In 1844 William Crockford’s horse Ratan was due to run in the Derby. Unfortunately for Crockford his prized horse was poisoned before the race. On receiving the news Crockford suffered a seizure and died too. His friends were appalled not only because of the sad news of William’s demise but also due to the fact this would disqualify Crockford’s entry in the Oaks, who they had all bet on (as under rules an owner had to be alive for their horse to run). To avoid loosing their fortunes on this racing certainty they arranged for Crockford’s body to be positioned in a window in sight of the course. Crockford’s filly duely obliged and they all collected their winnings well before anyone realised that the familiar figure watching over the Epsom course was actually a corpse.
thedeadcert (thedeadcert.blogspot.com) in the memory of Crockford’s love of the turf and gambles will provide you with the modern day dead certs and each way whispers