In 1879 Leo registered the Rothschild colours in his name and had his first victory when a previously unknown horse, Sir Bevys, won the Epsom Derby. It transpired that the owner, a 'Mr Acton', was actually Leopold de Rothschild who had entered his late father's horse into the race.
His next great hope for the Derby was in 1896 when his horse, St Frusquin, entered the race as the favourite. But after a close race, St Frusquin was beaten by a neck by the Prince of Wales's horse Persimmon. At their next meeting St Frusquin was the victor, but his nerve failed in training for the St Leger and so there was not to be the eagerly awaited public rematch. Despite St Frusquin's uneven performance, Leo headed the list of winning owners in 1896 with £46,766 prize money to his credit.
This letter is one of many written to Leopold and his wife, Marie, following the defeat of St Frusquin. Although St Frusquin did not win any races after this classic, in tribute Marie arranged for a silver model to be cast of him by Fabergé for Leopold's 67th birthday; this remains at Ascott house today.