Brigadier Gerard was the best miler that I ever saw anywhere in the world
Brigadier Gerard (1968 - 1989) was sired
by Queen’s Hussar out of La Paiva. He was bred by John Hislop. The
great horse was named after Arthur Conan Doyle’s swashbuckling hero.He
was trained during his racing career by Major Dick Hern and ridden in
all of his races by Joe Mercer.
His first race was in the Berkshire Stakes at Newbury in June 1970. He
won by 7 lengths. Later that year, he won the Middle Park stakes and
two additional races for good measure.
As a three year old, his first race was in the 2,000 Guineas. He faced
My Swallow and Mill Reef, both of whom were rated above him. Between
the three of them, they had won 18 of their 19 races. Only Mill Reef
had lost a race (to My Sawllow). In addition, Brigadier Gerard did not
have a preparatory race. However, in spite of this, Brigadier Gerard
won in devastating style by 3 lengths over Mill Reef and My Swallow.
Brigadier Gerard went on to narrowly win the St. James’s Palace Stakes,
the Sussex Stakes by five lengths, the Goodwood Mile by ten lengths, the
Queen Elizabeth II Stakes by eight lengths, and the Champion Stakes.
At a mile he was unbeatable on anything but very soft ground.
His owners avoided the Derby partly to protect him from a difficult race
early in the season and partly because they were unsure how far he
would stay, as his pedigree was that of a miler than a middle distance
horse. The Derby, that year, was won by Mill Reef who was never
By the end of his three 3yo season, Brigadier Gerard had run in 10 races
and had won all of them between five furlongs and a mile and a quarter.
As a 4yo, he extended his unbeaten run to 15 with wins in the Lockinge
Stakes, the Westbury Stakes, the Prince of Wales’s Stakes (where he set a
new course record), the Eclipse Stakes and the King George VI &
Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes in which he won 1-1/2 miles for the first
Then, he ran in the Benson & Hedges Gold Cup over an extended mile
and a quarter at York. In the race, he was up against the 1972 Derby
winner Roberto and the runner-up, Rheingold.Brigadier Gerard starting at
1/3, Rheingold was the second favourite and Roberto, who had run a poor
race last time out in the Irish Derby was third favourite. That day,
Roberto ran the race of his life with a brilliant front-running display
which shattered the course record and defeated Brigadier Gerard by 3
Brigadier Gerard set 2 more wins that season in the Queen Elizabeth II
Stakes (setting a new record and winning by 6-Ls)& in the Champion
He was retired to stud at the end of his four-year-old season.Although
his stud career was not successful, he did sire the 1980 St. Leger
winner, Light Cavalry.The Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown is named in
What made Brigadier Gerard a true champion? Firstly, he won 17 of
his 18 races, won stakes of £253,024.70 and broke several course
Secondly, Brigadier Gerard was given a Timeform rating of 144, the joint 2nd highest rating ever given.