Hon. Miss Dorothy Paget

21/2/1905 - 9/2/1962

Record updated 21-Feb-23

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

Hon. Miss Dorothy Paget
Dorothy Paget was the very wealthy daughter of Lord Queensborough and and Pauline Payne Whitney of the USA. As the daughter of an English aristocrat and an American heiress, Dorothy inherited most things at birth, except it appears good looks.

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. Amongst her eccentricities was that she would not allow her horses to leave at the end of a day’s racing before she had relieved herself in one of the horseboxes!

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.

When at 4.30am in the morning of February 9th 1960, she suffered a massive thrombosis and before the ambulance could arrive she went to that great winner’s enclosure in the sky aged fifty-four. After her estate was settled and despite all the millions spent on horses and her spectacular gambling losses she still left a not inconsiderable £20 million fortune.