Astors

Discussion in 'Horse Racing' started by Bustino74, Jan 14, 2016.

  1. Bustino74

    Bustino74 Thouroughbred Breed Enthusiast

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    I write the occasional article on here about owner-breeders and if I go back to the year I first became interested in racing it was then I became attached to the exploits of an owner-breeder. His name was John Jacob Astor, though usually called Jakie Astor: until his knighthood when he became plain old Sir John Astor. He was the youngest son of the 2nd Viscount Astor, who himself was the son of the 1st, whom people regarded as just about the richest man in the world in 1900. Today the name Astor conjures (pun intended) up different things to different people. To some it means the Cliveden Set (the 2nd Lord), to others it means the Profumo Affair (the 3rd and so Jakie’s elder brother) or to others it lends its name to a hotel. To me it means a trio of owner breeders who for nearly 50 years were always near the top of the UK horseracing tree.

    So my story starts with the second Lord Astor. William ‘Waldorf’ Astor had all the trappings of a rich young man going to Eton and then Oxford. While there he developed an interest in horseracing and over time bought 3 important fillies/mares. The first, Conjure, cost the magnificent sum of 100 guineas while he was still an undergraduate, and the other two were a bit more. They were the mare Maid of the Mist, who was a winning daughter of the great Sceptre and then the mare Popinjay, who was a daughter of the super-mare Chelandry (look her up). The former he bought from the Bass family and the latter from Lord Rosebery. In the mid-‘20s at the height of his stud’s powers, he was able to say that all his colts, fillies and mares, save the near-pensionable Popinjay, had been bred by him.

    His first classic winner was the 1910 1000G winner Winkipop by St Simon’s son William the Third out of Conjure. She also won the Coronation Stakes, Nassau Stakes, Sussex Stakes and Yorkshire Oaks. A pretty good filly and with few produce a useful mare later. A full-brother called Winkie found his way to New Zealand as a stallion. There he sired Entreaty the dam of the great horse Phar Lap. Winkipop was trained by Willie Waugh (of the famous Newmarket family) but soon after this Waldorf Astor (as he was known) sent his horses to Manton to be trained by Alec Taylor Snr. He was influenced by his long-standing friend Gerald Deane and also by Somerville Tattersall. Although to people in the ‘60s George Todd was the ‘Master of Manton’ he was rather a pale version of Alec Taylor Snr, his son Alec Jnr and Joe Lawson who really were masters. The move to Manton was a masterstroke and but for one slight failing Astor did not look back. Over the next few years he built a separate stable block at Manton that is still called the Astor yard. On marrying Nancy Langhorne his father gave him Cliveden and nearby he set up Cliveden Stud.

    1914
    First Spear (by Spearmint out of Third Trick, daughter of Conjure) Falmouth Stakes, Nassau Stakes, and Park Hill Stakes: also second in the Coronation Stakes.
    1917
    Sunny Jane ( by Sunstar out of Maid of the Mist) Oaks winner but also 2nd in the 1000G: few produce but important in the ’50s and ‘60s.
    Magpie (by Dark Ronald out of Popinjay) 2nd in the 2000G: later sold to Australia where he won the Caulfield Cup and was a champion sire.
    1918
    Blink (by Sunstar out of Winkipop) 2nd in the Derby, 3rd in the 2000G and winner of the Princess of Wales Stakes. Apprentice jockey Jack Colling rode Blink in the Guineas and was certain he could turn the tables on his stablemate Gainsborough in the Derby. On Derby Day he was instructed by Gerald Deane (Astor’s Racing Manager) to ride Blink as a pacemaker for Gainsborough as the stable ‘was on’. A devastated Colling was determined if he ever had any authority he’d have nothing to do with racing managers (how he’d love it today!).
    1919
    Buchan (by Sunstar out of Hamoaze, an in utero purchase with Maid of the Mist) 2nd Derby, 2nd 2000G but Champion Stakes, Eclipse Stakes, Craven Stakes, and Chester Vase winner. In addition as a 2yo he won the July Stakes and as a 4yo a further Eclipse Stakes as well as the Doncaster Cup. He became a sire and was champion in 1927 and was twice leading broodmare sire.
    1920
    Buchan (as mentioned above) for the now Lord Astor
    1921
    Craig An Eran (by Sunstar out of Maid of the Mist) 2000G winner who also won the St James’s Palace Stakes and Eclipse: but another 2nd in the Derby. He was later the sire of Derby winner April the Fifth.
    1922
    Pogrom (by Lemberg out of Popingaol, a daughter of Popinjay): Oaks winner but also winner of the Coronation Stakes and Newmarket Oaks.
    Tamar (by Tracery out of Hamoaze) 2nd in the Derby: won the Gordon Stakes and 2nd in the Eclipse.
    1923
    Saltash (by Sunstar out of Hamoaze, Maid of the Mist’s daughter) Eclipse winner
    St Germans (by Swynford out of Hamoaze) Derby 2nd but winner of the Craven Stks, Lowther Stakes (different race then), Burwell Stakes (important race but now discontinued) and 3rd in the Eclipse. As a 4yo he won the Coronation Cup and Doncaster Cup. He had been Astor’s fifth 2nd place in the Derby in 6 years: he was sadly never to win it.
    1924
    St Germans (see above)
    Miss Gadabout (Cyclad out of Popingaol) Cheveley Park Stakes winner, who as a 3yo finished 2
    nd to Saucy Sue in the 1000G and Oaks.
    Jura (Gainsborough out of Maid of the Mist) Lancashire Oaks, Leicestershire Oaks and 2nd in the Yorkshire Oaks.

    1925
    Saucy Sue (by Swynford out of Good and Gay, a Bayardo daughter of Popinjay) 1000G and Oaks winner: also won the Coronation Stakes and Nassau Stakes. She was the leading 2yo of 1924.
    Astor was leading owner.
    1926
    Short Story (by Buchan out of Long Suit, a Lemberg granddaughter of Conjure) Oaks winner and 3rd in 1000G.
    Gay Bird ( by Gay Crusader out of Popinjay) 3rd in the Oaks, 2nd in the Coronation Stakes and 3rd in the Leicestershire Oaks.
    1927
    Book Law (by Buchan out of Popingaol): St Leger winner but 2nd in the 1000G and Oaks. She also won Coronation Stakes, Nassau Stakes and Jockey Club Stakes (then run in the Autumn and a far more important race). As a 2yo she won the Queen Mary Stakes. Often considered to be Astor’s best horse, she achieved immortality when sent to Nearco and produced a relatively useless colt called Archive. He was the sire of Arkle.
    1929
    Pennycomequick (by Hurry On out of Plymstock, a daughter of Winkipop). Oaks winner but later she was the dam of the Hyperion colt High Stakes (who won 34 races for Astor) and the Buchan filly Penicuik (who was sold to the US and was the dam of Pensive, winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes).
    Point Duty (by Grand Parade out of Pinprick, granddaughter of Conjure) Falmouth Stakes and 2nd in Sussex Stakes
    1931
    Sunny Devon (by Solario out of Plymstock) Coronation Stakes and as a 2yo the Molecomb Stakes.
    Volume (by Papyrus out of Long Suit, granddaughter of Conjure) Park Hill Stakes winner

    1933
    Canon Law (by Colorado out of Book Law) St James Palace Stakes
    Mannamead (by Manna out of Pinprick, a granddaughter of Conjure) Rous Memorial Stakes and Burwell Stakes: by then a 4yo he had been the joint top-rated 2yo of his year and was Derby 2nd favourite but was injured in the Spring of his 3yo campaign. He was unbeaten (winning 7 times) and became a successful sire in Hungary.
    So Quick (Solario out of Pinprick) Newmarket Oaks winner
    Betty (by Teddy out of Miss Cavendish, a daughter of Sunny Jane) Coronation Stakes

    1934
    Miss Elene (Buchan out Gay Bird, a granddaughter of Popinjay) Newmarket Oaks winner
    1935
    Field Trial (by Felstead out of Popingaol) 3rd in Derby and won King Edward VII Stakes.
     
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  2. Bustino74

    Bustino74 Thouroughbred Breed Enthusiast

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    1936
    Pay Up (by Fairway out of a full sister to Book Law) 2000G winner.
    Rhodes Scholar (by The Phoenix out of Book Law) Winner of the Eclipse Stakes and St James Palace Stakes. At Ascot in June Rhodes Scholar easily beat the Derby winner Mahmoud, yet Mahmoud was rated the top horse of that year! When Joe Lawson left Manton in 1946 he stated that the three best colts he trained were Orwell, Rhodes Scholar and Court Martial.
    Traffic Light (by Solario out of Point Duty) Champion 3yo filly winning the Coronation Stakes and the Park Hill Stakes. Prolific mare and the family bloomed with the Astors and at the Moller’s White Lodge Stud.
    Astor was leading owner.
    1945
    Court Martial (by Fair Trial out of Instantaneous, a granddaughter of Plymstock): 2000G winner, Champion Stakes winner and also 3rd in the Derby. He was also unbeaten as a 2yo and was a prolific sire (leading sire twice and leading 2yo sire six times). Jim Joel told a fascinating story where his antique dealer explained to him one day that he was trying to sell another client’s horse. Joel was amused and asked the horse’s name and the reply was that it was Court Martial and that Lord Astor didn’t stand stallions so wanted to sell him. Joel, after picking himself up off the floor, snapped him up.
    Amber Flash (by Precipitation out of Traffic Light) Jockey Club Cup winner. Later she was the dam of an Oaks winner and Gambade, the dam of Sodium.

    In 1946 Tattersalls gave up their ownership of Manton and it was sold to George Todd. Joe Lawson left (saying goodbye to one of the best jobs in racing: he later won the Derby with Never Say Die) and Astor moved his horses to the West Ilsley stables owned by trainer Jack Colling.

    1946
    Wheedler (by Umidwar out of Miss Minx, a great,great granddaughter of Sunny Jane) won Falmouth Stakes and Leicestershire Oaks.
    1947
    Mitrailleuse (by Mieuxce out of French Kin) Park Hill Stakes, Newmarket Oaks and Leicestershire Oaks.
    Ash Blonde (by The Phoenix out of Miss Minx) Cheveley Park Stakes


    In 1950 Lord Astor decided to give up his racing interests due to poor health (he died in 1952). His two sons Bill and Jakie shared his enthusiasm for racing and Astor decided to divide his hoses and breeding stock between the two. They tossed a coin and the winner had first choice and they then chose alternately after that.

    Bill, by 1952 the 3rd Lord Astor, kept the record up in the Oaks (1953) when his Ambiguity (by Big Game out of Amber Flash) was the first Classic Winner for Colling’s new stable jockey, 19 year-old Joe Mercer. For Bill Astor and Colling it was sadly to be their only English Classic win. Astor had other fine horses in the ‘50s and there were few better than Hornbeam (by Hyperion out of a Nasrullah mare called Thicket, a granddaughter of Pinprick [Conjure]) who won countless races but was often second in many including the St Leger. Today he’d have had a pacemaker to do the donkey work but Hornbeam often led from the flag. He became a sire of some popularity and as well as siring the St Leger winner Intermezzo sired the mares La Milo (dam of Troy) and Windmill Girl (dam of Blakeney). (Jakie Astor had a filly called Hornpipe by him out of a sister to Darling Boy who was later the dam of Protaginist the USA Champion 2yo of 1973).

    While Bill kept to the Cliveden formula and families, Jakie widened his choice of mares by buying into other families. A mare he bought called Rose Coral provided him with his most successful horse in Rosalba (by Court Martial). A top 2yo but as a 3yo she had the misfortune to run into one of the greatest ever fillies in Petite Etoile: she was 2nd to her in the 1000G. She still managed to win the Fred Darling, Coronation and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. Jakie had his own studs, having Warren Stud in Newmarket and his own Hatley Park Stud in Sandy.

    In 1962 Colling retired and Jakie decided to buy the West Ilsley stables from Colling. He offered the job of trainer to Dick Hern, who at that time was training in Newmarket privately for Major Lionel B Holiday. Hern took the job and remained as Jakie’s trainer right up to 1997. Astor did sell the stables in late 1970 to Lord Arnold Weinstock, but a condition of the sale was that Hern (and Mercer) kept their jobs at West Ilsley for 5 years. This precipitated the retirement from training of Sir Gordon Richards, Weinstock’s trainer.

    Jakie had considerable success with his bought-in families as Darling Boy (a Darius colt out of Sugar Bun, who was a daughter of the Oaks winner Galatea) was one of Hern’s first successes for the stable when winning the Jockey Club Stakes from Hethersett (a horse Hern trained as a 3yo). He had also had the Derby favourite in 1962 in the shape of Escort (a Palestine colt out of a bought-in mare called Warning) but the Astor Derby luck remained the same and Escort finished 4th. However Warning was to foal two other significant performers in the shape of Persian War (3 times Champion Hurdle winner) and a mare called Admonish.

    Persian War (by Persian Gulf) was much liked as a yearling but was slow to come to hand and was finally gelded before winning 2 small races in 1966. That he won 2 races in 1966 was a miracle as Hern’s stable was hit by a debilitating virus which limited the stables runners and they had few winners. He was sold at the Newmarket Horses in Training sale and a few weeks later ran 2nd on his hurdling debut. He then went on to win all the important juvenile hurdles and made such an impression that he was fancied for the Champion Hurdle. As it was he skipped the big Cheltenham meeting but went there a month later to win the Triumph Hurdle. It was highly likely that he’d have won the Champion Hurdle that year but won the next 3 anyway. He was 2nd in 1971 when trying to win his fourth title.

    The ‘Astor’ family that gave Jakie his biggest success was that of Popinjay and his mare was Indian Night, an Umidwar great grand-daughter of Popinjay whom Jakie chose in 1950. Her first significant foal was Indian Twilight who won the Yorkshire Oaks and was placed in the Park Hill Stakes. Her next foal was Tantalizer (by Tantieme) who was good enough to finish 2nd in the Ribblesdale and 3rd in the Irish Oaks. Sent to Aureole she produced an attractive colt called Provoke. He had one race as a 2yo over 6f and was sent by Hern to York for the Glasgow Stakes, then a 2nd tier Derby Trial, early the next year. He finished 4th and was then 2nd in his next race. In mid-June he won his maiden at Newbury over 13f and then came out 6 weeks later to win the 10f Cranbourn Chase Stakes at Ascot. He then carried top weight in the competitive Melrose Handicap at York. He showed real character in a driving finish to win by a neck from a highly touted Sam Hall lightweight (the trainer considered her unbeatable) and was confirmed as a starter for the Leger, in which he was felt to have no chance against the favourite Meadow Court. In very soft ground Provoke came home alone. So impressed was everyone that he was rated the second best colt of his year.
    Indian Night’s next foal of importance was by Black Tarquin (a top stayer by Rhodes Scholar) called Trelawny who became one of the most popular horses of the early ‘60s. Trained by Colling he won three times as a 3yo but was sold as he was a gelding. Trained by Syd Mercer he showed improved form as a 4yo and won the Chester Cup. As a 5yo he was back at Colling’s as Syd Mercer retired but was sent to George Todd as a 6yo after the owner wanted to jock off Colling’s jockey. With Todd he famously did the Ascot Stakes/Queen Alexandria Stakes double at Royal Ascot twice. In all he won 11 races on the flat and probably would have won an Ascot Gold Cup if allowed to run in it. In addition he was a Cheltenham Festival winner for which he was trained by Fred Rimell. Terry Biddlecombe told a nice story about his last season when he was an 11yo. His owner wanted him to go over fences which appalled Rimell and Biddlecombe as they felt the old horse had done enough. They relented and said they’d pop him over a few fences on the training grounds. Terry took him out and apparently he jumped like a stag. He returned to the stable and told the owner he was hopeless and would never jump.

    A near contemporary of Trelawny was Grey of Falloden. Owned by Bill he was a useful 3yo winning 5 times. An Alycidon gelding out of a daughter of Ash Blonde (Maid of the Mist line) he went on to win several important staying races (including Group2s but not the Ascot Gold Cup as he was not allowed to run in it) but is best remembered for the record weight carrying win in the 1964 Cesarawitch. In all he won 13 races and had two fine wins in 1965 in the Henry II Stakes and Queen Alexandria Stakes. 1965 also saw Bill’s last big winner in the form of Craighouse. Unraced as a 2yo this Mossborough son of a half-sister to Hornbeam [Conjure line] won first time out in April at Newmarket in the Wood Ditton Stakes. He was given time to develop and won his next race in July at Newbury. He was a shade too inexperienced in the Great Voltigeur in which he finished a good third so Provoke was routed to Doncaster and Craighouse went to the Curragh where he picked up the Irish St Leger. He looked a great prospect as an improving stayer but disaster lay in the wings. First his owner unexpectedly died that winter and by the end of 1966 Cliveden Stud was sold along with all his horses and mares. Craighouse did run for his executors but so badly that he never ran again. He was a victim of the virus which destroyed Hern’s stable in 1966. Having been third on the trainer’s list in 1965 he fell to 56th in 1966 it was so bad!
    So, many of Bill Astor horses were dispersed, although Lord Rotherwick bought a few mares and some horses in training such that the families continued at Hern's stable.

    A year after Jakie had what was perhaps his best ever horse, Remand, and he came from the same family as his Derby 4th Escort and Persian War. By Alcide out of a full-sister to Escort called Admonish he was described by Hern both as a proper horse and, unfortunately, as the unluckiest horse he ever trained. He appeared as a 2yo in August winning a good maiden at Salisbury. He then won the Solario Stakes on the bridle and finished his season off with an equally impressive win in the Royal Lodge. In a season of outstanding 2yo colts he was rated 2lbs below Petingo and only 1lb below Vaguely Noble who had just won the Timeform Gold Cup.
    But in 1968 the virus returned to Hern’s stable. Remand was focussed on the Derby and won his trial reasonably enough at Chester when giving weight and a beating to Connaught. The stable then started having awful results and when Remand turned up at Epsom on Derby Day Hern described his appearance as horrible. He should not have run him. As it was he took his chance and ran a brave race to finish 4th to Sir Ivor who beat Connaught into 2nd place. Within days the horse had lost all condition and in weeks had lost his hooves. He was rested at his trainer’s stud. He did come back as a 4yo and beat Ribero (the previous year’s Irish Derby and St Leger winner) on his seasonal debut but he was never the same again. Even on a day judges felt he looked like the fine racehose he used to be he kicked the stalls at Sandown and was withdrawn from the Eclipse Stakes: soon after he was coughing again. He won one more race at Ascot later in the season but a horse once-rated near Vaguely Noble was now a pale shadow of his former self.

    Astor did continue to have good horses but some came by a surprising route. In 1964 he swapped a foal with Dick Hollingsworth. Hollingsworth got a dud out of Astor’s Indian Twilight but Astor got a nice filly out of Hollingsworth’s Cutter called Cutle. She won a couple of races as a 3yo in the virus ridden year of 1966 and was packed off to stud. Her second foal was a son of the Aga Khan’s Silver Shark called Sharp Edge and in 1972 he won his first 3 races such that he started favourite for the Royal Lodge at Ascot. He was inconvenienced by the very firm ground and finished a close 3rd in a driving finish. As a 3yo he started off in the Craven but again on firmish ground was only 5th. He still took his chance in the 2000G and in atrocious conditions finished a good 3rd to Mon Fils. A couple of weeks later he easily won the Irish 2000G. His next start saw him comfortably see off the French in the Prix Jean Prat. He arrived at Royal Ascot as favourite for the St James Palace Stakes but was withdrawn from the race because of firm ground (Thatch won). He didn’t win again but ran good races in the Eclipse and Champion Stakes.
    His High Top brother, Cut Above, emulated Astor’s other St. Leger winner by causing another of the biggest shocks in the race’s history (another 28-1 winner). He had run twice as a 2yo without winning (2nd to Kalaglow on his 2nd start). As a 3yo he won the White Rose Stakes, skipped the Derby and finished an easily beaten 2nd in the Irish Derby behind Shergar. He took his chance in the Leger and won when outstaying the Derby 2nd Glint of Gold. Shergar was of course 4th but Mercer who (coincidentally) rode Cut Above said that Shergar was gurgling horribly as he went past him.

    Though Astor went on for another 15 years or so he never achieved anything much again (a bought in filly The Dancer won the May Hill and finished 3rd in the Oaks) and when he died the name of an Astor in racing died. Looking back the sale of West Ilsley was the first sign that all was not as it should be (tax rules on dividends changed and Astor had to consider his hobby). In 1974 he sold half his mares. Then after a few seasons of training a few jumpers for himself he suddenly started training his own flat horses such that he only had a few horses with Hern towards the end. A once great dynasty died out.

    Lord Rotherwick, who bought up much of Bill Astor’s racing stock, had some success. An early highlight was The Accuser who, having won the Queen’s Vase, went on to win the Doncaster Cup in the further virus ridden year of 1968. A Santa Claus colt called Colum out of The Accuser’s half-sister won several group races up until he was a 5yo and a Morston colt out of Colum’s half-sister, called Morcon, was the best of all, winning several races the best of which was the Prince of Wales Stakes. His best run was an unlucky close-up 3rd in the Eclipse to Sadler’s Wells. All were trained by Hern and all of them traced back to Sunny Jane, the Oaks winning daughter of root-mare Maid of the Mist.
    Surprisingly Rotherwick had other successes with Astor lines when he purchased a mare called Whitefoot at the December Sales. She was a pretty good race filly for Eric and Budgie Moller who had bought into the Astor lines and she won the Musidora for them. She was also half-sister to the dam of 1000G winner Full Dress, also tracing back to Maid of the Mist. Whitefoot’s in-utero foal was the cracking filly Swiftfoot, who won the Cheshire Oaks, Irish Oaks and Park Hill Stakes as well as running placed in the Yorkshire Oaks and Irish St Leger. At stud she produced a really good Dancing Brave colt called Bravefoot who was expected to go to the top but who was never the same horse again after being drugged by Dermot Browne when favourite for the Champagne Stakes.

    The Mollers didn’t only buy into the Maid of the Mist family they also bought into the Conjure family. Famous members for them were Popkins (who most years would have been considered a wonder-filly but was born in the same year as Lupe and Highest Hopes) and her daughter Cherry Hinton (who was as good a 2yo filly as you could imagine and who many consider should have won the 1000G) and her son Red Glow (who won the Dante and probably was ridden too confidently by Eddery in the Derby). The Mollers too are gone with their White Lodge stock snapped up by Darley.

    I wrote a recent article on Boussac and it was easy to see the mistakes he made. It is perhaps not so easy with the Astors. They didn’t carry out ridiculous in-breeding; they did not foolishly overuse stallions that they had bred. Waldorf’s philosophy was simple ‘breed the best with the best and hope for the best’. The stallions he used were the best for the most part. Also allied to this was the severe culling of mares he did not find up to scratch. If the conformation was wrong or the foals were poor he culled the mare (not in a cynical way as he often was concerned his rejects went to good homes). So what did go wrong? I postulate that an important element was the loss of the difficult Gerald Deane, who stood no nonsense and made sure mares were culled. The second element is one that has presented itself to me as I look at these great owner-breeders and that is the effect of the 2nd World War. It was particularly damaging to British owner breeders as not only was there little racing in England but also quite a few stallions disappeared to America from Britain and France. The test of a thoroughbred is the racecourse and Wartime racing on these shores was so limited it’s likely that the horses hailed as champions were no such thing and their use as stallions by the country’s top breeders set the course for a downward spiral. The French horses oupointed UK horses in the late ‘40s and ‘50s and the ‘60s saw the rise of the American bred horses. It is only the last two decades through the efforts of Sangster, Coolmore and the Sheikhs that UK and Ireland has reasserted itself. I believe post-war Waldorf showed some decline and that it continued with his sons. Bill Astor was never as serious as his father or brother and evidence of this is the poor state of the Cliveden Stud on its sale in 1966.
    Jakie Astor was slightly different and there were probably few people in racing more admired than he for his innovation and vision. But did he breed the best with the best? I remember from my teens and twenties that the stallions he used were good on paper (Charlottown and Royal Palace for example) but were second rate sires and degraded his broodmares. He also had some dreadful luck and the 3 virus ridden years of ’66, ’68 and ’69 were extremely damaging to his stud. He did try to use other stallions and sent some mares to Ribot and Sir Ivor but never got the returns he deserved. The final straw was his purchase of a share of Shergar!

    So what of these Astor lines today? Well they are not leaping out at you but still good (and even great horses) come from those initial 3 mares of Waldorf. The obvious place to look is the Meon Valley Stud where Maid of the Mist has been represented by One in a Million, Milligram, Kissogram and One So Wonderful: at last count there were still 9 mares in the stud tracing back to Maid of the Mist (see article Take Three Girls). But probably better than all these was the antipodean super filly/mare Black Caviar. Look a few generations back and there is that mare Pinprick who was the dam of Point Duty (the Mollers source as well) and the unbeaten Mannamead, and of course a granddaughter of that 100gns purchase Conjure by Waldorf Astor.
     
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    Last edited: Jan 15, 2016
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  3. OddDog

    OddDog Mild mannered janitor
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    Fascinating stuff Bustino, I greatly admire your patience in constructing this <ok>
     
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  4. Gladness

    Gladness Member

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    I really enjoy reading your articles.
     
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  5. Janabelle13

    Janabelle13 Well-Known Member

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    Really interesting article (as always)
     
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  6. Bustino74

    Bustino74 Thouroughbred Breed Enthusiast

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    Just corrected a few spelling mistakes.
     
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  7. Tamerlo

    Tamerlo Well-Known Member

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    Wonderful, dedicated Article, Bustino. From those horses you mention, I can remember most of them - from the early sixties onwards.
    When I saw Major Lionel Holiday's name, however, I recall that awful memory of the Timeform Gold Cup at Doncaster when his horse, Pushful, was awarded the race on the disqualification of Anne Biddle's Scissors. Such injustice and a sad day for racing.
    You mention West Ilsley Stables being sold to Lord Weinstock- precipitating Gordon Richards' retirement. Prior to retiring, I don't remember Gordon training for Lord Weinstock. I thought he trained for Weinstock's father-in-law, Michael Sobell, and that those two went into partnership later on.
    Can you clarify this for me?:emoticon-0148-yes:
     
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  8. stick

    stick Bumper King

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    Sir Gordon's riding career ended in 1954 following a pelvis injury, but he continued to indulge his passion for racing, by becoming a horse trainer and advisor. As a trainer his main owners were the partnership of Sir Michael Sobell and his son-in-law Lord Weinstock. They placed their first horse, London Cry, with Richards in 1957 and he went on to win the Camridgeshire Handicap of 1958. He also trained for Lady Beaverbrook when she took up her interest in racing. An early owner was Dorothy Paget and when she died he was an influence in Sobell and Weinstock purchasing her stud (Ballymacoll Stud), breeding and racing stock. Training first at Ogbourne in Wiltshire and then at Whitsbury Stables in Hampshire, he sent out many winners and his best horse was the Sobell/Weinstock owned Reform. This colt won 11 of his 14 starts and his victories included the Champion Stakes, St James Palace Stakes and the Sussex Stakes. In addition he trained good horses such as Sunny Cove, Dart Board, Greengage and Pipe of Peace. His stable jockey for much of his training career was Scobie Breasley and when he retired Edward Hide took over. At the end of the 1970 season he was forced to retire from training. The details were that William Hill wished to restart his breeding operation from Whitsbury (which he leased to Richards). Sobell/Weinstock negotiated to buy West Ilsley Stables from Jakie Astor, but a stipulation of the purchase was that incumbent trainer, Dick Hern, and stable jockey, Joe Mercer, remained in place at West Ilsley.
     
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  9. Tamerlo

    Tamerlo Well-Known Member

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    Stick.Thanks for that. So Weinstock was in partnership with Sobell much earlier than I thought- although, when Scobie rode for Richards, the horses were in Sobell's name and pale blue colours.
     
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  10. Ron

    Ron Well-Known Member
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    Well that was a great trip down memory lane (referring to the second post of course). Thanks Bustino. Added to the Bustino Collection index
     
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  11. Bustino74

    Bustino74 Thouroughbred Breed Enthusiast

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    They were. The story goes that Weinstock enjoyed his racing and often went to Ally Pally evening meetings. In 1956 or so he happened to mention to his father in law Sir Michael that he'd like to own a racehorse. Sobell agreed and their first horse was London Cry who won the '58 Cambridgeshire. They were then hooked.
    From the start to Sobell's death it was 2/3 Sobell and 1/3 Weinstock ownership of every horse..
     
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    Last edited: Jan 18, 2016

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