WILLIAM BAY'S REMINISCENCES.
(Concluded.) The late Lord Glasgow also finds a place amongst the pleasant chitchat of the neatlybound red volume. And here we must pay the author a deserved compliment for his felicitous manner of description. Every minute detail of what is now considered the quaiut costume of the last generation is faithfully set forth. Here is a portrait of my Lord of Glasgow, one of the most eccentric characters that the Turf has known, and some remarks referring to his wellknown horse General Peel : — " The late Lord Glasgow was, I might almost hay as all the world knows, a most eccentric character in all that he did or undertook to. do in racing. He, too, affected his own style of dress, wearing nankeen trousers too short for him, or, as the Irishman would say, having the habit of putting his legs too far through them. He wore a waistcoat of the same material, of faulty cut, a dark blue coat with plain brass buttons, and a tall hat. And, so attired, he rode on horseback each day to &cc the races at Newmarket. A top cdat apparently he scorned. I never remember seeing him in one, no matter what the weather. He had as many, or more, trainers thani anyone I can think of, and jockeys in like superabundance. It would, indeed, be impossible to enumerate them all. " I call to mind that when Mr Thomas Dawson was his trainer, and won the Two Thousand for him with General Peel, the night before the race his lordship took me to see the horse in the stable, being accompanied by Mr Gerard Sturt, now Lord Alington, and several other noblemen. He bid me feel his legs, and note the size of his cannon-bone. I can candidly say I don't remember ever feeling any other so large. He was by no means a tall horse, but very strong, and ou this occasion looked remarkably well aud iit to run. He was afterwards beaten in the Derby by Blair Athol, to whom he again ran second for the St. Leger. " Lord Glasgow was hasty in temper, and when irritated was not particular in his choice of words, having, indeed, his own special vocabulary of peculiar expletives. But his temper may have been largely due to the fact that he was a martyr to acute neuralgia in the back of his neck, which he was always seen rubbing with one hand or the other. It is said that when he won he on several occasions gave the stakes to Aldcroft, his favourite jockey ; but this, I should think, wants confirmation. He left Mr Scott in an unmanly way, saying that he did not want ' a. brougham trainer,' an inapt reflection, which probably no one but his eccentric lordship could have conceived. He was occasionally condoled with by some of his compeers on his extraordinary run of ill-luck, to which he would reply by saying, • No one could be unlucky that had £150,000 a year.' He had a great number of named and unnamed brood mares and stallions, fQals, and yearlings, at the time of his death, besides his horses in training. These he bequeathed to his friends the late General Peel and Mr George Payne, with a certain reservation that they were not to be sold, but raced. They ran in the latter gentleman's name, but, out of compliment to the donor, always in the deceased nobleman's colours — red and whice." The varied experiences of Mr Joseph Parker, who owned a number of good horses, including Teddy, Aldford, Grosvenor, Cardinal Wiseman, Cedric, Sutherland, Tame Deer, Noisy, One Act, Joe Miller, and Avenger are given due prominence. Mr Parker was quite a character, and we find in Mr Day's charming gossipy narration quite a picture of London life 'in those days, which we cannot refrain from, quoting : — " Mr Parker's association in the afternoon as well as evening with a jovial little fellow like OwenJ3wift, gave him a taste for boxing ; and he became, I believe, one of the best amateurs of his day in England. Though by no means bad-tempered naturally, at times when he had taken a little to drink he was inclined to be quarrelsome, and would then fight anyone, though he were big as a giant. But he was by no means averse to having ' a set-to ' with anyone at any time for the love of the science, and seldom got the worst of the encounter. On one occasion he had a few words with a tailor, which ended in an undecided battle that lasted nearly all the afternoon. " I am reminded, when I call to mind Mr Parker and his doings in those days, of the change that fi.is come over our habits. If there be fast living in the present day, it is carried on in. a different way. Then was, in fact, the era of fast living, and thu turuiug of a large portion of the night into day. After dinner came the theatre ; then the C-hsino or Evans', to hear the mighty chorus and sup ; next the Cider Cellars, or the Coal Hole, where Chief Baron Nicholson tried all the mm. con. cases over again, and displayed his tableaux vivants. After 12 or 1 a.m. Bennet might be seen with his lovely ' rose ' in his retreat in Jermyn street, where an unrivalled collection of female beauty was always on view, displaying thei/ delicate charms in the most attractive way until daylight appeared. In Panton street, and in other houses in the Haymarket, amusements could be found for all classes or any age, to suit their respective tastes and pockets. Thence the pleasure - seekers would repair to that pandemonium known as Regent Quadrant, where at night and early morning could be seen persons of all degrees — reputable and disreputable, old aud young, of both sexes — in various stages of inebriety, whose pursuits it is scarcely healthful to describe. Such were some of the nightly amusements with which in those days it was thought no disgrace to be identified. Others would prefer an evening at Ben Caunt's, Johnny Broom's, or Owen Swift's, to whose places most men of fashion would repair just for the last glass. Cock-fighting, badger-baiting, and man-fighting, in all their hideousness, could be provided on the shortest notice. With the razing of the Quadrant to the ground, and the closing of the public-houses at 12.30, the night-houses were done away with, and the worst features of this ' life ' swept away ; and it can scarcely be that any more sensible steps were ever taken by the guardians of the public peace and morals. "Mr Parker's courage, as I have shown, was undoubted. In fact, as we say in racing parlance, he came of a good stock, and wa<i well bred for a pugilist. His father delighted in the science, and used to thrash his farm labourers if they offended him in anything. The old man broke his thigh after he was sixty years old, and amputation of the leg followed. But he recovered, and with the assistance of a wooden limb and a crutch he used to attend Chester market most weeks, and bad several battles there. He would throw away his crutch and plant his back against a wall (if one could be found), and hit his opponents with such terrific force that they soon gave in. Mr Parker himself was in height about five feet eleven inches, and weighed twelve stone. He walked extremely upright in rather a swaggering style, and cared for no man. At the age of twenty his hair was quite grey — a peculiarity of the family — and soon after becimo white. He received a liberal education at a grammar school in the neighbourhood, at
Farndon, and amongst other accomplishments wrote a splendid hand. In all business transactions he was precise, and paid his training and other accounts with punctuality to a penny." Another Danebury worthy, Mr J. J. Farquharson, was a gentleman who raced in a different scyle from most people. His peculiar view of training was that horses should neither be broken nor trained until they were four years' old. The well-known sportsman, Lord Howth, o£ Howth Castle, Dublin, the owner of Day Boy, who won the Chester Cup of 1848 from thirtythree opponents, is referred to in eulogistic lan- ' guage by Mr Day, who pays a high tribute to' his excellent judgment : — " I think he raced more in Ireland than here* and no one knew better the form of Irish horses. He made my father buy St. Lawrence, which won him" many races ; and I can't forget that it was through Lord Howfch's acuteness in finding out Sultan, and his kindness in writing to me and saying, •Heis a charming horse ; come and look at him and I am sure you will buy him,' that I secured that animal for Lord Anglesey. In consequence of this invitation I went over to Howth Castle, where I was received with much kindness, and treated with true Irish(hospitality. I saw Sultan at Slane Castlel'Lord Cunningham's seat, and paid 1000 sovereigns for him ; and Lord Howth, I remember, was good enough to send on his groom with' 'him -to Woodyates. The horse was about the only good animal Lord Anglesey ever possessed, winning the Cambridgeshire for him, beating Mary ' second, Dame Judith third, and a large field very easily. Soon after this Lord Howth had a filly to sell, called Termagant, good for little, or was thought so, I should suspect. He parted with her for 1000 sovereigns to Lord Anglesey, ' but, be it said to his praise, without mentioning the matter to me in any way. I was lucky enough to win the Chesterfield Cup at Goo£ wood with her, after which she soon changed hands, which was even more fortunate, as it was, I believe, her sole victory. " Lord Howth was not one of those who want to see their horses run every day ; nor did' he wish to see their names amongst the list of winners unless he had backed them. He would abide his opportunities, even if he had to wait years for them ; and when they did come, he seldom made a mistake/ In short, he was a model of sagacity in Turf matters. He usually stood in 'a pony' with me on anything I backed of my own for a handicap, but as a rule he preferred it should be on one of the long races at Newmarket or Goodwood." Here is a photograph of Lord Howth : " I was at first struck with his lordship's ' get up.' He was dressed in a light suit of clothes, and trousers that came no lower than bis knees, leaving his legs bare to his boots, into which his socks, if he had any on, must have disappeared. I never saw the like of the dress before or after, yet I am not sure that it is not a good one for its special purpose ; for in walking after rain or heavy dew through high turnips and rape or clover heads, you might as, well be walking through a river so far as the use of any description of leggings may serve to keep out the wet." Mr Frederick Swindell is also treated of at some length, and his shrewdness, capacity, and coolness under the most trying circumstances are dilated upon. The author holds a very high estimate of Mr Swindell's strength of character, as witness the appended : — " Every action of his life was characterised by prudence. One of his earliest precautions was the investment of a sum that would bring him in £100 a ypar, ' just to keep me and the missus,' as he phrased it. ' The rest I can play with,' he said. He lived for some time at 18 Berkeley square, until, being offered a good premium, he copped,' and disposed of his bargain. He then went to Craven Hill, and afterwards to Barnes, by the side of the river, until he settled in 'his own house, Royal Crescent, Brighton, where, he died. He had his faults— who has not? And ' he had especially to fight against the lack of education. He was, as I have said, never out of temper— neither chagrined by defeat nor elated at success. I never heard him swear or , speak evil of anyone in jest or seriously. Of him it may be truly said ; He was not a 'pipe for Fortune's fingers to sound what stop she pleases.' He never would allow anyone to open the front door but himself when at home, and this he would do fifty times a day or more. His object in this, I imagine, was that he did not want anyone to know but himself who came ; and then, as he used to say, ' they ' (meaning his servants) • could not tell anyone.' " The lattcr's partner, Mr Farrance, is also descanted ou, and then Mr Day proceeds to say a few words about his Danebury patrons. Mr Harry Biggs is first mentioned. ' " Mr Harry Biggs, then, I take as my first example of the thorough sportsman. He commenced racing in 1807, raced like a gentleman for some forty years, and left a name unsullied in Turf history. His country seat was- at Stockton, in Wiltshire. In his youth he was noted for his ready wit and facetiousness, and for his attention to the fair sex. He was fond of sport in whatever shape. He coursed ; was a great admirer of boxing, and somewhat proficient in the use of his hands ; and he revelled in cocking, a gentlemanly recreation in those days. But his chief delight was in racing, pure and simple, and he raced for the love of the sport. He was wealthy, or had ample means for the continuance of such pleasures as he indulged in without looking for the addition of success. He had many serviceable horses. Amougst them were the following : — Pounce, Whisk, Arrian, Clara Eleus, Thessalus, Margaretta, Miss Baddesley, Buxom Lass, and Negress. But I think Little Red Rover was the best he had, for with him he secured many valuable stakes. It was when riding him at Goodwood my father gained the sobriquet of ' Honest John,' with which his name has ever since been identified by race-goers both of the old and present school." Here is another Danebury patron :—: — " Lord Palmerston kept horses with my father about the year 1817, and had several good ones. Amongst his early possessions may be mentioned Enchantress, Ranvilles, Bioudetta, Luzborough, Black and All Black, Foxbury, and Grey Leg ; and, later, Toothill, Iliona, Zeila, Korasey, Dactyl, aud Buckthorn. But I think that, m racing circles, he will be better known as the owner of Iliona than by any other. In early life his lordship was always credited with being poor ; and, until be married, anything like a substantial cheque was acceptable to him. And it may be imagined readily that ou this event coming off, when my lather, on his return from Newmarket, handed him one which included not only the Cesarewitch Stakes, but a fair bum in bets, after deducting his little account, which had been for some years outstanding, his lore:ship was not a little pleased." Mr Day believes that training and riding have very much improved of late years, and that rapid strides have been made towards perfec tiou in the manege, and that part of it which teaches the art of riding. He, is also of opinion thab Foxhall is the greatest horse that he e^et
trained, and that his Cambridgeshire victory \?as, perhaps, the most marvellous performance on record. " In the latter race he met the very best field that ever ran for it "or any other handicap. To show this, I ueed only remark that he gave Lucy "Glitters (who had just run third iv the St. Leger, being only beaten a length and three-quarters from Iroquois) 2£st, Tristan 19lb, Corrie Roy 371b. These the next year were about the two best four-year-olds in England. Moreover, he gave Wallenstein and Piraeus, two fairly good four-year-olds, 291b and 351b respectively, and Etona 11. 441b, a horse that had won a welter handicap with 9st 41b ou him, and having winners, of . several races behind him. Besides, in the thirty-one horses that ran in the Cambridgeshire that year were Bend Or.(winner of the Derby in 1880), Peter, Petronel,' Scobell, and many other of our fastest horses. Foxhall evidently was thus 161b or 181b bettor, than Iroquois, winner of that year's Derby and St. .Leger. For Bend Or in the Cambridgeshire gave Foxhall 81b for the year, and received more than that beating ; and to Scobell Foxhall gave 151b and 51b or 71b beating. Bend Or gave Iroquois 141b in the Champion Stakes, and Scobell met f" m at even weights, and both defeated him easily. •• " I have said nothing about Tristan's performance on this occasion, but I may refer to it, for many people have said that he was unlucky in being beaten, and that Foxhall was fortunate in \ winning. But this opinion is entirely fallacious. To see this we have onlyt'o look at Tristan's running with Scobell when the latter beat him at even weights easily ; and as I have before shown that Foxhall was at least 191b to 201b better than Scobell, it follows that he must have been that much better than Tristan, and therefore that the best horse won, and without the assistance of luck, which at times is very useful and welcome to us all when it comes." We have made copious extracts from Mr William Day's latest literary contribution. They, however, only convey a slight idea of the contents, as the book is replete with authentic anecdotes and charming jeux d'esprits. It should be on the library table of every lover of the sport of kings. Without appearing to indulge in an ultra-laudatory strain, we have no hesitation in saying that "William of Woodyeates " — the name that originally stamped him as a racing celebrity — has excelled himself, and his " Reminiscences " form a worthy addition to his, primary production, " The Race Horse in Training."
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WILLIAM BAY'S REMINISCENCES., Otago Witness, Issue 1798, 7 May 1886
WILLIAM BAY'S REMINISCENCES. Otago Witness, Issue 1798, 7 May 1886
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