Erhaab (24 May 1991 – 22 November 2021) was a Thoroughbred race horse and sire, bred in the United States but trained in the United Kingdom. He is best known as the winner of the 1994 Epsom Derby. In 2011 he was moved from the Wood Farm Stud in Shropshire to the Batsford Stud in Gloucestershire . He was retired from covering duties since 2013, and died in 2021.
|Foaled||24 May 1991|
|Breeder||Shadwell Farm Inc & Shadwell Estates Co Ltd|
|Owner||Hamdan Al Maktoum|
|Dante Stakes (1994)|
Epsom Derby (1994)
|Last updated on August 25, 2007|
Erhaab was a smaller than average Thoroughbred horse, standing 15.2 hands high with a dark brown coat which has sometimes, incorrectly, been described as black. He was bred in the United States by his owner Hamdan Al Maktoum's, Shadwell Stud breeding organisation.
He was sired by Chief's Crown out of the Riverman mare Histoire. Chief's Crown won the 1984 Breeders' Cup Juvenile and was voted the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Two-Year-Old Male Horse. He sired several other important horses including Chief Bearheart and Grand Lodge. Apart from Erhaab, Histoire's best runner was the filly Oumaldaaya, winner of the Premio Lydia Tesio.
1993: two-year-old seasonEdit
Erhaab had an active season as a juvenile, running six times and winning twice. He made his first appearance in a maiden race at Newmarket in July, finishing seventh of the seventeen runners. The race would prove to have been a highly competitive one: apart from Erhaab, the field included the future Group One winners King's Theatre, Overbury (Queen Elizabeth II Cup) and Nicolotte (Premio Vittorio di Capua). Two weeks later, Erhaab ran disappointingly, finishing twelfth in a similar race at Newbury. Again, the race produced some very good horses, this time including Piccolo (Nunthorpe Stakes), Hawajiss (Nassau Stakes) and Make A Stand (Champion Hurdle).
In August, at Newcastle Erhaab won his first race, quickening well to take the lead inside the final furlong and running on strongly to win by two and a half lengths. At Leicester he showed further improvement, taking the lead two furlongs out and pulling away to win a minor stakes race by seven lengths.
Erhaab started odds-on favourite for his next start, a three-runner race at Salisbury. He took the lead, but was soon challenged and headed by Tatami. The two colts ran together through the final furlong, and although he "rallied" well, Erhaab was beaten by a short head. On his final start of the year, Erhaab was stepped up to Group Three class for the Horris Hill Stakes at Newbury. He took the lead in the straight but was headed by Tatami again, and finished third, beaten two and a half lengths.
1994: three-year-old seasonEdit
As a two-year-old, Erhaab had been raced exclusively over seven furlongs, and had shown ability, but appeared to be below top class. At three, he was sent over middle distances and showed immediate improvement. On his debut he ran in the Listed Feilden Stakes at Newmarket, in which he was matched against Weigh Anchor, a colt who was regarded as a serious Derby prospect. Erhaab raced prominently, but Carson was unable to find space for a run on the rails and had to pull the colt to the outside in the closing stages. Erhaab quickened well, proving too good for Weigh Anchor, but failed by a neck to catch the leader Cicerao.
Erhaab then produced his best performance in his most important race to date. He was sent to York for the Dante Stakes an important Derby trial, where he was faced by a field that included the 2,000 Guineas winner, Mister Baileys as well as King's Theatre and Weigh Anchor. Carson made his challenge on Erhaab two furlongs out, and the colt quickened well to take the lead and then pulled clear to win in "impressive" style by three and a half lengths. After the race Carson was full of confidence, praising the colts stamina and speed, and saying that he had "all the credentials to be a Derby winner."
Erhaab was now considered a leading contender for the Derby and was offered at odds as short as 9/4 by the bookmakers. The colt was believed to be particularly suited by fast ground, and a period of wet weather in late May saw his odds lengthen. Dry conditions in the week before the race however, led to his odds shortening again and he regained his position as favourite.
At Epsom, Erhaab was made favourite at 7/2 in a field of twenty-five. Jason Weaver sent Mister Baileys to the lead and opened up a gap of several lengths as Erhaab was held up towards the rear. The number of runners led to considerable congestion and bumping, with Willie Ryan being unseated from Foyer in the worst of many incidents- Carson described it as "carnage..there were murders going on". Mister Baileys maintained a six-length lead into the straight but began to struggle two furlongs out, as Carson negotiated his way through a series of gaps on the inside to move into contention with Erhaab. A furlong out King's Theatre moved past Mister Baileys and into the lead. Erhaab was switched to the outside by Carson and produced a strong, sustained run, ("like a dart from a blowpipe") catching King's Theatre inside the last furlong and moving ahead to win by one and a quarter lengths. At 51 years old, Willie Carson was the third oldest jockey to win the Derby.
Erhaab's next race was the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown in which he faced older horses for the first time. His Derby win was sufficiently impressive for him to be sent off the odds on favourite, but after having every chance in the straight, he failed to quicken and finished third behind the five-year-old Ezzoud and the four-year-old Bob's Return. Although Dunlop described the result as merely "disappointing" and pointed out that Erhaab, as a very late foal, was still relatively immature, some commentators saw the result as proof that the standard of the three-year-old colts was unusually poor.
On his final start, Erhaab was moved back up to a mile and a half for the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot for which he was again made favourite. Erhaab was held up and appeared to be moving into contention in the straight when he has badly hampered by the riderless Ezzoud, who had unseated his jockey at the start. He was unable to recover, and faded in the closing stages to finish seventh of the eleven surviving runners behind King's Theatre.
After two disappointing runs (Dunlop had said that the colt was "very sore" after the Eclipse) Erhaab was given a thorough veterinary examination. Initial x-rays revealed no problems but ultrasound scans revealed that he had sustained serious damage to his suspensory ligaments. The prognosis was that he was unlikely to make a full recovery, even with long rest. The decision to retire Erhaab from racing was announced on 11 August. Carson expressed both his disappointment and his belief that Erhaab would have been a strong contender for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.
In October it was announced that Erhaab had been sold for $5,500,000 to stand at stud in Japan.
|Date||Race||Dist (f)||Course||Class||Prize (£K)||Odds||Runners||Placing||Margin||Time||Jockey||Trainer|
|30 July 1993||EBF Dexa'tex Maiden Stakes||7||Newmarket July||M||5||14/1||17||7||9||1:26.44||Willie Carson||John Dunlop|
|14 August 1993||Yattendon Maiden Stakes||7||Newbury||M||5||12/1||23||12||12||1:25.80||Willie Carson||John Dunlop|
|30 August 1993||EBF Hedgehope Maiden Stakes||7||Newcastle||M||4||11/2||7||1||2||1:25.29||Billy Newnes||John Dunlop|
|13 September 1993||Kegworth Conditions Stakes||7||Leicester||3||6/5||5||1||7||1:29.50||Willie Carson||John Dunlop|
|29 September 1993||Westbury Motor Auctions Sia Trophy Stakes||7||Salisbury||5||8/13||3||2||Short head||1:28.64||Willie Carson||John Dunlop|
|21 October 1993||Horris Hill Stakes||7||Newbury||3||25||4/1||8||3||2.5||1:35.63||Willie Carson||John Dunlop|
|14 April 1994||Feilden Stakes||9||Newmarket Rowley||L||10||4/1||8||2||Neck||1:59.83||Willie Carson||John Dunlop|
|11 May 1994||Dante Stakes||10.5||York||2||73||11/2||9||1||3.5||2.06.18||Willie Carson||John Dunlop|
|1 June 1994||Derby||12||Epsom||1||473||7/2||25||1||1.25||2:34.16||Willie Carson||John Dunlop|
|2 July 1994||Eclipse Stakes||10||Sandown||1||177||4/6||8||3||2.25||2.04.70||Willie Carson||John Dunlop|
|23 July 1994||King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes||12||Ascot||1||265||7/2||12||7||11||2.28.92||Willie Carson||John Dunlop|
In the International Classification, released in January 1995, Erhaab was assigned a figure of 126. This placed him equal fourth amongst the European three-year-olds, behind the filly Balanchine, the miler Distant View and the Breeders' Cup Turf winner Tikkanen.
Erhaab was given a Timeform rating of 127 for his Derby win, making him an average winner of the race. In their book A Century of Champions, John Randall and Tony Morris rated Erhaab as an "inferior" Derby winner.
Erhaab began his stud career in Japan where he stood from 1995 until 1999. In 1999 Hamdan Al Maktoum bought Erhaab back from the Japanese syndicate to be a part of his Shadwell Stud group. Erhaab spent the 2000 season at Shadwell's American base at Lexington, Kentucky, before being returned to England to stand at the Beech House Stud at Newmarket, Suffolk. In 2005, Erhaab was moved from Newmarket to the Wood Farm Stud near Wellington, Shropshire, where his stud fee was announced as £2,000. In October 2011 it was announced that Erhaab would move to the Batsford Stud in Gloucestershire for the 2012 season.
Erhaab was a success at stud, siring no Group race winners from fourteen crops of foals. His best product was probably Sohraab, a successful sprint handicapper.
Erhaab died in his sleep at Batsford on 22 November 2021, aged 30. The stud announced "We are sorry to say we lost our lovely old boy Erhaab who died peacefully in his sleep last night at the grand old age of 30. He was such a character and had quite a following. People often enquired after his wellbeing. He will be sorely missed by us all at Batsford Stud."
Chief's Crown (USA)
|Pas De Nom||Admiral's Voyage|
|Six Crowns (USA)
|Chris Evert||Swoon's Son|
|River Lady||Prince John|
|Martial Air (family 1-w)|
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- "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-03-19. Retrieved 2011-09-16.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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- Wood, Greg (1994-08-12). "Derby winner quits the track". The Independent. Retrieved 2011-09-16.
- Edmondson, Richard (1994-10-10). "Japan has purchase to prise away the Derby". The Independent. Retrieved 2011-09-16.
- Wood, Greg (1995-01-19). "Celtic Swing's official rating sets juvenile turf record – Sport". The Independent. Retrieved 2011-09-16.
- Chris Cook (2005-06-07). "Derby winner is 'best since 1991' | Sport". The Guardian. Retrieved 2011-09-16.
- Morris, Tony; Randall, John (1999). A Century of Champions. Portway Press. p. 205. ISBN 1-901570-15-0.
- "Erhaab to return to England". Retrieved 2011-09-16 – via The Free Library.
- "Erhaab To Stand At Nunnery Stud". irishracing.com. 2000-08-10. Retrieved 2011-09-16.
- "Epsom Derby Winner Erhaab to Wood Farm in England". BloodHorse. 2005-10-26. Retrieved 2011-09-16.
- "Erhaab stud record". Racing Post. Retrieved 2011-09-16.
- Peacock, Tom (23 November 2021). "Veteran Derby winner Erhaab dies aged 30 at Batsford Stud". Racing Post.
- "[Pedigree] ERHAAB (1991 Dark Bay/Brown Colt FNO: 1-w)". Japanbloodstock.com. Archived from the original on 2013-01-26. Retrieved 2011-09-16.