Rhodora (horse)

Rhodora (1905 – 1921) was an Irish Thoroughbred racehorse and broodmare. She was one of the best juvenile fillies in the British Isles in 1907 when she won three of her six races including a victory over strong male opposition in the Dewhurst Stakes. In the following year she won the 1000 Guineas but was brought down when favourite for the Epsom Oaks. She won two more races in Ireland before her racing career was ended by injury. She was retired from racing to become a broodmare, but none of her produce survived long after birth.

Rhodora in 1908.
SireSt Frusquin
GrandsireSt Simon
DamRhoda B.
BreederRichard Croker
OwnerRichard Croker
TrainerJames Allen
Record16: 8-3-0
Earnings£ 9,809
Major wins
Dewhurst Stakes (1907)
1000 Guineas (1908)


Rhodora was a brown mare bred and owned by the American political boss Richard Croker. During her racing career she was trained in Ireland by James Allen.[2] Also involved in the conditioning of the filly was a Dr McCabe, whose methods, which involved an emphasis on sunlight and fresh air, ran contrary to prevailing opinions.[3]

She was sired by St. Frusquin who won the Middle Park Plate, Dewhurst Plate, 2000 Guineas, Princess of Wales's Stakes and Eclipse Stakes and was described as one of the best horses of the 19th century.[4] His other progeny included Flair, St. Amant, Rosedrop, Quintessence, and Mirska. Rhodora's dam the American-bred Rhoda B., also produced the Epsom Derby winner Orby.[5]

Racing careerEdit

1907: two-year-old seasonEdit

As a two-year-old in 1907 Rhodora ran six times. She recorded three wins and two second places. In July she was sent to England for the National Breeders' Produce Stakes at Sandown Park and finished second, beaten a neck by the leading colt White Eagle.[6] She subsequently sustained an injury in a race at Leopardstown when she was kicked by a colt named Temeraire.[7]

In autumn the filly was sent to Newmarket where her day-to-day conditioning was handled by Fred McCabe. In October she was ridden by Billy Bullock in the Dewhurst Plate and won at odds of 100/7[8] from a field which included the King's colt Perrier (who finished second),[9] Norman, Your Majesty and the Duke of Westminster's highly regarded Vamose.[10] She was entered for the Middle Park Plate, but had to withdraw from the race in October due to a respiratory disease epidemic at Croker's farm in Newmarket.[11]

1908: three-year-old seasonEdit

On 8 May at Newmarket, Rhodora was one of nineteen fillies to contest the 95th running of the 1000 Guineas in which she was ridden by the American jockey Lucien Lyne and started at odds of 100/8. She looked less than fully fit before the race and Croker reportedly had little confidence in her chances.[12] The Middle Park Plate winner Lesbia started favourite while the best fancied of the other runners were Bracelet (Cheveley Park Stakes) and Elm Twig. Rhodora appeared to have the race won a long way from home and came home two lengths clear of Bracelet, with Ardentrive a neck away in third.[13] Her winning time was a second faster than the one recorded by Norman in the 2000 Guineas over the same course and distance.[12]

On 5 June Rhodora started 6/4 favourite ahead of the Derby winner Signorinetta in the Epsom Oaks over one and a half miles but failed to finish the race, being brought down when French Partridge slipped and fell in front of her.[14] She was back in action late that month and finished unplaced behind White Eagle in the Biennial Stakes at Royal Ascot.[15] She ran poorly again when unplaced behind Your Majesty in the St George Stakes at Liverpool in July.[16]

In September Rhodora returned to Ireland where she won both the Turf Club Cup and the Champion Prize at the Curragh. In the latter race she came home ten lengths clear of the Irish Derby winner Wild Bouquet. The filly was being prepared for a run in the Cambridgeshire Handicap when she suffered a training injury which ended her season.[2][17]

Rhodora's earnings for the year amounted to £7,380.[18]

Assessment and honoursEdit

In their book, A Century of Champions, based on the Timeform rating system, John Randall and Tony Morris rated Rhodora an "inferior" winner of the 1000 Guineas.[19]

Breeding recordEdit

Rhodora was retired from racing to become a broodmare at Croker's Glencairn stud. After failing to conceive in her first two seasons she was bred to her half-brother Orby, an experiment in close inbreeding which "caused astonishment in breeding circles".[20] She had an obstructed labour resulting in the death of the foal in 1913.[2] She produced only one foal, a chestnut colt by White Magic that was euthanised as a two-year-old due to bad joints. Barren for many years, despite repeated breeding to the stallion White Magic, Rhodora was euthanised in the autumn of 1921[21] by her new owner Donald Fraser. Her body was rendered to make dog food for his kennels. The act was viewed as "a sombre and heartless end" for the mare by the press.[22]


Pedigree of Rhodora (IRE), brown mare, 1903[1]
St. Frusquin (GB)
St. Simon
Galopin Vedette
Flying Duchess
St. Angela King Tom
Plebeian Joskin
Queen Elizabeth
Parma Parmesan
Rhoda B. (USA)
Hindoo Virgil
Bourbon Belle Bonnie Scotland
Ella D
Algerine Abd-El-Kader
Sweet Songstress (GB) Doncaster
Melodious (Family: 26)[5]


  1. ^ a b "Rhodora pedigree". Equineline.
  2. ^ a b c Mortimer, Roger; Onslow, Richard; Willett, Peter (1978). Biographical Encyclopedia of British Flat Racing. Macdonald and Jane's. ISBN 0-354-08536-0.
  3. ^ "The Sporting World". Evening Star. 15 April 1909. p. 8 – via Papers Past.
  4. ^ "Tufts of Turf". The Press. 20 October 1896. Retrieved 14 March 2012.
  5. ^ a b "Old Merlin Mare - Family 26". Bloodlines.net. Retrieved 5 June 2012.
  6. ^ "Notes and Selections". Wanganui Chronicle. 11 September 1907. p. 7 – via Papers Past.
  7. ^ "Health Hints". Auckland Star. 9 November 1907. p. 11 – via Papers Past.
  8. ^ Abelson, Edward; Tyrrel, John (1993). The Breedon Book of Horse Racing Records. Breedon Books Publishing. ISBN 978-1-873626-15-3.
  9. ^ "Newmarket Biennial Stakes". The Evening Post. 24 April 1908. p. 8 – via Papers Past.
  10. ^ "Re-Handicapping V Fixed Penalties". The New Zealand Herald. 14 December 1907. p. 9 – via Papers Past.
  11. ^ Staff (24 October 1907). "Crokers Rhodora Sick". The Daily Racing Form. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  12. ^ a b "Sporting Intelligence". Otautau Standard and Wallace County Chronicle. 7 July 1908. p. 2 – via Papers Past.
  13. ^ "Racing in New Zealand". Otago Witness. 24 June 1908. p. 64 – via Papers Past.
  14. ^ "The Racing World". Auckland Star. 8 July 1908. p. 8 – via Papers Past.
  15. ^ "Defeat of Signorinetta". Wanganui Chronicle. 10 August 1908. p. 8 – via Papers Past.
  16. ^ "Turf Topics". Evening Star. 8 September 1908. p. 7 – via Papers Past.
  17. ^ "Notes". The Press. 29 October 1908. p. 8 – via Papers Past.
  18. ^ "Sport and Pastime". The Evening Post. 13 February 1909. p. 14 – via Papers Past.
  19. ^ Morris, Tony; Randall, John (1999). A Century of Champions. Portway Press. ISBN 1-901570-15-0.
  20. ^ "Sport and Pastime". The Evening Post. 20 April 1912. p. 14 – via Papers Past.
  21. ^ Staff (1922). "Obituary of stallions and mares". The bloodstock breeders' review. XI: 95–96.
  22. ^ Staff (5 March 1922). "Ignominious End of Mare Rhodora". The Daily Racing Form. Retrieved 9 May 2018.