Tommy Weston (jockey)

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Tommy Weston
Tranquil by Lynwood Palmer.jpg
Tranquil with trainer, George Lambton and jockey Tommy Weston by Lynwood Palmer. (1923)
OccupationJockey
Born4 February 1902
Dewsbury, West Riding of Yorkshire, England
Died21 January 1981 (aged 78)
Ely, Cambridgeshire, England
Major racing wins
British Classic Race wins as jockey:
1,000 Guineas
2000 Guineas (2)
Derby Stakes (2)
Oaks(3)
St Leger Stakes (3)
Racing awards
British flat racing Champion Jockey (1926)
Significant horses
Hyperion, Colorado, Fairway, Tranquil


Thomas "Tommy" Weston (February 1902 - 1981), born Dewsbury, West Riding of Yorkshire, was a British horse racing jockey. One of the most successful jockeys of the inter-war years he won eleven English Classics, eight as stable jockey for the Earl of Derby including two Derby Stakes winners in Sansovino and Hyperion.He was British flat racing Champion Jockey in 1926.

Early life[edit]

Tommy Weston depicted on a cigarette card by Gallahers Ltd., in 1936

Weston was the son of a railway waggon driver.[1] Through his father, who was a fan of multiple championship winning jockey Steve Donoghue, he developed an interest in the sport of horse racing. Aged 14 and weighing just 4 st 3 lb (26.8 kg), he became apprentice to Middleham trainer Ned McCormack, a stable controlled by a bookmaker.[2]

Career[edit]

After demonstrating his ability riding Redhead, winner of the Liverpool Summer Cup, for trainer George Lambton, Lambton recommended Weston to Lord Derby to be his retained jockey.[1] Weston rode for Lord Derby for ten years, winning nine Classics.

These started with a win on Tranquil in the 1923 St. Leger, followed by Sansovino in the 1924 Derby at a muddy Epsom. Two years later he was champion jockey in the year that the rider who would come to dominate the championship for the next thirty years, Gordon Richards, was out for nearly the whole season with illness.[3] He would go on to ride the Horse of the Year in five of the next seven seasons - Colorado (1927), Fairway (1928 and 1929), Gold Cup winner Bosworth (1930) and Hyperion (1933), who would go on to become one of the 20th century's foremost sires.

It is argued that Weston should have won himself another Derby with Fairway, but his chance was lost after fans mobbed the horse at the start.[3] The horse eventually proved himself of the highest order in winning the Eclipse Stakes, the St. Leger and the Champion Stakes in two successive years.

In 1933 Weston on Hyperion recorded what has been called "the greatest Derby-winning performance of all time"[3] beating high class rivals by an official margin of four lengths, which from photographs has been shown to be closer to eight.[3] Doubts were raised as to the manner of the victory, however, with the suggestion that Weston was aided in his victory by Steve Donoghue, on Hyperion's stablemate Thrapston, securing a clear passage for him.[4]

Thrapston set a cracking pace until approaching Tattenham Corner, Steve Donoghue rode Thrapston and Tommy Weston was on Hyperion. Just about at the corner Weston called out something to Donoghue, with the result that Steve obliged and Hyperion got the clear run which carried him to victory.

— Evening Post, Wellington, 10 July 1935

Hyperion followed up in the St. Leger.

The partnership between Lord Derby and Weston was dissolved in 1934, without any explanation. It has been suggested that Weston was in conflict with Colledge Leader, Lambton's successor as Lord Derby's trainer, a situation exacerbated when Hyperion lost that year's Ascot Gold Cup.[3] Weston's career was not the same afterwards, although, after serving with the Royal Navy during World War II where he saw active service and was sunk twice,[5] he returned to win the 2,000 Guineas on Happy Knight and a Lincolnshire Handicap on Langton Abbot.[2]

Riding style[edit]

During his career, Weston was a very popular jockey and has been described as "a dashing jockey, with very sympathetic hands"[1] and "combining great dash and courage... but liable to be somewhat erratic."[2] Of his riding, author Quintin Gilbey wrote, "No jockey rode a more vigorous finish and his records showed that though inelegant he was most effective. He was in fact a far better jockey than he appeared to be from the stands."

Retirement[edit]

He retired in 1950 and stayed in Newmarket. In later life he was a "sad figure", having spent all the money he made.[3] He died, aged 78, in 1981 at Ely Hospital.[6]

Major wins[edit]

United Kingdom Great Britain

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c http://www.horseracinghistory.co.uk/hrho/action/viewDocument?id=977 Brief biography of Tommy Weston on Horseracing HistoryOnline (National Museum of Horseracing)
  2. ^ a b c Wright, Howard (1986). The Encyclopaedia of Flat Racing. London: Robert Hale. ISBN 0-7090-2639-0.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "For The Record: Surprise association that led to so many memorable victories". The Racing Post. 11 February 2011
  4. ^ Evening Post, Wellington, 10 July 1935
  5. ^ https://www.dewsburyreporter.co.uk/news/tommy-ruled-sport-of-kings-1-1348828 Dewsbury Reporter, 13 October 2008
  6. ^ "Mr Tommy Weston." The Times, London, England, 27 January 1981: 14. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 24 April 2013.


Bibliography[edit]