With a composure on the track as cool as its name, Eclipse is one of the most famous horses of the era that it comes from. A powerful stallion of British origin, the stunning chestnut was bred by the Duke of Cumberland himself, and was owned by William Wildman and Dennis O’Kelly.
An undefeated horse across its career, it took on 18 races and won every last one of them, before retiring into the sunset. Afterward, it led a second ‘career’ as a wonderful sire, and today is seen as the pedigree in the vast majority of successful, modern thoroughbred horses.
Given the time that it ran in, the races that Eclipse won are rarely heard of today, if ever. From the first win at the Winchester King’s Plate to the Newmarket October King’s Plate, this fantastic beast took an incredible sum of success. Starting at the age of five, it won its first race with absolute ease. Early success seen it bought by Dennis O’Kelly, and ridden by John Oakley. Apparently, Oakley was the only one who could handle Eclipse, given its wild nature and hard to handle temper.
Also, it allegedly won all of its races without having to be fully extended – it was simply better than all who came before it. With over 63 miles ran during its career, it’s one of the most memorable horses in racing history.
While it may have run so long ago that nobody alive seen it run, this is a horse that has entered the book of legend for all the right reasons.
Achievements & Highlights
Wins – Winchester King’s Plate (1769), Salisbury King’s Plate (1769), Canterbury King’s Plate (1769), Lewes King’s Plate (1769), Lichfield King’s Plate (1769), VS Bucephalus (1770), Newmarket First Spring King’s Plate (1770), Gullford King’s Plate (1770). Nottingham King’s Plate (1770), York King’s Plate (1770), 6yo+ Great Subscription Purse (1770), Lincoln Heath King’s Plate (1770), Newmarket October King’s Plate (1770)
Associations – William Wildman, Dennis O’Kelly, John Oakley, the Duke of Cumberland.
Earnings – 2,149 Guineas.