Staveley was a bay colt, bred by W. Fletcher, Esq., in 1802, and sold at York Spring Meeting in 1805, to F. H. Mellish, Esq. He was got by Shuttle (son of Young Marske), out of a mare (bred by Mr. Fletcher in 1793) by Drone (son of Herod), her dam, by Match'em, out of Jocasta (bred by Mr. Cornforth in 1767), by his horse Forester, out of Milksop, by Old Cade, out of Miss Partner (bred by Mr. Crofts in 1730), by Old Partner, out of Brown Farewell (bred by Mr. Crofts in 1716), by Makeless, out of a daughter of Brimmer, &c.
At Catterick, 8st 3lbs, two miles, won a sweep of 175 gs., beating Sir W. Gerard's bl. c. Barouche, by Overton, 8st 3lbs, and Lord Strathmore's b. c. Yorkshire, by Sir Peter, 8st 3lbs; even on Staveley. At York Spring, for three years old, colts 8st each, won 120 gs., beating Earl Fitzwilliam's b. c. Caleb Quotem, by Sir Peter, Sir T. Gascoigne's gr. c. Confederate, by Delpini, third, and Colonel Mellish's b. c. True Briton, by St. George, last; 7 to 4 on Staveley, now sold to Colonel Mellish. At Doncaster, colts 8st 2lbs, fillies 8st, two miles, won the Great St. Leger of 25 gs. each, twenty-seven subscribers, beating Caleb Quotem (winner, next day, of the Doncaster Cup), second, br. c. Sir Paul (also Lord Fitzwilliam's), by Sir Peter, third, b. c. Sir Launcelot (also Colonel Mellish's, by Delpini), fourth, Colonel Childers' b. c. Langton, by Precipitate, fifth; also (not placed), Mr. J. Hutton's br. c. Cleveland, by Overton (a son of King Fergus), Lord F. G. Osborne's b. c. Don Felix, by Coriander, Lord Darlington's br. c. Trafalgar, by Sir Peter, Lord Grey's br. c. Young Roscius, by Sir Peter, and Mr. Smith's b. c. Hippomenes, by Pegasus; 5 to 2 against Cleveland, 4 to 1 against Hippomenes and Sir Launcelot, 6 to 1 against Staveley, and 10 to 1 against Caleb Quotem. The previous performances of the two last clearly entitling them to the position of first and second favourites. S. mg., 6st, four miles, in the Doncaster Stakes, was beaten by Mr. Garforth's famous gr. m. Marcia, by Coriander, aged, 8st 10lbs; four ran; 6 to 5 on Marcia.
At Newmarket, Craven, 8st 7lbs, match for 100 gs., was beaten by Mr. Arthur's ch. c. Brainworm, by Buzzard, rising five years old, 7st 12lbs; even betting. S. mg., 8st 8lbs, ran second for the Oatlands (handicap), won by General Gower's b. c. Swinley, by Coriander, 7st 12lbs, both rising four years old; six ran. S. mg., 8st 5lbs, A. F., match for 200 gs., was beaten by Lord Grosvenor's b. f. Meteora (winner of the Oaks in 1805), by Meteor (son of Eclipse), 8st, both rising four years old; 6 to 4 on Staveley. At Newmarket (First Spring), received 100 gs. forfeit from Sir J. Shelley's br. c. Moustache, by Whisker. S. mg., 8st 5lbs, A. B. M. match for 500 gs., beat Mr. Ladbroke's b. c. Cardinal Beaufort (Derby winner in 1805, then Lord Egremont's), by Gohanna; 6 to 4 on the Cardinal. At Newmarket (Second Spring), 8st each, match for 200 gs., was beaten by Mr. Arthur's br. h. Sir David (winner, this year, of the Craven Stakes at Newmarket, beating a good field of horses), by Trumpator, five years old; 6 to 4 on Staveley. S. mg., 7st 2lbs, B. C., won the Jockey Club Plate, beating the Prince of Wales' b. c. Barbarossa, by Sir Peter, four years, 7st 2lbs, second, b. m. Parasol, by Pot8o's, six years, 8st 9lbs, and two others; 7 to 4 on Parasol, 4 to 1 against Staveley, and 5 to 1 against Barbarossa. S. mg., 8st, match for 500 gs., p. p., received 400 gs. (compromise) from Cardinal Beaufort, 7st 7lbs. At Newmarket (First October), received 100 gs. forfeit from Mr. Howorth's b. c. Plantagenet, by John Bull. S. mg., 7st 4lbs, B. C., ran third for a purse of 50 gs., won by the Prince of Wales' br. h. Orville. At Newmarket (Second October), 8st each, Ab. M. match for 200 gs., was again beaten by Brainworm. At Newmarket (Houghton) 8st. each, Ab. M. match for 500 gs., was beaten by Lord Darlington's b. h. Pavilion, by Waxy, five years old; 11 to 5 on Pavilion. S. mg., was unplaced for a purse of 50 sovs., won by General Gower's br. m. Pelisse (Oaks winner in 1804), by Whiskey, beating Parasol and seven others.
At Newmarket, Craven, 8st 4lbs each, B. C., match for 500 gs., beat Pavilion; 6 to 5 on Staveley. At Newmarket (First Spring), 8st 7lbs, won a sweep of 100 gs. each, beating Mr. Shakespear's b. h. Wormwood, by Young Woodpecker, five years, 8st 9lbs, and one other. S. mg., 8st 10lbs, D. I., ran second in a handicap sweep of 100 gs. each, won by Lord Grosvenor's b. m. Violante (winner, this year, of the Oatlands, at Newmarket, Craven, and one of the best mares of her day), by John Bull, five years, 9st 1lb, Meteora, five years, 8st 11lbs, being last. At Bibury, 12st, three miles, received 100 gs. forfeit from Mr. Howorth's (late Colonel Childers') b. h. Langton, five years, 11st 1lb. S. mg., 12st each, four miles, match for 500 gs., paid 250 gs. forfeit to H. R. H. the Prince of Wales' Barbarossa. At York (August) for five years old, 8st 7lbs each, four miles, ran third and last for the Great Subscription Purse, won by the Duke of Hamilton's b. m. Crazy, by Walnut, beating the Prince of Wales' b. c. Trafalgar (winner, at York Spring, of 1500 gs.), by Gohanna, four years old. Horses under five years old qualified to enter, but not over that age; 5 to 4 against Trafalgar, and 5 to 2 against Crazy. At Doncaster, 8st 3lbs each, four miles, match for 500 gs., beat Lord Darlington's br. h. Trafalgar, by Sir Peter, both five years old. No betting recorded. S. mg., 8st 3lbs, four miles, ran third for the Cup, won by Lord Monson's b. c. Scud (winner of the Great Produce Stakes at York, in 1808), by Beningbrough, three years, 6st, beating Sir C. Turner's b. c. Thorn (winner of the Great Produce Stakes of 1050 gs., at York, in 1807), by Beningbrough, four years, 7st 7lbs, second, and Mr. Johnson's br. h. Sir Andrew (first named Norval), by Hambletonian, five years, 8st 3lbs, last; 13 to 8 against Scud (second in the St. Leger, this year, to Lord Fitzwilliam's b. f. Paulina, by Sir Peter). Scud was the sire of Sam and Sailor (Derby winners), and of Shoveler (winner of the Oaks). Betting 13 to 8 against Scud, and 3 to 1 against Thorn. This was Staveley's last race.
The following notice of Colonel Mellish appeared in the Daily Telegraph of September 8th, 1879: –
Among the many horses which have awakened that Yorkshire roar of which Sir Francis Hastings Doyle speaks, the owners of some experienced in their time vicissitudes of fortune not less startling than those which overtook the family of “handsome Jack St. Leger,” in whose honour the great race of the North was christened by the Marquis of Rockingham. Two brief entries, in the Annual Register, inform us that “John St. Leger, Esquire,” was married to Miss Butler, an heiress with £40,000; and, at the same time, that his kinsman, George St. Leger, lay dying in a mean lodging at the Bowling Pins, Rolls Court, Fetter Lane. There have, however, been far more disquieting reverses in the person of one of the most popular and ardent supporters of the Turf that ever graced a racecourse with his presence. In 1804 and 1805 the brilliant Colonel Mellish carried away the great race of the North, for two years in succession, with Sancho and Staveley, the former being ridden by the renowned Frank Buckle, and the latter by John Jackson. Who that can recall the “unequalled popularity,” as Nimrod terms it, of Colonel Mellish, when at the height of his prestige and fame, can doubt that the racecourse furnishes themes as suggestive as any that ever awakened the eloquence and provoked the denunciations of the most dauntless preacher. After a career upon the Turf which, from his admirable judgement in racing matters, would have been as successful as it was honourable, Colonel Mellish fell a victim to that fatal passion for the dice-box which has rung the knell of so many enthusiastic sportsmen. Colonel Mellish was the son of the Squire of Blyth, near Doncaster, from whom he inherited a noble mansion and large estate. He was an accomplished scholar, and his acquirements served him conspicuously in after life. He entered the 11th Light Dragoons; but was speedily transferred to the “Prince of Wales' Own,” the 10th Hussars. He was one of the very best whips of the day, a first-rate rider across country, and the best handicapper of horses that had ever been known at Newmarket. A famous horse, belonging to him, named Eagle, by Volunteer, first awakened in Admiral Rous, when a boy at Westminster School, that passion for horse-racing, which was only extinguished by his death, in 1877. The days are long gone by when great matches were in fashion; but if we desire to comprehend the thrilling excitement which once accompanied famous engagements between a couple of much fancied steeds, the still surviving accounts of the great match, at Lewes for 3000 gs. each, in which Colonel Mellish's yellow-bay colt, Sancho, met and defeated Lord Darlington's br. c. Pavilion, by Waxy, both four years old, 8st 3lbs each, four miles, will supply ample materials for our contemplation. *) “Which of you will engage me for his coachman, if I am beaten?” asked the gay Colonel, as he rode up to the Prince Regent's crowded German waggon, on Lewes racecourse, just as the flag was about to fall, which was to set Sancho and Pavilion going on their four-mile journey. At this time the Colonel's love for gaming had brought Blyth into the market; but the Peninsular war afforded him a chance of winning distinction in another and a nobler field. He went out to the Peninsula as Aide-de-camp to Sir Rowland Ferguson; and, just before the battle of Vimiera, a general officer rode up to Sir Rowland, exclaiming that, “Were not the thing impossible, I should have declared that a month ago I had left that officer (pointing to Colonel Mellish), in the Cock-Pit at York.” Colonel Mellish returned from the Peninsula with the Duke of Wellington's endorsement “as one of the best officers in the service;” and, though his patrimony had passed out of his hands for ever, yet a successful marriage had enabled him to settle down upon a farm at Hodsack Priory, hard by those acres in Yorkshire which had once known him as the owner. Pulmonary consumption, however, had marked him for a prey; and, long before the arrival of that forty-fifth year when, in Garrick's words, “The spirit's cool; that time is long enough to play the fool,” one of the most fascinating and accomplished patricians of the age in which he lived had passed away. The table on which Colonel Mellish and the Prince Regent played French-Hazard through the livelong night, previous to the final evacuation of Blyth by its reckless inheritor, is still to be seen at Doncaster.
*) This match took place on the 1st August, 1805, the result of Sancho's defeat by Pavilion, by a head only, in the Claret Stakes, of 200 gs. each, at Newmarket, in the preceding May, 8st 7lbs each, D. I., Lord Egremont's b. c. Hannibal (Derby winner in 1804), and the Duke of Grafton's br. f. Pelisse (Oaks winner in 1804), being third and fourth.
[Taunton, Thomas Henry: “Portraits Of Celebrated Racehorses Of The Past And Present Centuries”, 1887]