Sir Jack Jarvis
Born in 1887, John Layton ‘Jack’ Jarvis was one of three sons of Cyllene’s trainer William Arthur Jarvis who all became leading trainers. The eldest was William Rose Jarvis, who trained the royal string in Egerton House and saddled Scuttle to win the 1,000 Guineas in the colours of King George V in 1928. He subsequently trained Godiva to win the 1,000 and Oaks in 1940. Second was Basil Jarvis, trainer of 1923 Derby winner Papyrus. Ultimately, Jack Jarvis became the most successful, preparing many top-class horses including the winners of nine British Classics.
A successful rider on the Flat and over jumps when apprenticed to his father (when his victories included the Cambridgeshire Handicap at Newmarket, the Ayr Gold Cup at Ayr and the Liverpool Hurdle at Aintree) he began training shortly before the First World War. Military service interrupted his career, but he resumed training in 1919 in Park Lodge, where he trained until 1968. For much of his career he used Palace House as his second yard.
Jack Jarvis’ principal patron was Lord Rosebery. The best horse whom he trained for Lord Rosebery was Blue Peter, winner of the 2,000 Guineas and Derby in 1939. It is likely that the horse would have won the Triple Crown but for the outbreak of war on 3rd September that year, a consequence of which was the St Leger was not run that year. The pair won a second Derby five years later when Blue Peter’s first-crop son Ocean Swell won the New (ie wartime equivalent) Derby at Newmarket.
Jack Jarvis’ other British Classic winners were Ellangowan (1923) and Flamingo (1928) in the 2,000 Guineas; Plack (1924), Campanula (1934) and Happy Laughter (1953) in the 1,000 Guineas; and Sandwich (1931) in the St Leger. He narrowly failed to win a third Derby when Pretendre was beaten a neck by Charlottown in 1966. He was Champion Trainer in 1939, 1951 and 1953. He won most of the biggest races in Great Britain, and achieved the unusual distinction of winning the Ayr Gold Cup as both jockey and trainer (three times).
Jack Jarvis was knighted in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in 1967 for his services to horseracing. He died in December 1968. The Jarvis training dynasty continues in Newmarket as his great-nephew William (son of Ryan Jarvis and grandson of William Rose Jarvis) trains in Phantom House.
Chestnut filly by Sharpen Up ex La Dolce, by Connaught – 1981 to 2005
Conceived at Side Hill Stud, Pebbles was bred by Captain Marcos Lemos at Ashley Heath Stud. She was put into training with Clive Brittain (who had trained her dam for Captain Lemos) at Carlburg in the Bury Road as a yearling in the autumn of 1982. During the next three seasons she proved herself to be one of the best, most popular and admirable fillies in history.
Pebbles did well at two, winning at Newbury and Newmarket before ending the season by finishing second in the Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket. She moved on to greater glory at three. In the spring she won the Nell Gwyn Stakes at the Craven Meeting before taking the 1,000 Guineas under Philip Robinson. Beaten in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot by the Mick Ryan-trained Irish 1,000 Guineas winner Katies, Pebbles ended her campaign in the autumn by finishing second to Palace Music in the Champion Stakes at Newmarket.
At four she was even better still. She took the Trusthouse Forte Mile at Sandown in April under Steve Cauthen. She then took on St Leger winner Commanche Run in what was regarded as a match in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot. She beat him by a short head, but both were beaten by the Michael Jarvis-trained 33/1 shot Bob Back. The following month she made history by beating Rainbow Quest in the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown, becoming the first filly or mare ever to win the great race which had been inaugurated 99 years previously, in 1886.
In the autumn she got better still: ridden by Pat Eddery, she won the Champion Stakes by three lengths, beating Derby winner Slip Anchor and Palace Music before going to America to become the first British-trained horse to win at the Breeders’ Cup Meeting, taking the BC Turf at Aqueduct in course record time. In Britain she was voted Horse of the Year by both the Racegoers’ Club and Timeform; in America she received the Eclipse Award for Champion Female Turf Horse.
Pebbles had been bought by Sheikh Mohammed after her 1,000 Guineas victory. She carried his maroon and white colours to her great victories as a four-year-old, and on her retirement she became a broodmare at his Dalham Hall Stud. She died in 2005 at the age of 24.
Son of the successful jockey Wally Swinburn (twice champion jockey in Ireland), Walter Swinburn rode his first winner at Kempton in July 1978, aged 16. At the end of 1980 season he was appointed stable jockey to Bury Road trainer Michael Stoute. The partnership was an instant success, the highlight of its first season being when the 19-year-old jockey rode Shergar to an unforgettable 10-length victory in the Derby. He subsequently rode two more Derby winners: Shahrastani in 1986 and Lammtarra in 1995.
Walter Swinburn was never the leading jockey numerically, but as a big-race rider he was second to none. He rode top-class winners around the world, generally the first choice of owners and trainers who found themselves with a top-class horse and needed a jockey of similar calibre, with Sir Michael Stoute remaining a great patron throughout his career.
His victories in England included the 1,000 Guineas (three times), 2,000 Guineas, Oaks, King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes, Coronation Cup, Eclipse Stakes (twice), Ascot Gold Cup, Champion Stakes, International Stakes (four times), July Cup (three times), Sussex Stakes (twice), Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (twice), Coronation Stakes (four times), St. James’s Palace Stakes, Dewhurst Stakes, Middle Park Stakes, Cheveley Park Stakes (twice). Overseas he won the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, Irish Derby (twice), Irish Oaks (twice), Breeders’ Cup Turf, Washington D.C. International, Canadian International, Turf Classic, Grand Prix de Paris, Grosser Preis von Baden, Prix Jacques le Marois, Prix Morny, Prix Royal-Oak, Prix de l’Opera (three times) and National Stakes (at the Curragh on Desert King in 1996, thus providing the subsequent multiple champion trainer Aidan O’Brien with his first Group One victory).
Walter Swinburn retired from race-riding in 2000. He subsequently trained in Buckinghamshire, with his winners including Julienas in the Royal Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot in 2011. He retired from training at the end of that year. He died in December 2016, aged 55. He is remembered as one of the greatest jockeys of the 20th century, a supremely talented rider blessed with sublime natural balance and skill, tactical genius and an ice-cool temperament perfectly suited to the big occasion. He is also remembered as a much loved and respected member of Newmarket’s racing community.
Willie Snaith MBE
Born in 1928, Willie Snaith was apprenticed to Frederick Lakin ‘Sam’ Armstrong (who moved from Yorkshire to Newmarket shortly after the war, initially to Warren Place and thence to St Gatien) and subsequently became the trainer’s stable jockey. The best horse whom he rode for the stable was Bebe Grande, the top two-year-old filly of 1952 on whom he won the National Stakes, Gimcrack Stakes and Champagne Stakes. The following year the pair were placed in both the 2,000 and 1,000 Guineas. Other big successes which he enjoyed for the trainer came in the Nunthorpe Stakes, Royal Lodge Stakes, Royal Hunt Cup, Stewards Cup (twice), Northumberland Plate, Portland Handicap and Great Metropolitan Handicap.
Willie Snaith also rode for two of the Queen’s trainers, Cecil Boyd-Rochford and Noel Murless. For the former he won the Chester Vase on Alcide and the Great Metropolitan Handicap on Little Buskins; for the latter he partnered the Queen’s Landau to victory in the Sussex Stakes in 1954. At one time he was retained by Major Holliday, for whom his high-class winners included Dacian (Dewhurst Stakes, Gordon Stakes, Pharsalia (Molecomb Stakes) and Gratitude (Nunthorpe Stakes). All told, he rode around 900 winners in Great Britain and plenty more overseas, including in India (where he spent nine winters) and Scandinavia (where he rode two Derby winners). After his retirement from race-riding he continued to ride work at Warren Place for many years, initially for Sir Noel Murless and subsequently for Henry Cecil.
Willie Snaith is commemorated as a Legend of the Turf not merely for his race-riding achievements but for the special place he occupies in the local community. As a rider he was always hugely popular with racegoers – extremely strong for a lightweight rider and clearly always a trier, he was given the affectionate nickname ‘The pocket Hercules’. In retirement he has become arguably the most popular member of the local community, an ever-smiling presence in the town and a regular tour guide for visitors. He was awarded an MBE by the Queen in 2004.