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  Family B-16: Lightfoot

This family was included in the Family Table of Racehorses because Gamecock won the Grand National Steeplechase. As with a number of other Irish half bred families, this one includes a mare possibly by Sir Hercules. Prior noted the mare Lightfoot was "said to have been gotten by Sir Hercules, and also by Blackfoot; the latter horse being the more probable." A turf observer in 1927 noted: "Time was in Ireland when a hunter of high price was 'out of a dam by Sir Hercules or Birdcatcher, or Ascetic, or Red Prince II or Artillery [by Touchstone and out of Jeannette by Birdcatcher]!' These famous sires -- and we name only five -- must have served in the respective generations an almost uncountable number of mares if the hunters really traced back to a mare by one of them. The hunters were good and proven performers, and when sent out of Ireland upheld their achievements in the hunting-field or militarily the reputation of Ireland as a horse-producing country; they were worth the high price invariably paid for them, but in the abstract their value was still greater when, supposedly, they possessed a pedigree containing the blood of any one of the great sires which we have named....it was not of uncommon occurrence for 'a plough mare' to breed to a thoroughbred sire a high-class hunter. When she had done so, her owner inferred 'she must have the blood of (say) Ascetic in her."

Lightfoot, about whom nothing else was discovered, produced four winners: Quickstep won the Prince of Wales' Plate at Punchestown, and eight other steeplechases; Bouncer won three steeplechases; Breechloader won the Downshire Plate steeplechase and later was used as a stallion; her daughter Lightfoot, by Gamekeeper (a son of Birdcatcher), won the Louth Hunt Cup, the Westmeath Hunt Cup, and three other steeplechases, and placed second three times at ages four and five. All her offspring, and those of her daughter were bred by Thomas Jackson of Lisnaboe, Co. Meath.

Lightfoot the daughter produced five winners over fences. Her son Bouncer won six steeplechases, and son Gamecock won 28 chases, including the Grand National. At age four, her daughter, Game Hen, won a hunter's flat race and a steeplechase, eight steeplechases in Ireland at age five, and two steeplechases in England at age six. In the stud of the Duke of Hamilton at Easton Park, Suffolk, she produced four foals, and was shown as a hunter broodmare, winning first prize at the Suffolk show in 1892, and a first prize and gold medal at Essex, and places in other shows in 1893. Lightfoot's daughter Game Chicken won a hunter's flat race, three hurdle races, and two steeplechases at age four, and placed second in races at age five; her son, Bill Goode, won a hurdle race. Lightfoot's daughter Limelight won four steeplechases, and in the stud of George Holland of Keele, Staffordshire, was also shown as a hunter, winning two first prizes and a Gold Medal in 1897 at local shows.

Notable Descendants


Gamecock b.g. 1879
(Revolver - Lightfoot by Gamekeeper)
Winner of the 1887 Grand National, and a great steeplechaser that ran well into his teens, winning almost every principal race over fences in England. He was bred in Ireland, by Thomas Jackson of Co. Meath, out of Lightfoot, who won steeplechases; she was by a Birdcatcher son, Gamekeeper, and out of a mare by Sir Hercules or Blackfoot. Gamecock's sire, Revolver, had run in the Grand National of 1867, and was by one of the most prominent sires of jumpers in the '60s, Artillery (by Touchstone - Jeannette by Birdcatcher).

Racing for E. Jay through 1887, he won the Great Sandown Chase in 1885, the Grand International at Sandown in 1886, Liverpool's Champion Chase in 1887, and ran third in the Grand National of 1886 before winning it in 1887. In the latter, in a field of 16, which included some famous horses, such as previous National winners Roquefort and Old Joe, and the great mare Frigate (twice second, she would win in 1889), he went off at odds of 20:1. Even with Savoyard over the last fence, he pulled ahead by 3/4 of a length to win.

In succeeding years he was to show again and again how he could come from behind to win, making him a popular favorite with the crowds. He ran for E. Benzon in 1888, and a Mr. Strong in '89, and after that he was in the ownership of a Mr. Swan, although always kept in the Bishop's Sutton stables of Arthur Yates, a great steeplechase jockey who had retired to training; Roquefort and Cloister were Yates' other National winners. Gamecock's other wins included the Great Metropolitan Chase (Croydon, 1889), the Hampton Court Chase (Hurst Park, 1890), and a second win of the Champion Chase (1890), and many other races over fences at Windsor and Croydon. Although he ran in the National four more years after winning it, he never placed higher than sixth. Running to the age of sixteen, having participated in over 100 races, he was finally pensioned off, and died at the ripe old age of 26.

Descent Chart

Lightfoot (br.f., 1848) by Sir Hercules or Blackfoot
  Quickstep (b.f. 1864) by The General
  the Bouncer (br.c. 1866) by M.D.
  Lightfoot (b.f. 1868) by Gamekeeper
  |  Bouncer (b.c. 1879) by Cambuslang
  |  Gamecock (b.g. 1879) by Revolver
  |  Game Hen (b.f. 1881) by Revolver
  |  Game Chicken (br.f. 1883) by Xenophon
  |  | Bill Goode (b.c. 1895) by Master Bill
  |  Limelight [Blanchardstown] (b.f. 1886) by Goldhill
  |  Gamebird (b.c. 1887) by Goldhill
  |  Gamekeeper (b.c. 1889) by Goldhill
  Breechloader (b.c. 1871) by Revolver

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