Handicapper (horse)

Handicapper (1898 – 1921) was a British Thoroughbred racehorse. He showed some promising form as a juvenile in 1900 when he finished fourth in the July Stakes and then won the Richmond Stakes. After running poorly on his three-year-old debut he recorded a major upset when he won the 2000 Guineas at odds of 33/1. Handicapper raced until the age of five but never won another race of any significance.

Handicapper (horse).jpg
Handicapper returning to scales after winning the 2000 Guineas.
DamAgnes Osborne
CountryUnited Kingdom
BreederD Fraser
OwnerErnest Cassel
TrainerFred Day
Record10: 2-1-2 (incomplete)
Major wins
Richmond Stakes (1900)
2000 Guineas (1901)


Handicapper was a brown horse bred in England by D Fraser.[2] As a yearling he was bought for 380 guineas by Ernest Cassel[3] who sent him into training with his private trainer Fred Day at Lowther House in Newmarket, Suffolk.[4]

He was sired by Matchmaker, whose wins included the King Edward VII Stakes and the Princess of Wales's Stakes. His biggest impact as a breedings stallion was as the damsire of Son-in-Law. Handicapper's dam Agnes Osborne was a daughter of Wild Aggie, a broodmare whose other descendants have included Sagace, Slip Anchor and Buena Vista.[5]

Racing careerEdit

1900: two-year-old seasonEdit

Handicapper made his first appearance at Royal Ascot in June when he finished unplaced behind Bay Melton in the New Stakes. A month later at Newmarket Racecourse he ran fourth in the July Stakes, a race in which Doricles and Veles dead-heated for first place. Despite his unremarkable form he started 13/8 favourite for the Richmond Stakes at Goodwood Racecourse. Ridden by the American jockey Lester Reiff he won from Osboch, with St Monans in third. He ended his year in the Moulton Stakes at Newmarket in October when he was beaten a neck into second by the filly Aida.[3]

1901: three-year-old seasonEdit

Handicapper began his second season at Newmarket in April when he ran unplaced behind the four-year-old Petridge in a minor handicap race.[6] On 1 May 1901 Handicapper started a 33/1 outsider for the 93rd running of the 2000 Guineas over the Rowley Mile. Veles started favourite ahead of Doricles, Orchid (Champagne Stakes) and Lord Bobs (Dewhurst Stakes) in a field of seventeen. Ridden by Bill Halsey he took the lead at half way, went clear of his rivals, and "sailed past the post, the easiest of winners" two lengths clear of Doricles with Osboch a neck away in third place.[6] The Jockey Club held an inquiry into the colt's dramatic improvement but were satisfied by Fred Day's explanation.[7]

As a result of his win in the Guineas, Handicapper was strongly fancied for the Epsom Derby a month later[8] but his odds drifted on the day of the race and he was not among the first ten finishers in a race won by Volodyovski.[9] At Royal Ascot later in June Handicapper finished unplaced behind the Duke of Devonshire's Lauzun in the St James's Palace Stakes.[10] His poor form led to him being described as "one of the worst horses that have attained classic honours".[11]

Later careerEdit

Handicapper remained in training for at least two more years but failed to win any further major races. At the age of five in 1903 he finished third in the Royal Hunt Cup.[12] In the Liverpool Cup he finished third to the six-year-old Captain Kettle, to whom he was conceding 23 pounds in weight.[13]

Assessment and honoursEdit

In their book, A Century of Champions, based on the Timeform rating system, John Randall and Tony Morris rated Handicapper an "poor" winner of the 2000 Guineas.[14]

Stud careerEdit

Handicapper was exported to Belgium in 1904,[15] where is progeny earned 700,000 francs. Exported to Germany in 1913, Handicapper was standing in Reuthen, Germany in 1916 for a fee of 500 marks.[16] Handicapper died in 1921.[17]


Pedigree of Handicapper (GB), brown stallion, 1898[1]
Matchmaker (GB)
Donovan (GB)
Galopin Vedette
Flying Duchess
Mowerina (DEN) Scottish Chief (GB)
Stockings (GB)
Match Girl (GB)
Plebeian Joskin
Queen Elizabeth
Fusee Marsyas
Agnes Osborne (GB)
Beaudesert (GB)
Sterling Oxford
Sea Gull Lifeboat
Wild Cherry
Wild Aggie (GB)
Wild Dayrell Ion
Ellen Middleton
Fair Agnes Voltigeur
Little Agnes (Family 16-c)[5]


  1. ^ a b "Handicapper pedigree". Equineline.
  2. ^ "Topics of the Day". Evening Star. 25 June 1901. p. 8 – via Papers Past.
  3. ^ a b "The Turf in England". The New Zealand Herald. 3 May 1901. p. 5 – via Papers Past.
  4. ^ Mortimer, Roger; Onslow, Richard; Willett, Peter (1978). Biographical Encyclopedia of British Flat Racing. Macdonald and Jane’s. ISBN 0-354-08536-0.
  5. ^ a b "Little Agnes - Family 16-c". Thoroughbred Bloodlines.
  6. ^ a b "Racing in England". Otago Witness. 19 June 1901. p. 51 – via Papers Past.
  7. ^ "Sporting". The New Zealand Times. 21 June 1901. p. 6 – via Papers Past.
  8. ^ "Sporting Intelligence". Evening Star. 5 June 1901. p. 6 – via Papers Past.
  9. ^ "The Story of the Epsom Derby". The Press. 25 July 1901. p. 3 – via Papers Past.
  10. ^ "Talk of the Day. English Racing". Otago Witness. 7 August 1901. p. 45 – via Papers Past.
  11. ^ "Sporting". The New Zealand Herald. 17 August 1901. p. 7 – via Papers Past.
  12. ^ "Sport at Home". Evening Star (Dunedin). 28 July 1903. p. 3 – via Papers Past.
  13. ^ "The Turf". Evening Star (Dunedin). 16 September 1903. p. 3 – via Papers Past.
  14. ^ Morris, Tony; Randall, John (1999). A Century of Champions. Portway Press. ISBN 1-901570-15-0.
  15. ^ Staff (1905). "Horses sent abroad-Belgium". The General Stud Book. 20: 695. hdl:2027/uiug.30112112112476. Retrieved 20 May 2018.
  16. ^ Stroever, Von Albert W. (1916). "Deutschlands Vollblutbeschäler im zweiten Kriegsjahre". Deutsches Warmblut. 11–12: 65. hdl:2027/coo.31924053159392. Retrieved 20 May 2018.
  17. ^ "List". German Stud Book. 17: 505. 1925.