CICERO 1902-1923

Image of Cicero.  Reproduced by permission of Surrey History Centre
Image of Cicero taken by the Empress Marie at The Durdans 1913.
Reproduced by permission of Surrey History Centre (Opens in a new window)

Cicero was a particularly well-known and popular Derby winner because he was bred and owned by the 5th Earl of Rosebery who had a house and stables in Epsom, The Durdans. Cicero was a small, compact chestnut colt with a distinguished British blood line. He was foaled in 1902 by Cyllene out of the mare, Gas. Gas was the half sister of Ladas, Lord Rosebery's first Derby winner in 1894.

He was trained by Percy William Hesseltine Peck at Exning near Newmarket in Suffolk. He was a very successful two year old, with an unbeaten record winning the Fitzwilliam Stakes, the Woodcote Stakes at Epsom, the Coventry Stakes at Ascot, and the National Breeder's Produce Stakes at Sandown. In this last race he picked up a nail in his foot, which kept him out of racing for the rest of the season.

Detail of Cicero.  Reproduced by permission of Surrey History Centre
Detail of Cicero from the above photograph.
Reproduced by permission of Surrey History Centre (Opens in a new window)

In 1905 he marked his return from a ten month absence by winning easily the Newmarket Stakes. He was then entered for his biggest challenge-the Derby. Although there were nine horses in the race, all eyes were on Cicero, the favourite at 11-4, and the main challenger, the French colt, Jardy. The Times Sports Correspondent reported that Cicero was "trained to the hour, having plenty of muscle and a coat like burnished copper." Jardy was not in peak condition, having succumbed to the cough that had troubled Monsieur Edmond Blanc's (his owner) stable. Cicero and Jardy were almost at the back of the field at Tattenham Corner, but after the bend theymoved into the centre of the course and then it was neck and neck. Cicero, ridden by an American jockey Danny Maher (1881-1916), responded to the cheers of the crowd as well as the urging of his rider and won the race by three parts of a length. He set a new course record of 2 minutes 39 seconds.

Cicero's reign as champion was short lived. He was beaten in the Eclipse Stakes after an exciting race against another of M, Blanc's horse, Val d'Or, and then developed leg trouble again which put him out for the rest of the season.

Although he won the Biennial Stakes at Newmarket in 1906, he came nowhere at Ascot and was put out to stud at Mentmore. He had a fairly successful stud career, the two most famous horses that he sired being Prue and Friar Marcus, who was ridden wearing the colours of King George V.

In September 1923 he was pensioned off and returned to Epsom to spend his last days at The Durdans. Sadly, a week after his arrival he ruptured an intestine whilst in his stable and died. He was buried in the grounds of the Durdans, where Lord Rosebery's two other derby winners Ladas and Sir Visto are buried, and also Amato, Derby winner in 1838 who belonged to the former owner of the Durdans, Sir Gilbert Heathcote.

Researched by Liz Manterfield Sept 2006

Bourne Hall Museum
The Times 1905 and 1923.
The history of the Derby Stakes by Roger Mortimer, Michael Joseph, London.1973, ISBN:0718111 834
Surrey History Centre