I was looking at a biography of Queen Victoria in the library earlier today. On the first page of the first chapter the author (writing in about 1972) quotes a line from a song about Britain and its “happy” state in 1819 (the year Victoria was born). And in the footnote to that quote he mentions another song, one he calls “well known.”
I’d never heard of the song.
But then I’m not British. Nor am I a student of popular-song history.
But I am an occasional, informal student of horse history, including horse-racing history. And when I saw the title of the “well-known” song, I recognized it.
It’s also the name of a Thoroughbred racehorse.
Ever heard of him? He was bred and owned by H.P. McGrath, the same man who bred and raced Aristides.
You;ve heard of him!.
Over the years I’ve been studying Thoroughbred bloodlines and races I’ve learned that a lot of Thoroughbred racehorses were named for literary characters (of whom I’d never heard before either). I know just enough to know I don’t know anywhere near the half of it.
But I did smile when I learned earlier today that there was once a well-known song called Tom Bowling, and its composer lived from about 1745 to 1814, and presumably the horse Tom Bowling was named after it (he was foaled in 1870).
Or maybe he was named for the literary character in Roderick Random?