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Record-breaking 3yo Champion


Troy's regular jockey, Willie Carson, rated him among the top three horses he has ever ridden and he was considered as one of the best post-war winners of the 'Blue Riband'. His seven length winning margin was then a post-war record and has since only been bettered by Shergar's 10 lengths in 1982 and equalled by Slip Anchor's seven in the mid-80s.

Foaled in 1976 at his breeder Sir Michael Sobell's Ballymacoll Stud in Ireland, the son of Champion Sire Petingo and the Hornbeam mare La Milo, dam of the top-class Admetus, was sent to be trained in England as a two-year-old. His trainer was Dick Hern, who had handled among others the great Brigadier Gerard. His two-year-old campaign began with a second in a maiden race, followed by his first win in the Plantation maiden stakes. This was followed by an impressive win in the Lanson Champagne Stakes, then a listed race rather than the Group 3 it is these days. This earned Troy a tilt at the Royal Lodge Stakes, a significant trial for potentially classic-standard colts, over a mile at Ascot. Here he narrowly failed to beat Ela-Mana-Mou, a horse who was subsequently bought by Sir Michael Sobell, no less. Troy's trainer and jockey were of the opinion that he had been unlucky to have been beaten at all as a two-year-old and he went into winter quarters as one of the stable's favourites for the following year's 200th Epsom Derby. The other, of course, was Queen Elizabeth II's home-bred Milford.

Troy wins the 200th Deby by 7 lengthsAt three, Troy was, at least initially, seen as a second-string to Milford for the Derby. However, wins in Sandown's Guardian Classic Trial and the Predominate Stakes at Goodwood meant that he was not overlooked in the run-up to the race. Sent off at 7-1, with Milford as favourite, no-one could have predicted the extraordinary display Troy put up in the 200th Derby. Nearer last than first at Tattenham Corner, his jockey Willie Carson must have despaired of the big bay's chances. However, all of a sudden, Troy seemed to find an amazing burst seemingly from nowhere, and simply began to fly. It has to be seen to be believed! Even watching the playback today it never ceases to amaze - at the two-furlong pole, Troy still had a bit of catching up to do, but you can see him surge past the others as if they were standing still. At the line, he had no less than seven lengths to spare.

As a three-year-old in 1979 Troy carried all before him, winning more prize money than any other colt of that age had before, including, besides his stunning 200th Derby victory, wins in the Irish Derby (by four lengths), the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes, the Benson and Hedges Gold Cup, the Guardian Classic Trial and the Predominate Stakes. Troy is still the only horse ever to have achieved the Derby-Irish Derby-King George-B&H (now International Stakes) quartet. He rounded off his career with a slightly disappointing third in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, Europe's championship middle-distance race, which was excused after a long hard season. However it was enough for him to be rated Champion 3yo colt, and he was syndicated for stud duties at the end of 1979 for a then record sum of 7.1 million.

He retired to Lord Caernarvon's Highclere Stud in 1980 but unfortunately died after only four seasons there. During that brief time he sired 128 foals of whom several were to become notable both as runners and at stud. His descendants have made their mark in countries as far afield as the USA, France, Ireland, Italy, South Africa, India, Kenya and Russia.