Bred by Mrs Ayrton of Malton but later purchased by Charles Watson-Wentworth, 2nd Marquis of Rockingham, Bay Malton had a lengthy and lucrative career. He earned his owner and Yorkshire backers huge sums of money. Raced from the age of four, he lost only two races (both of them in his final two seasons) before retiring as a 10-year-old to stud at Wentworth Woodhouse.
He broke many records (including a course record at York where he ran many times) but one of his most famous victories was recorded against Lord Bolingbroke’s celebrated grey stallion Gimcrack. In October 1765 he beat Gimcrack, then considered the very best horse at Newmarket, with relative ease over the Beacon Course. Lord Rockingham was said to have won 9000 guineas on the race.
This was the contest recorded in a very rare engraving offered for sale at Wimbledon Auctions (22% buyer's premium) in London on March 27. Titled Bay Malton beating Gimcrack at Newmarket for 1000 guineas, it was probably printed within a few weeks of the famous race.
No other copies appear to be recorded so this one, guided at just £20-30, ended up taking £1200 via thesaleroom.com.