Challacombe (horse)

Challacombe (1902 8 January 1917) was a British Thoroughbred racehorse and sire. He showed little ability as a two-year-old, showing no worthwhile form in six starts. In the following year he made steady progress, winning seven races, culminating with an upset victory in the St Leger Stakes. He was subsequently retired to stud but had no success as a sire of winners.

SireSt Serf
GrandsireSt Simon
DamLady Chancellor
DamsireBona Vista
CountryUnited Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
BreederF W Dunn
OwnerWashington Singer
TrainerAlec Taylor, Jr.
Record17: 7-1-1
Earnings£6,847 (1905)[2]
Major wins
Union Jack Stakes (1905)
St Leger (1905)


Challacombe was a bay horse with a white star bred by F W Dunn. As a yearling he was put up for auction at Doncaster and was bought for 570 guineas by Alec Taylor, Jr. on behalf of the American-born Washington Singer.[3] Taylor, who trained the horse at Manton, Wiltshire, later expressed his disappointment that the colt had never been entered in the Epsom Derby.[4] The horse was named after a small village in Devon.

He was sired by St Serf who won the Rous Memorial Stakes and went on to sire several other good horses included the 1000 Guineas winner Thais. Challacombe's dam Lady Chancellor was a distant, female-line descendant of the dam of the Epsom Oaks winner Nike.[5]

Racing career

1904: two-year-old season

Until 1946 two-year-old racehorses in Britain did not have to be given official names[6] and the colt who was to become Challacombe raced unnamed as a juvenile in 1904. The colt made no impact, as he failed to win or place in any of his six races.[7][8]

1905: three-year-old season

The still unnamed colt returned in the spring of 1905 and began to make steady progress. He won the Union Jack Stakes over one mile at Liverpool in April and the Wood Ditton Stakes at Newmarket Racecourse later that month. In May he followed up by taking the Tudor Plate at Sandown Park and the Chippenham Plate over one and a half miles at Newmarket. At Royal Ascot in June he finished unplaced in both the Gold Vase and the Triennial Stakes.[9] In July he ran for the first time under the name Challacombe and won the Coombe Plate over one mile at Sandown Park.[7] Later that month he was moved up in class for the Duchess of York Plate over ten furlongs at Hurst Park he finished third behind the Oaks winner Cherry Lass.[10] The colt returned to Hurst Park in August and finished second to Costly Lady in the Holiday Plate.[8] On his final race before contesting the St Leger Challacombe contested the weight-for-age Newdigate Stakes over one and a half miles at Gatwick Racecourse in early September,[11] and won "very easily" from the four-year-old St Denis.[12]

130th running of the St Leger over fourteen and a half furlongs at Doncaster Racecourse on 13 September was much anticipated as the field was expected to include the season's three outstanding three-year-olds, Cicero, Val d'Or and Cherry Lass. When Cicero was withdrawn with a leg injury, and Val d'Or was prevented from crossing the English Channel from France by rough weather,[13] Cherry Lass became the clear favourite. The race was run in wet and "dismal" conditions but nevertheless attracted the customary huge crowd.[14] Cherry Lass went off at odds of 6/4 ahead of Llangibby (third to Val d'Or and Cicero in the Eclipse Stakes) and Polymelus with Challacombe, ridden by Otto Madden the 16/1 fourth choice in an eight-runner field.[15] It was reported that Challacombe, who was equipped with blinkers, had been considered unlikely to run in the race until the withdrawals of Cicero and Val d'Or.[3] Challacombe was not among the early leaders but drew alongside the tiring Cherry Lass in the straight before pulling away to win "easily"[15] by three lengths from Polymelus with the favourite three lengths back in third place. The winning time of 3:05.4 was a new record for the race.[3]

Challacombe ended the year with earnings of £6,847 making him the sixth most financially successful horse of the season.[2]

1906: four-year-old season

Challacombe remained in training as a four-year-old but failed to win any major races.

Assessment and honours

In their book, A Century of Champions, based on the Timeform rating system, John Randall and Tony Morris rated Challacombe an "average" winner of the St Leger.[16]

Stud record

Challacombe retired from racing to become a breeding stallion but had no success as a sire of winners. Challacombe was euthanised on 8 January 1917.[17]


Pedigree of Challacombe (GB), bay stallion, 1902[1]
St Serf (GB)
St Simon (GB)
Galopin Vedette
Flying Duchess
St Angela King Tom
Feronia (GB)
Thormanby Windhound
Alice Hawthorn
Woodbine Stockwell
Lady Chancellor (GB)
Bona Vista (GB)
Bend Or Doncaster
Rouge Rose
Vista Macaroni
Lady Cecil (GB)
Ossian Salvator
True Blue Oxford
Smilax (Family 32)[5]


  1. "Challacombe pedigree". Equineline.
  2. "English Racing". Otago Witness. 27 February 2018. p. 48 via Papers Past.
  3. "The Turf". Evening Star. 8 November 1905. p. 3 via Papers Past.
  4. "Sporting". The Register (Adelaide). 25 October 1905. p. 7 via
  5. "Dodsworth's Dam - Family 32". Thoroughbred Bloodlines.
  6. Morris, Tony; Randall, John (1990). Horse Racing: Records, Facts, Champions (Third Edition). Guinness Publishing. ISBN 0-85112-902-1.
  7. "Far and Near". The Star. 20 September 1905. p. 1 via Papers Past.
  8. "St Leger Stakes". Sydney Morning Herald. 15 September 1905. p. 7 via
  9. "London Week by Week". Evening News (Sydney). 21 October 1905. p. 2 via
  10. "Turf Topics". The New Zealand Times. 23 September 1905. p. 14 via Papers Past.
  11. "Sporting Notes". The Star. 19 October 1905. p. 1 via Papers Past.
  12. "Racing in England". Telegraph (Brisbane). 16 October 1905. p. 2 via
  13. "IN A NUTSHELL". Otago Witness. 1 November 1905. Retrieved 2012-09-20.
  14. "Sporting Notes from Home". The Australasian. 21 October 1905. p. 20 via
  15. "Sporting News". The Star. 25 October 1905. p. 1 via Papers Past.
  16. Morris, Tony; Randall, John (1999). A Century of Champions. Portway Press. ISBN 1-901570-15-0.
  17. Wetherby (1917). "Obituary of Stallions". The General Stud Book. 23: 1178. Retrieved 20 May 2018.
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