Bonny Black (GB)

Bonny Black

Bonny Black (GB) bl f 1705, by Black Hearty (GB) - Mare, by Persian Stallion. Family 39. Sire Line Byerley Turk.
Bonny Black makes her first appearance in An Introduction to a General Stud-Book, published in 1791, on page 167: "Bonny Black was the best runner of her time; at three years old, she beat a six years old horse at 10st. each; at four years old, she won the five years old Hambleton Cup [King's Plate], and again at five years old; at six years old, she beat an aged horse, giving him 3st. Her owner afterwards challenged to run four times over the Round Course at Newmarket, against any horse or mare in the kingdom, which challenge not being accepted, she became a brood mare in the Duke of Rutland's stud, and was the great grand dam of Mr. Martindale's Gustavus." She would have retired to the stud of John Manners (1676-1721), 2nd Duke of Rutland.
Her pedigree appeared in the General Stud Book from 1803 to 1858 as "Bonny Black, D of Rutland’s, foaled in 1715, by Black Hearty (Son of the Byerly Turk) dam by a Persian stallion" and in 1891 the Persian stallion was credited to Lord Howe, who at that time was Scrope Howe (1648-1712), 1st Viscount Howe.
The creation of "Old Bonny Black"
According to works like Baily's Racing Register (1845), Orton's Turf Annals (records of racing at York and Doncaster), John Orton, 1844, and Weatherby's The Racing Calendar, Abridged, Vol. I, 1829, Bonny Black's race record was:
2 Oct 1718, Newmarket: 3 yo, beat Mr Frampton's Woodstock Hunter, 6 yo for 50gs
8 Aug 1719, Hambleton: 4 yo, won His Majesty's Gold Cup, value 100gs, for 5 yo mares
6 Aug 1720, Hambleton: won His Majesty's Gold Cup, 100gs, for 5 yo mares
15 Apr 1721, Newmarket: won the Gold Cup for 5 yo mares
Note that at that time, race horses took their ages from May 1st, so that a mare could run as a 5 year old in August one year, and still run as a 5 year old the following April.
J B Muir in his Old Newmarket Calendar (1892) seems to have been the first to question the turf career of the Duke of Rutland's Bonny Black as presented by various preceding authorities. Muir shows two races by Bonny Black:
p 42
A Match 4 miles £1500
[Nov] 11 Duke of Rutland's Bonny Black [won] agst
Duke of Bolton's Hackwood, 8 st each
A Match 50 gs H ft 4 miles
[Oct] 2 Duke of Rutland's Bonny Black 1
Mr T Frampton's Woodstock Hunter 2
Noting the dates, Muir went on to comment (p 42):
"Pick says, on page 7 of his "Turf Register," with regard to Bonny Black, she was foaled in 1715; and on page 8, "She also beat the noted Hackwood at 8st each", but assigns no date. The "Stud Book" follows suit as regards date of foaling, and all the other authorities cry ditto without remark. In the above programme for the year 1713, she is entered against Hackwood at 8st each. There is something decidedly wrong about the date in Pick and the "Stud Book," for the mare must have been 4 years old or more, so her date of foaling would probably be 1708 or 1709, not 1715, unless the Duke had two Bonny Blacks running at the same time, which is very unlikely."
The entry in Pick's Turf Register (vol. I, 1803; p 7-8) referred to by J B Muir reads:
Was bred by and the Property of the Duke of RUTLAND.
BONNY BLACK was a mare of great eminence, having a very considerable share of speed, and also possessed of goodness to support her running. She was got by a Stallion of his Grace's own, called Black-Hearty, a son of the Byerley Turk.
At Newmarket, in April, 1719, BONNY BLACK, (then rising four years old,) beat a horse of Mr Frampton's (rising seven,) at 10st each; and in August following, She won the King's Plate at Hambleton, beating 50 five years old mares; there were five more entered, but drawn at the time of starting, which was the greatest number that ever entered for that Plate. In August, 1720, She again won the King's Plate at Hambleton, beating 17 others. In April, 1721, She won the King's Plate for Mares at Newmarket. When six years old, She beat Lord Harvey's Merryman, aged, and allowed him 5st. She also beat the noted Hackwod, at 8st each; after which the Duke challenged to run her against any horse or mare in the kingdom, for 1000gs, four times round the King's Plate Course at Newmarket, without rubbing, which challenge was not accepted.
BONNY BLACK was the only mare that won the Royal Plate at Hambleton twice; a remarkable circumstance, when it is considered that her racing and travelling from Newmarket to Hambleton, and starting against so great a number of mares, in a county so famous for breeding eminent racers, and especially by giving away her year to 50 others, and at the weight of 10st. She afterwards became a Brood-Mare in his Grace's Stud, and from her hath sprung a number of fine horses, as will appear in these Pedigrees.
(A very similar entry also appeared in his Pedigrees & Performances of the most celebrated Race-Horses…, published about 1785). Pick's sources appear to have been a print of the mare published by John Cheny in 1747, and a list of race results from York and Hambleton published by J Jackson, of York. The earliest edition of Jackson’s work dates from 1748 (see C M Prior, The History of the Racing Calendar and Stud-Book, 1926; p 264); copies of the 5th edition of 1762 and 6th edition of 1771 are also still extant.
The text of Cheny’s print reads:
The Portraiture of Bonny Black, the Property of His Grace the late Duke of Rutland.
Bonny Black was a Mare of great Eminence, having a very considerable share of Speed, and also possess'd of Goodness to support her Running.
Her performances in some respects were Such, as were never Equal'd by any Horse &c whatsoever.
She was Bred by His Grace ye said late Duke of Rutland, and Got by a Stallion of His Graces own, call'd Black Hearty, which was got by the Byerley Turk, Sire also of Basto, Jigg, of the Dams of Grey Ramsden, Tantivie, and many other Fine Horses, &c.
Bonny Black, at three Years Old, beat a Six Year Old Horse of Mr Frampton's, with even Weight 10 Stone.
She Won at Four Years Old, the Gold Cup at Black Hambleton, against Mares five Years Old. Also Won the Gold Cup, at the same place, at five Years Old.
And that at Newmarket, the April following.
At Six Years Old, She beat Ld Harvey's Merryman, Eight Years Old, giving him three pounds weight. And also Won a Match against Hackwood, Eight Stone a piece, after which it was Offer'd She should Run with any Horse &c in the Kingdom, for a Thousand Pounds, four times round the Kings Plate Course at Newmarket, without rubbing.
Publish'd this 4th Day of March 1746/7 by Jno Cheny.
In his advertisement appearing in his calendar for 1741, Cheny stated that his portrait of Bonny Black was taken from an Original "in the Duke of Devonshire's House at Newmarket." Fortunately, C M Prior (The Royal Studs of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, 1935; p 111) investigated and published information about portraits of Bonny Black. There are at least two well documented paintings of the mare by Wootton. The "Belvoir Castle version" is authenticated by an entry in the Belvoir Castle accounts, dated 30 Sep 1711, by a payment of £40" to Mr Wootton for ye picture of Bony Black." The "Welbeck version" was vouched for by a receipt for £12 18s signed by Wootton 16 May 1715, & still at Welbeck in the 1930's (Fairfax Harrison's ms on portraits of race horses, Virginia Historical Society). According to Prior, the text incorporated into a painted scroll in the 1715 version was based on an endorsement affixed to the 1711 portrait, and details Bonny Black's race record as:
at 3 years of age, beat a full aged horse of Mr Frampton's, 3 ½ m, 10st
at 4 ½ years of age, won the Prince's Gold Cup at Newmarket against mares 6 ½ years old
after that, she won two Gold Cups against mares of her own age
at age 6, she beat a horse of Ld Harvey's full aged, called Merryman & gave him 3 lbs
after that the Duke of Rutland offered to run her four times round the Heat at Newmarket, being Sixteen miles, "without rubbing" with any horse in the Kingdom
Cheny's text, then, appears to have been based on the information given in the Wootton portrait, which, in turn, indicates that Bonny Black must have started her racing career before 1711.
When Pick took over publication of race results from York and Hambleton, he made numerous editorial changes, consisting largely of providing pedigrees for the most famous entrants. Pick seems, at least in this case, to have altered the results published previously. Perhaps he was prompted to do so by the circulation of a pedigree for Tom Jones, which under the authority of a well-known owner, Michael Ann, mentioned "the Duke of Rutland's famous Bonny Black Mare that won Hambleton Guineas in 1719, when thirty-six started" (see Pond 1751, for instance).
At least two later authorities (C M Prior, The Royal Studs of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, 1935; & J Fairfax-Blakeborough, Northern Turf History, Vol. I, 1949) eventually concluded that there must have been, in fact, two extraordinary mares called Bonny Black raced by the Duke of Rutland, the later mare winning three King’s Plates for mares from 1719 to 1721.
Ebony and Basto Mare
Re-examining the original source material, however, leads to another explanation which does not require the assumption of two Bonny Blacks raced by the Duke of Rutland. It can instead be argued that by the mistaken assignment of races to Bonny Black, the records of two other mares have been obscured.
The two consecutive "Hambleton Guineas" in question are shown in the 1771 edition of Jackson’s work as:
Hambleton 1719, On Saturday the 8th of August, His Majesty's 100 Guineas in Specie was run for by Mares, wt 10st.
Duke of Rutland's black mare won 1
Mr Watson's Chesnut mare 2
Sir Ralph Milbank's Bay mare 3
followed by placings to 16, plus twenty more unplaced.
Hambleton 1720, On Saturday the 16th of August, His Majesty's 100 Guineas in Specie was run for by Mares, wt 10st.
Duke of Rutland's Bay mare won 1
Mr Chapman's Bay mare 2
Mr White's Grey mare 3
followed by placings to 18.
Examination of other contemporary sources shows that the Duke of Rutland did race a black mare from 1718 to 1720, known as Ebony; based on the age qualifications of her races, she was foaled in 1714, so was probably the black mare that won the Hambleton Guineas in 1719. The Duke also appears to have had a bay mare by Basto, foaled in 1715; she would have been the right age to have run in and won the Hambleton Guineas in 1720, as well as the Gold Cup for 5 year old mares at Newmarket the following year. The probable race records of these 2 mares are shown below.
EBONY [1714]
1 Oct 1718 Newmarket D of Rutland's m Ablency [possible translation of Ebony] -- Match of 50gs ag Mr Frampton's Equilt, 8 ½st, 4 m (Post Man and the Historical Account 4 Sep 1718) (Weekly Journal or British Gazetteer 13 Sep 1718)
2 Oct 1718 Newmarket D of Rutland's bl f won Match of 50gs ag Mr Frampton's Woodstock (Hunter), 8 ½st, 4m (Pond 1751) NOTE: D of Rutland's Ebony in this match per Weekly Journal or Saturday's Post 24 May 1718 & Stamford Mercury 29 May 1718
9 Aug 1719 Hambleton D of Rutland's bl m 1 of 32 HM 100gs in Specie for [5 yo] Mares (Jackson 1762)
9 Oct 1719 Newmarket D of Rutland's Ebony 2 of 7 Noblemen’s Contribution Money for 5 yo (Newmarket Match Book)
9 Apr 1720 Newmarket D of Rutland's Ebony 2 of 6 the King's Gold Cup for 5 yo Mares (Newmarket Match Book)
11 Oct 1720 Newmarket D of Rutland's Ebony pd Ft Match of 200gs ag D of Bolton's b m, 8st 5lb, 5 m (Newmarket Match Book) (Pond 1751) (Weekly Journal or British Gazetteer 30 Jul 1720) (Weekly Journal or Saturday's Post 30 Jul 1720)
Basto Mare [1715]
12 Oct 1720 Newmarket D of Rutland's Bay Basto Filly -- Match of 150gs ag D of Portland's Filley, 8st ½lb, 4 m (Weekly Journal or British Gazetteer 30 Jul 1720) (Weekly Journal or Saturday's Post 30 Jul 1720)
6 Aug 1720 Hambleton D of Rutland's b m 1 of 18 HM 100gs in Specie for [5 yo] Mares (Jackson 1762)
14 Oct 1720 Newmarket D of Rutland's Basto Filly 2 of 9 Noblemen's Contribution Money for 5 yo (Newmarket Match Book)
15 Apr 1721 Newmarket D of Rutland's mare 1 of 14 the Gold Cup for 5 yo Mares (Newmarket Match Book)
21 Apr 1721 Newmarket D of Rutland's b m won Match of 500gs ag Ld Milsintown's b m, 11st 4 m (Newmarket Match Book) (Pond 1751)
Since Weatherby's abridged Racing Calendar shows the Gold Cup for 5 yo mares run in 1721 as one of Bonny Black's victories, it may be useful to show the same result as given in the Newmarket Match Book.
An Account of the Plates that were Run at Newmarket in Apr 1721
The 15th The Gold Cup for 5 Year old Mares one heat 10st.
The Duke of Rutland's Mare won 1
L Lonsdale's Mare 2
Mr Panton's Mare 3
followed by a list of the remainder of runners.
The exact history of the Newmarket Match Book (National Horse Racing Museum, Newmarket) is not known. It is written in several hands and was in existence when Pond provided a faithful transcription of matches in his calendar for 1751. Pond entitled this section "An Account of all those MATCHES that have been run at Newmarket, drawn, or Forfeit paid on them, where the Articles have been deposited there, in the Hands of Mr Harrison, who is appointed to take care of them.  From October 1, 1718, to October 1, 1751."
The two matches attributed to Bonny Black, by Muir, apparently following the example of Weatherby's abridged Racing Calendar, have also been found in newspapers contemporary with the races.
From the Post Boy, Issue 2881, Saturday, October 24, 1713, A List of Horse-Matches to be run at Newmarket, in November 1713, includes:
[Nov] 11. Duke of Rutland's Bonny Black against Duke of Bolton's Hackwood 8st 4 m 1500gs.
From the Weekly Journal or Saturday’s Post, Issue 76, Saturday, May 24, 1718. A List of Horse Matches to be run at Newmarket in the Month of October, 1718.
Oc . 1. Duke of Rutland's Ebony, against Mr Frampton's Woodstock, 8 Stone and half, 4 Miles, 5 Guineas, half Forfeiture.
Returning to Bonny Black's race record, another newspaper item may allow a tentative assignment of dates to her career. Since this is a record of the match that Cheny said she won when 6 years old, she was probably foaled in 1705.
(Newcastle Courant) Numb. 26 [format not copied exactly]
From Wednesday, September 26th to Saturday, September 29th 1711
LONDON, Sept. 24  The Matches at New-Market
Oct 10. Duke of Rutland's Bonny Black 8st 5l against Lord Harvy's Merriman 8st 2l 4m 200gs half forfeit.
Her victory against the full aged horse of Mr Frampton's, then, would have been in 1708; she would have won the Prince's Gold Cup at Newmarket, probably 1710; the two Gold Cups won against mares of her own age were probably the races for 5 yo mares at Hambleton in the summer of 1710 and Newmarket in April 1711. She then won against Ld Harvey's Merryman in the match scheduled for 10 Oct 1711, and the Duke of Bolton's Hackwood, about 11 Nov 1713. There is one tradition of Bonny Black having been defeated, mentioned in several pedigrees. The description of the occasion appears in several variations, but the version given by Sir Marmaduke Wyvill (whose father is believed to have raced the Old Scarborough Mare) did not say:
Dublin Gazette Numb. 2424
From Saturday June the 2d, to Tuesday June the 5th, 1750
TO be let out to Mares this Season, by Mr William Scooly in the Town of Carlow, at a Guinea a Leap and Trials, with Half a Crown to the Groom, the bay Horse called CHIP; he was bred and brought into this Kingdom by Sir Marmaduke Wyvill, Bart bred out of Volunteer's Dam, and got by the Horse called Scarborough Colt, which was a Son of Tifter out of the old Scarborough Mare which beat the Duke of Rutland's famous Bonny Black; he won the Noblemen's and Gentlemen's Contribution Purse at Richmond, when 5 Years old, and the King's Guineas at Leith when 6 &c.
It appears, then, that the old Scarborough Mare may need to be dated somewhat earlier than is given in the General Stud Book (about 1715) since Bonny Black's racing career looks to have been 1708-1713.
In summary, there appears to have been no need to create an Old Bonny Black since her apparent turf record belonged to Bonny Black, and later races attributed to Bonny Black should very likely be attributed to Ebony and Basto Mare.
© A J Hibbard