Mumtaz Mahal (horse)

Mumtaz Mahal (1921-1945) was a British Thoroughbred filly racehorse whom the National Sporting Library's Thoroughbred Heritage website says was “one of the most important broodmares of the 20th Century.“

She was named for empress Mumtaz Mahal, wife of Mughal Empire ruler Shah Jahan of Taj Mahal fame. Bred by Lady Sykes at her Sledmere Stud in Driffield, East Riding of Yorkshire, Mumtaz Mahal was out of the dam Lady Josephine. Her sire was The Tetrarch, whom the Thoroughbred Heritage website also said was "probably the greatest two-year-old of all time", and that he was " possibly the greatest runner ever."

Prepared for racing by trainer Richard C. Dawson at Whatcombe Stables in Berkshire, at age two all of Mumtaz Mahal's races were at distances of either five or six furlongs. Quickly dubbed "The Flying Filly" because of her blazing speed, she set a new track record in the Spring Stakes at Newmarket Racecourse as part of her five important race wins in 1923. In her last race of that year, she finished second in the Imperial Produce Stakes on a track heavy with mud. At three, Mumtaz Mahal finished second in her first longer distance test, the 1924 1,000 Guineas, and was fifth in the Coronation Stakes. Her handlers then entered her only in sprint races and she won the six furlong King George Stakes and the five furlong Nunthorpe Stakes.

As a broodmare

Retired to breeding duties at the Aga Khan III's Sheshoon Stud at the Curragh in County Kildare, Ireland, Mumtaz Mahal became a very important broodmare. Mumtaz Mahal's best racing son was Mirza II who like her raced his best at distances of six furlongs or less but whose trainer, Frank Butters, said was the fastest horse he had ever conditioned.

Mumtaz Mahal's daughter Mumtaz Begum was bred to Nearco to produce Nasrullah, the sire of Bold Ruler who in turn sired Secretariat. Among Mumtaz Mahal's other descendants are Royal Charger, Petite Etoile, Abernant, and Shergar.

After her four foals, Mumtaz Mahal was sent to the Aga Khan's Haras Marly-la-Ville stud farm in Marly-la-Ville, Val-d'Oise, France where she died in 1945 at age twenty-four.


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