Wheatley, William


In 1831, William had the distinction of riding Spaniel,  possibly the worst ever winner of the Derby. The runner-up, Riddlesworth, was ridden by the crooked jockey Harry Edwards, who many suspect to have deliberately lost.  After his shock, 50/1, Epsom win, the colt was beaten by a filly, then flopped in three races the next season before being sold. Spaniel then slid further into decline by racing at such minor tracks as Carmethen, Haverfordwest and Brecon. 


William originally placed a £25 bet at 40/1 on the Spaniel winning; however, such were the bad vibes about the horse that he managed to cancel the bet at the last moment, costing himself £1,000 in the process. 

He was held in high regard by his fellow jockeys for the quiet, unfussy way in which he rode, frequently winning when least expected.

William had previously won the 1816 Derby on the Duke of York’s Prince Leopold which, because of a growing ill-temper, was castrated at the end of the 1817 racing season. The operation was not a success; the horse died shortly after.

William was the son of Anthony Wheatley  (176? -1838) who won the 1795 Derby on Spread Eagle.

William was born in Cambridgeshire in 1786. Apart from his five classic wins he also rode the 1823 Ascot Gold Cup winner.

He died in Kingsland, London, in 1848.

William Wheatley's classic wins were:

Two Thousand Guineas: Manfred (1817), Nicolo (1823) and Schahriar (1824)

The Derby: Prince Leopold (1816) and Spaniel (1831)



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