Oil on canvas, 24” x 29”
Signed, dated 1930, inscribed “Paris, Blandford: 1919 Blanche-Swynford”
The La Fleche Line
La Fleche (or “The Arrow” in French) was a daughter of St. Simon foaled in 1889. In 1890 she was sold at Tattersalls for a then-world-record price of 5,500 guineas for a yearling. She was undefeated as a 2-year-old, competing against both sexes, and won the English Filly Triple Crown at 3. Her best foal was John o’ Gaunt (by English Triple Crown winner Isinglass) who came second in the Derby. Due to poor conformation and an amateur jockey, the Derby was his only race. John o’ Gaunt’s best foal (and only colt) was Swynford, who had a far better career than his sire. Swynford won the St Leger, Eclipse Stakes, and Hardwicke Stakes (twice). As a stallion, he was the leading sire in Great Britain and Ireland in 1923 and the leading broodmare sire in 1932. His progeny include six English classic winners, including Blandford.
Blandford was foaled in 1919 and was the leading sire in Great Britain and Ireland three times. He was bred by the Irish National Stud and due to a bout of pneumonia, sold at the December Newmarket sale instead of July. He was purchased by Samuel and Richard “Dick” Dawson, Irish brothers who had an operation at Whatcombe, near Wantage, in Oxfordshire. After purchasing the colt, the Dawsons put him into training at Whatcombe, with Dick, who had just won the Derby and Oaks with the filly Fifinella. Dick Dawson was optimistic about the colt and quickly put him into training with the filly Malva. Difficult to keep sound due to the bad forelegs he inherited from his grandsire, John o’ Gaunt, Blandford unfortunately raced only four times. Of those, he won three times and was second once, most notably winning the Prince of Wales’s Stakes.