Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Trained the Tetrarch, the Greatest Thoroughbred of the 20th Century: Henry Seymour “Atty” Persse (1869-1960)



The foal was chestnut with black patches, and his owner, Edward Kennedy of County Kildare, hoped that the newborn horse he had named The Tetrarch would bring back the Herod line of thoroughbred champions.  As months went by the foal’s black patches turned grey with white splotches, and the young horse did not seem to be living up to the hopes of his owner.  The Tetrarch had unusual coloring, an unusual build, and an unorthodox running style.  Several horsemen dismissed him before he was discovered by Atty Perrse.

Henry Seymour “Atty” Persse had trained The Tetrarch’s half-sister Nicola and decided to buy the chestnut colt from Kennedy for 1,300 guineas.  Over the months The Tetrarch’s long legs, which had first been seen by many as a liability, had become the source of speed that the Irish trainers had never before seen. The famous jockey Stephen Donghue would say, “To be on him was like riding a creature that combined the power of an elephant with the speed of a greyhound.”  The horse that had been previously been called “The Rocking Horse” was now referred to as “The Spotted Wonder.”

The Tetrarch’s racing success as a two year old was unprecedented and has never been matched.  As a two-year old he won the Maiden Plate at Newmarket, the Woodcote Stakes, the Coventry Stakes, the National Breeders Produce Stakes, the Rous Memorial Stakes, the Champion Breeders Foal Stakes and the Champagne Stakes.  He won all seven races in which he was entered.   The Tetrarch won six of those races easily, simply blowing away the competition.  The only challenge came at the National Breeders Produce Stakes where, despite a mix-up at the start that left him four or five lengths back, he managed to win by a nose.   Atty Persse said “I don’t think that he would ever have been beaten, over any distance.  He was a freak and there will never be another like him.”  After the Champagne Stakes The Tetrarch rapped himself badly on his off-fore fetlock joint, and he spent the winter that spanned 1913 and 1914 recovering.    Early in the spring of 1914 he rapped the joint again, and his racing career was over.

The Tetrarch ended his racing career undefeated and began a stud career that was marked by quality rather than quantity.  The champion expressed very little interest in mares and only sired 130 foals.  To his progeny he transmitted both stamina and speed, although not necessarily at the same time. Out of the 130 foals, 80 were winners, and The Tetrarch was named Champion Sire of 1919.    The Tetrarch died at Ballylinch in 1935 at the age of twenty-four.

The Tetrarch was lauded for his greatness during his time, and after his death his legend continued to grow.  Although there are questions whether he would have continued to dominate the competition as a three-year-old or over longer distances, the United Kingdom’s National Horseracing Museum called the Tetrarch a “phenomenon” and named him Britain’s two-year-old of the century.  The American National Sporting Library’s Thoroughbred Heritage website says he was “probably the greatest two-year-old of all time” and “possibly the greatest runner ever.”  He is an ancestor of both Seattle Slew and Secretariat, and countless other legendary thoroughbreds.

Atty Persse was in his early forties, an experienced rider and trainer, when he bought The Tetrarch in 1911.  He had been a very successful amateur rider under National Hunt rules and a Master of Foxhounds in Ireland.  As a horse trainer he was known as a stern man, and it was said that “woe betide the stable lad who ‘blabbed’ about a horse’s prospects."   The fact that he was able to keep a horse’s potential a secret is proven by the fact that The Tetrarch, maybe the greatest runner ever, entered his first race at 5 to 1 odds.

Henry Seymour Persse, the second son of Henry Sadlier Persse, was born at County Rahoon, Ireland, on the 17th of June, 1869.  Although he came from a long and distinguished line of equestrians, it was widely thought that he would one day devote his attentions and efforts to running the Persse distillery, which at the time was the largest whiskey manufacturer in the west of Ireland.  At the age of 20 he matriculated to Brasenose College, Oxford.  After leaving the university, he embarked on a career that would take him to America, where he found success as a cross-country rider, and then to England where his exploits would make him a legendary figure in the history of Irish and British horseracing.

Persse would stay active in the horse racing game until his retirement in 1953, when he was eighty-four years old.    He lived until 1960, and is still regarded in Irish and Britsh horseracing circles as an icon of a golden age.

ATTY PERSSE RETIRES (LAMBOURN)





Adam Lowe Martin (son of) - Allen Lowe Martin - Margaret Persse (daughter of) - Edwin Theophilus Persse (son of) - Dudley Persse - Theophilus Blakeney Persse - Henry Stratford Persse (father of) - Matilda "Mattie" Persse (mother of ) - Henry Sadleir Persse (father of) - Henry Seymour "Atty" Persse


16 comments:

  1. what an AMAZING horse! thanks so much for this story, adam! what a great & inspirational read!....b

    ReplyDelete
  2. I read this article completely on the topic of the difference of most recent and previous technologies, it's remarkable article.
    my page :: adoption search registry

    ReplyDelete
  3. What's up, I would like to subscribe for this webpage to get most recent updates, therefore where can i do it please help out.
    My webpage ; lienach1982.fotopages.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks very nice blog!
    Here is my blog ... adriana lima weight

    ReplyDelete
  5. Neat blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere?

    A design like yours with a few simple adjustements would
    really make my blog stand out. Please let me know where you got your
    design. With thanks
    My blog Aaa homeowners Insurance

    ReplyDelete
  6. Great blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it
    from somewhere? A design like yours with a
    few simple adjustements would really make my blog shine. Please let me know where you got your design.
    Cheers
    Also visit my web-site : abbreviation for continued

    ReplyDelete
  7. Definitely believe that which you stated. Your favorite justification appeared to be on the internet the simplest thing to be aware of.
    I say to you, I certainly get irked while people consider worries that they plainly do not know about.
    You managed to hit the nail upon the top and also defined out the whole thing without having
    side effect , people can take a signal. Will probably be back to
    get more. Thanks
    my web page > www.gustoo.de

    ReplyDelete
  8. This post presents clear idea in favor of the new people of blogging, that genuinely how to do running a blog.
    My website :: www.lijit.cmowww.radabg.com

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thanks for one's marvelous posting! I really enjoyed reading it, you may be a great author.I will be sure to bookmark your blog and may come back very soon. I want to encourage you to ultimately continue your great job, have a nice afternoon!
    Have a look at my webpage ... acura legend

    ReplyDelete
  10. Sweet blog! I found it while browsing on Yahoo News.

    Do you have any tips on how to get listed in
    Yahoo News? I've been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Thanks

    Here is my web-site http://www.lionking.org/clients.shtml
    my site :: http://thrombo.info/wordpress/sample-page/

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'm really enjoying the design and layout of your blog. It's a very easy on the eyes
    which makes it much more enjoyable for me to come here and visit more often.

    Did you hire out a developer to create your theme?
    Outstanding work!

    Check out my web-site; wigge.com

    ReplyDelete
  12. Greetings! I've been following your web site for some time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Atascocita Tx! Just wanted to say keep up the great work!

    Visit my blog post ... click here for buff men and rough sex

    ReplyDelete
  13. Great post. I was checking constantly this weblog and I am inspired!
    Extremely helpful info specifically the last section :
    ) I maintain such info much. I used to be seeking this certain
    info for a very lengthy time. Thank you and best of luck.



    Feel free to visit my page ... reverse hotmail

    ReplyDelete
  14. Does your blog have a contact page? I'm having problems locating it but, I'd like to send you an e-mail.

    I've got some creative ideas for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great blog and I look forward to seeing it improve over time.

    Feel free to surf to my blog :: http://www.gogobada.com/index.php?mid=technic&document_Srl=533

    ReplyDelete
  15. When I originally commented I clicked the "Notify me when new comments are added" checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get three emails with the same comment.

    Is there any way you can remove me from that service?

    Appreciate it!

    Review my web blog; vortext.org

    ReplyDelete