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Pocahontas (horse)

A painting of Pocahontas (left), with Stockwell as a foal.
Sire Glencoe
Dam Marpessa
Grandsire Sultan
Damsire Muley
Gender Mare
Foaled 1837
Country Britain
Color Bay
Breeder King William IV
Owner 1) King William IV
2) Lord Stradbroke
3) Mr. Greatorex
4) William Theobald
5) 3rd Marquis of Exeter
Trainer Unknown
Record 9:0-3-1
Earnings Unknown
Pocahontas is a thoroughbred racehorse out of Marpessa by Glencoe. She was born around 1837 in Britain, and was bred by King William IV.
Major wins


British Classic Race wins:
Horse (Equus ferus caballus)
Last updated on June 19, 2008

Pocahontas (1837-1870) was a Thoroughbred racehorse, as well as being the dam of three sires who had an incredible influence on the breed. Although mares are not generally considered to be as influential as sires, Thoroughbred Heritage says Pocahontas is "one of the most influential thoroughbreds of all time, male or female." [1]


Racing career of Pocahontas

Bred at the Royal Stud at Hampton Court, Pocahontas was by the stallion Glencoe, who was the winner of the 2,000 Guineas, Goodwood Cup, Ascot Gold Cup, and The Whip, and was later a good sire in America. Pocahontas' dam, Marpessa, won the Nursery Stakes at Newmarket as a two-year-old and Goodwood Stakes as a three-year-old. She was bred to Glencoe in 1836, producing her first foal, the filly Pocahontas. She later produced Idas (2,000 Guineas winner), Jeremy Diddler, and Boarding School Miss.

After the death of King William IV, the stud at Hampton Court was dispersed. Marpessa and Pocahontas, still a foal, were bought for 230 guineas by Lord Stradbroke. Pocahontas was quite small, maturing only to 14.3 hh, but supposedly had a good shoulder and hindquarter, with straight legs. However, she was known for her rather difficult temperament, and like her mother, she was a roarer.

As a yearling, Pocahontas was sold to Mr. Greatorex for 62 guineas. She raced once as a two-year-old, finishing third at the Criterion Stakes, after Gibraltar and Crucifix (who won in a dead heat). She raced again as a three-year-old, as the favorite in the Oaks, but only finishing fourth, partly due to her poor behavior. She finished fifth in the Goodwood Stakes, racing against some of the best males at that time. She ran three times as a four-year-old, unplaced at the Goodwood Cup and the Cesarewitch Handicap and then placed second at three races in her four- and five-year-old career.

Pocahontas did not have any wins in her nine starts, although this might have been because she was competing against horses of great class, and because of her roaring.

Between the Goodwood Cup and the Cesarewitch, Pocahontas was sold to Mr. William Theobald, owner of Stockwell Stud. She was bred by him for several years, before she was sold to the Marquis of Exeter, in 1852. The Marquis' horse, Stockwell, was having an incredibly successful career at this time, and he decided to purchase Stockwell's 15-year-old dam to stand at his stud in Newmarket.

Breeding career of Pocahontas

Pocahontas was most influential as a broodmare, producing three great sons - Stockwell, Rataplan, and King Tom - and five influential daughters. Stockwell is the most notable of the three, as he appears in the pedigrees of Phalaris, Nearco, and Native Dancer. In all, she produced 15 foals, the last at the age of 25. It is believed that, along with her roaring trait, Pocahontas may have carried the "X-factor," a gene mutation for large hearts. This may be because she had 13 crosses to Eclipse in her pedigree. Many stallions have had multiple crosses to Pocahontas, including: The Tetrarch (7), Man o' War (9), Precipitation (27), Nearco (37), Raise A Native (175), Northern Dancer (272), Mr. Prospector(353) and Secretariat (249).

Theobald bred Pocahontas as a five-year-old to his stallion, Camel, producing Cambaules, who was said to be a roarer and only placed on the track. In 1845, she bore a colt by Muley Moloch, although he was never named nor raced, and was also said to be a roarer. She was bred to Muley Moloch again, producing the filly Dolly Varden, who won once on the track and did not have a successful career breeding. Bred a third time to Muley Moloch, her resulting filly was unimpressive, although she had a few impressive offspring several generations later.

Pocahontas' next three years produced her greatest legacy as a broodmare, with the birth of Stockwell (The "Emperor of Stallions), Rataplan, and King Tom.

She later produced Strood, a chestnut by Chatham, who was injured when young and never won, before she was moved to the Marquis' stud in Newmarket. There, she foaled the filly Ayaconora, who won the Hopeful and the Newmarket Column Stakes and produced Chattanooga (winner of the Criterion Stakes and sire of the stallion Wellingtonia), as well as several great broodmares. She also produced the Knight of Kars, who was fairly successful on the track, but was more important as a sire of steeplechasers, including siring The Colonel (two-time winner of the Grand National Steeplechase).

Pocahontas' 1858 colt, Knight of St. Patrick, won four races, despite inheriting his mother's roaring. He later sired a 2,000 Guineas winner, Moslem. Her 1860 colt, Automation, won three times, including the Abington Mile, before he died as a three-year-old. In 1861, Auricula was born, and the filly became the second classic winner and second St. Leger winner produced by Pocahontas.

Pocahontas' last foal, the filly Araucaria, won the Stamford Plate (10 furlongs). Araucaria was also a roarer. She became an excellent broodmare herself, foaling Camelia (by Macaroni), the winner of the 1,000 Guineas and Oaks, Chamant (by Flageolet), winner of the 2,000 Guineas, Rayon d'Or (by Flageolet), St. Leger winner and an excellent sire in America, and Wellingtonia (by Chattanooga), a leading sire in France.

Although she was bred six more years, Pocahontas never foaled. She was sold after the death of Lord Exeter in 1867, and bought for 10 guineas by the 3rd Marquis of Exeter. She spent the rest of her years at Wothorpe, part of the estate at Burghley Park, and died in 1870 at the age of 33.

The foals

  • 1843: Cambaules (bay colt by Camel)
  • 1844: Barren
  • 1845: Unnamed (bay colt by Muley Molock or Camel)
  • 1846: Dolly Varden (bay filly by Muley Moloch)
  • 1847: Barren
  • 1848: Indiana (brown filly by Muley Moloch)
  • 1852: Srood (chestnut colt by Chatham]]
  • 1853: Barren
  • 1855: The Knight of Kars (bay colt by Nutwith)
  • 1856: Heroine of Lucknow (bay filly by Nutwith)
  • 1857: Barren (bred to Melbourne)
  • 1858: Knight of St. Patrick (bay colt by Knight of St. George)
  • 1859: Barren (bred to Knight of St. George)
  • 1860: Automation (bay colt by Ambrose)
  • 1861: Auricula (brown filly by Ambrose)
  • 1862: Araucaria (brown filly by Ambrose), dam of Rayon d'Or
  • 1867: Barren
  • 1868: Barren
  • 1869: Not Bred



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