Niarchos Family To Receive International Award Of Merit

Maria Niarchos-Gouaze and Electra Niarchos | Scoop Dyga

The Niarchos Family will be honoured with the Longines and IFHA International Award of Merit for 2021. The award recognises distinguished horsemen and horsewomen for lifelong contributions to Thoroughbred racing, with previous winners including the Magnier Family and Aidan O'Brien; the Romanet Family, Jim Bolger, Alec Head and Seth Hancock.

The late Stavros Niarchos, a Greek naval officer in World War II who made his fortune in the shipping business, first became involved with Thoroughbred racing in the 1950s before taking a break and returning with a major commitment in the 1970s. The Niarchos Family has bred and/or raced 125 Grade and Group 1 winners around the globe.

One of the Niarchos Family's first notable horses was Nureyev, who they purchased at the 1978 Keeneland July Sale. Nureyev went on to be a highly influential sire, and among his best progeny was the Niarchos Family's homebred Miesque, a champion in England, the U.S. and France, a dual GI Breeders' Cup Mile winner, Hall of Famer and influential broodmare, her progeny perhaps highlighted by the Group 1-winning sire Kingmambo. Miesque's influence is still felt today through numerous branches, including the one that has produced Group 1-winning sisters Alpha Centauri (Ire) (Mastercraftsman {Ire}), Alpine Star (Ire) (Sea The Moon {Ger}) and Discoveries (Ire) (Mastercraftsman {Ire}) for the Niarchos Family.

Stavros Niarchos was leading owner in France in 1983 and 1984, and leading breeder in 1989, 1993 and 1994. Niarchos died in 1996, at which point his daughter Maria Niarchos-Gouaze took over the family's Thoroughbred business.

The Niarchos Family has been strong supporters of the Breeders' Cup since the meeting's inception and has won seven Breeders' Cup races with six homebreds: Miesque, Spinning World, Domedriver (Ire), Six Perfections (Fr), Karakontie (Jpn) and Main Sequence. The Niarchos Family will be honoured during a ceremony on Nov. 5 in Del Mar during the Breeders' Cup, where Niarchos-Gouaze will accept the Award of Merit on behalf of the family.

Other prominent horses raced by the Niarchos Family include Bago (Fr), Divine Proportions, Light Shift, Ulysses (Ire), Alpha Centauri (Ire), Study Of Man (Jpn) and Circus Maximus (Ire). They also bred War Of Will, the 2019 GI Preakness S. winner.

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