NOBLE CHIEFTAIN (IRE) 1952, a bay colt by NEARCO (ITY) out of VELLADA (FR) by TOURBILLON (FR). To stud in South Africa in 1956 with Paul de Wet at Zandvliet Stud. He was one of 18 sons of the great Nearco to have stood at stud in South Africa.
The mating that produced NOBLE CHIEFTAIN brought together the minds of two Thoroughbred breeding legends, the Italian, Federico Tesio (who bred NEARCO) and the Frenchman, Marcel Boussac (who bred VELLADA).
Tesio had originally wanted to send Nearco’s dam, NOGARA (ITY) 1928, to FAIRWAY (GB) 1925, but was unable to secure a service to him for her. He then decided to send NOGARA to Fairway’s full brother, PHAROS (GB) 1920, a brown horse by PHALARIS (GB) 1913 out of SCAPA FLOW (GB) 1914 by CHAUCER (GB) 1900. Nearco raced in Italy trained by his breeder, 7 times (winning all 7) as a 2yo and 7 times (winning all 7) as a 3yo. He was then retired as an undefeated Italian champion of 14 races. With concerns for his safety at the strong possibility of the second World War becoming a reality (Benito Mussolini had already aligned Italy with Hitler and Nazi Germany), Tesio decided to sell Nearco in 1938 to Martin H. Benson for his Beach House Stud situated in Newmarket, England. So strong were the beliefs that Nearco and his progeny would achieve great things that a special underground bomb shelter bunker was built for him on the grounds of Beach House Stud to ensure his survival should the Newmarket area be subjected to air raids during the war.
NOBLE CHIEFTAIN was not Chris, Malcolm & Paul de Wet’s intended purchase for ZANDVLIET STUD, rather the well performed horse called DUMBARNIE (GB) 1949, by DANTE (GB) 1942 (a son of Nearco) was. After the deal for the purchase of DUMBARNIE was concluded at a price of £7500, his owner and breeder, Major Lionel Holliday, summarily cancelled the sale and the de Wet’s and their agent, Keith Freeman, were understandably left very annoyed. Major Holliday (well known as a law unto himself) was informed that unless he came up with a suitable replacement stallion alternative, legal action would be taken – the result being NOBLE CHIEFTAIN at £6000 and the rest is history.
At stud in South Africa from 1957 to 1977 before being retired aged 25, when NOBLE CHIEFTAIN was allowed to live out his remaining years in a style befitting the calibre of the solid, consistent stallion that he was. Paul de Wet is quoted as saying “The old horse has always been as quiet as a lamb and has never had a day’s illness in all the years that I have had him. It has been an honour and a privilege to handle him”.
Champion sire in South Africa during the following racing seasons, 1965/66, 1966/67 & 1967/68, as well as having numerous Top 20 places on the list throughout his breeding career. Noble Chieftain’s daughters proved to be super broodmares and they ensured that he became an extremely successful broodmare sire for many years.
His principal winners include, the COLTS – HIGH TOTE 13 wins (Sire), NEW CHIEF 12 wins (1961 & 1962 Christmas Handicap, 1962 Lonsdale Stirrup Cup, 1964 Gold Cup & 1964 Somerset Plate), ROYAL TAN 9 wins, BAD PENNY 23 wins (22 wins in SA and 1 in Rhodesia 1967 National Sprint), CARLISLE 5 wins (1960 African Breeders Plate & 1961 SA Derby), RODERICK 10 wins (1963 Queens Plate), TASSO 10 wins (Sire), ALAI RA 10 wins (Sire), WEST END 13 wins (11 wins SA & 2 wins Rhodesia), HIGHLAND CHIEF 8 wins, PEACE CHIEF 9 wins, TABASCO 9 wins, ATTY PERSSE 10 wins (Sire), QUIRINUS 13 wins, TANTIVY 16 wins, THALES 8 wins, MAIN CHIEF 20 wins (15 wins in SA & 5 wins in Rhodesia) (Sire), NEW NOBILITY (11 wins), PETER BEWARE 13 wins (1967 Queens Plate & 1968 Cape Met), BLUE TAVANIER 9 wins, CARADOC 15 wins (1966 Summer Cup & 1970 Champion Stakes), SUZERAIN 9 wins, HOME TRUTH 10 wins, CANDID 11 wins, WARRIOR GAY 11 wins (1971 Chairmans Plate), NORTH ROAD 10 wins, HARLECH 9 wins, DRAGONS PRINCE 13 wins (8 wins SA & 5 wins Rhodesia) (Sire), BAHADUR 9 wins (1976 Cape Met) (Sire), TOP RANK 11 wins, WHITEOAK 9 wins, ASHTONTOWN 9 wins, MAGNUS 9 wins, NUTCRACKER 13 wins, AZUL 11 wins, SODA FOUNTAIN 11 wins, ABER STAR 12 wins, the FILLIES – ANNS CAPRICE 7 wins, FAIRY KNOWE 7 wins, NOBLE JOY 6 wins, BOTANY BAY 7 wins, CANARY SEED 6 wins, NUZZLER 8 wins, ANNAGONDA 7 wins, SWEET SUDAN 8 wins (1965 Majorca Stakes), ZENA 7 wins (1967 Cape Of Good Hope Paddock Stakes), RED TEMPTRESS 6 wins, SINGING WINDS 5 wins (1969 Clairwood Free Handicap), GENEVIEVE 5 wins, TWING 9 wins (1975 Majorca Stakes), PEERLESS DANCER 6 wins.
Noble Chieftain is on record as having 13 of his sons stand at stud and was the broodmare sire of a further 15 stallions.
* A very popular and successful sire & broodmare sire of Thoroughbred showjumpers.