Eclipse (GB)

Courtesy of Fores Gallery

Courtesy of the Stewards
of the Jockey Club, Newmarket




Sire Line



Eclipse ch c 1764 (Shakespeare or Marske - Spiletta, by Regulus). Sire Line Eclipse. Family 12.

Bred by His Royal Highness William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, he was foaled at the Duke's Cranbourne Lodge stud during the total eclipse of the sun for which he was named. John Lawrence described him as a mature horse: "When I first saw him he appeared in high health, of a robust constitution. His shoulder was very thick, but extensive and well placed; his hind-quarters appeared higher than his fore-hand; and it was said that no horse in his gallop ever threw his haunches with greater effect, his agility and his stride being on a par. He stood over a great deal of ground, and in that respect was the opposite of Flying Childers - a short-backed, compact horse, whose reach lay in his lower limbs." He is thought to have stood around 15.2 hands.

After the Duke's death, in October of 1765, his stable was dispersed at auction by Mr Richard Tattersall. Eclipse was purchased by William Wildman for 75 guineas. In 1769 Dennis O'Kelly purchased a half-interest in him for 650 guineas and later bought the remainder for 1,100 guineas.

An unruly colt, he was said to have been sent to a rough-rider who was also a notorious poacher by night. While there may have been little truth in the story, it indicates his obstreperous nature. In his first start he distanced all four of his opponents while under massive restraint by his jockey. O'Kelly won a great deal of money from betting on Eclipse, and it is said that the famous phrase "Eclipse first, the rest nowhere" originated on this day. Reporting varies, however, he won all of his starts including numerous King's Plates with ease, apparently never having been extended. His race against Bucephalus (ch c 1764 Regulus) was said to be the most difficult for Eclipse and although "the north country horse ... ran like a good and true son of Regulus" he afterwards never "regained his form, so severe and heartbreaking were the efforts he made". Sportsmen agreed that Eclipse was the best horse seen on the turf since Flying Childers.

Sir Theodore Cook wrote of him: "His excellence was not only owing to the races he won, but even more clearly to the astonishing ease with which he won them, and to the fact that in addition to his undoubted speed and stride, he possessed sound wind, an ability to carry heavy weight, and an endurance over long distances which could never be thoroughly tested, for its limit was never reached."

In 1771 he retired to stud at Clay Hill, near Epsom, Surrey, where he stayed until 1788, when he was moved, in a carriage pulled by a pair, to O'Kelly's Cannons Park stud in Stanmore, Middlesex. His fee was 50 guineas the first year, and later varied between 25 and 30 guineas.

A great great grandson of the Darley Arabian, he was an overwhelming success in the stud, becoming the progenitor of the Eclipse sire line and thus the tail-male ancestor of nearly every living thoroughbred. The line continued mainly through two sons, Pot8os and King Fergus.

The excellent racehorse and sire Pot8os (ch c 1773) numbered among his get the Derby winner and Champion Sire Waxy (b c 1795), the Derby and St Leger winner Champion (b c 1797), the Derby winner Tyrant (b c 1799) and the Oaks winner Nightshade (b f 1785).

The Champion Sire King Fergus (ch c 1775), himself a winner of eight races, got three St Leger winners, Beningbrough (b c 1791), Hambletonian (b c 1792) and Young Traveller (ch c 1788).

The classic winning offspring of Eclipse include the Derby winners Saltram (br c 1780), Young Eclipse (b c 1778) and Serjeant (b c 1781), and the Oaks winner Annette (b f 1784). His son Volunteer (ch c 1780) sired the Derby winner Spread Eagle (b c 1792).

Other sons of Eclipse exerted varying degrees of influence. Among them were Don Quixote (ch c 1784), Dungannon (b c 1780), Joe Andrews (b c 1778), Jupiter (ch c 1774), Meteor (ch c 1783), Orlando (b c 1778), and Satellite (ch c 1774).

Oddly enough Eclipse was never a Champion Sire himself, although he was second eleven times between 1778 and 1788. He died of colic at Cannons in 1789.

The Portraits
Professor to the Veterinary College of London, Monsieur Charles Vial de St Bel, performed an autopsy on Eclipse. His measurements determined that the horse stood 16.2 hands. While without artistic pretensions, his detailed drawings reveal significantly different markings from those generally seen in other portraits.
This portrait by Francis Sartorius displays a smaller face marking, and the off-hind sock ends half-way up the cannon bone. In contrast, St Bel's sketch shows a white nose and an off-hind stocking extending above the hock.
Eclipse Marske Squirt Bartlet's Childers
Sister to Old Country Wench
Ruby Mare Hutton's Blacklegs
Bay Bolton Mare
Spilletta Regulus Godolphin Arabian
Grey Robinson
Mother Western Easby Snake
Old Montagu Mare
Race Record

In 1769 he won a 50 Plate at Epsom, beating Mr Fortescue's Gower (b c 1764 Gower Stallion), Mr Castle's Chance (b c 1763 Gower's Sweepstakes), Mr Jenning's Trial (ch c 1764 Blank) and Mr Quick's Plume (br c 1763 Feather).
Won a 50 Plate at Ascot, beating Mr Fettyplace's Cream de Barbade (b c 1764 Snap), winning both heats "very easily".
Won the 100gs King's Plate at Winchester, beating Mr Turner's Slouch (b c Othello), the Duke of Grafton's Chigger (gr c 1763 Slouch), Mr Gott's Juba (b c 1764 Regulus), Mr O'Kelly's Caliban (br c Brilliant) and Mr Bailey's Clanvil (b c Bajazet) with the latter two being distanced in the first heat.
Walked over for a 50 Plate at the same meeting.
Won the City Plate at Salisbury, beating Mr Fettyplace's Sulphur (gr c 1762 Spectator).
Walked over for the King's Plate at the same meeting.
Walked over for the King's Plate at Canterbury.
Won the King's Plate at Lewes, beating Mr Strode's Kingston (b c 1763 Sampson).
Won the King's Plate at Lichfield, beating Mr Freeth's Tardy (b c Matchless).

In 1770 he defeated Mr Wentworth's Bucephalus (ch c 1764 Regulus) over the Beacon Course at Newmarket.
Won the King's Purse at the same meeting, beating "out of sight" Mr Strode's Pensioner (b c Blank), Mr Fenwick's Diana (b f 1763 Regulus) and Chigger, with Diana and Chigger withdrawn in the 2nd heat. Pensioner was distanced.
Walked over for the King's Plate at Guildford.
Walked over for the King's Plate at Nottingham.
Walked over for the King's Plate at York.
Won the 319 10s Great Subscription at the same meeting, beating Mr Wentworth's Tortoise (b c Snap) and Sir C Bunbury's Bellario (b c Brilliant), both said to be "racers of the highest class".
Walked over for the King's Plate at Lincoln.
Won 150gs at Newmarket, beating Sir Charles Bunbury's Corsican (b c Swiss).
Walked over for the King's Plate at the same place.
Walked over for the King's Plate at Nottingham. This was his final race.
Joe Andrews (GB)
  Joe Andrews
[ex-Dennis O!] b c 1778 (Eclipse - Amaranda, by Omnium). Sire Line Eclipse. Family 4-b. Owned by Sir W Vavasour, he won the 1783 Stand Plate at York. He was described as a "narrow horse, with a long, lean head and neck, but showed great breeding". Later a stallion in the west of England his sole contribution to the stud book was his son Dick Andrews. He is said to have "died, in obscurity many years before his son, Dick, made his blood famous with the chestnut Altisidora, Manuella, and Tramp".
Dick Andrews (GB)
DickAndrews Dick Andrews
b c 1797 (Joe Andrews - Mare, by Highflyer). Sire Line Eclipse. Family 9. Bred by Mr Lord he was half brother to Lavinia (ch f 1802 Pipator), ancestress of a fair part of Family 9. The Druid noted that when "Jemmy Rooke had charge of Joe Andrews and Dick Andrews... on Wychwood Forest (Oxon), when he was sold up;  and it was quite a curiosity to see the latter, with his giraffe-like neck, eat from the top of the rack. In ugliness of ears, and head altogether, he was unrivalled; and so light was he in the body, as to require very little training." His notable offspring include: Two Thousand Guineas winner Cwrw (br c 1809), Oaks winner Manuella (b f 1809), St Leger winner Altisidora (ch f 1810), Doncaster Cup winner Tramp (b c 1810), Ascot Gold Cup winner Sir Richard (b c 1813), Nancy (b f 1813) dam of Champagne Stakes winner and stallion Muley Moloch (br c 1830 Muley) as well as ancestress of the "Flying Filly" Mumtaz Mahal (gr f 1921 The Tetrarch), Dick Andrews Mare (b f 1810) dam of St Leger winner St Patrick (ch c 1817 Walton), and Dick Andrews Mare (br f 1810) dam of Doncaster Cup winner Mercutio (b c 1819 Mowbray). Dick Andrews died in 1816.
Mercury (GB)
ch c 1778 (Eclipse - Mare, by Tartar). Sire Line Eclipse. Family 9-b. Bred by Dennis O'Kelly, Mercury was the sire of over forty winners, including Lord Egremont's two Oaks winners, Hippolyta (ch f 1787) and Platina (ch f 1792). His best sons were Gohanna and Precipitate (ch c 1787). Another son, Hermes (ch c 1790), sired the matriarch Gibside Fairy (b f 1811). Mercury's daughter Fractious (b f 1792) was the dam of the Derby winner Hannibal (b c 1801) and the taproot mare of Family 3-m, Amazon (b f 1799). Mercury stood at Lord Egremont's Petworth stud in Sussex, and died in April of 1793.
Other Offspring
Dungannon (GB) b c 1780 (Eclipse - Aspasia, by Herod). Sire Line Eclipse. Family 33.
Jupiter (GB) ch c 1774 (Eclipse - Mare by Tartar). Sire Line Eclipse. Family 9-b.
King Fergus (GB) ch c 1775 (Eclipse - Creeping Polly [Tuting's], by Othello [Portmore's]). Sire Line King Fergus. Family 6-x.
Pot8os (GB) ch c 1773 (Eclipse - Sportsmistress, by Warren's Sportsman). Sire Line Pot8os. Family 38.
Saltram (GB) br c 1780 (Eclipse - Virago, by Snap). Sire Line Eclipse. Family 7.
Satellite (GB) ch c 1774 (Eclipse - Titania, by Shakespeare). Sire Line Eclipse. Family 4-a.
Volunteer (GB) ch c 1780 (Eclipse - Mare by Tartar). Sire Line Eclipse. Family 9-b.