Sharpen Up

Sharpen Up (17 March 1969 – 2 March 1992) was British racehorse and sire. He was one of the leading European two-year-olds of his generation, winning all five of his races including the Seaton Delaval Stakes and the Middle Park Stakes. He failed to win in three starts in 1972 and was retired to stud. He became a highly successful breeding stallion in both Europe and North America. Sharpen Up died in 1992.

Sharpen Up
GrandsireNative Dancer
Foaled17 March 1969[1]
CountryUnited Kingdom
BreederMimi van Cutsem
OwnerMimi van Cutsem
TrainerBernard van Cutsem
Record8: 5-2-0
Major wins
Seaton Delaval Stakes (1971)
Middle Park Stakes (1971)
Timeform rating 127


Sharpen Up was a chestnut horse standing 16.1 hands high with a white blaze and white socks on his hind legs bred and owned by Mimi van Cutsem.[2] He was sired by the American stallion Atan, who was retired from racing after winning his only race.[3] His dam, Rocchetta, was a full sister to Outcrop, the winner of the Yorkshire Oaks. Sharpen Up was trained throughout his racing career by Bernard van Cutsem at the Stanley House tables in Newmarket.[4]

Racing careerEdit

1971: two-year-old seasonEdit

As a two-year-old in 1971, Sharpen Up was undefeated in five races. He won a maiden race at Leicester Racecourse in June by four lengths and the Cantley Plate at Doncaster before moving up in class to win the Hyperion Stakes at Ascot in July by three lengths and the Seaton Delaval Stakes at Newcastle in August.[5] On his final appearance of the year he contested the Group One Middle Park Stakes over six furlongs at Newmarket Racecourse. Ridden by Willie Carson, he started the 5/6 favourite[6] and won from the New Stakes winner Philip of Spain and the Prix Robert Papin winner Sun Prince.[4]

Despite his successes, Sharpen Up was only the third highest rated colt of his generation in van Cutsem's stable, being ranked behind Crowned Prince and High Top in the Free Handicap.[5]

1972: three-year-old seasonEdit

On his three-year-old debut, Sharpen Up ran in the Greenham Stakes over seven furlongs at Newbury Racecourse and finished second to Martinmas. Sharpen Up missed the 2000 Guineas and did not appear again for three months. He was brought back to sprint distances for the July Cup over six furlongs at Newmarket. He sweated up before the race but ran well to finish second to the filly Parsimony. On his final appearance, he finished unplaced behind Deep Diver in the Nunthorpe Stakes.[4]


As a two-year-old, Sharpen Up was given a rating of 127 by the independent Timeform organisation,[7] placing him seven pounds behind the top-rated Deep Diver.[8]

Stud recordEdit

Sharpen Up was retired from racing to become a breeding stallion at the Side Hill Stud at Newmarket. In 1980 he was moved to stand at the Gainesway Farm in Kentucky.[3] He was an exceptionally successful sire, whose progeny included:

Sharpen Up was also the broodmare sire of Mister Baileys, Cadeaux Genereux and Danehill Dancer.


Pedigree of Sharpen Up (GB), chestnut stallion, 1969[1]
Atan (USA)
Native Dancer (USA)
Polynesian Unbreakable
Black Polly
Geisha Discovery
Mixed Marriage (GB)
Tudor Minstrel Owen Tudor
Persian Maid Tehran
Rocchetta (GB)
Rockefella (GB)
Hyperion Gainsborough
Rockfel Felstead
Chambiges (FR)
Majano Deiri
Madgi Moto
Chanterelle Gris Perle
Shah Bibi (Family: 5-i)[9]


  1. ^ a b "Sharpen Up pedigree". 2012-05-08. Retrieved 2013-07-13.
  2. ^ Clive Webb-Carter (5 May 2007). "An awesome combination of genes". Retrieved 2013-07-13.
  3. ^ a b Hunter, Avalyn (18 September 2007). "Doctor Dino Keeping Sharpen Up Male Line Alive". Retrieved 2013-07-13.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ a b Sue Cameron (19 September 2006). "The legacy of Sharpen Up". Retrieved 2013-07-13.
  6. ^ Abelson, Edward; Tyrrel, John (1993). The Breedon Book of Horse Racing Records. Breedon Books Publishing. ISBN 978-1-873626-15-3.
  7. ^ Timeform (1984). Racehorses of 1983. Timeform. ISBN 0-900599-40-5.
  8. ^ Morris, Tony; Randall, John (1990). Horse Racing: Records, Facts, Champions (Third Edition). Guinness Publishing. ISBN 0-85112-902-1.
  9. ^ "Thoroughbred Bloodlines - Diversion - Family 5-i". Retrieved 2013-07-13.