Barrett, Fred

BARRETT, FREDERICK JOHN    (1867 – 1895) 
Photo courtesy Chris Pitt


Born in Metfield, Suffolk, on October 21, 1867, Fred Barrett, the younger
brother of jockey George, has gone down in turf history for the ride he gave Donovan in the 2,000 Guineas (May 1st 1889). 

Having won 11 of his 13 races and becoming champion two-year of 1888, Donovan was made the 8/13 favourite to win the then ‘monster’ prize – as it was advertised -  of £12,000 in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, his first run as a three-year-old. This, with Fred Barrett on board, he duly did, cantering home by an untroubled two lengths.
Such was the horse’s superiority that all spirit of speculation for the Two Thousand Guineas had been killed - in fact, the poverty of the opposition had had a marked effect on the attendance, some saying they had never seen so few people upon the heath. So completely at the mercy of Donovan did the race appear to be that the colt lined up the 20/35 favourite. 

At 2 p.m. rain began to fall, the heaviest shower coming when the field of eight were being saddled up. The race was run at a good pace with Donovan taking command three furlongs from home, with Pioneer (10/1) and Enthusiast (25/1) both sticking close to him. All seemed well until, 150 yards from home in the dip, Barrett suddenly became very uneasy on the favourite. He had not realized just how close Enthusiast was to him,  and – when Tom Cannon produced one of his finest finishes – the game was up, Enthusiast winning by a head. 

Donovan’s’ owner, the Prince of Portland, was left without a Derby jockey when Mr Leopold de Rothschild enforced his claim upon the services of unlucky Barrett: Tommy Loates came in for the ride and proceeded to steer Donovan to an effortless win. Fred was back in the saddle when Donovan won the Doncaster St Leger at 8/13 in a field of thirteen.

Barrett had won the previous year’s Derby on Ayrshire. A dark-coated bay, Ayrshire had already won that year’s 2,000 Guineas at 8/1 in which Friar’s Balsam was considered such a certainty that many bookmakers refused to take bets on him. The horse was, however, suffering from an undetected mouth abscess which burst during the race and the horse finished distressed in fifth. 
Barrett became Champion Jockey that year with 108 winners. 
Fred Barrett later became a horse trainer at The Downes Stables.
Fred’s married May Revell, the youngest daughter of Mr B Revell who ran the Railway Hotel in Beccles. The wedding took place at St Michael’s Church.

Fred Barrett’s daughter, Annie, (born 1872) eloped one night with her lover via an upper storey window. She scrambled down a ladder to where George Clarke, a stable lad, was waiting for her. Many years later she returned to the inn.
British jockey Fred Barrett was characterized by his contemporaries as a talented, honest, and able horseman. His elder brother George, a successful jockey, served as an inspiration for the younger Barrett.

Parents: John Barrett born 1836 and Sarah Ann Godbold (1839-1881)

Donovan was euthanized at Worksop Manor on February 1905 after sustaining serious injuries when he collided with a tree in his paddock. He was buried at the Duke of Portland’s Welbeck Abbey Stud, Nottingham.

Fred died at Newmarket in January 21, 1895, aged 27.


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