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Sandringham stud book recording the mares covered by the racehorse Persimmon

Persimmon, owned by the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII), was renowned for having won at Ascot in 1895 and for winning the Derby and the St Leger in 1896. He subsequently became a very successful breeding stallion.

This volume from the Sandringham Stud records the mares covered by Persimmon during the 1898 season, at a fee of 300 guineas each.

As this list shows, many top-class horse breeders brought their mares to the Sandringham Stud; one particularly significant entry is that of the 1st Duke of Westminster’s mare Ornament, which foaled the filly Sceptre on 9 April 1899. Following the Duke’s death, Sceptre was sold to Robert Sievier, and under his training, showed that she had clearly inherited her sire Persimmon’s racing prowess. Her career ran from 1901 until 1904, and in 1902 she became the only horse to win four Classic races outright: the 2,000 Guineas and 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket, the Epsom Oaks and the St Leger. To this day, Sceptre remains one of the greatest mares in racing history.

This stud book is an example of the records held by the Royal Archives relating to the Royal Studs at Hampton Court and the two Norfolk studs established at Sandringham and nearby Wolferton by the Prince of Wales in 1886.

Although the Norfolk studs were smaller than their counterpart at Hampton Court, under the management of Lord Marcus Beresford (1848–1922) they became some of the most important and influential studs in the country. The purchase of the brood mare Perdita II by the Prince of Wales in 1888 was the start of great things for the Sandringham Stud, for her progeny included the full brothers Diamond Jubilee, Florizel II and the aforementioned Persimmon, all of them hugely successful racehorses.