Facts you may not know about Cheveley Park Stud
Pivotal residing in Isinglass's Box.
• Several monarchs have owned Cheveley Park, including King Athelstan, King Canute, Edward the Confessor, William the Conqueror, Edward I and Edward II.
• Cheveley Castle – the last castle to be built in Cambridgeshire – was built in 1341 by Sir John de Pultenay, who was Mayor of London four times.
• Sir Henry Jermyn acquired the estate in 1650 and created the first Cheveley Park mansion, of which there is a painting by Siberecht (1682) in Belvoir Castle.
• Cheveley Park became the centre of a great landed estate as a result of the Duke of Somerset’s purchases in the 1730’s and 1740’s. Through a marriage settlement the estate passed through the hands of four Dukes of Rutland. The fifth Duke Of Rutland established Cheveley Park as a thoroughbred centre of note, breeding four Classic winners; he planted the tree lined avenue called Duchess Drive in memory of his wife.
The old Cheveley Park Mansion, which was demolished in 1925.
• Harry McCalmont purchased the estate in 1892 and at the time it covered some 7,800 acres, encompassing all the land up to the racecourse, which he also owned. Harry McCalmont built a large mansion which was completed in 1898, and where he entertained such luminaries as Edward VII. The mansion boasted 43 bedrooms and 365 windows. A real tennis court was installed, being one of only forty three in the country, but was never used. Harry McCalmont also built a railway line up Centre Drive to bring materials up from Newmarket station the construct the mansion.
• Many of the stud buildings built by Harry McCalmont are used today, the most important being Isinglass’s spacious box which is now occupied by Pivotal. Isinglass was bred by Harry McCalmont and was born at the stud in 1890; his record winnings were not surpassed until 1952 by Tulyar. Isinglass died in 1911, and his skeleton is in the National History Museum in London.
• The mansion was used as a military hospital in World War 1, and was subsequently demolished in 1925 as it was not economically viable.
• The grandstand of Cheveley Park racecourse is now part of the Newmarket Golf Course buildings.
• In July 1942 a German Dornier, having been on a mission dropping bombs on Birmingham, crashed on Duchess Drive, the crew having bailed out over Woodditton.
• There was a POW camp at Cheveley Park Stud during World War 2, and one of the prisoners came back to marry a local girl. The prisoners were mainly German and numbered around one hundred.
• In 1975 David and Patricia Thompson purchased Cheveley Park Stud then in receivership, having dwindled down to 270 acres. They stood their Gimcrack winner, Music Boy at the stud in 1977 (against industry advice); however from 17 foals Music Boy was leading first season sire, and his progeny earned over £2.5 million. A life size bronze of Music Boy stands outside the stud office.
• The ‘mighty’ Pivotal was bred and born on the stud, and was the first foal by his sire Polar Falcon in 1993. In 1996 Pivotal won the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes, as did his son Kyllachy in 2002, and his grandson Sole Power in 2010.
• Party Politics, owned by Patricia Thompson, won the Grand National in 1992; he spent his retirement at Cheveley Park Stud.
• Entrepreneur and Happy Valentine, consigned by Cheveley Park Stud in 1998, were the joint top lots at the Tattersalls Houghton Sale in 1998, selling at 600,000 guineas each. Entrepreneur went on to win the 2000 Guineas.
• As at the end of the 2011 season Pivotal is the leading European sire by number of individual Stakes winners. His results during his career to date stand at 99 individual Stakes winners, including 20 Group 1 winners.
• In 2012 the stud now comprises just under 1000 acres, and we continue our endeavours to fly the flag for British breeding and racing.