Nureyev (horse)

Last updated
Sire Northern Dancer
Grandsire Nearctic
Damsire Forli
Sex Stallion
CountryUnited States
Colour Bay
Breeder Claiborne Farm
Owner Stavros Niarchos
Trainer François Boutin
Record3: 2-0-0
Major wins
Prix Thomas Bryon (1979)
Prix Djebel (1980)
Timeform rating 131 (1980)
Leading sire in France (1987)
Leading broodmare sire in Britain & Ireland (1997)
Last updated on May 30, 2011

Nureyev (1977–2001) was an American-bred, French-trained Thoroughbred racehorse and champion sire. As a racehorse, he was best known as the disqualified "winner" of the 2000 Guineas in 1980.



Nureyev was a bay horse with a white blaze and white sock on his right hind leg bred in Kentucky by the Claiborne Farm. He was sired by Northern Dancer out of the mare Special, making him a half brother of to several winners including Fairy Bridge, the dam of Sadler's Wells. He was bought in 1978 at the Keeneland yearling sale by Stavros Niarchos for US$1.3 million ($5.2 million inflation adjusted), [1] at the time the second-highest paid price ever paid for a yearling—behind only Canadian Bound. [2] Niarchos named the colt in honor of the famous ballet dancer, Rudolf Nureyev. Niarchos sent the colt to race in Europe where he was trained by François Boutin.

Racing career

In November 1979, Nureyev made his two-year-old racing debut in France. He easily outdistanced the field in the Prix Thomas Bryon at Saint-Cloud Racecourse, winning by six lengths.

The following spring of 1980, he won the Prix Djebel at Maisons-Laffitte Racecourse in his 3-year-old debut. He was then shipped to Newmarket Racecourse in the United Kingdom for the 2000 Guineas. His rider, Philippe Paquet, restrained Nureyev in the early stages before pushing his way through the field (interfering with several other runners) to make his challenge in the final quarter mile. He got the better of a brief struggle with Known Fact to win by a neck with Posse, the main sufferer in the earlier interference, finishing strongly to take third. After a lengthy inquiry, the result overturned by the racing stewards, who awarded the race to Known Fact and relegated Nureyev to last place. It was the first time that a winner of the 2,000 Guineas Classic had been disqualified. Nureyev was scheduled to compete in June's Epsom Derby, but came down with a virus and never raced again. [3]

Stud record

Nureyev was sent to stand at stud at his owner's Haras de Fresnay-le-Buffard in Neuvy-au-Houlme in Lower Normandy. Renowned French horseman Alec Head recommended Nureyev to Lexington, Kentucky breeder John T. L. Jones Jr. and in mid-1981 put together a syndicate that purchased Nureyev for US$14 million. Nureyev was brought to Jones' Walmac-Warnerton Farm partnership near Lexington and then under Jones' wholly owned Walmac International.

On May 5, 1987, Nureyev suffered a life-threatening fracture to his right hind leg in a paddock accident during breeding season, but veterinary surgeons were able to save his life. [4]

During his breeding career, Nureyev sired 135 stakes winners and more than twenty champions, despite fertility problems. [5] In 1998, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum set a European sales record when he paid three million guineas (about $5.4 million) for yearling colt Abshurr by Nureyev at the Newmarket sales.

Nureyev died at the age of 24 on October 29, 2001. He is buried at Walmac International in Lexington, Kentucky.

Major winners

c = colt, f = filly, g = gelding

FoaledNameSexMajor Wins
1982 Theatrical c Breeders' Cup Turf, Turf Classic, Man o' War Stakes, Hialeah Turf Cup Handicap, Bowling Green Stakes, Sword Dancer Stakes
1983 Sonic Lady f Irish 1000 Guineas, Coronation Stakes, Sussex Stakes, Prix du Moulin
1984 Miesque f Prix de la Salamandre, Prix Marcel Boussac, Poule d'Essai des Pouliches, 1000 Guineas, Prix du Moulin, Prix d'Ispahan, Prix Jacques Le Marois, Breeders' Cup Mile
1984 Soviet Star c Poule d'Essai des Poulains, Sussex Stakes, Prix de la Forêt, July Cup, Prix du Moulin
1984Stately Donc Hollywood Derby, Secretariat Stakes
1985Alwuhushc Premio Presidente della Repubblica, Gran Premio di Milano
1985Pattern Stepf Hollywood Oaks
1986 Zilzal c Sussex Stakes, Queen Elizabeth II Stakes
1987 Polar Falcon c Haydock Sprint Cup
1989Kitwoodc Prix Jean Prat
1989 Wolfhound c Haydock Sprint Cup
1991Flagbirdf Premio Presidente della Repubblica
1991Heart Lakec Yasuda Kinen
1991 Mehthaaf f Irish 1000 Guineas
1992Atticusc Oaklawn Handicap
1993Joyeux Danseurc Turf Classic Stakes
1993 Spinning World c Irish 2000 Guineas, Prix Jacques Le Marois, Prix du Moulin, Breeders' Cup Mile
1994Black Hawkc Sprinters Stakes, Yasuda Kinen
1994 Peintre Celebre c Prix du Jockey Club, Grand Prix de Paris, Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe
1994 Reams of Verse f Fillies' Mile, Epsom Oaks
1996Good Journeyc Atto Mile
1996Graciosoc Prix Lupin
1996Senurec United Nations Stakes, Clement L. Hirsch Turf Championship Stakes
1996Skimmingc Pacific Classic
1996 Stravinsky c July Cup, Nunthorpe Stakes
1997 Fasliyev c Phoenix Stakes, Prix Morny
1997No Matter Whatf Del Mar Oaks
1997Special Ringg Eddie Read Stakes
1998 Crystal Music f Fillies' Mile
1998King Charlemagnec Prix Maurice de Gheest


Nureyev is also the damsire of several top international horses, including:


Pedigree of Nureyev (USA), bay stallion, 1977 [7]
Northern Dancer (CAN)
Nearctic (CAN)
Nearco Pharos
Lady Angela Hyperion
Sister Sarah
Natalma (USA)
Native Dancer Polynesian
Almahmoud Mahmoud
Special (USA)
Forli (ARG)
Aristophanes Hyperion
Thong (USA)
Nantallah Nasrullah
Rough Shod Gold Bridge
Dalmary (Family 5-h) [8]

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  1. "High horses". Chicago Tribune . Chicago. July 23, 1980. p. 53 via
  3. "Remembering Nureyev" The Blood-Horse, November 10, 2001. Retrieved 2011-05-30.
  4. "A Look Back: Saving Nureyev" The Blood-Horse, October 10, 1987. Retrieved 2011-05-30.
  5. Frances J. Karon, "An Inspiration"., November 13, 2001. Retrieved 2011-05-30.
  6. John Cobb, "Racing: Spinning Queen breaks sales record" The Independent, 28 November 2006. Retrieved 2011-05-30.
  7. "Nureyev pedigree". 2012-05-08. Retrieved 2013-06-09.
  8. "Thoroughbred Bloodlines – Ann of the Forest – Family 5-h". Retrieved 2013-06-09.