Little Driver (foreground)
|Little Driver ch c 1743 (Beaver's
Driver - Mare by Childers). Sire
Line Lister Turk.
Bred by Philip Brooke, he was
owned successively by Josiah Marshall, Richard Vernon and Aaron Lamego.
He was a half brother to the 6th dam of the Doncaster Cup winner
Mercutio (b c 1819 Mowbray). Little Driver stood 14 hands 3/4 inches. The caption on his portrait
notes that: "This Excellent horse is allowed to be the Strongest
& best of his size that was ever bred in this Kingdom."
Racing from 1748 through 1754,
he won an astonishing thirty-six £50 Plates. In an epic race with Mr
Rogers's Aaron (b c 1747 Whitenose)
he won the first heat although both of them fell after the
finish. Driver's rider, Thos Brett, was said to be hurt from
the fall. The second heat was apparently too close to decide.
Aaron was awarded the third heat, and after a four month
deliberation by a disinterested party (Isaac Tarratt, Epsom
linen draper) the Plate was also awarded to Aaron.
In the stud he is said to have covered few
well bred mares in spite of his good pedigree and racing success. His son Mr Salt's Cicero
won twenty £50 Plates and over 500 guineas in matches and forfeits.
Little Driver also sired Lightfoot's Mare*, the 2nd dam of Young Cade
(USA) (gr c 1791 Virginia Cade). He died in 1767 at Sutton, in Surrey.
|In his only recorded race in 1748
he won £50 at Leicester.
|He fared little better in 1749,
losing his first race at Lambourn, worth £50, to Mr Greville's Tawney
(br c Crab), who would be a leader in the famous
Queensberry carriage match of 1750. Both carried 10 stone. He lost his
second race to Mr Rogers's Babraham (b c
1738 Godolphin Arabian) at Burford,
in four-mile heats with Driver carrying 9 stone and
carrying 10 stone. Six others ran as well. He then beat Duchess (b f
1745 Devonshire Blacklegs) at
Ascot, winning £50, before losing his last race of the season, in
October at Newmarket, to Dormouse (br c 1738
Godolphin Arabian), for a
give-and-take Plate worth £50.
|In 1750, now owned by Mr
Marshall, he won £50 at Guildford running four-mile heats. In September
at Burford he won £50, defeating Mr Grisewood's Whisker (ch c
and Verjuice (bl c Crab), all carrying 10 stone
9 pounds in four-mile heats. Later in September he won £50 at Chipping
Norton, beating four others, and in October at Newmarket he won another
|In 1751 he beat Lord Onslow's
Not (bl c 1744 Crab) and one other for £50
at Epsom, all carrying 10 stone in four-mile heats. At Winchester he won
£50 carrying 9 stone 4 pounds. At Hounslow he won £50 distancing Sir
E Hale's Drudge (b c 1745 Crab) and Sir C
Goring's Tom Thumb (b c Goldenlocks), all carrying 9 stone 4 pounds. He
won another £50 plate at Reading, running four-mile heats, from his
final two starts of the year.
|In 1752 Little Driver won all but
one of his starts. In April at Newmarket he collected a 50 guineas
forfeit from the Duke of Ancaster's Tarquin (b c 1745
Arabian). In May at Epsom he beat Squirrel (ch c), who was 3/4 of
an inch shorter than him, with Driver giving Squirrel 5 pounds. At
Winchester and Blandford he won two more £50 plates, running in
four-mile heats. He then won a grim £50 race at Ascot, beating Mr
Bowles's Johnny Armstrong (b c Old Traveller) who fell in the second
four-mile heat and had to be shot. They both carried 10 stone 2 pounds.
At Burford he walked-over for £50. In October he finally lost a
give-and-take Plate to Silver Leg (ch c 1743
Young Cartouch) at
|Ten years old in 1753, and now
owned by Mr Vernon, he won £50 at Epsom in May. He received a 50
guineas forfeit from Mr Panton's Slipby (br c Slipby) at Newmarket,
and then won £50 at Lichfield in August, running four-mile heats.
Moving back to Epsom he won £50 carrying 9 stone 8 pounds in four-mile
heats to beat Mr Rogers's Aaron (b c 1747 Whitenose),
who stood nearly 14 hands, and one other, in two heats.
At Warwick in September he prevailed over Mr Borlace Warren's Camilla (b f 1747
Arabian)and one other, while carrying 10 stone 10 pounds in
four-mile heats, to win £50. Back at Lichfield, still in September, he
defeated three others to win another £50 plate.
|In April of 1754, now belonging to Mr Lamego, he won £50 plates at both
Romford and Reading. Later in April he met Aaron again
at Maidenhead, winning the £50 race after both of them
had fallen near the finishing post. Apparently
recovered, he then won a £50 plate at Maldon, beating
Blacklegs (c Blaze).
At Epsom in May he again met Aaron for a £50 give-and-take plate, this
time losing in three heats of four miles. Aaron was seven years old and
Little Driver eleven. Aaron won the first heat by a head, and the second
heat was too close to determine. The third heat seemed too close to
call, however the Judge gave the heat to Aaron. After a four month
consideration, the plate was awarded to Aaron. Later in May he lost a
£50 purse to Lord Rockingham's Cato (b c 1748
at Ascot, each carrying 10 stone 9 pounds. He then went on to win £50
plates at Hull, Guildford and Durham. At York both Little Driver and
lost a purse of £50 to Blacklegs. In his final race he
won £50 at Maidenhead over Mr Brooks's Lady Thigh (f 1747 Grisewood's Partner)
and two others. He is also said to have won two Legacy Plates in which
he carried 12 stone 4 pounds in four-mile heats.