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JEM ROBINSON.

" I have seen two great jockeys-Jem Robinson and George Fordham, remarked a veteran of tho silken Jacket one> aay. It was a supreme compliment to both, when we remember that the career of these two men covered a space, of nearhr seventy years, and a period during which flourished the mWfarnous riders the Turf can boast -Sam Chifney, Frank Butler, I'rank Buckle, the Days, Bill Scott, and ired Archer. It was said at the time of Rob,_u son's death, "It may bo fairly doubted whether a better jockey than the oncerenowned Jem ever pot Into a saddle, and it is a question whether Buckle, Sam ChUsay. or even the moat brilliant of the more modern school of horsemen ever attained the reputation he once enjoyeoV This, however, was written before Fred Archer had made his marvellous reputaJem was bora somewhere in the first decade of the present century, and, as a boy, was placed under the famous old trainer, Robson, with whom he served thirteen years. Even as a.youngster he was full of enthusiasm for his calling, and often and often he would promise another lad his plum pudding on Sunday ' to rack up his horse, that he might have time to run off to the Heath and see Frank-Buckle ride. Strange to say, one of his earliest matches was on Conviction, against his idoL Buckle, on Pigmy, in which the latter bolted away forty yards, and so lost his rider the race. Frank was awfully riled at being beaten by such a youngster, and almost withered him with a glance as they returned to scale. "Don't you come that trick over mc again," said Frank. "What trick, sir V asked Jem, innocently. " Never you mind what, but I say don't," was the not very intelligible rejoinder. Many a time and oft, thereafter, were the two great horsemen to be rivals; there was the great match with Abler and Ardrossan, the latter of whom was so fierce that he tried to tear Robinson out of the saddle. In vain Frank shouted at the post, " Stop and let mc get up to you." "But I can't," said Jem," hell worry you; follow mc and I'll wait for you." And Jem meant it, and kept his word loyally, and when Buckle did come up then the race began; the two horses seemed to fly through the air, but their riders were so well matched that it ended in a dead heat. Buckle always whipped over hand; Robinson never did, except as in this instance, (when he was vexed with his" horse, as that wild brute Ardrossan found to his cost during that punishing finish. Jem owed him something on an old score; as he was buckling his reins the week before in the Ditch stables, Ardrossan savaged him, flung him into a corner and knelt upon his chest, and there would certainly have been a full stop put to our jockey's career had not Lords Exeter and Foley and Dick Prince rushed to the rescue with their walking canes. Jem's pluck never failed him, however ; getting up and shaking himself, ho said he was quite ready to ride, though Ardrossan was still plunging and snorting furiously ; so he got into the saddle and rode the trial gallop ; but he lost. Having so far asserted himself, this fiery untamed steed walked back to his stable like a lamb, but no soon had he entered his stall than ho gripped hold of the boy who was going to unsaddle him, hurled the poor youngster into the manger, and bit off his thumb. It was for these enormities that Jem paid him out on the race-day, scoring hira at the finish with the whip until his flanks ran with blood. Horses have notoriously long memories for chose who injure them. Robinson knew this, and fought shy of tola enemy from that day. Two years afterwards, however, while going through the stables at Burleigh, Lord Exeter prevailed upon him to* have a look at Ardrossan. assuring him that they had got the animal as quiet as a lamb. But the instance the horse seteyes on Jem, hegavesuchafurious bound that he broke his halter, and had not every one rushed out precipitately (one among the number having the presenee'of mind to shut the door), there would certainly have been a catastrophe. Another of Robinson's great matches with Frank Buckle was on Merlin against Dictator for five hundred apiece. Some aixty thousand pounds depended upon the event, and each jockey was wound up to the highest pitch of excitement. With what a grim smile of determination did the two great horsemen eye each other while waiting for the signal, each being fuUy aware that the slightest mistake or accident on his side would give the race to hie rival 1 Buckle was playing a waiting game with Dictator on the whip hand to the Bushes, when the apparition of an old woman with an open umbrella—oh, the, Curses that were showered on that pld woman's head I—caused Dictator toswerve ' to the left. In an instant Jem bad shot forward two lengths, which Buckle could not recover, though he only lost the day by a neck, but it was quite enough to keep a thousand pounds out of his pocket. Yet it was upon Sam Chifney lather than Frank Buckle that Robinson fashioned his style. Greatly as headmired Frank be used to say h^hadn't"Sam'sfiddling A ';/'Youmightas weH look for a rat as forChifney: first find out what he's doing, and then beat him, were favourite sayings of his, and the I veteran had a due appreciation of his disciple. One evening, when little Arthur ! Faviswas boasting that he would as soon ride a match with Jem Robinson as any- ! body else, Sam took his pipe put of his mouth, and. in the most contemptuous tone, enunciated, " Fou ride with h%m\ YooM better go to bed." For some time, however, after Robinson cameput, Chifney thought him only a very moderate rider; bat at the close of a Newmarket meeting, Sam suddenly remarked to hiT brother: "Have J™.™****!* Robinson this week-why he s taken feT ride like the rery devil." Ihese words were duly reported to Jem by WUI Chifney and tbe youngster confessed that iW_o*ed-cidedstyleoFridinghadsuddenly 'gSdupon him. In their heyday there wasTlittle to choose between the two great riders in point of judgment and knowledge of pace, but while the one was more powerful, the other was more elegant tn his mode of finishing and did not sit so much Sack in his set-to. Sam's way pf drawing his horse together.and then bringing it with his unique and tremendous rush of nearly half a length in the last three pr four strides, was a picturesque contrast to the exquisitely neat short bead by which I Robinson need to nail an opponent on the I post and send him back grumbling to the 1 scale that that Robinson had done nun again by a abort head. Robinson was a terrible hand with the whip. John Day used to say he could l punish a horse in less time than any other jockey. Four strokes in the last twenty yards was his way of popping the i Question, and on one occasion, when riding Cadland for the Whip, he fairly frightened I theChifneys' famous Zinganee by gently cracking it at brief intervals within earshot right across the beacon. In fact, like [ the famous Sam, he had so many dodges that his fellow jockeys said of Mm what Napoleon remarked of the British soldier i —that neither he nor they ever knew when he was beaten. In stature Jem was nearly half a head less than Sara, bat he measured sir inches more round his chest. Wasting [ was no labour of love to either, considering what it cost them, and the exertions they had to make. Jemmy Bland, "the leg, nicknamed them "Old and Youug Plncher." But Robinson wasted the better I of the two. At one. time he couldget off a TOund or two over the stone in a month, birt It was terrible work, and on one oeeassion be was found in a dead faint on a heap of etones near Keunet, and brought home in a cart. Yet at the time of his Sent he could ride Sst Sib easily on a 21b saddle. It was In 1817 that Jem jrtobuwon won his first Derby on Azor, the most rank outsider in the race, who at the starting stood at fifty to one. This was the first of a series of great victories; but it was seven years before ho again iMMk the Blue Riband, in 1824, on Sir J. Shelley aCedric. In the following year our Jem piloted another Phantom colt, Middleton, to victory. On this occasion he wore the buff and blue •stripes of Lord. Jersey, with which from that time he was mostly identified, winning in bis noble patron's colours the most celebrated of his southern races. Only one year blank, and he again won the great event on Mameluke. Still in tbe fortunate vein, 1828 saw him for the fifth time hailed the victor on Epsom - Downs, when he rode the Duke of Rutland's Cadland. It had been a grand struggle, ending with a dead heat with the TSolonel, Bui Scott only one that ever took, plaeo during the first century of tbe Derby. Then came the tug-of-war between the two giants, each determined to win; flank to flank the two horses kept amidst the breathless hush of tho vast crowd who beheld this gallant rivalry, and for many of whom it had such a vital interest, until they passed Tattenham-corner; then Bill, who I _U the time was swearing and lashing in his usual style, seemed to be gaining a little advantage, and a shout of Two to one on the Colonel" broke forth from a few whose excitement could be no longer restrained. With almost super-human exertion, Scott held his gain until within less than a hundred Tarda of the finish, then came those fatal four strokes, by which Jem often performed what seemed little less than miracles, and Cadland,

boanaing; forward 'in one lasmT *4 by less than ahead Urn tt fA-tio excitement a |ig a ßL* /! before the highest ho &,,*tj I again fell to Jem's share, wh«? h * c £2 W sixth Derby on the fhieat W* «« Q?l Vt 1 ft™" bl * hardly-earned triumph"? fr ° ! < "• 1 WuT 0 Th ,o"'wu»d' Guinea, T v F: - '\ all Robinson's, science w„ \*W> to the utmost'to brinK him f,i front of the future St. Lege? »**» 2 £ may bo mentioned tbnt*fL "'&ft i fc was ridden in all his raees-bv V >i- U and never sustained a defeat, F '*' only twice successfully contendedi »° Or_it_^ncasJ»rprize;Uffiff^tl l i f j - J -, than that between■'M«_«ukß_X b v ) «*t ' in 1827, Jem havlng'the»£_■*?*-* ■ latter. Magnificent was Si' *« and endurance, and not less spffi 6 * l * , the fiery chase given by Ma Ud" «*»» ? the heroic Jem steered to vi 7, ***» i cheque for £1000 rewarding him fA» I exertions. In 1832 he again wob__t- hij § on John Gully's Margrave; I' ; gallant struggle for it on Ra ß ß_mS*?» I 11850, when mTran the' mightyH&kfc I a dead heat but lost the Uin& tir <» | It would be scarcely interesting to L fc l him step by step through hl s career"? if recount the Innumerable victorL il gained during the forty year, £*; k M i abouts that he wore the silk. ¥ was not a classic race which ho ,u?\ * P take again and again. HeachtovSiS I notable victories at Ascot in tiHt** M past. There was his famous match 1 Mark Wood's Camerine agai_X c &2** H, Sam Chifney up, which sporting* £g& i regarded as one of the red-letterd?3 H Turf annals. Many a match did Umll n with George IV.'s faYOuriteJoVkw «& I! remember,' says an old sportsman v' c' Ing Robinson win a match at New,u h —amongst hundreds-when noth_ B S h the most consummate judgment ami» r ' guisite riding secured hliu the victn* / Between the two horaes thai camo baS' U ing along like chained shot, from stare i ' - finish, there was not an ounce to choa_ '' - Between the mem there was less, % i>m > Sam Chifney was Robinson's oppofii«f. J and so near a thing was it across tfce f?,» -/ that it was only owing to Jem's ael«tir» / ' the foot trod' over the Hcath-judcin. l ' truly that the dally labourer, wcndlna hi! ■ way to and from his work, docs not™ , many hair breadths out of It-that ht »' ; his horse in first by a nose. Tho firmiX' „ yet elasticity, of the footpath vrmfl equally aid him whilst the narrow t»* ;, only sufficing for one horse thus rdcbi.? '" compelled his competitor to keep ou i_ slightest possible curve from thelWtakfß ' as straight as a crow could fly, by t£ ■ accomplished Jem." ' j It was in 1852 that the grand dj I veteran's wonderful career came to i I sudden aud painful close. It was flu | First Spring Meeting, he was ridlngat«» f ■ year-old colt of Lord Cllfden's called H Feramoz. Before he had started thirtt E yards, the horse suddenly twisted a_B round, boring towards his oppon„l H Robinson's weight being thrown on om if stirrup the leather gave way, &§ he was dashed to the m with such violence as to break hh W left thigh, collar bone, and several ri„ X The injury to the thigh prevented hia L*' ever donning the silk again, and duriw |. the latter part of his life he fell back hm! *•' the used-up jockey's harbour of relijg*. .1 training. Jem Robinson, however, tcj? % hot so successful in his new calling a; j$ -': had been in his old; he never gui te recptesj .. that terrible accident, although he ?®. '] jviyedit twenty years, aud his declining i, age was darkened by bad. health td i straightened means. lie had made avast t deal of money in his prime—at least, P judged by the standard of those diphaving at one time seven retainers a! a -\ hundred a year each, besides the large amounts he annually received in present!.; - but his class were more prodigal thantbj are now, spending their hard-earned w -. nings as quickly as they modo them, mi Jem had little more than an annuity to live on in his last years. The end cams, , after a wearisome illness, in ltf/3; lonj after nearly all his contemporaries had, f passed away, and left him the lost mh ' • vivor of a vanished world, the veteran, /,- whose name will never be forgotten ia L) Turf annals, was laid to sleep till the!_ ;,: awakening, close to that classic heath E* which had been the scene of the greatest fei of his triumphs.— L. V. Gazette. 'I-.

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Bibliographic details

JEM ROBINSON., Press, Volume XLV, Issue 6984, 10 February 1888

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2,468

JEM ROBINSON. Press, Volume XLV, Issue 6984, 10 February 1888

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