Dreaming a Derby Winner: 1864

Blair Athol, Derby Winner

Blair Athol, Derby Winner

The Times, in a leading article upon Spiritualism, which appeared some time back, objected, among other reasons, to the unsatisfactory and unreliable character of the messages which imported to come from the spirits. In the writer’s low view of the whole subject, he argued that the spirits never told us anything of practical value. If, he said, the spirits would tell us who was to be the winner of the Derby that would be something valuable and worth knowing.

Though I have heard of many less worldly, but in my estimation much more valuable predictions and premonitions being made by spirits, I had never heard of such a case as the Times required for its satisfaction. We have, however, only to wait patiently, as it would appear, for almost every demand made, even by the most obdurate sceptic, to be realized; and the following fact, which can be satisfactorily proved, may, perhaps, lead to the conversion of the editor of the Times :

A gentleman, Mr. B , who is a member of a highly respectable mercantile firm in the City, who knows nothing of Spiritualism, and is wholly unacquainted with the mysteries of the turf, dreamt, some time before the last Derby Day, that No. 19 would be the winner. He mentioned it to his partner And several of his immediate friends, and was himself so strongly impressed by the premonition that he was inclined to bet a considerable sum on the faith of this dream, or, as I should call it, spiritual impression. He was restrained, however, by his senior partner, and induced to limit his stake to ten pounds. Enquiries were made as to the name of the horse, but at that time the official list with the numbers of the horses had not been published.

Mr. B commissioned a friend, better acquainted with betting matters, to lay ten pounds on No. 19, whatever horse  it might be, and so earnest was he on the value of his dream that several of his friends were induced to follow his example, even after the list was published, and when it was seen that No. 19 was far from the favourite. It is now matter of sporting history that No. 19, Blair Athol, was the horse that won the Derby. Perhaps the editor of The Times will take the trouble to enquire as to the literal truth of this statement, and, if satisfied of the facts, give publicity to it, and proclaim his conversion forthwith. The Spiritual Magazine, 1864

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire:  Mrs Daffodil, who does not follow the Turf, understands that there is a horse-racing contest  to be run to-day in the States, called the “Kentucky Derby,” modeled, no doubt, on the well-known “Derby Stakes” held annually at Epsom Downs in Surrey.

Mrs Daffodil is sceptical of the claim that Blair Athol (pictured above) was not bruited as potential Derby winner. His potential had been recognized by many in the racing world and bookmakers had paid a stable lad to nobble the poor creature by kicking him. Blair Athol had a successful, if brief career, in 1864, winning the Derby, as well as five other races. He then retired to a successful career at stud. 

Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,” where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdotes

You may read about a sentimental succubus, a vengeful seamstress’s ghost, Victorian mourning gone horribly wrong, and, of course, Mrs Daffodil’s efficient tidying up after a distasteful decapitation in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales.



1 thought on “Dreaming a Derby Winner: 1864

  1. Pingback: The Jockey Wore Crape: 1870 | Mrs Daffodil Digresses

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