Lyphard, bred in 1969 by Mrs. J.O.Burgwin, was by Northern Dancer – Goofed by Court Martial and bore a very close resemblance to his sire. He was purchased by Mrs. Pierre Wertheimer at the Newmarket yearling sales and subsequently trained by the renowned French trainer Alec Head. The purchase price was fifteen thousand guineas. This sale came at the end of the year when Nijinsky had become the darling of racing, and the light was shinning very brightly on Northern Dancer as a new emerging sire.
Whereas Nijinsky was a big rangy sort, Lyphard was a doppelganger to his sire’s physique. He was small, compact and his overall appearance was more than strikingly similar to his dad. Lyphard set the stage for horsemen and women to see size differently in future purchases pertaining to Northern Dancer offspring and other replicas of the little sire from Canada.
Lyphard was a top class miler on the track, racing in the colours of Mrs. Pierre Wertheimer, winning the Prix Herod at two and then the group one races Prix de la Foret and Prix Jacques la Marois at three. He also won the group two Prix Dau and the Prix Lagrange, with a second placing in the Prix du Moulin de Longchamps (group one). Lyphard won six of twelve starts life time.
Lyphard raced as a ridgling due to one of his testicles that had not dropped, and Head did not want corrective surgery as his experienced horsemanship told him that the testicle would drop in time naturally. This condition caused severe pain to Lyphard whenever he was required to turn left at speed. The ill refuted evidence of this came into play during Lyphard’s run in the 1972 Epsom Derby, won by Roberto.
Coming around Tattenham Corner, Lyphard was in a very good position but then swung wildly and lost an estimated ten to twelve lengths to the field coming home. In fact he came quite close to the outside rails during this ordeal. Needless to say he lost the race. Head proved to be correct about his condition though, as the testicle would drop by the time Lyphard entered stud.
At stud, Lyphard became one of Northern Dancer’s more successful sons as a sire. He began his stud career in France but was later acquired by Gainesway Farm in Kentucky. Lyphard led the French sire list twice, the English/Irish sire list once, and the North American list in 1986. Lyphard sired one hundred and fifteen stakes winners (14% of named foals) and was pensioned at age twenty-seven, living another nine years before dying of old age at thirty-six!
Dancing Brave is arguably the most accomplished son of Lyphard on the track. He was named as the 1986 European Horse of the Year and earned a very high 140 lbs Timeform rating. Among his more prestigious victories are the 2000 Guineas, Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Eclipse Stakes, Craven Stakes and Select Stakes, His second place in the Epsom Derby to Shahrastani was considered as one of the biggest upsets in the long history of that fabled race. Dancing Brave raced in the colours of Prince Khalid Abdullah and trained by Guy Harwood.
Lyphard also sired Manila, the 1986 champion grass horse in North America after he won the Breeder’s Cup Turf, United Nations Handicap, Turf Classic Invitational, Cinema Handicap and Lexington Stakes. He followed up his championship year with wins in the Arlington Million, Turf Classic Stakes and a second victory in the United Nations. Manila was inducted into the U.S. Racing Hall Of fame in 2008.
From the first crop of Lyphard foals came a dark chestnut named Pharly. Pharly was second best in France as a two year old but this was no disgrace as the top two year old that year was the remarkable Blushing Groom. At two Pharly won the group one Prix de la Foret, and then scored in the Prix Lupin and Prix du Moulin de Longchamps at three. He was second to Blushing Groom in the Poule d’Essai des Poulins. Pharly added the Prix du Rond Point to his racing resume.
Pharly stood stud first at Haras du Bois Roussel and then moved to Woodland Stud in Newmarket. He is the sire of Cartier Champion Older Horse Further Flight, as well as Darly, Busy Flight, Phardante, Far Cry, Nicole Pharly and Compton Ace. An interesting note to his progeny, Pharly was a top miler but had more success as a sire of distance racers, in general.
Rainbows For Life was bred and raced by Ernie Samuel’s Sam-Son Farm in Canada. A bright golden red chestnut, Rainbows For Life was by Lyphard out of champion Rainbow Connection by Halo, thus he was inbred 4×4 to Almahmoud. He was the champion two year old in 1990 after winning the Coronation Futurity, Cup and Saucer Stakes and Summer Stakes. He added the Toronto Cup and the Hawthorne Derby at three and then become the Champion older horse and grass horse at four with wins in the Connaught Cup, Dominion Day Handicap, Riggs Handicap, New Hampshire Sweepstakes and Fair Grounds Breeder’s Cup Handicap.
Ends Well was a hard knocking sort by Lyphard that was equally adept on the turf and on grass. He won the United Nations Handicap, Michigan Mile, Rutgers Handicap and Red Bank Handicap. He was bang up seconds in the Whitney, Canadian Turf and Westchester Handicaps as well.
Dahar by Lyphard – Dahlia by Vaguely Noble, was a multi grade/group one stakes winner. His most notable victories were in the Prix Lupin, Century Handicap, San Juan Capistrano Invitational and the San Luis Rey Handicap, in a well travelled racing career. His travels would continue as a sire with stops in Kentucky, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.
Other major stakes winning sons of Lyphard are Goldmark (Grand Criterium), Monteverdi (Dewhurst Stakes), Lyphard’s Wish (United Nations Handicap), Storm On The Loose, Lydian (Grosser Preis von Berlin, Gran Prix di Milano), Au Point (Dwyer Stakes) and Al Nasr (Prix d’Ispahan) who is also a successful sire with Ziazoom, Star Recruit, Paris Opera, Nasr El Arab, and Acteur Francais to his credit.
Another good stakes winner by Lyphard that became a successful sire was Alzao. An attractive dark bay with two white feet and a star on his forehead, Alzao would sire one-hundred stakes winners, a list that includes Albanova, Alborada, Alcazar, Capriccosa, Matiya, and Irish champion filly Pass The Peace. Alzao is also the broodmare sire of two times Japanese Horse of the Year Deep Impact, a current leading sire in world-wide racing. Alzao sired Nassau Stakes winner Last Second, who became the dam of Poule d’Essai des Poulins winner Aussie Rules, a highly regarded young sire standing at Lanwades Stud in Newmarket.
Group three stakes winner Bellypha by Lyphard has also contributed very well to the sire line when sent to stud. Bellypha won four group three races, Prix Thomas Bryon, Prix Daphnis, Prix Quincy and the Prix de la Jonchere among his six wins from eleven starts. He also finished second to Irish River in the Prix Jacques le Marois and another second to Top Ville in the Prix de Guiche. At stud Bellypha has sired twenty-eight stakes winners from five-hundred and eight foals but one of them was Prix du Moulin winner Mendez.
Mendez, a grey, in turn would sire Linamix, winner of the Poule d’Essai des Poulins. Linamix sired eighty-four stakes winners (9.8%) which includes Sagamix (Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, Prix Ganay, Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud etc), Vahorimix (Poule d’Essai des Poulins, Prix Jacques le Marois), and Slickly (Grand Prix de Paris, Prix du Moulin and Premio Vittorio di Capua twice). Linamix is the broodmare sire of Valyra, Musketier, and current hot sire Kendargent.
One other son of Lyphard needs mentioning and that is Lypheor, winner of the group three Prix Quincy. He later became the sire of the very fast filly Royal Heroine, winner of the inaugural Breeder’s Cup Mile at Hollywood Park, as well as Tolomeo who won the Arlington Million and was champion miler in England.
The daughters of Lyphard have been just as important in keeping his name prominent in the pedigrees of today’s top horses. Dancing Maid won the Prix d’Essai des Pouliches and Prix Vermielle among her five wins from nine starts. She was also second in the Epsom Oaks to Fair Salina and third in the Arc to Alleged and Trillion.
Three Troikas by Lyphard was an amazingly fast miss. She would be crowned as the 1979 Horse of the Year in Europe after her stirring wins in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, Poules d’Essai des Pouliches, Prix Vermeille and Prix Saint- Alary. Her seven wins three places and one show record from twelve races was against the cream of her crop, boys and girls.
Riviere d’Or won the Prix Saint-Alary, Sabin took the Yellow Ribbon Stakes, Chain Bracelet won the Top Flight Handicap, Ski Paradise was victorious in the Prix du Moulin, and Calderina won the Gallorette Handicap and Prix de Malleret.
Broodmares sired by Lyphard are responsible for the likes of Candy Stripes (sire of Invasor and Leroidesanimaux), Hatoof (1000 Guineas, Champion Stakes, E.P.Taylor Stakes etc), Delta Princess (dam of Royal Delta), Groom Dancer (Prix Lupin), Regal State (Prix Morny), Lycius (Middle Park Stakes), and Cees Tizzy (sire of Tiznow).
Lyphard has done his part to spread the world class genes of Northern Dancer around the globe. His branch of his famous sire’s line has made Lyphard almost as famous, having been a leading sire in three separate racing jurisdictions. There are so many sires and top calibre horses currently in the thoroughbred news with Lyphard very prominent in their pedigrees. He is a powerful and highly desirable name within today’s top pedigrees.
Coming from the fourth crop of Northern Dancer foals, Lyphard showed the breeding world that like his sire good things can come in small packages. He stood no higher than 15.2 hands and had the noted “Dancer” attributes of strong will and superior athleticism. He passed on these and other desirable traits to future generations of champions.
Lyphard’s influence is long lived, just like his remarkable thirty-six years of life.
(Photo courtesy of Gainesway Farm)