Anthony Bingham Mildmay, 2nd Baron Mildmay of Flete

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Anthony Bingham Mildmay, 2nd Baron Mildmay of Flete (14 April 1909 – 12 May 1950) was a celebrated amateur steeplechaser, who raced in the Grand National. He also inspired the Queen Mother’s interest in National Hunt racing.

Early life[edit]

Mildmay was the son of Francis Bingham Mildmay, 1st Baron Mildmay of Flete and his wife Alice Grenfell.[1]

He was educated at St Cyprian's School, Eastbourne, where he was encouraged to ride on the South Downs,[2] and at Eton. He then went up to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was a member of the University Pitt Club.[3]

He fought in World War II, as an officer in the Welsh Guards, rising to the rank of Captain. He succeeded to the title of 2nd Baron Mildmay of Flete on 8 February 1947.[1]

Steeplechasing[edit]

"Nitty" Mildmay, a gaunt, stoop-shouldered six-footer, was a well-known and popular amateur steeplechaser. He rode in the Grand National before and after the war, becoming known as a persistent 'trier', despite several episodes of bad luck.

In 1936, riding the 100-1 Davy Jones, he was leading at the 2nd to last fence when a buckle on the reins broke and the horse ran out. In 1947, he fell at Folkestone and injured his neck, which gave rise to a number of disabling attacks of cramp. In the 1948 Grand National he finished third on his favourite horse Cromwell, after an attack of the cramp meant he was just a passenger.

During his career, he rode no fewer than 32 winners in one season. He rode eight winners at Cheltenham, including three at The Festival.[4]

However, Mildmay’s most notable legacy was probably in kindling an interest in jump-racing in her Majesty the Queen Mother. At a dinner in Windsor Castle in 1949, Mildmay sat next to the then Queen Elizabeth and persuaded her that he should buy her a horse, to share with her daughter, then Princess Elizabeth.[5] Mildmay’s trainer Peter Cazalet selected Monaveen for them. Monaveen won his first race for them, at Fontwell Park, finished second in the Grand Sefton Chase at Aintree, and then took the prestigious Queen Elizabeth Chase at Hurst Park (now the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park). The result was a passion for the sport that lasted the Queen Mother for the rest of her life.

Early death[edit]

In 1950, Mildmay suffered an attack of cramp while swimming off the south Devon coast. He drowned at the age of 41.

He was unmarried and the title became extinct.[6]

Commemoration[edit]

Mildmay left his horses to his old racing and wartime colleague Peter Cazalet. Among them was Manicou, which became the Queen Mother's second steeplechaser.

He is commemorated in several events initiated by his friends. These include: the Mildmay of Flete Handicap Chase at Cheltenham Racecourse, the Mildmay Stakes at Newton Abbot Racecourse, and the Anthony Mildmay, Peter Cazalet Memorial Chase at Sandown Park Racecourse.

He is also commemmorated in The Mildmay Course at Aintree Racecourse, which opened in memory of him, in 1953.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b L. G. Pine, The New Extinct Peerage 1884-1971: Containing Extinct, Abeyant, Dormant and Suspended Peerages With Genealogies and Arms (London, U.K.: Heraldry Today, 1972)
  2. ^ Henry Longhurst My Life and Soft Times Cassell & Company 1971 ISBN 0-304-93849-1
  3. ^ Fletcher, Walter Morley (2011) [1935]. The University Pitt Club: 1835-1935 (First Paperback ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 101. ISBN 978-1-107-60006-5. 
  4. ^ Richard Stone Reeves Crown Jewels of Thoroughbred Racing Blood-Horse Publications, 1997
  5. ^ Graham Rock "The racing royal whose beloved horses gave her huge happiness " in The Observer Sunday March 31, 2002 Guardian Unlimited full text (accessed 15 January 2008).
  6. ^ See The Times, 1950-06-07 page 6, column D - "Lord Mildmay's body recovered: Found in Falmouth Bay".
Preceded by
Francis Bingham Mildmay, 1st Baron Mildmay of Flete
Baron Mildmay
1947-1950
Succeeded by
(Title extinct)