THE LATE CAPTAIN MACHELL
Otago Witness , Issue 2515, 28 May 1902, Page 46
THE LATE CAPTAIN MACHELL
One of th» most prominent figures in the English sporting world during the past 30 wears has been Capt. James Octavius Machell. news of whoce death was recently cabled from England. Captain Ma.cb.ell was >he eon of the Rev. Robert Machell. and was aorn in Yorkshire in 1837. He entered the Irmr as ensign in the 14th Regiment in 1855. attained the rank of captain in 1361, and retired on half pay in 1864. Though especially a turf expert and racing man, Captain Maehell was a remarkable all-round sportsman, bc-ing a devotee also of shooting, cricket, hunting, and running. " The Captain." a« he was familiarly called, was (says Ensrli'li writer) a m:>n devoid of fads, pet er>dowd with shrewdness and the eour- Hge of his opinions, and with these qualities, backed up by a level-headed (tultrment. is it, aftci all, any vnnd°r that Kp <0ioulr! bavp raised himself to tlie pinnacle r>f famo? f'jpiH.m Machell nid bpfn an nftoi in iv> anv a stirrircr mc j'V-nt in conn'p'ion with rifine nflFiir-, in Knelaud, and had 1.0 b""'i inonir."<'<l to wute a lionk MVpii: a ' - orv of tlio ff 1 ' n^* of mem~ r = - x:.- -ic.i u'tv thai 1-a: 1 ip.ul.' tlip.i-/kl'vt ''•'" ' f" r " v <i r 1i.% v. i oc, it would inoii' 1 -' nn-'il." 'i'.vc b*"n ." iyo-t ini":^-t-iii^ !■;■ v 1 of i .- li.iq. for rn''>T" 3 a nu:n-hcr cf r" • m-. i* v r-i"- n :>r;' "•- pSc^d thrir rJ'tiiip; »fj'« <n *■• « !:" n X Ii v« in Ift.'- l M f vr pr M-mIipII krt the army. »)-c' t - T - 1 • 1 i.m 'm- l.^-kiener at Xom market. df< otc' ! !••"• r lf to t'li ;u; vr f a , a uro-V — iou. &r 1-s r * - .-;■' "---• « = '>' "" I""-*. B?pf*hu* v l>o took the Oi'ob°r JT.urlic.-p, beatiu« 17 oj2£Vji&ttt«j iisoa .wiiiiA cvani it
is said that the Captain bad a bet of 3000 to 100 and the stakes, £1200. This was a lucky coup to begin with, and the Captain was just the man to know how to make the best vse of his luck. It was in the following year, 1865, that he entered into partnerFhip with Mr Henry Charplin. Such partnerships are not always successful : this, however, was a striking instance on the othei side. But for the Captain's judgment, it is doubtful whether Hcr,ry Chaplin, then a young man. would ever have become the fortunate possessor of that ohestn-.it colt by Newrcinste- out of Seclusion that Mr Tattersall, nkn dilating upon its merit* from his rostrum, so strongly recommended to the Marquis of Hastings. But here c had the man of business and the man of judgment pitted against the reckless plunger and the man of "fancier" The owner of Lady Elizabeth turned on his heel when the bidding reached a thousand guineas— though it must be admitted that such turn* were hardly ever heard of in those days for untried horses, though common enough sinee — and. prompted by his adviser, Hermit was knocked down to Mr Chap an. Little thought the Marquis that the Xen minster — Seclusion colt was to be his fate, destined to complete his ruin : for it was the enormous smonnt of money that he had laid against Mr Chaplin's horse, as everybody knows, that finished his career. And yet, after Hermit had broken a blood-vessel, who did believe he could possibly win the Derby? Will anyone forget the indifference or contempt with which everybody regarded the chestnut son of Newminster when he stood shivering in. the rain and snow on that bitter day in May, 1667? On the day Captain Machell sent a message to the Marquis to /uive his money at 100 to 1, but he only laughed at the advice. But neither the Captain and his trainer (Bloss) lost faith in Hermit ; they knew what he was made of, and how splendidly their confidence was verified is a matter of history. Seventy thousand pounds were the winnings; and Messrs Cox and Cox, of Craig's Court, kept their bank open an hour beyond closing hours to take in this enormous sum, which was brought thither, almost incredible as it may read, by a little old woman— the Captain's London housekeeper, we believe — in a black bag. and took two cashiers nearly an hour to count. ''Bedford Cottage," where Captain Machell held sway, turned out many illustrious winners. From a>i early date of his career, Captain Machell became a power in the sporting world, the wonderful accuracy of his judgment and of his manuipulation after a while forced itself upon the most unwilling minds, and no matter what class of race it might be, owneic trainers, jockeys, and backers were always anxious to know the Captain's mind, and his fanev always had a great effect upon the berting.
Captain Machell wa3 one of the principals in the biggest betting transaction over known. After Hermit had run second to Achievement in the Woodeote Stake he took from the Duke of Hamilton £30.000 to £1000 five times that Hermit would win next year's Derby ! Subsequently Admiral Rous or laumal friends of both parties induced them io scratch these wagers. Captain. M.ichcll vrent through the Hastings era, and remained a man to be feared until a few months ago. For a long time he. was devoted to steeplechasing, and horses lie owned -or managed who won th© Liverpool •were Disturbance, Reugny. Regal, and .Seaman, while Congress, Rhysworth, and other* were very near it His Etablo was certainly the most powerful in cross-country sport, but ho stuck to flat-racing for tlif last 20 years. At different times he managed for Mr Chaplin, Sir C. Legard, Lord Lonsdale, the Duke of Beaufort, the Duchess of Montrose, Lord Rodney, Mi- De la Rue, Lord Calthorpe, Mr J. B. Leigh, Mr H. M'Calmont, Lord Aylesford, Lord OJeiard, Sir John AVilloughby. and others. Almost every important n»ce fell to him at least once. The Royal Hunt Cup at Ascot he won six times in the la?t 20 years, and I think he won the Stewards' Cup at Goodwood six times. The following is a list of good horses Captain Machell wac connected with that I can pick out, and no doubt there were others: — Knight of the Garter, Hermit, Vespasian, Blinkhoolie, Petrarch (after his three-year-old career), Pilgrimage, Isinglass, Ravensbuiy, Master Kildare, The Harvester, Seabreeze, Valour. Sweetbread, Suspeuder, Cloranco. Knight of the Thistle, Timothy, Tr.iyles, The Lombard, Portmarnock, King Lud, Queen Adelaide, Rathbeal, Satiety, Oxonian, Crafton, Kilsallaghan, Adiancc, Kilwar'in, TrappUi. The Deemster, Vanderdecken, Martyrdom. Humewood, and Energy. A few years back Captain Machell started breeding with Ravonsbury as principal stallion. Of late years he was associated as adviser with the slables of Captain Beatty, W. T. Robinson, and G. Chaloner.
Captain Machell was a famous athlete and rider in his time. In 1857 he won the De Vosci Cup for the half-milo flat race, and took the champion belt of Ireland. At the Curragh Camp varcs in 1860 he wao the winner of several events, and took the first prize for high jumping and the three foot race?. On the following day he won all the five Lor-e races on the card, making a good monetary s.iiceess out of it by a b-t, in which lie took 400 to 10 that he would take evoiycciit for which his non-Ob were qualified to start and the foot races. The Captain's agility frequently stood him in good stead ; he could hop from the floor on to the mantelpiece and stay there— a feat that anyone would bot against who hud not ?een jt done — and could hop against most men running 100 yds. A very curious wager was that lie made at Tranmore, when he and Captain M'Craith rode together on the- lattor'b horse. Clown, their united weight being 22s>t 51b, against Mr Malcolmson on his horse Bacon, carrying 18st, two miles, and won easily.
In a biographical sketch of the late Captain Machell which appeared some little time bark in an English paper a wiiter says: — There is no doubt that at a certain period of his caieer the Captain owed something of his success to the counseb- of Fred Archer, with whom he was on such intimate terms that one winter he made the jockey his travelling companion to Monte Carlo The brealung-off of this friendship was curious; it wa» another case of churchez la fcrnnie, though not in the usual sense of tho proieib Every one knnns what a pe.'t a betting woman is, and how the will tout for a tip. AY lion Archei ia- K<>mg to i-idp (.•upon Bee, one of 1 h<_->e samhlcrs in petticoat ran up to luni in the budcage and begged him to tell hrr what was going to win, a.<~ <-lir> v anted to put on a ten-pound not" Out of ini-i l>'of more than anything fKc he c;ac he.- Dravcot. whilf ju°t befnro ]]" h.ici told th< J Cant.T'i !<i ku k his n-.>i! 'i>(. i nt. Q," I'i.i. Rv on" of those P"c 1111 1 r tie.-.] 2 cf foitune wl <h hpr fkkle liiyaius is zq fond. cf. dai-ius uso«, hex
votaries Draycot won by a head. Immediately afterwards j;he delighted !ady met the Captain, and toid him of her good luck, and upon his askting who had given her the tip, she answered. " Archer." Naturally, the Captain wa=s in a rage, and exclaimed, '" Save me from my friends," in the jockey's hearing, and as Fred had lest a thousand pounds by Draycot' s winning, ho was equailj- cxasperawd faj- the remark. and from this misunderstanding an ill-feeling sprang up between them, which, however, might have blown over but for poor Archer's tragic death not long afterwards.