Thistle Bird has been part of a highly successful period over the past few years for her owner-breeders, Lord and Lady Rothschild. It has included victory in the 2011 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (part of the QIPCO British Champions Series) thanks to Nathaniel and the 2012 Irish Oaks triumph of Great Heavens.
Unraced as a two-year-old, Thistle Bird got off the mark in a Nottingham maiden on her second start in late May 2011 and she has progressed steadily ever since.
In August 2011 she notched her second victory, in a Windsor handicap off a mark of just 84, and, according to the official handicapper, she improved by more than two stone in the subsequent two years. 2012 brought three wins from five outings, all of those successes coming over one mile in races carrying Listed status.
She first got her head in front in a Pattern race at the third attempt when landing the Group 3 Princess Elizabeth Stakes at Epsom on May 31st 2013.
A rare dull effort followed, when last of nine behind Duntle in the Group 2 Duke of Cambridge Stakes at Royal Ascot, but she bounced back with a career best perfomance when caught in the last few strides of the Group 1 Markel Insurance Nassau Stakes. Her second place behind Winsili was all the more surprising given that it came over the distance of a mile and a quarter which had previously always appeared to be outside her stamina range, but she emphasised that this is now her best trip when a fast finishing third in the Group 1 Prix de l’Opera on Arc Day at Longchamp.
After indications that she was going to be retired, she is back into the fray in 2014, targeting the Middleton Stakes at York as her first race in which she finished sixth behind the winner, Ambivalent. Next she went back to Epsom and landed the Princess Elizabeth Stakes for the second year running.
She stepped up in class for her next outing in the Group 1 Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh at the end of June and won really well to record her first Group 1 success.
She was due to run in the Markel Insurance Nassau Stakes and would have had a fine chance of converting last year’s second place into a victory, but she aggravated an old injury and has now been retired.
Charlton told his website: "Thisle Bird has been retired and she will be returning home to Waddesdon Stud in the next few days.
"The injury that she picked up a few days before the Nassau will take time to heal and very sensibly her owner Lady Rothschild has decided not to risk her on a racecourse again."
Thistle Bird won £359,442 in prize-money and Charlton added: "She has been a very tough and consistent mare and she has always fought so hard in all of her 20 races.
"She won eight times of which six were in black-type races and her real moment of glory came at the Curragh where she won the Group 1 Pretty Polly."