Deep Diver (horse)

Deep Diver
Sire Gulf Pearl
Grandsire Persian Gulf
Dam Miss Stephen
Damsire Stephen Paul
Sex Stallion
Foaled 1969
Country Ireland
Colour Chestnut
Breeder George Harris
Owner David Robinson
Trainer Paul Davey
Record 15: 9-4-1
Major wins
Brocklesby Stakes (1971)
July Stakes (1971)
Prix d'Arenberg (1971)
Cornwallis Stakes (1971)
Prix du Petit Couvert (1971)
Nunthorpe Stakes (1972)
Prix de l'Abbaye (1972)
Timeform top-rated two-year-old (1971)
Timeform top-rated three-year-old (1972)
Timeform rating 134

Deep Diver (foaled 1969) was an Irish-bred, British-trained Thoroughbred racehorse and sire. As a two-year-old in 1971 he won seven of his eleven races including the Brocklesby Stakes, July Stakes, Prix d'Arenberg, Cornwallis Stakes and Prix du Petit Couvert. In the following year he took time to reproduce his best form but emerged as the best sprinter in Europe with decisive wins in the Nunthorpe Stakes, Prix de l'Abbaye. Timeform rated Deep Diver the best racehorse of his generation in Europe at both two and three years of age. He has been retrospectively rated as one of the best British-trained sprinters of the 20th century. Deep Diver stood as a breeding stallion in Ireland, Australia and Japan but had little success as a sire of winners.


Deep Diver was a strongly-built chestnut horse with a narrow white stripe[1] bred at the Victor Stud in County Tipperary by George Harris.[2] His sire, Gulf Pearl, won the Imperial Stakes in 1964 and the Chester Vase in 1965: he also sired the Coronation Cup winner Sea Chimes. Deep Diver's dam Miss Stephen never raced, but was a successful broodmare who also produced the Irish 2000 Guineas winner King's Company.[3]

As a yearling, Deep Diver was sent to the sales in where he was bought for 8,400 guineas by Lord Harrington acting on behalf of the businessman and philanthropist David Robinson.[4] The colt was sent to Robinson's Clarehaven Stables where he was trained by Paul Davey (1926–2007).[5]

Racing career

1971: two-year-old season

Deep Diver made his racecourse debut on 27 March when he won the Brocklesby Stakes at Doncaster Racecourse by seven lengths. He followed up with wins at Kempton in April[6] and York in May before being moved up in class at Royal Ascot in June. He started favourite for the New Stakes over five furlongs but seemed unsuited by the soft ground and finished third of the four runners behind Philip of Spain. Deep Diver's next race was the Group Three July Stakes over six furlongs at Newmarket Racecourse. Starting at odds of 4/1[7] and ridden by Frankie Durr, he won comfortably from his stable companion Wishing Star, which had been favoured in the betting.[4]

In the previous year, Robinson and Davey had dominated the major French two-year-old races with My Swallow and in late summer they attempted to repeat the feat with Deep Diver. In July at Maisons-Laffitte Racecourse he contested the Group One Prix Robert Papin over 1100m but finished second to the Dick Hern-trained Sun Prince. A month later at Deauville Racecourse he finished fourth behind Daring Display in the Prix Morny over 1200m.[4]

On his return to Britain Deep Diver ran in the Norfolk Stakes (the race now known as the Flying Childers Stakes) at Doncaster in September and sustained his third consecutive defeat as he was beaten by the filly Rose Dubarry. Later that month he was sent to France again and won the Prix d'Arenberg over 1000m at Longchamp Racecourse. In October he was ridden by the Australian jockey Bill Williamson in the Cornwallis Stakes over five furlongs at Ascot. He started the 4/7 favourite[7] and won from Mansingh. In late October he was matched against older horses in the Group Two Prix du Petit Couvert over 1000m at Longchamp. He became the first British-trained horse to succeed the race[8] as he won by five lengths in a course record time from the four-year-old Montgomery, the winner of the Prix du Gros Chêne and the Prix de Saint-Georges.[4]

1972: three-year-old season

Like many of the horses at Clarehaven, Deep Diver was affected by a viral infection in the spring of 1972, and took a long time to reach peak fitness. On his only start in the early part of the year he finished second to the five-year-old Shiny Tenth in the Palace House Stakes over five furlongs at Newmarket. Two months later at Goodwood Racecourse he was ridden by Lester Piggott in the King George Stakes. He took the lead in the closing stages and looked likely to win, but was caught in the last stride and beaten a short head by the filly Stilvi. The winning time was a new course record.[4]

At York Racecourse in August, Deep Diver faced a field which included Stilvi, Rose Dubarry and the July Cup winner Parsimony in the Nunthorpe Stakes. Ridden by Williamson, he started at odds of 100/30[7] and won by two lengths from Stilvi in a new course record time of 57.7 seconds. In October he ended his career in the Group One Prix de l'Abbaye over 1000m at Longchamp. Despite an unfavourable draw he was never seriously challenged and won by four lengths[9] from Home Guard. Plans to run the colt in the Prix du Couvert were abandoned because of the prevailing soft ground.[4]


In the 1971 Free Handicap, a rating of the best two-year-olds to have raced in Britain, Deep Diver was given a weight of 125 pounds, eight pounds below the top-rated Crowned Prince. In the equivalent French classification he was given 129 pounds, placing him fourth behind Hard to Beat, Steel Pulse and Riverman. The independent Timeform organisation, however, rated him the best juvenile of the season, with a rating of 134. In the following year, Timeform again rated Deep Diver on 134, placing him level with Sallust as the season's top-rated three-year-old colt.[10] In their book, A Century of Champions, based on the Timeform rating system, John Randall and Tony Morris rated Deep Diver the eighteenth-best British or Irish sprinter of the 20th century.[2]

Stud record

At the end of his three-year-old season, Deep Diver was sold for £400,000 to John Magnier[11] and was retired to become a breeding stallion at the Castle Hyde stud in Ireland. He was one of the first "shuttle" stallions,[12] meaning that he was based in Europe for part of the year before being sent to Australia for the southern hemisphere breeding season.[13] He had little success as a sire of winners in either country and was later exported to Japan. Some of his daughters became successful broodmares: he was the damsire of the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes winner Submariner and he also featured in the pedigree of Apache Cat.[14] The Japanese Stud Book notes that he was "put out of stud" in January 1986.[15]


Pedigree of Deep Diver (IRE), chestnut stallion 1969[16]
Gulf Pearl (GB)
Persian Gulf (GB)
Bahram Blandford
Friar's Daughter
Double Life Bachelor's Double
Saint Joan
Nan (GB)
Nearco Pharos
Maryaka Marsyas
Miss Stephen (IRE)
Stephen Paul (GB)
Panorama Sir Cosmo
Happy Climax
Paradise Dastur
Bright Set (GB)
Denturius Gold Bridge
La Solfatara
Firelight Signal Light
Four Fires (Family: 13-e)[3]


  1. ^ "Deep Diver image". Retrieved 2013-10-05. 
  2. ^ a b Morris, Tony; Randall, John (1999). A Century of Champions. Portway Press,. ISBN . }
  3. ^ a b "Thoroughbred Bloodlines - Rattlewings - Family 13-e". Retrieved 2013-10-05. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Mortimer, Roger; Onslow, Richard; Willett, Peter (1978). Biographical Encyclopedia of British Flat Racing. Macdonald and Jane’s. ISBN . 
  5. ^ "My Swallow trainer Davey dies aged 81". Racing Post. 23 March 2007. Retrieved 2013-10-05. 
  6. ^ "Captain Coe" (10 April 1971). "My Swallow to score for David Robinson". Evening Times. Retrieved 2013-10-03. 
  7. ^ a b c Abelson, Edward; Tyrrel, John (1993). The Breedon Book of Horse Racing Records. Breedon Books Publishing. ISBN . 
  8. ^ "Prix du Petit Couvert history". Retrieved 2013-10-05. 
  9. ^ "Prix de l'Abbaye". Retrieved 2013-10-05. 
  10. ^ Morris, Tony; Randall, John (1990). Horse Racing: Records, Facts, Champions (Third Edition). Guinness Publishing. ISBN . 
  11. ^ Tony Morris (29 August 2001). "The Rise and Rise of Coolmore: How the foundations were laid for a breeding empire". Racing Post. Retrieved 2013-10-05. 
  12. ^ "Sangster widely credited with developing trend of shuttle sires". Racing Post. 11 August 2008. Retrieved 2013-10-05. 
  13. ^ Bert Lillye (2 November 1975). "It's a brimful cup that cheers". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2013-10-05. 
  14. ^ Tony Arrold (12 May 2008). "Apache Cat a national inspiration". The Australian. Retrieved 2013-10-05. 
  15. ^ Staff. "Deep Diver (IRE)". Japan Horse Racing Registry. Retrieved 14 October 2013. 
  16. ^ "Deep Diver pedigree". 2012-05-08. Retrieved 2013-10-05. 
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