Gang Forward

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Gang Forward
Gang Forward.jpg
Contemporary drawing of Gang Forward by an unknown artist.
Sire Stockwell
Grandsire The Baron
Dam Lady Mary
Damsire Orlando
Sex Stallion
Foaled 1870
Country United Kingdom
Colour Chestnut
Owner William Stirling Crawfurd
Trainer Alec Taylor, Sr.
Record ?:10-?-?
Earnings £7,591
Major wins
Boscawen Stakes (1872)
Glasgow Stakes (1872)
2000 Guineas (1873)
St. James's Palace Stakes (1873)
Ascot Derby (1873)
Jockey Club Cup (1874)
Craven Stakes (1875)

Gang Forward (1870–1899) was a British Thoroughbred racehorse and sire. In a racing career which lasted from 1872 until 1874 he won ten races. He was one of the best colts of his generation in England, winning the 2000 Guineas in 1873. He later became a successful sire of winners in Australia.


Gang Forward, described as "a remarkably handsome, powerful colt"[1] was bred by his owner William Stirling Crawfurd, an "old school" sportsman[2] who had married the widow of the Duke of Montrose. Stirling Crawfurd named the colt after the motto of Clan Stirling.[3] Gang Forward was a chestnut horse standing 15.3 hands high with a white blaze and a white sock on his right hind leg.[4] He was sired by Stockwell, winner of the 1852 St. Leger and 2,000 Guineas Stakes and a seven time leading sire. Gang Forward was trained at Manton by Alec Taylor, Sr..

Racing career[edit]

1872: two-year-old season[edit]

Gang Forward began his racing career in September 1872, when he contested the Municipal Plate at Doncaster. He started a strong favourite at odds of 1/5 but was beaten into second place by an unnamed colt later named Fontabrian. It was subsequently revealed that he had been hampered by having twisted at least two of his racing plates during the race, although other sources attributed his defeat to his being "very backward".[4] At the First October meeting at Newmarket he recorded his first victory when winning the Boscawen Stakes by a head from Surinam. Later at the same meeting he beat Paladin by a neck to win the Triennial Produce Stakes. At the end of October, Gang Forward ran twice at Newmarket's Houghton meeting and claimed two more prizes. He won the Glasgow Stakes from Andred and Surinam after a "fine race"[1] and then was allowed to walk over for a first prize of £500 in a Sweepstakes when his opponents were withdrawn.

Gang Forward went into the winter break as one of the leading fancies for the following year's Classics alongside Kaiser and Flageolet.[5]

1873: three-year-old season[edit]

Gang Forward made his first appearance of 1873 in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on 30 April and started at odds of 8/1 against nine opponents, with Kaiser being made 15/8 favourite. The race attracted an extremely large crowd and there was a delay to the start as spectators were cleared from the course. Ridden by Tom Challoner, Gang Forward was among the front-runners from the start and two furlongs from the finish he was moved forward to dispute the lead with Kaiser. The two colts drew away from the rest of the field and after a "good race"[6] Gang Forward prevailed by a head from the favourite, with Suleiman three lengths back in third place.[7] Immediately after his win, Gang Forward was made clear favourite for the Derby at odds of 9/4.[8]

At Epsom on 28 May Gang Forward started 9/4 favourite for the Derby in a field of twelve runners. He was among the early leaders but then dropped back before running on in the straight.[9] He was never able to reach the lead however and dead-heated with Kaiser for second place, half a length behind the 40/1 winner Doncaster, who had finished unplaced in the "Guineas".[10] Gang Forward and Kaiser met again in the Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot in June and had another close contest. On this occasion, Gang Forward looked the likely winner before swerving to the right in the closing strides and losing by a short-head to Kaiser in a race which was effectively a match between the two favourites in the straight.[11] At the same meeting he won both the St James's Palace Stakes and the Ascot Derby.

Gang Forward was strongly fancied the St Leger after performing impressively in training with Challoner claiming that the horse was better than ever. He was to be transported to Doncaster by train, but only reached Oxford, where he was removed from his carriage and found to be lame as a result of a hock injury.[12] He was immediately withdrawn from the Doncaster Classic, in which the filly Marie Stuart defeated Doncaster and Kaiser.[13]

Gang Forward's earnings for the 1873 season totalled £5,000.[14]

1874 & 1875: four- and five- year-old seasons[edit]

Gang Forward was less successful as a four-year-old when he was campaigned in staying races. At Royal Ascot, Gang Forward turned into the straight in second place in the Ascot Gold Cup but faded in the closing stages and finished unplaced behind the French colt Boiard.[15] His only important success of the year came in the Jockey Club Cup. In the following year he recorded his last major victory in the Craven Stakes.

Stud career[edit]

In 1875 Gang Forward was sold for 4000 guineas to Sir Thomas Elder[16][17] and exported to South Australia. The best of his progeny included Hortense (Ascot Vale Stakes), Chetwynd (Goodwood Handicap), Guesswork (South Australian Derby) and Remus (VRC Mares' Produce Stakes). He was euthanised due to old age in May 1899.[17]


Pedigree of Gang Forward (GB), chestnut stallion, 1870
Stockwell (GB)
The Baron
Birdcatcher Sir Hercules
Echidna Economist
Miss Pratt
Glencoe Sultan
Marpessa Muley
Lady Mary (GB)
Touchstone Camel
Vulture Langar
St. Luke Bedlamite
Eliza Leeds
Electress Election
Stamford mare (Family:2-u)[18]


  1. ^ a b "Sporting Notes". Otago Witness. 31 May 1873. Retrieved 2012-03-26. 
  2. ^ "untitled". Auckland Star. 7 June 1878. Retrieved 2011-11-28. 
  3. ^ "Stirling Clan Homepage". Retrieved 2012-05-06. 
  4. ^ a b "Dubbo General Entry". Australian Town & Country Journal. 10 May 1873. Retrieved 2012-03-28. 
  5. ^ "Sporting Notes". Otago Witness. 19 April 1873. Retrieved 2012-03-26. 
  6. ^ "The Two Thousand Guineas Stakes". Rockhampton Bulletin. 10 July 1873. Retrieved 2012-03-28. 
  7. ^ "Latest English News". Grey River Argus. 14 May 1873. Retrieved 2012-03-28. 
  8. ^ "Cable Telegrams". Otago Witness. 17 May 1873. Retrieved 2012-03-28. 
  9. ^ "The Epsom Derby". Sydney Morning Herald. 30 July 1873. Retrieved 2012-03-28. 
  10. ^ "Anchovies and Toast". Auckland Star. 12 August 1873. Retrieved 2012-03-28. 
  11. ^ "The Prince of Wales Stakes". Australian Town & Country Journal. 23 August 1873. Retrieved 2012-03-28. 
  12. ^ "English Turf. Doncaster Races.—The St. Leger". Australian Town & Country Journal. 22 November 1873. Retrieved 2012-03-28. 
  13. ^ "Sporting". Taranaki Herald. 24 September 1873. Retrieved 2012-03-28. 
  14. ^ "English Sporting". Australian Town and Country Journal. 28 February 1874. Retrieved 2012-03-28. 
  15. ^ "The Cup Day at Ascott". Empire. Sydney. 26 August 1874. Retrieved 2012-03-28. 
  16. ^ "Australian Items". Southland Times. 27 December 1875. Retrieved 2012-03-28. 
  17. ^ a b "Destruction of Gang Forward". Auckland Star. 5 May 1899. Retrieved 2012-03-26. 
  18. ^ "Splitvote – Family 2-u". Retrieved 2012-03-29.