She had a chequered background, Authorised, and her origins are pretty obscure. "Best Victorian horse of the 1850s" meant she was best of a very ordinary lot!
Alice Hawthorne (Delapre - Dam, Polly McQueen, a half-bred Arab) (1849)
There are all sorts of stories about her origins and pre-racing days. One commonly accepted contemporary version is that a shepherd bought her dam, Polly McQueen, in foal with Alice Hawthorne, on to Andrew Chirnside’s property and when the shepherd died Chirnside took over the horses. Alice Hawthorne was broken in for stock-riding as a 3yo and was a pretty ordinary specimen. At the age of 5 she strayed and “went bush” for 15 months, found on a near-by property in poor condition where she had had a foal by a cart-horse. Her racing skills weren’t recognised until she was put up against a good mare of Chirnside’s, Miss Campbell (later Lady Charlotte). In true story-telling tradition, to her owner’s surprise, she whipped the other mare and was then set for her debut.
She was a Port Phillip champion, not up to the class of Sydneysider, Veno, in their celebrated Intercolonial Match of 1857, but in 1857 and 1858 she was the best Victorian horse. Jack Pollard in his Australian Horse Racing said that she was “the best Victorian horse of the 1850s”