Did St. Blaise Win the Epsom Derby ?
WKITES our London correspondent, under date Jane 29: —1 have a yarn to unfold this mail, which will prove far mote profitable reading than a resume of trumpery meetings at Hampton or Windsor, and cause even those who do not as a rule take an interest in Knglish racing to "sit-up" (excuse the Americanism) with surprise and disgust. MysUry reters to the Kpsonu Derby recently won by St. Blaize. Up to now the suspicion has only been vaguely hinted at in the sporting newspapers. Certain clubs, however, literally teem with gossip on the subject, aad a? the facts were related to me by men who profess to have been eye-witnesses of one of the most important scenes, 1 can find no reason for scepticism. The tale, indeed, tallies only too accurately with what the public already know. Fred Archer, the jockey, has a younger brother, Charles, who is in some respects even a more remarkable youth than the famous horseman himself. Charles Archer was not very successful in the "pig-skin," and about two jears ago recommenced Jife a9 private trainer to the Earl of Ellesmere. His abilities for this vocation soon showed themselves very conspicuously. In a surprisingly short space ot time the young man worked wonders with Lord Klleamere's small stud. Under his skilled treatment the American cast-off Wallenstein and the till then but little-thought-of Lowland Chief saddenly became equine prodigies. Last year Charles Archer brought eff a series of most extraordinary coups, and this season only maddening baa-luck has prevented his securing the Spencer and Alexandra Plates, City and Suburban Handicap, and Derby. Charles Archer is a very heavy bettor, and the story coos that brother Fred stands in with him. Certaia it is that when Charles a rcher has a horse in a race, and Fred is riding, say, for Lord ifalmoutb, the latter's colt does not go well in the betting. This was first noticed at Newmarket, last July. Archer had the mount on Lord Falmouth's Britomartis, in the Easter Stakes, and JLord Ellesmere's Highland Chief (Cannon up) was also running. According to previous form, Britomartia should have been a 6 to 4 favourite, but the bookmakers liberally offered 2 to 1 and 5 to 2, in which they were quite right, for Highland Chief waltzed home first, about: three lengths in front of the filly. It subsequently transpired that Charles Archer won £5,000 over this race. At Goodwood, again, Lowland Chief carried off the Stewards' Cup, and the Archer Brothers won £20,000. On this occusion Fred was on the second favourite, Atalanta, and came in third. Nothing further suspicious occurred until the day of the Two Thousand, when Galliard (Archer's mount), although sound and well, went suddenly back in the betting, whilst Lord Kllesrnere's Bighlan I Chief became a firm first favourite.
I will now relate the story of the Derby as told to me:—"The Archer brothers," said my informant, " stood to win a fortune on Highland Chief for the Blue Riband. All through the winter and early spring they backed the colt cautiously through agents, instructing the latter to be on the look out for big bets, and to snap up all reasonable offers. At first it was determined not to run Highland Chief in the Two Thousand. Lord Ellesmere (who does not bet and knew nothing of the undercurrents), however, insisted on it, and at the last moment the Archers' commission had to be lumped on in a hurry. Tins let everyone know Fred fancied his brother's colt, and ill-natured folks presumed" that if
there came to be a tussle between Highland Chief and Galliard, the latter would somehow be beaten. Highland Chief, however, was over-trained, and fell away half a distance from home, leaving Galliard, uoldfield, and Prince to fighc out the issue. This finish entailed some loss on the conspirators, but was very far from being altogether unwelcome. The colt at once went back from S to 1 to 20 to 1 ia the Derby bettiog, and as everyone knows, started a comparative outsider. I now come to the race itself. My informant says Galliard could have won if wanted, but that so soon as Archer saw Highland Chief shout to the front he stopped fidinar. Webb, who was on the latter, declares he won by a good length, and Wood, the jockey of St. Blaise, openly admits he was only second. On the Stand, as you know, everyone thought Highland Chief won. The inference, in fact, is that Judge Clark has heard a little about the Archers' arrangement, and was tempted to thwart it by awarding the race to St. Blaise. You see, by sending up the latter's number he pleased the Prince of Wales, Lord A lington, any amount of swell?, and a large portion of the public. Whereas had Highland Chief been given the Derby, the principal winners would have been two extremely sharp and over-clever young men.
In the weiehing-roorn, after the Derby, the Duke of Portland said to Fred Archer, "Archer, do you ride for yourself or yoQr employer ?'* " What do you mean, your Grace ? " replied the jockey. " You know very well what I mean," observed the Duke, " but if you like I will explain myself more fully to the Jockey Club." Archer said no more.
Permanent link to this item
Did St. Blaise Win the Epsom Derby ?, Auckland Star, Volume XXI, Issue 4089, 18 August 1883, Supplement
Did St. Blaise Win the Epsom Derby ? Auckland Star, Volume XXI, Issue 4089, 18 August 1883, Supplement
Using This Item
Fairfax Media is the copyright owner for the Auckland Star. You can reproduce in-copyright material from this newspaper for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons New Zealand BY-NC-SA licence . This newspaper is not available for commercial use without the consent of Fairfax Media. For advice on reproduction of out-of-copyright material from this newspaper, please refer to the Copyright guide.
This newspaper was digitised in partnership with Auckland Libraries.