Racing silks of Hamdan Al Maktoum
SireBlushing Groom
GrandsireRed God
DamHeight of Fashion
Foaled1 March 1986
BreederHamdan Al Maktoum
OwnerHamdan Al Maktoum
TrainerDick Hern
Record7: 6-0-1
Major wins
Autumn Stakes (1988)
2,000 Guineas (1989)
Epsom Derby (1989)
Eclipse Stakes (1989)
K. George VI & Q. Elizabeth Stakes (1989)
Timeform rating: 135
Last updated on November 14, 2006

Nashwan (1 March 1986 – 2002) was an American-bred, British-trained Thoroughbred racehorse and sire. After winning both his starts as a two-year-old, he developed into an outstanding performer in the spring and summer of 1989, completing a unique four-timer when winning the 2000 Guineas, Epsom Derby, Eclipse Stakes, and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes. After sustaining his only defeat in the Prix Niel in September, he was retired to stud where he was a successful sire of winners.


Nashwan was a large, powerfully built chestnut horse with a white star and a white sock on his right foreleg bred by his owner Hamdan Al Maktoum at his Shadwell Farm in Lexington, Kentucky. He was sired by the 1977 Poule d'Essai des Poulains winner Blushing Groom. Blushing Groom became an exceptionally successful breeding stallion, siring Rainbow Quest, Blushing John, Arazi, and many other leading horses. Nashwan's successes made him the Leading sire in Great Britain & Ireland in 1989.[1] Nashwan's dam was Height of Fashion, a daughter of Bustino previously owned by Queen Elizabeth II. He was thus a half-brother to the Group Race winners Alwasmi, Unfuwain, and Nayef, and a close relative of the Japanese champion Deep Impact and the 1000 Guineas winner Ghanaati.[2]

Nashwan was trained throughout his racing career by Major Dick Hern at West Ilsley in Berkshire, England, and was ridden in all of his races by Willie Carson. His name was reported to be an Arabic word meaning "joy".[3]

1988: two-year-old season

Nashwan made his debut in the Yattendon Maiden Stakes at Newbury in August 1988. He started 6/4 favourite in a field of 27 runners and won by three quarters of a length from Young Turpin, with the unplaced runners including the subsequent Derby Italiano winner Prorutori.[4] On 8 October, Nashwan was moved up in class to contest the Listed Autumn Stakes over one mile at Ascot. Starting the odds-on favourite, he took the lead inside the final quarter mile and drew away to win by four lengths from Optimist, with Cacoethes in third.[5]

1989: three-year-old season

In the spring of 1989, reports of impressive work at home saw Nashwan's odds for Classic Races continually shorten, and when he began his three-year-old campaign in the General Accident 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on 6 May, he started the race as 3/1 favourite. He took the lead approaching the final quarter mile and won by a length, with Exbourne in second and Danehill a further half length behind in third.[6]

A month later, Nashwan was moved up in distance for the Ever Ready Derby over one and a half miles at Epsom Downs Racecourse. Despite the unseasonably cold, damp weather, the race attracted an estimated 500,000 spectators including Queen Elizabeth II.[7] Nashwan started 5/4 favourite against eleven opponents, with the biggest danger expected to come from Cacoethes, winner of the Lingfield Derby Trial. Carson positioned the favourite just behind the leaders before moving up to take the lead from Cacoethes in the straight. He pulled "effortlessly"[8] clear in the closing stages to win by five lengths from the 500/1 outsider Terimon, who finished well to deprive Cacoethes of second.[9] He was the first horse to complete the Guineas-Derby double since Nijinsky II in 1970,[8] though he was emulated by Sea the Stars in 2009 and Camelot in 2012.

Nashwan's next task was to prove himself against older opposition, starting with the Eclipse Stakes over one and a quarter miles at Sandown Park on 8 July. Despite having recently recovered from a foot infection and facing both the outstanding racemare Indian Skimmer and the champion miler Warning, he was sent off the 2/5 favourite.[10] Nashwan took the lead approaching the final furlong and won by five lengths from the outsider Opening Verse, who later won the Breeders' Cup Mile.[11] Two weeks later, Nashwan contested Britain's most prestigious all-aged race, the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes over one and a half miles at Ascot. With the late withdrawal of Prix du Jockey Club winner Old Vic, Nashwan was expected to win easily and started as 2/9 favourite. This time he had to fight for his victory, with old rival Cacoethes challenging him throughout the final two furlongs. Nashwan was driven out by Carson to win by a neck, with the subsequent Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner Carroll House a further eleven lengths back in fifth.[12] His narrow margin of victory lead some critics to question his status as a "super-horse".[13]

Nashwan's owner decided not to attempt the Triple Crown in the St Leger Stakes, and the colt was instead aimed at the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp in October. To prepare for this race, he was sent to the Prix Niel over the Arc course and distance on 17 September. Racing on soft ground, Nashwan moved up to challenge in the straight but made no further progress and finished third, beaten one and a half lengths and half a length by the French-trained colts Golden Pheasant and French Glory.[14] Neither Hern nor Carson could offer any explanation for the "lifeless" performance with the jockey commenting that the 1/5 favourite "didn't have any energy".[15] Nashwan missed the Arc, and, as had been announced in summer, he was retired from racing at the end of the year.[13]


Nashwan was rated the third best British-trained three-year-old of 1989. The independent Timeform organisation gace him a rating of 135, behind Zilzal (137) and Old Vic (136).[16] The official International Classification also placed him third behind the same two colts.[17] He is the only horse to have won the 2000 Guineas, Epsom Derby, Eclipse and King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes in the same season. Dick Hern called Nashwan "the best horse I've ever trained".[3]

Stud record

Nashwan was retired from racing to become a breeding stallion at his owner's Shadwell Stud. His most successful racehorses were Swain (foaled 1992), dual winner of the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes, and Bago (2001), winner of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. The best of his fillies was the International Stakes winner One So Wonderful.[18]

Nashwan died while at Shadwell Stud on July 19, 2002, after suffering complications following an operation on a minor leg injury.[19]

Cultural references

British computer game developer Bitmap Brothers included references to Nashwan in many of their games. For example, Super Nashwan Power in Xenon 2 Megablast, Super Nashwan in Speedball 2, and "Nashwan" is used as a password in Gods.


Pedigree of Nashwan (USA), chestnut stallion 1986[20]
Blushing Groom (USA)
Red God (USA)
Nasrullah Nearco
Mumtaz Begum
Spring Run Menow
Boola Brook
Runaway Bride (GB)
Wild Risk Rialto
Wild Violet
Aimée Tudor Minstrel
Height of Fashion (GB)
Bustino (GB)
Busted Crepello
Sans le Sou
Ship Yard Doutelle
Paving Stone
Highclere (GB)
Queen's Hussar March Past
Highlight Borealis
Hypericum (Family 2-f)[2]


  1. ^ "Leading Sires of Great Britain and Ireland". Retrieved 2013-05-14.
  2. ^ a b "Thoroughbred Bloodlines – Hyacinthus Mare – Family 2-f". Retrieved 2013-05-14.
  3. ^ a b "Nashwan Caps Rare Sweep In English Derby". Chicago Tribune. 8 June 1989. Retrieved 2013-05-15.
  4. ^ "Yattendon Maiden Stakes". Racing Post. 13 August 1988. Retrieved 2013-05-14.
  5. ^ "Red Oaks Autumn Stakes". Racing Post. 8 October 1988. Retrieved 2013-05-14.
  6. ^ "General Accident 2000 Guineas result". Racing Post. 6 May 1989. Retrieved 2013-05-14.
  7. ^ "U.S.-Bred Nashwan Easily Triumphs at English Derby". Los Angeles Times. Associated Press. 7 June 1989. Retrieved 2013-05-15.
  8. ^ a b "Nashwan by five lengths". New Straits Times. 8 June 1989. p. 17. Retrieved 2013-05-14.
  9. ^ "Ever Ready Derby result". Racing Post. 7 June 1989. Retrieved 2013-05-14.
  10. ^ "Nashwan powers to Eclipse win". New Straits Times. 10 July 1989. p. 21. Retrieved 2013-05-15.
  11. ^ "Eclipse Stakes;". Racing Post. 8 July 1989. Retrieved 2013-05-14.
  12. ^ "King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes result". Racing Post. 22 July 1989. Retrieved 2013-05-14.
  13. ^ a b Martin Gale (26 July 1989). "Nashwan still has to earn the "super" tag". Glasgow Herald. p. 23. Retrieved 2013-05-14.
  14. ^ "Prix Niel result". Racing Post. 17 September 1989. Retrieved 2013-05-14.
  15. ^ "Derby hero is beaten in France". Glasgow Herald. 18 September 1989. p. 22. Retrieved 2013-05-15.
  16. ^ "Dosage". Archived from the original on 2012-05-22. Retrieved 2012-06-07.
  17. ^ "Ratings: Top Rated Horses". Retrieved 2012-08-08.
  18. ^ "Nashwan Stud Record". Racing Post. 2012-02-15. Retrieved 2013-05-14.
  19. ^ "Nashwan dies at stud". BBC News. 2002-07-20. Retrieved 2013-05-14.
  20. ^ "Nashwan". Equineline. 2012-05-08. Retrieved 2013-05-14.