Isinglass (1890–1911) was a British Thoroughbred racehorse and sire. In a career which lasted from 1892 until 1895 he ran twelve times and won eleven races. He was the best British two-year-old of 1892 and went on to become sixth winner of the English Triple Crown[2] by winning the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, The Derby and the St. Leger Stakes at Doncaster in the following year. He was undefeated in his last two seasons, setting a world record for prize money[3] and gaining recognition from contemporary experts as one of the best horses seen in England up to that time.

Isinglass in training
DamDead Lock
Foaled24 March 1890[1]
CountryUnited Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
BreederHarry McCalmont
OwnerHarry McCalmont
TrainerJames Jewitt
Record12: 11–1–0
Major wins
New Stakes (1892)
Middle Park Plate (1892)
2000 Guineas (1893)
Newmarket Stakes (1893)
Epsom Derby (1893)
St. Leger Stakes (1893)
Princess of Wales's Stakes (1894)
Eclipse Stakes (1894)
Jockey Club Stakes (1894)
Ascot Gold Cup (1895)
6th U.K. Triple Crown Champion (1893)
Leading broodmare sire in Britain & Ireland (1912)
Last updated on 5 December 2009



Isinglass was a powerfully built bay horse standing 16 hands high,[4] bred by his owner Harry McCalmont. He was sired by the double Ascot Gold Cup winner Isonomy out of a mare named Deadlock. Deadlock had a varied career, having been once sold for £20[5] and working as a carriage-horse[6] before being bought by McCalmont.

Isinglass was trained at the stable of James Jewitt, who had previously trained the winner of the 1876 Grand National Steeplechase. Jewett handled the day-to-day conditioning of the horse while his racing campaign and strategy was mapped out by McCalmont's racing manager, James Octavius Machell who was described as "one of the most astute racing men to be found either in England or out of it".[7] The horse was ridden in most of his races by Tommy Loates.[8]

Racing record


1892: two-year-old season


Before Isinglass ever raced, McCalmont had great belief in his abilities, and wagered £100 on him to win the 1893 Derby at odds of 50/1.[9] Isinglass was undefeated in three races as two-year-old in 1892, beginning with a maiden race at Newmarket in spring. At Royal Ascot on 16 June he ran in the five furlong New Stakes, the race now known as the Norfolk Stakes, in which he was ridden by George Chaloner. Starting at odds of 100/30 he took an early lead and was never seriously challenged, winning easily by two lengths from Fealar, Ravensbury and seven others.[10]

On 13 October he ran in what was considered the best race of the season for two-year-olds,[4] the Middle Park Plate at Newmarket for which he started at odds of 10/1. The race did not go well for Isinglass as he started slowly and then struggled to find a clear run in the closing stages. Once Chaloner pulled him to the outside however, he quickened well and won by one and a half lengths from Ravensbury, Le Nicham and Raeburn.[11] The win established Isinglass as one of the best juveniles of the season and he disputed favouritism for the following years Classics with the similarly undefeated Meddler, the winner of the Dewhurst Stakes.[12]

1893: three-year-old season

Isinglass leading the field in the closing stages of the 1893 Derby

By February 17 Isinglass was clear favourite for both the 2000 Guineas (7/2) and the Derby (9/2),[13] although his odds lengthened slightly after a stable accident interrupted his training.[14] A major obstacle to his success was removed when Meddler's owner, George "Abingdon" Baird, died in early 1893, thus canceling his colt's classic entries.[15] The spring of that year was unusually dry, and Jewitt had problems preparing Isinglass on the prevailing hard ground. Instead of galloping the colt in the usual way, which would have risked injury, Jewitt and Machell brought him to fitness with a series of canters up and down Bury Hill. In the 2000 Guineas on 3 May Isinglass started at odds of 4/5 in a field of ten colts. He started well and was second in the early stages behind the pacemaker St. Jude, before taking the lead at half way. He was challenged by Ravensbury in the closing stages and the two colts pulled clear of the field, with Isinglass maintaining his advantage to win by three quarters of a length with Raeburn a further four lengths away in third.[16] The winning time of 1:42.4 was a new record for the race.[17] Two weeks later Isinglass was moved up to ten furlongs for the Newmarket Stakes. Starting the 1/4 favourite he took the lead at half way and steadily increased his lead in the closing stages to win easily by three lengths from Phocion and Ravensbury.[18]

Isinglass's owner, Colonel Harry McCalmont by Leslie Ward

At Epsom on 31 May Isinglass was sent off the 4/9 favourite for the Derby against ten opponents and was the unanimous choice of the twenty-four leading newspaper experts.[19] He started slowly and was towards the rear of the field in the early stages as the runners were led by the outsider Lord William. He made steady progress to join the leaders just after half way and was sent through a gap along the rails to take a slight lead over Raeburn on the turn into the straight. Two furlongs from the finish Isinglass swerved to the right and appeared to be struggling, allowing Raeburn to take the advantage and forcing Loates to use his whip and spurs on the favourite. Isinglass responded immediately, pulled ahead of Raeburn, and held off the late challenge of Ravensbury to win by one and a half lengths. The first three horses from the 2000 Guineas filled the first three places in the Derby.[20] Loates explained that the moment of concern early in the straight had been caused by Isinglass shying when he heard the roar of the huge crowd, and described him as running "as green as a two-year-old".[21]

On 6 September Isinglass attempted to win the Triple Crown in the St Leger at Doncaster. He started at odds of 40/75 in a field of seven. Loates restrained the favourite in the early stages before making his challenge in the straight and after going clear of the opposition he was eased down in the closing stages to win by one and a half lengths.[22] Ravensbury was the runner-up yet again, becoming the first of only two horses to finish second in all three legs of the Triple Crown.[23] Isinglass's win took his winnings for the year to £18,860 and to £23,437 for his career.[24] Two weeks later he ran in the £8,000 Lancashire Plate at over one mile at Manchester Racecourse, in which he was opposed by the filly La Fleche, the winner of the 1892 Fillies' Triple Crown. Isinglass led the field from the start and defeated the filly by half a length but lost his unbeaten record as he was beaten by Raeburn (carrying ten pounds less than the Derby winner), who produced a strong late run to win by a length.[25] Some press reports suggested that Loates on Isinglass and George Barrett on La Fleche had been so intent on beating each other that they ignored Raeburn,[26] while other commentators felt that Isinglass had been unsuited by having to make the running.[27]

1894: four-year-old season

Tommy Loates, Isinglass's regular jockey

Isinglass stayed in training in 1894, but during the first half of the season the racing public's attention was drawn away from him by the achievements of Ladas. Lord Rosebery's three-year-old colt won the 2000 Guineas and the Derby, maintaining an unbeaten record in his first eight races. Isinglass, by contrast, had a series of training problems[28] forcing him to miss an intended run in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot.[29]

Isinglass returned for a meeting with Ladas in the inaugural running of the £10,000 Princess of Wales's Stakes over one mile at Newmarket. The race attracted a large crowd including the Prince of Wales (who supported Isinglass) and the Queen's cousin George, Duke of Cambridge (who favoured Ladas). The field also included Raeburn, Ravensbury (who had won impressively at Royal Ascot), and an improving three-year-old named Bullingdon.[30] The early pace was slow, and Loates restrained Isinglass behind the leaders before moving up to challenge Ladas for the lead a furlong out. He accounted for the Derby winner in a matter of strides but was immediately challenged by Bullingdon. In a closely contested finish Isinglass prevailed by a short head from Bullingdon with Ladas finishing a well-beaten third.[31] In the £10,000 Eclipse Stakes at Sandown on 20 July, Isinglass met Ladas again, this time over ten furlongs on soft ground. Isinglass started favourite at 4/5 with Ladas on 13/8 and the other runners, who included Raeburn, Ravensbury and the filly Throstle virtually ignored. Isinglass raced in second behind his stable companion Priestholme who set off at an exceptionally fast pace. Priestholme dropped away in the straight, leaving Isinglass in the lead and Ladas moving up to challenge.[32] The two Derby winners dominated the race in the closing stages but in spite of a "game pursuit" by Ladas, who got to within a neck of his rival at one point, Isinglass proved his superiority[33] and won by a length with the rest of the field, headed by Throstle, well beaten.[34]

Having won two of the "Ten Thousand Pounders", Isinglass attempted to win a third[35] in the Jockey Club Stakes over one and a quarter miles at Newmarket on 28 September. The early stages of the race were marked by the erratic behaviour of the St Leger winner Throstle who bolted off the course despite the best efforts of her rider Mornington Cannon and embarked on "a tour of the country".[36] Priestholme again made the early running before Isinglass took the lead two furlongs from the finish and went clear. Although he was eased down in the closing stages he won decisively by two lengths from the French colt Gouvernail.[37] The win took Isinglass's lifetime winnings up to £54,934, less than £300 behind the record held by Donovan.[38]

By the end of 1894, Isinglass was being described as "one of the greatest race-horses that has trod the English turf".[39] A measure of his superiority came when the weights for the Cesarewitch Handicap were published: he was assigned 146 pounds for the race, making him officially seventeen pounds ahead of La Fleche.[40]

1895: five-year-old season


Isinglass was kept in training with the two and a half mile Ascot Gold Cup as his only target. McCalmont turned down a challenge from Lord Rosebery for a match race between Isinglass and Ladas in spring as he did not wish to disrupt his horse's preparation for the race.[41] At Royal Ascot on 20 June when he started at odds of 2/11 for the Gold Cup against two opponents. He raced lazily in the early stages as Kilsallaghan made the running in a slowly run race. He had to be "woke up" by Loates when the race began in earnest six furlongs from the finish and moved up to take the lead entering the straight. After being briefly challenged by Reminder, he went clear and won "at his leisure"[42] by three lengths from Reminder, with Kilsallaghan third.[43]

Immediately following his Ascot win, Isinglass was retired to stud[44] after a career which had seen him win races at distances from 58 of a mile to as much as 2+12 miles.[45] Isinglass's earnings of £58,655 set a world record that stood until it was surpassed by Zev in 1923. His British record stood for fifty-seven years until it was broken by Tulyar in 1952.[46]

Stud record


Sent to Cheveley Park Stud near Newmarket for breeding duty, Isinglass sired three British Classic Race winners: Cherry Lass, Glass Doll, and Louvois. His most successful son as a sire was Star Shoot who was leading sire in North America on five occasions, siring horses such as Sir Barton and Grey Lag.[47] Isinglass also was very successful as a sire of broodmares, notably as the damsire of Prince Palatine. In 1912, he was posthumously the leading broodmare sire in Great Britain and Ireland.[48]

Foaled Name Sex Major Wins/Achievements
1898 Star Shoot Stallion Leading sire in North America, Leading broodmare sire in North America
1901 John O'Gaunt Stallion Most influential son,[49] including two direct sire descended U.S. Triple Crown winners Whirlaway[50] and Assault[51]
1902 Cherry Lass Mare 1000 Guineas Stakes, Epsom Oaks
1904 Glass Doll Mare Epsom Oaks
1910 Louvois Stallion 2000 Guineas Stakes

Isinglass died at Cheveley Park Stud on 5 December 1911.[52] His skeleton is at the Natural History Museum in London.


Pedigree of Isinglass (GB), bay stallion, 1890[53]
b. 1875
b. 1868
ch. 1857
Honey Dear
b. 1857
Isola Bella
ch. 1868
ch. 1849
The Baron
ch. 1860
ch. 1878
b. 1869
Lord Clifden
b. 1860
The Slave
ch. 1863
ch. 1864
Chevalier d'Industrie
b. 1854
The Dutchman's Daughter
b. 1854
The Flying Dutchman
Red Rose (Family:3-m)[54]

See also



  1. ^ "IN A NUTSHELL". Otago Witness. 14 September 1893. Retrieved 2012-02-25.
  2. ^ Chambers, David Patrick and William Geddie (1901). Chambers's Encyclopaedia: a dictionary of universal knowledge, Volume 5. London and Edinburgh: W. & R. Chambers, Limited. p. 797.
  3. ^ "Isinglass". Horseracing History Online. Retrieved 2012-03-02.
  4. ^ a b "TALK OF THE DAY". Otago Witness. 9 February 1893. Retrieved 2012-02-25.
  5. ^ "SPORTING ITEMS". Press. 15 July 1893. Retrieved 2012-02-25.
  6. ^ "TALK OF THE DAY". Otago Witness. 26 October 1893. Retrieved 2012-02-25.
  7. ^ "MISCELLANEOUS". Auckland Star. 20 May 1893. Retrieved 2012-02-25.
  8. ^ "Thomas Loates". Horseracing History Online. Retrieved 2012-02-26.
  9. ^ "IN A NUTSHELL". Otago Witness. 10 August 1893. Retrieved 2012-02-25.
  10. ^ "ENGLISH AND FOREIGN". Otago Witness. 4 August 1892. Retrieved 2012-02-25.
  11. ^ "RACING IN ENGLAND". Otago Witness. 8 December 1892. Retrieved 2012-02-25.
  12. ^ "IN A NUTSHELL". Otago Witness. 22 December 1892. Retrieved 2012-02-25.
  13. ^ "IN A NUTSHELL". Otago Witness. 30 March 1893. Retrieved 2012-02-25.
  14. ^ "TALK OF THE DAY". Otago Witness. 11 May 1893. Retrieved 2012-02-25.
  15. ^ "SPORTS AND PASTIMES". Thames Star. 29 April 1893. Retrieved 2012-02-26.
  16. ^ "RACING IN ENGLAND". Otago Witness. 22 June 1893. Retrieved 2012-02-26.
  17. ^ "IN A NUTSHELL". Otago Witness. 22 June 1893. Retrieved 2012-02-26.
  18. ^ "RACING IN NEW ZEALAND". Otago Witness. 29 June 1893. Retrieved 2012-02-26.
  19. ^ "TO CORRESPONDENTS". Auckland Star. 19 July 1893. Retrieved 2012-02-26.
  20. ^ "Wednesday, May 31". Otago Witness. 20 July 1893. Retrieved 2012-02-26.
  21. ^ "TALK OF THE DAY". Otago Witness. 27 July 1893. Retrieved 2012-02-26.
  22. ^ "RACING IN ENGLAND". Otago Witness. 19 October 1893. Retrieved 2012-02-26.
  23. ^ "DONCASTER AUTUMN". Otago Witness. 14 September 1893. Retrieved 2012-02-26.
  24. ^ "ISINGLASS AND HIS PREDE". Otago Witness. 19 October 1893. Retrieved 2012-02-26.
  25. ^ "RACING IN ENGLAND". Otago Witness. 23 November 1893. Retrieved 2012-02-26.
  26. ^ "THE RACING WORLD". Auckland Star. 22 November 1893. Retrieved 2012-02-26.
  27. ^ "TALK OF THE DAY". Otago Witness. 23 November 1893. Retrieved 2012-02-26.
  28. ^ "IN A NUTSHELL". Otago Witness. 21 June 1894. Retrieved 2012-02-26.
  29. ^ "MISCELLANEOUS". Auckland Star. 5 May 1894. Retrieved 2012-02-26.
  30. ^ "ENGLISH NOTES". Auckland Star. 1894-08-14. Retrieved 2011-11-19.
  31. ^ "NEWMARKET FIRST JULY. Tuesday, July 3". Otago Witness. 1894-08-23. Retrieved 2011-11-19.
  32. ^ "TALK OF THE DAY". Otago Witness. 1894-09-20. Retrieved 2011-11-19.
  33. ^ "RACING IN ENGLAND". Auckland Star. 12 September 1894. Retrieved 2012-02-26.
  34. ^ "RACING IN ENGLAND. SANDOWN PARK". Otago Witness. 1894-09-20. Retrieved 2011-11-19.
  35. ^ "CARBINE'S OWNER". Auckland Star. 20 February 1895. Retrieved 2012-02-26.
  36. ^ "Untitled". Otago Witness. 15 November 1894. Retrieved 2012-02-26.
  37. ^ "RACING IN NEW ZEALAND". Otago Witness. 15 November 1894. Retrieved 2012-02-26.
  38. ^ "MEETINGS TO COME". Auckland Star. 21 November 1894. Retrieved 2012-02-26.
  39. ^ "RACING NEWS". Auckland Star. 21 June 1895. Retrieved 2012-02-26.
  40. ^ "TALK OF THE DAY". Otago Witness. 18 October 1894. Retrieved 2012-02-26.
  41. ^ "MISCELLANEOUS". Auckland Star. 27 February 1895. Retrieved 2012-02-26.
  42. ^ "TALK OF THE DAY". Otago Witness. 8 August 1895. Retrieved 2012-02-26.
  43. ^ "RACING IN ENGLAND". Otago Witness. 8 August 1895. Retrieved 2012-02-26.
  44. ^ "ISINGLASS". Daily Telegraph. 29 June 1895. Retrieved 2012-02-26.
  45. ^ "A CHAMPION'S CAREER". Otago Witness. 8 August 1895. Retrieved 2012-02-25.
  46. ^ Morris, Tony; Randall, John (1990). Horse Racing: Records, Facts, Champions (Third ed.). Guinness Publishing. ISBN 0-85112-902-1.
  47. ^ Liz Martiniak (1911-12-05). "Isinglass". Retrieved 2012-02-26.
  48. ^ "Leading Broodmare Sires of Great Britain and Ireland". Retrieved 2012-02-26.
  49. ^ Isinglass (GB)
  50. ^ Whirlaway Pedigree
  51. ^ Assault Pedigree
  52. ^ "DEATH OF A RACEHORSE". Hawera & Normanby Star. 6 December 1911. Retrieved 2012-02-26.
  53. ^ "RACING IN ENGLAND". Otago Witness. 8 June 1893. Retrieved 2012-02-26.
  54. ^ "Amazon – Family 3-m". Retrieved 2012-02-25.