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Emil Adam Die Stute Kincsem.jpg
Kincsem painted by Emil Adam in 1887, from a print.
Sire Cambuscan (GB)
Grandsire Newminster
Dam Water Nymph
Damsire Cotswold (GB)
Sex Filly
Foaled (1874-03-17)March 17, 1874
Died March 16, 1887(1887-03-16)
Country Hungary (As Austria-Hungary)
Colour Chestnut
Breeder Ernő Blaskovich
Owner Ernő Blaskovich
Trainer Robert Hesp
Record 54: 54–0–0
Earnings ƒ199,754.50 = €2.56 millions in 2020
Major wins
Hungarian Two Thousand Guineas (1877)
Hungarian One Thousand Guineas (1877)
Hungarian Autumn Oaks (1877, 1878, 1879)
Hungarian St. Leger (1877)
Austrian Derby (1877)
Austrian Kaiserpreis (1877)
Grosser Preis von Hanover (1877)
Grosser Preis von Baden (1877, 1878, 1879)
Staatspreis Erster Classe (1878)
Goodwood Cup (1878)
Grand Prix de Deauville (1878)
Kincsem Park in Budapest, Hungary
Kincsem Museum, Budapest, Hungary
Kincsem Horse Park, Tápiószentmárton, Hungary
Kincsem Hotel, Kisbér, Hungary
Kincsem Farm, Archer, Florida
Life-sized statue at Kincsem Park, Budapest

Kincsem (Hungarian pronunciation: [ˈkint͡ʃɛm]; Hungarian for "My Precious" or "My Treasure"; March 17, 1874 – March 16, 1887) was a Hungarian Thoroughbred racehorse who has the longest undefeated record of any racehorse after winning all of her 54 races. The next closest in this regard is Black Caviar, who won all her 25 races. Foaled in Kisbér, Hungary in 1874, Kincsem is a national icon and widely considered one of the top racehorses of the 19th century.

Over four seasons, Kincsem won against both female and male company at various race tracks across Europe, including multiple Classic race victories in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. She also raced frequently in Germany, winning the Grosser Preis von Baden three times. In her four-year-old campaign, she traveled to England to win the Goodwood Cup, then won the Grand Prix de Deauville in France.

As a broodmare, Kincsem produced just five foals, one of which died young. Nevertheless, two of her foals became Classic winners and her daughters also proved to be outstanding producers. Her family has proved a lasting influence on the breed, with modern descendants including English Classic winners Polygamy and Camelot.


Kincsem was bred at the stud of Ernő Blaskovich at Tápiószentmárton, in The Hungarian part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Her sire, Cambuscan, was bred by Queen Victoria and in 1864 went on to win the July Stakes and place in the St. Leger Stakes. He was sold to Hungarian interests and was brought to stand at the Hungarian National Stud in the Kisbér District in 1873. Cambuscan was by Newminster, while his dam, The Arrow, was by Slane. Kincsem was out of the Hungarian mare Waternymph, a daughter of the English horse Cotswold. Kincsem's third dam, Seaweed was also by Slane, making Kincsem inbred to him in the third and fourth generations (3x4).

At that time, there were thieves in Hungary called betyars who stole cattle and horses. One night they tried to steal horses from an open summer stable of Blaskovich that had only a crossbar through the door. They made a noise, so stable staff chased them away and the horses, including Waternymph, were saved. This legend was later distorted and attributed to Kincsem, who in the new version was allegedly stolen by wandering Gypsies and later returned to her owner.

Kincsem was once offered for sale as part of a package deal with six other yearlings for £700. However, she and one other filly were rejected by the buyer, Baron Alex Orczy, who felt they were of inferior quality. Kincsem thus raced for Blaskovich as a homebred. She was trained by Englishman Robert Hesp and ridden in most of her starts by Englishman Elijah Madden. Kincsem was devoted to her groom, who traveled with her everywhere and was subsequently known as Frankie Kincsem.

Kincsem, Hesp tréner és a macska
Kincsem with cat and either her trainer Robert Hesp or groom Frankie Kincsem

Kincsem was a liver chestnut without any white markings who stood 16.1 hands (65 inches, 165 cm) high at maturity. Despite Kincsem's talent, she was faulted throughout her racing career for her plain looks and lengthy frame.

Kincsem was noted for her quirky personality, though some details may have become exaggerated over time. For example, a legend claims that she always traveled with a cat and might not move if separated from it. A painting shows her with a cat that some sources name Csalogány (nightingale). Contemporary sources make no mention of the cat but many articles of Sportblatt refer to her traveling with a horse named Csalogany. During Kincsem's extensive travels, all her hay and grain came from Blaskovich's stud farm (then an unusual arrangement), and she refused to eat anything else. She was also particular about the quality of the water she drank. On one occasion at Baden-Baden, the water ran out and she refused to drink for two days until a suitable substitute was found at what was subsequently known as Kincsem's Well.

Racing career

1876: Two-year-old season

Another legend, used in the Hungarian movie Kincsem, speculates that Kincsem started her career in Germany because Blaskovich was ashamed of her, but the real reason was a summer break on Austrian and Hungarian racetracks. During the three-month break, Austrian and Hungarian stables traveled to German racetracks with their best horses, particularly the two-year-olds who did not have races in Austria-Hungary until September. Trainer Robert Hesp traveled to the Berlin with some of his horses and the first to start was Csalogany, who won easily at odds of 3–2. Kincsem made her debut three days later on 21 June and beat three German horses by 4 lengths as the 1/3 odds-on favourite.

The next stop was Hannover, where on 1 July Csalogany won the Zukunfts-Rennen by 1 length in front of the Austro-Hungarian colt Hamburg. On the next day, Kincsem won the Vergleichspreis also by 1 length with Hamburg in second. Third was a three-year-old, Double Zero, who would later win the Deutsches Derby. On 3 July, Csalogany added another victory and the expedition continued to Hamburg. On 9 July, Kincsem won the Hamburger Criterium by 1+12 lengths ahead of the German filly Adelaide and colt Hamburg. Csalogany ran two races in three days in Hamburg, winning the Vergleichs-Rennen ahead of the filly Little Luder. She was subsequently beaten by the great four-year-old colt Basnas in Pokal and got a break.

Kincsem added three more victories in Germany, beating the Austro-Hungarian colt Blücher by 1+12 lengths at the Royal Meeting in Bad Doberan and German filly Regimentstochter by 10 lengths in a match race in the Louisa Rennen in Frankurt. Her sixth victory came on 31 August in the Zukunfts-Rennen (Zukunftspreis that time) in Baden Baden, where she beat her stablemate Criterium by 2 lengths.

The stable then returned to Hungary for the fall campaign. On 2 October, Kincsem showed her best two-year-old form when beating Little Luder in the Polgárok dija in Sopron by a huge margin. The Hungarian horseracing newspaper Vadász- és Versenylap reported that she won by 15 to 20 lengths. A description of Kincsem was published after the race in Sportblatt: "Despite the fact that this two-year-old filly measures 16 hands (64 inches, 163 cm), all her limbs are built perfectly proportionally and impress with their regularity and colossal strength, in which the durability peculiar to the filly ad oculos is demonstrated."

In her next start on 15 October, she met stablemate Csalogany in the Kétévesek versenye in Budapest. Elijah Madden, who had ridden both fillies before, chose to ride Kincsem. The field of ten was the biggest ever faced by Kincsem. Vadász- és Versenylap reported that Kincsem and Csalogany left the rest the field behind and fought from halfway head to head, with Kincsem holding off Csalogany by half a length. Little Luder was third. This race is associated with the legend that Kincsem had bad starts. The source of the legend was jockey Robert Smart, who told a story 34 years later that the horses were standing at the starting line but Kincsem stood behind them and grazing. According to Smart, the starter ignored her, let down the flag and she lost 40 meters. Smart probably mistook either the horse or the race involved, because the original race reports never described the bad starts of Kincsem, and the report from this particular race says: "An excellent start, after which the field goes in a bunch...".

On 22 October, Kincsem stepped up in distance from sprints and won the Kladruber Preis at 1600m in Vienna, beating colts Der Landgraf and Hamburg by 5 lengths. She finished her two-year-old campaign on 29 October by winning the Kladruber Criterium at 1400m in Prague, cantering home 1+12 lengths in front of Criterium.

Kincsem finished the year with ten victories from ten starts. She and Csalogany were the best two-year-old fillies of Austria-Hungary by earnings. The form of Csalogany subsequently fell and she subsequently won only one race, while traveling with Kincsem as a stable friend and lead horse for training. She was with Kincsem in Newmarket and in Goodwood when she prepared for the Goodwood Cup in 1878, and her Newmarket workouts with Kincsem were reported in Vadász- és Versenylap.

1877: three-year-old season

Over the winter, Kincsem was made the even-money favourite for the Nemzeti Dij (Hungarian 2000 Guineas) ahead of Csalogany, and was the 2/1 favourite for the Austrian Derby. She was not entered in the Deutsches Derby, in which the 6/1 favourite was Blücher, who had finished second behind her in the Erinnerungsrennen in Doberan.

Both the "world wonder fillies" of trainer Hesp opened the season on 27 April in Bratislava. In the Trial Stakes (Austro-Hungarian 2000 Guineas), Kincsem set the pace and beat Blücher "hands down" by one length in field of eight horses. However, Csalogany shockingly disappointed that day when she finished third behind Pfeil in the Staatspreis (State Prize) at odds of 2/10. Csalogany lost again two days later and both fillies went to Budapest.

A week later, Kincsem won two races in three days. The Nemzeti Dij and Hazafi Dij were recognized as the Hungarian equivalent of 2000 Guineas and 1000 Guineas respectively, but were restricted races at that time to Hungarian-bred horses. In the Nemzeti dij on 6 May, Camillo set the pace, followed by Kincsem and Csalogany. At the halfway point, Kincsem moved to the front, and continued to draw away. She won as she willed ahead of Camillo and Csalogany. The final margin was not disclosed in any available sources from 1877 but the final time has been published - 1:47 for 1600 metres. In the Hazafi dij on 8 May, Kincsem had a fair start but waited behind opponents in a bunched field of six. Halfway through the race, she moved to the front, and then pulled ahead to win easily by 1+12 lengths in a time of 1:45 with Csalogany unplaced.

After the meeting in Pest, Kincsem along with 11 of Hesp's other horses went to the Derby meeting in Vienna. In the Preis des Jockey-Club (Austrian Derby) on 21 May, her main rival would be Tallós, a colt that had finished second in the Criterion Stakes at Newmarket. He was owned by Alexander Baltazzi, who had won the previous year's Epsom Derby with Kisber. At the start, Tallós lost several lengths but soon moved close to Kincsem, who waited in third place behind Premier Coup and Pfeil. Before the last turn, Blücher moved to the lead but Kincsem responded. In the 700-meter long straight, Kincsem set a strong pace to the last 200 meters, then cantered home. Her jockey Madden reportedly had the reins in one hand and was patting her with the other. Tallós was second by two lengths, three lengths ahead of Pfeil and Blücher in a field of eight runners, according to the Viennese newspaper Sportblatt. The Budapest racing bulletin Vadász és Versenylap reported that she won by 10 lengths and that was the biggest discrepancy in her race reports.

Three days later on 24 May, Kincsem dropped back in distance to a mile in the Trial Stakes. She was not herself and Madden had to use the spurs to beat stablemate Vsecko-jedno by 2 lengths. (Note: there were multiple races called Trial Stakes at the time. This particular race was for horses aged three and up, not a classic race. The Austrian equivalent of the 2000 Guineas was the May Trial Stakes in Pressburg, moved to Vienna in 1879. Others Trial Stakes disappear or were renamed.) Just three days later, Kincsem returned to form in the Kaiserpreis over two miles. While carrying 50 kg, she set the pace and won by 10 lengths ahead of her older stablemate Hirnok (69 kg). She ended the spring season with 6 victories in 30 days.

From Vienna, the Austro-Hungarian stables traveled on their usual summer journey through German racecourses. In Berlin, Blaskovich's two-year-old Bolygo won the Erstes Criterium, the same race as Kincsem won the previous year. The stable then moved to Hannover, where horses trained by Hesp won four races. Kincsem was entered in the featured race, the Grosser Preis von Hannover, run on 24 June over a distance of 3000 meters. She beat the great Austro-Hungarian mare Konotoppa by 6 lengths with Derby winner Double Zero third in a field of five runners.

Next stop was Hamburg. Kincsem was not entered in the Deutsches Derby (supplementary entries were not allowed at that time), but in the Renard Rennen on 9 July, she beat the Derby winner Pirat by four lengths with Konotoppa far behind. To the credit of Pirat, he ran against the fresh Kincsem the day after a hard battle with Tallos in Derby.

Kincsem was given a rest then returned on 3 September for her first start in the Grosser Preis von Baden over a distance of 3200 metres (roughly 2 miles). The field of three contained no German horses that year, but instead featured another duel between Kincsem and Konotoppa. After a few changes in the lead, Kincsem won unchallenged by three lengths ahead of Konotoppa. Third and last was French horse Mambrin in the colours of Hungarian owner Tassilo Festetics. Five days later, Kincsem demonstrated her class again in the Wäldchens-Preis in Frankfurt. Although heavily eased, she beat Pfeil by 10 lengths, with the sole German runner Schnellläufer 25 lengths behind. Pfeil won 10 races that year and was beaten only twice, finishing third to Kincsem and Tallos in the Austrian Derby and second to Kincsem in Wäldchens-Preis.

Back in Austria-Hungary, Kincsem ran seven races on four racetracks in 25 days. In 19th century racing, prize money was for the two places only with big difference between the winner and runner-up. Walkovers were common because there was no reason to run for second place against big stars. Kincsem earned six victories by walkover and also won a couple of races cantering against her stablemates, who did not challenge her, just running to take the second-place money. She picked up easy money in the Alamidij (City Prize) in Oedenburg (Sopron) on 29 September where she beat her sole opponent, stablemate Prince Gregoire, by three lengths. The next day, she entered a race of the same name and the result was stated as a "compromise", meaning Kincsem cantering for the agreed victory over her stablemate Blankenese.

In Pest, Kincsem entered the St Leger on 7 October over a distance of 2800 meters. In a field of seven, the early pacemaker opened up a lead of 30 lengths, while Kincsem rated at the head of the trailing pack. In the last turn, she went to the lead and won by 10 lengths ahead of Prince Giles The First. Two days later, Kincsem entered the Kanczadij, now known as the Hungarian Oaks but at that time a race for fillies and mares age three and up. Kincsem was assigned a weight of 60.5 kilograms (133 lb). She again followed a long-margin leader in second place and won easily, beating her old rival Konotoppa by three lengths.

On 14 October, Kincsem returned to Vienna, where she won the Freudenauer Preis by walkover. She then travelled to Prague for the Kaiserpreis on 21 October at a distance of 2400 metres. She met Prince Giles The First for the second time and beat him by a length, leading all the way. Two day later, she won another Kaiserpreis by walkover. She ended the season with 17 victories, having won at distances from 1600 metres to 3200 metres.

After the 1877 season, British racing journalist Mr. Langley from the Morning Post delivered a challenge in the name of Mr. John Fiennes, who owned the Epsom Oaks winner Placida. As Placida was better at distances from 6 furlongs (1.2 km) to a mile, Fiennes suggested a match over 34 miles in the spring of 1878 at either Ascot or Goodwood. Blaskovich accepted the challenge but altered the conditions, suggesting a match for a purse of 50,000 - 500,000 florins (roughly equivalent to €600,000 to €6 million in 2020), at a distance from 2400m to 2800m, held halfway between the two home bases, in either Frankfurt or Baden-Baden. The match was widely discussed in the newspapers in the winter but Fiennes refused the conditions, explaining that he did not want to travel outside England with Placida.

1878: four-year-old season

Kincsem 1878 at Goodwood
Kincsem's victory in the Goodwood Cup was covered by the Illustrated London News

In 1878, Kincsem turned four years old, meaning that while in the previous year she had a weight for age advantage against older horses, she would now have to concede weight to three-year-olds. In the spring, the form of previously undistinguished three-year-old horses can improve dramatically, which posed problems for Kincsem in her first two starts of the season, in the two cheapest races she ran that year. In the Eröffnungsrennen on Easter Monday 22 April, Kincsem looked to have little competition in a field of five runners on paper form. However, the three-year-old Wild Rover stayed on strongly under 53.5 kg and Madden had to ride hard until Kincsem, under 65.5 kg, broke his resistance 50 meters before the finish and won by two lengths. Wild Rover had been unplaced at two but developed into one of the best three-year-old horses of 1878 with five victories and four second-place finishes.

Another up-and-coming three-year-old colt met Kincsem three days later in the Praterpreis over 2000 meters, where she set the early pace under 67.5 kg. Count Henckel's Oroszvar under 54.5 kg challenged her in the straight and come close, but Madden pushed Kincsem home three lengths ahead of the colt, who later won the Trial Stakes (A-H 2000 Guineas), Union Rennen, Deutsches Derby and Renard Rennen.

On the way back from Vienna, Kincsem made a stop in Bratislava, where she met Count Henckel's Prince Giles The First for the third time. In a match race in the Államdij over 2400 meters, Kincsem set a moderate pace, easily repulsed a short attack of Prince Giles The First, and won by 5 lengths while giving him a 5 kg advantage.

On 14 May, Kincsem met Prince Giles The First again in Budapest, in the Allamdij over two miles. The three-year-old filly Gondolat set the pace under 46 kg and led by 30-40 lengths ahead of Kincsem (67 kg), followed by Prince Giles (62.5 kg). At the halfway point, Kincsem made her move and easily went by Gondolat. Turning into the stretch, she led by five lengths and cantered home 5 to 6 lengths ahead of Prince Giles The First. Two days later, Kincsem beat Prince Giles The First for the fifth time. In a match race in the Kisbéri dij over 2000 metres, Kincsem set a slow pace under 69.5 kg, then increased the pace after half a mile. Prince Giles the First under 65 kg could barely hold her and Kincsem won "as she willed" by two lengths.

In the Allamdij over 2400 metres on 19 May, Count Henckel sent former champion mare Konotoppa against Kincsem in a field that also included the best three-year-old filly Altona, who like Kincsem was trained by Hesp. Kincsem (69.4 kg) took the early lead setting a slow pace, then Altona (51 kg) took over as the pace picked up. In the last turn, Kincsem struck and beat her stablemate by a couple of lengths. A further 4 to 5 lengths behind was Konotoppa (66.5 kg), who was reported in foal and went to Henckel's stud Hugo Telep in Oroszvar (Rusovce) after the race.

In the Austrian Derby on 26 May, Kincsem's half-brother Outrigger (Ostreger x Waternymph) was defeated by a head. That same day, Kincsem won the Staatspreis over 2800 meters, beating the nearest of three rivals easily by a length. On 28 May, she repeated last year's victory in the Trial Stakes over a mile, beating Prince Giles The First for the sixth time, in this case by 10 lengths while giving him a 6.5 kg advantage. On 30 May, she repeated her victory in the two mile Staatspreis, cantering home five lengths ahead of two rivals.

Kincsem méretei
Kincsem's measurements by Emil Adam

That concluded the spring part of her campaign, in which Kincsem won nine races in a span of 39 days at distances from 1600 to 3200 meters at the three main Austro-Hungarian racetracks. Directly from Vienna, the Austro-Hungarian stables went to Berlin. Count Henckel won four races there, including the Union Rennen, in which Oroszvar beat the best German three-year-old Vitus, and Hesp's Altona won the Stutenrennen (Preis der Diana). Kincsem did not race in Germany as she was now targeting the Goodwood Cup in England. While in Berlin though, she was measured by the famous painter Emil Adam, who then created a rare drawing signed 8 June 1878 in Hoppegarten. Her basic measurements were described as body length 170 cm, total height 165 cm (of which the chest measured 76 cm), width of chest 40 cm and width of hips 50 cm.

Ten days later in Hannover, Altona was beaten by a head in the Grosser Preis von Hannover and Hesp's stable continued to the Derby meeting in Hamburg. At this point, Kincsem with her stable friend Csalogány sailed to England. The Hungarian racing bulletin Vadász- és Versenylap cited turfwriter "Vigilant" from the newspaper Sportsmann, who wrote: "Kincsem last Sunday (June 30) sailed across the channel to England, in very nice quiet weather and in the evening she was with Mr. Daley in Newmarket; and on Monday morning she took a morning walk with her stablemate."

After Altona won the Hansa-Rennen in Hamburg, jockey Elijah Madden went to Newmarket, where he rode Kincsem in workouts. One of the reports said that Kincsem and Csalogany were in good health and could be seen walking every day on the Newmarket lawn, and galloping every other day from two to 2+12 miles. However, the English papers were no longer as sympathetic towards Kincsem and there was some unfavourable talk. One report speculated that the air, food and water in England were having an adverse effect on Kincsem's form, and noted that Csalogany was no longer a good lead horse because she could not force Kincsem to the required speeds during their gallops. The subsequent explanation was that they didn't have good drinking water in Newmarket. Hesp solved the problem by boiling the water, then cooled it and gave it to Kincsem. This story is probably the basis of the legend that Kincsem drank only water from their home and traveled with her own water supply, which is rather unrealistic due to the enormous amount of the water that they would have to carry by train on several months' journeys.

In mid-July, the racing stables and studs around Newmarket were affected by an epidemic so Hesp was forced to leave the area. The Duke of Richmond, owner of the Goodwood House next to Goodwood racetrack, accommodated the Hungarian expedition for the last 14 days before the Goodwood Cup.

There were originally 17 horses entered in the Goodwood Cup, held on 1 August over 2+12 miles (4000 m). This had reduced to five by raceday, and then Ascot Gold Cup winner Verneuil and Lord Clive were withdrawn at noon. Kincsem went off at odds at 3/1, the sole race in her career where she was not an odds-on favorite. She won by two lengths over 5/4 favourite Pageant, winner of the Brighton and Chester Cups, and subsequently the Doncaster Cup. Lady Goligthly, winner of the Yorkshire Oaks, Nassau Stakes and Park Hill Stakes in the previous year, was far behind under Fred Archer at odds of 2/1. The Austrian and Hungarian newspapers enthusiastically reported about another easy victory of the "Wonder Mare", but English turfwriters were shocked by the ride of Madden, well known as hard whip rider in Austria-Hungary and Germany. The newspaper Press wrote: "The race was run at a slow pace, which was not increased much till three-quarters of a mile from home, when Lord Falmouth's mare was beaten, and it looked a thousand to one on Pageant, the Hungarian mare being beaten and being ridden hard – shamefully so, in fact, and Madden must surely have been apprenticed to a butcher. He has, I believe, ridden the mare in nearly all her races, and the only wonder to me is that there is anything of her left, as she was spur marked from shoulder to tail; however he kept at it, and, catching Pageant a hundred yards from home, won in a canter."

Kincsem John Sturgess
Goodwood Cup 1878 in The Illustrated Sporting & Dramatic News

The Illustrated Sporting & Dramatic News published a picture of the fight between Kincsem and Pageant alongside a picture of spectators viewing Kincsem's injuries after the race. Turfwriter "Skylark" wrote: "How she won is now a matter of history, but how she might have won with Cannon or Archer up it is most difficult to conjecture, Madden riding her in rather butcher-like fashion after she had the race well in hand."

Francis Cavaliero reported that he was asked from several quarters whether the mare was for sale and with the consent of her owner asked for the sum of £20,000, whispering "she is not for sale".

The Goodwood meeting was a great one for Hungarian thoroughbred breeding. A day before the Goodwood Cup, a two-year-old own brother to Tallos named Galantha was a close third behind Rayon d'Or in the Levante Stakes, and on the day of the Goodwood Cup, a two-year-old colt (subsequently named Molecomb) by Cambuscan out of Honey Bee won the Molecomb Stakes under Fred Archer at odds 100/15. The winning prizes in the Goodwood Cup and Molecomb Stakes were £480 and £1,125, converted to 4,800 and 11,250 florins, but Austro-Hungarian and German owners and spectators won much more on bets. Vadász- és Versenylap reported that Tassilo Festetics, Béla Zichy and the Grand Duke of Hesse won 150,000 florins each, while Blaskovich won 30,000, Cavaliero 20,000 and Elijah Madden 10,000. Together they netted 510,000 florins which was equivalent to about €6.5 million in 2020.

The team of Kincsem had avoided the French railways on their way to England through Germany and did so as well on their way to Deauville. Kincsem almost certainly sailed from Portsmouth, which is about 15 miles (24 km) from her Goodwood stable, to Le Havre, about 10 miles (16 km) as the crow flies to Deauville. Vadász- és Versenylap published a short message that on 4 August Kincsem made her way to France and ended up in Havre to await her duty in Deauville. The same report said that a match against Epsom Derby and St. Leger winner Silvio, offered by Lord Falmouth in Goodwood, would not take place.

In the Grand Prix de Deauville over 2400 meters on 18 August, Kincsem's main rival was Fontainebleau, winner of the Poule d'Essai des Poulains. The pace was set by Ellevion, a stablemate of Fontainebleau, but Kincsem used him as her own pacemaker, following him at the front of the pack. On the backstretch, she went to the lead and only Fontainebleau could keep her pace. Kincsem held off his drive and won a half length having the advantage of 3 kg. Four lengths behind followed Gift (subsequent winner of the Grand Prix de Vichy), Mondaine (winner of the Prix de Diane and Grand Prix de Vichy) and Vinaigrette (previous winner of the Grand Prix de Deauville) in a strong field of 8 runners.

On the way from Deauville to Baden-Baden, Kincsem and Csalogany had to use the French railways, which at the time were badly designed with lines focused to Paris. Hesp later reported that Kincsem's form in Deauville was about 10 pounds (in terms of ratings) below her top form from Goodwood and fell even more during the protracted railway journey when Kincsem could not do her daily working routine.

There was persistent rain before the Baden-Baden meeting in 1878 and on 3 September, the day of the Grosser Preis von Baden over 3200 meters, the area was hit by heavy rain. Vadász- és Versenylap said that the racetrack looked like a country road in spring. Five runners went to the start, with Kincsem going off as the 1/8 favourite against her old rival Prince Giles The First at 8/1. He was at his top form, having just smashed heavy favourite Vitus in Doberan. Other starters were Altona at 25/1, the sole German runner Purple at 40/1, and Vsecko-Jedno with no bets because his owner declared he was only running to try a muddy track before starting in the next race. Vsecko-Jedno was pulled up shortly after the start and Purple set the pace, followed by Altona, Prince Giles and Kincsem. In front of the stands, Prince Giles and Kincsem moved to second and third place. On the opposite side of the track, the pace increased and Altona was beaten. Purple led into the straight where Prince Giles struck, followed by Kincsem three-quarters of a lengths behind. Jockeys Tom Busby and Elijah Madden were working hard, with Kincsem closing inch by inch on a muddy track while carrying an extra 7 kg. Both horses reached the finish together. Purple was 25 lengths behind and Altona was pulled up.

At the time, there were several options to determine the winner in case of dead heat – a deciding heat, the agreement of the owners, or a draw. Blaskovich and Henckel decided to run a second heat, in which many backers turned to Prince Giles The First, a powerfully built colt with a significant weight advantage. Nonetheless, bets were 7/4 in favour of Kincsem. They ran head to head through the first half of the race, and Kincsem looked to have gained the upper hand on the far side. However, a dog then jumped out of the bushes and tried to catch Kincsem. Both horses were scared and only started to calm on the turn, where Busby on Prince Giles The First took advantage of the situation and went to the lead on the inside. Kincsem, ridden hard by whip and spurs, fought back, closing more and more. She caught up with him with 200 meters to go and won "deadly tired" by five lengths.

Nineteenth century Thoroughbreds were tough but Kincsem was exhausted. Hesp canceled her program in Frankfurt and send her to the Vienesse racetrack Freudenau to rest before races in nearby Sopron. Kincsem's rivals went to Frankfurt. Altona was a close third in the Wäldchens-Preis, Purple was fourth in Frankfurter Handicap under top weight and Prince Giles The First won the Ehrenpreis. Then Altona was quickly shipped to Hungary, where she won five races in a short time span: on 13 September she won over 2400 meters in Debrecen, on 15 September over 3200 meters, on 20 September over 3212 meters in Cluj, on 22 September over 4824 meters, and on 28 September over 2400 meters in Sopron.

Kincsem returned to racing on 29 September in the Allamdij in Sopron, where she won by "compromise" with Lőrincz and on 20 October in Budapest, she won the Ritterdij by walkover. However, on 22 October in the Kanczadij over 2400 meters, she met her stablemate Altona. This time it was not a predetermined result and for the first time since her two-year-old campaign against Csalogany, her invincibility was threatened by a stablemate. The owner of Altona, János Sztáray, engaged top jockey Tom Busby, who had been beaten by Kincsem many times on Henckel's horses Prince Giles The First, Konotoppa, Blücher and Oroszvar. Kincsem with Madden (67.5 kg) set a strong pace challenged by the three-year-old Altona (58.5 kg). In the straight, they fought head to head until the 200 meter pole where Kincsem finally broke the resistance of Altona. She won by half a length and went for a well deserved winter break with 15 victories that year.

1879: five-year-old season

After the 1878 season, Kincsem's stable friend Csalogany went to the stud and become a successful broodmare, producing 10 winners from 10 foals, including Hungarian and Austrian Oaks winner Csalfa. Madden, who had ridden Kincsem in all 42 of her victories to date and who had been champion jockey in Austria-Hungary from 1876 to 1878, left Hesp's stable. After 17 years in Austria-Hungary, Madden went to Germany, to the stable of Prince Hohenlohe-Oehringen.

Kincsem's new jockey arrived in Vienna from England in the spring of 1879, a 23-year-old jockey Archie Wainwright. On 28 April, he rode Kincsem for the first time in a much anticipated race against Tallos, who not met her since finishing second in the 1877 Derby. With three victories in 1878, Tallos was regarded as the clear second-best horse in Austrian-Hungary, despite an unsuccessful trip to England where he faded to fifth in the Cambridgeshire Handicap and was unplaced in the Lincolnshire Handicap, when Isonomy lands the famous gamble. He came into the race against Kincsem with two straight victories in 1879. Vadász- és Versenylap reported that Kincsem was much calmer than her two restless opponents and looked good but not "fit", having had only three or four true workouts before the race. A strong pace was set by three-year-old lightweight Myrtle from Hesp's stable, followed by Kincsem four lengths behind, then Tallos. On halfway, Kincsem moved forward. Tallos made an effort to match the move but Kincsem under 72 kg quickly built up a 10 length lead before turning into the short straight. She cantered home 8 to 10 lengths ahead of Tallos (73.5 kg) "in the midst of the cracking joy of the audience".

Next week in Budapest, Kincsem did not find an opponent in the Gróf Károlyi dij over 3600 meters and won by walkover. On 6 May over 3200 meters, she won by two lengths, beating Austrian Derby and Hungarian St Leger winner Nil Desperandum with her former jockey Madden up. On 8 May, she won by two lengths over 2400 metres, beating the up-and-coming three-year-old Harry Hall, later winner of Hungarian St Leger, giving him the advantage of 24 kg (53 pounds). Unplaced in the field of five runners was Prince Giles The First, who then met Kincsem again on 18 May in Vienna, where he was beaten by 10 lengths over 2800 meters. and 20 May in tenth and final race against Kincsem he was last, being beaten by Kincsem and her pacemaker over 3200 m

The stables then moved to Germany, where the Austro-Hungarian horses won all the major races at the Berlin meeting. Count Henckel's Picklock and Ilona won the Union-Rennen and Stutenrennen (Preis der Diana), and Kincsem won the Silberner Schild Sr. Majestät des Kaisers over 2400 meters. She was not disturbed by a great storm and led all the way, easy beating her stablemate Altona by two lengths with the sole German runner Vitus 20 lengths behind. A great fan of Kincsem, German Emperor Wilhelm I, regardless of the rain and lightning came down from the stand to take a close look at the "Wonder Mare".

The foray in Germany was interrupted in Hannover on the way to the Hamburger Derby meeting. Henckel's horses fell sick, while both Kincsem and Altona refused to drink. Kincsem was shipped home to Göd along with Blaskovich's Purdé, who had been the favourite for the Deutsches Derby but was injured in a workout fall.

After a long break, Kincsem returned to the track on 25 August in Frankfurt, where she rounded the number of victories to 50 in the race supported by her great fan, the Grand Duke of Hesse. Under jockey Wainwright, she led all the way over 2800 meters and won in a canter by four lengths ahead of leading German three-year-old colt Blue Gown, hard ridden by Madden.

A week later, she defended her previous two victories in the Grosser Preis von Baden over 3200 meters, but before that there was an affair with her jockey. Wainwright has been seen shaking hands and talking to a man from a rival stable shortly before the race and Hesp became suspicious that the jockey was bribed. Despite the protests of Wainwright, Hesp replaced him and gave an opportunity to Henckel's skilled jockey Tom Busby, who had been beaten by Kincsem in 32 races before, 17 times as the runner-up. Kincsem under 64.5 kg was the sole Austro-Hungarian raider against Derby winning three-year-old filly Künstlerin from the stable of Prince Hohenlohe-Oehringen, carrying only 51 kg and ridden by Madden. Other runners were Hessenpreis (55.5 kg), the full sister to Tallos, and Rococo (59.5 kg), both sold to German owners from Austro-Hungarian stables. Rococo set a very slow pace on soft ground and the race was turned into a sprint in the stretch, which was against a staying Kincsem. Nonetheless, she held up with the pace and went to the lead after Busby went to the whip. She won by three quarters of a length ahead of Künstlerin, with Hessenpreis a half a length behind in third and Rococo three lengths further back. The finish looked dramatic but Busby reported that he had the result under control and did not need to ask Kincsem for more.

Returning to Hungary, Kincsem won the Államdij in Sopron under Wainwright by walkover after withdrawn of Harry Hall and Prince Giles The First, then won the Ritterdij in Budapest by walkover under Busby. Her final start was in the Kanczadij, where she with Busby up smashed German Oaks winner Ilona by 10 lengths, despite giving her advantage of 14.5 kg (32 pounds).

1880: six-year-old season

In January 1880, Vadász- és Versenylap published a short message stating that Kincsem would stay in training as a six-year-old. A later message said that her new jockey would be Tom Osborne. The April issue reported that the Kincsem was as good as ever, having become a bit wider. She had been seen galloping with such ease as before and her legs were as clean as ever. According to the article, she was to run in Budapest and Vienna in May and then travel to Germany and France. That year Kincsem's own brother Szent Marton arrived at Hesp's stable but he proved a disappointment. He was unraced at two, was injured at three in a spring workout, and from two starts on the flat, he gained only one second-place finish and 415 florins in earnings. He was renamed as Marczi and won five small races over hurdles.

Kincsem was supposed to start the season on 2 May in Bratislava but was withdrawn. Two weeks later, a report was published that she had been kicked by a stablemate. Although the bruise healed, Blaskovich decided to retire her. Kincsem went to the National Stud in Kisber and on 26 May, she was covered by Verneuil.

Race record

Win Date Track Distance Race Runners Margin Weight Earnings
1 1876-06-21 Berlin 1000m Erstes Criterium 4 4 lengths 53.5 kg 1387.50 fl
2 1876-07-02 Hannover 1000m Vergleichspreis 4 1 length 53.5 kg 1200 fl
3 1876-07-09 Hamburg-Horn 950m Hamburger Criterium 3 1+12 lengths 56.5 kg 1512.50 fl
4 1876-07-29 Doberan 947m Erinnerungs Rennen 3 1+12 lengths 58.5 kg 1375 fl
5 1876-08-20 Frankfurt 1000m Louisa Rennen 2 10 lengths 58 kg 1687.50 fl
6 1876-08-31 Baden-Baden 1000m Zukunfts-Rennen 4 2 lengths 56.5 kg 2750 fl
7 1876-10-02 Sopron 1200m Polgárok Dija 5 15-20 lengths 52.5 kg 4300 fl
8 1876-10-15 Budapest 948m Kétévesek Versenye 10 12 length 56.5 kg 2250 fl
9 1876-10-22 Vienna 1600m Kladruber Preis 4 5 lengths 55 kg 3300 fl
10 1876-10-29 Prague 1400m Kladruber Criterium 4 1+12 lengths 56 kg 3200 fl
11 1877-04-27 Bratislava 1800m Trial Stakes (A-H 2000 Guineas) 8 1 length 52.5 kg 5012 fl
12 1877-05-06 Budapest 1600m Egyesűlt Nemzeti Dij (HUN 2000 Guineas) 4 easy, margin not stated 52 kg 5315 fl
13 1877-05-08 Budapest 1600m Hazafi Dij (HUN 1000 Guineas) 6 1+12 lengths 52 kg 3000 fl
14 1877-05-21 Vienna 2400m Preis des Jockey-Club (Austrian Derby) 8 2 lengths 54 kg 16950 fl
15 1877-05-24 Vienna 1600m Trial Stakes 6 2 lengths 57 kg 3020 fl
16 1877-05-27 Vienna 3200m Kaiserpreis I. Classe 3 10 lengths 50 kg 5350 fl
17 1877-06-24 Hannover 3000m Grosser Preis von Hannover 5 8 lengths 56 kg 5600 fl
18 1877-07-09 Hamburg-Horn 2800m Renard Rennen 3 4 lengths 55 kg 2750 fl
19 1877-09-03 Baden-Baden 3200m Grosser Preis von Baden 3 2 lengths 51 kg 12350 fl
20 1877-09-08 Frankfurt 2400m Wäldchens Rennen 3 10 lengths 55 kg 3800 fl
21 1877-09-29 Sopron 2400m Államdij 2 3 lengths 59 kg 1250 fl
22 1877-09-30 Sopron 2000m Államdij 2 Compromise 52 kg 700 fl
23 1877-10-07 Budapest 2800m St Leger 8 6 lengths 52 kg 4675 fl
24 1877-10-09 Budapest 2400 m Kanczadij 3 10 lengths 60.5 kg 2150 fl
25 1877-10-14 Vienna 2400 m Freudenauer Preis 1 walkover 60.5 kg 1650 fl
26 1877-10-21 Prague 2400m Kaiserpreis III. Classe 3 1 length 61.5 kg 1150 fl
27 1877-10-23 Prague 3200m Kaiserpreis II. Classe 1 walkover 61 kg 3525 fl
28 1878-04-22 Vienna 1600m Eröffnungsrennen 5 2 lengths 65.5 kg 1160 fl
29 1878-04-25 Vienna 2000m Praterpreis 3 3 lengths 67.5 kg 1025 fl
30 1878-05-04 Bratislava 2400m Államdij 2 5 lengths 69 kg 1462.50 fl
31 1878-05-14 Budapest 3200m II. oszt. Államdij 3 5 lengths 67 kg 2737.50 fl
32 1878-05-16 Budapest 2000m Kisbéri dij 2 2 lengths 69.5 kg 3487.50 fl
33 1878-05-19 Budapest 2400m I. oszt. Államdij 3 3 lengths 69.5 kg 4550 fl
34 1878-05-26 Vienna 2800m Staatspreis II. Classe 4 1 length 69.5 kg 3250 fl
35 1878-05-28 Vienna 1600m Trial Stakes 3 10 lengths 65 kg 2475 fl
36 1878-05-30 Vienna 3200m Staatspreis I. Classe 2 5 lengths 69.5 kg 5450 fl
37 1878-08-01 Goodwood 4022m Goodwood Cup 3 2 lengths 54 kg 4800 fl
38 1878-08-18 Deauville 2400m Grand Prix de Deauville 8 12 length 61 kg 7760 fl
39 1878-09-03 Baden-Baden 3200m Grosser Preis von Baden 5 dead heat
5 lengths in run-off
62.5 kg 10800 fl
40 1878-09-29 Sopron 3200m Államdij 2 Compromise 69 kg 1700 fl
41 1878-10-20 Budapest 2800m Ritterdij 1 walkover 61 kg 1625 fl
42 1878-10-22 Budapest 2400m Kanczadij 2 1/2 length 67.5 kg 2150 fl
43 1879-04-28 Bratislava 2400m Államdij 3 8-10 lengths 72 kg 1425 fl
44 1879-05-04 Budapest 3600m Gr. Károlyi-tétverseny 1 walkover 62 kg 2025 fl
45 1879-05-06 Budapest 3200m II oszt. Államdij 4 2 lengths 73 kg 3337.50 fl
46 1879-05-08 Budapest 2400m I. Osztályú Állami Dij 5 2 lengths 66.5 kg 4700 fl
47 1879-05-18 Vienna 2800m Staatspreis II. Classe 2 10 lengths 72.5 kg 3200 fl
48 1879-05-20 Vienna 3200m Staatspreis I. Classe 3 3 lengths 73 kg 5100 fl
49 1879-06-17 Berlin 2400m Silberner Schild 3 3 lengths 63.5 kg 7200 fl
50 1879-08-25 Frankfurt 2800m Ehrenpreis des Landgrafen von Hessen 4 4 lengths 63.5 kg 850 fl
51 1879-09-02 Baden-Baden 3200m Grosser Preis von Baden 4 34 lengths 64.5 kg 11150 fl
52 1879-09-29 Sopron 3200m II. oszt. Államdij 1 walkover 72 kg 1550 fl
53 1879-10-19 Budapest 2800m Ritterdij 1 walkover 65 kg 1575 fl
54 1879-10-21 Budapest 2400m Kanczadij 3 10 lengths 72.5 kg 2000 fl

Source: Vadász- és Versenylap 1876–79, Galopp-Sieger

Heading the Unbeaten Flat horses list

Unbeaten Flat horses
Horse's name
Birth year
1. 54/54 races Kincsem  Hungary 1874 Cambuscan x Waternymph
2. 25/25 races Black Caviar  Australia 2006 Bel Esprit x Helsinge
3. 19/19 races Peppers Pride  USA 2003 Desert God x Lady Pepper
4. 18/18 races Eclipse  Great Britain 1764 Marske x Spilletta
4. 18/18 races Karayel  Turkey 1970 Prince Tudor (GB) x Linda (TUR)

Breeding record

Kincsem produced five live foals:

  • Budagyöngye (1882), filly by Buccaneer, 14: 4-5-2, classic winner, 23,897.50 fl
  • Olyan Nincs (1883), filly by Buccaneer, 34: 8-8-3, classic winner, 32,061 fl
  • Talpra Magyar (1885), colt by Buccaneer, 23-2-6-4, 6,531 fl
  • Kincsőr (1886), colt by Doncaster, 10: 3-2-1, 17,190 fl
  • Kincs (1887), filly by Doncaster, unraced

Vadász- és Versenylap once wrote that Kincsem alone was never sick and never hurt. Her offspring were not always so fortunate.

Kincsem was barren when covered by Verneuil in 1880. In 1881, she was again covered by Verneuil but was reported barren, so was subsequently covered by Buccaneer, which was successful. Kincsem produced her first foal on 1 January 1882 at five in the afternoon at the train station in Buda – Kincsem had been travelling to Kisber in anticipation of her next breeding session during her "foal heat". The filly was named Budagyöngye – Pearl of Buda. She was a promising two-year-old with three victories and three seconds, but was injured in the spring of her three-year-old campaign before the classic season. After three bad runs, she finished third in Austrian Derby at odds of 40–1, then was 2nd in the Union Rennen. The highlight of her career came with a victory in the Deutsches Derby. Before the Grosser Preis von Baden, she was injured again and went to stud. She produced two classic winning fillies, Viglány and Disco, and become a highly influential broodmare. From her branch of Kincsem's female family among others become 28 classic winners in 11 European countries, including Calandria (French St Leger), Oberon (Derby Italiano), Polygamy (Epsom Oaks) and Camelot (2000 Guineas, Epsom Derby, Irish Derby).

Olyan Nincs raced from age two to four. In the spring of her three-year-old campaign, she developed a cough, but recovered by the fall to win five races, including the Hungarian St Leger. She also become a highly influential broodmare. From her branch of Kincsem's female family came 33 classic winners in 8 European countries, including Falada (German Oaks), Wolke (German Oaks and Derby), Wauthi (German 2000 Guineas and St Leger), Wahnfried and Wicht (both German St Leger), Walesiana and Well Proved (both German 1000 Guineas), Widschi (German 2000 Guineas) and most recently German Derby winners Windstoss and Weltstar.

After the birth of Olyan Nincs, a false report that Kincsem had died was published in the newspaper Neues Wiener Tagblatt on March 7, 1883. That year (1883) Kincsem was not covered. She struggled with a chronic nasal discharge and was shipped to the Imperial Stud Fogaras (Făgăraș, now Romania) where she underwent surgery in February 1884 on the forehead and nasal bones. Soon after the surgery, she went to Kisber to be covered by Buccaneer, and in 1885 produced her first colt. Talpra Magyar was named after the Hungarian national poem Nemzeti dal, also known as "Talpra Magyar". He was considered quite promising after two second-place finishes at two. At three he won his first start, beating the Austro-Hungarian Triple Crown winner and Ascot Gold Cup third Buzgo. After that race though, he developed a heavy cough. He became a roarer and fell sharply in class. He later won one selling race and was bought by Johannes Frohner, who sent him to his stud Karolina-udvar (Carolinenhof). In his first crop, Talpra Magyar sired 2 winners from 2 foals, including probably the most popular horse in Austria-Hungary since Kincsem, the very small but exceptional fighter Tokio, winner of 23 races including the Austro-Hungarian Triple Crown, Grosser Preis von Berlin and Grosser Preis von Baden. After the death of Frohner in 1894, when Tokio was two years old, Talpra Magyar was sold to Germany and sired Hut Ab (Preis der Diana), Xamete (Grosser Preis von Berlin and Grosser Preis von Baden) and Faith (Austrian Oaks).

Her next colt was Kincsőr (Treasurer), winner of one race from five starts at age two. At three he improved rapidly. After two places to start the year, he won the Cambuscan Rennen, then was second in the Austrian Derby and won the Buccaneer Rennen. He was heavily wagered on before the Deutsches Derby – he fell from 7–2 to Evens, and his last price was 2-10. However, he developed colic shortly after arrival in Hamburg. He struggled for a few days and on the day before the Derby, he was withdrawn. He died shortly before the race, won by his stablemate Uram bátyám.

The last foal of Kincsem was Kincs (Treasure), born on 6 February 1887. She was injured in a training accident and was unraced. She was a useful broodmare, producing classic winning fillies Napfeny and Csokos-Asszony, and another two in the next generations, but her branch of Kincsem's female family no longer exists.

On 12 March 1887, Kincsem developed colic and despite all available care she died on 16 March 1887, a day before her thirteenth birthday. Vadász- és Versenylap published a more detailed tribute on the front page of their next edition, but the main newspapers reported her death in a few brief articles. Shortly after Kincsem's death, on 25 April 1887, her former trainer Robert Hesp died of pulmonary edema at a Vienna hospital at the age of 64.

Kincsem's skeleton was preserved and is on display in the Museum of Hungarian Agriculture.


Statue of Kincsem
Life-sized statue at Kincsem Park, Budapest

Kincsem Park, Hungary's premier racecourse and located in Budapest, is named in her honour. There is a life sized statue of her by the entrance to the old grandstand. Blaskovich's stud farm now houses the Kincsem Equestrian Park and Kincsem Museum, which contains a room devoted to the mare's career. Streets named for Kincsem are in Tápiószentmárton, where she was born, in Kisbér where she died, in Göd, where she was trained, and in Dunakeszi, the biggest training centre in Hungary. There is also a Kincsem Street in Iffezheim (Baden Baden). Kincsem's training stable in Göd was abandoned for many years but in 2016-17 was reconstructed and a statue Kincsem was placed there. Many small businesses around the stable are named after her. A photo of the skeleton of Kincsem was used in an advertisement for her descendant Westorkan in 1967.

When including Kincsem in his book of the 100 Greatest Racehorses, racing commentator Julian Wilson noted that although the competition she faced in Hungary was difficult to evaluate, she was "probably one of the best mares to ever race in Europe." Taking into account her ability to handle heavy weights and the range of distances over which she was successful, turf historian Richard Sowers wrote that there was "little question that [she] compares favorably with any Thoroughbred in history."


A Hungarian film, Kincsem — Bet on Revenge [hu; sv], directed by Gábor Herendi, was released in 2017. The feature film presented Kincsem's history with fictitious details. The movie set a record as the most expensive domestic movie ever produced with a total cost of 3 billion forint. The Hungarian National Film Fund contributed 2,078 billion forint toward the total production cost. The movie was released in Hungarian cinemas on 16 March 2017 and was later shown at the Cannes Film Festival.

Automotive tribute

In 2021, Tibor Bak (a Swiss-based Hungarian who named his company after the racehorse) showed proposals for an electric hypercar called the Kincsem Hyper-GT, with 54 production models due to be built as a tribute to the 54 races that the horse won.

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