The rise and fall of Pot-8-o’s: the sire horse

Por Horse TV
NEWS | Lifestyle

Potoooooooo -also spelled Pot-8-Os, Pot8Os, Pot8O’s or Pot 8 Os- is pronounced “Potatoes”. This horse born in 1773 was a thoroughbred racehorse who won over 30 races and ended up becoming a sire. 

The horse was a chestnut colt and was bred by Willoughby Bertie, 4th Earl of Abingdon. Although the origin of its name remains unclear, the most common version includes a young Bertie who intended to name the horse “Potato”, instructing the stable boy to write the name on a feed bin. However, the stable boy spelled the name as “Potoooooooo”: Pot followed by 8 o’s. 

Bertie was so amused by this that decided to adopt this spelling. Further adaptations were made during the horse’s racing career, however they all indicated the same. 

Early racing 

Born in 1773, Potoooooooo raced from 1776 until 1783. During this time, the horse accumulated between 28 and 34 wins, mostly in 4 mile races on the Newmarket’s Beacon course. In 1777, at age four, he finished second in two Newmarket races for this age, third at Nottingham and fifth at York. 

Its early success was well founded, as in 1778 Pot 8 O’s entered the 1200 Guineas stakes at the Newmarket’s first spring meeting. During this race, Bertie decided to sell the horse to Richard Grosvenor, 1st Earl Grosvenor, for 1500 guineas. The horse won the race and started racing under Grosvenor’s colours. 

A year later the horse also won the Gold Cup, a walkover for the Clermont Cup and the October Cup. Success just kept arriving as in 1780 he won several races and beat King Fergus and Woodpecker, other famous racing horses. 

Late career and retirement

Pot-8-O's success continued on the hippodrome in 1781. This year he won the Jockey Club Plate and the Whip. In order to allow other horses to compete and make betting more interesting, in October he received 85 guineas for NOT starting in the 140 guineas subscription purse. 

In 1782 he also won for the third time the Jockey Club Plate and came on top in the Craven Stakes. A year later, although he won the Whip at Newmarket, he lost a 300 guineas race to Assassin. Potoooooooo was retired in 1784 to stud at Oxcroft Farm. 

The horse that was sired 

Potoooooooo was sired by Eclipse, an undefeated stallion. Sportsmistress, his dam, produced a total of 11 foals that included Sir Thomas. Pot-8-O’s died in 1800 at the age of 27. He was buried at Hare Park. 

About 200 years later his skeleton was uncovered when a tree blew over, it is now on display at the Kings Yard Galleries of the National Horseracing Museum in Newmarket. 

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