Sir Samuel Hordern, ‘Wilton Park’ and Fred Day
Featured Image: Acknowledge ‘History of Veterinary Practice in Newmarket 1831 – 2011’ (Multiple Authors). Fred Day at Lordship & Egerton Studs was the grandson of Fred Day who worked with Sir Samuel Hordern in Sydney and the Southern Highlands of NSW late 19th century
Thank you Ian Ibbett yet again! There are many remarkable coincidences which crop up in life. Just as the Hordern name is synonymous with excellence in retail, pastoral, sailing and racing pursuits in Sydney NSW so the surname Day resonates with equal intensity in racing, training and equine veterinary practice in Newmarket, Suffolk, England UK. I was astonished to read in Ian Ibbett’s seminal treatise (see above) that the two titans combined in the late 1890s to promulgate Sir Samuel Hordern’s early ambitions in thoroughbred racing and breeding. Fred Day later returned to the UK where he established a training and equine veterinary dynasty in Newmarket. My own equine practice in Scone (now Scone Equine Group) has enjoyed a symbiotic ‘shuttle’ relationship with the latter over the past 50+ years. This is recorded in meticulously detail by the multi-authored ‘History of Veterinary Practice in Newmarket 1831 – 2011’ (published First Edition 2011). I think my own much more modest tome ‘The Infinitive History of Veterinary Practice in Scone (2006)’ might have had something to do with the naissance of this?
The farm bred all of the cattle as well as all the dray horses employed in the delivery service of the Hordern stores; but part of the farm was also developed into a thoroughbred nursery, the famous Wilton Park Stud. Fully established by Samuel Hordern in 1891, Wilton Park consisted of some 2500 acres of fertile undulating land on the right bank of the Nepean River about two miles from the main southern railway near Maldon. In 1890 gangs of men were set at clearing, ploughing, fencing and dam-making. All timber other than shade trees were cleared from the numerous paddocks. Various grasses were laid down on the hills and flats; while ranges of splendid summer and winter boxes, round-houses, stallion houses, yards and shelter sheds were constructed on the estate under the supervision of Fred Day. Day was an English veterinary-surgeon originally hailing from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, but who for a few years relocated to Sydney.
When he first went into racing, F. W. (Fred) Day trained for Hordern and won the 1893 Sydney Cup for him with Realm, a Queensland-bred horse that was already a tried performer when Hordern bought him for 900 guineas plus a £100 contingency from the Queensland sportsman, Captain Sandeman. It was Day who selected the first lot of English mares that went to Wilton Park, and when in 1894 he returned to England to train at Newmarket, he continued to act as a sometime bloodstock agent for Samuel Hordern when he sought additional English horses. I might mention that before training for Hordern in Australia, Day had prepared horses for the Governor of N.S.W., Lord Carrington. Day’s Australian connection continued even after he hung out his shingle at Newmarket, for among other horses, he trained Airs and Graces when she won the 1898 English Oaks for the Australian sportsman W. T. Jones. Among his other Australian patrons who raced horses in England were Henry White, Humphrey Oxenham and Pat Osborne. Reginald Day, Fred’s son, was later to become a successful trainer in his own right in England, preparing Solario to win the 1925 English St Leger among other good races, and the 1961 One Thousand Guineas and Oaks double heroine, Sweet Solera.