Height of Fashion
DamsireQueen's Hussar
Foaled14 April 1979[1]
CountryUnited Kingdom
BreederQueen Elizabeth II
OwnerQueen Elizabeth II
Hamdan Al Maktoum
TrainerDick Hern
Record7: 5-0-0
Major wins
Acomb Stakes (1981)
May Hill Stakes (1981)
Fillies' Mile (1981)
Lupe Stakes (1982)
Princess of Wales's Stakes (1982)
Top-rated British two-year-old filly (1981)[2]
Timeform rating 115 (1981), 124 (1982)

Height of Fashion (14 April 1979 – 29 July 2000) was French-bred, British-trained Thoroughbred racehorse and broodmare. Owned and bred by Queen Elizabeth II, she was undefeated in her three races as a two-year-old in 1981, winning the Acomb Stakes, May Hill Stakes and Fillies' Mile. The following year she added a win in the Lupe Stakes before a record-breaking victory in the Princess of Wales's Stakes. She ran poorly in her two remaining races and was retired to stud at the end of the season. Height of Fashion proved to be an exceptional broodmare, producing the major stakes winners Unfuwain, Nashwan and Nayef. She died in Kentucky in 2000.


Height of Fashion was a "massive"[3] bay mare bred by her owner Queen Elizabeth II. She was one of the best horses sired by Bustino, who 1973 St Leger and the 1974 Coronation Cup as well as finishing second to Grundy in a famous race for the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes. Her dam Highclere won the 1000 Guineas and the Prix de Diane for the Queen in 1974 and went on to become an influential broodmare. Apart from Height of Fashion and her descendants, she was also the ancestor of the Japanese champion Deep Impact.[4]

The filly was sent into training with Dick Hern at West Ilsley in Berkshire.

Racing career

1981: two-year-old season

Height of Fashion began her racing career in the Acomb Stakes (now a Group Three race) at York Racecourse. Racing against colts, she won from Ashenden with Count Pahlen (later to win the William Hill Futurity) in third place and was ridden by Lester Piggott, replacing the injured Willie Carson. After the race, Hern described the winner as "a grand filly" who closely resembled her dam Highclere.[3] She was then moved up to Group Three class for the May Hill Stakes at Doncaster and was ridden to victory by the veteran Joe Mercer at odds of 4/6. Mercer was again the jockey when Height of Fashion ran next in the Hoover Fillies' Mile at Ascot Racecourse. She started at odds of 15/8 and completed an undefeated first season by beating the Waterford Candelabra Stakes winner Stratospheric.

1982: three-year-old season

Height of Fashion began her second season in the Lupe Stakes at Goodwood Racecourse in May. She was hampered when Devon Air fell directly in front of her and it was only after a "monumental struggle" that she prevailed by two lengths from her stable companion Round Tower.[5] She was considered a contender for the Oaks Stakes but bypassed the race as it was felt that she would be unsuited to the course at Epsom.[6]

The filly did not race again until July when she ran against colts and older horses in the Princess of Wales's Stakes at Newmarket Racecourse where she wore blinkers for the first time. She was made the 4/1 second favourite behind Ardross, an outstanding stayer who had won the last two runnings of the Ascot Gold Cup. Ridden by Willie Carson, Height of Fashion led from the start and produced a career-best performance to win by two lengths[7] in course record time from Amyndas, with Ardross in third.

Following her win at Newmarket, Height of Fashion was sold for a reported £1.5 million to Hamdan Al Maktoum.[8] Later in July, Height of Fashion ran in her first Group One race when she was the only filly to contest the thirty-second running of the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot. She never recovered[9] after banging her head on exiting the starting stalls[6] and finished seventh of the nine runners behind Kalaglow. On her final appearance on 17 August she failed to recover her previous form as she finished last behind Awaasif in Yorkshire Oaks.

Stud record

Height of Fashion was retired from racing to become a broodmare for Hamdan Al Maktoum's Shadwell Stud in Kentucky. Her offspring included:

Height of Fashion was in foal to A P Indy when she died at Shadwell's Kentucky base on 29 July 2000.[2]


Pedigree of Height of Fashion (FR), bay mare, 1979[1]
Bustino (GB)
Busted (GB)
Crepello Donatello
Sans Le Sou Vimy
Martial Loan
Ship Yard (GB)
Doutelle Prince Chevalier
Above Board
Paving Stone Fairway
Highclere (GB)
Queen's Hussar (GB)
March Past Petition
Jojo Vilmorin
Fairy Jane
Highlight (GB)
Borealis Brumeux
Hypericum Hyperion
Feola (Family: 2-f)[4]


  1. ^ a b "Height of Fashion pedigree". equineline.com. 8 May 2012. Retrieved 2 August 2013.
  2. ^ a b Schmitz, David (2 August 2000). "Champion Mare Height of Fashion Dies at 21". BloodHorse.com. Retrieved 3 August 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Height of Fashion can set Oaks-winning style". Glasgow Herald. 23 September 1981. Retrieved 3 August 2013.
  4. ^ a b "Thoroughbred Bloodlines - Hyacinthus Mare - Family 2-f". Bloodlines.net. Retrieved 2 August 2013.
  5. ^ "Devon Air can pay off here". Evening Times. 11 August 1982. Retrieved 3 August 2013.
  6. ^ a b Nigel Pullen (4 November 2001). "Nayef maintains Height of Fashion". Pedigreepost.net. Archived from the original on 27 November 2011. Retrieved 3 August 2013.
  7. ^ Ron Trevorrow (13 August 1982). "Ardross to score". Evening Times. Retrieved 3 August 2013.
  8. ^ "Height Of Fashion dies at age of 21; Former royal filly was dam of Nashwan". Racing Post. 2 August 2000. Retrieved 2 August 2013.
  9. ^ "Dancing Rocks may have edge". Glasgow Herald. 17 August 1982. Retrieved 3 August 2013.