The Derby race has always been run at Epsom Racecourse and was inaugurated in 1780 over one mile. In 1784 the race was extended to a mile and a half and restricted to three-year-old colts and fillies.
We are now going to the race in 1844 where a horse called ‘Running Rein’ was first past the post.
However, the winner was later found to be neither ‘Running Rein’ nor a three-year-old. Its owner, Abraham Levi (aka Goodman), had substituted a four-year-old by the name of ‘Maccabeus’. The whole affair was later described as ‘gross and scandalous.’
The winner was disqualified, and the race handed to the second horse, Jonathan Peel’s ‘Orlando’. At that time Jonathan Peel, younger brother of Sir Robert Peel the Prime Minister, was a long-term owner and resident of Marble Hill. He used the grounds for rearing racehorses and growing hay. He also had the old stables demolished and the present block built on the west side of the Park.
Jonathan was both the breeder and owner of ‘Orlando’, a bay stallion foaled in 1841 and trained by his private trainer at Newmarket, a Mr William Cooper.
Orlando won a total of ten races, including the July Stakes at Newmarket Racecourse (1843) and the Epsom Derby (1843), both times ridden by the top jockey Nat Flatman.
Jonathan Peel eventually sold ‘Orlando’ in 1851. The stallion then went on to become the leading stud in Great Britain & Ireland three times in the 1850s. ‘Orlando’ sired 352 racehorses, which between them won a total of 797 races.
Article by Bob Elson
For more information about Orlando, take a look at TBHeritage.com