The Earl of Lichfield’s Light Chestnut Colt “Elis” by Langar Out of Olympia

4| John Frederick Herring Jr. (British, 1820-1907)

The Earl of Lichfield’s Light Chestnut Colt “Elis” by Langar Out of Olympia


Signed, Inscribed and dated 1836

Oil on panel, 10" x 12"

$5,000 - $7,000

Provenance: Richard Green, London

Signed, Inscribed and dated 1836

In a racing career that lasted just shy of two years, Elis raced 15 times between 1835 and 1837, winning 11 races and running second in the other four. As a two-year-old he won five of his six races including the Chesterfield Stakes, Molecomb Stakes, Clearwell Stakes and Criterion Stakes. In his three-year-old season Elis was defeated by the great Bay Middleton in the 2000 Guineas but came back to win the Drawing-room Stakes, Racing Stakes, Lewes Stakes and the Great St. Leger Stakes.

Elis was owned by Lord George Bentinck, but in an attempt to hide his interest in racing from his family, Bentinck did not use his own name. Elis was officially owned by Charles Greville for his first two starts and by Thomas Anson, 1st Earl of Lichfield for the remainder of his racing career.

From as early as the autumn 1835, Elis had been regarded as a leading contender for the St Leger at Doncaster Racecourse in late September, but when the horse was still in Goodwood a week before the race his chances appeared remote. In the 1830s, the established way for a horse to travel to a racecourse was to walk there, usually at a very gentle pace to minimize the risk of injury and the 250 mile journey from Goodwood to Doncaster could take up to three weeks. Despite the fact that it appeared impossible for Elis to run in the St Leger he continued to be supported in the betting, which led to considerable confusion until Bentinck's plans were revealed. A specially designed carriage or "caravan" had been constructed which could be drawn at high speed by a team of horses whose members could be replaced at regular intervals. Elis and a travelling companion named The Drummer were loaded into the padded interior of the caravan and were transported to Doncaster in less than three days. The trip paid off as Elis would go on to win the St. Leger and cement his place in history as a winner of a British classic.

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