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Who was Prince Monolulu ?

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  • #1899
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    A story regarding Prince Monolulu, found it via a nice chap on Final Furlong web site:

    <br>Prince Ras Monolulu was the most famous black man in Britain. Between the wars, he was a national icon renowned for his eccentricity, a racing tipster of such theatricality that even in the days when newspapers carried few photographs and television was in its infancy, he was still the most recognisable racing personality other than the top jockeys. Everyone knew that he wore a bizarre costume of massive baggy trousers, and a headdress of ostrich feathers atop ornate waistcoats, and colourful jackets. Prince Monolulu would be at all the important race meetings where he would sell his tipping sheets in envelopes. He was very funny, and would have the crows in stitches with his banter – just like a market trader, only with much more style. His catchphrase became "I gotta horse!" and the newsreels of the Derbies of the 1920s and 30s would always feature him.

    He claimed to be the chief of the Falasha tribe of Abyssinia, but in reality he came from Guyana, as it is now, and was of Scottish descent – his real name was Peter Carl Mackay. According to his memoirs, called, funnily enough, "I Gotta Horse", he started out as a sailor but re-invented himself as a Prince after being press-ganged aboard an American ship in 1902. He was told princes were important people, and he figured a prince wouldn’t be shanghaied again. He was soon off round the world, eating fire in a travelling circus, working in Germany as a model, boxing in France, pretending to be an opera singer in Russia, and becoming a fortune-teller in Italy.

    <br>Interned in a German camp during the First World War, he emerged to become Britain’s most famous racing tipster – a bit like John McCririck, only louder, funnier and considerably more accurate with his tips. Indeed he came to prominence because of an extraordinary coup in the 1920 Derby. Virtually alone among tipsters he plumped for Spion Kop, the 100-6 outsider which romped home in record time to win him £8,000 – a fortune in those days. His career was made, and soon no major race meeting was complete without a visit from the Prince and his envelopes of tips. He was a figure of fun, yes, but he also contributed in his own uniquely humorous way to the battle against racist attitudes.

    Such was his fame that in 1936 he achieved a slice of immortality – on 2nd. November in that year, the BBC began its television service and Prince Ras Monolulu was the first black person to appear on screen on that very first day of British television broadcasting. He himself estimated that between 1919 and 1950, he made and lost up to £150,000 on the Turf, and while his health and fortunes declined in the late 1950s he was still a much-loved character.

    When he died in February 1965 at the age of 84, the Daily Telegraph and many other newspapers carried full obituaries of this amazing man. He is commemorated in the National Horse Racing Museum at Newmarket, which has some of his eye-popping jackets, and he is the only racing tipster to have his picture in the National Portrait Gallery in London. There have been many other famous figures of the Turf, both loveable and roguish, but the best-known loveable rogue was undoubtedly Prince Ras Monolulu.

    A leading newspaper of the time carried the story:




    • Total Posts 1801

    he only backed spion kop ‘cos it was in africa – typical coincidence backer

    if simon and bewleys berry had forecasted in the national as i predicted i would have won more and been just as famous, in my local pub

    • Total Posts 1736

    Fascinating stuff, doyley. It would make a good half hour documentary, a tale from a world that has now sadly disappeared. A pity.

    • Total Posts 2691

    A top-quality chancer.

    Great stuff.


    sporting sam
    • Total Posts 2743

    I read up about the Prince. An amazing character the like of whom would not go amiss in these troubled times.

    He Didnt Like Ground
    • Total Posts 967

    Sherry ….Bewleys Berry broke my heart when falling in that GN ….he was going soooo well

    • Total Posts 5189

    The Beeb website had an article about him just the other day

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