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SPORTING.

NEW ZEALAND GRAND NATIONAL

STEEPLECHASES.

Yesterday, for the third time since its formation, the New Zealand Grand National Steeplechase Club held its annual meeting on the Christchurch racecourse. The fixture has for some time past been occupying the attention of sporting men, and the favorable weather secured a large attendance of the general public. As in connection with all the metropolitan race meetings, the trains between Christchurch and the course were largely patronised, and we noticed a larger sprinkling of the fair sex than usually grace our great crosscountry events. Mr.- Egan had provided a course sufficiently severe to thoroughly test the capabilities of the horses engaged, and in the big race only a small minority of the starters succeeded in reaching the winning post. Proceedings commenced with the Grand National Handicap, for which twelve faced the starter. Of these the well-worn Agent was made favorite, notwithstanding rumors of lameness, which certainly was not apparent as he paraded previous to the race. He was ridden by Harry Lunn in a really masterly style, and won almost without an effort, the honost Royalty, well handled by Sheehan, being too slow to make his old opponent gallop. Baron jumped in very nice form, but had to content himself with third place, and Mr. Cullen signally failed to make anything out of Lonehand. The Maiden was won very easily by Venture, Stella and Clarence at long intervals being second and third respectively. Our local horse, Tara o’ Shanter, after holding a temporary lead at the start, would have nothing to do with the big fences. Agent was made a strong favorite for the Hunt Cup, and justified the confidence of his backers by wanning hard held ; and Clarence appropriated the Consolation New Zealand Grand National Handicap, of 200 sovs., with a sweepstakes of 5 sovs. (for acceptors) each, to go to second hoise. Distance, 4 miles. Mi’. P. Butler’s ch ’g The Agent, 12st 71b (H. Lunn)...' 1 Mr. F. Brittain’s b g Royalty, list (Sheehan) ... ... ... ... 2 Mr. W. Douglass’ b g Baron, list Gib, including 21b overweight (J. Munn) 3 Lonehand, Grey Momns, Banjo, Black Prince, Thilo, Swindler, Harkaway, Mickey Free, and Little John also started. Betting—2 to 1 against The Agent, 4to 1 against the others. After some delay at the post, Lonehand and Baron led to the first fence, which all negotiated safely. At the stone wall there was a lot of hesitation, and at the next fence Baron, Agent, Banjo, and Royalty obtained a long lead, entering the straight the first time round in this order. At the far side of the course Royalty ran into third place, and half a mile from home Agent had Baron beaten. Royalty here came up under the whip, but could never quite catch The Agent, who won comfortably by a good length. Maiden Flats of 100 sovs., with a sweepstake of 5 sovs. each for acceptors to go to the second horse ; nominations of 2 sovs. to go to the fund ; weight for age ; distance, 2 miles. Mr. A. Keith’s Venture, aged, 13st. 71bs. (owner) ... ... ... ... 1 Mr. P. Butler’s Stella, aged, 12at. 31bs. (M‘lvor) ... 2 Mr. W. Clifford’s Clarence, aged, 12st. 31bs. (H. Lunn) 3 Blue Belle, Tam O’Shanter, and Miss Hungerford also started. Betting—7 to 2 agst. Clarence, 7 to 1 agst. Venture and Stella. Mr. Campbell effected a very good start. Tam O’Shanter led to the fence opposite the stand, but Stella went to the front immediately after. Clarence fell at the double, and although Lunn was soon in the saddle again, he could never regain the lost ground, Venture having taken a commanding lead, which w’as maintained to the finish, Stella being second twenty lengths off. Hunt Club Cup of 150 sovs., with a sweepstake of 5 sovs. each for acceptors to go to the second horse ; nominations of 2 sovs. to go to the fund ; weight for age. The winner of the Grand National Handicap to carry 101 b. penalty. Gentlemen riders allowed 71b. Distance, 3 miles. Mr, P. Butler’s Agent, aged, 12st. 31b. (Lunn) 1 Immediately on the flag dropping. Agent went to the front and was never caught, winning hard held by any number of length. In this race Hankins riding Magic suffered a very hoavyffall, and was still insensible at the time our dispatch left. Consolation Handicap of 50 sovs. added to a sweepstake of 2 sovs. each for acceptors : nominations of 1 aov. to go to the fund. Mr. W. Clifford’s Clarence (aged) ... 1 Eight sported silk for this race, which resulted in a victory for Clarence after an exciting struggle with Royalty. Another accident occurred in this race, Mickey Free falling and breaking one of Keith’s leg?.

It is worthy of notice that “ Voltigeur” correspondent of the Lyttelpredicted the results with singu’mroccuracy as follows Grand National, ■Royalty, 1; Agent, 2 ; Baron, 3. Maiden ■ —Venture, 1; Stella, 2; Clarence, 3. 'Cup—Agent, 1.

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SPORTING. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 104, 25 May 1880

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