CountryUnited Kingdom
BreederKing George VI
OwnerQueen Elizabeth II
TrainerCecil Boyd-Rochfort
Major wins
Lingfield Derby Trial (1953)
Cumberland Lodge Stakes (1953)
Victor Wild Stakes (1954)
Coronation Cup (1954)
Hardwicke Stakes (1954)
King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (1954)
Timeform rating: 132
Last updated on 13 May 2022

Aureole (1950–1974) was a British Thoroughbred racehorse and sire who was owned by Queen Elizabeth II. In a career that lasted from August 1952 until July 1954, he ran fourteen times and won eleven races. As a three-year-old in 1953, he won the Lingfield Derby Trial before finishing second to Pinza in both the Derby and the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes. He reached his peak as a four-year-old in 1954 when he won his last four races: the Victor Wild Stakes at Kempton, the Coronation Cup at Epsom, the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot and Britain's most prestigious all-aged race, the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes. After retiring from racing he was sent to stud, where he became a successful sire of winners.


Aureole was a bright chestnut horse with a white blaze and three white socks, bred by King George VI. When the King died in 1952, the ownership of the unraced two-year-old colt passed to his daughter, Queen Elizabeth II. Aureole was sired by Hyperion who won the Derby and the St Leger in 1933 before becoming a highly successful breeding stallion.[1] He was Leading sire in Great Britain and Ireland on six occasions.[2] Aureole's dam, Angelola, finished second in The Oaks and came from the same branch of Thoroughbred Family 2-f which produced Round Table, Highclere and Pebbles.[3]

Aureole was sent into training with Cecil Boyd-Rochfort at Freemason Lodge stables at Newmarket, Suffolk. In training, the colt was temperamental and excitable: Boyd-Rochfort, however, reportedly welcomed these attributes as he believed that the best of Hyperion's offspring tended to be difficult and high-spirited characters.[4]

Racing career

1952: two-year-old season

Aureole made his first appearance at York Racecourse in August. He delayed the start by "playing up", but won comfortably. He was then off the course for two months before running in October at Newmarket here he contested the Middle Park Stakes, one of the year's most important two-year-old races. He finished sixth behind Nearula, a colt who went on to win the 1953 2000 Guineas.[4]

1953: three-year-old season

Aureole began his three-year-old season in the 2000 Guineas, in which he finished strongly to take fifth place behind Nearula. He was then moved up in distance for the Lingfield Derby Trial over one and a half miles. He won easily to establish himself as a leading contender for the Epsom Derby.[5]

In the week of his owner's coronation Aureole started at odds of 9/1 for the Derby,[6] with Pinza and Premonition being made 5/1 joint-favourites in a field of twenty-seven runners. Aureole became highly agitated before the race, but ran well to finish second, four lengths behind Pinza. He developed a slight cough after the Derby and ran disappointingly in the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown, finishing third to the French challenger Artur. In late July at Ascot he was again matched against Pinza in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, a race named after his owner's parents. He finished second again, this time beaten three lengths.[7] Later in the summer, he was treated by a neurologist in an attempt to improve his temperament.[4]

In the St Leger at Doncaster in September, Aureole was made 6/4 favourite ahead of the Grand Prix de Paris winner Northern Light. Both the Queen and Sir Winston Churchill were in attendance on a fine autumn day which attracted a crowd of 250,000 to the Yorkshire course.[8] Aureole again became agitated in the preliminaries and refused to settle in the race, fighting the attempts of his jockey Harry Carr to restrain him. He challenged for the lead in the straight but faded to finish third behind his stable companion Premonition, beaten six lengths.[9] He ended the season with a win in the Cumberland Lodge Stakes at Ascot, where he was ridden by Eph Smith, as Carr was unable to make the weight. Smith got along so well with the colt that he replaced Carr as Aureole's regular jockey.[4]

1954: four-year-old season

Aureole made his first appearance of 1954 in the Coronation Stakes over ten furlongs at Sandown in April. The race was extremely rough and Aureole, the 4/5 favourite, appeared to be an unlucky loser[4] as he finished second to the Irish Derby winner Chamier. He then returned to one and a half miles to win the Victor Wild Stakes at Kempton.[10]

At the Epsom Derby meeting, Aureole recorded his most important win up to that time as he won the Coronation Cup by five lengths from Chatsworth, with Nearula in third. After the race, Boyd-Rochfort professed himself to be "delighted" by the performance.[11] Aureole was then sent to Royal Ascot to contest the Hardwicke Stakes. Smith struggled to obtain a clear run until the closing stages, and Aureole was a narrow winner from the French colt Janitor. Aureole returned to Ascot in July for the fourth running of the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes for which he was made 9/2 favourite against sixteen opponents. Aureole's behaviour before the race was as bad as ever and he unseated Smith on the way to the start.[12] In the race he started slowly but recovered well, took the lead entering the straight, and won by three-quarters of a length from Vamos, with the 2000 Guineas winner Darius in third. After the win, described as "one of the most popular victories in British turf history" the Queen was heard to remark "wasn't it a wonderful performance, I hope all Sandringham are on it". As part of the victory celebration, the Queen sent a crate of champagne to the Press tent.[12]

Aureole did not race again and was retired to stud. His season's winnings of £30,092 enabled the Queen to be the leading owner in Britain in 1954.[13]


Aureole was given a rating of 132 by Timeform in 1954, making him the highest-rated older horse in Europe.[14]

Stud career

Aureole proved to be a highly successful stallion, being Champion sire in 1960 and 1961.[2] His progeny included St. Paddy (Epsom Derby), Saint Crespin III (Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe), Aurelius (St Leger), Provoke (St Leger) and Vienna, the sire of Vaguely Noble.[15]


Pedigree of Aureole (GB), chestnut stallion, 1950[16]
chestnut 1930
bay 1915
Bayardo Bay Ronald
Rosedrop St. Frusquin
bay 1919
Chaucer St. Simon
Canterbury Pilgrim
Serenissima Minoru
bay 1945
chestnut 1934
Blenheim Blandford
Delleana Clarissimus
Duccia di Buoninsegna
brown 1933
Friar Marcus Cicero
Prim Nun
Aloe Son-in-Law
Alope (Family No. 2-f)[3]


  1. ^ "End of the trail for Hyperion". Montreal Gazette. Newmarket, England. Retrieved 7 July 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Leading Sires of Great Britain and Ireland". 10 December 1960. Retrieved 7 July 2012.
  3. ^ a b "Hyacinthus Mare – Family 2-f". Retrieved 7 July 2012.
  4. ^ a b c d e Mortimer, Roger; Onslow, Richard; Willett, Peter (1978). Biographical Encyclopedia of British Flat Racing. Macdonald and Jane's. ISBN 0-354-08536-0.
  5. ^ "Queen's Colt". Barrier Miner. 25 May 1953. Retrieved 7 July 2012.
  6. ^ "Pinza preferred to Aureole". Glasgow Herald. 6 June 1953. Retrieved 16 December 2011.
  7. ^ "Pinza captures big English race". St. Petersburg Times. 19 July 1953. Retrieved 16 December 2011.
  8. ^ "Royal colt 3rd in St Leger". Edmonton Journal. 12 September 1953. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
  9. ^ "Premonition triumphs in St Leger". Indian Express. 13 September 1953. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
  10. ^ "Queen's Horses Win Two Races". The Mercury. Hobart. 10 May 1954. Retrieved 7 July 2012.
  11. ^ "Win For Queen's Horse Takes Coronation Cup". Cairns Post. 5 June 1954. Retrieved 7 July 2012.
  12. ^ a b "Queen's Win Was Most Popular In History Australia". The Mercury. Hobart. 19 July 1954. Retrieved 7 July 2012.
  13. ^ "Her Majesty now tops the list of owner winners". Courier-Mail. Brisbane. 9 October 1954. Retrieved 7 July 2012.
  14. ^ Morris, Tony; Randall, John (1990). Horse Racing: Records, Facts, Champions (Third ed.). Guinness Publishing. ISBN 0-85112-902-1.
  15. ^ "Queen's luck due for a change". Evening Times. 21 December 1963. Retrieved 7 July 2012.
  16. ^ "Aureole pedigree". Equineline. 8 May 2012. Retrieved 7 July 2012.