The Races & Palmer’s horses

Horse racing in the Rugeley area

Palmer's horse 'Chicken', his last chance to win enough money to keep the money-lenders off his back. 'Chicken' lost! From Illustrated Life and Career of William Palmer of Rugeley
Palmer’s horse ‘Chicken’, his last chance to win enough money to keep the money-lenders off his back. ‘Chicken’ lost! From Illustrated Life and Career of William Palmer of Rugeley

The Cannock Chase area as a whole had an interest in horse racing. In addition to Rugeley’s racecourse at Etching Hill there were courses at Hednesford and Penkridge, all of which no longer exist.

In 1861 a horse called Jealousy, trained at the Cross Keys at Hednesford won the Grand National.

Palmer’s horses auctioned off

The newspapers reported that on Monday January 21st 1856 at “the Corner” Palmer’s horses were sold by auction by Messrs. Tattersall the livestock auctioneers. Under the heading of ‘SALE OF WILLIAM PALMER’S RACING STUD’, the newspaper stated that:

The brood mares, horses in training, and yearlings belonging to the notorious William Palmer, were put up by auction by the Messrs. Tattersall, on Monday , at “the Corner,” and attracted so large an attendance of company that the saleyard was completely crowded. Many of the leading patrons of the turf and most of the trainers from the north and south of England were present. A large majority of the miscellaneous assemblage, however, consisted of persons whose only motive was evidently to satisfy a feeling of curiosity which the circumstances connected with the sale had excited.
In certain instances competition was sustained with much spirit, and it will be seen that high prices were realised. In the aggregate the sale amounted to £3,906.
Major Grove, her Majesty’s commissioner from the royal paddocks, bought Trickstress for 230 guineas; but strange to say, although he appeared to bid anxiously for Nettle – a decidedly superior animal – he at last let her go, Mr. F. L. Popham purchasing her for 430 guineas. Nettle, it will be remembered, was first favourite for the Oaks last year, but she fell over the chains soon after starting, and her jockey had his thigh fractured. The Chicken was “knocked down” for 800 guineas; the first bid was 300, and Mr. H. Hill spiritedly advanced the price until he reached 780 guineas, when he stopped. The horse was ultimately sold to Mr. Harlock, who, it was understood, bought him for a “noble lord.” For the three-year-old filly by Melbourne out of Seaweed Mr. Sargent gave 590 guineas. Staffordshire Nan was purchased for 300 guineas.
With regard to the two-year-old brown colt by Sir Hercules, the auctioneer announced that a paper signed by Palmer had been handed to him, containing a promise on Palmer’s behalf to pay the breeder of the colt 100 guineas on the first occasion of the animal winning. This promise, however, the auctioneer stated, would in no way affect the sale, as the purchaser could pay the money or not, as he pleased.
Subjoined is a marked catalogue, with the names of the purchasers of the different lots affixed:-

Doubt (foaled in 1846). by Gladiator, 81 guineas (Mr. Blenkiron).
Trickstress, 8 yrs old. 230 guineas (Prince Albert).
Duchess of Kent , 200 guineas (purchaser’s name omitted).
Goldfinders dam (foaled in 1843), 71 guineas (Mr. Parker).
Bay yearling colt by Touchstone-Duchess of kent, 230 guineas (Mr. Padwick)
Bay yearling colt by Melbourne- Goldfinger’s dam, 225 guineas (Mr. Blenkiron)
Brown yearling colt by Faugh-a-Ballagh-Doubt, 51 guineas (Mr. Nicolls)
Brown yearling filly by Touchstone-Maid of Lyme, 250 guineas (Mr. Padwick)
Brown colt, 2 yrs old, by Sir Hercules-Lurley’s dam, 105 guineas.
Bay filly, 2 yrs old (sister of Staffordshire Nan), 82 guineas (Mr. Hadland)
Brown filly, 3 yrs old, by Melbourne-Seaweed, 590 guineas (Mr. Sargent)
Rip Van Winkle, 3 yrs old, by the Flying Dutchman, 70 guineas (Mr. Sargent)
Staffordshire Nan, 3yrs old, 300 guineas (Mr. Bryant)
Nettle, 4 yrs old, 430 guineas (Mr. F. L. Popham)
The Chicken, 4 yrs old, 800 guineas (Mr. Harlock)
Lurley, 5 yrs old, 120 guineas (Mr. Alexander)
Morning Star (brother to Polo Star), 71 guineas (Mr. Sorston).
Mr. Hatton, chief of the Stafford constabulary, and Mr. Stephens, the executor to the late Mr. Cook, were again in attendance at the subscription room to pursue their inquiries.