|English Champion||Nickname||Reign Begins||Ends|
|George Taylor||The Barber||1735||1738|
|William Stevens||The Nailer||1760||1761|
|George Meggs||The Collier||1761||1762|
|Tom Juchau||The Disher||1765||1766|
|William Darts||The Dyer||1766||1769|
|Tom Lyons||The Waterman||1769||1769||retires|
|Benjamin Brain||Big Ben||1791||1794||dies|
|Daniel Mendoza||The Jew||1794||1795|
|"Hen" Pearce||The Game Chicken||1803||1806||retires|
|Tom Spring||The Light Tapper||1823||1824|
|Tom Cannon||The Great Gun of Windsor||1824||1825|
|Jem Ward||The Black Diamond||1825||1827|
|Peter Crawley||Young Rump Steak||1827||1827||retires|
|James Burke||The Deaf 'un||1833||1839|
|Ben Caunt||The Torkard Giant||1840||1841|
|Ben Caunt||The Torkard Giant||1841||1845|
|William Perry||The Tipton Slasher||1850||1851|
|Tom Paddock||Redditch Needlepointer||1856||1858|
|Tom Sayers||The Brighton Boy||1858||1860||retires|
|Sam Hurst||The Staleybridge Infant||1860||1861|
|Jem Mace||The Gypsy||1861||1862|
|Tom King||The Fighting Sailor||1862||1863||retires|
|Jem Mace||The Gypsy||1866||1871||vacates|
The most extraordinary character ever to own a Derby winner was surely one John Gully, a former prize fighter, who won the race twice and every other Classic race in the English Calendar as well.
He achieved his initial public notoriety with a defeat. Bare-knuckled, he fought the reigning champion Henry Pearce in 1805 and was beaten in the fifty-ninth round! He was paid £500 for his efforts, but the following year was so impoverished that he had to walk from London to Doncaster races.
He won two subsequent fights, which lasted 36 and 28 rounds respectively, and then retired from the ring. Not surprisingly, his conversation was said to have become very slow: "Every word seemed to weigh a pound." Nevertheless. he decided to concentrate on horse racing and politics.He was elected MP for Pontefract, and as his respectability and wealth grew became a colliery owner, but racing and betting were his first love.
He suffered something of a setback in the St.Leger of 1827 when he ran Marmeluke, an extremely nervous animal by all accounts. Jockeys on the other runners (and, it was alleged at the time, the starter) conspired to ensure that there were a series of false starts and delays and Marmeluke was beaten. It cost Gully £40,000 in bets.
After a series of further unfortunate incidents Sam Day trained Pyrrhus The Fist to win Gully his first Derby in 1846. In 1854, Gully owned another Derby winner, Andover, in partnership with a money-lender called Henry Padwick.
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© D.W. 2000 This site last updated March 2003 by webmaster