West Australian & Stockwell
West Australian was one of the finest Thoroughbreds to race up to this point. He is acclaimed as the first horse to capture the British Triple Crown as he won The 2000 Guineas, The Derby and The St. Leger Stakes in 1853. He lost his first official start and then was undefeated in his next nine races. He added the Ascot Gold Cup to his list of achievements as a four year old.
A son of Melbourne – Mowerina by Touchstone he was foaled in 1850. A 15.3 hand bay with a narrow blaze, he had good shoulders with clean legs and plenty of bone. He was bred and owned by John Bowes, a successful industrialist in Newcastle. His sire Melbourne was the sire of seven classic winners. His dam Mowerina, a full sister to two Derby winners Mundig and Cotherstone, produced six other major winners.
He was sent to top trainer John Scott, who won forty classic races in his career, at his Whitehall Stables in Malton, North Yorkshire, where he was brought to the races slowly. He made two starts as a two year old after he beat good three year olds in a trial race at Scott’s training establishment, before he conquered all in his three year old classic year. Frank Butler was his regular rider.
West Australian began his stud career at Kirby, near Tadcaster, for a fee of thirty guineas, where he sired Summerside (Epsom Oaks) and The Wizard (2000 Guineas). He was sold for four thousand guineas to Charles Auguste Louis Joseph, the Duc de Morny, and relocated to Haras du Viroflay, France, in 1880. When Morny died two years later, West Australian was moved to the French National Stud, Haras du Pin.
West Australian is an important link to The Godolphin Arabian. His sons Solon and Australian became the main branches of the line. Solon through Barcaldine, Marco and Marcovil lead to Hurry On and his son Precipitation. Australian through Spendthrift, Hastings and Fair Play lead to Man O’ War.
A chestnut horse foaled in 1849 by The Baron – Pocahontas by Glencoe, Stockwell had the great sire Waxy three times in the fifth generation of his pedigree. His dam Pocahontas produced two other good stallions (Rataplan and King Tom), was known as a notorious roarer. Although Stockwell did not have this condition, many of his offspring did. He was not considered a good looking horse, one particular turf writer of the day acerbically referred to him as “the very incarnation of ugliness”, but he did have strong legs with good feet and was very powerful. He had the ability to carry a lot of weight and was quite fast, but had a somewhat savage temper.
He was bred by William Theobald in Stockwell, England and then sold to Brownlow Cecil, second Marquis of Exeter for one hundred and eighty sovereigns. Part of the deal stipulated that Exeter would pay an additional five hundred pounds if the horse won the Derby. He won the 2000 Guineas and the St. Leger but finished a poor eighth in the Derby. He won a few more minor stakes in his three year old season and then one more minor stakes race as a five year old.
Stockwell was sent to Exeter’s stud farm in Newmarket in 1855. He was sold after his first season at stud to Albert Denison, first Baron of Londesborough for threethousand guineas at Tattersall’s sales. It is here where his legend was born. Stockwell proceeded to lead the sire list. The Baron died in 1860 and his stock was sold in a dispersal sale. Richard C. Naylor purchased Stockwell for four thousand five-hundred guineas and sent him to stand at Rawcliffe Stud for two seasons.
Stockwell led the sire list for two more years and Naylor moved him to his Hooten Park stud, Cheshire. He was treated as royalty here for eight years until his death at age twenty-one, due to an unfortunate breeding accident. His stud fee rose from an original booking fee of twenty guineas to three hundred guineas during his stud career. He sired seventeen classic winners which includes Lord Lyon who won the English Triple Crown. He led the sire list seven times earning the nickname “The Emperor of Stallions”.
Many of his sons such as St. Albans, Blair Athol, Glenlg, who was a four time leading sire in the US, and The Marquis, who was exported to Australia and founded a successful line in his adopted country, became important stallions. His daughters such as Isola Bella (dam of Isonomy) and Thrift (dam of Tristan) have kept his name prominently in pedigrees.
Stockwell’s branch of the Eclipse/Whalebone male line descent of the Darley Arabian is perhaps the strongest line in existence today. His Derby winning son Doncaster sired Bend Or, who in turn sired Ormonde and Bona Vista.