Hall of Fame
1978, bay colt, Dowdstown Charley – Fluorescent (St Cuthbert)
Racehorses as great as Prince Florimund and Wolf Power come along a few times a decade. In an extraordinary twist of fate, they happened to be born the same year. We dream of contests between two greats, whether from the same generation, or not. These leaders of the ’78 generation did meet, but it was in mid-1982, when Prince Florimund was at the peak of his powers, and before Wolf Power was invincible.
Prince Florimund was selected as a yearling by Stanley Amos, who noted him as being on the small size, but as more than making up for that by being a most impressive walker. He was purchased for just R30 000 by Tim Miller, an expat from the US, which was to prove instrumental in the latter part of Prince Florimund’s racing career.
Trained by Stanley’s brother, Cookie, Prince Florimund had just four starts at two, winning three of them, including two important Cape winter features, the JWS Langerman and the Boland Breeders. Judging by his generous starting prices in those races, it took a while before the racing public started taking him seriously.
He continued his three-year-old season where he left off at two, first by winning a B Division Hcp against older horses at worse terms than WFA. He again beat older horses in the Green Point Stakes. He was one of the favoured runners in the Queen’s Plate, but Stanley dropped the whip, which he believed compromised the colt’s chances.
Prince Florimund had an ‘off’ day in the Guineas, improved to run second in the Derby, although below the form he would show later in the season, and was then sent to Natal in the care of trainer David Payne to contest Durban’s winter season.
Between May and August he accounted for Wolf Power twice, as well as the likes of Foveros and Arctic Cove, in winning three Grade I races and a Grade II.
He was then sent to be trained in California by Charlie Whittingham, who had also trained the South African champion Bold Tropic on his American campaign.
Prince Florimund won just two races in America, but he showed form very close in merit to the great gelding John Henry, who was the United States’ best grass horse at the time. While his export may have deprived racegoers the opportunity of seeing him run against Wolf Power in his prime, Prince Florimund did his nation proud, by showing the world just how well South African horses stack up against the rest of the world.
Thoroughpedia (Oscar Foulkes)