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THE DERBY.

THE PRIME MINISTER'S COLT WINS.

A POPULAB VICTORY.

(From our Special Correspondent.)

London, June 8. "lam bound to say—l take this opportunity of saying it, in answer to representations that have reached me from various sources, one of them only yesterday from the secretary of the Anti - Gambling Society—that I feel no vestige of shame in possessing a good horse." Thus did the Prime Minister declare himself at Eton on Monday, and, needless to say, the juvenile section of his hearers cheered enthusiastically. Nor was this all. Whether the worthy Provost was intoxicated with the triumph of welcoming an old and favourite pupil as Prime Minister, or whether he reads the ' Pink 'Un ' on the sly, and occasionally "backs his fancy" for a trifle, no one will ever know. The certain thing is, that Dr. Hornby congratulated the Premier on his prospect of winning the Derby. Lord Bosebery was immensely tickled. Many strange things had, he said, occurred to him, but this was oddest. The Eton boys were likewise amused, though fully equal to the occasion. They generously translated the Provost's pleasantry into permission to " put the pat on Ladas," and one young rip wrote home to a God-fearing parent who was spending the day jubilating with the V.M.C.A. : " Dear Pa,—Dr. Hornby says it is a safe thing to back Ladas. Rosebery told him, so he must know. You take my tip and believe me.— Your loving son, Bobby." THE TRAINEE OF THE FAVOURITE. Matthew Dawson, the trainer of Ladas (pronounced correctly Lardar, though old Matt flonts French and Lord Rosebery and sticks out for Laydas) is 75, and the last and most famous of the three renowned Dawson brothers. Matt Dawson's triumphs as a trainer go back to 1860, when the gallant Thormanby, starting favourite in a field of 30 runners, carried distance, wearing the yellow and black of Mr Merry, to victory at Epsom. Old Matt is fond of telling how, when he went to see the Scotch ironmaster on the eve of settlingday, he found him and Mrs Merry counting up (literally) hundreds of cheques anu bundles of notes. Mr Merry won over £100,000 on this race, and had collected most of it that afternoon, distance relates how, after a long lecture and many warnings not to allow the gift to turn his head, Mr Merry gave him one hundred pounds for winning. What, he speculates, would the modern jockey, accustomed to douceurs of thousands when a coup comes off, say to a " century " under such circumstances ?

Matt Dawson was second at Epsom in 1862 with Dundee, who would have won easily had he not broken down a hundred yards from home, and third in 1863 with Buckstone, another good but unlucky animal.

In 1870 Kingcraft, in 1877 Silvio, in 1884 Harvester, and in 1885 Melton, were trained by Matt Dawson, and Ayrshire and Donovan were under his supervision. In 1886 the veteran trainer betook himself to training, and gave up Heath House and its vast responsibilities to his nephew. He has now only a few horses of Lcrd Rosebery's under his control. A Sun interviewer who saw old Matt last Monday says that barring his lameness—which springs from rheumatism—old Matt is a pleasant picture of healthy old ago. He is 75, and his profuse hair is silvery white. He has never lost the smack of his mother tongue. He is a Scotsman. He was born in East Lothian and was for a long time associated with the training business at Gullane, recently closed by order of the lady of the manor. He quickly found out that I also was a native of the land of mountain, river, and glen, and seemed delighted at the discovery, as did Mrs. Dawson, who hails from Kilwinning, in Ayrshire. Scotsmen are clannish, you know.

Over luncheon, before inspecting the great horse in his box, we talked of many subjects, mostly sporting. Mr. Dawson did not require to be plied with questions. He has an easy conversational method, and it was amusingto note how eagerly he slipped into the Doric, knowing that I understood and appreciated it. He is broadly intelligent and genial. Besides, he possesses a soul that dearly loves a joke, and an eye that can twinkle merrily at a good story. "How does Ladas" (I pronounced the first" a"as in " tils") " compare with the

other great horses you have trained 1" I asked.

" Hoots, man ! you are like my Lord Rosebery. He will persist in calling the colt Lahdas. It's Leydas, man, Leydas, I tell ye. But your question. He is the grandest horse I ever trained, barring, I think, St. Simon. He has not yet been proved inferior to the Saint, but in my opinion he is not just quite as good as that great smasher." " Is he an easy horse to train, Mr. Dawson ?"

" I have never had an easier. His intelligence is remarkable. Jack Watts says he never rode a better or quieter horse, and Jack ought to know. He just pulls sufficiently to keep a tight rein, and on the slightest pressure of knees or easing of mouth to let him know that you want him to go faster he will do so. Ah !my gentleman is a beauty and no mistake. He has really never been hard ridden yet, and we do not know what he is capable of. His temper is angelic, and his courage is as great as his good looks, in spite o.f what some of the papers say. I don't think he has any political opinions, although one writer almost tried to make out that he had.

"When at the post," continued Mr. Dawson, with a chuckle, "he often makes me laugh. He will stand like a sheep while the others are dancing around and kicking up their heels. I believe the rascal keeps an eye on Mr. Coventry, for he has never yet required to be told to go; he jumps off like a shot as soon as the flag falls.

" No, man, he is not dainty •with his feed. He has a good, healthy appetite, and he generally takes all that is given him. He gets the ordinary fare — oats, beans, mash —but, of course, these are the very best that can be bought. I get all my oats from a man in Duns, in Scotland, so you see that there is a good deal of 'Scotch' about him," and Mr. Dawson laughed at his own joke. "Why," he continued, "he is owned by a Scotch nobleman, who is, besides that, the first gentleman in Europe at the present day; he is trained by a Scotchman ; he eats Scotch oats ; and you, a Scotchman, are going to write about him. Why, man, he's a' Scotch !"

I then asked Mr. Dawsou a question regarding the afflicted hock. "Ay, man, that's a great pity," he said, with a thoughtful, far-away look in his eyes. "It has caused his Lordship and myself a great deal of worry and anxiety. Had the horse been my own J. would not have cared ; but it has been a long-standing promise of mine to find his Lordship a Derby winner before the curtain came down on my life, iam afraid if I don't do it this time I will never do it."

I hastened to assure him that he looked full of years ; but he only smiled, and in a sad, touching tone said : " Man, I'm 75, and a man's not much good after that." "Do the touts bother us? I should think so. Damn the touts; they are pests. "Would you believe it, a tout on horseback waits on Ladas when he goes out in the morning, and never leaves him till he returns to the stable. One has no chance of training a good horse for his own profit; the horse's virtues are well known all over the world as soon as .he has given a taste of his true qualities. Lame as lam Ladas never goes out without me. I drive to the Heath with the horse every morning." " Do you think you will win the Derby, Mr Dawson ?" " I think so, I hope so, I sincerely hope so. MY LOBD ROSEBERY IS AS FINE A SPORTSMAN as ever came within my ken, and I would dearly like to earn for him the proud distinction of being the owner of a Derby winner to add to the honour and glory that is attached to the Premiership. Some time ago Lord Alington and a sporting duke said, at different times, ' Why, if you win the Derby with Ladas, Lord Koseberv will win the next general election.' I laughed at the suggestion, but I believe there is a great deal of truth in it, for an Englishman dearly loves a true sportsman." From this point the conversation became more general. Over a cigar Mr Dawson told me many humorous anecdotes of great sportsmen, past and present, such as the MeiTys, Lord Falmouth, Sir John Astley, the Beresfords, the Bairds and others. Mr Dawson is a splendid raconteur, and his laugh is healthy and hearty. EXNING IS DELIGHTFUL. It is smothered in flowers and foliage. The stables form two sides of a square; the house stands by itself. Ladas's dox is in the angle, and a fine spacious, roomy box it is. The sides are padded so that the hoTse may not accidentally hurt himself. Each box is a separate compartment with a living-room overhead. All the handles and fastenings are of polished brass. The walls of the box are whitewashed, and there is a ladder communicating with the room above. The stall is large enough to hold two horses. When I saw him Ladas was fastened with an ordinary head-stall. His bed, of clei.n straw, is made twice each day. He always has a careful grooming, and a long rest after each morning gallop. The doors of the boxes are most substantial, and the approach of a stranger is heralded by the wild barking of a white-and-tan fox terrier named Jack, who is himself a thoroughbred. A stately mastiff, a genuine son of Plinlimmon, and a black-and-tan collie .also assist in the guardianship. The walls of Mr. Dawson's drawingroom are covered with portraits in oils of great racehorses. Among others I noticed Silvio, Thormanby, Minting, Melton, and Hampton (the respective sires of Bullingdon and Ladas hanging immediately opposite one another), Bal Gal, Semolina, St. Simon, and others.

Mr. Dawson possesses many relics, presents, and trophies. He showed me a piece of a shell fired from the Marabout redoubt \ at Alexandria at the gunboat Condor, and an Arab spear that nearly settled Lord Charles Beresford at Abu Klea. These •were both presents from Lord Charles. In a window recess stood a splendid clay statuette of St. Simon, modelled by Sir Edgar Boehm's own fingers, and a bronze figure of the celebrated mare Catherine Hayes, with foal. This latter was picked up in Paris by Sir John Don Wauchope, for whom Mr. Dawson at one time trained. On a little side-table I found a hoof of Thunder mounted in silver, a silver inkstand from the Duke of Portland, and an Irish punch-bowl from Sir Charles (now Lord) Russell. When this last present was made the new Lord of Appeal promised to fill it with most excellent " brew " when next Mr. Dawson won the Derby. According to Mr. Dawson, Lord Charles is a superlative judge of a racehorse. But the genius of the place is an old dilapidated cockatoo named Jack. He can bark like a dog and whinny like a horse in the most wonderful manner. It appears that some years ago a two-year-old trod on Jack, and broke one of his wings. He lay on his back and cursed the horse most vigorously until taken np and attended to. Jack, you see, adda swearing to his other accomplishments. DERBY MORNING. It is not true that the Premier 'addressing a public meeting on Derby Day began: "Mr Chairman, ladies and gentlemen." He did not go to any meeting, but dined with the Prince of Wales's annnalparty of noble sportsmen at Marlborough House. The weather on Wednesday was miserable, reminding one strongly of the tragic afternoon when Surefoot, with long odds laid on him, went down before Sainfoin. It did not absolutely rain till after the great race, but black clouds lowered stonnily, and a cold east wind blew in dreary gusts across the unsheltered downs. The only mitigating circpm stance was that tre

had no dust, mud there was in plenty, but on the whole that is better than dust.

The crowd seemed to me about normal. In the ring and paddocks the jam was, if anything, a bit tighter than usual, and the man who " hasn't missed a Derby for 30 years" declared that the dense mob of humanity massed on the slopes stretched further inward than usual. To me, I confess, everything looked precisely the same as it has done for the last twenty years. The most conspicuous peculiarity of Ladas's Derby Day was to be found in TattersalTs ring, where, instead of the usual hurlyburly of speculation, business seemed at a standstill.* For a short time layers fielded gallantly, inviting punters to lay 4 to 1, and after a bit 9to 2 on Ladas. Never in the history of the race had there been such a hot favourite. " The position," says the " Sporting Life " " Man in the Ring," " was without parallel. Layers shouted '10to 1 bar one' and '20to 1 bar two' fruitlessly. Punters would back Ladas or nothing. Finally the bookies dried-ap, and "done with the favourite, any odds outsiders," became the cry. Old Fry and one or two others continued to take • 5 to I,' which ought to have been the starting price, but just as the horses were, off 9 to 2 happened to be taken to £20, and ruled the quotations." IN THE PADDOCK. Though mobbed by a crowd of hundreds in the paddock, Ladas, who is named after Alexander the Great's famous runner, was as quiet as a sheep. He is a bright bay, 16 hands high, has a good lean head and light neck, large ribs, deep brisket, oblique shoulders, good arms and flat legs, tail well set on, straight back, long quarters, large thighs and gaskins, and clean hocks. The grandest horse I have seen, so far as looks go, was Minting, and The Bard (for a little one) stands alone in my memory. Ladas, like Ormonde, has plenty of distinction, but it is not till he skims over the line with his beautiful daisy-cutting action that the women cry, " Oh, what a beauty!" Matchbox has also quality, but he gallops in a slovenly style compared to Ladas. • THE EACE. The Derby of 6,000 soys, winner to receive 5,000 soys, the nominator of the winner 500, the owner of the second 300, and the owner of the third 200 out of the race ; for 3-year olds; colts 9st ; fillies Bst 91b; entrance 50 soys, if left in after the first Tuesday in January, 1894. About one mile and a half. Lord Rosebery's Ladas, by Hampton— Illumiuata (J. Watts) „ 1 Lord Alington's Match Box, by St. Simon —Match Girl (M. Cannon) .... .- 2 Mr T Cannon's Reminder, by Melanion— Postscript (G. Chaloner) 3 Duke of Westminster's Bullingdon (T. Loates) 0 Mr D. Baird's Galloping Dick (C. Loates) 0 Lord Bradford's Hornbeam (F. Allsopp) 0 Mr Dobell's Clwyd (Finlay) 0 (Winner trained by M. Dawson.) Betting: 9 to 2 on Ladas, 9 to 1 agst Match Box, 100 to 6 agst Bullingdon, 33 to 1 agst Reminder, 40 to 1 agst Galloping Dick, 66 to 1 agst Hornbeam, and 200 to 1 agst Clwyd. , Place betting 1, 2 : 8 to 1 on Ladas, 7 to 4 on Match Box, 2 to 1 agst Bullingdon, 4 to 1 agst Reminder, 10 to 1 agst Galloping Dick, 100 to 8 agst Hornbeam, 25 to 1 agst Clwyd. Place betting 1, 2, 3 : 100 to 8 on Ladas, 100 to 30 on Match Box, 2 to 1 on Bullingdon, 6 to 4 agst Reminder, 5 to 1 agst Galloping Dick, 6 to 1 agst Hornbeam, and 10 to 1 agst Clwyd. At the first attempt the field were sent on their journey, and Ladas rushing to the front looked as though he would like to make every post a winning post. This, however, could not be permitted so he was steadied, and Matchbox and Bullingdon made the running, with Hornbeam and Ladas next and Reminder 'at the head of the outsiders, Galloping Dick being last. In this order they ran till approaching Tattenham Corner, where Bullingdon, the highJy tried, fell back beaten, and the favourite began to close on Hornbeam and Matchbox. After crossing the road HornbeaW compounded, Ladas stepping neatly into\his place. A curious silence noAV prevailed as the onlookers held their breath and watched Jack Watts nearing the distance make a call on the favourite. For a few strides, with both jockeys at work, Matchbox looked like holding his own. Directly, however, Ladas warmed to work he bore down with resistless strides upon his opponent. Frantic cheers and cries of " The favourite walks in " instantly rent the air. They increased in volume as Ladas caught Matchbox at the Ring, and forging ahead won amidst a scene of the wildest excitement, and waving of hats and handkerchiefs, by a length and a half. Reminder, six lengths away, ran third. Then came Hornbeam, Clwyd, Bullingdon, and Last of all the recreant Galloping Dick. Time, 2min. 45secs. THE VICTORY. The police had hardly time to form the necessary passage through the jubilant and still cheering crowd, Defore the Prime Minister, for once slightly flushed, descended from the Jockey Club Stand, and advanced to meet the equine hero. As he accompanied his horse back the Ring led off a three times three, which swelled to a tremendous roar as it was taken up in all directions. The Prince of Wales met his Lordship at the weighing-room, and when "all right" had been called warmly congratulated him. Then, surrounded by an admiring crowd, Ladas was led off to the Durdans, and Lord Rosebery proceeded to wire the good news to "my dear old friend Matt. Dawson," at Newmarket.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AS18940721.2.11

Bibliographic details

THE DERBY., Auckland Star, Volume XXV, Issue 173, 21 July 1894

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3,056

THE DERBY. Auckland Star, Volume XXV, Issue 173, 21 July 1894

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