Crockford remembers when Santa Claus and his Reindeer were real winners on the turf
On Christmas Eve, Santa Claus and his Reindeer race through the skies delivering to children all around the world, but in 1963 and 1964 he was delivering for punters too.
The English bred Santa Claus was born in 1961 and went on to be trained in Ireland before winning both the Epsom and Irish Derby in 1964. Finishing second in the Arc that year he became the highest earning race-horse in history until being surpassed three years later by Ribocco.
The dark bay colt was trained by Mick Rogers at The Curragh and owned by John Ismay, and not only had the Derbys to his name but a first-time out win in the 1964 season in Irish 2000 Guineas. After his classic victories he started the shortest priced favourite for the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at 2/13 on but was beaten by two lengths. His loss was blamed on the fast ground which led to him swerving the St Leger that autumn.
Following his retirement he went on to have a short career at stud where he sired Reindeer. Reindeer confirmed the family’s classic potential by winning the Irish St Leger in 1969.