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  Family B-26: Lady Lena

This family was included in the Family Table of Racehorses because one of its members, Music Hall, won the Grand National Steeplechase. The table begins with Lady Lena, but actually extends one generation further back to a mare by Champion, a half-bred Clydesdale who stood in County Galway at a fee of 10 shillings; her dam was "a washy-colored chestnut mare, with bad feet, and worse action, breeding unknown" bought "...at the fair of Portumna, Co. Galway for £9, as a year and a half old." Lady Lena was bred by Michael Duane of Ballinahistal, Galway, and won a third prize at the 1898 Co. Galway show. Lady Lena produced four foals for Michael Hession, Ballinasloe, Co. Galway; her daughters Mermaid and Surprise won first and second prizes respectively at Co. Galway show, and in 1898 Surprise was awarded a Silver Medal in 1899 (these prizes were all Hunter Improvement Society awards). All along the way, horses in this line were bred for hunting and chasing, with the use of influential jumping sires such as Play Actor and Landmark.

Notable Descendants

Music Hall
Music Hall

Music Hall, b.g. 1913
(Cliftonhall - Molly by Play Actor)
Won the 1922 Grand National Steeplechase at Aintree (one of three not to fall), despite soft-going due to rain, a recovering swollen knee, and a couple of serious mistakes at fences, which he was lucky to overcome, with aid from his jockey, Lewis Rees. He was bred by Mrs. F. St. J. Blacker at Castle Martin, Newbridge, in County Kildare, and broke at age five. Mrs. Blacker hunted him with the Kildare hounds in 1918-19, and in the spring he was sold as a hunter or possible point-to-pointer to Mrs. Stokes of Market Harborough. Hunted the following season in Leicestershire, he showed speed and jumping ability and was put into training, winning a Novices' Steeplechase at Birmingham. He won seven races in 1920, including the Scottish Grand National, and then was purchased by Hugh Kershaw, a Worcestershire landowner. Sidelined for a year with a leg injury following a race at Nottingham, he was put in training with Owen Anthony, and brought back to win the Hurst Park steeplechase, followed two weeks later by his Grand National win, carrying 11st-8lb. He was shipped to France, but ran unplaced in the Prix Saint Sauver (2-3/4 miles), and ran a bad third in the Grand Steeplechase de Paris. He ran in the National again in 1924 (pulled-up) and 1925 (refused).
His dam, Molly, was purchased by Mrs. Blacker from her breeder, R. Ronaldson, a farmer at Kellysgrove, Co., Galway. Mrs. Blacker had seen Molly place at a Point-to-Point race at Westmeath, and purchased her, hunting her for seven seasons. She was described as very strong, with "great quality," standing 15.1-1/2 hands, and had won first and second prizes at the Co. Galway show in 1901. Retired to the stud in 1912, Music Hall was her first foal; her last was born in 1918, but she lived well into her twenties. Music Hall's brother, Picture Hall, won three steeplechases. A sister, Movie (1917) bred on.

His sire, Cliftonhall was bred in Yorkshire, out of a mare that couldn't stay five furlongs, and by the Galopin son, Galloping Lad. Cliftonhall, the best son of Galloping Lad, was a good stayer who won the Northumberland Plate and the Great Yorkshire Handicap at age three, and was second to Zinfandel in the Manchester Cup; he retired at age 8, and went to stud at New Abbey Stud, Co. Kildare, where he got mostly hunters, hurdlers and chasers.

Descent Chart

Champion mare (f) by Champion (HB Clydesdale)
  Lady Lena (ch.f. 1892) by Young Thunderbolt (HB)
     Mermaid (b.f. 1895) by Master Pirate
     Surprise (ch.f. 1897) by Swordbearer
     Molly (b.f. 1900) by Play Actor
      Music Hall (b.g. 1913) by Cliftonhall
      Picture Hall (b.g. 1914) by Cliftonhall
      Movie (b.f. 1917) by Cliftonhall

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