Diadem (horse)

Diadem (1914–1931) was a British Thoroughbred racehorse who won the 1000 Guineas in 1917. She went on to become a top sprinter, recording two victories in both the King's Stand Stakes and the July Cup. In total she won 24 of her 39 races. Diadem was bred and owned by Edgar Vincent, 1st Viscount D'Abernon, and trained by George Lambton. The Diadem Stakes at Ascot Racecourse was named after her.

Diadem (horse).jpg
Diadem in 1917.
CountryGreat Britain
Breeder1st Baron d'Abernon
Owner1st Baron d'Abernon
TrainerGeorge Lambton
Record39 starts 24 wins
Major wins
New Coventry Stakes (1916)
Moulton Stakes (1916)
1000 Guineas (1917)
King's Stand Stakes (1919, 1920)
July Cup (1919, 1920)
Challenge Stakes (1919)
Rous Memorial Stakes (1920)
All-Aged Stakes (1920)
Diadem Stakes at Ascot Racecourse


Diadem was a chestnut filly bred by Edgar Vincent, 1st Viscount D'Abernon and foaled in 1914. She was sired by Epsom Derby and Irish Derby winner Orby. As a stallion Orby sired Derby winner Grand Parade and Champion Stakes winner Orpheus.[1] Diadem's dam was Donnetta, a daughter of Donovan.[2]

Racing careerEdit

1916: Two-year-old seasonEdit

Diadem won the New Coventry Stakes at Newmarket by two lengths from Golden Maid.[3] She then won the five-furlong Fulbourne Stakes at Newmarket by three lengths from Sunset Glow.[4] At the end of the year she also won the five-furlong Moulton Stakes at Newmarket.[5]

1917: Three-year-old seasonEdit

In May she won the 1000 Guineas after starting as the 6/4 favourite. Sunny Jane finished second, with Nonpareil in third.[6] At Newmarket she finished unplaced in the New Derby that was won by Gay Crusader.[7] She started as the favourite for the New Oaks. The filly Sunny Jane took the lead of the race with four furlongs left to run and was then challenged by Diadem. Sunny Jane held off Diadem to win by half a length, with Moravia a further four lengths back in third place.[8] In October she won the six-furlong Great Eastern Railway Handicap at Newmarket, beating Roscius by half a length.[9]

1918: Four-year-old seasonEdit

In May 1918, Diadem won the Salford Borough Handicap at Manchester by half a length from Golly Eyes. She was carrying 10 pounds more weight than any of the other horses in the field.[10] In October she won the Snailwell Stakes after starting as the odds-on favourite.[11] Later in the month she finished third in the Champion Stakes, three and a half lengths behind winner My Dear.[12]

1919: Five-year-old seasonEdit

At Royal Ascot in 1919 Diadem started as the 7/2, fourth favourite for the King's Stand Stakes. She won the race by two lengths from favourite Best Born.[13] In July she beat Iron Hand by three lengths to win the July Cup at Newmarket.[14] At Goodwood she started in the King George Stakes, but another runner, Sun d'Or cut across her at the start and she was never in contention, cantering home behind winner Chiffre d'Amour and two others.[15] At the Doncaster St. Leger meeting she carried top weight and started favourite for the seven-furlong Town Moor Handicap. She took the lead with a quarter of a mile still to run and despite being challenged in the closing stages, she held on the win by a head from Quadrille.[16] In October Diadem beat her only opponent, Freesia, by three quarters of a length to win the Challenge Stakes.[17] Later in the month she finished second of eighteen in the Cambridgeshire Stakes, six lengths behind winner Brigand.[18]

1920: Six-year-old seasonEdit

In June 1920 she walked over for the Rous Memorial Stakes at Ascot.[19] She also won the All-Aged Stakes by six lengths from her only rival, Tetramenter.[20] The following day she recorded her second victory in the King's Stand Stakes.,[21] before walking over for her second July Cup.[22] In July she finished second in Molyneux Plate, two lengths behind Racket.[23] She had her third walk over of the year in September for the Snailwell Stakes.[24] In October she won the Thames Stakes at Kempton by three lengths from Prince Umbria,[25] before finishing third in the Champion Stakes, seven lengths behind winner Orpheus.[26]

1921: Seven-year-old seasonEdit

In June 1921 Diadem finished fourth in the Royal Stakes at Epsom, behind winner Orby's Pride.[27] Later in the month she finished second behind Monarch in the Rous Memorial Stakes at Ascot.[28]


In 1918 she was described as "one of the most brilliant sprinters seen in England for very many years."[29] She finished her career with 24 wins from 39 starts.[30] In 1946 Ascot Racecourse named a new sprint race in her honour, the Diadem Stakes, which is now known as the British Champions Sprint Stakes.

Breeding recordEdit

Diadem was retired to become a broodmare. In 1928 one of her foals, Dian, was sold for 14,000 guineas. At the same auction Diadem herself was purchased by Major Mairs for 10,000 guineas.[31] Diadem died in 1931.[30]


Pedigree of Diadem, chestnut mare, 1914[2]
Orby (GB)
ch. 1904
b. 1889
b. 1883
Bend Or
Lily Agnes
b. 1879
St. Angela
Rhoda B.
br. 1895
ch. 1884
Bourbon Belle
b. 1886
Sweet Songstress
Donnetta (GB)
b. 1900
b. 1886
b. 1872
Flying Duchess
ch. 1876
The Scottish Chief
b. 1887
b. 1869
Lord Clifden
b. 1881
The White Lady

Note: b. = Bay, br. = Brown, ch. = Chestnut

* Diadem was inbred 3x4 to Galopin. This means that the stallion appears once in the third generation and once in the fourth generation of her pedigree.


  1. ^ "Orby". Bloodlines.net. Retrieved 2013-03-24.
  2. ^ a b "Diadem (GB) pedigree". equineline.com. Retrieved 2012-12-16.
  3. ^ TO-DAY'S RACING, Liverpool Echo, 22 June 1916
  4. ^ TO-DAY'S RACING, Liverpool Echo, 7 July 1916
  5. ^ Newmarket Meeting, Coventry Evening Telegraph, 1 November 1916
  6. ^ NEWMARKET, Evening Telegraph, 4 May 1917
  7. ^ GAY CRUSADER, Liverpool Echo, 31 July 1917
  8. ^ NEW OAKS, Liverpool Echo, 2 August 1917
  9. ^ NEWMARKET RACES, Liverpool Echo, 10 October 1917
  10. ^ MANCHESTER RACES, Liverpool Echo, 24 May 1918
  11. ^ JOCKEY CLUB STAKES, Nottingham Evening Post, 3 October 1918
  12. ^ NEWMARKET RACES, Liverpool Echo, 15 October 1918
  13. ^ "TO DAY'S RACING", Hull Daily Mail, 20 June 1919
  14. ^ SELECTIONS FOR WIND-UP, Dundee Courier, 4 July 1919
  15. ^ DISGRACEFUL SCENES AT GOODWOOD RACES, Evening Telegraph, 31 July 1919
  16. ^ "To-day's racing", Hull Daily Mail, 12 September 1919
  17. ^ TO-DAY’S RACING, Evening Telegraph, 16 October 1919
  18. ^ YESTERDAY'S RACING, Western Daily Press, 30 October 1919
  19. ^ ASCOT, Derby Daily Telegraph, 2 June 1921
  20. ^ Sporting, Western Daily Press, 18 June 1920
  21. ^ THE TURF, Aberdeen Journal, 19 June 1920
  22. ^ YESTERDAY'S WINNERS, Dundee Courier, 2 July 1920
  23. ^ LIVERPOOL, Derby Daily Telegraph, 22 July 1920
  24. ^ "To-day's racing", Hull Daily Mail, 30 September 1920
  25. ^ YESTERDAY'S RACING, Western Times, 9 October 1920
  26. ^ "To-day's racing", Hull Daily Mail, 12 October 1920
  27. ^ THE CORONATION CUP, Nottingham Evening Post, 2 June 1921
  28. ^ "To-day's racing", Hull Daily Mail, 16 June 1921
  29. ^ "SPORTING". Press. 1 November 1918. Retrieved 2013-03-24.
  30. ^ a b "SPORTS SNAPS", Hull Daily Mail, 13 June 1931
  31. ^ BLOODSTOCK PRICES, Nottingham Evening Post, 5 December 1928