Rainbow Quest (USA)
b c Blushing Groom – I Will Follow (Herbager)
Rainbow Quest was purchased as a yearling for $950,000 at the Fasig Tipton Yearling Sale in July 1982, the second highest top-priced lot of the sale. In the August of the following year, trainer Jeremy Tree sent him to a Maiden race at Newmarket, where the colt quickened clear of the other 29 runners to win impressively. An effortless victory in a Conditions event at Newbury followed, where he defeated Prince Khalid’s other runner Duelling, before Rainbow Quest was dropped back in trip to run second to favourite El Gran Senor in the Gr.1 Dewhurst Stakes.
Returning as a three-year-old, Rainbow Quest was a short head second in the Gr.3 Craven Stakes. In a high-class renewal of the Gr.1 2000 Guineas, he finished fourth behind El Gran Senor, Chief Singer and Lear Fan, where he looked like he needed further. His stamina came into play in the Gr.1 Prix du Jockey Club next time out, another quality renewal where Rainbow Quest finished third behind Darshaan and Sadler’s Wells. He went one place further in the Gr.1 Irish Derby a few weeks later, where he was beaten a length behind El Gran Senor after behaving badly in the preliminaries and running very freely.
Back on home soil, Rainbow Quest returned to winning ways to win impressively the Gr.2 Great Voltigeur Stakes at York, but finished the season disappointingly down the field in the Gr.1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, again misbehaving.
As a four-year-old, Rainbow Quest made a winning return in the Listed Clive Graham Stakes at Goodwood. He followed suit in the Gr.1 Coronation Cup at Epsom. In his next two starts, his problems with exuberance returned, and he finished second to Pebbles in the Gr.1 Eclipse Stakes and third in the Gr.1 King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes to Petoski and Oh So Sharp. On his final racecourse appearance, Rainbow Quest returned to Longchamp for the Arc, where he finished second to Sagace by a neck. Sagace was disqualified however for causing interference and the placings were reversed for only the second time in the race’s history – thus Rainbow Quest became the first Arc winner for Prince Khalid.
Rainbow Quest was retired to stand as a stallion at Juddmonte Wargrave for the 1986 season (transferring to Banstead Manor Stud – Juddmonte’s new headquarters – in 1988). A dual Group 1 winner as a racehorse, at stud he proved even more successful. His first crop included the winners of the Gr.1 Derby (Quest For Fame – Prince Khalid’s first Derby winner), Gr.1 Irish Oaks (Knight’s Baroness), Gr.1 Grand Prix de Paris and Gr.1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (Saumarez) and Gr.1 Prix du Cadran (Sought Out). Seven more Classic winners followed – Nedawi and Millenary, who both took Gr.1 St Legers, Spectrum in the Gr.1 Irish 2000 Guineas, the brothers Raintrap and Sunshack in the Gr.1 Prix Royal Oak, and Bright Generation and Fashion Statement (a month before her sire’s death) in the Gr.2 Italian Oaks. He sired 20 Group 1 winners in total, the last of them being Colour Vision in the 2012 Gr.1 Ascot Gold Cup.
Rainbow Quest was also a leading broodmare sire, his daughters responsible for the likes of Rebelline, Rakti, Kris Kin, Powerscourt, North Light, Footstepsinthesand, Look Here and Elusive Wave, as well as Grand National winner Auroras Encore.
At the age of 26, Rainbow Quest was put down following complications after colic surgery. ‘Rainbow’ was looked after for most of his stallion career by Johnny Gilbert, who was, poignantly, on holiday when his beloved charge died. “The man and the horse had a special bond,” said Stud Manager Simon Mockridge. “As an individual, Rainbow Quest was bright and sharp, and always noticed everything going on around him. He was very much a one-man horse. When Johnny was away he’d play everyone else up; it would take us 20 minutes to catch him from the paddock. He was never nasty, but he had a wicked sense of humour. He was special to Juddmonte and we will miss him very much.”