- For the American thoroughbred racehorse born 1814 see American Eclipse.
Eclipse (by George Stubbs)
|Foaled||1 April 1764|
|Breeder||Duke of Cumberland|
|Record||18 starts, 18 wins (plus 7 heats)|
|Winchester King's Plate (1769)
Salisbury King's Plate (1769)
Canterbury King's Plate (1769)
Lewes King's Plate (1769)
Lichfield King's Plate (1769)
Match race against Bucephalus (1770)
Newmarket First Spring King's Plate (1770)
Guilford King's Plate (1770)
Nottingham King's Plate (1770)
York King's Plate (1770)
6yo+ Great Subscription Purse (1770)
Lincoln Heath King's Plate (1770)
Newmarket October King's Plate (1770)
|Eclipse Stakes at Sandown Park (GB)
Prix Eclipse at Maisons-Laffitte (France)
The Eclipse Awards (USA)
|Last updated on 29 October 2012|
Eclipse (1 April 1764 – 26 February 1789) was an outstanding, undefeated 18th-century British Thoroughbred racehorse who won 18 races, including 11 King's Plates. After retiring from racing he became a very successful sire.
Eclipse was foaled during and named after the solar eclipse of 1 April 1764, at the Cranbourne Lodge Stud of his breeder, Prince William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland. It was at this stud that his sire, the Jockey Club Plate winner, Marske (by Squirt from The Ruby Mare) stood, his dam, Spiletta (foaled 1749) was by Regulus, by the Godolphin Arabian. Eclipse was a brother to the successful broodmare, Proserpine. They were inbred to Snake in the fourth generation (4m x 4f) of their pedigree. After the death of Prince William in 1765, Eclipse was sold for 75 guineas to a sheep dealer from Smithfield, William Wildman.
Eclipse started racing at the age of five on 3 May 1769 in Epsom. After his second victory in a race in May 1769 the Irish adventurer Colonel Dennis O'Kelly purchased Eclipse in two parts (50 percent in June 1769 for 650 guineas, 50 percent in April 1770 for 1,100 guineas). Supposedly, at this time Captain Denis O'Kelly used the famous phrase "Eclipse first and the rest nowhere," before making his bets for this race. At that time, a horse that was more than 240 yards behind the lead was said to be nowhere. His jockey was John Oakley, supposedly the only jockey who could handle Eclipse's temperamental manner and running style of holding his nose very close to the ground. Eclipse won the race easily.
Eclipse won 18 races, including 11 King's Plates, supposedly without ever being fully extended and proving far superior to all competition. During this time he raced over 63 miles and walked 1,400 miles to race meetings across England.
Eclipse is still remembered in the phrase "Eclipse first and the rest nowhere", snowcloned as "[name of competitor] first and the rest nowhere," referring to any dominating victory. This phrase is occasionally seen in American print media (most often in newspaper sport sections) but is more common in Britain.
He is attested to have covered 83 feet per second at top speed, which would equate to 25 feet in a single stride.
|Date||Race name||Dist (miles)||Course||Prize||Odds||Runners||Place||Runner-up|
|3 May 1769||£50 Race||4||Epsom Downs||£50||1/4||5||1|
|29 May 1769||£50 Plate||2||Ascot||£50||1/8||2||1||Creme de Barbade|
|13 June 1769||King's Plate||4||Winchester||100 gns||5/4||5||1|
|15 June 1769||50 Guinea Plate||Winchester||50 gns||N/A||1||1||Walkover|
|28 June 1769||King's Plate||Salisbury||100 gns||N/A||1||1||Walkover|
|29 June 1769||City Silver Bowl||4||Salisbury||30 gns||1/10||3||1|
|25 July 1769||King's Plate||Canterbury||100 gns||N/A||1||1||Walkover|
|27 July 1769||King's Plate||4||Lewes||100 gns||1/10||2||1||Kingston|
|19 September 1769||King's Plate||3||Lichfield||1/20||2||1||Tardy|
|17 April 1770||Match race||Newmarket||4/6||2||1||Bucephalus|
|19 April 1770||King's Plate||3.5||Newmarket||400 gns||1/10||4||1||Diana|
|5 June 1770||King's Plate||Guildford||N/A||1||1||Walkover|
|3 July 1770||King's Plate||Nottingham||N/A||1||1||Walkover|
|20 August 1770||King's Plate||York||N/A||1||1||Walkover|
|23 August 1770||Subscription Purse||4||York||£319||1/20||3||1|
|3 September 1770||King's Plate||Lincoln Heath||100 gns||N/A||1||1||Walkover|
|3 October 1770||150 Guineas Race||Newmarket||150 gns||1/70||2||1||Corsican|
|4 October 1770||King's Plate||Newmarket||N/A||1||1||Walkover|
In 1771, Eclipse was retired to stud after a racing career of about 17 months due to lack of competition as nobody was betting on rival horses. Initially he stood at O'Kelly's Clay Hill Stud, near Epsom (Surrey), for a fee of 10 guineas which rose rapidly to 25 and then to 50 guineas a mare. During 1788, he was relocated to Cannons Stud, Edgware (Middlesex).
|1772||Planet||s||Jockey Club Plate, Weights and Scales Plate, 1200 Guineas Stakes|
|1773||Pot-8-Os||s||1200 Guineas Stakes, Clermont Cup (x3), Jockey Club Plate (x3), Newmarket Whip (x2), Craven Stakes|
|1774||Satellite||s||Guildford King's Plate, Winchester King's Plate|
|1778||Mercury||s||Lewes King's Plate|
|1778||Young Eclipse||s||Epsom Derby|
|1780||Volunteer||s||1200 Guineas Stakes, Cumberland Subscription Stakes|
|1781||Serjeant||s||Epsom Derby, 1200 Guineas Stakes|
Eclipse's daughters produced Archduke, Chanticleer, Haphazard, John Bull, Meteora, Phoenomenon, Skyscraper, Stamford, Tartar, Weasel, and Remembrancer.
He was never the leading sire in Great Britain and Ireland, although he finished in second place 11 times, usually behind Herod. The Royal Veterinary College determined in 1970 that nearly 80% of Thoroughbred racehorses had Eclipse in their pedigree. That percentage has naturally increased with time and the inevitable inbreeding in the Thoroughbred population. More recently, it has been estimated that Eclipse is not only somewhere in the pedigree, but a tail-male ancestor of "95pc of contemporary thoroughbreds" or of "nearly every living thoroughbred."
Eclipse died due to an attack of colic on 27 February 1789, at the age of 24. His skeleton is now housed at the Royal Veterinary College, Hertfordshire, in the Learning Resource Centre named after him, although it cannot be said for certain whether all the bones displayed are really from Eclipse. His hooves were made into inkstands, although the fact that there are at least five Eclipse-hoof inkstands casts some doubt on the authenticity of some. Hairs from his tail have also been used for decorations.
A necropsy on Eclipse found that he had an abnormally large heart (weighing 14 lbs). This trait, referred to in the context of thoroughbreds as the "X-Factor" has been seen occasionally in his descendants, including Secretariat and Phar Lap.
The Eclipse Awards are American Thoroughbred horse-racing awards named after Eclipse. They honour the champions of the sport, and are sponsored by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA), Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers Association, who select all finalists at the end of the year. The most prestigious of these Awards is the Eclipse Award for Horse of the Year title.
Eclipse Press is the book-publishing division of Blood-Horse Publications, an international publishing house for top Thoroughbred and general equine magazines, books, videos, CD-ROMs and annual references.
Sheffield-based Eclipse tools, now part of Spear & Jackson, took their name and their Eclipse first... slogan in 1909 from the horse.
The life story of Eclipse inspired the novel O'Kelly's Eclipse by screenwriter Arthur Weiss.
Nicholas Clee's Eclipse: The Story of the Rogue, the Madam and the Horse That Changed Racing is a biography of Eclipse and of the people connected to him, among them the gambler Dennis O'Kelly and the brothel madam Charlotte Hayes. Other biographies of Eclipse include Michael Church's Eclipse: The Horse, The Race, The Awards (2000), and Theodore Cook's 1907 book Eclipse and O'Kelly.
Contrary to popular belief, the Mitsubishi Eclipse was named for the racehorse, and not for the natural phenomenon.
|Sister to Old Country Wench||Snake*|
|The Ruby Mare||Blacklegs||Hutton's Bay Turk|
|Bay Bolton mare||Bay Bolton|
|Fox Cub mare|
|Grey Robinson||Bald Galloway|
|Sister to Old Country Wench|
|Mother Western||Easby Snake||Snake*|
|Akaster Turk mare|
|Old Montagu mare||Old Montagu|
|Hautboy mare (Family: 12)|
* Eclipse was inbred 4x4 to Snake. This means that the stallion appears twice in the fourth generation of his pedigree.
- Ahnert, Rainer L. (editor in chief), “Thoroughbred Breeding of the World”, Pozdun Publishing, Germany, 1970
- Thoroughbred Bloodlines: Eclipse Retrieved on 2011-08-21
- Montgomery, E.S, “The Thoroughbred”, Arco, New York, 1973 ISBN 0-668-02824-6
- Whyte, James Christie (1840). History of the British turf, from the earliest period to the present day, Volume I. London: H. Colburn. p. 130. Retrieved 1 May 2013.
- Whyte, James Christie (1840). History of the British Turf. H. Colburn, London.
- Barrie, Douglas M., The Australian Bloodhorse, Angus & Robertson, Sydney, 1956
- Morris, Simon; Tesio Power 2000 - Stallions of the World, Syntax Software
- Clee, Nicholas (2010). Eclipse: The Story of the Rogue, the Madam and the Horse That Changed Racing. London: Black Swan. ISBN 978-0-552-77442-0.
- TB Heritage: Eclipse Retrieved on 2009-8-7
- "The X-Factor: Heart of the Matter". Retrieved 3 May 2013.
- Thoroughbred Bloodlines: Lister's Turk Retrieved 2011-08-21