A ' ' single-handed" yacht match atKingstown, in June last, resulted in the wreck of one of the yachts and the death of the owner, Mr Daniel O'Connell, grandson of the " Liberator." His yacht, the Peri, was only five tons, and it went down suddenly in a rather heavy sea.
The other day a large and enthusiastic number of people assembled at Port Row to witness a novel and most exciting spectacle. Twenty stalwart Americans were backed to hold the celebrated steamtug Watchman (twenty horse power) for two minutes. The men accomplished this with such ease, that a bet was made that half their number would suffice to do it, and they won again. Odds were now laid that twenty-five men would stay the steamtug while under way and stop her progress. They were to have a hundred feet coil to get under way. This feat they also accomplished with the same ease, amidst roars of applause which proceeded from the bystanders.
When did the so-called " Arab breed " establish itself in the East, and from what sources was it originally drawn ? In the seventh century the Arabs had but few horses, and those of no great repute. Until within the last hundred years or so, when the prestige of Arabian blood began to establish itself, Arab ©wners were content to trace a pedigree to one of the five animals upon which Mahomet and his four faithful follower's fled on the night of the Hegira frem Mecca to Medina. Evidently, Arab blood had no great scope in the days of the prophet. Also, when Mahomet attacked the Koreiss near Mecca there were but two horses recorded in his whole army ; and at the close of that campaign, though in his spoils there are enumerated 40,000 sheep, 24,000 camels, and 24,000 ounces of silver, no horses are recorded in the plunder.
JDhe unexpected success of any racehorse in his generation has always the effect of raising the 2»'es%e of his parents, however " unfashionably-bred " he may be, according to received ideas. The victories of Favonius and Cremome have caused a run upon Parmesan, who, though a neat little stayer, was in himself never the class of a Derby winner. Lady Elizabeth's brilliant two-year-old career caused a similar run upon Trumpeter, who now proves a comparative failure. Kangaroo's brief flash in the pan caused his dam Yarra Yaira to be unearthed from servitude, to become a distinguished stud matron. Looking back to far earlier years, we read in "Smith's Breeding of the Turf," that Marsk, sire of Eclipse (who was foaled in 1764), was sold at the sale of the Duke of Cumberland's stud for a mere trifle, and was suffered to run almost wild in the New Forest. He was afterwards purchased for 1000 guineas, and before his death covered at 100 guineas. Squirt, his sire, when the property of Sir Harry Harpen, was ordered to be shot, and while he was actually on his way to the dog kennel was spared at the intercession of one of Sir Harry's grooms.
The following advertisement appears in some of the London papers in June last : — " Sport for September for the Nobility and Gentry of Great Britain. — Great Buffalo Hunt — Arrangements have been made by Mr C. S. Dawson, of the Burlington and Missouri River Railroad Company, for a Grand Buffalo Hunt (suitable in every way for the nobility and gentry of Great Britain) in September next, on the magnificent prairies of Nebraska and Colorado, and in the valley of the Republican River, well known rich pastures and f aveurite feeding ground of the buffalo. This beautiful country abounds in every kind of game, buffalo, elk, antelope, Jwild turkey, prairie chicken, &c. Trusty guides and scouts, both white men and Indians, have been secured under the command of Mr Ward Manley, for many years United States scout, and celebrated as a buffalo hunter. The commissariat will be in charge of Mr J. N. Townley, of the Tichenor House, Lincoln, Nebraska, who will personally superintend and provide all the luxuries of a first-class hotel during the three weeks of tent life on the plains. Return steamship and railroad tickets, Pullman palace sleeping cars, hotel accommodation, tents, saddle horses, waggons, everything provided except liquors, cigars, rifle, and ammunition, for Ninety Guineas. The tickets hold good for six months. For full particulars apply to the Burlington and Missouri River Railroad Company, 16 South Castle street, Liverpool ; 25 Moorgate street, London ; 59 Robertson" street, Glasgow. References to bankers if reqxiired." The Daily News commends the scheme, but enquires, " Why confine the invitation to the 'nobility and gentry V Our middle classes are uncommonly generous patrons of sport. They it is who send up the prices of Scotch and Yorkshire moorß and Irish woodcock coverts, who try Norway for salmon, and who spare neither expense nor exertion in their several recreatipns," The Paily
News suggests that the Buffalo Hunt Company should carry its own" artist. "By this means it might become an annual institution, like the Derby or the Oxford and Cambridge boat race."
The following circular has been sent round to several yachtsmen in England. Opinions are about equally divided a& to whether it is a bonafide circular or a squib. — Wanderer. — " Britannia rule the Wave. Prospectus of the National Subscription Yacht Enterprise. Mr C. R. Webb is now in England collecting funds from interested parties, sufficient to build a racing yacht, to be called the Britannia, that will restore to the United Kingdom, in a yachting point of view, the supremacy of the seas. Twenty, one years ago the N. Y. yacht America won the Exhibition Cup at the Isle of Wight, which is still in possession of the N.Y.Y.C. Mr Webb proposes to build his racer upon extreme principles, which he has maintained as being the acme of speed, and is confident of a successful issue. The projector of this affair being a practical builder and navigator, will manage the business throughout, build and sail her to America, and there, under the patronage of the yachting fraternity of Great Britain, contend against every obstacle, odds, time, or place, for the Cup of '51 and the sovereignty of old Neptune's wide domain. The requisite amount to enforce the expedition will be about £3,000, which will be retained where the yacht is built, somewhere on English soil. The yacht will sail for N.Y. in June, 1873. After having returned the same year with the Cup, Mr Webb will hold her as his own for having adopted the above means of accomplishing a mission, which, if favoured by the spirited portion of the community, will form an interesting episode in the future yachting annals of the nation. Mr Webb appeals to the enthusiasm of the yachting circles to aid him in performing this task, all funds subscribed thereto by the clubs to be held by their respective secretaries until required, after having commenced to build."
The Field has it upon the authority of the champion of the Wagga-Wagga hero, the honourable gentleman who represents Guildford in the Commons House of Parliament, Mr Guilford Onslow, that he (Mr Onslow) " was at one time one of the four best chess players inEngland." We are rejoiced to hear the exhilarating fact. We experience a thrill of ecstatic emotion upon learning that a gentleman who has attained such a position in his country's chief palaver house as to have been once mentioned as a safe candidate for the chairmanship of committees, has yet been able to make himself a proficient in the king of sedentary games. Our gladsomeness is the more intense because of our previous ignorance. We never heard of Guilford Onslow as a chess-player, and, although it has been our chief business in this world to recognise and be familiar with such gentlemen as have achieved distinction in this department of intellectual art, we are free from the littleness of envy, and would readily confess our negligence and remissness if we had any authority but his own for the conclusion that we ought to have counted him amongst the " four best chess players in England." There are more than four good players of the game at present to be found ' ' between the four seas" which guard these isles, and it is no small honour to be counted amongst the members of the premier quartette. Chess is no child's play. The best of men may be vanquished by a pawn. A Master of Arts has frequently been vanquished by a rook. A Prime Minister (himself able to create dukes) has before now been cornered by a knight. The complication of chances is illimitable ; but, luckily, Mr Onslow supplies us with a solution. He confesses that the " claimant " has beaten him — one of tne four best players — "two games out of three." We take him at his word, and we breathe again. Our best commentary is couched in a question, which may be pertinent or may not— Were both the games scored to, the Claimant won by the " Fool's Mate V
The Examiner says : -" It is clear that racing has lost caste, although it is difficult to determine where precisely the change for the worse has begun. We all seem to feel that in the old days racing was as national and as manly an amusement as cricket, and that it is now as little worth preservation as prize-fighting itself. That the change nmst have begun as soon as a body of men grew up who made it their business to live by racing, and to make money ou t of it, it is easy enough to see. This change has taken place somewhere within the last twenty years. It is now thoroughly effected. And all that still keeps racing alive is the old prestige yet lingering round it, of the days when it was an honourable sport conducted by honourable gentlemen. Hence it is that year by year the Derby has become more and more vulgarised. Ten years ago it was a great national event. Twenty years ago it was the great national event of the year. Now it is fast sinking into a supetjor port
of suburban carnival, the special property of betting men and licensed victuallers. Year by year the character of the visitors to ' our national Olytnpia ' perceptibly deteriorates ; ' the road clown ' becomes less and less select ; ' the road back ' becomes more and more rowdy and disreputable. Year by year it becomes easier and easier for our public moralists to point to the sad and dark side of the picture, and less and less easy for that talented person — our special correspondent — to awaken enthusiasm by his tentimes repeated sketches of the Downs and of the ' event ' itself. In short, the day is fast approaching when the Echo will discover that the Derby is not a more ' beautiful ' or ' wonderful ' sight than is the City and Suburban, or the Chester Cup, or the Hampton Tradesmen's Stakes, or any other similar piece of pot-hunting. "
The Field discourses as follows on the present aspect of sporting in England :—: — " At times a shriek arises about the worship of athleticism. The ball is set going through a letter in the Times, and, though every cricket match and boating match of consequence during the season has been attended by thousands of spectators, and chronicled to exhaustion by hundreds of vivid pens, we are treated to the old sermon on the danger of over-culture, intellectual and corporal. We have the venerable statistics on the subject reproduced with unfailing regularity and emphasis, and then the theme dies out, faints off in fitful paragraphs, to be revived again with a similar history. Even shooting does not escape the occasional reproaches of tenderhearted critics, <vho, at a fixed interval,
are prepared to dash off a cheery welcome to the men who start for the moors in August. Hunting, on which praises are lavished now and again, is condemned for its cruelties to foxes or injuries to agriculture, or for the occurrence of a catastrophe of an altogether exceptional and unusual description. At the bottom of this kind of vacillating temper displayed on sporting topics there is, we admit, a pretty constant admission of the benefit and utility of our national pastimes taken altogether. No matter what the Saturday Review may urge to the contrary, people will still continue to regard the turf from the use and abuse point of view. The discreditable associations will be as readily and as definitely ignored and condemned by the friends and admirers of horse-racing, as by the enemies of anything in horseflesh capable of going faster than a four wheeler hack. It is both unjust and irrational to confound the turf with the degrading practices of the worst lot who force themselves upon it. Do we judge of the Bar by the class of counsel who accept qiiarter fees from Solomon Pell ? of the attorney profession from Solomon Pell him self ? of the medical faculty from Dr Kahn 1 of the morality of public entertainments in London from the spectacle of the judge and jury in Leicester sq\iare 1 and again, the amount of downright nonsense and twaddle that has been published on betting will probably cause a reaction not favourable to the views of those who persistently employ the word ' plunger ' and ' blackleg ' in connection with every one who may back a favourite for a £5 note. Young men are solemnly warned about the road to ruin that lies through the Turf. We are quite willing to join in these admonitions to a certain extent. In the first place, the plunger is by no means the common object he is represented to be m books and smart articles. Hundreds and hundreds of men lay aside a few pounds in the year sufficient to give them a passing pleasant excitement and interest in various races, and the amount is such that they are not in the least inclined to try and break the bank at Hombourg if they win, or commit suicide if they lose. This dramatic idealisation is seldom indeed to be found in real life. Nor can we believe that the boy who robs the till to spend the proceeds with the betting man is so ordinary a creature as we might be led to suppose. It is likely that music halls, and the anxiety to share in the pleasure of these concerns, operates more strongty in impelling a lad to make free with his master's money-box, than an impulse to stake heavily on horses. However, we grant that these matters are fair themes and texts for disparaging criticisms ; we only claim for the turf what we claim for sport generally — judgment on its specialties, when these are discriminated, and not wholesale verdicts on the immorality and mischief of pursuits which have been described by Mr Gladstone as " noble, manly, and distinguished."
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Otago Witness, Otago Witness, Issue 1086, 21 September 1872
SPORTING NOTES. Otago Witness, Issue 1086, 21 September 1872
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