Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Scott, John (1794-1871)

SCOTT, JOHN (1794–1871), horse-trainer, was born at Chippenham, near Newmarket, on 8 Nov. 1794. His father was a jockey and a trainer, who became landlord of the Ship inn at Oxford, and died at Brighton in 1848, aged 97. At an early period John entered his father's stables, and at the age of thirteen won a fifty-pound plate at Blandford. As a lightweight jockey he rode for Sir Watkin Wynne, Mr. Saddler of Alsworth, Sir Sitwell Sitwell, and Mr. Stevens of Bourton-on-the-Hill, Gloucestershire. In 1815 James Croft, the trainer of Middleham, put into his charge Sir William Maxwell's Filho da Puta, which ran at Newmarket against Sir Joshua. Shortly after this he was engaged as private trainer to Mr. Houldsworth of Rockhill in Sherwood Forest. The next eight years of his life were spent at Rockhill; he then trained for two years for the Hon. E. Petre at Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, and brought out Theodore, the winner of the St. Leger in 1822 (Black, Jockey Club, p. 280). In 1825 he purchased Whitewall House, Malton, with training stables, which accommodated a hundred horses, and he resided there for the remainder of his life. For many years he had the best horses in England under his charge, and handled them with unrivalled skill. Among his principal employers were the Duke of Westminster, the Marquis of Exeter, Lord Derby, Lord Chesterfield, the Hon. E. Petre, Mr. John Bowes, General Anson, Lord Falmouth, and Major Yarburgh. The first victory of note which he gained from Whitewall was the St. Leger of 1827, won by the Hon. E. Petre's Matilda. Many more triumphs at Doncaster followed. Before 1862 he trained in all sixteen winners of the St. Leger.

St. Giles in 1832 was the first of six Derby winners which he trained, the others being Mundig in 1835, Attila in 1842, Cotherstone in 1843 (who also won the Two Thousand Guineas), Daniel O'Rourke (who unexpectedly beat Stockwell in 1852), and West Australian in 1853, the first horse that ever won the three great events—the Two Thousand Guineas, the Derby, and the St. Leger. He also trained eight winners of the Oaks. With Meteor he won the Two Thousand Guineas for Mr. Bowes in 1842, and with Impérieuse he beat Blink Bonny for the One Thousand Guineas in 1837. Among other horses trained at Whitewall were Velocipede, one of the best horses of his generation, Lord Derby's Toxophilite and Canezou, and Mr. Bowes's Hetman Platoff and Epirus. The Whitewall horses would have gained more victories in the south of England had the facilities for travelling been what they have become.

John Scott was much esteemed by all his employers, and among his most intimate friends was Baron Martin, who, with Rudston Read, was an executor of his will. At Whitewall Scott accumulated many curiosities and numerous sporting pictures by Herring and Hall. He died at Whitewall House on 4 Oct. 1871, and was buried on 9 Oct. in Malton cemetery, where a monument was erected to his memory. A tablet in Norton church was similarly erected by public subscription. He married, first, Miss Baker, the daughter of an innkeeper at Mansfield; and, secondly, a lady who died at Whitewall Cottage in March 1891, aged 90. His daughter by his first wife became the wife of Mr. Farrar the trainer, and by his second wife he left a son.

[Times, 12 March 1891, p. 10; Sporting Review, September 1855, pp. 153–5, with portrait; Baily's Mag. April 1862, pp. 249–53, with portrait; Scott and Sebright, by the Druid, 1862 pp. 47–56; Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, 26 Dec. 1874, pp. 308, 315, with portrait; Illustrated London News, 21 Oct. 1871, pp. 375, 377, with portrait; F. Ross's Celebrities of Yorkshire Wolds, 1878, p. 145; Rice's History of the British Turf, 1879, ii. 225–30; Bell's Life in London, 7 Oct. 1871, p. 6, 14 Oct. p. 6; Black's Jockey Club, passim; Taunton's Portraits of Race Horses, 1888, ii. 127 et. seq., with portraits of the horses mentioned in this article.]

G. C. B.