THE ELITE,OF THE RACE
THE DOMINION'S SHARE
In his delightful "Horse in History," first published- twenty-one years ago', Mr. Basil Tozer. traces the development 'and distribution of man's most faithful.ser.yant1 from the remote, past— at least four thousand years ago —down ■to the beginning, of the present century. The work is a classic of its kind, and well might be made a reading book in all the secondary schools of the Dominion. My purpose in turning' to it just now is to recall a doleful passage, in which the author in his very last chapter frames a prophecy which, daring as it seemed at the time, looks- to-day likely to be fulfilled1 earlier than even the author imagined it would be. 'Today, 35 he write in 1908. "it seems probable, almost certain, that the horse's influence upon the world's progress— I I influence that we have traced back into the dim.ages—has. actually come to a close. .. .. ..The utility of the electrically driven motor,- and of the motor ! driven •• by1 petrol' power, ■ has been [proved to be almost übiquitous, and the ; rapidity with which the motor has [already ousted: horses in almost every | direction is little short of phenomenal. For the ultra-conservative little body of the community to maintain that this is not so because it hates to speak or think. of automobiles1 comes near to being grotesque. "We are confronted by hard facts, that cannot be avoided, and whether we like them or not they nevertheless must force us to realise what is happening. Shall Ibe charged with indulging1 a flight of imagination, if I venture to. declare that before three decades ; more have passed the horse will have beeqme so completely dethroned that:,it will1 be with us only for racing purposes, and to assist us in the artificial chase? If about the year 2030 some student of past history shall come upon, these lines, I trust ho will quote-them with appropriate comments." Two of our author's decades are gone and only one ■ remains, but who shall say that by the time 1938 comes round, the use of the horse of uncounted centuries and the maker and unmaker of empires, will not be confined .for all practical purposes to the racecourse and-the hunting field? AT A DISTANCE. v That such a'catastrophe would not be an altogether overwhelming one is re--3 bJ^ e- r6ceftt issue °f the s*th tl. Bh. Turf >' a fascinating volume of photographs and letterpress which brings to the horse-lover in tins remote part of tho -Empire some of the thrills ■md mneh-df the enjoyment of the great race: gatherings in tho Mother Country, without the crush of the crowd or the sordid ■ features of the sport Petrol and electricity have supplanted the.dray, horse and'the roadster, and in a large measure the pony and tiro cob, but they haves, made noUmpressibn upon the thoroughbred and the hunter, and. are unlikely evot to do so. The current number of "Famous Horses," coving, ,of.: course,' the season of 192S from Ist January ..to 31st December' maintains the high standard of production established.by its predecessors, Mr. VV. C. Rouch's photographs beinir veritable triumphs of high art and Mr. Arthur Coaten's descriptive matter leaving the reader with a wholesome desire for-more. ■ The list of famous horses in the present volume includes nineteen ; brilliant performers on the flat, two-year-olds being excluded; and the. winner of tho Grand National Steeplechase, the <?bluo ribbon" of the cross-country sport. Prido of place among tho gallopers is givon, as a matter of course, to Felstead, tho winner of tho Derby, a great big bay colt standing 1G hands 2 inches, and bearing a striking resemblance to Carbino down to tho white stocking behind- and the splashed face before. ■ The likeness is easily explained. JTo7stead is a groat grandson of "Old Jack," tho top line of his pedigree bearing tho names of Spion Kop, Spearmint, Carbine, Musket and To.^ophilitc, Spion Kop and Spearmint being previous winners of the Derby; aria Mstcad' boing the third of the family iii-dire'et lino to gain this badge of equine immortality. More than this, Felkingtou, tho dam of Fels.tead, traces back on her dam's side, with '-the', intervention of tho mighty Lemberg and- William the Third, to Carbino, thus linking up with Musket and Mersey, arid again emphasising tho close association tho Home and the .Dominion1 iTurf..lmmediately after the Derby F/elstend wns laid aside by a troublesome splint-which kept him oil tho racecourse forIthe rest of the season. .'■.".■' ': FAMILY RELATIONS. Though Fclstcad, starting at a long price, won'the Derby comfortably, beating the second favoui-ite, Flamingo, the winner of tho ;Twp Thousand Guineas, by a length arid a half, his immediate retirement for the season left tho critics unconvinced. The editor of " Famous Horses" remains sceptical. "In spite of his failure in tho Derby," ho writes, "it is probable that Fairway will take rank as tho best of the thoroughbred horses foaled in 1925, when it is possible to view the whole of their performances in truo perspective." The form Fairway displayod in other events during the season, when fit and well, certainly did not suggest he was a spent force. He won the Newmarket Stakes in a canter by two lengths, the Eclipse Stakes in record timo by eight lengths, the St. Leger by a length and a half, and the Champion Stakes "without being in any way hard pressed." Fairway, whose pedigree, by the way, includes strains of Bend Or, Isonomy, Toxopholite, King Tom, Hermit, Galopin, and other great sires of the past, seems to have been sadly off colour in the Derby, and Mr. Coatoin describes him as having "completed his-melan-choly effort when five furlongs had been covered." He is in work again this season, and appears in his maturity to be making amends for the lapses of his youth. New Zealand sires'are not so well represented in "Famous Horses'' this year as they wero^two years ago when quite a number; did honour to the' Dominion. Felstead, however, lias brought within its^amplo cover quite a number of names-New Zealand sportsmen may claim^as their own. In addition to these; the names of Martini Henry and; Chester appear in the pedigree of Arctic Star, -the winner of this Good-Wood' Stakesrariu the Cosarowitch Stakes, and the same ;,hanies stand out in the pedigree'Of Baytown, the winner of the. Irish .Two Thousand and'the Irish Berby. -It is.mbt a very imposing list, .but rememberingVthat-not- half a dozeii f ?es have',been .sent from the Dominion to : the-Mother Country for stu,d.purpo !les -through! all; the years Jof colonisation it is not a. eo'riternptibje one. ' The traffic in hprses.jt'is superfluous, to recall, has all been/the other wjEy. ■■ -. -;. ' TSE;;;oEPS^, CQyiTTKY : SPOUT,.; ■ Both : :;.thV -preside'sit .ani'.. the ' vici.prejident',; of the : facing" Conference' iiave.ehidedme, good.humouredly with being more,,attached to' steepleehasirijr than I- am to. flat-racing, just as the Prime Minister, :in the same nappy vein, dubs me a "Red Fed" while the Leader of ,the Opposition, with a broad smile, greets me'as an "arrant Tory " To1 the'impeachment of 'the sportsmen I plead guilty. At the moment the humour of the politicians does not matter. Mr. Coates devotes but one of his chapters to tho cross-country;
sport, and that, very properly, to the Grand National Steeplechase, which last year, in the language of the editor, "produced one of the most unexpected results in the long history of this famous contest." The course at Aintree, where this great race is run, is over obstacles unmeasurably more difficult than any provided in this country. In this respect Aintree is further ahead of Riccarton than Ricearton is of Egmont or Wanganui, and anyone with a knowledge of the sport who has seen the local courses mentioned will admit that the difference between them is very considerable. "Beacher's Brook" at Aintree-is a thick fence 4ft lOin high with a rail in front and a natural brook about Bft wide on the far side "and 4ft deep. Fences even more formidable in construction have to be negotiated in the long journey of four miles and a half. Last year the only horse to stand up through the whole ordeal was Tipperary Tim, a clean bred gelding tracing back by one channel or another to King Tom, Doncaster Toxophilite, Kettledrum, Stockwell, and other "Stud Book" celebrities. He was carrying the 'minimum weight, lOst., was ridden by an amateur, was quoted by the bookmakers at any price, early in the year had undergone the operation of tracheotomy and carried a tube in his throat. At one of the obstacles, popularly known as the Canal Turn, just upon thirty of the fortytwo horses engaged in the race came to grief, and at the finish the winner had the course all to himself to win by a distance from the American representative Billy Barton, tho only other competitor to .finish. Needless to say this was not the kind of exhibition for which the followers of steeplechasing aro looking, but the presence of fourteen or fifteen amateurs iii the saddle must have inspired among the spectators new hopes for the- future of the British race. • '
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FAMOUS HORSES, Evening Post, Volume CVIII, Issue 54, 31 August 1929
FAMOUS HORSES Evening Post, Volume CVIII, Issue 54, 31 August 1929
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