"'Ladas' Winner of the Derby, 1894"
With vignettes of the owner, Prime Minister Lord Rosebery, the trainer Mathew Dawson and the winning jockey John "Jack" Watts
54 cm x 48.2 cm (framed)
Framed and glazed
A very attractive popular print of the celebrated 1894 Derby winning horse 'Ladas'.
In his youth, while still styled Lord Dalmeny, Archibald Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery (1847-1929), declared that he had three aims in life:
"to win the Derby, to marry an heiress and to become Prime Minister".
In 1878 Rosebery married Hannah de Rothschild (1851–1890) the daughter and sole heir of Baron Mayer Amschel de Rothschild and, following her father's death in 1874, the richest woman in England. Hannah de Rothschild and the Earl of Rosebery had first met at Newmarket Racecourse years earlier, following an introduction from the then Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. Though already politically ambitious, through this marriage, the Earl of Rosebery acquired huge wealth and extended his influence. He had achieved the first of his lifetime's ambitions. One of the many properties owned by the couple was the legendary Mentmore Towers, one of the largest private houses to be built during the Victorian era, and its corresponding racing stud.
In March 1894 Lord Rosebery succeeded Gladstone as leader of the Liberal Party and was invited by Queen Victoria to form a government, thus, he became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and brought to reality the second of his lifetime's aspirations.
The name Ladas, derived from that of Alexander the Great's messenger, had previously been used by Lord Rosebery's father for a horse which came in unplaced in the 1869 Derby. Rosebery, then still an undergraduate at Oxford, had tipped the horse to friends and was mortified by the disappointing result. By way of an apology, he said that if he ever owned a horse which had a "prime chance" of winning the Derby, he would reuse the name "Ladas" so that all would then know to "take the tip and back him."
The name was kept back for years before being finally given, in 1893, to a promising unnamed two-year-old foal in his stables. In May 1894 this Ladas won the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket, the first of that horseracing season's 'Classics'. The horse's price for the Derby was immediately shortened. On 6 June 1894 Ladas became the shortest-priced favourite in the history of the Derby, starting at odds of 2/9. He duly came home to win the race by one-and-a-half lengths. The victory was received with "immense enthusiasm" and Lord Rosebery required police assistance to extricate himself from the crowd of well-wishers in the paddock. Ladas's win was cheered in the House of Commons. Lord Rosebery presented one of Ladas's race-winning plates to the United States ambassador as a gift.
Sadly, Ladas was beaten in the St Leger of September 1894 and thereby failed to become one of the handful of horses who have secured the 'English Triple Crown' but Rosebery had achieved his life's aims whilst still only in his 40's. Incredibly, he was to win the Derby again the following year with Sir Visto whilst he was still serving as Prime Minister.
The jockey Jack Watt's is depicted wearing Lord Rosebery's colours of primrose with rose hoops and a rose cap.
Framed in a late 19th Century Victorian oak frame with a gilt inner slip.
Good Condition. Ready to hang. Some historic staining to the extremities of the print. Old pitch-pine backboard replaced. A wonderful country house Billiards Room image.
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