Thormanby (horse)

Last updated
Thormanby
Thormanby 1.jpg
Thormanby. Lithograph by John Sherer
SireWindhound (or Melbourne)
GrandsirePantaloon
Dam Alice Hawthorn
DamsireMuley Moloch
Sex Stallion
Foaled1857
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
Colour Chestnut
BreederBenjamin Plummer
Owner James Merry
Trainer Mathew Dawson
Record24: 14–4–4
Major wins
Gimcrack Stakes (1859)
Epsom Derby (1860)
Ascot Gold Cup (1861)
Awards
Leading sire in Great Britain and Ireland (1869)

Thormanby (18571875) was a British Thoroughbred racehorse and sire. In a career that lasted from May 1859 to July 1861, he ran twenty-four times and won fourteen races. He was regarded by experts as one of the outstanding horses of his era.

Thoroughbred Horse breed developed for racing

The Thoroughbred is a horse breed best known for its use in horse racing. Although the word thoroughbred is sometimes used to refer to any breed of purebred horse, it technically refers only to the Thoroughbred breed. Thoroughbreds are considered "hot-blooded" horses that are known for their agility, speed, and spirit.

Contents

After winning nine races, including the Gimcrack Stakes at York as a two-year-old in 1859 he won The Derby on his first start of 1860. Although he failed to reproduce his best form in the autumn of his three-year-old season, he returned in 1861 to win his first four races including the Ascot Gold Cup.

The Gimcrack Stakes is a Group 2 flat horse race in Great Britain open to two-year-old colts and geldings. It is run at York over a distance of 6 furlongs, and it is scheduled to take place each year in August.

York Racecourse horse racing venue in England

York Racecourse is a horse racing venue in York, North Yorkshire, England. It is the third biggest racecourse in Britain in terms of total prize money offered, and second behind Ascot in prize money offered per meeting. It attracts around 350,000 racegoers per year and stages three of the UK's 36 annual Group 1 races – the Juddmonte International Stakes, the Nunthorpe Stakes and the Yorkshire Oaks.

Epsom Derby Flat horse race in Britain

The Derby Stakes, officially the Investec Derby, popularly known as the Derby is a Group 1 flat horse race in England open to three-year-old colts and fillies. It is run at Epsom Downs Racecourse in Surrey over a distance of one mile, four furlongs and 6 yards, on the first Saturday of June each year.

At the end of the 1861 season, he was retired to stud where he sired the winners of many important races. His grandson, Bend Or, became the direct male ancestor of most modern Thoroughbred racehorses.

Bend Or British-bred Thoroughbred racehorse

Bend Or (1877–1903) was a British Thoroughbred racehorse who won the 1880 Epsom Derby. His regular jockey Fred Archer, winner of thirteen consecutive British jockey titles, said Bend Or was probably the greatest horse he had ever ridden.

Background

Alice Hawthorn. The winner of 52 races and Thormanby's dam Alice Hawthorn.jpg
Alice Hawthorn. The winner of 52 races and Thormanby's dam

Thormanby was a lean, wiry, rather plain-looking chestnut horse [1] with a white stripe and a white sock on his left hind leg. He was bred by Benjamin Plummer who had difficulty finding a buyer for the young horse [2] as a yearling at the Doncaster sales before selling him privately for £350 to the trainer Mathew Dawson. Dawson bought the colt for his principal patron James Merry, who was initially reluctant to complete the transaction. Dawson had to keep and feed the horse at his own expense for several months before Merry agreed to hand over the money. [3] Dawson trained the colt at Russley Park, near Lambourn.

Horse markings Colored areas, usually white, on a horse that differ from the body color

Markings on horses are usually distinctive white areas on an otherwise dark base coat color. Most horses have some markings, and they help to identify the horse as a unique individual. Markings are present at birth and do not change over the course of the horse's life. Most markings have pink skin underneath most of the white hairs, though a few faint markings may occasionally have white hair with no underlying pink skin. Markings may appear to change slightly when a horse grows or sheds its winter coat, however this difference is simply a factor of hair coat length; the underlying pattern does not change.

Mathew Dawson Scottish racehorse trainer

Mathew Dawson (1820–1898) was a British racehorse trainer. In a career which lasted from 1840 until his death in 1898 he trained the winners of twenty-eight British Classic Races, a figure surpassed by only two other men. He was significant as one of the first trainers to run a public stable, rather than being the employee of a wealthy patron. He was based for most of his career at Newmarket, Suffolk. His first name is sometimes recorded as "Matthew", but "Mathew" is more usual.

James Merry (Scottish politician) British politician

James Merry was a Scottish ironmaster and race-horse breeder and a Liberal politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1859 to 1874.

Thormanby’s dam was the outstanding race mare Alice Hawthorn (left), who won fifty-two races including the Goodwood and Doncaster Cups. The identity of his sire was officially problematic, as Alice Hawthorn was covered by two stallions, Windhound and Melbourne in 1856. Melbourne, the sire of the Triple Crown winner West Australian was, however, true-breeding bay, meaning that all his registered offspring were bay or brown. [4] It is almost certain, therefore, that the chestnut Thormanby was a son of the less famous Windhound. This view was supported by the testimony of Mathew Dawson, who was working at the stud at the time of Thormanby's conception: he reported that Alice Hawthorn had rejected Melbourne, but been receptive to Windhound. [5]

The Goodwood Cup is a Group 1 flat horse race in Great Britain open to horses aged three years or older. It is run at Goodwood over a distance of 2 miles, and it is scheduled to take place each year in late July or early August.

Doncaster Cup

The Doncaster Cup is a Group 2 flat horse race in Great Britain open to horses aged three years or older. It is run at Doncaster over a distance of 2 miles 1 furlong and 197 yards, and it is scheduled to take place each year in September.

West Australian (horse) British-bred Thoroughbred racehorse

West Australian (1850–1870) was a British Thoroughbred racehorse and sire. In a racing career which lasted from October 1852 until June 1854 he ran ten times and won nine races. After being beaten on his debut, he won all his remaining starts including the 2000 Guineas, The Derby the St Leger and the Ascot Gold Cup. He has been retrospectively recognised as the first Triple Crown winner. West Australian was regarded by contemporary experts as one of the best British horses of the nineteenth century. After his retirement from racing he had some success as a sire of winners in England and France and was largely responsible for the survival of the Godolphin Arabian sire-line.

Racing career

1859: two-year-old season

Thormanby, like many of Dawson’s horses, was highly tried as a two-year-old, running fourteen times. In spring he won minor races at Northampton, York and Chester and finished third to Lupellus at Epsom. The Field described him as "by far the best" of the early two-year-olds. [6]

Chester Racecourse horse racing venue in England

Chester Racecourse, known as the Roodee, is according to official records the oldest racecourse still in use in England. Horse racing at Chester dates back to the early sixteenth century. It is also thought to be the smallest racecourse of significance in England at 1 mile and 1 furlong (1.8 km) long.

Epsom Downs Racecourse horse racing venue in England

Epsom Downs is a Grade 1 racecourse on the hills associated with Epsom in Surrey, England which is used for thoroughbred horse racing. The "Downs" referred to in the name are part of the North Downs.

The Field is the world's oldest country and field sports magazine, having been published continuously since 1853. Its current publisher is TI Media.

At Royal Ascot in June Thormanby won a Biennial Stakes, beating Lupellus, and then finished second to Rupee in a field of twenty runners for the New Stakes. At Goodwood in July, he ran twice, winning the Lavant Stakes and finishing third in the Findon Stakes. He ran three times at the York meeting in August, running third in the Convivial Stakes and then winning the Eglington Stakes and the meeting's premier two-year-old race, the Gimcrack Stakes. [7]

In Autumn, Thormanby was sent to race at Newmarket, where he ran three times. He finished third in the Eglington Stakes and then won the Prendergast Stakes. On his final start of the year, he recorded his second important win, beating seven rivals to win the valuable Criterion Stakes by a length. [8]

1860: three-year-old season

James Merry, Thormanby's owner, who initially refused to pay for the future Derby winner James Merry2.jpg
James Merry, Thormanby's owner, who initially refused to pay for the future Derby winner

Thormanby did not run as a three-year-old before the Derby. In spring, a colt named “The Wizard” won the 2000 Guineas in impressive style [2] and was made favourite for the Derby. Thormanby, however, had been performing exceptionally well in training, notably when giving thirteen pounds and a decisive beating to a good colt called Northern Light. [9] When Dawson was told that The Wizard had proved himself to be a “tremendous horse”, he replied, “Who’s afraid?” Dawson did, in fact, fear that attempts would be made to deliberately injure or "nobble" Thormanby and took steps to protect him, including switching his jockeys' racing colours at the last moment to confuse any potential assailants. [9]

At Epsom on 23 May, Thormanby impressed observers when he appeared in the paddock before the Derby: his coat was "like a mirror" and as he galloped to the start, he "hardly seemed to touch the ground." [10] He started the 4/1 second favourite in a field of thirty runners, with The Wizard being made 3/1 favourite and the American-bred colt Umpire, whose supporters included the famous boxer John C. Heenan, [11] being also strongly fancied. The attendance for the race was estimated at up to 480,000. [6] Ridden by Harry Custance, a lightweight jockey who had to carry twenty-two pounds of lead in his saddle to make the required weight, [11] Thormanby raced just behind the leaders in the early stages before making his challenge on the outside early in the straight. A furlong from the finish Thormanby overtook The Wizard and went into the lead, from which point on the result was not in doubt. Thormanby won easily by one and a half lengths from The Wizard, with the outsider Horror taking third. [12] James Merry reportedly took more than £85,000 in winning bets. [3]

Thormanby was rested after the Derby before returning in September for the St Leger for which he started 9/4 favourite in a field of fourteen. Thormanby held third place turning into the straight but faded in the closing stages and finished fifth, four lengths behind the winner St Albans. Two days later Thormanby reappeared in the Doncaster Cup over two and a half miles. He was held up in the early stages before making a strong challenge in the straight, but was beaten three lengths by Sabreur, to whom he was conceding seven pounds. [13] He was then sent to Newmarket where he was beaten two lengths by The Wizard at level weights in the Grand Duke Michael Stakes on 25 September. [14] On his final run of the year he finished second in a sweepstakes at Newmarket.

1861: four-year-old season

Thormanby’s four-year-old season began at Newmarket in April, when he won the Claret Stakes, finishing thirty lengths clear of his two rivals. At the next Newmarket meeting Thormanby claimed two prizes without having to run in a competitive race. No horse appeared to oppose him and he was allowed to “walk over” in both events. [8]

At Royal Ascot in June, Thormanby contested the two and a half mile Ascot Gold Cup, at that time the most prestigious weight-for-age race of the season. He started the 6/5 favourite, with St Albans and Parmesan being regarded as his main rivals. Thormanby raced lazily, so that Custance had to "waken him up" by using his spurs, but in the straight he produced a strong run to overtake Parmesan and easily held the late challenge of the filly Fairwater to win by two lengths. [15] On his final race, Thormanby ran poorly, finishing unplaced in the Goodwood Cup.

Assessment

In May 1886 The Sporting Times carried out a poll of one hundred racing experts to create a ranking of the best British racehorses of the 19th century. Thormanby was ranked seventeenth, having been placed in the top ten by sixteen of the contributors. He was the third highest British horse the 1860s behind Gladiateur and West Australian. [16]

At the end of his racing career, The Field described Thormanby as

Stud career

Thormanby stood as a stallion at Croft stud, near Darlington, Park Paddocks at Newmarket and the Moorlands stud near York. [8] He was a successful stallion, siring the 2000 Guineas winners Atlantic and Charibert and being the Champion sire of 1869. He is present in the pedigrees of almost all modern Thoroughbreds through his daughter, Rouge Rose, who produced the Derby Winner Bend Or. [17] [18] Thormanby sired almost a hundred winners before dying suddenly at the age of eighteen in 1875. [1] Thormanby's tail was mounted and fashioned into a whisk which was hung in the hall of Mathew Dawson's Heath House at Newmarket. [19]

Pedigree

Pedigree of Thormanby (GB), chestnut stallion, 1857 [17]
Sire
Windhound (GB)
1847
Pantaloon
1824
CastrelBuzzard
Alexander mare
IdaliaPeruvin
Musidora
Phryne
1840
Touchstone Camel
Banter
Decoy Filho da Puta
Finesse
Dam
Alice Hawthorn (GB)
1838
Muley Moloch
1830 
MuleyOrville
Eleanor
NancyDick Andrews
Spitfire
Rebecca
1831
LotteryTramp
Mandane
Cervantes mareCervantes
Anticipation (Family: 4) [20]

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References

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