Eclipse was an 18th century British thoroughbred racehorse who was undefeated during his entire career. He won 18 races in total before retiring for lack of competition: nobody would bet on horses competing against him.
He would often finish far in front – at the time a horse that was more than 240 yards behind the lead was said to be ‘nowhere’. On placing a bet on Eclipse’s first race (May 3, 1769 at Epsom) Captain Denis O’Kelly supposedly used the phrase “Eclipse first and the rest nowhere” – a prediction that came true when Eclipse far out-distanced the other horses to storm home to victory (the win earned the Captain a part-share in the horse).
On retirement, Eclipse went to stud, siring around 344 foals, including three of the first five Derby winners. Today, the Royal Veterinary College has determined that nearly 80% of modern thoroughbred racehorses have Eclipse in their pedigree.
The horse and his career is immortalised in the phrase “Eclipse first and the rest nowhere”, which is still used to refer to any dominating victory in racing today.
In 2008 a website was launched, named after the great horse and supported by racing presenter Clare Balding: dedicated to ‘the social side of racing’.
Run by a team of friends who are passionate about demystifying racing, we aim to help everyone to fully enjoy a day at the races no matter what their level of knowledge about horses or the sport.
We hope that if you feel a bit more informed when you go to the races – about what to wear, how to bet, what to expect, different types of racing, who’s who, different days out, etc – you will genuinely feel part of the occasion and have a really GREAT day out… and will hopefully start to catch the racing bug!
Want to let us know how you got on? Email firstname.lastname@example.org