Newmarket’s enduring monument to Fred Archer, greatest and most tragic of all Victorian Jockeys, is Pegasus Stables, formerly known as Falmouth Lodge where James Fanshawe has trained since 1990.
Fred Archer, a rather tall man, whose solemn expression gave him more the appearance of a bank clerk than the most powerful and fearless rider of the day, became engaged to Helen Rose Dawson at the age of 25 in 1882. In preparation for his marriage he built the mansion to which he gave the name of Falmouth House as a compliment to Viscount Falmouth, who held first claim on his services. Next door to his new home he built the then named Falmouth Lodge for the sum of £20,000, a huge amount of money at that time, in which he intended to train when his riding days were finished.
Fate, though, decided Archer would never have a string of horses in that yard. By 1886 he was desperately unhappy, despite riding as brilliantly as ever. Not only was he still inconsolable after the death of his young wife in childbirth two years earlier, but in addition to his mental anguish, he was enduring the excruciating physical agony of trying to maintain a racing weight. On 8th November 1886, he shot himself in Falmouth House, which was demolished in the 1960’s, during a fit of delirium. He was just 29, had been champion on 13 consecutive occasions, and ridden five Derby winners. In all he rode? classic winners.
Although he never trained in the stables he had built, Fred Archer did keep his hacks and carriage horses there. Much his favourite hack was Scotch Pearl, a grey mare who had retired from racing. During the early years of this century, a number of Newmarket people were adamant that they had seen the ghost of Fred Archer, riding across the Heath on his beloved Scotch Pearl, one of the first inmates of Pegasus Stables.
Following the death of Fred Archer, Falmouth Lodge, as it was still called, was the private stables of Sir John Blundell Maple, a Member of Parliament whose fortune came from his furniture emporium in Tottenham Court Road. Sir John Blundell Maple had a quick succession of trainers, as Percy Peck was in charge of the 40 odd horses in 1894 and 1895, John Day in 1896, and then Willie Waugh until the death of the owner in 1903.
The best horse that Sir John Blundell Maple had in the yard was Nun Nicer. In 1898 Willie Waugh was responsible for that filly winning the 1,000 Guineas.
In between the world wars, and for a short time after the second, Falmouth Lodge was the quarters of Gordon Sadler. A member of a famous racing family, Gordon Sadler won no races of outstanding importance, though the stable was consistently successful over the years.
With the retirement of Gordon Sadler in about 1950, the name of the yard was changed to Pegasus Stables, and it was taken over by Captain Robin Oates, who had spent three years with Noel Murless at Beckhampton after leaving the army. During the 12 years that he was at Pegasus, Captain Oates won many races with useful horses like Rough, Josephus and Jeanne Michelle. On Captain Oates departure for Sussex in 1962, Maurice Moroney, who had ridden over fences after serving his apprenticeship in Ireland, had a small string in the yard for two or three seasons.
The association with Fred Archer was renewed after 82 years when Bill Watts commenced his training career at Pegasus Stables in 1968. Bill Watts is twice related to Archer, as one of his great-grandfathers, Charlie Archer, and one of his great-grandmothers Alice Pratt were brother and sister of the great jockey. Having obtained his first notable success with Our Ruby in The Oaks Trial at Lingfield in 1968, Bill Watts won the Royal Hunt Cup with Mr. Charles Engelhard’s Calpurnius in 1970, before going to Hurghill Lodge Stables at Richmond in Yorkshire at the end of that season.
Another prominent trainer of the present time, Clive Brittain, embarked upon his first season with a licence at Pegasus Stable’s in 1972. Two years later he won the St. James’s Palace Stakes with Averof at Royal Ascot and then moved across Newmarket to the Carlburg establishment he continues to train in to this day.
Michael Jarvis, who had saddled many good winners while private trainer to Sir David Robinson, was at Pegasus for the season of 1977 and 1978. Most prestigious of the races won during those two years was the Ebor Handicap with Lady Beaverbrook’s Totowah. On leaving Pegasus, he went to the Kremlin Stable where he continued training until his sad death in 2011.
After leaving Lambourn Patrick Haslam took charge of Pegasus during the years 1979 – 1988. He trained the winners of 272 races – 259 on the flat and 13 over jumps. As was the case with Bill Watts the most important race he won from the yard was the1984 Royal Hunt Cup, when he sent out Hawkley to beat Teleprompter (bred next door to Pegasus Stables at Lord Derby’s Woodlands Stud).
Since 1990 James Fanshawe has sent out many Group 1, 2 and 3 winners as well as two Champion Hurdle Winners which you can see from The Roll of Honour Page.
James and Jacko Fanshawe have always been immensely proud of the history and the association with Fred Archer that Pegasus Stables has. They still feel he is very much part of the yard and their son Tom born in 1997 has as his second name Frederick in recognition of arguably the greatest jockey that ever lived. James sets high standards and asks himself if the great jockey were alive now would he want to ride the horses that currently fill boxes he built.
When James took over the lease in December 1988 the yard was very run down having been let for so many years. He was able to purchase it in 1994 and set about the task to restore it to its former glory. The main yard, which houses the colts, has its original doors, which have been stripped, complete with original brass fittings. The cheaply 1960’s built breeze block yard has been replaced with a yard built to the same specifications as Fred’s original boxes. We chose to name the new stables the Falmouth Yard after Freds original choice of name. The most important aspect of these is the ventilation which was as vital for a horse’s well being in the nineteenth century as it is today.
Every box at Pegasus is now in excellent condition and owners can rest assured that their horses are stabled and trained in the best possible environment.