Catchascatchcan (foaled 4 February 1995) was an undefeated British Thoroughbred racehorse and broodmare. Owned and bred Lord Howard de Walden and trained by Henry Cecil she was unraced as a juvenile before winning a maiden race on her first appearance. She went on to win the Lancashire Oaks and the Aphrodite Stakes and recorded her biggest success in the Yorkshire Oaks before her career was ended by injury. Since retiring from the racecourse she has had some success as a dam of winners.

SirePursuit of Love
GrandsireGroom Dancer
DamsireMill Reef
Foaled4 February 1995[1]
CountryUnited Kingdom
BreederLord Howard de Walden
OwnerLord Howard de Walden
TrainerHenry Cecil
Record4: 4-0-0
Major wins
Lancashire Oaks (1998)
Aphrodite Stakes (1998)
Yorkshire Oaks (1998)
Timeform rating 122 (1998)[2]


Catchascatchcan is a "tall, leggy, angular"[2] bay mare with a white star bred at the Plantation Stud by her owner Lord Howard de Walden who also bred and raced both of her parents. She was sired by Pursuit of Love who produced his best form over sprint distances as a three-year-old in 1992, winning the Prix Maurice de Gheest and finishing second to Mr Brooks in the July Cup.[3] The best of his other offspring included the Cupid's Glory (winner of the Horris Hill Stakes), Palace Affair (Sprint Stakes, Summer Stakes), Love Everlasting (Princess Royal Stakes) and Tartouche (Lillie Langtry Stakes).[4] Pursuit of Love died in 2008 at Throckmorton Court Stud after fracturing a fetlock.[5]

Her dam Catawba recorded her only success in the 1988 running of the Middleton Stakes[6] and was a daughter of the Ribblesdale Stakes winner Catalpa. Other horses descended from Catalpa's grandmother Malcomia have included Bellypha, Triscay (AJC Oaks, Queensland Oaks) and Oncidium (Coronation Cup).[7]

Like many of Lord Howard de Walden's racehorses, Catchascatchcan was trained by Henry Cecil at his Warren Place stable at Newmarket, Suffolk.

Racing careerEdit

1998: three-year-old seasonEdit

Catchascatchcan began her racing career on 10 June 1998 when she contested a maiden race over heavy ground at Kempton Park Racecourse. Ridden by Kieren Fallon she started 7/4 favourite against ten opponents and won by seven lengths after taking the lead a furlong from the finish.[8]

The filly was then moved up sharply in class for the Group Three Lancashire Oaks at Haydock Park on 4 July. She was the 8/1 fifth choice in the six-runner field and was ridden by Willie Ryan as Fallon rode the Cecil stable's more favoured Silver Rhapsody. The Luca Cumani-trained Altaweelah was made favourite ahead of Rambling Rose (third in the Ribblesdale Stakes), Silver Rhapsody and Leggera (runner-up in the Preis der Diana) and the Park Hill Stakes winner Book At Bedtime. Ryan restrained the filly towards the rear as Book At Bedtime set the pace, but began to make progress in the straight. She overtook the leader Rambling Rose approaching the final furlong and won by a length, with Silver Rhapsody taking third ahead of Leggera.[9] Cecil said that he was "very pleased by the way she won".[10]

Catchascatchcan contested the Listed Aphrodite Stakes at Newmarket Racecourse two weeks later and started favourite despite carrying a five-pound weight penalty for her Haydock win. After being held up by Ryan in the early stages she took the lead inside the final furlong and won by three quarters of a length from Tuning and Kadaka who dead-heated for second. The other three runners finished virtually tailed-off.[11]

Fallon resumed his partnership with Catchascatchcan when the filly was moved up to Group One level for the Yorkshire Oaks at York Racecourse on 19 August. Henry Cecil had considered withdrawing the filly because of the firm ground but allowed her to run.[12] Before the race Lord Howard de Walden commented on Cecil's somewhat uncommunicative approach, saying "Oh, Henry doesn't tell you anything, but he's not the worst. I never heard a thing about her last year. Then he began to talk a bit and the filly seems to keep improving. She will have to improve again today".[13] She was made the 2/1 favourite ahead of The Oaks winner Shahtoush, with the other four runners being Crown of Light (third in the Epsom Oaks and Yorkshire Oaks in 1997), High and Low (Cheshire Oaks), Cloud Castle (Nell Gwyn Stakes) and Lady In Waiting (Empress Stakes). The filly raced close behind the leaders as High and Low set the pace. She began to make progress early in the long York straight, took the lead two furlongs out and went clear of her opponents. Despite hanging to the left in the closing stages she won by two lengths from High and Low with Cloud Castle a further two lengths back in third.[14] The racecourse stewards held an inquiry into possible interference between the winner and the runner-up but allowed the result to stand. Cecil said that the filly had hung towards the rail on account of the firm ground, whilst Fallon claimed that Darryll Holland on High and Low had exaggerated the level of interference.[12]

Less than after her win at York, it was announced that the filly had sustained a hairline fracture of the knee in the race and that her racing career was over.[2] Leslie Harrison, the manager of Lord Howard de Walden's Plantation Stud said "The injury must have happened during the race. She still trots sound but the knee does not flex well. So, after careful consideration, it's been decided to retire her. It's very sad, but at least the injury didn't happen before the Yorkshire Oaks. We did think about keeping her in training next year but who's to say the injury won't recur?".[15]

Breeding recordEdit

Catchascatchcan was retired from racing to become a broodmare at the Plantation Stud. The mare was offered for sale at Keeneland in November 2000 and was bought for $4.7 million by representatives of the Irish businessman Tony Ryan, the founder of Ryanair.[16]

  • Antonius Pius, a bay colt, foaled in 2001, sired by Danzig. Won two races including the Railway Stakes and finished second in the Breeders' Cup Mile.[17]
  • Princess Zara, bay filly, 2002, by A P Indy. Unraced.
  • Catch the Blue Hat, chestnut filly, 2003, by Storm Cat. Failed to win in two races.
  • L'Impresario, bay colt, 2006, by Bernstein. Won his only race.[18]
  • Catchup If You Can, bay filly, 2007, by Bernstein. Unraced.
  • Equus Prime, bay colt, 2010, by Dynaformer. Sold for $550,000 as a yearling[19] but failed to win in four races.
  • Songoficeandfire, bay filly, 2011, by Dynaformer. Won two races.[20]
  • Hold Me Now, filly, 2012, by Bernstein


Pedigree of Catchascatchcan (GB), bay mare, 1995[1]
Pursuit of Love (GB)
Groom Dancer (IRE)
Blushing Groom Red God
Runaway Bride
Featherhill Lyphard
Lady Berry
Dance Quest (FR)
Green Dancer Nijinsky
Green Valley
Polyponder Barbizon
Second Thought
Catawba (GB)
Mill Reef (USA)
Never Bend Nasrullah
Milan Mill Princequillo
Virginia Water
Catalpa (GB)
Reform Pall Mall
Country House
Ostrya Hornbeam
Malcolmia (Family: 16-b)[7]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Catchascatchcan pedigree".
  2. ^ a b c Tony Morris (3 July 2003). "Unbeaten Antonius Pius bred to excel but trip a puzzle". Racing Post.
  3. ^ "Pursuit of Love - Record By Race Type". Racing Post.
  4. ^ "Pursuit Of Love - Stud Record". Racing Post.
  5. ^ Rachel Pagones; et al. (8 June 2008). "Pursuit of Love: Bloodstock World". Racing Post.
  6. ^ "Catawba - Record By Race Type". Racing Post.
  7. ^ a b "Windermere - Family 16-b". Thoroughbred Bloodlines. Retrieved 2013-12-30.
  8. ^ "Staines News and Leader Maiden Stakes". Racing Post. 10 June 1998.
  9. ^ "Lancashire Oaks result". Racing Post. 4 July 1998.
  10. ^ Tom Goff (18 July 1998). "Catch aiming to be foot perfect". Racing Post.
  11. ^ "Aphrodite Stakes result". Racing Post. 18 July 1998.
  12. ^ a b Richard Griffiths (20 August 1998). "Unbeaten Cecil star takes a giant step forward". Racing Post.
  13. ^ Brough Scott (19 August 1998). "Trying to Catch up; Lord Howard de Walden". Racing Post.
  14. ^ "Yorkshire Oaks result". Racing Post. 19 August 1998.
  15. ^ Tom Goff (25 August 1998). "Catchascatchcan is retired to stud". Racing Post.
  16. ^ "Equine Real Estate Market Heats Up". 17 September 2001.
  17. ^ "Antonius Pius - Record By Race Type". Racing Post.
  18. ^ "LĀ“Impresario - Record By Race Type". Racing Post.
  19. ^ "Naming the Priciest Juveniles".
  20. ^ "Songoficeandfire - Statistics".