Home   Newmarket   News   Article

Documentary looking at the life of legendary but tragic Newmarket jockey Fred Archer released

A film looking at the life of legendary but tragic Newmarket jockey Fred Archer has been released.

It is the work of racing journalist, David Yates, who used the Newmarket Journal archive for some of his research.

The rider of 2,748 winners including five Derbys and champion jockey 13 times, Archer was a global sporting superstar with seemingly everything to live for but years of wasting, deteriorating health coupled and the death of his wife, Nellie in childbirth when she was just 23, just two years previously, all contributed to a malaise he could not shake off and on November 8, 1886 he shot himself at Falmouth House the palatial home he had built for his family in Snailwell Road.

The new film Fred Archer - A Tragic Hero, looks at Archer's life from the moment he arrived in Newmarket aged 11 in 1868 to take up his apprenticeship at trainer Mathew Dawson's Heath House. The yard's current occupant, Sir Mark Prescott, appears in the film relating how the jockey had a sweat box there which he used in his constant battle with the scales.

The films also investigates what may have been the ingredients of Archer's Mixture, the unusually strong purgative, Archer's personal physician prepared for him, the recipe for which has long since been lost.

Fred Archer's wedding (35456134)
Fred Archer's wedding (35456134)

The Newmarket Journal followed the jockey's life and it's archives contain detailed reports of the major milestones in his life including the joyous occasion of his wedding to Nellie at All Saints' Church in 1883, his death and the subsequent inquest into it.