Fred Archer’s Royal Ascot record
in 1878 – 12 wins from 24 mounts
Much was made of Ryan Moore’s modern day record of nine winners from 28 rides at Royal Ascot.
However, since Fred Archer holds the record with 12 wins from 24 rides it is worth unearthing his brilliant achievement in 1878.
Ascot was then a four-day meeting.
On the Tuesday, he rode one winner from seven rides – Garswood 4-9 fav in a Post Sweepstake.
On Wednesday, he rode five winners from six mounts: Lady Lumley 5-4 fav in the Fern Hill Stakes; Julius Caesar 10-1, top weight (5y-8st-6lb) in the Royal Hunt Cup; Redwing 8-1 in the Coronation Stakes; Muley Edris 9-4 in the Triennial Stakes and Sonsie Queen 9-2 in the Ascot Biennial Stakes.
On the Thursday, he rode three winners from six mounts: Lord Clive 1-3 fav in the New Biennial Stakes; Trappist 2-5 fav in the All-aged Stakes and Petrarch 5-4 fav in the Rous Memorial Stakes.
On Friday, the final day, he rode another three winners from five mounts: Out of Bounds 5-6 fav in the Maiden Plate; Trappist 7-1, top weight (6y-9st-10lb) in the Wokingham Stakes and Jannette 4-7 fav in a Triennial Stakes.
In contrast to today, Trappist‘s 9st 10lb in the Wokingham, gave 20lb to the next highest and 59lb to the bottom weights on 5st 7lb, in a field of 24. The distances were 3/4 length and a bad third.
For those who would like to know more of Fred Archer,
I have set out below a short biography.
Frederick James Archer (1857-1886), known as ‘The Tinman’, due to his fondness for cash, was the greatest jockey of his generation. Such was his popular acclaim, that London cab drivers would hail each other with “Archers up,” to show all was well.
Fred was born at St Georges Cottage, Cheltenham on 11th January, 1857.
His father, William Archer, was a successful N.H. jockey, and won the Grand National on Little Charlie, the year after Fred was born. At the age of 11, Fred signed apprentice indentures to Mathew Dawson at Heath House, in Newmarket. It was there he learned his trade, and weighing only 4st. 1lb, he partnered all the stables lightweights in handicaps. Eventually, when he grew tall, he would rap his legs around the horse, squeezing him for the final drive. Powerful in a finish, he was rarely beaten and used the whip unsparingly.
Between 1874 and his death he notched 21 British Classics, including four in the Oaks: Spinaway (1875), Jannette (1878), Lonely (1885), and Wheel of Fortune (1879), who he swore was the best filly he ever rode. He also rode five winners of the Derby: Silvio (1877), Bend Or (1880), Iroquois (1881), Melton (1885) and Ormonde (1886), the greatest horse of the 19th century.
During this time his weight rose from 6st 2lb to 9st 1lb, so causing him to endure lengthy periods of wasting. After losing the Cambridgeshire by a head, when putting up a pound overweight and running a fever, he shot himself in a fit of depression on Monday 8th November, 1886, He was 29 years of age.
Archer was Champion jockey for 13 consecutive years to 1886 and rode a total 2,748 winners, including 246 in 1885. His lifetime ratio of winners to mounts exceeded 34%, although in 1881 and 1884 it exceeded 41%.
His obituary stated: “Backers have lost the best friend they ever had”.