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"Going to the Derby Four-in-Hand."

Adventures of a Colonial Coach Load

On tho Hill at Epsom.

[KROSI OOK LONIION UOItItKSrO.NDKNT. ]

London, Juno I. I WniTlNt. to you early in April, when Mint ing and Saraband weio all tho rago for the Two Thoueand, I paid, "My belief ia Ormondo will win both Guineas and Derby." Thia prophecy—if prophecy it can bo called—was duly fulfilled on Wodnesday afternoon laat, when His Grace of Westminster, for tho second time in the last five yenrs, scored tho champion double event of tho English turf. Ormondo is, however, a very different animal to Shotover, the Duko's Nowruarket and Epsom heroino of 'SI. Evoryono knows that had either Archer or Cannon boon on Mr Hymill's Bruco thnt Derby day, instead of the too thirsty Sammy Morslan, Shotovcr would novor have followed in the footstops of Biink Bonny. Subsequently tho (illy showed horsolf a very avorago porformer. Ormonde's achievements, *o far, aro of a widely superior class. Not only has tho colt won all his racos handsomely, but in Minting and Tho B«rd ho with oara dofoatcd two animals each of them good enough to win tho Derby iiino years out of ten. Matthew Dswson ia not givon to exaggeration. Of Melton, tho hero of last year* Dorby and Leger, ho novor oxprcsed a very high, opinion. " About good onounh to beat an nvorage Sold," was bin verdict on Lord Hastings.'* colt boforo tho letter's victory at Ep joui. Of Minting,|on tho contrary, Dawaon has always spokon almost rapturously. -'Seven pound* bottor than Molton at woight for ngo," was said to be MiHyner'Bcoit'sfonn atNowinarkot Craven Mooting, though tho pair were morely " rouglK-dVup, ' not properly tried. Naturally Dawson thought ho would win the Guinoaa in a cantor, and hia astonishment at aoeing Ormondo literally boat tho son of Lord Lyon and Mint Sauce in a trot passed belief. Of thy pair—Minting and Tho Bnrd—l should cay tho latter wont nearest defeating tke groat leathering con of Bond Or. Though Ormomio won easily at Epsom, Archer had to ride him vigorously, whereas at Newmarket Barrett aat still as a rock on the colt from start to finish. For at least two minutes on Wednesday layers of odds on the favourite must have folt what tho Yanks call " roal bad " Pock's colt had a good have length tho boat of Ormondo at tho Bell, and Archor, protonding to be uneasy on the latter (no doubt to "kid the ring "), Jond shouts of "Tho Bard winß" "The Bard rralks in," rents the air. It was, however, only a momentary scare, for directly tho champion jockey sat down to ride coo race it was over. The littlo son of I'etrarch made a gullant fight of it, but

a futilo odo, Tho crack had him boaten opposite tho Stand, and won comfortably by a length and a half. But I ara gottins along too fast. Lot us commence the narrativo proper'y.

A cold, raw, Derby morning made the prospect of tho 18-milo drivo clown to Epsom by road tho reverse of inviting. an Anglo-Australian drag, and soon after 10 o'clock found myaolf lixod up on a comfortable front seat behind a very fair scratch team, " tooling" morrily along tho Clnpham Road. Amongst the baker's dozen of which our party consisted wore Dr. Ahearno (the delegate of the North Queensland Separation Loaguo), Mr W. Rood, Mr S. Giddings (the nowly-arrivod Bpccial correspondent of the South Australian " Advertiser '), Captain Fowler, Mr A. S. Rathbone, two American gentlemon, and two pretty actroaee", ono of them a member of Madame June Hadig's Company, and a very chic little personage.

People talk of the attractions of tho road having faded. It that means there is loss " horee-play" coming home than there used to bo, I can only say so much the batter. Our experiences of the merry pastimes of the genial 'Arry en route from Epsom to London amply sufficed. In such innocent ond oxhilarating diversions as blowing peas at the occupants of other vehicles and exchanging verbal pleasantries, we naturally joined. When, however, a party of angry pedestrians replied to our volley of poas with a fine selection of flints, ono of which went bung through Mr Reed's hat, it was judged politic to put away pea-shooter and start singing chorusos.

The crush of vehicles, both going down and coming back, was tarritic. From Vauxhall to tho Downs (a good IS miles) it was barely possible to do more than crawl. No doubt our coachman was a little nervous, and allowed a larger number of drags to pass us than he should. 'Tis one thing to drive a helter-skelter team in North Queensland, and quite another to tool a four-horse coach down to Epsom on Derby Day. Nevertheless, the good man brought us back safe, and that's the great thing. 'Tis true we broke something just starting homeward, and might have fared badly but for tho opportune help of Jim Selby, of the far-famed coach "Old Times." We also overturned a small pony chaise, containing a fat farmer and his wife, into the ditch somewhere near Tooting. Both, however, were gloriously obese, and tipped over into the mud and watercress so softly that neither was hurt; in fact, our neighbours unkindly greeted tho catastrophe with shouts of laughter.

Moat of the Australian and colonial visitors went down to Epsom by road. They must have enjoyed themselves considerably, ac, notwithstanding heavy clouds and a coldish breeze, the weather proved fine, and the night's rain had woll laid tho dnst. In the paddook attending Ormonde's Ic.vcc I noticed Dr. Oliver Wendell Holme?, ciceroned by Lord Rosobery (looking younger and jauntier than ever) »nd tho Duke of Westminster, mournful and depressed as usual. Tho Australian cricketers were said to be about, but if they came to the Paddock I missed them. Beach and Matheraon wero there deeply interested in The Bard'Btoilette.and Commissioners from the " ColindieV such as Mr Mason (Fyt), Mr Bosisto (Victoria), and Mr Ja3. Thomson (Victoria) could be picked out in^the crowd.

Our drajj; took up a fitand on "the hill " in the midst of all " the fun of tho fair." A special portion on the brow is railed off for vehicles which prefer this position to the more ce'«>!t but less advantageous lower grounri by the rails. Hither, as a rule, como all the theatrical drags. Near us were Mr Augustus Harris's Prury Lane contingent and Lord Londesbrough's drag, bearing Edmund Yates, Bancroft, Comyns

Carr, and marry little Gco. Grossmith. A little higher up " tho Mikado," Rutland Barrington and Leonora liraham beamed down on us from tho top of a bright yellow drac As for seeing, fortunately wo M'ero right opposito tho number board, and ao got uu admirable view.

At 3 punctually thonino runnora paradod, Grey Friai\3 loading tho way, followed by Scherzo, Tho Bard, and Chclsoa. Thon camo tho two etablo companions, Coracle and Ormondo, followod by Taylor's lot, Ariel, Button Psrk, and St. Mirin. In tho preliminary cantor tho two favouritos monopolized public opinion, no one paying much attention to any of tho othors.

Hero is an expert's description of tho pair as they appeared in tho paddock. Spoaking of Tho Bard, the "Special Commissioner" says:—"lt was but natural for those who love a thoroughbrod hjr«e as a 'thing of beauty,' to linger long over an inspection of tho ' ticked ' chestnut son of Potrarch and Mngaaleno, as no more handsome colt ever lcokod through a bridlo. Yet only in tho matter of furnishing and in muscular development has The Bard altered sinco hia two-year-old days. His magnificent and lengthy quarters are the samo. his great depth of girth, bloodlike head and powerful neck also, and there remain, despite tho pressure of training, tho same poworful, clean, and wollformod limbs, upon which ho stands level and true. But otuerwise tho Bedford Lodgo colt has neither grown up to any appreciable extent nor lengthened out.

" Something of a contract camo in Ormondo He is neither so doep in proportion, nor so bloodliko, but of a more rounded frame, and as 'long ac a town,' without, howevor, losing any power over tho back and loins, whore tho son of Bond Or and Lily Agnos, liko his sire, in especially good, the great feature of his conformation being hia grand and lengthy quarters. Like tho horae ultimately proving his strongest opponont, Tho Bard, Ormondo wont to tho post without a cloth or bandage disfiguring his logs, and horo may I romark upon one feature— tho evident soundness of tho thoroughbreds comprising this seasons Derby field, as in addition to the two I have alluded to, tlioro woro others posßesßine marvellously clean and pound looking limba."

We got away from tho courso about a quarter to six, but such wa? tho etato of tho road that a quarter post ten had chimod boforo a weary but lightheartod (we'll say nothing about light-headed) coach-load wore sot down at the hospitable doora of tho Critorion. Over tho remainder of tho evoning 'twill bo politic to draw tho decent veil of silence.

Of tho othor lacing—besides the Dorby— at Epsom on Wodnosday I can toll you nothing. Occasionally tho bell rang and tho horsos Haßhod past, but no ono near ua looked »t thorn. It was an afternoon of limitless lunch and champagne, nigger minstrols, gipsies, whirly-go-roundn, wolshers, riotous talk, and continuous laughter.

Everyone should see tho Derby " from tho hill one? inn lijitiine— not oftooar, in my humblu opinion.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AS18860724.2.28

Bibliographic details

"Going to the Derby Four-in-Hand.", Auckland Star, Volume XVII, Issue 172, 24 July 1886

Word Count
1,579

"Going to the Derby Four-in-Hand." Auckland Star, Volume XVII, Issue 172, 24 July 1886

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