1987 stallion by Rajah Lobell-Stoneriggs Dixie-H T Navy
Bred by Arthur Slack, Stoneriggs Stud, Cumbria in 1987, and sold to Dennis Hardwick, Brynfawr Stables, mid Wales as a yearling, Stoneriggs J R’s career has spanned an impressive 26 years, first on the racetrack and then in the breeding barn.
‘J R’ started his racing career as a two year old in 1989, with two wins and three seconds from seven starts. The following year he returned to the track and from ten starts only found himself out of the placings on one occasion (10-5-3-1). In his four year old season he won seven of his nineteen races, finishing second twice and third once, and amassing £5,945 in prize money.
In 1992 and 1993 his form dipped somewhat, however in the former he still managed three wins from seven starts and a third-placed finish, and in the latter from fourteen starts he found himself in the winner’s enclosure on four occasions, with a second and third to add to the tally.
It was 1994 that was to be the year that Stoneriggs J R cemented his place in history, however. Not only did he post his highest earnings in a season (£6006) and set the track record at Tregaron (2.02.9) which he held for 9 years, but whilst at Wolverhampton on 18th June he paced 1.55.7 on a five-eighths of a mile track, setting the British record which stood until 2010 when Doonbeg paced 1.53.7 at Amman Valley in a heat of the Crock of Gold. To think that his record stood, through the progression of breeding, the importing of FFA quality horses from the USA and Canada and the improvements to tracks for 16 years is phenomenal. One can only wonder what times he would have been capable of if he was racing today.
His win at Wolverhampton was one of eight that season, with three seconds and four thirds in addition. In 1995 he added another £4400 to his winnings with five wins, a second and five thirds from 14 starts.
The following year he showed no sign of slowing down, racking up a further £5575 in prize money and setting a new track record at York in 1.58.5. In comparison, the fastest time of the day outwith his record was four and a half seconds slower. Two weeks prior to this, he had blitzed a top class FFA field at Tir Prince by 12 lengths and posted a time which was 3.2 seconds faster than the second fastest race of the night, which was won by Pantri Bach Gem who was subsequently exported to Canada to race and was successful.
This proved to be his most successful year in terms of wins, with 9 victories from 16 starts, along with a brace of seconds and thirds.
This also proved to be the peak of his career. Although J R raced on for another two seasons, he was luckless bar a third placed run in 1998.
In a race career which spanned 10 seasons, he ran 125 times, with 43 wins, 18 seconds, and 16 thirds, and his earnings totalled £25,351. He boasted a 34% win rate and a 61% win and place rate in that time. He remains the only horse in British history to have won the Tregaron FFA in three consecutive years; he recorded wins in four different years at the track, with four different drivers – Colin Bevan, Steve Lees, Alan Wallace and James Murdock.
Whereas most stallions begin their breeding careers once they have finished on the racetrack, J R was an exception to a widely-applied rule. His first crop of foals were born in 1991; he had begun his breeding career at the tender age of 3 and continued to ‘moonlight’ as a stallion for stud duties throughout the successful years of his racing career. As yet he has no registered offspring for 2015, however he has produced foals from 1991-2014 without fail.
The most successful of these is FEARLESS JR, whose record is 1.58.7 (at Wolverhampton) and who became the first horse to emulate his sire in winning the Tregaron FFA in 1999.
Even in 2015 his offspring enjoyed success, with SUNGLASSES RON securing a wide-margin victory at the Tregaron Festival in August.
From 186 registered foals, only 3 of these hail from full American mares. Had he consistently served mares with up to date North American bloodlines, I am of the opinion that his reputation as a stallion would be remarkably different to what it is today.
A proud horse, Stoneriggs J R still commands attention at his almost lifelong home at Brynfawr. His greying features are testament to the length of service he has endured, with the same spirit and flair that he has passed on to many of his descendants.

Sarah Thomas

  • JR (2)