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  Family B-22: Brown Bess

This family's roots go back over one hundred and fifty years in Ireland and was actually extended further back than Brown Bess, which is shown as the taproot mare of the family in Family Tables. It was traced back to a mare by Cambridgeshire Handicap stakes and Liverpool cup winner Vulcan (1847), a son of Verulam (bred in Ireland by Mr Holmes), by Lottery. Verulam's dam was Wire (1811), seen frequently in the pedigres of Irish-bred horses; she was a full sister to Whisker and Whalebone, imported into Ireland by Lord Sligo. Verulam was an early important chasing sire who got the 1855 Grand National steeplechase winner, Wanderer, Michaelmas Daisy ( dam of the influential chaser sire Revolver, a winner of many steeplechases, and second dam of 1867 National winner Cortolvin), and was dam's sire of Parmesan. Vulcan raced in Ireland, and in England and was returned to Ireland to stand at stud at Killynon, Westmeath, where the stallion Blackfoot was also located.

The Vulcan mare produced a filly to the cover of Blackfoot (1833), a son of Alcaston or Young Blacklock bred in Richard Watt's Yorkshire stud and later sold to Ireland; Blackfoot also got the dam of 1887 National winner Gamecock (HB Family 16), and is seen in other half-bred pedigrees. The Blackfoot mare, owned by County Meath sportsman Valentine Wall, produced a filly by Windfall (1834), a son of Wire's daughter, Vat (1826) and Fitz-Orville. Windfall's daughter bred Brown Bess, who was by Wall's stallion Magician (by The Flying Dutchman, out of Magic, by Melbourne), who had been purchased in England after running well as a juvenile there. Brown Bess ran second in the Farmers' Steeplechase at Ward Union Hunt, and third in another race at age five.

Brown Bess's first foal was Regina (1879), by Prince, a son of Artillery and winner of sixteen races in Ireland, six of them as an unbeaten three-year old. Brown Bess also produced Crinolette, the dam of the Irish Grand National winning mare, Brown Bess (1901), named for her grandam. Another Brown Bess daughter, Bessie (1855, by Concha) won the three mile Farmer's Plate at Ward Union Hunt. Regina ran at age four, winning the Farmer's Plate, and was second in a flat race at Down Royal at age five; at age seven she was unplaced in one race, and fell when running in the Irish Grand National. She was sold and put in the stud of Fleetwood Rynd, of Kilcock, Kildare. Regina produced eleven live foals, some of which were good steeplechasers, including Mount Armstrong (1887), winner of eight steeplechases, including the Foxhunters' Plate at Punchestown, Bunthorne, winner of 13 steeplechases, and her daughters Homage, a winner of of a point-to-point race, and Natasha (1890), winner of three hunter flat races, five hurdle races, and seven steeplechases. In 1892 she was bought by Richard Ball of Reynoldstown, Naul, Co. Dublin for 300 guineas, and for him produced Homage, by the steeplechaser Hominy. The history of this family continues in the portraits below.

Notable Descendants

Brown Bess br. f. 1901
(Primrose League or Wild Sherry - Crinolette by Solon)
Brown Bess, bred by Valentine Wall at Nutstown, Garristown, Co. Dublin, won a steeplechase at Ardee at age four, and the Irish Grand National at age five. In the Nutstown stud she produced Outlook, winner of a steeplechase, and two other youngsters.

Reynoldstown blk. g. 1927
(My Prince - Fromage by Frontino)
Reynoldstown, won the Grand National steeplechase twice in succession (1935 and 1936). He was bred by Richard Ball of Reynoldstown, Naul, Co. Dublin, and was hunted and schooled over fences, but never raced, when purchased at age five by Major Noel Furlong of Skeffington Hall, Leicester; Furlong's son, the amateur rider Frank Furlong, was Reynoldstown's usual rider through 1935.

Reynoldstown ran seventeen times between 1932 and the start of the 1935 Grand National, winning four hurdle races and eight steeplechases, including a three mile race at Newmbury in 1934, beating Kellsboro' Jack, the previous year's National winner and the Nottingham shire Handicap Steeplechase carrying 12 st. 2 lb. He started the 1935 Grand National four favorite, behind Golden Miller, who had won the Cheltenham Gold Cup earlier in the year for the fourth time in a row. He won by three lengths in a time record that stood until 1973.

The next year he was partnered by another amateur, and friend of Frank Furlong's, Fulke Walwyn, Furlong having given up on making the weight. He won two steeplechases, including the Shaun Spadah over 3 miles at Lingfield, and was second to Avenger in the Stayers' Handicap Steeplechase at Birmingham. In the 1936 Grand National, in a field of 35, which included Golden Miller (again the favorite), in a race full of blunders, the death of the promising Avenger, a lost stirrup by Walwyn, and broken reins by the leader Davy Jones on the second fence but one, Reynoldstown won again. He became the fifth horse to win two Grand Nationals (excluding Poethlyn's dual wins, the first of which was a wartime National over the easier Gatwick course), and the third to win it two years in a row, the other two being Abd-el-Kader (1850,1851) and The Colonel (1869, 1870).

His sire, My Prince (1911, by Marcovil, also sire of Hurry On), was a leading sire of steeplechasers; he got two other winners of the Grand National, Gregelach (winner in 1929) and Royal Mail (winner in 1937); Prince Regent, a winner of the Irish Grand National (in 1942) and the Cheltenham Gold Cup (in 1946), and the great dual-Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Easter Hero.

Reynoldstown's dam, the unraced Fromage, was by Frontino (St. Frusquin - St. Marina), a modest steeplechase sire who got winners over fences. Her brother, Drumree, won 5 steeplechases, 2 races over hurdles and a small race on the flat. Four of Fromage's daughters raced well over fences, and three were winners of Point-to-Point races; one daughter, Kate Brandon, broke down when she appeared to be winning the National Hunt Steeplechase, and a sister to Reynoldsttown, Coolfores (1928), was killed when racing at Cheltenham. Fromage's dam, Homage, won a Point-to-Point race and was fourth in the Farmers' steeplechase at Fairyhouse. She entered the stud at age eight; she was by Hominy (Brown Bread (a son of Weatherbit) - Maize by Knight of Kars), who won the Irish Grand Military steeplechase at age four.

Tamasha br. c. 1901
(Desmond - Natasha by Favo)
Tamasha was in the first crop of Desmond, a good performing juvenile that stood as the Fort Union Stud (Adare, Co. Limerick, Ireland) of his breeder, Windham T. Wyndham-Quin, Earl of Dunraven, initially for a fee of £25, and, by 1913, both the year of his death and the year his son Aboyeur won the Derby (and the year he led the leading sire's list in the U.K.), for a fee of 250 guineas. Tamasha was one of his lesser winners, but one of only two winners in his first small crop, winning three races as a juvenile. He was bred by M.J. Harty of Croom, Co. Limerick, who bought Natasha in 1896 for £100. Tamasha won eight races on the flat, worth £1,269, including a nursery race at Newmarket, and later was a stallion in Co. Limerick. Tamasha's dam, Natasha was a winner of steeplechases: her daughter Doola won the Downe Nursery at Liverpool as a juvenile, and one race in nineteen starts at age three; her son Trappist won 19 steeplechases, and another son, Disturbance, won seven steeplechases, a hurdle race and a hunters' race on the flat.

Descent Chart

 Mare (f) by Vulcan
  Mare (f) by Blackfoot
   Mare (f) by Windfall
    Brown Bess (br. f. 1872) by Magician
      Regina (br. f. 1879) by Prince
     |   Mount Armstrong (b.c. 1887) by Kingcraft
     |   Natasha (br.f. 1890) by Favo
     |   |  Trappist (b.c. 1893) by Astrologer
     |   |  Disturbance (b.c. 1894) by Ireland
     |   |  Tamasha (br.c. 1901) by Desmond
     |   |  Doola (br.f. 1902) by Desmond
     |   Homage (br. f. 1897) by Hominy
     |   |  Fromage (br.f. 1915) by Frontino
     |   |  |  Mare (f. 1921) by Righ Mor
     |   |  |  Kate Brandon (bl.f. 1922) by Duke of Brandon
     |   |  |  Silverside (br.f. 1924) by Southannan
     |   |  |  Reynoldstown (blk.c. 1927) by My Prince
     |   |  |  Coolfores (b.f. 1928) by My Prince
     |   |  Drumree (g. 1916) by Frontino
     |   Bunthorne (br.c.1892) by Play Actor
      Crinolette (b.f. 1881) by Solon
        Bustle (br.c. 1887) by Play Actor
        Romeo (br.c. 1889) by Play Actor
        The Pearl (br.m. 18--) by Concha
        |   Twinkle (b.f. 1905, surviving twin) by Pantomime
        |     Gleam (ch.c. 1908) by Just Cause
        Ballet Girl (br.f. 1891) by Play Actor
        |   Golden Quid (b.f. 1904) by Quidnune
        |     Golden Fleece (ch.c. 1911) by The Raft
        Betsy (bl.f. 1892) by Play Actor
        Cocoa-nut (bl.f. 1893) by Play Actor
        |   Brown Ball (br.c. 1911) by Frontino
        |   Brown Bell (br.f. 1912) by Belllerophon
        |     Brown Berry (br.c. 1921) by Mareforio or Mother's Birthday
        Nutstown (br.c. 1895) by Rathbeal
        Brown Bess (br.f. 1901) by Primrose League
        |   Outlook (br.c. 1912) by Outbreak
        |   Fair Bess (f. 1920) by The Raft
        Sherry (b.c. 1903) by Wild Sherry

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