There was no Cambridgeshire Handicap in 1942. In 1940 & 1941 the race was run at Nottingham as the ‘New Cambridgeshire Stakes’ and was won by Caxton and Rue de la Paix. In 1939 it was run as two races, the Class 1 and Class 2, the winners being Gyroscope carrying 7st 7lb and Orivalque carrying 8st 10lbs. There was also no Cesarewitch in 1942. The Champion Stakes was won by Big Game and the Middle Park by Ribbon
In 1920 a Mr.Hornung bought Corporal out of a seller at Newmarket for 2,500 guineas, at the time a record price.
Owing to the General Strike in 1926 a number of meetings were abandoned, including the ‘Jubilee’ and the ‘Newmarket Stakes.
In 1925 Mr. A. K. Macomber won both the Cesarewitch and the Cambridgeshire with Forseti and Masked Marvel respectively.
The 2,000 Guineas of 1942 was won by His Majesty’s Big Game, ridden by Gordon Richards. Gordon also won the corresponding 1,000 Guineas on His Majesty’s Sun Chariot. The Derby of 1942, run at Newmarket as the ‘New Derby’ was won by Lord Derby’s Watling Street ridden by Harry Wragg. The corresponding Oaks, also ran at Newmarket, was won by His Majesty’s Sun Chariot ridden by Gordon Richards.
Two horses have won the Ascot Stakes with the name Scullion, once in 1902 and the other in 1924. Should not have been allowed then and should not be allowed today.
The last race meeting at Hampton was in 1877. The last meeting at Croydon was 1890. The highest price paid for a steeplechaser before 1942 was 10,500 guineas by Mr. W. H. Midwood for Silvo. The oldest 2-year-old race then, as it remains, is the July Stakes, first held in 1786.
When young Kitchener won the Chester Cup on Red Deer in 1844 he weighed 3st 7lbs. A few years earlier at Ascot he only weighed 2st 1lb.
Sea Song and Duece of Clubs twice dead-heated in a race at Sandown in 1888.
The last gelding to run in the Derby at Epsom was Claquer in 1901.
In 1942 there were only three racecourses that staged National Hunt racing due to war-time restrictions, Cheltenham (2 meetings), Wetherby (2 meetings) and Worcester (1 meeting). As usual at times of crisis the Irish raced on with 18 courses staging meetings, including the Curragh, Phoenix Park, Baldoyle and Rathkeale. The Irish Grand National of 1942 was won by the immortal (or least he should be) Prince Regent carrying 12st 7lbs. When it was suggested to Tom Dreaper many years later that Arkle was the best horse he ever trained it is said he looked to the stable that Prince Regent had graced and said with the sorrow of a man betraying an old friend. ‘I’m afraid he is’.
The New Year meeting at Cheltenham is interesting from the perspective of today for the jockeys who won races that day. Fred Rickaby won the selling hurdle beating Keith Piggott 3-lengths. The 4-miler (oh do bring it back Cheltenham) was won by Jack Dowdeswell who broke his collar bones so often he had them removed. The handicap hurdle went to Frenchie Nicholson, father of David and responsible for more champion jockeys than any man living or dead. And Keith Piggott (father of you know who) got his revenge on Fred Rickaby in the last beating him by a neck.
Mahmoud, the Derby winner of 1936 was sold to Mr. C. V. Whitney (Jock?) of New York for £20,000. Bahram, winner of the Triple Crown in 1935, was sold to an American syndicate for £40,000.
The smallest horse to win the Derby was Little Wonder in 1840 who measured 14 hands 3 and bit inches.
The top 2-year-old of 1942 was Lady Sybil at 9st 7lb, one pound more than Nasrullah.
In 1937 the Beckhampton Plate at Newbury had 51 runners. Those were the days, my son, those were the days.
All the miscellaneous facts above were gleaned from the 1943 edition of the Sporting Life Annual Summary of Past Racing, a little book I bought on-line by accident which throws up interesting facts of nostalgic quality every time I pick it up.
Keith Knight is a workaday writer of fiction, worker in the real world but foremost a horse racing fanatic. The joy of the sport is the horse - all horses.