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Dark Brown or Bay Colt, 1920
By Phalaris - Scapa Flow by Chaucer
Darley Arabian Sire line:
Phalaris Branch.
Family 13 - e.

His sire, Phalaris

The Earl of Derby's Stanley House Stud was the most important breeding and racing operation of its time, in the first half of the Twentieth Century. Two of the most important products of that stud were the full brothers Pharos and Fairway, bred on the famed Phalaris/Chaucer nick. While Fairway was the more gifted and classic of the pair, the speedier Pharos proved the more influential stallion, and his male line became  one of the most significant in the last fifty years.

Scapa Flow
His dam, Scapa Flow
Pharos appeared in the first crop sired by the epoch-making Phalaris, Derby-bred, raced, and back at home, a cornerstone stallion. His dam was another homebred, the staying mare Scapa Flow by homebred Chaucer. Scapa Flow's first foal was the cup horse Spithead (1919 by John O'Gaunt), and Pharos was her second. Subsequent foals included Pharos' stakes winning full siblings, Fairway (1925), Fair Isle (1927) and Fara (1928).

Pharos was foaled on April 4, 1920, a neatly balanced middleweight dark bay or brown colt with no white markings. Compactly made, with good shoulders, good quarters, and loads of quality. As such, he more nearly resembled his dam's sire Chaucer than Phalaris, although he threw back to Phalaris' innate speed rather than inheriting the stamina of his dam's side of the equation. If he could be faulted, it was for being slightly back at the knee and slightly sickle hocked. He was sound, agile, and dead game, owning an agreeable temperament that made him well liked by his handlers.

Pharos on the Turf

A precocious sort, Pharos started nine times at two and won six of these, breaking his maiden first time out in April at Newmarket going five furlongs. He gained a reputation after wins in the Bedford Stakes and Chesham Stakes (at Royal Ascot) but was beaten down a notch after failing to defeat Legality in the Chesterfield Stakes at Newmarket. He bounced back with a win in the Mersey Stakes at Liverpool, then the Lambton Stakes at Stockton. Following a bad start in the Nunthorpe Stakes, open to all ages, Pharos ran last, then was second to Twelve Pointer in the Houghton Stakes at a mile. In his final start of the year, he won the Hurst Park Great Two-Year-Old Stakes (six furlongs) winning for the first time beyond five panels. At season's end, Pharos was the fourth-ranked colt of his division on the Free Handicap behind leader Town Guard, although his form suggested he was not a classic candidate.

At three, Pharos ran another nine times, winning three races. He had not been nominated for the 2,000 Guineas, so his early season campaign started with a third the Pontefract Stakes on soft going against an undistinguished field. At this stage of the season, however, his trainer, the great George Lambton, realized that the three-year-old crop had come up light, so he shifted Pharos to a regimen to prepare him for the Derby. Pharos won the Hastings Stakes and March Stakes, both at ten furlongs at Newmarket, and both by open daylight. In the Derby itself, however, he got to the front in the stretch, only to be overpowered by Papyrus who won by a length and a half in a stiff stretch drive, but beating future Arc de Triomphe winner Parth for the place.

Two weeks after that hard race, Pharos was back, although unplaced in the Prince of Wales's Stakes going thirteen furlongs at Royal Ascot. He barely won the Royal Stakes at Newbury over ten furlongs by a desperate head over Kelvin. Off for four months, he returned in the Select Stakes at a mile at Newmarket, and lost to the older colt Stratford. His late season run in the nine furlongs Cambridgeshire Stakes in which he ran fourth behind Verdict and Epinard, which made a game race to finish within a neck of eachother. Pharos's last start of the season was in the Liverpool Autumn Cup (ten furlongs), when third to Poisoned Arrow and Evander. This on and off performance at three left him with a reputation as only a "moderate" colt, well below classic standard, although his performance behind the highly regarded Epinard was overlooked.

At four, Pharos won four of seven starts, but his season debut, over a soft course in the City and Suburban Handicap resulted in an unplaced effort. Unplaced again in the Great Jubilee Handicap at Kempton behind the victorious Parth, he was also seriously embarrassed when running up the course and off the board in the Rous Memorial Stakes at Royal Ascot, won by Twelve Pointer. But the tides had turned for Pharos and in front of a home crowd at Liverpool (close to where the Earl of Derby's seat was located at Knowsley), he won the Liverpool Summer Cup, over a mile and a quarter-plus, tearing off to win by six lengths. Facing only Borderer in his next start, he won the North Sea Stakes over a mile at Redcar. In the Duke of York Handicap at Kempton he won the ten furlongs event by three lengths, beating Yeoman and Verdict. The Derby colt started back just three days later in the ten furlongs Champion Stakes, which he won authoritatively by beating Parth. The victory awarded him the title of best older horse in training at that middle distance of a mile and a quarter.

Pharos came back at five to defend the title but couldn't not match his late season record of the year before. In five starts, he won just once. His first start was in the March Stakes, in which he ran third. He didn't race again for several months, returning in the Liverpool Summer Cup, when a closer third to Winalot and Le Mantouan, giving substantial weight to both. Dropping back to an utter sprint, he was third to the brilliant Diomedes and Scherzo in the Nunthorpe Stakes. Back at his favored distance of a mile and a quarter, Pharos ran off to win the Duke of York Stakes by six lengths, giving large increments of weight to the other thirteen runners. In what was to be his final start, Pharos faced only the classy three-year-old Picaroon in the Champion Stakes and was beaten by the younger horse by a half length.

Pharos at Stud

Pharos was then retired with fourteen wins in 30 career starts and had forged a reputation as the best ten-furlong horse of his era. He entered stud in 1926 at Woodland Stud, Newmarket and, possibly due to competition with his own sire (who stood at Side Hill Stud) in the Derby Stud, was shifted to Haras d'Ouilly in France for the 1929 season. He stood there until his death on April 30, 1937 at the age of 17. The leading sire in England in 1931 (when his son Cameronian won the 2,000 Guineas and Derby Stakes), he was the leading sire in France in 1939, when Pharis was the overwhelming champion three-year-old. Pharos's most important son, however, was Nearco, one of the greatest racehorses of the Twentieth Century.

NEARCO (br.c. 1935 out of Nogara by Havresac II) was bred in Italy and owned by Federico Tesio. It is said that Tesio tried to get his mare to Fairway, but Lord Derby refused to grant a season, so Nogara went to his full brother Pharos instead. Undisputed champion of his crop at two and three in Italy, Nearco's final start was in France in the Grand Prix de Paris, which he won in demonstrative style, capping an unblemished career of fourteen starts. Tesio recognized that his champion was not a true stayer, but owned such electrifying brilliance and nervous energy, that his class and heart carried him beyond his physical limits.

Retired to stud in England at the end of his three-year-old season, Nearco became one of the most important sires of the century as well, twice leading sire and getting the classic winners Dante (Derby Stakes; sire of Toulouse Lautrec, Darius II, Landau, Diableretta, *Dama II), Sayajirao (St. Leger, Irish Derby; sire of Irish Lass, But Lovely), Nimbus (sire of *Distillate, *Lucy Lufton, *Stratus, The Veil), Masaka (Epsom Oaks, Irish Oaks), Neasham Belle (Oaks; dam of Aragon), Admirable (Irish Oaks), and Noory (Irish Oaks); and other significant individuals in Nasrullah (champion at two; sire of Bold Ruler, Never Bend, Never Say Die, Jaipur, etc.), Nearctic (Horse of the Year in Canada; sire of Northern Dancer, Icecapade, Briartic), *Royal Charger (sire of *Turn-to, *Royal Serenade, Francis S., Gay Hostess), Mossborough (sire of Ballymoss, Cavan, Yelapa), Noorani (dam of Charlottesville and Sheshoon), *Hafiz, Chief, Narrator, Noble Chieftain, Amerigo (sire of Politely), Noble Lassie (dam of *Vaguely Noble), Arctic Star, Rustom Sirdar, *Rivaz (dam of Palariva, Spicy Living), Tessa Gillian, Sybil's Sister, Netherton Maid (dam of Pampered King II, Bride Elect), *Malindi (dam of *Prince Taj), *Nilo, and. The Nearcos tended to take after their sire, being a little short of classic ability at a mile and a half, but full of brilliance that allowed them to perform at the highest levels despite.

Marcel Boussac's French-bred PHARIS (br. or blk. c. 1936 out of Carissima by Clarissimus) is considered one of the greatest French-bred runners of the century. He was so vastly superior in his three starts at three, all wins, the Prix Noailles, Prix du Jockey Club, and Grand Prix de Paris, that a match was in the works with English champion Blue Peter (by Pharos' brother Fairway), but World War II broke out before this could solidify. A large, rugged horse, Pharis stood his first season at Boussac's Haas du Quesnay-le-Buffard before being confiscated by invading Nazi forces in 1940. He was used in the German National Stud until the end of the war, when he was liberated and returned to Boussac in 1945.

He was an important sire for Boussac, getting Ardan (French Derby, Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe), Priam II (champion at two), and Palencia (French 1,000 Guineas), in his first crop, and Scratch (St. Leger, French Derby), Philius (French Derby), Auriban (French Derby), Corejada (French 1,000 Guineas), Asterblute (champion at three in Germany), Pardal, Gabador, Cortil, Tellaris, Dynamiter, Pharaos, Janitor, Albanilla, Cordovilla and numerous others upon his return. His offspring were faulted for not being the soundness of constitution, and having a tendency to "go in their wind.

Lord Dewar's little colt CAMERONIAN (b.c. 1928 out of Una Cameron by Gainsborough) won the Salisbury Stakes in his only appearance as a juvenile. At three, he was third in the Craven Stakes, then stepped up to win the 2,000 Guineas and move to the head of the class. He won the Derby and St. James's Palace Stakes in quick succession, but, later found to be ill, was dead last in the St. Leger Stakes. Cameronian returned at four with a third place efforts in the Coronation Cup and Jockey Club Stakes.  In his third and final start, he trounced Dastur in the Champion Stakes by four lengths. Entering stud in England, he got St. Leger winner Scottish Union and Ascot Gold Cup winner Finis from his second crop, as well as the filly Sweet Aloe (dam of Chenille). Later crops included Nakamuro (Italian Derby), and Snowberry (the dam of Chamossaire), but this could not prevent his export to Argentina in 1941.

Pharos's son PHIDEAS (b.c. 1934 out of Imagery by Gainsborough) was a younger half-brother to the Irish Triple Crown winner Museum (1932). At two, he raced with little distinction until his fourth and final start, when he won the Phoenix Plate at The Curragh defeating Royal Stella and Inishbofin. At three, he won the Madrid Handicap, Irish 2,000 Guineas and Irish Derby before he was finished, with a record of four wins in seven starts. As a stallion, his contributions were slim. He got the good filly Frieze, winner of the Oaks in 1952, and another filly, *Ate, who produced stakes winners *Prairie Oyster and *Munch, and *Cow Girl II, effectively the only major influence by their mutual sire Mustang. All three daughters were imported, and *Cow Girl II produced the good colt Minnesota Mac for Tartan Farm, sire of champion turf horse MacDiarmida and Roundup Rose (dam of Preakness winner Codex).

FIRDAUSSI (ch.c. 1929 out of Brownhylda by Stedfast) was bred by H.H. the Aga Khan, which Ulbrich describes as "a big, lusty chestnut, strongly made but with a dipped back," suggesting he bore a resemblance to his dam's sire, Stedfast. He won eight races from 21 starts. At two, he won the Fulbourne Stakes, Newbury Autumn Foal Plate, and Dewhurst Stakes, and was fifth highweight of the crop at that stage. At three, he was late getting up to form, including unplaced in the Derby, before winning the Gordon Stakes, Duke of York Plate, St. Leger Stakes and Jockey Club Stakes. As a four-year-old, Firdaussi's only win was in the Triennial Produce Stakes at Newmarket, although he was disqualified from first in the John Porter Stakes and placed in the Eclipse, March, and Great Jubilee Handicap Stakes.

Firdaussi stood his first season (1934) in England before shipping to the Aga Khan's French stud, Haras d'Ouilly, for the 1935 season, and in 1939 was sold to Rumania. Firdaussi sired French 2,000 Guineas winner Panipat and stakes winner Escamillo. The latter sired Mother Goose, and Flagette (out of a daughter of Firdaussi, so Flagette was 2x2 to Firdaussi; and later produced champion Herbager). Firdaussi's influence also included the mare Fille de Poete (dam of Irish classic winner The Phoenix and Tennyson), Melibee (third dam of Hoist the Flag) and Chikoo (second dam of *Pappa Fourway).

MARY TUDOR II (b.f. 1930 out of Anna Bolena by *Teddy) was from Pharos's first French-sired crop. Bred by American Jefferson Davis Cohn, who stood her sire, *Teddy and bred most of the good ones by *Teddy (including *Sir Gallahad III and *Bull Dog), she won the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches (French 1,000 Guineas). As a broodmare, she produced the Ascot Gold Cup winner and important sire Owen Tudor (sire of Abernant and *Tudor Minstrel), as well as Oaks third Solar Princess.

EN FRAUDE (ch.f. 1934 out of Aude by Clarissimus) was bred on the same cross as Pharis II, out of a mare by Clarissimus. She won the Prix de Diane (French Oaks) of 1937. Lord Derby's THE NILE (br.f. 1932 out of Pyramid by Papyrus) won the French 1,000 Guineas. She disappeared during World War II.

Marcel Boussac's Pharos daughter, SEMIRAMIDE (f. 1936 out of Sartella by Sweeper II) was the champion juvenile of her year in France, winning the Prix Monry, Prix Jacques Le Marois, and Criterium d'Ostende. As a broodmare, she foaled three stakes winners led by Corteira, winner of the Prix de Diane (French Oaks) and Poule d'Essai des Pouliches (French 1,000 Guineas).

Rhodes Scholar
Rhodes Scholar
El Greco
El Greco
BRUEGHEL (c. 1932 out of Bunworry by Great Sport) was a stakes winner in Italy and became a Leading Sire in Australia. BOZZETTO (c. 1936 out of Bunworry by Great Sport) was also a stakes winner in Italy and returned home to become a Leading Sire there three times.

Federico Tesio's BERNINA (b.f. 1931 out of Bunworry by Great Sport) is proof that the saga about the Italian breeder trying to get the mare Nearco's dam initially to Fairway and "settling" for Pharos may be just a story, since he had already had good success with Fairway's brother Pharos in siring this filly. Bernina was a full sister to Breughel (1932) and Bozzetto (1936). She won the Premo Regina Elena (Italian 1,000 Guineas) and Oaks d'Italia. As a broodmare, she produced Buonamica (by Nearco's half-brother Niccolo dell'Arca), dam of champions Botticelli, Barbara Sirani, Bracque, and stakes winners Bonnard and Bramantina.

Other useful sons of Pharos included RHODES SCHOLAR (sire of St. Leger winner Black Tarquin), EL GRECO (sire of Italian champion Romanella, dam of the great *Ribot), PHEROZSHAH (sire of Rose O'Lynn, dam of Buisson d'Or and Buisson Ardent), SIGNAL LIGHT, and *AMBROSE LIGHT.

Some Pharos sons had an important influence on steeplechasers and jumpers. FASTNET (1933), a sire of stayers, got Arc winner La Paillon, and the good runners Flocon, *Silnet, Fasciola and Irlande. He also got a top European steeplechaser, Le Radar, and the outstanding chaser-hurdler brothers The Fellow and Al Capone II (both Selle Français) descend from his son, Doncaster Cup winner Fast Fox. LINK BOY (1928), winner of the Greenham Plate, Select Stakes and Doncaster High-weight Handicap and four other races, was a modestly successful sire of juvenile winners. Link Boy's son Burma Road (1939) won the American Grand National, and another son, Magic Red (1941), became an important jumper sire who got Grand National Steeplechase winner Red Alligator and was maternal grandsire of the great chaser Red Rum. Another Pharos son, SHINING TOR (1931) got Water Serpent (1941), one of the most prolific jumping sires of the 1940s and '50s, with many offspring that competed at the top ranks of international show jumping.

Besides MARY TUDOR II, Pharos also sired three other significant broodmare daughters. The most important of these was LAVENDULA (br.f. 1930 out of Sweet Lavendar by Swynford). She was the dam of French champion and classic winner *Ambiorix, as well as his half sisters Perfume II (dam of *My Babu) and Source Sucree (dam of *Turn-to and ancestress of Irish River). The other useful broodmares were *NEVER AGAIN II (dam of American champion two-year-old Oil Capitol and his half-sisters Shuffle, Cigar Maid, and Pocket Edition) and PHARYVA (dam of Derby winner Galcador and major stakes winner Goyaz).

After all was said and done, Pharos' tremendous influence as a breeding stallion, as wide and dispersed as it had become, funneled down to one key animal by the end of the Twentieth Century. That was his and Federico Tesio's masterpiece, Nearco. It is through Nearco's many good sons, but primarily *Nasrullah, *Royal Charger, and Nearctic, that the vast majority of Thoroughbreds descend today in direct male line. It's a rare tribute to the stallion, and his breeder, that the influence of Pharos is so dominating in the breed today.

--Anne Peters

PHAROS, Dark Bay/Brown Colt, 1920 - Family #13 - e
br. 1913
b. 1902
ch. 1895
Bona Vista
Maid Marian
dkb/br. 1886
b. 1905
ch. 1887
br. 1892
St. Simon
Scapa Flow
ch. 1914
br. 1900
St. Simon
br. 1881
St. Angela
Canterbury Pilgrim
ch. 1893
ch. 1905
Love Wisely
ch. 1893
ch. 1898

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