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THE AUSTRALIAN STARTING MACHINE.

{Breeder ami Sportsman, Feb. 15th.)

There have been very few improvements, ff any, made in the w»y of starting horses in a* race that have proven worthy of adoption during the past forty years in America. It remained for us to seek in other lands something that would in every way answer the purpose. Australia, the leading racing centre of the world, has had among ita countless lovers of the turf, as many inventors to simplify and perfect this branch of the sport as America, anil the wonderful success that was achieved by the starting gate in the hands of the starters there, has been noted in the columns of this journal repeatedly during the past three years. When R. E. deß. Lopez, one of the most prominent exporter a of horses from the Antipodes, arrived here, he saw that our methods of numbering horses in our races was crude ami indistinct, so he introduced the numbered Kiitldlo-cloths, which, since then, have been adopted by all the leading associations in America. He determined to introduce the Cray starting machine, the only one (hut is universally used in the colonies; and on his last return trip there, secured the ricun to use the name in the United Stales and Canada. He brought a machine as a Kumpto, and tried to get the jockey fluli tune to i!3c it, but failed, and was tol'i to wait until the opening of the track at Irigleside. Last Tuesday was the day put for the trial, and the plaudits of the thousand. , ?, who recognised in it the acme of perfection, will never be forgotten by those who were in attendance. The simplicity with which it works, and the marvelously short time it takes to get large fields of horses started away on a perfect line were

appreciated at once by the officere of the association, the trainers, and the public. It was a revelation to all, and the absorbing topic of conversation among all classes today is the starting gate worked at Ingleside. Anything that removes all semblance of fraud is commendable, and while it is true that among the thousands who have attended the races and saw the old-fashioned method of starting many have been cruel enough to nay that the starter has shown favouritism at the post and let some horse get- the best of the start. This is but one remark that was made, but the dissatisfaction evidenced on all sides about the starting contributed more toward driving horse breeders and trainers out of the business and caused more uneasiness among those who are the support of racing, the public, than all other causes combined. The judge's stand at both tracks contain the most competent officials that can be had in the United States, and the starters in their peculiar and thankless occupations are at the very top of their profession, but the methods these lastnamed officers have had to follow had neither terrors foi- disobedient jockeys nor discipline for unruly horse* that would tire if delayed at the post three minutes. The jockeys had four things to watch : The horses they were riding, their neighbours, the starter, and the flag in front of them. Now they have nothing but the horse and the barrier, and there is no assistant needed tograsp the bridles of their horses and then use the whip whenever he thought it was needed. The horses do not have time to fret at the post, but they are away in less than a minute after facing the barrier.

By its introduction in America the Pacific Coast Jockey Club has gained a reputation for adopting new ideas which, ere this, extends to all parts of the world, and in the endeavour to give good racing, its President and directors seem to be watchful and untiring. Following their example, the California Jockey Club has ordered starting machines to be set up at the Bay District track, and those who have been complaining about horses never getting a fair show at the post there will hereafter hold their peace. We congratulate both associations on their adoption of these machines, and believe that a new era is dawning for the great sport of kings.

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THE AUSTRALIAN STARTING MACHINE. Press, Volume LIII, Issue 9386, 9 April 1896

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