(From the Saturday Review.)
So, after all, it appears that the Malton people do know a racehorse when they see one. When they said, last autumn, that in Blair Athol Mr I'Anson had got such a flyer as had not been seen on Langton Wold since West Australian, they were not, as it turns out, very far mistaken in their ideas of pace and style. It has pleased some writers in the press to confer upon Blair Athol the title of " mysterious," although there was any mystery about the horse except what was manufactured by persons of an imaginative turn of miad. Mr I'Anson knew his own business better than other people, and he •stuck to it. Having a horse of great - capability, but some delicacy of constitution, he did not hurry his preparation, nor bring him out to contend for small stakes, ■to the prejudice of his chance of winning the chief prize of the Turf. There is one feature of this year's Derby which every admirer of a sound racehorse must observe with pleasure — namely, that the first place has been taken by a horse which never ran at all as a two jrear old, and the second place by a horse which only ran in an insignificant match. Mr I'Anson declined nine two year old engagements for Blair Athol, and, following the same prudent policy, he withheld him from the Dee Stakes at the late Chester Meeting. Some persons even saw mystery in Blair Athol's absence from the Chester race course; whereas, if the horse's chance at Epsom really was what his owners and admirers supposed, it would have been the height of folly to damage it by running him at Chester. It is needless to repeat what has been often said before, that two year old races are a ne«esßary evil ; but it is gratifying to witness such examples as Mr I'Anson and Lord 'Glasgow have exhibited of the good effects of keeping the best hopes of their f tables in reserve until the third year. The contests for the Derby in recent years have all been close, and the distinguished hot or of winning easily by two lengths has been gained by a horse who ceter galloped before in public, having for his only formidable competitor a horse whose education had been almost as private as his own. Although it is idle to regret that the Derby has long ceased to be the usual first appearance of the colts engaged in it, one may still be permitted to note with pleasure any proof which modern racing offers that the old custom was a good one.
Some persons will perhaps say that Mr I'Anson is a very lucky man, but the great results which he has achieved with a small stud ate due to his own judgment and patience, as well as to the help of fortune. Doubtless he made a happy hit when he became possessed of Queen Mary, who bore Blink Bonny, winner of the Derby and Oaks, and Haricot, mother of Caller Ou, winner of the St Leger, Blink Bonny, being put to Newminster, bore Borealis, who is little and good ; and being put next year to Stockwell, she bore Blair Athol. who is great and good. Blink Bonny is now dead, leaving behind her one more foal, Breadalbane, who is engaged in next year's Derby ; jjut Caller Ou is likely, when her racing career is over, to maintain her owner's reputation by bearing winners of the great three-year-old contests. Blair Athol's victory affords some proof that the expectation of winners breeding winners is well founded. His sire, Stockwell, won the Two Thousand Guineas and the St. Leger; his dam, Blink Bonny, won the Derby and Oaks. Wisely and well sang a poet in the Sporting Gazette last Saturday :— Was be "coopered," a "stiff," &n& a "dead v un V* Wnsifc "coining" to bet he don't start 1 ? *et 1 11 stick to the out-and-out bred un, Acd ne'er from ray colours depart. Though Manchester Dever stops laying, Thongh quidnuncs all tell you he'j sold. Heal quality there's no gainsaying ; So I'll go for <he green and the gold. But even this oracle spoke not wholly truth, for, while taking pretty nearly a correct measure of other favourites, he was unfortunately rather too partial to Cambuscan. However, he finished his poem with the lines — Believe me, the Dsrby is over, Blair Athol can't possibly lose— by which he may well sustain a prophetic reputation for his lifetime. The state of the market on Monday showed that this poet s case was one of wisdom crying and iew regarding it. Blair Athol stood in the returns of betting at 14 to 1, not only after tne prophets had given warning inverse and prose, but also after the horse had been seen at exercise upon the Surrey downs. If people will not believe their eyes, it is not likely that they will eive ear to prophecy. It is wonderful to observe with how little wisdom a great part ot the transactions of the Turf are managed. Mr Merry and his trainer have undoubtedly had great experience m bringing out Derby horses. J-hey won with Thormanby ; they found m JJundee* a horse good enough to run into the second place upon three legs ; and
although Buckstone as a three-year-old 1 did not do all they promised, he took as a four-year-old the highest place by winning the Ascot Cup. Therefore it would have been unwise to disregard entirely the confident assertions that Scottish Chief could not lose the Derby, although it would have been warrantable to deduct a large percentage from his friends' estimate of him. To back Scottish Chief for a place seemed a good investment, and a place he got. If it were thought that Scottish Chiefs supporters were the best judges of capability to win a Derby, it had to be confessed, on the other hand, that the performances of Cambuscan. Paris, and Coast Guard were better than his. Birch Broom's performances seemed to have as little to do with winning the Derby as his appearance, upon which a word shall be said presently. How this horse ever came to his position in the Derby betting ,is the greatest of many puzzles which have exercised the minds of observers of the Turfinarket during the last three months. It would be much more appropriate to call Birch Broom, instead of Blair A.thol, " the mysterious," After all, people who want to bet upon a race must choose a horse ; and if they choose the horse whose merits have been proclaimed in the loudest tones, they only act like poople who, when they want a manufactured article, go to the shops which advertise constantly that they keep the best. Hearing the confident language of the owners of some half dozen of the Derby horses, and looking at the vast sums of money which were staked upon them, it seemed almost rash to say that one of these horses was about as good as another, that General Peel's public form was good enough to beat them all, and that it was possible there might be something somewhere p;ood enough to beat General Peel. This view of the chances of the Derby would not be quite correctly stated in the terms that a " dark " horse was likely to win. Blair Athol might, indeed, be called " dark." because he had never been in the light of a two year old race, or because people were too clever lo see what he was ; but if by a " dark " horse is meant a horse which has not been much talked about, we should say that such horse is very unlikely to win the Derby. Amid the vast quantity of discussion of the pretensions of all possible candidates, it is to be expected, not that merit will be overlooked, but that it will be imagined where it does not exist. One sees, before all the great races, the same marvellous reliance upon horses whose claims to confidence are utterly incapable of rational explanation. We' were told, indeed, that at Danebury they believed in Copenhagen quite as much as at Malton they believed in Blair Athol, if not more so ; but, although Yorkshire is undoubtedly knowing in horseflesh ? it would be extravagant to claim for that country a monopoly of this sort of knowledge, to the exclusion of the entire south of England. On the whole, perhaps, it might be said tbat the reports current of Blair Athol's quality were such as to speak to the wise — namely, trainers and jockeys— but need an interpreter to the public.
In the paddock an opportunity was afforded of examining what the cracks had to show in support of their reputations. Birch Broom is a tall raw-boned horse, with bad hocks and very suspicious fore legs ; and how he could ever have been made a favorite appeared imcomprehensible. Planet was pretty, with a beautiful forehand, but light and on too small a scale for such a severe course as the Derby. The same remark might apply to Paris, about whom, however, his owner expressed himself very confident. Mr Ten Broeck's other horse, Idler, who had been sometimes said to be as good as Paris, and who had certainly been backed, by the public for a large sum of money, did not start. Prince Arthur, one of the Yorkshire cracks, is a compact strong little horse, but he evidently has a knack of overreaching himself, as the marks on his near fore-fetlock showed. Valiant, the Cockney horse, was good-looking enough, but hardly up to Derby form. Surat, the only representative of the Butterfly and Kettledrum stable, appeared to have felt the effect of the hard ground, as his off fore-leg was bandaged. Indeed many of the horses were in bandages. A great crowd, as usual, surrounded the Whitehall horses Baraghand Hollyfox. They were led by the veteran Welcome, -who, it may be remembered, was one of the five who ran two years ago when the Marquis so nearly took the great prize into Yorkshire. Baragh, the best of the pair, is a half-brother to West Australian; he is a very strong chesnut, but looks more like carrying weight to hounds than winning the Derby. Mr Scott was present, and was heard to congratulate the great bookmaker, Mr Jackson, on his approaching success, though whether he meant that Blair Athol or General Peel was to be the winner, is uncertain, as Mr Jackson had v stood" both horses to a large amount. Cathedral and Major appeared to have done their work well, and looked very fit for the race, but though both had been
backed at long prices, they were hardly of the class in which a Derby winner should be sought. The name Cathedral is rather suggestive of the horse's _ sire, Newminster, than of the racing capability which made that sire illustrious. Outlaw was pretty and level, but not up to the occasion. After looking over these ordinary cattle, it was a relief to turn to General Peel, who was accompanied by his stable companion, Strafiord. One of the stories current in London in the exciting week before the race was, that Strafiord had beaten General Peel in a trial, and that a fortune might be made by backing him. Like Lord Clifden last year. General Peel's looks, setting his performances on one side, were good enough to account for the favor in which he was held. He is a very large horse, with fine shoulders and crest, and carries his head beautifully ; his condition was perfection, and it was evident that his race at Newmarket a month ago had ,done him no harm. If a fault can be found in him it is that he is rather light behind the saddle. Ackworth and Copenhagen carried the yellow an] purple stripes of Mr H. Hill. It had been supposed that Ackworth was the real representative of the stable, and that Rogers was to ride him, but at the last moment that experienced jockey put his saddle upon Copenhagen, who is undeniably the better looking horse of the two, though neither his performance in the Two Thousand nor that in the Derby entitles him to much credit. Not a fault could be found with the condition nf either horse, which, indeed was as perfect as the Danebury stable could render it. As regards Ackworth, it must be allowed that the poet who sang that "an 'ack worth a curse could beat him" was rather -hard upon a useful horse. Coastguard looked well, but the hard ground had told upon hint and his legs were bandaged, aud he scarcely looked likely to repeat Macaroni's performance of last year. About the last to come under notice were Scottish Chief and Cambuscan. The former is a nice horse. He was in splendid condition, and, to all appearance, the best trained horse in the race. Cambuscan was quite as beautiful as report had stated him to be — long, level, and much resembling his sire Westminster. On him too the hard ground had had its effect, and his legs were in bandages, the sight of which recalled to mind predictions that Cambuscan would not endure a Derby preparation, or, if he did, would break down in the race. Ely looked well in the paddock, and went well in his canter, and was 'remarkably quiet at the post. Blair Athol, who was ridden by Snowden, did not appear in the paddock with the other horses, but was saddied up the course, and took his canter apart from his competitors, with Caller Ou leading him. There was thus no opportunity of observing him closely in the paddock ; but at the post it was evident that all stories told to his disadvantage were weak inventions of the enemy. He combines wonderfully, the qualities of his famous sire and dam, and resembles Stockwell more perhaps than any other of his sons, whilst he has the hereditary white blaze down his face which Queen Mary has transmitted to him through Blink Bonny, and which marked Borealis so conspicuously last year in the Oaks and St. Leger. There was a beautiful freshness in his look. He had not been trained to fiddle-strings, as is the unhappy fate of some good horses, but he was rather under than over-trained, and he had more flesh on him than General Peel. Blair Athol's quiet temper at the post served him well during the aeven or eight false starts that took place owing to the bad behaviour of Surat and other horses. Some horses would, go too soon, while others would not come into line to go. An offender of the latter class was Washington, who, having Wells upon him, looked at one time as if he intended to make that skilful jockey as disagreeably conspicuous as Tambour Major did last year. Blair Athol broke away once, and galloped a short distance up the hill, and a finer exhibition of hind action was never seen. Could that gallop have been fully discerned from the Stand, the horse would have been, or at least ought to have been, first favorite before the start was really effected. The false starts were very prejudicial to Geneial Peel, who fretted considerably, foaming at the mouth, and trembling, although A-ldcroft, who had secured the inside position next the rails, contrived to keep him from breaking away. When at last they were off, General Peel was about the first to show in front on the left, while Paris, on the right, was nearly pulling Fordham out of the saddle. Blair Athol, in the centre, lay rather back.
It avails not to trace the changes of position among the favorites as they came down the hill and approached the fatal corner. Nothing occurred, so far as could be learned after the race, to cause it to be said that any horse was disappointed of a chance of doing his tye&H 0 ww j n> -When the horses came fully „ into view General Peel turned up where one naturally looked for him, iv the front, and well placed for
winning. There were cries of "General Peel wins," and for a moment— no more it looked as if he would. The next moment another horse had evidently the- best of it, and some persons supposed that this horse was Birch Broom. Lord Westmoreland's green and white might possibly be mistaken for Mr I'Anson's green and straw color ; and besides, the names Birch. Broom and Blair Athol begin with the same letter, and the horses are in other respects as much alike as Monraouth and Macedon. There is just" this difference between them, that one could win the Derby and the other could not. The hardness of the ground doubtless served the soundest horses, and the great speed of Blair Athol enabled him to defeat General Peel easily by two lengths, while Scottish Chief, three lengths behind the General, came third. It may truly be said that the three best-looking horses beat the held. The fourth horse was an animal of extremely moderate pretension, called Knight of Snowdon, and next to him, or nearly so, came Cambuscan. The other cracks were beaten even more i<momimously. It would have been a welcome sight to see Lord Glasgow's colors win - but it must be owned that General Peel magnificent animal as he is, showed some want of gameuess when Blair Athol collared him. But, although he might havestruggled more, he certainly could not have won. Blair Athol's performance was worthy of his looks and breeding, and if all were true that was told of the horsea that he beat, his performance would be very great indeed.
An American paper opened a leading article recently with this astounding assertion:—" a. great many eventa have happened since the year one of the Christian era." Another jounud thinks the assertion to be probably true. A letter from St. Petersburg states that the' telegraph intended to place the Old and New, Worlds m communication by way of Behring*B ■ Straits, separating Russia from America, is not only decided oa, but is actually in course of execution, ali the difficulties, botb monetary and international, having been surmounted. Should the line be completed before the new submarine line is laid a'l communications between both continents will pass through Russia for a time. At a masquerade ball in New York recently, the hostess appeared in a coronal'of living flame. Attached to her hoop-skirt was a small gago* ' meter, and & connecting pipe, passing up between' the elaborate braids of her blaok hair, secured the brilliant triumph at the risk of the wearer's life. >
The Charleston Mercury teHs a touching story. Miss Anna Pickens, the daughter of Governor Pickens, while ministering to the wounded m the hospitals of Charleston, came in contact' with a wounded officer, Lieut. Andrew De Rochelle. Tue young people fell in love, and after' a shoit courtship it was arranged that they should' be married on the 22nd of April. Lieutenant De « Socbelle was on duty at Fort Sumter in themorning, and it was determined that the ceremony should take place at the residence of General' Boaham in the evening. At the moment theepiscopal clergyman was asking the bride if shewas ready, a shell fell upon the roof of the building, penetrating to the room where the company were assembled, burst, and wounded nine persons, among the rest Miss Pickeng. Wd cannot' describe the scene that followed. Order was restored, and the wounded were removed, all except the bride, who lay motionless upon the carpet. Her betrothed, kneeling and bending over her, was weeping; bitterly, and trying to stanch the blood that welled from a terrible wound under her left breast. A surgeon declared that Miss Piekens had nofc longer than two hours to live. When the wounded girl recovered her consciousness, sna asked to know hei* fate, and when they hesitated; to tell her -" Andrew," she said, " I beg you to' tell me the truth. If [ must die, I can die worthy of you." The young soldier's tears wera ■ hw answer, and Mi^ Anna, summoning all her strength attempted to sraile. Governor Pickens was a'raost without consciousness, and- Mrs* Pickens looked upon her child with the dry and* haprgard eye of one whose reason totters. Lieutenant Do Rochelle was the first t* speak. " Anna," he cried, " I will die soon' too; but I would have you die my wife: there is yet time to unite us." The young girl did not reply, she was too weak. A slight flush rose for an instant to her pnle cheek ; it could be • seen that j>y and pain were struggling in -her ' spirit for the mastery. Ljinx upon a sofa, her bridal dress all stained with blood, her hair dishevelled, she had never been more beautiful. Helpless as she was, Lieutenant De Rochelle took her hand, and n quested the Rev. Mr Dickenson to proceed with the ceremony. When it was time for the dyin^ girl to say yes, her lips parted several times, but she could not articulate. At last the word was spoken, and a siight foam * rested upon her lips The dying agony was near. The minister sobbed as he proceeded with the t ceremony. An hour afterwards all was ovar, and • the bridal chamber wa9 the chamber of death.
A regular account is kept at the Paris Prefec- ' ture of Police of all articles found in the streets and dopostted at the Prefecture hy the finders. The value of the articles deposited there for the ' last 12 months amounts to LI 5,600. The articles were 12,224 in number; besides which cabmenand omnibus drivers left 20,529 objects,valued at L19.800 -total, 33,000 articles" of various kinds, amounting to L 35,400» It appears that not more than one "half these/ artioles have been claimed by their ownew. laaddition to those just mentioned, the following articles were recently deposited with the police : —A gold bracelet with diamonds, deposited by a working house-painter ; 700f in bank notes, by a female servant ; a porte-raonnaie, containing shares ajd 160f in money, by a coffee-house waiter invaluable gold watoh"; by a poor widow j < a debenture for oOOf, payable tobearer, by a boy 15 years old;:2090i, m banknotes, by a man • 1700f, in bank notes, by an omnibus clerk -, 1200£ by a.'; cab driver; 3500tby a oabmm; aad a bracelet; in gold and diamonds, valued at L 6000 ," by a cabman. These acts tell greatly in, favor* of the honesty of the humbler olass of Parisians. /
Permanent link to this item
THE DERBY., Otago Witness, Issue 665, 27 August 1864
THE DERBY. Otago Witness, Issue 665, 27 August 1864
Using This Item
See our copyright guide for information on how you may use this title.