London, South Kensington
14 June 2001
James Pollard (1792-1867)
Mr Ridsdale's Bloomsbury beating Mr Craven's Deception, The Derby, 1839
oil on canvas
13½ x 17 in. (34.5 x 43.5 cm.)
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N.C. Selway, James Pollard, 1965, p.44, no.190.
N.C. Selway, The Golden Age of Coaching and Sport, 1972, p.36, no.211, illustrated.
Derby Day, 15th May 1839, produced what many believed to be the severest snow storm of the year and, as this picture records, the race was won in a flurry of snow. Bloomsbury, a bay colt ridden by Sim Templeman and a 25 to 1 outsider won by two lengths.
Two days after the race Mr Craven lodged an objection to the winner on the grounds that Bloomsbury had been entered in the race with his sire recorded as Mulatto whereas the stud book recorded the sire as Tramp or Mulatto. The Stewards allowed Bloomsbury to keep the race. Similar objections were raised twice after wins at Ascot, including the Ascot Derby. The matter finally went to court where Ridsdale emerged triumphant although many suspected that Bloomsbury was a 'ringer' a four-year-old running under false identity.
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