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5 Gold Cups, 7 Secretaries, 250 Pounds of Meat – The Crazy World of Dorothy Padgett

Ninety years ago, the Golden Mirror won five in a row for the second time. Cheltenham Gold CupHe was pompous, but so was his extraordinary owner, Dorothy Padgett. She’s a very quirky, colorful, and complicated heiress, making the modern ‘quirky’ look like an absolute lightweight amateur bunch.

Born in 1905, Padgett was the first and last daughter of Lord Queenborough and his American wife Pauline Payne Whitney. She inherited her love of horses from her father and her fortune, which she received from her mother on her 21st birthday.

In a very masculine world at the time, she combined passion and wealth to become one of the most successful racehorse owners of all time, winning 1,532 races.

I was interested in Padgett not only because she owned the 1943 Derby-winning Straight Deal for 30 years, but because she was a big part of jump racing. Show jumpers.

There is a wonderful family story when Padgett met her trainer, Fulk Walwyn, at my grandmother’s house in what was considered a “neutral” neighborhood. Their hatred for each other was mutual, and their relationship had deteriorated to the point of refusing to be in the same room. was used.

Padgett’s final instructions to his grandmother, though not followed, were “And kick him out of me.”

Martin Pipe knows her better than anyone

Died in her sleep in 1960 at the age of 54, she suffered from ailments related to an abnormal appetite (at one point she weighed 20 stones). No one knows her better than Martin Pipe. The retired multi-champion jump trainer bought all the papers when they came up for auction and is still going through them.

He showed me a letter she had sent admonishing her for letting the Whippet sit in front of the carriage. It seems to encapsulate both female characters: Paget’s dominating madness and The Whippet’s lifelong strategy in front of my grandmother’s family.

“She was a famous woman,” says Pipet, whose wife Carole teasingly refers to Padgett as “the other woman.” “I knew a little bit about her. Her memorabilia went on sale and I bought her suitcase, but I’m still trying to read it all.”

The pipe may have gone through heaps of personal letters, papers, and newspaper clippings, but he’s already gained great insight into her life.

“She got kicked out of school and did what she wanted, her own way,” he says. “If you become one of the richest people in the world, you could be in trouble and she ended up getting caught in a horse race. Fulke Walwyn once won five winners at her conference.” But instead of congratulating him, she complained that he didn’t get all six.

“She started with car racing [she had an unsuccessful but expensive team of Bentleys] But gambling regardless, she liked the point. I think that’s what got her kicking.she thought green was unlucky [still quite a widely held belief in racing] When a jockey in a green sports car showed up for dinner, she had someone take the car and turn it into a red one.

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