St. Giles, a very modestly bred and moderately successful English race horse, was later a private stallion for the immensely rich Graf Hugo von Henckel, a Prussian-Austrian nobleman and industrialist who was one of the early supporters and developers of racing in Prussia and Austria-Hungary. A leading sire in 1867 in Prussia, St. Giles got classic winners in both Prussia and Austria-Hungary, and established a sire line that continued for several generations. Several of his daughters were good winners and producers, and as foundation mares in the count's stud, established successful female lines.
His sire, Womersley (1849), was by the famous Irish-bred stallion Birdcatcher. Womersley's dam, Cinizelli (1842), was bred at the Duke of Westminster's Eaton Stud, and was by Westminster's noted stallion Touchstone, and out of Brocade, a modest runner, also bred at Eaton, by the spotted Pantaloon. Cinizelli was bought as a yearling by Sir R.W. Bulkeley, and, like her dam, was an extremely modest runner and was retired to the breeding shed in 1846, producing a colt by Picaroon in 1847. She was purchased by Hon. Stanhope Hawke, an M.P. in Yorkshire, who determined to put her to the best stallions of the day, and the next year she was covered by Birdcatcher, who was standing in England that year. The next year she dropped Womersley (1849). After that, Cinizelli went to Melbourne, Stockwell, and, towards the end, Drumour. She produced two classic winners, and had a significant impact on New Zealand and Australian bloodlines through her three sons and one daughter that were exported there.
Cinizelli's 1850 colt by Melbourne, Towton, won one of his five races as a juvenile, and placed several times; he was purchased by Thomas Newton of Christchurch, New Zealand and was sent there, where he was a very good sire of hardy runners that won all of New Zealand's famous Cup races, and got good broodmare daughters, notably in the Colonial families. Cinizelli's next Melbourne foal was Marchioness (1852), a winner of the Epsom Oaks; she also eventually went to Australasia, where she produced the classic winners and sires The Angler and Fishhook, and a daughter that bred on. After that came the Melbourne daughter, Marguerite (1854), followed by The Peer (1855, by Melbourne), another modest runner that at age three could only place second (of two, by a head) in Doncaster's Scarborough Stakes in five starts. The Peer, like Towton, went to New Zealand, where he proved to be an excellent stallion, sire of some of the top horses of the 1860s. Cinizelli's next foal, Viscountess (1858, by Stockwell), was sold to Hungary; Viscountess' son, Vordermann (1873, by Buccaneer) won the Zukunfts-Rennen in Germany. Cinizelli's 1859 colt, The Marquis (by Stockwell), was a superior runner that won the Two Thousand Guineas and Doncaster St. Leger, losing in the Epsom Derby by a head. He, too went to Australasia, where in Australia he got Newminster (1873), twice leading sire in Australia. Cinizelli's last foal was an 1862 by Drumour; she died around 1865.
Womersley was a bay horse with good conformation and powerful hindquarters. Like all of Hawke's Cinizelli foals, he was raced by Hawke and trained by Robert Peck, but he had a very short and undistinguished career on the turf, hampered by some kind of swelling between his thighs that Peck later said made him almost impossible to train. His best in three starts at age three was fourth in a 1-1/2 mile produce stakes at Manchester. He was quickly disposed of to Sir Tatton Sykes, and went to stud, briefly, at Sykes' Sledmere Stud in Yorkshire. His only English crop -- including St. Giles -- were foals of 1854, all bred at Sledmere out of Sykes' homebred mares by Comus, Hampton, and Sleight-of-Hand, all stallions that stood at Sledmere.
In 1853 Sir Tatton sold Womersley to Ernest Le Roi, an agent for L'Administration des Haras in France, for 350 guineas, and he was shipped to the national French stud, where he stood first at Pompadour, and later, as his foals proved largely disappointing, relegated to a depot in Angers where he served as an improvement stallion on local mares. In both England and France he was a modest stallion. St. Giles was probably his best runner in England, followed by Black Tommy (1854), who managed to run second in the Epsom Derby; General Williams, a winner of four minor races at age three, and Codrington, who took one race as a three-year-old. General Williams later got a half-bred son, Holderness (1860), that was sold to Sweden, where he was used in the development of the Swedish Warmblood. Codrington, after a few years at stud at Sledmere, was purchased by the Hungarian Imperial Stud for £250 and shipped to the state stud at Kisbér, where he had little effect, but another Womersley son born in 1854, Amati, who ran for Count Batthyany in England and won the Borough Membership Handicap at North Staffordshire, was purchased by Count Ziczy Aladár and ran in Austria-Hungary; he also went to Kisbér as a stallion, in 1858, and was fairly useful. Amati's daughter Herodias (1862) won four races in Germany and Austria and the Nemzeti-dij es Hazafi-dij (Hungarian Two Thousand Guineas) in Hungary at age three, and another daughter, Clarine, won the Octavian Kinsky Preis. Womersley's English-bred daughter Wanona (out of a Hampton mare), became second dam of the grand stayer Robert the Devil (1877), winner of the Doncaster St. Leger, Ascot Gold Cup, Grand Prix de Paris, etc.
In France, Womersley was used as a stallion by Count Frédéric de Lagrange for a few years, and the products of those breedings were the most successful of his progeny on the turf, although not nearly as successful as other horses bred by de Lagrange. Womersley's French-bred son, Marignon (1857), won four races, including the Fernhill Stakes, as a juvenile in England, part of Lagrange's "Le Grand Ecurie," a partnership. When the partnership dissolved, Marignon went on the block and was purchased by the French government for 25,000 francs. He got several good runners, notably Le Petit Caporal (1864), later the sire of 1882 Prix du Jockey Club winner St. James and of several good broodmare daughters, including Carmelite, Na Noue, Chauvre Souris, and Carmelite, whose offspring won at distances between 1600 and 3200 meters.
Womersley also got Provacateur (1859), a winner of the Prix Daru, and Gemma (1859), a good juvenile winner of the Criterium in France, and at age three third in the Cambridgeshire in England. Gemma's female line bred on through the mid-twentieth century. Another Womersley French daughter, Belle Dupre (1859), produced Giboulee (1874), a winner of the Prix Kergolay, and Rafale, whose female line continued through the twentieth century; his daughter Bamboche (1860) also bred two daughters that established long-lived female lines. His daughter Soror produced the Anglo-Arab filly Prima, dam of Prisme (1890), an early important Anglo-Arab stallion.
St. Giles' dam was one of the many unnamed Sleight-of-Hand daughters bred at Sledmere, born in 1845, and given the name Palmistry after she went, at age eleven, to the Alvediston Stud in Salisbury. She was out of a mare by Lottery, born in 1828, that had bred fifteen unnamed foals by various stallions that stood at Sledmere between 1834 and 1849. Her unnamed dam, by Sir Tatton's stallion Camillus, was another Sledmere product, born in 1818, that produced eight mostly unnamed foals before she was shot in 1842. This was a typical pattern for mares at Sledmere, with many foals going unraced and unnamed, as far as the Stud Book was concerned, although many were used, sold or given away as hunters, and a goodly number were sold to the foreign market. Usually, most of the fillies were retained at the stud, so that when it was dispersed after Sir Tatton's death in 1862, there were more than four hundred horses of various ages, many with no names -- by a couple of decades worth of stallions that had come and gone from Sledmere -- put up for sale.
St. Giles was Palmistry's third live foal; her first, a filly by Cowl (1851), later produced Dalby (1861, by Daniel O'Rourke), a stayer that won the Chester Gold Cup twice. Her second was a foal that died as a yearling. Then came St. Giles, and after him she produced Palmister (1855, by Fernhill), Violante (1856, by Daniel O'Rourke), After her sale to Alvediston Stud, she dropped the gelded St. James (1857, by Andover), Seven Dials (1858, by Joe Lovell), and two unnamed foals. She was sold to Zachariah Simpson, owner of the Roydon Stud at Diss in Norfolk, for whom she bred Vallation (1861, by Vedette, later dam of Ascot's Royal Hunt Cup winner Valuer (1865)), Vicksburg (1862, by Vedette), Futurity (1865, by The Promised Land) and three other unnamed foals. St. Giles was her most successful runner. She died around 1866.
St. Giles on the Turf
St. Giles was one of a group of Womersley youngsters purchased at 60 guineas each from Sir Tatton by trainer William Day. Day had been commissioned by a client, Thomas Lister, (3rd) Baron Ribblesdale, to buy some youngsters from Sledmere, but Ribblesdale then changed his mind. Day, who had already contacted Sir Tatton, felt obliged to go view the yearlings, and ultimately bought five of them, one of which was St. Giles. Several weeks later Ribblesdale made good on the purchase price for the youngsters, and two, Centurion and St. Giles, turned out to be winners.
As a juvenile St. Giles ran unplaced in handicap plates at Epsom and Ascot. At three he ran second in the Racing Stakes at Northampton. He won the Betting Room Stakes (1/2 mile) at Doncaster Spring, to the surprise of Day, who said St. Giles was "somewhat slow," and not expected to win the race, which he was using as a tune-up for the Great Northamptonshire Stakes (2 miles), which St. Giles also subsequently won. That year he was also second in the Liverpool Autumn Cup, and won the Shrewsbury Handicap (2 miles). He was, said his trainer, "about the second best horse of his year."
At the end of the 1857 season, Ribblesdale put St. Giles on the market for 1500 guineas -- "...about eight hundred more than he is worth," said one sporting magazine, but he was purchased by the Prussian-Austrian aristocrat Graf Hugo Henckel von Donnersmarck. In 1858, in the count's ownership, St. Giles ran in Austria-Hungary, and in May he won the Kaiserpreis I Classe (King's Plate equivalent) in Vienna, but at Budapest in June, he stumbled and injured himself during the Gr. Károly István Prize, and was second to Harlequin (Amati, by Womersley, was third). After, he was retired to Henckel's stud.
St. Giles in the Stud
Henckel had inherited vast amounts of acreage in upper Silesia, including productive coal mines and smelters and rich timberlands, developed zinc smelters and cellulose factories, and expanded his ownership into lands in Austria-Hungary. He also bred and owned large flocks of sheep for both meat and wool, and herds of specially-bred cattle for dairy and meat. Suitable and typical of his position and wealth, he had an interest in hunting, especially of deer and game birds, and the use of greyhounds in taking hares -- over 1,000 in two days at one point -- and, of course, horse racing. Henckel was largely responsible for industrializing Silesia, and the ever-energetic count also promoted tourism by developing game parks and zoological gardens throughout his properties.
Henckel, born in 1811, like many early to mid-nineteenth century central European aristocrats in their youth, had taken part in, and won, as a gentleman rider, steeplechase races at Breslau and elsewhere. He started breeding and racing in 1827, but his horses only began to win races in 1835, the same year he went to England and purchased two thoroughbred mares, Mulebird (by Merlin), and Reaction (by Truffle). Reaction would later produce Kipfelnose (1837, by Cacus), a winner of the Union-Rennen for Henckel. Throughout his long association with the turf, he raced his homebreds, but also imported both racing and breeding stock from England. His sons and their descendants would later continue breeding and racing, and the Henckel stud persisted until the end of World War II, when the estates were confiscated by the Soviet government.
Henckel was one of the principal developers of horse racing in Prussia/Germany, and in Austria-Hungary, and is sometimes referred to there as a "father of the turf." A founding member of the Union-Rennen Club in Prussia and the jockey club in Austria-Hungary, in 1871 he created a perpetual prize for a three-year-old race in Prussia, the Henckel-Rennen (now Mehl-Mülhens, Germany's equivalent of the Two Thousand Guineas); today, the Henckel name is still honored in the running of the Hugo-Henckel Memorial in Vienna. The count first bred horses at his Silesian estates at Siemianowitz. In 1846 he built a large stud at Wisenau, Städtchen Wolfsberg, about ten kilometers from Lavant. It was a showplace breeding and racing stud, devoted exclusively to thoroughbred breeding, with sand and turf tracks, steam bathing pools for the horses, and just about anything else a late nineteenth century thoroughbred could require, including "scientifically" grown hay and grain from the estate, and pastures irrigated through the use of steam-powered pumps. St. Giles was established at Wisenau, with a harem of thirteen English-bred broodmares. The count also had a stud at Nedau, also at Wolfsberg, where he bred arabians and half-bred horses.
From 1873 (when Henckel's St. Giles' grandchildren were racing) through 1880 Henckel's trainer was the Scottish-born Jimmy Waugh, a steeplechase rider as a youngster. He first trained horses at Gulane (Scotland), and then in England, first at East Ilsley in Berkshire and then for James Merry at Russley Park, for whom he schooled the 1870 Two Thousand Guineas winner MacGregor. After he returned to Newmarket in 1880, a trip necessitated by the ill-health of his wife, he continued to supervise, at a distance, the training of Henckel's horses through his son, Willie. Another of his sons, Richard, was the principal trainer at the German state stud at Graditz.
St. Giles was leading sire in Prussia in 1867, the year his best runner, GILES THE FIRST (1860, out Lady Shrewsbury by Launcelot), was the highest-earning racehorse in Prussia. This is the first year for which reliable statistics have been compiled, but given GILES THE FIRST'S race record, it's likely St. Giles was also the leading sire for the years 1864-66, as well. At this time both Prussian and Austro-Hungarian racing were in the latter years of early development. The venerable Union-Rennen, held at the Hoppegarten, had been established in 1834, and Henckel himself had won it with his mare My Lady in 1838, then with Kipfelnose (1840), Whatstone (1847), Emilius (1860), Pocahontas (1867), and would win it four more times. In the 1860s, racing was still dominated by a very few counts, barons, and the occasional prince, and would be, in Germany, until the 1880s, when a rising merchant class began participating in racing. Austria-Hungary, was slightly more advanced, in both breeding and racing, with the development of thoroughbred breeding at the Imperial stud at Kisbér and the press in the 1860s to buy English classic winning stallions and well-bred English mares, and sell their offspring at annual sales. Prussia (after 1871 Germany) came a bit later to the table, largely due to the efforts of Georg von Lehndorff for the German state stud at Graditz. In 1878, a year when Henckel was the leading owner, with twelve runners winning twenty-five races, there were 200 horses racing in Germany -- including horses from Austria-Hungary, France, and England; in England there were over 1,000 horses running that year.
GILES THE FIRST was the leading earner in winnings in Germany in 1867, and probably in the years 1864-66, as well. He won twenty-six of his thirty races in Austria-Hungary, Germany and England in his four seasons on the turf, including the Kaiserpreis (equivalent to a King's Plate) at Vienna (twice), Prague and Budapest (twice); two of his losses were in England at age three - he ran fourth in Macaroni's Epsom Derby, and was second to Umpire (by Lecomte) in Ascot's Queen's Stand Stakes, with twelve in the field. But he did win the Great Northern Derby at Newcastle, beating Manfred by a head.
GILES THE FIRST was retired to Henckel's stud, where he got Henckel's Prince Giles (1874, out of imported Princess Alice, by King Tom), a winner of a number of races in Germany and Austria-Hungary, including the Oldenburg Esterhüzy Preis at Baden-Baden and the Alexander-Rennen at Frankfurt in 1877, and the Herren Reiten and Friedrich Franz-Rennen at Bad Doberan, and Hessenpreis at Frankfurt in 1878. His biggest claim to fame was his dead-heat with the great Kincsem in the 1878 Großer Preis von Baden, the only time any horse came close to defeating her, but he could not beat her in the run-off. GILES THE FIRST also got a good runner in Aaron (1876, from Lawina, by the Royal Hunt Cup winner Ephesus, a son of Epirus), a winner of numerous races, including Frankfurt's Alexander-Rennen and the Friedrich Franz-Rennen at Bad Doberan, and second in the Deutsches Derby. Aaron later got the in-bred (to St. Giles) Kiralyne, "Queen of the Flyers," that won Baden-Baden's Zukunfts-Rennen and other races in both Germany and Austria-Hungary.
GILES THE FIRST was also sire of Konotoppa (1872, out of Ellen, by Idle Boy), a winner, and Dictator (1883, out of Little Digby by Digby Grand), whose wins included the Friedrich Franz-Rennen, Baden-Baden's Fürstenberg-Rennen, and Frankfurt's Alexander-Rennen. Dictator was later a useful stallion, sire of Gomba (1893), a winner of the 1897 Austria-Preis and other good races. Gomba later got San Gennaro (1914), a winner of both the Austria-Preis (twice) and the Österreichisches Derby. Gomba was the last useful stallion in the St. Giles sire line, which, like other Prussian and Austro-Hungarian developed sire lines, lost ground to imported French and English stallions in the 1890s and after the turn of the century.
BESSY GILES (1865) was out of the imported English mare Violet, by Elis. The year before Violet had produced Pocahontas (1864, by Saunterer), a winner of the Union-Rennen for Henckel. BESSY GILES was a good race filly that won the Preis der Diana at age three. In the Henckel stud she later bred Souvenir (1861, by Maelstrom), a winner of the Henckel-Rennen. In 1866 Violet dropped BRIGADIER (1866) to the cover of St. Giles. He won the Österreichisches Derby and other races for Henckel.
MIRAFLORA (1865, out of Henckel's home-bred foundation mare Diana, by Hartneitstein) won the Henckel-Rennen. At Wisenau, she produced Flora (1870, by Champagne), retained at Wisenau, where she produced two classic winners for Henckel's son: Dombrowa (1878, by Digby Grand), a winner of the Preis der Diana, Austria's Trial Stakes, and in Hungary, the Egyeitett Nemzeti es Hazafi dij (Hungarian Two Thousand Guineas) and the Magyar Kanca dij (Hungarian Oaks), and Flunkermichel (1894, by Pumpernickel), who won the Deutsches Derby and Grosser Hansa-Preis and other races, making him German champion in 1897. Flora was also the dam of Abenadar (1883, by Young Buccaneer), who, despite not winning any classics, was the 1886 champion in Germany. Flora's daughter Kedvesem (1876) was dam of Kiralyne, whose wins included the Zukunfts-Rennen and in Hungary, the Egyesitett Nemzeti es Hazafi dij; Kiralyne was by Aaron, and so in-bred to St. Giles. Diana also produced the St. Giles son, WILD HUNTSMAN (1866), a winner.