Pillion (horse)

Pillion (1923 – after 1938) was a British Thoroughbred racehorse and broodmare. As a juvenile in 1925 she showed promising form by winning once and finishing second in three races including the Rous Memorial Stakes and the Cheveley Park Stakes. On her three-year-old debut she recorded a 25/1 upset victory in the 1000 Guineas. She was retired from racing at the end of the season and had some influence as a broodmare.

GrandsireSt Simon
DamDouble Back
DamsireBachelor's Double
CountryUnited Kingdom
BreederAnthony Gustav de Rothschild
OwnerAnthony Gustav de Rothschild
TrainerJohn Watson
Record8: 3-3-0
Major wins
1000 Guineas (1926)


Pillion was a bay mare bred and owned by Anthony Gustav de Rothschild. She was set into training with John Watson at the Palace House stable in Newmarket in Suffolk.[2]

Her sire Chaucer won the Gimcrack Stakes as a juvenile in 1902, and later proved himself a high-class performer in handicap races. As a breeding stallion he sired the 1000 Guineas winner Canyon and was the damsire of Fairway, Hyperion, Pharos and Sickle. Pillion's dam Double Back also produced the Coventry Stakes winner Reflector and was a descendant of the influential broodmare Sunray.[3]

Racing careerEdit

1925: two-year-old seasonEdit

In 1925 Pillion recorded her only win from five starts at Nottingham Racecourse in summer when she won the £1,000 Nottinghamshire Breeders' Foal Plate.[4] In the Rous Memorial Stakes at Goodwood Racecourse in July she ran well but was no match for the colt Coronach.[5] In October, Pillion finished second to Karra in the Cheveley Park Stakes over six furlongs at Newmarket Racecourse.[6] In her two other races that year the filly finished second in the Houghton Stakes and ran fourth in the Champion Breeders' Foal Stakes at Derby.[7]

In the Free Handicap, ranking of the year's best two-year-olds, Pillion was placed in joint 24th place, fourteen pounds behind the top-rated Colorado.[8]

1926: three-year-old seasonEdit

On 30 April Pillion, ridden by Dick Perryman, started a 25/1 outsider in a twenty-nine runner field for the 113th running of the 1000 Guineas over the Rowley Mile course at Newmarket Racecourse. Karra started favourite but made no impact as Pillion went to the front a quarter of a mile from the finish and won "nicely" by a length from Trilogy with half a length back to Short Story in third.[9]

In the Oaks Stakes over one and a half miles at Epsom Racecourse a month later Pillion started 11/2 second favourite but after disputing the lead until the final turn she tired in the last quarter mile and finished fifth of the sixteen runners behind Short Story.[10] Later that year, the filly reportedly won the Stewards Handicap at Nottingham.[11]

Assessment and honoursEdit

In their book, A Century of Champions, based on the Timeform rating system, John Randall and Tony Morris rated Pillion an "inferior" winner of the 1000 Guineas.[12]

Breeding recordEdit

At the end of her racing career, Pillion was retired to become a broodmare. She produced at least two foals between 1932 and 1938:


Pedigree of Pillion (GB), bay mare, 1923[1]
Chaucer (GB)
St Simon (GB)
Galopin Vedette
Flying Duchess
St Angela King Tom
Canterbury Pilgrim (GB)
Tristan Hermit
Pilgrimage The Palmer
Lady Audley
Double Back (IRE)
Bachelor's Double (IRE)
Tredennis (GB) Kendal
St Marguerite
Lady Bawn Le Noir (GB)
Milady (GB)
Will Return (GB)
William the Third St Simon
Recall Retreat
Spring Ray (Family 1-i)[3]
  • Pillion was inbred 2 × 4 to St Simon, meaning that this stallion appears in both the second and fourth generations of her pedigree.


  1. ^ a b "Pillion pedigree". Equineline.
  2. ^ Mortimer, Roger; Onslow, Richard; Willett, Peter (1978). Biographical Encyclopedia of British Flat Racing. Macdonald and Jane’s. ISBN 0-354-08536-0.
  3. ^ a b c "Sunray - Family 1-i". Thoroughbred Bloodlines.
  4. ^ "Sporting". The Press. 3 May 1926. p. 10 – via Papers Past.
  5. ^ "Turf Notes". Auckland Star. 12 September 1925. p. 25 – via Papers Past.
  6. ^ "Sporting Notes from Home". Victoria: The Australasian. 28 November 1925. p. 27. Retrieved 25 April 2019 – via National Library of Australia.
  7. ^ "English Racing". Mebourne: The Herald. 1 May 1926. p. 9. Retrieved 25 April 2019 – via National Library of Australia.
  8. ^ "Notes and Comments". Evening Post (New Zealand). 20 May 1926. p. 7 – via Papers Past.
  9. ^ "Turf Jottings". New South Wales: The Referee. 23 June 1926. p. 4. Retrieved 25 April 2019 – via National Library of Australia.
  10. ^ "Sporting Notes from Home". Victoria: The Australasian. 24 July 1926. p. 30. Retrieved 25 April 2019 – via National Library of Australia.
  11. ^ "London Turf Gossip". Manawatu Times. 17 September 1926. p. 2 – via Papers Past.
  12. ^ Morris, Tony; Randall, John (1999). A Century of Champions. Portway Press. ISBN 1-901570-15-0.