Archive for the ‘Racing Blog Posts’ Category

The Derby Day Poem

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Due to the resurgence of interest in “The Derby Day Poem”

I have re-entered it higher in the pecking order

on my website to help new viewers find it.

 

 

 

 

 

Derby Day – Michael Church

 

Today is Derby Day!

The Thoroughbred in bloom,

The hopes and dreams of many men

Are shown this afternoon.

 

 

The plans, the trials, the joy, the tears

Have happened all before;

The race has run two hundred years

And shall for many more.

 

If you are in the Queen’s Stand,

Or out there on the Downs,

Or riding in the funfair,

The magic comes around.

 

The scene could run forever,

As only the players change,

You make a bet, they shout “They’re off”,

You turn another page.

 

 

 

Epsom Downs in Wartime

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Epsom Downs in Wartime

 

Throughout the First World War 1914-1918, Epsom Racecourse made an important contribution on the home front. There was a military encampment on the Downs, while both grandstands were used as hospitals.

 

Famously, on 22 January 1915, on a snow covered Epsom Downs in blizzard conditions, Lord Kitchener held an inspection of 20,000 volunteers from the 2nd London Division, before they marched off to the Western Front.

 

 

 

Meanwhile, to safeguard the continuity of the Derby and Oaks, the races were run at  Newmarket from 1915-1918, until racing resumed at Epsom for the Spring Meeting in 1919.

 

Twenty-one years of peace followed until on 3rd September, 1939, at 11.15 a.m. Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, broadcast to the nation the following statement.

 

   “This morning the British Ambassador in Berlin handed the German Government a final note stating that, unless we heard from them by 11 o’clock that they were prepared at once to withdraw their troops from Poland, a state of war would exist between us.

   I have to tell you now, that no such undertaking has been received, and that consequently this country is at war with Germany.”

 

To begin with there were little signs of disruption, however, by the end of 1939, Epsom was commandeered by the Army and the following January, its race meetings were abandoned until further notice.

 

There were plans to hold the Epsom Classics at Newbury, but these too were abandoned after strong opposition from the local council. Eventually, the meeting was transferred to the Summer Course at Newmarket, where over the 12 & 13 of June 1940, they were run as the New Derby Stakes and the New Oaks Stakes, as previously titled throughout the First World War.

 

Interestingly, in contrast to the moral indignation raised against racing during the First World War, significantly, the ‘never say die’ spirit of the public travelled with or without petrol coupons, to the 1940 Derby, only days after the evacuation of Dunkirk. Two years later, setting the seal of approval, King George VI won four of the five Classics, only missing out with Big Game in the Derby, when attending with Queen Elizabeth.

 

Meanwhile at Epsom, the military moved into the Prince’s Stand using it as the Officers Mess. Although, not every battle was lost, for in 1943, after a prolonged dispute between the Epsom Grand Stand Association and the nation’s food producers, the Surrey War Agricultural Committee announced its decision to forego their claim to plough up the gallops.

 

 

The racecourse, however, was affected by bombing. Parts of the Grandstand were damaged and there were craters in the enclosures. Nevertheless, everything was patched up in time and the pre-war carnival spirit was in evidence for the first post-war Derby on Wednesday, 5 June 1946.

 

On a day more like January than June, it was reported that 250,000 people attended. For the first time, the Royal family, including the King and Queen, Queen Mary and Princess Elizabeth, drove down the course from Tattenham Corner, whereupon, as if by Royal appointment, the sun came out.

 

The winner, Airborne, only the fourth grey to do so, started at 50-1 and appropriately, was backed by the mothers, wives and sweethearts of those in the service.

 

 

Godolphin Strike Back

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Godolphin Strike Back

Masar, the first Investec Derby winner in Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin blue, has reopened the battle between racings two superpowers. And with the Sheikh now investing in Coolmore stallions, we look forward to a healthy competition for the Classics in England and Ireland.

 

This year’s Derby was run under blue skies and before a bumper crowd. The betting centred on one horse – Saxon Warrior – winner of the 2000 Guineas and best of five Aiden O’Brien entries, starting at 4-5 favourite; Roaring Lion, winner of the Dante Stakes, was next best at 6-1, while Young Rascal (Chester Vase) and Hazapour (Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial), were popular alternatives. The Godolphin hope, Masar, third to Saxon Warrior when favourite for the Guineas, attracted each-way support at 16-1.

The 12 runners on their way, Kew Gardens, Dee Ex Bee and Knight To Behold, led the field for the first half-mile. On to the highest point of the course, Knight To Behold headed Kew Gardens with The Pentagon and Hazapour two lengths away. There was little change in the order until entering the straight, when after Kew Gardens and Knight To Behold gave way, Hazapour took up the running from Dee Ex Bee, with Masar mounting a challenge and Roaring Lion closing fast. Suddenly, Masar forged ahead, leaving Dee Ex Bee and Roaring Lion to scrap for the places, while Saxon Warrior, the disappointment of the race, finished fourth.

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Run on Saturday, 2 June, 2018 as the Investec Derby Stakes over the Derby Course of one mile and a half and 6 yards, Epsom Downs. For three-year-olds; entire colts 9st 0lb, fillies 8st 11lb. 455 entries. Value to winner £850,650.

 

1st MASAR                                  William Buick                   16-1

2nd DEE EX BEE                        Silvestre de Sousa             20-1           1½ lengths

3rd ROARING LION                  Oisin Murphy                    6-1             ½  length

 

Also ran: 4th Saxon Warrior (Ryan Moore) 4-5 Fav; Hazapour (Frankie Dettori) 12-1; Delano Roosevelt (Seamie Heffeman) 16-1; Young Rascal (James Doyle) 17-2: The Pentagon (Wayne Lordan) 33-1; Kew Gardens (Donnacha O’Brien) 16-1; Sevenna Star (Robert Havlin); Knight To Behold (Richard Kingscote) 14-1; Zabriskie (P B Beggy) 66-1 (tailed off, last).

                                                                                                                                                                                             12 ran. Time: 2 min. 34.93 sec.  

BRED by Godolphin.

OWNED by  Godolphin.

TRAINED by Charlie Appleby at Newmarket, Suffolk.

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The winner, MASAR, has won 4 races (from 8 starts), incl. BetBright Solario Stakes, Sandown, Bet365 Craven Stakes, Newmarket, Investec Derby Stakes. Third in Qipco 2000 Guineas Stakes.

 

The sire, NEW APPROACH, ch.c. 2005 by GALILEO ex PARK EXPRESS, won 8 races (from 11 starts) incl. Dewhurst Stakes, Newmarket, Vodafone Derby Stakes, Irish Champion Stakes, Leopardstown,  Champion Stakes (in Course record time 2 m. 0.13 sec.), Newmarket. Second in Two Thousand Guineas Stakes, Newmarket & Irish 2000 Guineas, The Curragh. Sire of DAWN APPROACH ch.c. 2010 ex HYMN OF THE DAWN by PHONE TRICK, won Coventry Stakes, Ascot, Dewhurst Stakes, Newmarket, Two Thousand Guineas Stakes, St James’s Palace Stakes, Ascot; LIBERTARIAN b.c.2010 ex INTRUM MORSHAAN by DARSHAAN, won Dante Stakes, York, second in Investec Derby Stakes; TALENT ch.f. 2010 ex PROWESS by PEINTRE CELEBRE, won Pretty Polly Stakes, Newmarket, Investec Oaks Stakes.

 

The dam, KHAWLAH, b.f. 2008 by CAPE CROSS ex VILLARRICA, won 3 races (from 10 starts) incl. UAE Oaks and UAE Derby, Meydan. MASAR was her second foal.

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Forever Together wins the Investec Oaks

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Forever Together wins the Investec Oaks

The first maiden to win the race since Sun Princess in 1983, Forever Together, stormed home by four and a half lengths to give Aidan O’Brien his seventh winner in the race.

Seven days before the race, however, the Oaks betting was thrown into chaos when the John Gosden-trained ante-post favourite, Lah Ti Dar, returned an unsatisfactory blood test and was withdrawn. Wild Illusion, fourth in the 1000 Guineas, was then made 5-2 favourite, with Magic Wand, winner of the Cheshire Oaks at 4-1 and the runner-up, Forever Together, on 7-1.

On ground described as Soft (Good to soft in places), Flattering, Bye Bye Baby and Wild Illusion, took them up to the mile post, where Bye Bye Baby went on, going four lengths clear at the top of the hill, extending to seven lengths at Tattenham Corner. From coming up the middle of the straight, Bye Bye Baby moved towards the stands’ rail to do battle with Wild Illusion and Forever Together.

Two furlongs out, Forever Together (rails) and Wild Illusion forged ahead, with Donnacha O’Brien on Forever Together, drawing away at the distance to win by four and a half lengths. Bye Bye Baby, keeping up the gallop, finished third, a further three and a half lengths away.

In a blanket attack on the race, Aidan O’Brien trained five of the nine runners, four of which were by Galileo.

Purists may like to know an extra 12 yards had been added to the distance to protect the ground on the inner rail for Derby day.         

             

 

 

 

RUN on Friday, 1 June, 2018, as the Investec Oaks, over the Derby Course of one mile and a half and 6 yards, Epsom Downs. For three-year-old fillies, 9st 0lb. Value to winner £283,550.

 

1st   FOREVER TOGETHER      Donnacha O’Brien     7-1

2nd  WILD ILLUSION              William Buick              5-2 Fav        4½ lengths

3rd  BYE BYE BABY                 Wayne Lordan             8-1              3½ lengths

 

Also ran: 4th Magic Wand (Ryan Moore) 4-1; Flattering (P.B. Beggy) 11-1; Give And Take (James Doyle) 16-1; Perfect Clarity (Adam Kirby) 5-1; I Can Fly (Seamie Heffernan) 9-1 (tailed off); Ejtyah (Jamie Spencer) 25-1(last, 98½ lengths behind the winner).   9 ran. Time: 2 min. 40.39 sec.

                                                              

BRED by Vimal and Gillian Khosia.

OWNED by Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith and Mrs John Magnier.

TRAINED by A P O’Brien at Cashel, Co.Tipperary.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

The winner, FOREVER TOGETHER, a late May foal, has won 1 race (from 4 starts): Investec Oaks Stakes.   

 

The sire, GALILEO b.c. 1998 by SADLER’S WELLS ex URBAN SEA, won 6 races (from 8 starts) incl. Vodafone Derby Stakes, Budweiser Irish Derby, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes. Champion Sire in G.B. & Ireland 2008 & 2010-2017. Sire of 3 Epsom Derby winners: NEW APPROACH ch.c. 2005; RULER OF THE WORLD ch.c. 2010; AUSTRALIA ch.c. 2011, and of 2 other Epsom Oaks winners: WAS b.f. 2009; MINDING b.f. 2013. Also sire of FRANKEL b.c. 2008, won 14 races,  incl. Two Thousand Guineas Stakes, (unbeaten).

 

The dam, GREEN ROOM b. or br. f. 2002 by THEATRICAL ex CHAIN FERN, was unraced. She has bred 7 winners from 8 foals (FOREVER TOGETHER was her 7th), incl. TOGETHER FOREVER b.f. 2012 by GALILEO, won 3 races incl. Dubai Fillies’ Mile, Newmarket.

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Masar makes it 7 Derby Trio’s

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Masar makes it 7 Derby Trio’s

 

When Masar won the 2018 Investec Derby he became the seventh Derby winner whose sire and grandsire had also won the Derby – so forming the threefold prepotent sire line of Masar (won 2018) – New Approach (2008) – Galileo (2001).

 

 

Whilst we await the further exploits of Masar (seen above), his Derby-winning sire, New Approach, notably, won the Champion Stakes at Newmarket in a Course record time, while his sire, the great Galileo, has been Champion Sire in G.B. & Ireland, nine times.

 

The previous trio of grandsire, sire and foal was, Mill Reef (won 1971) – Shirley Heights (1978) – Slip Anchor (1985).

Mill Reef also won the Eclipse Stakes, the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes, the Prix de l’ Arc de Triomphe and the Coronation Cup.

Notably, after fracturing his near-foreleg, he was the first horse in England to benefit from the insertion of a steel plate into his leg, in an operation that took six hours.  His son, Shirley Heights, also won the Irish Derby and sired the ‘trap to line’ Derby winner Slip Anchor.

 

The first trio of grandsire, sire and foal, successful in Epsom’s great race was Waxy (won 1793) – Whalebone (1810) – Lap-dog (1826) and Spaniel (1831).

Waxy and Whalebone were both Champion Sires, while in contrast, Whalebone’s sons, Lap-dog and Spaniel, both won the Derby as 50-1 outsiders.

The next set also started with two great racehorses, Bay Middleton (won 1836) and The Flying Dutchman (1849), however, the latter’s foal, Ellington (1856), owned by Admiral Harcourt, produced no notable progeny.

Doncaster (won 1873), Bend Or (1880) and Ormonde (1886), proved a very strong trio. Doncaster also won the Goodwood and Ascot Gold Cups; BendOr , interestingly, added the City & Suburban and Epsom Gold Cup, and his foal, Ormonde, not only won the Triple Crown, but became the outstanding Derby winner of the 19th century.

 

 

 

 

Next come the popular trio – Spearmint (won 1906), Spion Kop (1920) and Felstead (1928). Spearmint was by the great American horse Carbine; Spion Kop was ex Hammerkop, a Cesarewitch winner who was 17-y-o when foaling her only winner; while Felstead went on to sire the 1938 One Thousand Guineas and Oaks winner Rockfel.

Our final trio here is of Gainsborough (won1918), Hyperion (1933) and Owen Tudor (1941).

Gainsborough won the wartime Triple Crown, with all legs run at Newmarket; his son, Hyperion, was probably, the best loved horse in England between the wars and was Champion Sire six times. His colt, Owen Tudor, added the wartime St Leger and Gold Cup, before siring the celebrated miler, Tudor Minstrel (rated 142 in 1947) and Abernant, twice winner of the July Cup and Nunthorpe Stakes, (rated 139 in 1950).

 

I hope you agree, an all together interesting collection, and pillars within the history of the Derby Stakes.

 

Where did the first Derby start from?

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Where did the first Derby start from?

 

The 1780 Racing Calendar states that the first Derby, was run at Epsom on Thursday, 4th of May, over “the last mile of the Course”,

 

But which Course?

 

Strangely, previous historians could not agree – Roger Mortimer, author of two large volumes of Derby history, including a map of the previous Derby Courses, which I in turn endorsed, believed it was run on the original 17th century four-mile course on Banstead Downs, the last mile turning into the Epsom home straight from a spur behind the stands (see A on the map).

 

In contrast, both David Hunn (author of Epsom Racecourse) and Michael Seth-Smith (in Epsom’s Official History, Derby 200), believed the original Derby Course to be a straight mile that extended beyond the current five furlong start (see B on the map).

 

However, our focused research eventually proved that all had been mistaken.

 

 

On New Year’s Day, 2018, I received an email from Kevin McCarthy, a local researcher and Derby enthusiast, who on a mission to locate the exact starting place of the first Derby, suggested we could solve the mystery together.  We did, but not before we spent months studying ancient maps and searching through every book and newspaper relating to the history of Epsom Downs Racecourse.

 

To put our research into context, the early running’s of the Oaks and Derby were regarded as ground breaking events, for at this time almost all races were run in either two or four-mile heats, a horse having to win two heats to secure the prize. Many racecourses, including Epsom had a two-mile course, with the four-mile heats run over two circuits. However, in the 18th century, Epsom had both a two-mile orbicular course, situated on the site of the present racecourse and, a four-mile cross-country course which started on Banstead Downs, close to Lord Derby’s house The Oaks.

 

Previous researchers had then assumed the early Classics were run from the latter, and until both races were run over “the New Derby Course” in 1784, the Racing Calendar’s vague descriptions of “the last mile of the Course”, for the first Derby and the “last mile and a ½”, for the Oaks, gave historians no reason to believe otherwise.

 

William Kemp’s detailed 1824 map, A Plan and Survey of Epsom Race Course clearly shows that the Orbicular Course, recorded by John Toland in his 1711 publication, A Description of Epsom and its Amusement, incorporated its own internal two/four-mile course, distinct from the older one. Nevertheless, the Racing Calendar’s course descriptions could still refer to either racecourse.

 

Finally, a breakthrough came when finding conclusive evidence in H.E. Malden’s essay, An Eighteenth-Century Journey Through Surrey And Sussex:

“The old straight racecourse on Banstead Downs was disused about 1740, according to Salmon’s History and Antiquities of Surrey, and the “orbicular course” at Epsom, which had existed when Toland wrote thirty years earlier, had quite superseded it.”

“The old Epsom course started at Langley Bottom, out of sight of the place where the Grand Stand is now, and came round the Warren into the present course on top of the hill, and went right round from the present winning-post to Langley Bottom again. It was adapted for running four-mile heats.”.  [Pp 35-36 Surrey Archaeological Collections (Bosworth & Co., Guildford, 1916)]

 

So at last, we had the answer. The original start of the 1780 Derby was in fact, situated at the mile post on the old Orbicular or Cup Course (see C on the map), to be found just a few yards from today’s far running rail, near the busy sand gallop – quite forgotten – until now. And therefore, for future generations history has been re-written.

 

The authors of this project were Kevin McCarthy and Michael Church (Official Derby Historian).

 

For the full academic paper click here – Full 17 page Academic Essay

The Epsom Oaks Pedigree Chart

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THE OAKS CHART 1779-2017

Following Michael’s successful history of the Oaks Stakes,

he has now published a pedigree chart showing the Male Lineage of every winner

from Lord Derby’s Bridget in 1779 to Khalid Abdullah’s Enable in 2017.

 

Although the above chart has been greatly reduced, it measures 66 cm x 59.4 cm or 26″ x 23 1/2″ and is printed on 250 GSM ‘Natural’ ParchMarque Plus . From a limited edition of 90, copies are available directly from Michael at £60 including postage & a sturdy postal tube.

 

All winners and the date won, are shown in in Green capitals and in the ancestry, Champion Sires are shown with an asterisk * either side of their name.

 

The information boxes state that 97% of all racing thoroughbreds descend from ECLIPSE and that 20 of the last 28 Oaks winners are descended from NORTHERN DANCER – see below:

 

 

A further oblong box, shows the fastest times, longest and shortest winning distances, records of largest and smallest fields and prizemoney. There are also photographs of the Founding Fathers – DARLEY ARABIAN, BYERLEY TURK, GODOLPHIN ARABIAN and ECLIPSE.

 

I hope you will get great pleasure from the chart and enjoy owning a piece of Turf history.

 

This months Special Offer – The Oaks chart and the Oaks book for £90 – see Books For Sale

 

 

Investec Derby 2012 Interview – Michael Church

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Tragedy and Scandal – The Suffragette Derby

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Tragedy and Scandal

The Suffragette Derby of 1913

 

On Derby Day, 1913, two dramas were played out on Epsom Downs before a crowd of half a million people – one a tragedy, the other a scandal.

 

As the field swept round Tattenham Corner, a protesting suffragette, came from under the rails into the middle of the race, fatefully, bringing down the King’s horse and jockey and so creating the iconic moment for the Suffragist movement.

 

Minutes later, the stewards brushing aside the incident, formed an incomplete quorum, to disqualify the winning favourite amid claims of prejudice and personal vendetta. The promoted winner started at 100-1, and the horse that finished third was not placed by the judge. These events and the motives behind them headlined the news for many days.

 

 

 

 

The Suffragette, Emily Wilding Davison was born on 11 October 1872, in Blackheath, London, but lived in Longhorsley, Northumberland. After attaining B.A. Honours at the Royal Holloway College, she went on to study English Language and Literature at St Hugh’s College, Oxford, where she won first class honours.

 

However, and this may have proved significant, women, at that time, were not admitted to obtain degrees at Oxford. In 1906, Emily joined the Women’s Social and Political Union, known as the WSPU, a movement led by Emmeline Pankhurst, who defiantly believed that ‘direct action’ would lead to women gaining the vote.

 

Three years later, Emily gave up her position as teacher to a family in Berkshire, in order to promote the cause of women’s suffrage and very quickly came to the forefront of the ‘direct action’ groups. Although her police record has little to do with the Derby, it is only with the knowledge of her dedication and fervency that her action at Tattenham Corner can be understood.

 

Never one for compromise, Emily once barricaded herself in her cell to avoid being force-fed, only for a prison officer to force a nozzle of a hosepipe through the window, to drench her and flood her cell. On another occasion, in protest to her fellow suffragist’s being force-fed, when not on hunger strike, she jumped down an iron staircase and received severe spinal injuries.

 

Her seven prison sentences included six months for setting fire to post boxes in Holloway. There she soaked rags in paraffin, set them alight and then pushed them into the boxes – a crime that started a wave of similar incidents. Sentenced at the Old Bailey and force-fed, she was released only 10 days before the end of her sentence due to injuries incurred. Emily was also imprisoned for 10 days for assaulting a Baptist Minister with a dog whip in Aberdeen, mistakenly identifying him as David Lloyd George. Mercifully, she was released after four days’ hunger strike. Although completely dedicated to the cause, Emily Davison was regarded by many in the movement as a maverick and few if any, knew what disruption she had planned for Derby Day.

 

On the morning of Wednesday, 4 June, 1913, Emily took two large flags of the suffragist colours – green, white and purple stripes – folded them into a large pad and pinned them inside the back of her jacket, possibly for a demonstration. She then travelled to Victoria Station where she notably bought a return ticket to the Tattenham Corner Station at Epsom.

 

The Derby was the third race of the afternoon. Emily stood towards the end of Tattenham Corner, about ten rows back from the rails and, directly opposite the Movie cameras. Significantly, this was the first race where the horses were to come around Tattenham Corner; the two previous races over five furlongs having started opposite her, from a shoot to the straight.

 

Fifteen runners went to post on a bright but cloudy day. Mary Richardson, who stood with Emily at Tattenham Corner, wrote of the incident in her book Laugh a Defiance:

 

   “A minute before the race started she raised a paper on her own or some

kind of card before her eyes. I was watching her hand. It did not shake. Even

when I heard the pounding of horses’ hoofs moving closer I saw she was still

smiling. And suddenly she slipped under the rail and ran out into the middle

of the racecourse. It was all over so quickly.”

 

The author, having watched the flickering film, frame-by-frame many times, can confirm that after nine of the 15 runners had past there was a gap of a few yards, into which Davison, dressed in a large black coat and hat, slipped under the running rail holding what looked like a sheet of paper, perhaps a petition. Moving towards the next on-coming horse – Agadir – she stepped aside. Two more horses passed close by and in each case her attempt to grab their bridle was unsuccessful. Then, after a space of about four lengths, Emily stood purposely in front of the next horse, Anmer, owned by King George V and putting her hands up, apparently to grab the bridle, she was forcibly bowled over by the horse, who, a split-second later crashed to the ground, taking Herbert Jones, trapped in a stirrup, down with him.

 

Photographs show that apart from those spectators on the rail in front of the incident, most of the crowd were intent on following the race around the bend. However, seconds later, people rushed towards the stricken parties from the other side of the course.

 

In retrospect, it seems highly unlikely that Emily, without hearing any form of race commentary, would have known where in the running order the King’s horse would have been. Also, from her position, surrounded by spectators, some standing on top of carriages, she was unlikely to have seen the first batch of runners coming until they were upon her. Ironically, the first horse she made contact with, was the King’s horse and so doing brought her martyrdom the maximum publicity.

Fortunately, the cinematograph operators of the Gaumont Company were situated on the other side of the course, opposite the incident. With great initiative the film was shown that evening at the Hippodrome and Coliseum Theatres and later, at many other London and provincial cinemas.

An examination of Emily’s pockets after the race included the racecard, known as Dorling’s List, a helpers pass for the WSPU Kensington festival and a handkerchief bearing her name, which quickly proved her identity.

 

In the aftermath, Miss Davison was taken to Epsom Cottage Hospital, where she never regained consciousness and died on 8 June, 1913. Her death certificate confirmed a

“fracture of the base of the skull caused by being accidentally knocked down by a horse through wilfully rushing onto the racecourse at Epsom Downs”.

 

Herbert Jones, also found unconscious, was first taken up the course on a wheeled stretcher to the weighing in room. When unable to get through the door, he was taken to a room at the back of the stands. His examination revealed a fractured rib, cuts and bruises on the body and a black eye. On regaining consciousness, he was taken to the Great Eastern Hotel, Liverpool Street, where he stayed the following day, returning to Newmarket on the Friday.

  

  Lloyds Weekly News reported:

“Asked if he remembered anything about the incident, Jones said the woman seemed to clutch at his horse, and he felt it strike her…. He asked after the suffragette who had brought him down, and there was only kindness in his voice.”

 

The King’s horse Anmer, although suffering bruises recovered amazingly well, reappearing in the Ascot Derby two weeks later. However, he failed to win another race, either that year or the next.

 

Whilst the popular press showed great sympathy in covering Miss Davison’s death, in contrast, almost all the racing fraternity were angered by her intrusion. The Racing Calendar’s minimal report stated: “Anmer was interfered with by a spectator and fell.”

 

The funeral of Emily Davison was not only noble and impressive, but it became the iconic event in women’s suffrage. Starting from Victoria Station 6,000 suffragists, many dressed in white and carrying white lilies, marched through streets to St George’s Church in Bloomsbury, where the funeral took place. The coffin and attendants, then travelled by train from King’s Cross Station to Newcastle and finally, to the churchyard of St Mary the Virgin, Morpeth in Northumberland, where 30,000 people attended. Her gravestone bore the WSPU slogan “Deeds not words”.

 

Fatefully, it is worth considering, had Emily stepped on to the racecourse a few seconds earlier, she would have brought down half the field and their jockeys, perhaps causing deaths other than her own. A few seconds later, the horses would all have passed and the incident would have been reduced to a footnote.

 

 To move from the tragedy to the scandal – the prejudice that caused Craganour to be disqualified had its origin in the sinking of the Titanic the year before.

 

Charles Bower Ismay, owner of Craganour, was the younger brother Bruce Ismay, the Managing Director of the White Star Line, who was rescued from the Titanic, when 1,517 others lost their lives.  In the following enquiry set up by the United States Senate, Bruce was strongly criticised by the Hearst Press, who roundly accused him of cowardice. Later, although a British inquiry exonerated him, the stain on the family’s reputation remained. The two brothers were close, Bower Ismay having married the sister of Bruce Ismay’s wife.

 

In consequence, the prejudice against the Ismay’s was widespread and brought to bear when Craganour, appearing to win the Two Thousand Guineas, was overlooked by the judge in favour of Louviers, despite press photographs clearly showing the opposite.

 

Major Eustace Loder’s involvement came originally as the breeder of Craganour, the colt fetching 3,200 guineas – the top price at the 1911 September Doncaster Sales – knocked  down to Charles Bower Ismay. Later, to compound matters, he believed Ismay to have had affair with his sister-in-law.

 

The eventual winner of the 1913 Derby, Aboyeur, had shown promise when winning the Champagne Stakes at Salisbury. However, after running poorly in the Easter Stakes at Kempton on his three-year-old debut, his Derby odds drifted to 100-1.

 

In the Race, rounding Tattenham Corner, Aboyeur led the field from Craganour, until turning into the straight, where Craganour, ridden by Johnny Reiff (a fearless American Jockey) bumped Aboyeur, sending him to the rails, so cutting off Shogun. In the final furlong, Aboyeur, under pressure from Edwin Piper’s whip, continually leant into Craganour as the pair moved off the rails. They passed the post together, but Craganour’s number was hoisted as the winner.

 

 

Charles Bower Ismay led in his colt and the ‘all right’ was given. But as Craganour was led away, Lord Durham rushed out to announce a stewards’ inquiry and an objection to the winner. Strangely, Aboyeur’s owner Alan Cunliffe, a shrewd gambler who stood to win nearly £40,000, had seen no reason to object – the objection came from the stewards.

 

Initiated solely by Major Eustace Loder, but with the support of Lord Wolverton, they formed an unchallenged quorum of two, after the remaining stewards had declared a personal interest. After a lengthy period during which another race was run, the verdict came: Craganour was disqualified and placed last on the grounds that he had jostled Aboyeur, caused serious interference to three other runners, and had ‘bumped and bored Aboyeur so as to prevent his winning’. Incredibly, Ismay’s notice of appeal to the clerk of the course was received a day outside the appeal deadline. Adding to the confusion, Day Comet, who had finished third but was obscured from the judge’s view, was assigned no official place and the error was never corrected.

 

In the days that followed, there was some strong criticism of what was considered a harsh decision. Mayrick Good of The Sporting Life wrote:

 

   “I have no hesitation in stating that in my opinion Aboyeur was the real transgressor. No one had a better view of the race than I, and that was my conclusion. Nothing I have heard since has ever induced me to change that view.”

 

A week after the Derby, Ismay, now realising Craganour had no future in Britain, either on the racecourse or at stud, sold the colt to Senor Martinez de Hoz, owner of the famous Chapadmalal Stud in Argentina, for £30,000 (over £2 million today).

Aboyeur ran twice more, finishing third in the St George Stakes at Liverpool and second in the Gordon Stakes at Goodwood. He was then sold for 13,000 guineas to the Imperial Racing Club at St Petersburg in Russia before disappearing in the Russian Revolution.

 

Major Eustace Loder (1867-1914), was a successful breeder and owner. In 1906, he won the Derby with Spearmint, although his best horse by far, was Pretty Polly, adored by the public she won of 22 of her 24 races, including the Fillies’ Triple Crown in 1904. Controversially, Loder is remembered for his part in the disqualification of Craganour, the publicity and consequences of which left its mark and he died a year later aged 47.

  

Returning to the Suffragette cause, a daggers drawn altercation had developed between Emmeline Pankhurst and David Lloyd George.

 

On 20 February 1913, after The Times reported: ‘An attempt was made yesterday morning to blow up a house which is being built for Mr Lloyd George, near Walton Heath Golf Links’.  That evening, at a meeting in Cory Hall Cardiff, Mrs Emmeline Pankhurst, the leader of the militant suffragette society, the Women’s Social and Political Union, proclaimed ‘we have blown up the Chancellor of Exchequer’s house’ and, ‘for all that has been done in the past I accept responsibility. 

 

However, all was to change with the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914. Firstly, all the imprisoned suffragettes were released unconditionally. After which, Mrs Pankhurst recommended a temporary suspension of militant activities, calling for her followers to actively campaign for women’s war work.

 

In 1915, after a crucial need for a million more shells, Lloyd George, now Minister of Munitions, met with Mrs Pankhurst, suggesting she led a Women’s Right to Serve demonstration to overcome trade union opposition to female labour. She did, and within months 80% of the munitions’ workforces were women. Known as ‘Munitionettes’ they produced a continual flow of 18lb shells to win the war.

 

In 1918, citing the work carried out by women during the First World War, the Government gave women the vote if over 30 years of age and a property owner, or married to a property owner. Ten years later, the age limit for women was reduced to 21, the same as for men.

 

A centenary after the tragedy on Epsom racecourse, the Jockey Club unveiled a commemorative plaque to Emily Wilding Davison on the rails at Tattenham Corner.

The unveiling ceremony on Thursday, 18 April 2013, was attended by, “the largest gathering of Emily’s descendants and relatives to date”.

http://www.michaelchurchracingbooks.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Suffragette-plaque-on-18-4-13.jpg 

 

Galileo in Orbit

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This is Michael’s account of Galileo’s Derby victory

and his Notable Progeny thereafter

 

As a point to note, 40 years ago top stallions were usually limited to 40 mares per season and like Shergar were often syndicated as such.

Galileo’s dominant position and influence in Thoroughbred breeding, albeit with Frankel waiting in the wings, is strengthened by now having at least three times the opportunities of earlier sires.

 

Under Books for Sale

Michael has a selection of his books on Racing & Breeding

including, The Classic Pedigree 1776-1989 and Classic Pedigrees 1776-2005