Hon. Miss Dorothy Paget

Hon. Miss Dorothy Paget

21/2/1905 - 0/0/1962

Wealthy and eccentric race horse owner who financed Tim Birkin's Bentleys for a number of years in the late 1920s and early 1930s.

Dorothy Paget was the very wealthy daughter of Lord Queensborough and and Pauline Payne Whitney of the USA. A horse racing enthusiast, she first registered her colours with the Jockey Club in 1930 - blue, with a yellow hoop on body and sleeves, and a yellow cap with a blue hoop.

Horses owned by Miss Paget won a total of 1,532 races and she was leading owner in 1933-34,1940-41 and 1951-52. She owned seven Cheltenham Gold Cup winners, Golden Miller five times, 1932-1936 inclusive, Roman Hackle in 1940 and Mont Tremblant in 1952. Her four Champion Hurdle winners were Insurance in 1932 and 1933, Solford in 1940 and Distel in 1946.

She spent lavishly on bloodstock and betting on racehorses, ponies and showjumpers and was one of the last great eccentrics of racing. Her bets ran into thousands of pounds. She was very superstitious, always wearing the same long blue-speckled coat to races, usually with a plain dark blue collar. Other superstitions were linked with numbers, particularly those of her birthday - 21 February. It was also essential that she took nine well-sharpened lead pencils in a bundle, to give her luck. Despite all this, her losses were prodigious - sometimes as much as £20,000 in a single day.

In the late 1920s she financed Bentley' racing efforts. In the early days of Birkin's motor racing, money was never an issue but later on the cost of developing his supercharged Bentleys consumed most of his family fortune and he had sought sponsorship.

Dorothy Paget withdrew her support for the team in October 1930 but continued to support one car for Birkin.

She died in 1960, aged fifty-four, from a heart attack.


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