Elnathan ‘Nat’ Flatman, who died from consumption, or tuberculosis, at the age of 50, in 1860, had the distinction of being the first ‘official’ Champion flat jockey in Britain. In 1846, Flatman rode 81 winners to win his first officially recognised jockeys’ championship and remained Champion jockey until 1852, recording his best seasonal tally, 104, in 1848.
Flatman rode his first British Classic winner, Preserve, in the 1,000 Guineas – a race he would win twice more, on Clementina in 1847 and Imperieuse in 1857 – in 1835. That same year, Flatman was beaten just a neck on Ascot in the Derby, but he would not taste Classic success again until the 1844 Derby and, even then, only in controversial circumstances. The Derby ‘winner’, Running Rein, was subsequently discovered to be the ineligible four-year-old Maccabeus, who was disqualified in favour of Orlando, ridden by Flatman. All told, Flatman rode a total of ten British Classic winners, including the 2,000 Guineas in 1845, 1851 and 1856 and the St. Leger in 1848, 1856 and 1857.