Night Nurse (horse)

Last updated

Night Nurse
Sire Falcon
Grandsire Milesian
DamFlorence Nightingale
DamsireAbove Suspicion
Sex Gelding
Foaled1971 [1]
Colour Bay
BreederEleanor Samuelson
OwnerReg Spencer
Trainer Peter Easterby
Record35 wins, 3 flat, 19 hurdles, 13 chases
Major wins
Fighting Fifth Hurdle (1975)
Irish Sweeps Hurdle (1975)
Champion Hurdle (1976, 1977)
Scottish Champion Hurdle (1976)
Welsh Champion Hurdle (1976, 1977)
Templegate Hurdle (dead heat)(1977)
William Hill Hurdle
Free Handicap Hurdle
Sean Graham Trophy Chase (1979)
Black & White Whisky Gold Cup Chase (1979)
Mandarin Handicap Chase (1982)
Pennine Chase (1982)
Red Alligator Chase (1980)
London & Northern Group Chmp. Nov. Chase
Timeform rating: 182 (hurdle)
(highest ever given for a hurdler)
Last updated on 19 December 2009

Night Nurse (26 May 1971 – 1998) was an Irish-bred English-trained National Hunt racehorse. Night Nurse garnered 35 wins, winning a total of £174,507 viz. He won 3 races on the flat at 3 and 4-years old and placed 3 times; he also won 32 National Hunt races, 19 wins over hurdles and 13 wins in steeplechases from 64 starts. [2] He was awarded the highest Timeform rating ever given to a hurdler and has been acclaimed amongst the greatest ever hurdlers. [3]



Night Nurse was a bay gelding bred at the Cloghran Stud in Ireland by Eleanor Samuelson, the daughter of Dick Dawson. He was sired by Falcon out of Samuelson's mare Florence Nightingale. At the Newmarket Houghton sale in 1972 Night Nurse was sold for 1,300 guineas to the trainer Peter Easterby. [4] During his racing career he was owned by Reg Spencer and trained by Easterby at his stables at Habton Grange near Malton, North Yorkshire. Night Nurse was ridden in many of his early races by the Irishman Paddy Broderick, who used a long-rein style.

Racing career

Flat racing

Night Nurse failed to win in six races as a two-year-old in 1973 and won once, in a maiden race at Ripon Racecourse, from six attempts in the following year. [5] He won two of his three races in 1975 and finished second in his only flat race of 1976. [6]

Hurdle racing

He won 10 consecutive hurdle races from 1975–76 which included an undefeated season where he won the Welsh, English and Scottish Champion hurdles.

Night Nurse's second victory in the Champion Hurdle is widely regarded as the highest-quality race ever run over hurdles. His Peter Easterby-trained stablemate Sea Pigeon, a future dual winner, was fourth, with the great Monksfield beaten by two lengths into second. A last-flight mistake contributed to the runner-up's defeat, and the pair's rematch at Aintree shortly after in the Templegate Hurdle is still talked about. It was jump racing's most famous ever dead-heat. [7]


Night Nurse was successfully switched to chasing and was several times fancied to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup, but the closest he came was second to Little Owl in 1981. [8]


Timeform rated Night Nurse at 182, the highest rating ever awarded to a hurdler. [9]


Pedigree of Night Nurse (IRE), bay gelding 1971 [1]
Falcon (GB)
Milesian (IRE)
My Babu Djebel
OatflakeCoup de Lyon
Pretty Swift (GB)
Petition Fair Trial
Art Paper
FragilitePrince Bio
Florence Nightingale (GB)
Above Suspicion (GB)
Court Martial Fair Trial
Above Board Straight Deal
Panacea (FR)
GaleneBlue Skies
Toute ViteVatout
Hurry Off (Family: 3-e)

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  1. 1 2 "Night Nurse pedigree".
  3. Dennis, Steve (21 August 2017). "Steve Dennis picks ten racing legends who were trained in Yorkshire". Racing Post . Retrieved 23 August 2017.
  4. "Night Nurse's breeder dies at age of 75". Racing Post. 2 September 1998. Retrieved 10 January 2015.
  5. Timeform staff (1975). Racehorses of 1974. Timeform.
  6. Timeform staff (1977). Racehorses of 1976. Timeform. ISBN   0-900599-22-7.
  7. O'Connor, Brian (13 March 2017). "Forty years since Champion Hurdle rated finest ever run". Irish Times. Retrieved 23 August 2017.
  8. "Racing: Night Nurse put down at the age of 28". The Independent. Retrieved 10 January 2015.