The Legendary Gimcrack
Gimcrack was a small grey horse at 14.2 hands sired by Cripple, a son of the Godolphin Arabian, his dam Miss Elliot was by (Grisewood’s) Partner.
|Owner||Richard Grosvenor, 1st Earl Grosvenor|
Despite his small stature, Gimcrack was widely successful, winning 27 of his 36 races in a turf career spanning 7 seasons. Gimcrack won his last race in 1771, at age eleven, and he retired to the Grosvenor stud.
Gimcrack is best known from the paintings of George Stubbs.
The Gimcrack Club, in York was founded in 1766 in his honour, and the Gimcrack Stakes, also at York, are therefore also named after the horse.
It is hard to imagine any racehorse today being remembered, never mind celebrated, nearly 250 years from now.
Yet, Gimcrack, an 18th Century equine icon who became the subject of a famous George Stubbs masterpiece, has achieved that distinction.
And earlier this week, at York racecourse, England, the 247th Gimcrack Dinner took place to honour the winner of the G2 Gimcrack Stakes, a two-year-old race run over six furlongs at the Ebor Meeting every August.
It is one of the most elite gatherings in British racing, and invitations are much sought-after.
Just under 200 guests dine at a table that began as a gigantic horseshoe, though underwent reshaping due to the design of the modern dining room.
Nevertheless, tradition is maintained, right down to certain members wearing red hunting coats rather than black tie. The spirit of Gimcrack, winner of 27 races, lives on.
Another great tradition is that the owner of the winner of the Gimcrack Stakes is obliged to deliver a speech at the official dinner.
In 1970, American owner Paul Mellon was so caught up in the success of his colt Mill Reef, and the occasion itself, that he spoke for well over one hour, keeping guest of honour, His Royal Highness the Prince Of Wales, waiting until after midnight to say his few words.
Rock Of Gibraltar’s owner, Sir Alex Ferguson, warned the audience in 2001: “This speech will be delivered in Scottish.”
This year, the winning horse was Sands of Mali, trained by Richard Fahey and ridden by Paul Hanagan.
Godolphin’s Blue Point won the Gimcrack in 2016, which served as a prelude to contesting a series of races at the highest level.