Sherwood, Robert


Robert William Sherwood, whose father Ralph had trained the 1838 Derby winner Amato, was born in Epsom in 1835. One of six children, he rode rode the 1855 Derby winner Wild Dayrell. The horse had originally been bred, owned and trained by people with no racing experience - because of this it was not highly regarded until being sent to a professional trainer,  John Rickaby. 
The horse began to shine ten days before the Derby - Robert rode him in a trial against some talented horses and won by a street.

Word got out, and the stable became subject to several attempts at sabotage and bribery - these were repelled and, on the day, Wild Dayrell, won easily by a length.
A photograph of the horse was taken in 1856, the earliest known photo of a Derby winner.

Robert, together with his brother Tom, then went to Hong Kong for several years to ride and train for the merchant Robert Hardine. 
On returning to England, Robert opened his own establishment at Exeter House, Newmarket and, in 1884, trained St Gatien, who ran a dead-heat with Harvester in the Derby. St Gatien also won the Cesarewitch under the heaviest weight ever carried by a three-year-old.
Robert also trained the 1889 Oaks winner L'Abbesse de Jouarre.

He built a new yard, St Gatien House, in Newmarket, which is still in operation today.

Robert married Julie Charlotte Louise Vodoz in 1858. She gave him a son, Robert Louis, born at Epsom in 1860. Julie died in 1867. Robert then remarried a lady called Elizabeth.

Robert suffered an apoplectic fit at Newmarket on October 8, 1894, and died on at 1.30 a.m. 12 October, leaving Elizabeth effects of £13,017 (about £1½ million today). Elizabeth died in 1913.

Robert's eldest brother, Ralph Henry, was born in 1833. Initially a jockey, he became articled tp Mr John Williams Sparrow, a London attorney. By 1871 he was back at Epsom, helping his father train: he died unmarried in 1873.

Another brother, Tom, born in 1838 (the same year that Amato won the Derby) started out as a successful jockey but increasing weight cut short his ambitions and he turned exclusively to training at his father's old establishment. Tom died in Epsom on 7th October 1923.

Robert Sherwood's son, Robert Louis, had a very successful career at Newmarket, training at Park Lodge. When his father died in 1894, he took over St Gatien Lodge and, in, 1921, bought the Cheveley Park Stud which he owned until his death on August 27th 1942. His most famous horse was probably Desmond, winner of Ascot's Coventry Stakes.






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