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Arab Maid Family
This family of Irish-bred mares dates back to an arabian mare purportedly bought from a circus in the 1840s. She was bred to Bretby, a son of the dual-classic winner Priam, producing Arab Maid, who won some races in Ireland. Priam is also seen in the pedigree of horses descending from his unnamed daughter, the head of Half-bred Family 7: Cesarewitch winner Mrs. Taft, the steeplechase stallion New Owestry, and Grand National winner Zoedone descend from that mare.
Arab Maid was bred to the good steeplechaser Thomastown, a half-bred stallion who had a hard time of it in his four runs in the Grand National Steeplechase at Aintree (1862, 1864, 1866, 1867), but he did place fourth (in a field of 25) in it in 1864, carrying the highest weight of 12 st., the year Emblematic won. The result of this union was Sultana, who won steeplechases in Ireland, and later produced a filly to the cover of Rob Roy, a son of the influential steeplechase sire Artillery. The Rob Roy daughter produced a filly in 1901 by Enthusiast, a son of Sterling; Sterling was also sire of another good jumper sire in Ireland, Play Actor (dam's sire of Grand National winners Jenkinstown and Music Hall).
The mare by Enthusiast produced two daughters of influence in the family, Edna May, by Cerasus (a son of Cherry Ripe), and Easter Week (dam of Easter Hero), by Outbreak. She also dropped two sons, Civil War (by Outbreak), in 1909, who won two steeplechases in Ireland, including the Irish Grand National, and his brother Creekstown, who won a steeplechase in Ireland. Outbreak was a great-grandson of Sterling, through Isonomy.
Edna May, bred by M. Kennedy of Co. Meath, won the Prince of Wales' Plate at age five at Punchestown, the Kildare Hunt Plate by eight lengths at age eight, and also four small flat races, two steeplechases and a hurdle plate between the ages of 4 and 8. Sold to William Ward of Kilsallaghan, co. Dublin, she produced Brave May, who won two flat races, 2 hurdle races and four steeplechases in Ireland, May Snow, a winner of one steeplechase, and Brave Edna. Brave Edna produced Edna's Courage (by Coup de Lyon), a winner over fences, as did her daughter, Edna's Spirit, who had a jumps winner in Royal Spirit (by Whitehall). As of this writing (2004), Litron, a gelded son from Brave Edna's branch of the family, has won and placed over hurdles in Ireland.
Bit of a Skite b.g. 1976
(Menelek - Mrs. Brady by Ossian II)
Trained by former jockey and successful National Hunt trainer Edward O'Grady, and owned by J.P. McManus, Bit of a Skite won the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham, and Irish Grand National in 1983. His sister, Corston Lass, produced several jumpers, one of which, Corston Springs (1982), was a winner over hurdles.
Civil War b.g. 1909
(Outbreak - mare by Enthusiast)
Bred by Larry King at his stud near Ashbourne in Co. Meath, who purchased the mare by Enthusiast from M. Kennedy of Fleenstown, Co. Meath, he was a long-running 'chaser in Ireland. In 1914 he won the Irish Grand National for King, and two years later ran fourth in the same race. His sister, Easter Week, produced Easter Hero.
Easter Hero ch.g. 1920
(My Prince - Easter Week by Outbreak)
Bred by Larry King, his dam, Easter Week ran only once at age four, and was pulled up. Her first foal, Rebel Girl, by the great chaser sire My Prince, won one flat race, two Point-to-Points, and two steeplechases. Her next foal was a brother to Rebel Girl, named in the same nationalist vein, Easter Hero.
Easter Hero won the Cheltenham Gold Cup in two successive years, and was a gallant second in the Grand National of 1929 to Gregalach. Bred by Larry King at Ashbourne in Co. Meath, he first raced in Ireland on the flat as a four year old. He was sold in 1925 to a Mr. Bartholomew, who raced him over hurdles, where Easter Hero showed some aptitude but was an erratic jumper. He was sold to businessman Frank Barbour, a member of the Irish National Hunt Steeplechase committee, who had owned and trained Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Koko. Easter Hero won his first steeplechase at Ballinrobe in September of 1926. In 1927-28 he won eight chases, including the Molyneux, Becher, and Coventry (3-1/4 mile) steeplechases at Liverpool, with great style, his small, but elegant, form flashing over the fences with agility; he was a hard-puller, and at the time very headstrong, liked to race in front, and had the speed and stamina to maintain a front-style of running.
With his Coventry win, where he showed he could stay in top-class company, it was clear he was headed for bigger successes. He was purchased by Captain Alfred Lowenstein for £7,000 with a £3,000 contingency should he win the Grand National of 1928. That race consisted of a huge field of 45 horses, requiring four false starts before they got off in the heavy mist and heavy turf. Easter Hero blundered by taking off too soon at the fence at the Canal Turn, landing on top of the fence; this created a pile-up in which many horses fell or refused, and only nine came out of the mess to continue the race, and only two finished. The winner was the 100:1 shot Tipperary Tim. Easter Hero was taken to France for the Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris, but refused the water jump, dumping his jockey. A few days later he won the Prix des Drags. A month later Lowenstein fell out of his plane over the North Sea, and Easter Hero was sold to racing enthusiast and breeder John Hay Whitney, U.S. ambassador in London and a member of the English National Hunt Committee.
Whitney placed Easter Hero in the training stable of Jack Anthony, and it was here Easter Hero got some top class schooling, and learned to relax, somewhat, on course, and he also laid on muscle and weight. In the 1928-29 season he won four hurdle races, and then the Cheltenham Gold Cup by twenty lengths. He went on to Aintree to run in the National again, in the biggest field yet for that race, with 66 starters; he was favored at 9:2 odds, despite carrying the top weight in the field of 12 st-7lb. He ran second to Gregelach; Easter Hero had twisted a plate at around three miles, and some experts said that the shoe was so twisted that it must have seriously impacted his ability to run. His jockey, however, later said Hero was tiring under the heavy impost.
The next year, 1929-30, he won two steeplechases and the Cheltenham Gold Cup for a second time, the first horse to win it twice. Although he had been aimed for the National again, he had injured himself slightly during his run for the Gold Cup, and four days before the National he was scratched. He went on to win three of four races prior to the National of 1931 (in his loss in the prep race, he was beaten by a head, giving 23 pounds to the winner). At Aintree he was knocked over at Becher's Brook on the second circuit and was out of the running for a win. The next day he ran in the 2 mile Champion Chase, dead-heating with the inferior Coup de Chateau. He was then retired from the turf.
Easter Hero was shipped to Virginia, where he served as Whitney's hunter for some years before being retired as a pensioner to the Whitney Greetree Farm in Lexington, Kentucky; he and three other great animals who shared his paddocks became known as "the Gas House Gang," together for twelve years. In the '40s their head shots were often used in advertising stallions at Greentree. In 1947 the first of the group, Mrs. Payne (Helen Hay) Whitney's Cherry Pie, a one-time holder of the American record for a mile on the flat, died, age 27. In February of 1948 Easter Hero, age 28, died. Later that year the third member of the Gas House Gang, the great flat-racer, but infertile stallion Twenty Grand, died at age 20. Finally, on July 3 of the same year, American Grand National winner Jolly Roger, the last of the famous group of buddies, died, age 26.
An arabian mare (f. 1842)
Arab Maid (f. 1852) by Bretby
Sultana (f. 1870), by Thomastown
| Mrs. Gamp (f. 1882) by Ben Battle
| | What Matter (br.f. 1903) by Quidnunc
| mare (f. 1894) by Rob Roy
| mare (ch.f. c1901) by Enthusiast
| Edna May (f. 1907) by Cerasus
| | Brave May (ch.f. 1920) by Brave Chap
| | May Snow (f. 1922) by Brave Chap
| | | May's Way (f. 1934) by Poor Man
| | | Hilarious May (f. 1945) by Edgehill
| | | Mrs. Brady (f. 1958) by Ossian
| | | Bit of a Skite (b.g. 1976) by Menelek
| | | Corston Lass (f. 1972) by Menelek
| | | Corston Frisby (g. 1989) by Idiot's Delight
| | | Corston Lad (ch.c. 1980) by Orange Bay
| | | Corston Springs (gr.g. 1982) by Bruni
| | | Corston Velvet (br.f. 1981) by Bruni
| | Brave Edna (f. 1926) by Brave Chap
| | Edna's Courage (194-) by Coup de Lyon
| | Edna's Spirit (f. 1941) by Irish Trout
| | Edna's Image (f. 1959) by Umidkhan
| | | Cornamucla (f. 1974) by Lucky Guy
| | | Litron (g. 1997) by Satco
| | | Malibar (f. 1993) by Montelimar
| | Royal Spirit (g. 195-) by Whitehall
| Civil War (b.g. 1909) by Outbreak
| Creekstown (b.g. 1910) by Outbreak
| Easter Week (f. 1914) by Outbreak
| Rebel Girl (b.f. 1919) by My Prince
| Easter Hero (ch.g. 1920) by My Prince
| Brighter Days (b.f. 1923) by Duke of Brandon
| Ahmed Ben (b.c. 1924) by Duke of Brandon
| Easter Beauty (br.f. 1926) by He Goes
| Easter Duchess (ch.f. 1927) by Duke of Brandon
| Hero's Sister (ch.f. 1930) by My Prince
Last of the Arabs (ch.f. 1871) by Master Richard
Hafed (ch.c. 1875) by Lothario
Fatima (f. 187-) by Solon
| The Wigeon (ch.f. 1895) by Gallinule
| Honeymoon V (bl.f. 1903) by Old Sam
| | Cothill (br.c. 1913) by Parapet
| Wigeon's Pet (ch.f. 1911) by Parapet
| | Herringbone (f. 1920) by Red Star
| | | Ashlar (b.f. 1926) by Cherry King
| | Cherry Duck (ch.c. 1924) by Cherry King
| Wigeon's Last (ch.f. 1913) by Parapet
| Street Arab (ch.f. 1921) by Red Star
Arabi (ch.c. 1879) by Solon