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  Prince Regent

Bay colt, 1935
By My Prince - Nemaea by Argos
Godolphin Arabian sire line
Matchem Sire Line Quick Chart.

Family #5 - f

My Prince His sire, My Prince

By Stewart Peters. ©Stewart Peters, 2005. Stewart Peters is an author who writes about steeplechasing; his latest is The History of the Aintree Spectacular. This is an excerpt from his forthcoming book, The Irish Grand National.
See Also Irish Grand National Race Chart

Without doubt, one of the biggest stars in steeplechasing in the first half of the twentieth century was the immensely popular Prince Regent, a bay gelding with an intimidating body frame, standing over seventeen hands high. Prince Regent dominated Irish racing during the 1940s, and but for the intervention of the Second World War that so disrupted racing in England, the horse surely would have enshrined himself as one of the top two or three horses of the century.

As it was, Prince Regent's career was magnificent. Owned by one of racing's most wealthy patrons, Mr James V. Rank, the horse was sent in to training at Tom Dreaper's farm at Greenogue, Kilsallaghan in County Dublin, with the trainer (when also an amateur jockey) partnering the horse to its first win in 1940. Dreaper was an unassuming man and never trained the quantity of horses at one time that the likes of Martin Pipe or Paul Nicholls do today, yet for over 40 years he remained at the top of his profession, and in the Irish Grand National, his training record was unrivalled.

Developing into a powerful animal with size and strength, Prince Regent quickly illustrated his brilliance over fences as a youngster, and was soon given the burden of carrying huge weights every time he raced, tasks he performed quite imperiously in his prime in the early forties. In 1942, when seven years of age, he contested the Irish Grand National for the first time. Allotted the maximum weight of 12st 7lbs, the already hugely popular Irish chaser was made the warm favourite on the day, starting the race at a price of 5/2. Taking the mount, as he did throughout most of Prince Regent's career, was Timmy Hyde. A former showjumper, Hyde had already tasted victory in the Fairyhouse race when winning aboard Clare County in 1938, while he had also won the Aintree Grand National on Workman in 1939.

In a field of ten, those expected to give Prince Regent most to think about were Durbar, St Martin and Golden Jack. Receiving 2 stone from Prince Regent, the six-year-old Durbar had beaten the favourite at Leopardstown earlier in the season, but only after Prince Regent had suffered a rare fall. Second in the handicap, St Martin was a talented if error-prone chaser that had won a Galway Plate in his time, while the Dan Moore-ridden Golden Jack was owned by Miss Dorothy Paget, the lady who had owned the great chaser of the 1930s, Golden Miller, a horse that won five Cheltenham Gold Cups and an Aintree Grand National.

1942 Irish Grand National
1Prince Regent7.12.7T. Hyde
2Golden Jack7.11.9D.L. Moore
3St. Martin9.12.0A. Brabazon
4Bel Et Bona.11.7J. Lenehan
5Knight of Killala6. 9.11H. Harty
6General Chianga.10.8R.J. O'Ryan
7Waving Stara.10.10M.C. Prendergast
8Durbar6.10.7W.T. O'Grady
9British Raid6.9.13T. McNeill
10Dalmationa.9.7M. Gordon
Weight is in stones and pounds
(a) = Aged

6th April 1942
Winner - £740
Race Distance - 3 m. 4 f.
Time - 8 mins.
10 Ran
Winner trained by T.W. Dreaper
Winner owned by Mr. J.V. Rank
Prince Regent, bay gelding by Mr Prince - Nemaea
Betting - 5/2 PRINCE REGENT, 4/1 Durbar, 5/1 St. Martin, 7/1 Golden Jack, 10/1 Bel Et Bon & British Raid, 100/8 Knight of Killala & Waving Star, 100/6 General Chiang, 20/1 Dalmation
Indeed, it was to be Golden Jack that disputed the lead for much of the way, cutting out the running with the six-year-old British Raid on the first circuit. One of the striking features of the 1942 Irish National was the state of the ground. Conditions were atrocious and the course had turned in to a virtual quagmire. It was clear that the race would develop in to a brutal examination of stamina, offering an even greater challenge to the heavily burdened Prince Regent.

As it was, Prince Regent was held up in the early stages by Hyde until being sent forward at the halfway stage. It was then that the favourite began to display his class; regularly outjumping his rivals in a show of authority. Making his move, Prince Regent took the measure of most of the early leaders with only Golden Jack able to stay with the powerful top weight.

The closing stages turned in to a dour battle as Prince Regent fought hard to shake off the persistent challenge of Golden Jack. Hard ridden by Hyde but untouched with the whip, Prince Regent brought the crowd to their feet after jumping the last with the advantage. Churning resolutely towards the line with the conviction of a champion, Prince Regent shrugged off Golden Jack and drew a roar of approval as he crossed the line a brave and deserved winner, carrying the the royal blue and primrose-quartered colours to his owner's biggest win to that point. Back in third came St Martin, ridden by Aubrey Brabazon.

Prince Regent had passed another stern weight-carrying test, this time in searching conditions. The fact that he possessed the required stamina for such a challenge came as little surprise with a brief study of his family. Prince Regent was by the excellent sire of chasers, My Prince, a sire also responsible for Aintree Grand National winners Gregalach, Reynoldstown and Royal Mail, as well as dual-Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Easter Hero.

Tom Dreaper
Tom Dreaper when training Arkle
It was a first Irish National success for Dreaper, but by no means the last, as he set about compiling a most enviable record in the race. A second victory in the race for Hyde also illustrated his fine relationship with Prince Regent, a horse he won on twelve times in total. Sadly, Hyde was paralysed in a fall in 1951 and was confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. Having won the 1942 Irish Grand National, Prince Regent continued to take on all before him in his homeland with great success, a fact all the more resounding considering the lack of racing in England in the early forties meant many top horses that normally would have been sold overseas stayed in Ireland to race.

It was a crying shame that by the time racing reconvened in earnest in England, Prince Regent was past his best, as age and years of excessive weight-carrying performances began to take their toll. Had he been able to contest Cheltenham Gold Cups or Aintree Grand Nationals as a younger horse, there is no telling where the horse may rank in the history of the great chasers. Although no longer able to dominate like he did as a younger horse, Prince Regent was still, however, a force to be reckoned with, and he captured the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 1946, albeit opposed by a mediocre bunch.

In his later years, Prince Regent was asked to compete in the Aintree Grand National, a race traditionally not kind to those at the top of the handicap. In both 1946 and 1947, Prince Regent was favourite for the race but had to carry 12st 5lbs or more both times, and although acquitting himself bravely, he simply could not find the necessary reserves to come home in front, finishing third and fourth respectively. Prince Regent also ran at Aintree in 1948 aged thirteen, but that time he was carried out.

Prince Regent enjoyed a long career with tremendous success. He is considered one of the finest weight-carrying performers of all time and his efforts earned him widespread praise for his courage and class. He was the finest steeplechaser in Ireland during the period he raced and his place on the Irish Grand National roll of honour lends much credit and authority to the history of the race.

--Stewart Peters

PRINCE REGENT, Bay colt, 1935 - Family # 5 - f
My Prince
b. 1911
ch. 1903
ch. 1892
Lady Villikins
ch. 1885
b. 1896
St. Simon
br. 1881
St. Angela
b. 1884
Scottish Chief
b. 1921
ch. 1913
ch. 1898
b. 1903
Golden Tresses
b. 1917
b. 1902
Little Denmark
b. 1908
Queen's Birthday

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