Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Churchill Series – Oct. 16, 2008

So much is happening, I'm just racing around today.

So here's a rerun of an "oldie."


Most people know horses were an important part of Churchill's life. He rode ponies as a child; trained in horsemanship at Sandhurst; was commissioned as a cavalry officer; rode as a lancer in the famous charge at Omdurman; played polo into his fifties; and kept and bred horses at Chartwell and other properties.

But most people don't know that for many years Churchill owned a racing stable. And he wasn't one of those celebrity owners who preen and eye the cameras while putting their feet in - oops - the wrong places. As with everything else he cared about, Churchill the race horse owner was informed and "hands on."

Churchill's most successful horse was a grey, Colonist II. He bought him against the advice of many racing experts. Churchill thought he saw something - a special determination - in Colonist that would make the horse "a winner."

Colonist proved Churchill right. "This tough and indomitable grey horse has performed miracles," said one racing writer in 1950. "No horse in living memory has put up such a sequence of wins in good-class races in one season." Among the prestigious races Colonist won were The Winston Churchill Stakes and The Jockey Club Stakes.

As Colonist's racing days came to a close, his trainer reminded Churchill that Colonist would be very valuable as a stud horse. The trainer offered to arrange matters.

Churchill pondered a moment, then laughed and replied,

"To stud? And have it said that the Prime Minister of Great Britain is living on the immoral earnings of a horse?"
Churchill's official biographer, Martin Gilbert, does not say what ultimately happened to Colonist. We can wish the horse had a green old age.

I wasn't able to learn what Churchill’s racing colors were. Can anyone help with that?

[Update 12-26-06: Churchill's father had owned race horses. Lord Randolph's colors were pink and chocolate and pink; and Churchill selected those as his own.]
Martin Gilbert, Never Despair. (pgs. 488, 522, 524, 528, 563)


Anonymous said...

John, Everyone is raving about Senator McCain’s comic remarks at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Dinner. He brought the house down. There are several videos available already. He was so much better than Obama. Funny lines, and he spoke them well.

Anonymous said...

Squawk - "He rode pony's as a child..."
I have this terrible thing about inappropriate apostrophes.
The apostrophe has three uses:
1) to form possessives of nouns
2) to show the omission of letters
3) to indicate certain plurals of lowercase letters.
Apostrophes are NOT used for noun plurals.

JWM said...

Archer 05,

Funny, indeed.

I've posted the McCain videos and will do the Obama videos next.

Thanks for the heads-up.

Anon @ 10:25,

You're right.

I've made the correction.

Thank you for calling my error to my attention.

A good day to you both.


Anonymous said...

In Gilbert's firts volume of "Jennie",he mentions the Prince of Wales urged 'Winston" not to race (own) horses while in India