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King Persian

King Persian (14 June 1981 – after 1999) was an Irish Thoroughbred racehorse and sire. As a two-year-old in 1983 he won a minor race on his debut and then recorded whis biggest win in the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes. He was unplaced in his only other start that season and made little impact in three subsequent races over the next two years. After his retirement he had some success as a sire of National Hunt horses.

Background

King Persian was a chestnut horse bred in Ireland by the Oldtown Stud. He was a very late foal, being born on 14 une, meaning that he was younger than the vast majority of horses of his generation. As a yearling he was put up for auction and sold or 29,000 guineas. During his racing career he was owned by Seamus McAleer and trained in Ireland by Liam Browne.

His sire, Persian Bold was a successful racehorse who won the Richmond Stakes in 1977. He went on to be a “good” stallion, getting important winners such as Kooyonga, Bold Pilot, Persian Heights, Falcon Flight (Prix Hocquart) and Bold Russian (Celebration Mile). King Persian's dam Naiad Queen was a minor winner and a half-sister to the dam of Just A Game. She was distantly descended from the Irish broodmare Garganey, who was the female-line ancestor of Brown Jack, Cavan and Indiana.

Racing career

1983: two-year-old season

King Persian made his racecourse debut in a maiden race over six furlongs of firm ground at Gowran Park in July and won easily. In the following month he was stepped up in class and started at odds of 8/1 in a thirteen-runner field for the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes over six furlongs at Phoenix Park Racecourse. The favourite for the race was Gala Event, a filly who was unbeaten in two previous starts, but the rest of the field was undistinguished by Group 1 standards. Ridden by Michael Kinane, King Persian stumbled exiting the starting stalls and settled towards the rear of the field as Gala Event set a very fast pace. The colt produced a very strong finish, caught Grey Dream in the final strides and won by a short head. Racing on softer ground at the Curragh on 10 September King Persian started second favourite for the National Stakes but finished fifth of the eight runners behind El Gran Senor.

At the end of the season, the independent Timeform organisation gave King Persian a rating of 104, making him 27 pounds inferior to El Gran Senor, who was their best two-year-old. In the Irish Free Handicap he was rated 17 pounds behind El Gran Senor, making him the sixth best Irish-trained colt of his generation.

1984 & 1985: three and four-year-old seasons

In 1984 King Persian was off the course until August when he returned after an eleven-month absence in a handicap over six furlongs at Leopardstown Racecourse. Carrying a weight of 134 pounds he finished sixth behind the filly Late Sally. Later that month the colt was given a radically different assignment when he was sent to England to contest the Group 2 Great Voltigeur Stakes over one and a half miles at York and finished fifth behind Rainbow Quest. He did not run again that year. Timeform gave him a rating of 107 ?, the "?" indicating that they felt there wa insufficient evidence for the rating to be considered accurate.

King Persian remained in training as a four-year-old in 1985 but ran only once, finishing fourth to Kamakura in the Royal Whip Stakes.

Stud record

At the end of his racing career, King Persian was retired to become a breeding stallion in Ireland. He sired a few minor winners on the flat but was more successful as a National Hunt stallion, with the best of his offspring being the Topham Chase winner Cregg House. His last recorded foals were born in 2000.

Pedigree