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Mornington Cannon

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Morny Cannon
Circa 1900
Born21 May 1873
Houghton, Hampshire
United Kingdom
Died1 June 1962 (aged 89)
ChildrenHerbert Claud Cannon (1916-2000)
Career wins1,879 in U.K.
Major racing wins
Coronation Stakes
(1892–1894, 1896, 1898)
Craven Stakes
(1893–94, 1897, 1899, 1902, 1906)
Prince of Wales's Stakes
(1895–96, 1899, 1900, 1904, 1905)
Middle Park Plate (1896)
Doncaster Cup (1897)
Lincolnshire Handicap (1897)
City and Suburban Handicap
(1890, 1891,1895, 1896, 1899, 1900)
Eclipse Stakes (1893, 1899)
Ascot Gold Cup (1902)
British Classic race wins:
St. Leger Stakes (1894, 1899)
Epsom Derby (1899)
2,000 Guineas (1899)
Epsom Oaks (1900, 1903)
Racing awards
British flat racing Champion Jockey
(1891, 1892, 1894–1897)
Significant horses
Flying Fox, Orme, Throstle, William the Third

Herbert Mornington Cannon (1873–1962), commonly referred to as Morny Cannon, was a six-time Champion jockey in the United Kingdom in the 1890s. He holds the records for the most wins by a jockey in the Craven Stakes, Coronation Stakes and Prince of Wales's Stakes. His most famous mount was Flying Fox who won the British Triple Crown in 1899. He was the son of English jockey and trainer Tom Cannon (1846–1917). In his day he was considered the most perfect master of style and he epitomised "the art of jockeyship".[1]

Early life[edit]

Herbert Mornington Cannon was born on 21 May 1873 in Houghton, Hampshire, the same day that his father Tom Cannon won the Somersetshire Stakes, at Bath, on a colt named Mornington[2] (who also won the 1873 City and Suburban Handicap).[3] Cannon derived his middle name from his father's mount and went by the nickname "Morny" for much of his racing career.[4]

His mother was Catherine Day, a grand daughter of English horse trainer John Barham Day. Cannon had three brothers who were also jockeys: Walter Kempton (1879–1951), Tom Cannon, Jr. (1872–1945) and Charles. His sister Margaret married Ernest Piggott, who was the grandfather of champion jockey Lester Piggott.[5]

He was educated at Banister's Court, Southampton, and afterwards at Queenswood College by a private tutor.[6]

He married E (Nelly) Dennett, of The Park, Nottingham, on 11 January 1894, at the old parish church, St Mary Abbots, Kensington. The wedding was a quiet one owing to the recent death of the bride's father. They honeymooned in Brighton with a view to setting up home near Danebury.[7]

Afterwards to being married he had a relationship with an Emily Harris (A Spinster who worked in workhouses around Brighton) and had a son. His son changed his name from Herbert Claud Harris to Herbert Claud Cannon by deed poll on January 8, 1945.

Racing career[edit]

He had his first mount in public on 11 October 1886, on his father's mare Coraline at Kempton in the Middlesex All-aged Selling Plate. He finished well behind. His first mount in 1887 was at the Epsom Spring Meeting. Claiming the 5 pound apprentice allowance, he rode Koster at 6 stone 3 pounds in the Metropolitan Stakes. Cannon's first race win occurred shortly before his fourteenth birthday, on 20 May 1887, in the City Bowl Salisbury.[5] on Mr H E Tidy's Flint.[6] By 1900 Cannon had won 1,542 races.[4] His most famous mount was Flying Fox with which he captured the 1899 St. Leger Stakes, 2,000 Guineas and Epsom Derby, securing the Triple Crown.[8] During his career, he was noted as having good hands for piloting 2-year-old horses.[9]

Morny Cannon’s Doncaster[edit]

Morny Cannon, from a 1906 cigarette card

Cannon monopolised the 1894 Doncaster St Leger meeting. His wins were as follows: First Day: -Stand Plate (9 runners), Rowallan, 100/8; Champagne Stakes (5), Solero, 10/1; Great Yorkshire Handicap (16), Bushey Park, 100/12; Doncaster Welter (13), Lumberer, 100/8. Second Day: – Milton Stakes (7), Newmarket 4/5; St Leger (8), Throstle, 50/1. Third Day: – Juvenile Selling (10), Queen Saraband, 9/4; Rous Plate (6), Matabele, 100/30; Portland Plate (15), Grey Leg, 8/1; Corporation Selling (10), St Ignatius, 11/8.[10] He drew a blank on the fourth day but was second in the Doncaster Cup on the 100/6 shot Portland. There were 26 races over the four days and Cannon rode in all but five of them yielding ten wins, four seconds, two thirds. There was almost one more because after dead-heating in the Tattersalls Stakes on The Brook he was beaten in the run-off. As well as winning most of the principle races the majority of his winners were outsiders and Throstle's 50/1 victory in the St Leger was sensational. He was originally entered as a pacemaker for his more fancied stable mate, Matchbox, but it was Morny's idea to change tactics and so bring off a memorable success. As John Porter, Throstle's trainer understated, Morny "was in irresistible form."[11]

1891 Vanity Fair caricature by Leslie Ward.

Diamond Jubilee[edit]

Cannon would have ridden another Triple Crown winner in 1900, but Diamond Jubilee had an intense dislike of the jockey. Jack Watts, Prince of Wales's jockey, had already refused to take the ride on the notoriously unruly Diamond Jubilee, before connections turned to Cannon.[12] Cannon had ridden the horse in the Boscawen Stakes in 1900, achieving a narrow win over Paigle in a finish that required a generous application of whip on Diamond Jubilee. The horse never again allowed Cannon to ride him, rolling on top of the jockey on one occasion.[9] Cannon's advice to the Prince was that "a brute like that ought to be shot," whilst claiming that he would not ride the horse for a pension.[12] Diamond Jubilee was instead ridden by newcomer Herbert Jones during his Triple Crown campaign.

Career statistics[edit]

Per cent
1887 9
1888 12 106 11.3 [13]
1889 21 217 9.6 [14]
1890 39 306 12.7 [15]
1891 137 609 22.5 1 [16]
1892 182 729 24.9 1 [17]
1893 168 666 25.5 2 [18]
1894 167 693 23.9 1 [19]
1895 184 711 25.8 1 [20]
1896 164 721 22.7 1 [21]
1897 145 624 23.2 1 [22]
1898 140 539 25.9 3 [23]
1899 120 468 25.6 3 [24]
1900 82 490 16.7 6 [25]
1901 76 451 16.8 6 [26]
1902 68 395 17.2 7 [27]
1903 53 349 15.1 8 [28]
1904 47 329 14.2 12 [29]

Cannon won six Jockeys' Championship and retired from racing in 1909.

Riding style[edit]

Morny's spell at the top was curtailed by rising weight[30][31] and the 'American Invasion' of jockeys, which led to faster run races and riding in a crouching style with a shorter length of stirrup.[32]At the time, despite the success of the American style of riding, many were convinced it was not the proper way to sit a horse. They felt sure in the long run the traditional English style of riding would prove the more successful, as it was certainly the more elegant and artistic.[33] However, in their prime, there was not much to choose between "Tod" Sloan and Cannon as horseman, but Morny was well clear when it came to honesty and integrity.[34][35]

Despite his success in the saddle, trainer Mat Dawson, Fred Archer's mentor, dismissed him as a 'dilettante jockey'.[36] Most turfites, however, concurred with Rapier's opinion that Morny was always a "the most conscientious of professional horseman."[37] Cannon was one of the old school of jockeys like Fordham and Archer, but towards the end of his career altered his riding methods, having his saddle further forward and shortening his stirrup leathers.[38] He was also known for leaving his challenge very late in races, a trait he had learnt from his father, and considered the "English style", to win by the narrowest margin.[39] Fellow jockey and later trainer, George Lambton commented, "It really was extraordinary, after apparently being out of a race, how he would sweep down on three or four struggling horses and beat them",[40] also adding, "there is no doubt that most of the jockeys were frightened to death of Morny with his tremendous rush at the finish."[36] Such tactics were not always popular. Another trainer, John Porter believed it cost him the 1901 Derby on William The Third.[36] However, weighing room colleague, Danny Maher, considered Morny as, "one of the finest horsemen that he had ever fought out a finish."[41]


Increasingly suffering from rheumatism Cannon announced his retirement from racing in April 1909[38] and lived in Brighton and Hove for many years until his death in 1962 at the age of 89.[3]

Maybe of Interest
The nine times Champion Jockey in Ireland, Morny Wing was named after Morny Cannon, whom his father idolised.[42][43]

He is mentioned in James Joyce's "Ulysses", "Morny Cannon is riding him."[44]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gould, Nathaniel; Sporting Sketches Publisher: London : R.A. Everett & Co. (1900)
  2. ^ Birmingham Daily Post (Birmingham, England), Thursday, 22 May 1873
  3. ^ a b "Mornington Cannon profile". British Horseracing Museum. Retrieved 27 May 2010.
  4. ^ a b The Washington Post. "Tom Cannon, noted British rider, dead." 26 August 1917. pg 35.
  5. ^ a b Wray Vamplew and Joyce Kay. "Cannon family." Encyclopedia of British Horseracing. Pages 65–66. MPG Books, Ltd. 2005. ISBN 0-7146-8292-6.
  6. ^ a b The Hampshire Advertiser (Southampton, England), Wednesday, 8 December 1897
  7. ^ The Bristol Mercury and Daily Post (Bristol, England), Saturday, 13 January 1894
  8. ^ "Horseracing History Online – Horse Profile : Flying Fox". Retrieved 29 May 2010.
  9. ^ a b Alfred E. T. Watson. "Queer-tempered horses."The Badminton Magazine of Sports and Pastimes. 1905. Pages 370–378.
  10. ^ Sargent, Harry R Thoughts upon sport (1895) Publisher: London : Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent
  11. ^ John Porter of Kingsclere : an autobiography (1919). Publisher: London : G. Richards p367
  12. ^ a b The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884–1942), 3 April 1922, Page 2 THK KING'S JOCKEY.
  13. ^ The Sheffield & Rotherham Independent (Sheffield, England), Tuesday, 27 November 1888
  14. ^ The Sheffield & Rotherham Independent (Sheffield, England), Tuesday, 26 November 1889
  15. ^ The Yorkshire Herald, and The York Herald (York, England), Tuesday, 25 November 1890
  16. ^ The Yorkshire Herald, and The York Herald (York, England), Tuesday, 1 December 1891
  17. ^ The Yorkshire Herald, and The York Herald (York, England), Saturday, 3 December 1892
  18. ^ The Yorkshire Herald, and The York Herald (York, England), Saturday, 2 December 1893
  19. ^ Liverpool Mercury etc (Liverpool, England), Tuesday, 27 November 1894
  20. ^ Liverpool Mercury etc (Liverpool, England), Tuesday, 26 November 1895
  21. ^ The Yorkshire Herald, and The York Herald (York, England), Tuesday, 1 December 1896
  22. ^ Liverpool Mercury etc (Liverpool, England), Tuesday, 30 November 1897
  23. ^ The Standard (London, England), Monday, 28 November 1898
  24. ^ The Standard (London, England), Monday, 27 November 1899
  25. ^ The Standard (London, England), Tuesday, 27 November 1900
  26. ^ The Times, Monday, 25 November 1901
  27. ^ The Times, Monday, 24 November 1902
  28. ^ The Times, Monday, 30 November 1903
  29. ^ The Times, Monday, 28 November 1904
  30. ^ The Pall Mall Gazette (London, England), Monday, 26 November 1900
  31. ^ The Times, Monday, 30 November 1903; pg. 3
  32. ^ Wright 1986, p. 47.
  33. ^ Gould, Nathaniel, Sporting sketches : being recollections and reflections on a variety of subjects connected with sport horses and horsemen, never before published Publisher: London : R.A. Everett & Co.(1900)
  34. ^ The Penny Illustrated Paper and Illustrated Times (London, England), Saturday, 13 January 1894; pg. 23
  35. ^ Papers Past > Auckland Star > 3 Poutūterangi 1917 > Page 2 > AUSTRALIANS IN ENGLAND
  36. ^ a b c Tanner & Cranham 1992, p. 98.
  37. ^ Author: Watson, Alfred Edward Thomas, 1849–1922, [from old catalog] ed The Badminton magazine of sports and pastimes Vol XXIV (1907)
  38. ^ a b The Times, Thursday, 22 April 1909; pg. 18
  39. ^ Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), Tuesday, 8 November 1898
  40. ^ George Lambton (Hon.): Men and Horses I Have Known; pub.T. Butterworth Limited, 1924
  41. ^ Penny Illustrated Paper and Illustrated Times (London, England), Saturday, 3 April 1909; pg. 214
  42. ^ "Horseracing History Online – Person Profile : Morny Wing". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
  43. ^ "Wing".
  44. ^ Joyce, James (26 August 2012). Ulysses. Cricket House Books LLC. ISBN 9781935814856.


External links[edit]