Day, Sam Jnr

1818 -1838

The second son of John Barham Day, Sam Goddard Day - though extremely round-shouldered - was an exceptionally strong and very cool young jockey. When he booted home Mango to victory in the 1837 St Leger, he became the youngest rider to win the race.
The story of the race is worth the re-telling. 

In those days a gravel road crossed the Doncaster course some 200 yards from the start. To the inside of the gravel-road lay a ditch from which, for horses, there was no protection. As the field of eight approached - led by Dardanelles, Dan Dawson and Cardinal Puff - Bill Scott, riding the 5/2 favourite Epirus, got nearer to the ditch than he intended. The soil beneath him gave way, and he pitched headlong into the ditch. As Scott unsteadily rose to his feet, 50/1 shot The Prime Warden smashed into him, shattering Scott’s right collarbone so severely that bones protruded through the skin. 
Six were left in with a chance after the melee where The Doctor and Abraham Newland took up the running. Sam Day sat in behind on Mango. Suddenly a greyhound raced onto the course and straight under Dardanelles, bringing the animal crashing to the ground. Henriade, ridden by John Day and following closely behind, struck into the dog and he, too, somersaulted. 

Sam Day went on to win on Mango, but not without first giving the horse a cruel beating. John Day always maintained that he would have won but for the greyhound.
On 9 March 1838, while out hunting with Sir John Mills’s hounds near Parnell Wood, Sam Day took a bad fall. He was carried to Mr Sadler’s house at nearby Longstock. Sam’s life hung in the balance for several days as his friends battled to save him, but he died without regaining consciousness on March 14.

Epirus was not a lucky horse for Scott, who had once substantially backed the horse to win at Wolverhampton. Scott was riding the favourite in the race and fully intended to pull the horse, thus prevent it winning. He had not reckoned with Harry Edwards, the rider of Epirus. In the pay of bookmakers, Edwards made no attempt to pass Scott’s mount. It cost Scott a small fortune and Edwards his job as second jockey to the stable.




Comments