Voltigeur defeating The Flying
in the Doncaster Cup of 1850
br c 1847 (Voltaire - Martha Lynn, by Mulatto).
Sire Line King
One of six
winners produced by his dam he was bred at Hartlepool,
Durham, by Robert Stephenson, who also bred his
sire, and purchased by Thomas Dundas (1795-1873),
the 2nd Earl of Zetland. Initially offered at
the Doncaster sale he failed to attract a bid
due to the prejudice of the time against Voltaire
colts who were perceived to be too heavy of neck
and body. At the request of his brother-in-law,
Lord Zetland allowed the colt to be brought to
Aske where he was tried, making a good enough
acquittal of himself that Lord Zetland was willing
to pay £1500 for him.
hands three inches his action was said to be excellent.
He was described as having fine, sloping shoulders
with a good depth of girth, powerful quarters,
good knees and hocks with plenty of bone, although
he was thought a trifle coarse through the head
and neck. Quiet and docile in temperment, his
favoured companion was a cat.
In 1860 he
was exhibited in hand at the Cleveland Horse and
Hound Show where he was judged most likely to
"improve and perpetuate" not only the
production of sound and stout racehorses but also
horses employed in other pursuits, winning £100
and defeating The Cure (b c 1841 Physician) and
Lord Fauconberg (b c 1850 Birdcatcher).
Despite this vote of confidence Voltigeur covered
at Middlethorpe, York, for the modest fee of fifteen
The Flying Dutchman at the nearby
Rawcliffe Paddocks commanded a fee of forty guineas.
Somewhat ironically his son Vedette when mated
with a daughter of The Flying Dutchman produced
the mighty Galopin
(b c 1872) who in turn sired one of the great
horses of all time in St.
Simon (br c 18881). His only classics winner,
the aforementioned Vedette (br c 1854), won the
Two Thousand Guineas Stakes. Another son, Billet
(b c 1865), was exported to America and became
a Leading Sire there in 1883. Among his daughters,
Bonny Bell was the taproot mare of Family
10-b, and Woodcraft (b f 1861) produced the
Derby winner Kingcraft (b c 1867 King Tom).
A kick from
a mare was said to have broken his thigh and shortly
thereafter Voltigeur was shot at Aske in February
|In 1849 he won the Bright Stakes at
Richmond, beating Mr Dawson's Mark Tapley (b c 1847 The Hydra) and two
In 1850 he won the Derby Stakes at
Epsom, beating the Two Thousand Guineas winner
Pitsford (ch c 1847 Epirus) by a length along
with twenty others. He next won the Great St
Leger at Doncaster in a run-off following a
dead-heat with Mr Mangan's Irish-bred Russborough (ch c
1847 Tearaway). The following day he walked-over
for the Scarborough Stakes and the day following
that he won the Doncaster Cup, beating Lord Eglinton's
very fast The Flying Dutchman (br c 1846 Bay
Middleton), who carried seven pounds more
and an allegedly drunk jockey, by
half a length.
In 1851 he renewed his rivalry with
The Flying Dutchman in a legendary
match for 1000 sovereigns at York,
where the Dutchman conceded eight
and half pounds and prevailed by a
"short" length. At the same place he
lost the York and Ainsty Cup to Mr
Martinson's Chester Cup winner Nancy
(b f 1848 Pompey) to whom he was
conceding thirty-three pounds.
In 1852 he won The Flying
Dutchman Handicap at York, beating
Haricot (br f 1847 Mango or Lanercost) and nine
others. He later finished fifth in the Ascot Gold
Cup won by Joe Millar (b c 1849 Venison).
He started twice more at York in August without
success and was retired from the turf.