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RALPH BULLOCK 1841-1863 (Jockey)


Though known to everyone as Geordie, Ralph was a north country jockey. He first saw the light of day in Morpeth towards the close of 1841. Aged ten, Ralph went to the racing stables of Thomas Dawson at Tupgill where, three years later, registered amongst the jockeys of England as able to ride weighing 4 stone 3 pounds. He had, in fact, made his debut a year earlier in 1853 when, aged twelve, he finished unplaced on Mary Aislabie at Harrowgate.


His first win came the following autumn when he rode Ellermire to victory at Kelso for Admiral Harcourt. The pinnacle of the young jockey’s career was reached in 1861 when he rode the Derby winner Kettledrum. Kettledrum was an extremely lucky winner. Dundee, ridden by Henry Custance, had been favourite for the race throughout the winter. At Tattenham Corner, Custance thought he would win easily but, some eighty yards from the winning post, Dundee broke down badly on both fore-legs allowing Ralph to score on Kettledrum by a neck.


Owner Charles Townley used the winnings to build St Hubert's Church at Dunsop Bridge in the Ribble Valley. The Kettledrum Inn, near Burnley, was named after the Derby winner. Both still stand.

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