History of Hamilton Stables
HAMILTON STABLES was built on the site of a former hunting yard and was designed by American millionaire, Richard Ten Broeck.
Ten Broeck had arrived in Compton in August of 1856, leasing neighbouring Roden House, for himself and his Virginian trainer, John Pryor. A prodigious gambler, he was the first American owner to travel a string of racehorses to England – racing horses in the US a difficult sport at the time.
Richard Ten Broeck
Those horses included Prioress, who became the first US-bred and owned horse to win a race in England. She won the run-off following the three-way dead-heat for the 1857 Cesarewitch at odds of 60-1, allegedly netting Ten Broeck $350,000.
Umpire, a three-parts brother to top US racehorse and champion sire Lexington, was heavily backed by Ten Broeck to win the 1860 Derby. Facing 21 runners, he finished one-and-a-half lengths second to Thormanby, trained by former Compton resident Mat Dawson, who had since relocated to Russley Park, near Lambourn. Had he won, Ten Broeck stood to collect £750,000 (around £50 million in today’s money)!
To put that into perspective, James Merry, the owner of Thormanby won a mere £70,000 in bets, still considerably more than the £6,050 that race was then worth.
Original plans of Hamilton Stables discovered at Hamilton House, now in separate ownership
After 30 years in England, where he had become a member of the Jockey Club and been friends with the Prince of Wales, Ten Broeck returned to the US in 1887, due to diminishing funds and severe gout.
The stables passed to the Stevens family, who leased it to former leading jockey Tom Cannon Jnr. in 1907. Cannon subsequently bought the yard and trained there until his retirement in 1936, when it was sold to George Beeby.
Beeby achieved great success in the 1940s and 1950s, winning two Cheltenham Gold Cups, and had a further 17 Cheltenham Festival winners. Beeby later concentrated on Flat horses, his most notable winner being the sprinter Grey Sovereign. A temperamental character bred by the bookmaker William Hill, he did most of his training away from the other horses on the Ridgeway tracks.
In 1947, Roden House was bought by Ken Cundell and the purchase of Hamilton Stables followed. Flagship horses included Lester Piggott's first Derby ride Zucchero, and March Past, winner of the Solario Stakes (1952), the Greenham Stakes (1953) and the Wokingham Stakes (1954).
Continuing the yard’s ability to produce winners under both codes, Cundell famously trained Stalbridge Colonist to win Newbury’s Hennessy Gold Cup defeating Arkle (who was conceding 35lb) at odds of 25-1 in 1966.
Cundell retired after 27 years having trained the winners of 828 races and been one of the first to spot the talents of Piggott (whose grandfather was married to former Hamilton Stables resident,Tom Cannon’s sister). He handed the reins to his son Peter, who had ridden 24 winners as an amateur.
On his own retirement in 2011, Peter Cundell cited the Mackeson, Hennessy and King George VI Chase treble achieved by Bachelor’s Hall in 1977 as his career highlight, along with training the talented, but ill-fated hurdler Celtic Ryde, who never truly fulfilled his potential. Cundell's tally of over 520 training successes also included Sandalay, winner of the Queen Alexandra Stakes at Royal Ascot.
However, he has kept horses in training at Hamilton Stables, first with his tenant Jonathan Portman, and when Portman moved to Lambourn in 2013, with Geoffrey, who subsequently bought the yard in 2015.