While researching my next wip, I put together a short history of the Prince Regent’s racehorse ownership history for the author notes.
The Prince Regent’s stables were legendary in cost, if not in racing success, costing around £31,000 (2023 £2million) a year. He did win the Derby in 1788 with Sir Thomas, while he was banned from Newmarket after the 1791 betting scandal over his horse Escape. He bred racehorses at Hampton Court Stud but sold everything in 1820 when he became King George IV.
The Duke of York took over Hampton Court Stud, breeding 1822 Epsom Derby winner Moses there, while the Duke of York’s stallion Phantom won the General Stallions Premiership in both 1820 and 1824.
On the back of these successes, George IV cancelled the Duke of York’s lease in 1827 and used Hampton Court Stud for his own purposes again, but he died in 1830 before any horse of note raced and he didn’t have anything near the success of the Duke of York.
His successor, King William IV kept the farm, but when he died in 1837, all the bloodstock at Hampton Court Stud were sold and the property leased again to various parties, until Queen Victoria took over in 1851 and the stud thrived under the management of Colonel Sir George Maude who took advantage of the new-fangled idea of selling yearlings, for example Lord Marcus Beresford paid 5,500 guineas (2023 £640,000) for La Fleche as a yearling in 1890, but Hampton Court Stud was again wound up in 1894.
This information will form part of a new book called The Duke’s Wager, coming first to an anthology in 2024, then as a novella in 2025.