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    Ribot: A Legend in British Horse Racing
Ribot: A Legend in British Horse Racing
Ribot. Source: Wikipedia

Ribot: A Legend in British Horse Racing

Ribot was a British-bred, Italian-trained Thoroughbred racehorse renowned for his undefeated record of 16 races, including two victories in the Arc de Triomphe. His career spanned distances from 5 furlongs (1,000m) to 1 mile 7 furlongs (3,000m) across three countries and varied track conditions, earning him a place among the greatest racehorses in history.

Early Life and Training

Ribot was born at the English National Stud in Newmarket, Suffolk, on 27 February 1952. Bred by Italy's leading Thoroughbred breeder, Federico Tesio, Ribot was sired by Tenerani, an exceptional Italian racehorse who defeated the French champion Arbar in the 1948 Goodwood Cup. Ribot's dam, Romanella, was a successful broodmare that produced notable winners like Rossellina and Raeburn.

Ribot. Source: Club Cavallo Italia
Ribot. Source: Club Cavallo Italia

Ribot was described as a medium-sized bay with an intelligent head and perfect temperament. His success was attributed to his remarkable depth through the heart, making him difficult to fit with a girth at Dormello. Named after the French realist painter Théodule-Augustin Ribot, he was trained in Italy by Ugo Penco and ridden by Enrico Camici. Nicknamed 'il cavallo super' (the super horse), Ribot began his racing career under the ownership of Tesio's widow, Donna Lydia, and business partner, Marchese Mario Incisa della Rocchetta, following Tesio's death in May 1954.

Ribot. Source: Club Cavallo Italia
Ribot. Source: Club Cavallo Italia

Racing Record

1954 Two-Year-Old Season

Ribot started his racing career in 1954, winning the Premio Tramuschio over 1,000m at San Siro Racecourse. He followed this with victories in the Criterium Nazionale over 1,200m and the Gran Criterium over 1,500m, showcasing his versatility and emerging as the best Italian two-year-old of the year.

1955 Three-Year-Old Season

In 1955, Ribot won the Premio Pisa by six lengths and the Premio Emanuele Filiberto by ten lengths. After recovering from a respiratory illness, he claimed victories in the Premio Brembo and Premio Besana. In October, he raced outside Italy for the first time, winning the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp by three lengths. He concluded the year with a dominant 15-length victory in the Gran Premio del Jockey Club in Italy.

1956 Four-Year-Old Season

Ribot's four-year-old season was even more impressive, starting with three easy wins at San Siro. He then won the Gran Premio di Milano over 3,000m by eight lengths. In July, he travelled to England and won the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot by five lengths. Returning to Paris in October, Ribot defended his Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe title with an emphatic six-length victory, though many believed the margin was closer to eight and a half lengths.

Stud Career and Legacy

Retired from racing, Ribot embarked on a successful stud career. Initially standing at Lord Derby's stud in England, he was later syndicated and moved to the United States, where he spent the rest of his life at Darby Dan Stud. Ribot's progeny achieved significant success, making him the leading sire in Great Britain & Ireland three times (1963, 1967, and 1968). His notable offspring included Molvedo, Prince Royal, Ragusa, Long Look, Ribocco, Ribero, Boucher, Tom Rolfe, Arts and Letters, and Graustark. Ribot's descendants continued to influence Thoroughbred racing worldwide, with many standing as successful stallions in Australasia and beyond.

Ribot. Source: betHQ
Ribot. Source: betHQ

Assessment and Recognition

Timeform awarded Ribot a rating of 133 in 1955 and 142 in 1956, making him the highest-rated horse in Europe. John Randall and Tony Morris, in their book "A Century of Champions," rated Ribot the third-best racehorse of the 20th century, behind Sea Bird and Secretariat. Ribot was also named the fourth-greatest Italian athlete of the 20th century in a La Gazzetta dello Sport poll. The Premio Ribot at Capannelle Racecourse is named in his honour, and he is celebrated as Horse of the Century in Italy.

Ribot's story is one of dominance and resilience, from being underestimated in his early days to becoming one of the greatest racehorses of all time. His legacy continues to inspire and influence the world of Thoroughbred racing.

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