|Pedigree of Eclipse|
Marske br. 1750
|Bartlet's Childers||Darley Arabian|
|Blacklegs Mare||Blacklegs||Hutton's Bay Turk|
|Bay Bolton Mare||Bay Bolton|
|Fox Cub Mare|
Spilletta b. 1749
|Grey Robinson||Bald Galloway|
|Akaster Turk Mare|
|Old Montagu Mare||Old Montagu|
|Hautboy Mare (F-No.12)|
Eclipse (April 1, 1764 - February 26, 1789) was an 18th century British thoroughbred racehorse, descendant of Godolphin Arabian and Regulus that was undefeated during its entire career. Eclipse was born during and named after the solar eclipse of April 1, 1764. The exact place of birth is unknown, but probably at the Cranborne Lodge Stud of his breeder, Prince William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland in Windsor Park,Berkshire. His sire was Marske (bred 1750) and his dam was Spiletta (bred 1749). After the death of Prince William in 1765, Eclipse was sold for 75 guineas to a sheep dealer from Smithfield, William Wildman.
Eclipse started racing at the age of 5 on May 3, 1769 in Epsom. Supposedly, at this time Captain Denis O'Kelly used the famous phrase "Eclipse first and the rest nowhere," before making his bets for this race. At that time, a horse that was more than 240 yards behind the lead was said to be nowhere. Eclipse won the race, with all other horses being far behind (nowhere), and Captain Denis O'Kelly won half of Eclipse (other sources said he bought half for 650 guineas.) His jockey was John Oakley, supposedly the only jockey who could handle Eclipse's temperamentful style. Eclipse also had a running style with his nose very close to the ground.
Eclipse won all of his 18 races, supposedly without ever being whipped or spurred, and was far superior to all competition. In 1771, Eclipse retired due to lack of competition as nobody was betting on competing horses, and became a stud. Overall, Eclipse sired 344 foals (although the number varies with different reports, ranging from 325 to 400), including famous horses like Young Eclipse, Saltram, Volunteer, Sergeant, Pot-8-os,King Fergus, Mercury, Joe Andrews, Dungannon, Alexander, Don Quixote, and Pegasus. The Royal Veterinary College has determined that nearly 80% of modern thoroughbred racehorses have Eclipse in theirpedigree (Other sources state 95%).
Eclipse died due to a colic in February 26, 1789, at the age of 24. His skeleton is now in the Jockey Club Museum in Newmarket, although it cannot be said for certain if all of the bones displayed are really from Eclipse. His hooves have been made into inkstands, although the fact that there are at least five Eclipse-hoof-inkstands of the quadruped casts some doubt about the authenticity of some. Hairs from his tail have also been used for decorations.
Eclipse is still remembered in the phrase "Eclipse first and the rest nowhere", referring to any dominating victory. This phrase is occasionally seen in American print media (most often in newspaper sport sections), but is more common in Great Britain.