal winner of the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury.
When the field goes to post on Saturday for the 60th running of the Lockinge Stakes, there will be no runner in the Royal colours, but it is a good time to remember the first winner, Pall Mall, who triumphed twice for Her Majesty the Queen.
Pall Mall was bred at the Royal Studs at Sandringham out of the Portlaw mare Malapert who retired to stud as a maiden with her best form coming when placed on three occasions. She was purchased for 100gns at the December Sales in Newmarket in 1949 by Captain Charles Moore, then bloodstock and racing advisor to King George VI.
The mare was covered three times by Sandringham resident Kingstone and then the King’s multiple Classic winner Big Game. In 1954 and 1955, Moore opted to send Malapert to Palestine, but the lack of success of her previous offspring meant she was culled from the Royal broodmare band sold for a slight loss at 910gns in 1955, the year she foaled a liver chestnut colt who would be named Pall Mall.
Sent into training with the Royal trainer Captain Cecil Boyd-Rochfort (later knighted), Pall Mall made his debut in May at Haydock in the Earlstown Plate over five furlongs, worth £345. Among his opposition that day was a colt named Zurigo, partnered by a young Frank Conlon, many years before he would become part of the team at the Palace House museum!
It was an auspicious start for the young Pall Mall who triumphed easily by five lengths, in so doing becoming part of a treble on the day for the young Queen, the first time she had enjoyed such an event with her own colours.
Even better was to come a month later when Pall Mall contested the New Stakes on the third day of Royal Ascot. Once again, he was partnered by the Royal jockey Harry Carr (right) and proved himself a worthy victor, scoring by a length at 6/1.
The Queen clearly had a talent on her hands, but just how talented the colt might be was somewhat clouded by his next two starts when he was beaten, first when second in the July Stakes at Newmarket and then when third in August in the Gimcrack Stakes at York when well-fancied.
Pall Mall ran once more at two, beaten a short head by Kelly in the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster. He finished his juvenile season rated 7lbs below the top-rated two-year-old, Major Portion, in the Free Handicap.
On his return at three, Pall Mall looked backward and duly proved so, finishing only fourth to Aggressor in the 2,000 Guineas Trial at Kempton. He stripped much fitter 12 days later when turned out again for the Classic Trial Stakes at Thirsk, although he still had to be hard ridden to win by a length.
It was little wonder then when faced with the choice of riding either Pall Mall or Bald Eagle, the Craven Stakes winner and Pall Mall’s stablemate at Freemason Lodge, in the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket, Carr opted for the latter.
Doug Smith partnered Pall Mall and, unheralded at 20/1, the colt stormed to Classic glory (pictured right) for his Royal owner on April 30th, who unfortunately was not on hand to watch the race as she was laid low with a heavy cold. Pall Mall remains the only colt to win a Classic in the Queen’s colours.
Being by a sprinter, out of the lowly performer Malapert, there was little chance of Pall Mall staying the Derby trip and instead Boyd-Rochfort opted to send the Classic winner to contest a new race at Newbury in May – the Lockinge Stakes.
Run over a mile and open to three-year-olds and upwards (the race would be closed to three-year-olds from 1995, the same year in which the race gained Group 1 status), Pall Mall was duly made 4/6 favourite, and attracted plenty of attention for the new race with his status as a Royal Classic winner.
Showing the same talent and grit that had landed him his 2,000 Guineas victory, Pall Mall skipped away with the honours, becoming the first horse to add his name to the Lockinge roll of honour.
Pall Mall would only race once more in 1958, proving his champion status as a miler when winning the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood by a length. Although the Queen was just denied the title of leading owner in 1958, Pall Mall was one of a quartet of talented performers who brought her agonisingly close to the title.
Kept in training at four, Pall Mall was unsurprisingly once again made a heavy odds-on favourite for the Lockinge Stakes. He duly obliged, seeing off the subsequent Cambridgeshire victor and three-year-old Rexequus.
Thus Pall Mall became not only the first Lockinge winner, but the first dual winner as well, an honour he would solely hold until Welsh Pageant brought off his own double in 1971. Only one other horse has ever achieved the double – Soviet Line, who triumphed in 1995 and 1996.
For Pall Mall’s next start, Boyd-Rochfort opted to send him back to Royal Ascot but this time to contest the Royal Hunt Cup – a move unlikely to be considered by many modern trainers of top milers! Unsurprisingly awarded top weight of 9.7 stone in the competitive handicap but still made favourite at 5/2, Pall Mall lost nothing in defeat when finishing runner-up in a field of 23, beaten a length and a half by Faultless Speech to whom he was conceding 20lbs.
Pall Mall raced for the final time a month later, bowing out on a winning note with success in the Midsummer Stakes at Newmarket’s July meeting.
Retired to stud as a five-year-old in 1960, Pall Mall went on to enjoy success as sire of Reform, who followed in his sire’s footsteps as a top miler with victories in the St James’s Palace Stakes, the Sussex Stakes and the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes as well as the Champion Stakes over ten furlongs. He also sired another top miler in Sallust, who also won the Sussex Stakes as well as the Prix du Moulin.
Pall Mall also lives on in modern pedigrees as the damsire of the Boulevard, third dam of Street Cry and the top-class Japanese performer Neo Universe and fourth dam of Shamardal, as well as through Reform’s full-sister Knighton House, the ancestress of such as Islignton.
Blog by guest blogger, Amy Bennett.
We would like to thank Great British Racing for their action photo of Pall Mall and Jockeypedia for the photo of Harry Carr.