Pocahontas (1837–1870) was an English Thoroughbred racehorse and the dam of three sires who had a great influence on the breed. Although mares are not generally considered to be as influential as sires, Thoroughbred Heritage refers to Pocahontas as "one of the most influential Thoroughbreds of all time, male or female."[1]

A painting of Pocahontas (left), with Stockwell as a foal.
BreederKing William IV
Owner1) King William IV
2) Lord Stradbroke
3) Mr. Greatorex
4) William Theobald
5) 3rd Marquis of Exeter
Record9: 0-3-1
Last updated on February 21, 2011

Background edit

Bred at the Royal Stud at Hampton Court, Pocahontas was by Glencoe, winner of the 2,000 Guineas, Goodwood Cup, Ascot Gold Cup, and The Whip, and later a renowned sire in America. Pocahontas' dam, Marpessa,[2] won the Nursery Stakes at Newmarket as a two-year-old and the Goodwood Stakes as a three-year-old. She was bred to Glencoe in 1836 and produced her first foal, the filly Pocahontas. She later produced Idas (2,000 Guineas winner), Jeremy Diddler, and Boarding School Miss.[1]

After the death of King William IV, the stud at Hampton Court was dispersed. Marpessa and Pocahontas (still a foal) were bought for 230 guineas by Lord Stradbroke. As a yearling, Pocahontas was sold to Mr. Greatorex for 62 guineas. Pocahontas was quite small (maturing only to 14 hands 3 inches 59 inches (150 cm) high) but was said to have had good shoulders and hindquarters, with straight legs. However, she was known for her rather difficult temperament and (like her mother) was a roarer.

Racing career edit

Pocahontas raced once as a two-year-old, finishing third at the Criterion Stakes (after Gibraltar and Crucifix, who won in a dead heat). She raced again as a three-year-old; she was the favorite in the Oaks but finished fourth, partly due to her poor behavior. She finished fifth in the Goodwood Stakes, racing against some of the best males at that time. Pocahontas raced three times as a four-year-old; although she was unplaced in the Goodwood Cup and the Cesarewitch Handicap, she placed second three times during her four- and five-year-old seasons. Between the Goodwood Cup and the Cesarewitch, Pocahontas was sold to Mr. William Theobald (owner of Stockwell Stud). She was winless in her nine starts; this may have been because she was competing against high-quality male horses, or because of her roaring.

As a broodmare edit

Theobald bred Pocahontas as a five-year-old to his stallion Camel, producing Cambaules (who was said to be a roarer and only placed on the track). In 1845 she bore a colt by Muley Moloch, although he was neither named nor raced and was also said to be a roarer. She was bred to Muley Moloch again, producing the filly Dolly Varden (who won once on the track and did not have a successful breeding career. Bred a third time to Muley Moloch her resulting filly was unimpressive, although the filly bore a few impressive offspring several generations later. Pocahontas' next three years produced her greatest legacy as a broodmare with the births of Stockwell (The "Emperor of Stallions"),[3] Rataplan, and King Tom.

She was bred by Theobald for several years before being sold to the Marquis of Exeter in 1852. The Marquis' horse (Stockwell) was a successful sire at this time and he decided to purchase Pocahontas, Stockwell's 15-year-old dam, for his stud in Newmarket. Before she was moved to the Marquis' stud she produced Strood (a chestnut by Chatham) who was injured when young and never won. At Newmarket she foaled the filly Ayaconora, who won the Hopeful and the Newmarket Column Stakes and produced Chattanooga (winner of the Criterion Stakes and sire of the stallion Wellingtonia) and several great broodmares. She also produced The Knight of Kars, who was fairly successful on the track but more important as a sire of steeplechasers; he sired The Colonel (two-time winner of the Grand National Steeplechase).

Pocahontas' 1858 colt Knight of St. Patrick won four races, despite inheriting his dam's roaring. He later sired 2,000 Guineas winner Moslem. Her 1860 colt Automation won three times, including the Abington Mile, before dying as a three-year-old. In 1861 Auricula was born; the filly became the second classic winner and second St. Leger winner produced by Pocahontas.

Pocahontas' last foal, the filly Araucaria, won the 10-furlong Stamford Plate despite also being a roarer. Araucaria became an excellent broodmare herself. She foaled Camelia (by Macaroni), the winner of the 1,000 Guineas and Oaks; Chamant (by Flageolet), winner of the 2,000 Guineas; Rayon d'Or (by Flageolet), St. Leger winner and an excellent sire in America; and Wellingtonia (by Chattanooga), a leading sire in France.

Although she was bred six more years, Pocahontas never foaled. She was sold after the death of Lord Exeter in 1867, and bought for 10 guineas by the 3rd Marquis of Exeter. She spent the rest of her years at Wothorpe, part of the estate at Burghley Park, and died in 1870 at the age of 33.

The foals edit

Foaled Name Sex Major Wins/Achievements
1843 Cambaules Gelding
1846 Dolly Varden Mare
1848 Indiana Mare
1849 Stockwell Stallion Leading sire in Great Britain and Ireland (7 times)
1850 Rataplan Stallion Doncaster Cup
1851 King Tom Stallion Leading sire in Great Britain and Ireland
1852 Srood Stallion
1854 Ayacanora Mare
1855 The Knight of Kars Stallion
1856 Heroine of Lucknow Mare
1858 Knight of St. Patrick Stallion
1860 Automation Stallion
1861 Auricula Mare
1862 Araucaria Mare

Genetic legacy edit

Pocahontas was most influential as a broodmare, producing three great sons - Stockwell, Rataplan, and King Tom - and five influential daughters. Stockwell is the most notable of the three, as he appears in the pedigrees of Phalaris, Nearco, and Native Dancer. She produced a total of 15 foals, the last at the age of 25. It has been theorized that (along with her roaring trait which has a proven genetic basis in Thoroughbreds[4]) Pocahontas may have carried the "X-factor", a genetic mutation believed to be responsible for causing an enlarged heart suitable for elite athletic performance. This theory has been dismissed in scientific circles[5] and the proponents of this theory have not produced any peer reviewed data to prove this theory.

Pedigree edit

Pedigree of Pocahontas, bay mare, 1837
Glencoe (GB)
ch. 1831
b. 1816
Selim ch. 1802 Buzzard ch. 1787
Alexander mare b. 1790
Bacchante b. 1809 Williamson's Ditto b. 1800
Mercury mare b. 1791
ch. 1825
Tramp b. 1810 Dick Andrews b. 1797
Gohanna mare b. 1803
Web b. 1808 Waxy b. 1790
Penelope b. 1798
Marpessa (GB)
b. 1830
b. 1810
Orville b. 1799 Beningbrough b. 1791
Evelina br. 1791
Eleanor b. 1798 Whiskey* b. 1789
Young Giantess b. 1790
b. 1824
Marmion b. 1806 Whiskey* b. 1789
Young Noisette b. 1789
Harpalice b. 1814 Gohanna b. 1790
Amazon b. 1799[6]

Note: b. = Bay, ch. = Chestnut, br. = Brown

* Pocahontas was inbred 4x4 to Whiskey. This means that the stallion appears twice in the fourth generation of her pedigree.

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b [1] Thoroughbred Heritage. Retrieved February 21, 2011.
  2. ^ [2] Pocahontas' five-generation pedigree. Retrieved February 21, 2011.
  3. ^ [3] Thoroughbred Heritage. Retrieved February 21, 2011.
  4. ^ Boyko, Adam R; Brooks, Samantha A; Behan-Braman, Ashley; Castelhano, Marta; Corey, Elizabeth; Oliveira, Kyle C; Swinburne, June E; Todhunter, Rory J; Zhang, Zhiwu (2014-04-03). "Genomic analysis establishes correlation between growth and laryngeal neuropathy in Thoroughbreds". BMC Genomics. 15 (1): 259. doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-259. PMC 4051171. PMID 24707981.
  5. ^ Binns, Matthew; Morris, Tony (2010-01-01). Thoroughbred Breeding: Pedigree Theories and the Science of Genetics. J. A. Allen. ISBN 9780851319353.
  6. ^ Pedigree Query: Pocahontas Retrieved 2013-06-26

External links edit