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Picture highlights talents of jockey who died aged 21.

Byline: Tony Henderson Reporter jnl.newsdesk@ncjmedia.co.uk

ASTORY of triumph and tragedy lies behind the portrait of a Northumberland jockey which will be auctioned today.

The oil painting is of Ralph Bullock, who was born in Morpeth in December 1841.

Twenty years later, he won the Epsom Derby on the North East-bred racehorse Kettledrum.

But two years after his Derby victory, he would be dead at the age of 21. The painting, showing Ralph mounted on Kettledrum, is valued at PS250 to PS450, and will be sold by Newcastle auctioneers Anderson and Garland.

Ralph came from sporting family.

His father was a trainer, and a nephew William won the 1908 Derby on Signorinetta.

At the age of 11 Ralph was apprenticed to trainer Thomas Dawson at Tupgill in North Yorkshire.

He rode his first race at the age of 12, finishing unplaced on Mary Aislabie at Harrogate.

His first victory was in 1854 at Kelso, riding Ellermire for Admiral Harcourt, when he was registered as able to ride at four stone three pounds.

He quickly carved out a reputation, and in 1857 he won 43 races.

Two years later he won the Chester Stewards' Cup on Tunstall Maid, and had his first ride in the Derby, finishing unplaced 100/1 outsider Lovett. In 1860, he finished second on High Treason in the St Leger.

The peak of his short career was the 1861 Derby, which he won on Kettledrum, and that year he also came second in the Oaks on Lady Ripon.

Again riding Kettle Drum, this time in the Doncaster Cup, he rode a dead heat with the filly that had won the Oaks, Brown Duchess.

Later he rode Tom Whiffer to victory in the Ascot Vase, the Doncaster Cup and the Goodwood Cup.

He rode in the Derby again, finishing fourth on Neptunus.

What was to be his final victory was at Newmarket in 1862 on Smoke.

On Saturday January 17, 1863, he was returning to Tupgill when he felt a pain and coldness in his left cheek.

This began to swell, and by the Thursday he was in a coma.

He never regained consciousness and died at Tuphill on Friday January 23.

The cause of death was given as erysipelas, a skin infection which can spread to other areas of body can occur through the bloodstream and today is treated with antibiotics.

Ralph Bullock was buried at Morpeth on January 27, 1863.

In nine seasons, Ralph had ridden total of 212 winners.

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Ralph Bullock, who rode more than 200 winners

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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Dec 5, 2017
Words:427
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