Stockwell & West Australian
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), but 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”. However he did have strong legs with good feet and was very powerful. Stockwell had the ability to carry a lot of weight and was quite fast, but had a somewhat savage temper.
A side note to Pocahontas, her son King Tom is the broodmare sire of St. Simon. The next important junction in breeding history is the stud career of St. Simon. Thus the blending of his blood with that of Stockwell descendants, created an inbred situation with Pocahontas. This breeding nick became one of the key ingredients that would further the evolution of the Thoroughbred.
Stockwell 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. (Hmm, curious to say the least) Stockwell 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 three thousand guineas at Tattersall’s sales. It is here where his legend was born. Stockwell proceeded to lead the sire list in 1860 and never looked back. 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. Stockwell 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. Stockwell led the sire list seven times earning the nickname “The Emperor of Stallions”.
Among the highlights of his immediate progeny are Achievement, a brown filly who won the 1000 Guineas, St. Leger Stakes, Coronation Cup and many other top class stakes. Blair Athol, whose dam was Derby and Oaks winner Blink Bonny, won the Derby Stakes and St. Leger. A pair Derby of winners, Doncaster and Lord Lyon (Triple Crown winner), gave Stockwell three such winners in his illustrious stud career. Furthermore, major winners such as Asteroid, Bothwell, Regalia, St. Albans, Repulse, and The Marquis solidified Stockwell’s place in breeding history.
Many of his sons such as St. Albans, Blair Athol, Glenlg, who was a four time leading sire in the U.S., and The Marquis, who was exported to Australia and founded a successful line in his adopted country, became important stallions. Also, Doncaster sired Bend Or, who in turn sired Ormonde and Bona Vista.
Stockwell’s daughters such as Isola Bella (dam of Isonomy) and Thrift (dam of Tristan) have kept his name prominently in pedigrees. Sweet Katie won the Preis der Diana became a foundation mare in Germany, having produced three classic winners as well as the very influential stallion Flibustier.
Stockwell’s branch of the Eclipse/Whalebone tail-male line descent of the Darley Arabian is perhaps the strongest line in existence today. Many of today’s most important tail-male sire lines descend from “The Emperor of Stallions”.
West Australian was one of the finest Thoroughbreds to race up to his time. 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. West Australian lost his first official start and then went 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, West Australian 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.
Sent to top trainer John Scott, who won forty classic races in his career, at Whitehall Stables in Malton, North Yorkshire, West Australian 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. He conquered all in his three year old classic year with Frank Butler as his regular rider.
West Australian began his stud career at Kirby, near Tadcaster, for a fee of thirty guineas. There 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 tail-male 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. West Australian’s son Ruy Blas, who won fourteen of his nineteen races, became a noted sire of fillies in France and was prominent in many high class stakes winner’s pedigrees as well.
Many legendary names in Thoroughbred history descend from West Australian along the line.
Stockwell and West Australian, two legendary names in turf history born a year apart, contributed significantly towards the advancement of Thoroughbred racing. Hard to imagine not knowing of the likes of Man ‘O War, Bend Or, Phalaris and the many generations that came after those legends.
(First illustration – Stockwell by Harry Hall, 1852)
(Second illustration – West Australian by Harry Hall, 1853)