Posted: 15th Jan 2016
St Jovite: stunning winner of the Irish Derby and King George in 1992PICTURE: Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos)
ST JOVITE, one of the most impressive winners of the Irish Derby in the modern era, has died at the age of 27. The American-bred stallion had been standing at Greentree Stud in County Tipperary since 2006.
Second to Dr Devious in the 1992 Derby, the Jim Bolger-trained colt reversed the form when trouncing the 4-5 favourite by 12 lengths at the Curragh less than four weeks later in a record-breaking time.
Coming at a stage of Bolger’s career when he was primarily associated with top-class fillies, it was a landmark triumph for the Coolcullen yard. It was also a morale-boosting success for Irish racing generally, since it broke a sequence of British-trained Irish Derby winners which had begun in 1986.
St Jovite was the only home-trained winner of the race between Law Society for Vincent O’Brien in 1985 and Zagreb for Dermot Weld in 1996.
St Jovite’s Curragh win also provided one of the great days in the career of jockey Christy Roche, who partnered him in all bar one of his 11 races. Roche missed the King George because of suspension, with Stephen Craine deputising to make all.
A son of Pleasant Colony foaled in March 1989 out of the Northfields mare Northern Sunset, St Jovite was owned by Virginia Kraft Payson, a former writer for Sports Illustrated magazine.
The colt was the joint top Irish-trained juvenile of 1991 along with O’Brien’s El Prado by virtue of wins in the Anglesey Stakes and the Futurity Stakes. In the Anglesey he scored by a neck from the Lester Piggott-ridden El Prado, who later won the National Stakes.
Fourth behind the brilliant Arazi in the Grand Criterium at Longchamp on his final juvenile start, he suffered a reverse when fourth on his reappearance in the Gladness Stakes at the Curragh.
He made amends with victory in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown before being sent off a 14-1 chance for the Derby, in which he was beaten two lengths by Dr Devious.
Dropped back to ten furlongs for the Irish Champion Stakes after the King George, he lost by a short head to Dr Devious in a thriller. He was retired after finishing fourth to Subotica in the Arc.
At stud, initially in Kentucky, he was responsible for Grade 1 winner Amerique. His best European runner was Equerry, a multiple Group 3 winner in France. In 2006 he was transferred to Tipperary.
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