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ISINGLASS    Photo courtesy of Del Mar Query


by David Manser

Isinglass 1890 (Isonomy - Dead Lock) was bred following the most remarkable series of events imaginable. A gentleman by the name of Captain Machell acquired Dead Lock for a mere 19 Guineas and sent her to Isonomy. The resulting colt from this union was named Islington and was foaled in 1888. Dead Lock was subsequently disposed of prior to Islington commencing his racing career. On the racetrack Islington showed some promise in his early career and Captain Machell began to have regrets about having disposed of Dead Lock.

Upon making enquiries he found that Dead Lock had been sold on several occasions since she left his care. He despaired of ever being able to trace her current whereabouts as his enquiries had proven fruitless. Incredibly, he was re-united with Dead Lock when during a chance visit by someone wishing to inspect his cart stallion Marvellous he recognised her as the mare pulling the visitor's cart. A deal was struck whereby the visitor left with a Marvellous colt and Captain Machell regained Dead Lock.

RACE RECORD - 12 Starts for 11 Wins (1892 to 1895)

1893 - Triple Crown Winner 

Major wins included :
2000 Guineas - Newmarket
The Derby - Epsom
St Leger - Doncaster
Eclipse Stakes - Sandown
Ascot Gold Cup - Ascot
Jockey Club Stakes
Princess of Wales' Stakes
Newmarket Stakes 

Isinglass is the only horse to ever win the Triple Crown, the Ascot Gold Cup and the Eclipse Stakes. His performances on the racetrack were reputedly characterised by phenomenal speed combined with apparently bottomless reserves of stamina. An indication of his ability can be gleaned from the observation that he was lazy in his training efforts and would only do as much as was necessary to win when competing in a race. His only conqueror was Raeburn (by St Simon) in the Lancashire Plate. 

During his racing career Isinglass amassed total Prize Money of 57455. This remained a record for a staggering 60 years until it was finally eclipsed by Tulyar which had, in achieving this distinction, benefited enormously from the higher Prize Money on offer and increased opportunities to compete which had arisen in the intervening period.


Isinglass was the product of 2 very well bred parents. His sire, Isonomy, was by Sterling which descended in tail male from Eclipse via a succession of influential stallions - Eclipse - Pot8o's - Waxy - Whalebone - Sir Hercules - Birdcatcher - Oxford - Sterling. Each of these stallions was amongst the leaders of their respective generations. Isonomy's dam, Isola Bella, was a daughter of Stockwell and this proved to be a crucial factor in the pedigree pattern of Isinglass.

Dead Lock was one of the goldmine daughters of Wenlock (Lord Clifden - Mineral). His genetic strength was primarily gained from the pedigree of his dam, Mineral, a daughter of Rataplan, full brother to Stockwell. They were sons of one of the most revered Broodmares in the Stud Book, Pocahontas. The dam of Dead Lock was Malpractice (Chevalier D'Industrie - The Dutchman's Daughter) a tail female descendant of Everlasting.

The pedigree of Isinglass is distinguished by 3 key inter-related features:  Firstly, the duplication of Pocahontas via full brothers. Secondly, the duplication of Everlasting - a daughter of Eclipse.  Thirdly, the concentration in sire lines tracing to Eclipse.

Overriding all other elements of significance in the pedigree of Isinglass is the superb placement of the duplication of Pocahontas via the full brothers Stockwell and Rataplan. Stockwell was the damsire of Isonomy while Rataplan was the damsire of Wenlock, sire of Dead Lock. This places Pocahontas 4x5 in the pedigree of Isinglass - perfectly positioned to exert a dominant influence in the genetic mix. In order to gain a full understanding of the importance of this duplication,  an examination of the pedigree of the brothers Stockwell and Rataplan would be beneficial.

These brothers were by The Baron out of Pocahontas and this union brought together a veritable wealth of genetic strength. The pedigree of Pocahontas saw the introduction of Web - a full sister to the brothers Whalebone and Whisker (Waxy - Penelope). The importance of this, which can not be stressed enough, was that Web brought female genetic material from both Waxy and Penelope to the union to complement the male genetic material contributed by Whalebone and Whisker. The progeny of Waxy and Penelope fused together for the first time the lines of Eclipse, Herod and Matchem - the three horses considered to be the origin of the "modern" Thoroughbred. 

There was, thereby, a dramatically increased chance of these full siblings passing on to Pocahontas a far greater number and variety of superior genes from their parents. Waxy was a son of Pot8o's, perhaps the best son of Eclipse, while Penelope was by Trumpator out of Prunella, a Highflyer mare. This would prove to be significant in the progressive build-up of the pedigree of Isinglass as his fractional ancestors introduced more descendants of Waxy and Penelope.

Web was the dam of the half sisters Filagree (by Soothsayer) and Trampoline (by Tramp). In turn, Filagree was the dam of Bay Middleton, which will be discussed later. Trampoline was a far more significant daughter of Web in a genetic sense,  as she was by Tramp. He was by Dick Andrews (himself out of a Highflyer mare) out of a Gohanna mare. This Gohanna mare (there was more than one described as such in the General Stud Book) was out of Fraxinella, a daughter of a Woodpecker mare (again there was more than one of these) out of Everlasting - by Eclipse.

Gohanna was by Mercury (also a son of Eclipse) out of a Herod mare out of Maiden (1770) - a direct tail female ancestor of The Baron. The same daughter of Maiden from which The Baron descends (Matron) produced the tail female line of Camel (Whalebone - Selim mare ex Maiden (1801) great grand daughter of Maiden (1770). Interestingly, Tramp's half sister, Mrs Cruickshanks (by Welbeck - himself out of Pledge by Waxy out of Prunella) was the grand dam of Brown Bess (by Camel).

Also out of the same Gohanna mare was Fraxinella's half sister, Fractious (by Mercury) which produced Amazon - direct tail female ancestor of both Pocahontas and Dead Lock - and the Young Woodpecker mare ex Fractious - direct tail female of Lap Dog (Whalebone - Canopus mare) which was the damsire of Esperance, the grand dam of Ethelbert.

Continued,  page 2

Copyright (c) 2001 David Manser.  All rights reserved.
Isinglass  page views since May 21, 2001

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