King Fergus (1775–1801) was a British Thoroughbred racehorse. He won several races, but achieved greater success as a sire. He was British Champion sire in 1797 and his progeny included St Leger Stakes winner Hambletonian, who was only defeated once in his 19 race career.
|500 guineas sweepstakes at Bath (1779)|
|Leading sire in Great Britain and Ireland (1797)|
King Fergus was a chestnut colt bred by Mr Carver and foaled in 1775. He was sired by the undefeated Eclipse. Eclipse was also one of the leading sires of the time, with his progeny also including Pot-8-Os, Saltram, Serjeant and Young Eclipse. King Fergus was the ninth foal of Creeping Polly, a daughter of Othello. King Fergus grew to stand 16 hands high and was "remarkably full of bone, great sinews, well shaped, and free from blemishes."
Racing career Edit
King Fergus only raced once as a three-year-old, finishing second to Miss Wickham at Bath. At Bath on 27 September 1779 he started as the 1/5 favourite to win a 500 guineas sweepstakes and beat Cinderwench to win the four-mile race. In October he was due to race Sir John Lade's Bet Boucher over two miles, but Lade paid a forfeit.
In 1780, on the Monday of Newmarket's second spring meeting, he beat Sir John Lade's Knight Errant. Two days later at Newmarket he raced against Dorimant and Pot-8-Os in a 140 guineas race. King Fergus was leading as they passed the stands, but cast a shoe. Pot-8-Os won, with King Fergus in second place. In May 1780, at Epsom, he won a £50 race comprising three four-mile heats. He beat Epsom, Jugurtha, Don Joseph, Chance, Neptune, Holyhock and Foppington, with King Fergus starting as the favourite (priced at about 8/11). In October he beat the Duke of Cumberland's Pomona of three miles to win 200 guineas. Later in the month he beat Lord Derby's Guildford (who had started as the 1/2 favourite) to win 200 guineas. Two days later he beat five rivals to win a subscription stakes of five guineas each. Lord Grosvenor's Truth had started as the 4/6 favourite, with King Fergus at 7/4.
King Fergus started the 1781 season at the first spring meeting at Newmarket, where he beat Whizgig, Prince Ferdinand, Young Tantrum, Little Isaac, Knight Errant and Tantini to win £50. Whizgig had started as the 6/4 favourite, with King Fergus at 2/1. At the same meeting he walked over for another £50. He later broke down and was retired from racing.
Stud career Edit
After retiring from racing in 1781 he was purchased by John Croke, to stand as a stallion in Ireland. After standing a few seasons in Ireland he returned to England and 1786 he stood at Red Lion Livery-Stables near Park Lane, Piccadilly, Piccadilly for a fee of 5gns and 5s. In 1787 he stood in Catterick in Yorkshire, before moving to Shipton. By 1790 his fee had risen to 10gns and 10s 6d. 1792 he moved from Shipton to Maidenhead and stood for a fee of 15gns and 10s 6d. He returned to Shipton in 1793, with his fee rising again to 20gns and 10s 6d. For the next few years of his stud career he moved about from year to year, standing at Egham, Shipton, Turnford and Cambridge from 1794 to 1797. The last few years of his life were spent in Boroughshire and by 1800 he fee had dropped back to 10gns and 10s 6d.
He served very few mares in Ireland and his most notable son he produced there was Honest Tom, who won 24 races. In England King Fergus sired many top horses and was British Champion sire in 1797. He died in 1801.
Notable progeny Edit
|1788||Young Traveller||s||St Leger Stakes, Doncaster Cup|
|1789||Ormond||s||5yo Great Subscription Purse, 6yo+ Great Subscription Purse|
|1791||Beningbrough||s||St Leger Stakes, Doncaster Cup|
|1792||Hambletonian||s||St Leger Stakes, Doncaster Cup (twice)|
|1794||Warter||s||Lichfield King's Plate, Burford King's Plate, Guildford King's Plate|
King Fergus was the damsire to Epsom Oaks winner Scotia. His son Overton was the sire of St Leger and Doncaster Cup winner Cockfighter. Beningbrough produced St Leger and Doncaster Cup winner Orville, Doncaster Cup winner Scud, Epsom Oaks and 4yo Great Subscription Purse winner Oriana, Epsom Oaks winner Briseis and another Doncaster Cup winner Trophonius. Hambletonian sired Doncaster Cup winner Camillus. It is through Hambletonian's son Whitelock that King Fergus' sire line continues. Whitelock was the sire of Blacklock, who was the grandsire of Epsom Derby winner Voltigeur.
|Sister to Old Country Wench|
|The Ruby Mare||Blacklegs|
|Bay Bolton mare|
|Old Montagu mare|
Creeping Polly (GB)
|Sister to Soreheels|
|Young True Blue|
|Oxford Dun Arabian mare|
|Starling mare||Bolton Starling|
|Flying Childers mare|
- "King Fergus". Bloodlines.net. Retrieved 2012-11-25.
- "Eclipse". Tbheritage.com. Retrieved 2012-11-25.
- "King Fergus". Tbheritage.com. Retrieved 2012-11-25.
- Johnson, R. (1822). The Turf Register (Vol. III). A. Bartholoman, High-Ousegate.
- "Beningbrough". Tbheritage.com. Retrieved 2012-11-25.
- "Hambletonian". Tbheritage.com. Retrieved 2012-11-25.