TALK OF THE DAY.
One day since last publication I paid a visit to Mr S. Mercer's training stables, opposite the gate of the Forbury oourse. I think that Sam must have the instincts of an old " shellback," for he is particular enough to suit an eld maid, and has his place as tidy and clean as a new pin, there being no trace of a bad smell about the premises. The stable originally consisted of three boxes, but Mr Mercer has added another three, each 13 x 12, all being well lighted, ventilated, and drained, while the boys' room attached to the establishment contains ample accommodation for four sleepers.
The first box I was taken into was tenanted by Gold Dust, an aged chestnut mare by Papapa out of Lady Grey that was brought ap from Southland, and ran respectably at Toko, and Dunedin. She had a foal by Hilarious last spring, and was covered by Everton Lad, to whom she is now in foal. Gold Dust is a useful htamp of a mare? being very compactly framed, with powerful shoulders, good quarters, and an cxcelleut set of legs ; but as a picture horse sbe is at a disadvantage, owing to her rather short neck and coarse head.
Mr H. Goodman bought Gold Dust for £28 at the Dunedin Anniversary meeting, his idea being that she would be a serviceable member to lead his youngsters at exercise. But tbe mare oa being brought on to the course displayed a certain amount of perversity. This iier new owner had not bargained for, and concluding that the first loss would be the best he t xpressed his willingness to lose a fiver on her. 'j he offer was no sooner uttered than it was t napped up, and the mare is now the property of Mr S. Mercer, who thinks he can make something out of her as soon as cshe is properly-sub-jugated. The taming process is already well ;.ilvanced, and I hope that the patience and care being expended on her will be rewarded.
The occupant of the next box is an unnamed four-year-old grey, by Le Loup out of an Arab mare. He is the property of a Taieri owner, and is untried either hi public or in private, and it is hard to say as yet how he will turn out; but as he is a strong looking horse with good legs, it is quite on the cards that he may make a name for himself.
His next door neighbour is SbifnaJ, of whom nothing need be said further than that he is the picture of health, and in very forward condition. He would probably have made a better show in the Shag Valley Handicap had he been roused along instead of playing a waiting game, for ho has the character of being rather bluggish.
The next member I saw was a three-year • old filly named May Bell, by Chancellor out of a mare known as Blue Bell. She is only just off the grass, but has evidently been pretty well cared for, and is, I think, tbe making of a racer. An'upstanding mare, with the quarters of her sire, evenly made all over, with the exception of a diminutive head, and legs thac promise to stand atiy amount of wear and tear, I shall not be surprised to hear of her winning a decent race if her trainer has ordinary luck with her.
Sweetbriar's fore legs have lately swelled in the fetlock joints, and this gives the limbs an unsightly appearance. But, strange to say, the swelling is not puffy, as can be readily found by running tbe fingers over tfce affected parts, and though these Jumps are a distinct blemish they do not seem to interfere with the action — the proof of which is that the swelling was worse than it now is when tbe mare won her races at th«> Forbury and Palmerston lately. ' Mr Anderson's Baker, until lately an inmate of this stable, baa been blistered and turned one, and this departure leaves an empty box, which Mr Mercer would like to fill with a good trotter. Friar's Balsam, who, by the way, occupies Ormonde's old hex at KtngseJere, is at evens for th<- Two Thousand, or was at the date, of last advicis. All going well with this colt, he will compete in the spring classic races and then have " a spell till the St. Leger. Sword Dance haying turned up, bis, toes so early in bis career, we shall ' only have one season's foals by which to determine the pro-
blem as to 'whether he" was or was 'not 'a good purchase for the Auckland Stud Company. Thia is a question over which, in private, there is some difference of opinion, but the point is not worth arguing now. A living dog is better than a dead lion, and few care very much now whether the defunct stallion was likely to turn out a success or a failure.
The main point of interest in connection with the matter is, what are the company going to do to replace his loss ? I for one hope that they will not go 12,000 miles to find Sword Dance's successor, when there are first-class colonial-bred horses to be got. The public will be anxious to know the company's decision on this point.
There were 22 nominations short of the stipulated 80 reqnired by the Kerapton Park executive before they guaranteed £3000 for the. Jubilee Stakes, but the promoters did not reduce the prize, and it is estimated that the race will land them in a loss of £1200 or £1300. The acceptances, however, number 43, which is more than was expected. Minting is top weigh!; with lOst, then come Harpenden, Kilwarlin, and Merry Hampton, each Bst 131b; followed by Fullerton (Bst 81b), Exmoor (Bst 71b), &c. The race is to be run on the 11th May.
Mr Gore's jumping horse, Wildboy, is to be turned loose for a fortnight or so. His legs give his owner some anxiety.
The sum of £1386 was passed through the totalisator at the Paimerston meeting. . It was. a bit of luck for' Messrs Mason and Roberts that they themselves, together with the assistant, were not passed through the machine on that memorable afternoon. Had it not been for the presence of mind of one of the partners iv procuring a rope and lashing the totalisatorhouse to the ground, the frail caboose would probably have been turned upside down, and it isn't 100 to' l'that the whole concern would not have been projected piecemeal into the Shag. Mason and Roberts well earned their percentage in taking these unlooked-for risks.
For uncertainty, it is level betting as between racehorses and this year's weather. In a late number of a Home paper we are told that Veracity was a smart two-year-old, but since then appears to have quite lost form. This is the colt that won tho Lincolnshire. And the remark I quote is the only mention I can find of him in English papers up to the first week of February. • t Pleasant Point races were held on the 22nd ult. Malvina won the Hurdle Race; Hollywood, the Maiden Plate ; Miss Webster (7st 101b) the Cup, beating Derby (9st) and College Boy (Bst 91b), a protesc on account of the last-named, on the ground that he had been run off the course by Derby, being disallowed ; the St. Patrick's Handicap was a walk-over for College Boy; Randall won the Selling Hack Race ; and the Time Trot fell to Tom. Messrs Cowie and Co. passed £333 through the apparatus.
A small stand has been erected on the Riverton course.
Ihe English jockey Rossiter, who tried to cut his throat at Newmarket some time ago, has been more successful in Germany. In a fit of delirium he nearly cut his head off.
The suggestion referred to in another column, that some provision should be made for would-be investors at c. distance having an opportunity of putting their money on the totalisator, is one that commends itself at first sight ; indeed it is a strange thing that no one has thought of it before. Secretaries have enough work cast on them nowadays to get through their ordinary duties, and the managerial arrangements are at high pressure all the afternoon; but it would be a simple matter for each club to depute the responsibility to someone who might be allowed a commission on the receipts. lam satisfied that the idea is worth considering, at any rate.
Some of the folk in the Old Country say that Wood will apply for his riding license again in three months' time ; and it is thought possible that Barrett may get permission to wear silk again before the Derby is run. The Duke of Beauforb is said to be espousing Barrett's cause.
From the full details of the Greymouth races now to hand we are informed of the particulars of the race for the Brunnerton Handicap, which Madonna won on a protest, paying a dividend of over £82. It seems that the finish was merely a match between Tarantalus (Bst 51b) and Madqnna (6sb 101b), these two clearing out from the others. Tarantalus gained a slight lead of tho mare, and bored her right against the fence, causing her to be checked in her stride. The .public at once yelled " Foul," aud several witnesses testified before the meeting of stewards that in their opinion the cross was a deliberate one. The judge, Mr F. Kent, made no bones about giving his thoughts on the subject, and averred be had never seen a more deliberate case of crossing since he bad officiated on the course. There were only three investors on Madonna, so that for once in a way the crowd did not clamour for the decision that best suited their pockets. Moody was the victim of bad fortune in the Hurdle Race on ,the second day. He was at Dusk's heels at one of'the jumps, when the lastnamed struck the hurdle with his hind feet and knocked it down, Moody being hit by the hurdle and severely cut on two of his legs. This acoidont took all the go out of Moody, . and he was defeated by Royalty by best part of a length. Dusk, the author of the trouble, came to grief at the hurdle succeeding the one he struck, and had no hand. in the finish.
The sum of £3701 was handled by the totalisator proprietors during the two days of the Groymouth meeting. This is £613 more than last year. Cranbrook, Abercorn, and Volley are first foals.
The latest Australian notion is international horso-racing. The Hon. J. White's projected raid on the English turf has prompted this idea ; aud we now find a Melbourne writer of repute suggesting the possibility of further enterprise of a wholesale character in the same direction, and the hope U expressed that the compliment might be returned . by English owners sending horses out to compete in the rich stakes of Victoria. I fancy that this dream will never be realised. Flushed with his success in Australia, and sighiug for other fields of conquest, it is easy to understand the Hon. J. White's desire to win an Epsom Derby. He is rich, and can afford to indulge his caprice, and we all wish him success, for he might spend his money is a worse 'way. But for all that the idea of taking racehorses to England is merely a fad; it cannot be considered a thought-out commercial venture, and I think that other owners .in both hemispheres will await the result of the experiment before imitating the Hon. J. White in this respect. My reason for styling the enterprise a fad is simply this : that there is a serious obstacle to success — au elementary obstacle that will probably prove insurmountable. I refer to the difference in the climate of the two countries. Australian horses may do very well in India, the question as between these too places being nothing more than a few degrees of heat.; but to transport a horse from the range of a Sjdney " brickfialder " to- the fogs and frosts of an English spring is to subject the animal to a trial of constitution that only one in a dozen will emerge from without serious- damage. And the same objection would apply to the case of an
English' Horse brought to Australia! Racehorses' j are notoriously delicate, and susceptible to seasonal changes, and it' seems to me, that horsed reared in these opposite climes can never meet on equal terms. It would always be 6 to 4 on the local representative. It would, however, not be entirely unreasonable to suppose that a Christchurch or Otagobred horse might do fairly well if 'landed safely in the Old Country. The passage is a little longer, certainly, but a few days more or less on board ship would make less difference than the transference from a -torrid to a frigid climate, or vice versa. Some day possibly we may see this notion carried out ; but not for years to come. Hon. J. Whites are rarities; and we don't grow them here, not just at present.
One of the few Traducer horses now on the turf' is The Curate, who r,an second to Erin-go-bragh in the Ladies' Purse at Rabbit Island.
' Totalisator at Waikouaiti, £529 ; or £224 less than last year. ' ' Tho first of Idalium's stock to win a race — at least it is the first of which I have any knowledge — is a three-year-old named Highland Chief, who' pulled off the Maiden Plate at the Peninsula meeting last week. , Maniac's poor performance in the Palmerston Trot is explained by the rough course causing the horse to strike himself, after which he would not try. It would have been some compensation for braving the diabolical weather to have seen this nag and Duchess fighting out a finish. 1 ,
Orangeman, who keeps on winning jumping races in the neighbourhood of Auckland, is out of alPeter Flat mare. Not many of these at tho stud now, I should think, for Peter Flat's foaling took place 35 years ago.
Last week I saw M'Donald riding about on a rather likely-looking nag, and on making inquiries I found it was old Mokarakara, very much in the rough — unrecognisable in fact as a racer — but looking sound and lusty. Cotton has put the Ham horse into training again, and has hopes of getting another race out of this old slave.
The Brazilian Government have purchased the English horse Gay Hermit, by Hermit, for £4500, and he is intended for stud purposes at Buenos Ayres.
Jack Kean fell into the harbour while superintending the shipping of Escutcheon at Sydney.
By a singular coincidence exactly the same amount was passed through the totalisator on both days of the Nelson meeting, viz., £1153, giving a total of £2306, or £1067 less than last year.
Audacity, who .has been running very well in the North Island lately, is a son of Randwick and Elsa ; not by Foul Play.
They occasionally trot out some stylish hacks up North. Partner, who won the Hack Handicap at the Napier Park meeting, is by Bundoora out of the Traducer mate Trinket, who was raised at Middle Park. Partner was bred by Mr P. Butler, and' if he follows in the footsteps of The Shah and Strenuous, two others of Patsy's cast-off members, he will be good property.
The contributor of an article on Australian racing to an English paper speaks of the Champion Stakes as "a movable feast, run alternately and annually at the great meetings ;" the sweepstake is said to be "50sovs each ;" and the writer "remembers thatthe race has been run in 5.35." This correspondent has wandered astray in regard to his so-called facts.
Chantilly's horlia arc paid to be troubling him.
Mr H. Goodman's yearling colt by Cadogan out of Maritana may be seen doing regular work at the Forbury every day.
Le Temps is . also in work again, after having had a spell in lavender.
Another of the brothers Allan has come out as a jockey. This is Bob, who can scale sst without difficulty. I saw the youngster riding at Palmerston, and he reminded me of Malcolm Allan as be was when he rode Lady Emma in the Autumn Handicap. If Bob turns out as good as his brothers he will be in demand until he becomes ineligible through weight. Talking of new jockeys, there was another young shaver riding at the Palmerston meeting — Jas. Cotton's son, a dot of a chap that I had never before seen dressed in silk. He certainly has the advantage of having that sort of tuition that should make a fearless rider.
The Napier Park Eacing Club are said to have netted a profit of £550 over the recent race meeting:
Garibaldi has been turned out and will meander about at his own sweet pleasure for the next six months. He has well deserved the spell. Kinloch, a daughter Bundoora, won the Maiden Plate at Little River races last week ; the Hurdle Race and Wairewa Cup fell to Zeta, by Guy Fawkes; and a heretofore unknown member named Slashing Harry pulled off the Publicans' Purse, paying a dividend of £37 16s. The total put through the incorruptible apparatus was £351. Nightshade has left Mr Poole's, having been sent back to her owner.
A lot of sand and new tan has been recently laid down on the inside exercise track at the Forbury.
The Messrs Allan have had Daisy served by Captain Webster, and the mare is now turned out. Her late box is occupied by the trotter Fenian. Blue Nell has been sold and taken away from this stable. Captain Webster is in regular work in view of the D.J.C. May meeting. The three Saints— Clair, James, and Malo — are in the private sale list. In consideration of his accident at Heathcote, I read in the papers that that club voted Bob Derrett five guineas out of their " Distressed Jockeys' Fund." There is something strange about this surely — something that would be none the worse for a little explaining. Is Derrel.t really in distrevss? And if not, is it right that he should get this relief? It is understood that the accident Derrett met with, though of a painful nature, is not likely to keep him long out of the saddle; and considering his long innings as one of our premier jockeys, it is incredible that a temporary lay-up should mean that he is reduced to indigence. Possibly, however, one of the couditions on which this fund is held in trust is that any jockey sustaining an accident is entitled to a certain grant. If so, there is an end of the matter so far' as any objection to Derrett's claim is concerned ; but then the title of tho fund is a misnomer, and should be altered so as not to convey false impressions. Perhaps those who have the admiuistering of this money will kindly supply such information as will answer the questions I have raised— questions that have doubtless suggested themselves to others as well as to me. The public have a distinct and indefeasible right to know how these things are managed.
It may be worth remembering that Reputawon the two-mila Hurdle Race at the "Wellington meeting. It seems to have been a true run race, there being no refusals and no mishaps ; consequently the fact is worth noting as a guide to future events. Orator, my selection for the Autumn Handicap, just managed to score first honours, beating Dudu by a neck. As the last?
mentioned was*coric'eding'l9lb there bToAfc'nftich credit in Orator's performance, for Dudu herself, though a smart filly, was easily 'dressed down by Cruchfield in the Wanganui Derby, and this colt is a bit inferior to the' best, of his year. Taking a line through these performances, I should say that Orator is not within two stone of a first- classer; still he won, and the best could have done' no more.
Derelict, by Robinson Crusoe from Beatrice, has been purchased in New Soubh Wales on behalf of au American owner.
I regret to have to announce that "Mr A. Walker " contemplates retiring from the ranks of horseowners. • '
The Hon. Mr J. White's winnings in stakes this season, up to the conclusion of the V.R.C. meeting, amounted to £14,910. M,r R. H: ' Fry, one of the prominent members of the English betting ring, has been giving a client some idea ox the extent of a big bookmaker's business. The customer asked whether Mr Fry made any bad debts, and the penciller expressed himself as very well satisfied. Naturally' he had some bad debts, some of which he did not expect would ever be made good ; but, on the whole, he thought the proportion of these was .very reasonable. "1 am curious to know, if it's not asking an injudicious question, what amount you have on your books ; but I don't want to be indiscreet in asking," the customer said. " Oh, there's no reason to be secret about it," Fry rejoined ; " and of course I make up my book at the end of the year. My bad debts are just over three hundred thousand pounds." " Three hundred thousand pounds !" the customer exclaimed, " and don't think that much !" " Well, it's a good' deal of money looked at one way; no -doubt," the bookmaker quietly answered ; " but I don't think it is at all a largo proportion. You see some of my customers bet in heavy sums. I do a big starting-price business as well as what I do on the course, and, taking all the season through, my turn-over is not short of £50,000 a week. If you compare the bad debts I mentioned with these figures you'll see that the average is small, for I've been betting now for a good many years." It would have been going too far to ask Mr Fry how much of the weekly £50,000 he was accustomed to bank ; but it will be perceived that bookmaking is not a bad game — from which it may also be inferred that as a rule backing horses is.
From American papers to hand I learn that Cheviot will probably have another turn at racing before being sent to the stud. The horse was landed on the 21st January, and the Yankees are loud in their praises of the New Zealandbred sire, but one of the scribes goes a step beyond the truth when he speaks of Cheviot having won the Dunedin Cup
Dick 3wiveller has been sold for "650gs to an Indian buyer.
An Australian jockey called^Robinspn, but whose real name was Cuddy, ; was killed at Madras races recently.
Victoria, the seven-year-old daughter of Feve and Memento, has ended her racing career, having met with an accident on Friday last. She was a moderately goodimare, and always paid her way when judiciously placed ; but never managed to pull off a coup in the best company. She was^bred by Mr Alwill, of the Waikato, at the same place at which Victory first saw the light.
Lord William Beresford, of India, is believed to be the purchaser of Moorhouse. The price was 600gs.
The American horse Tremont lately changed hands. at 5000gs.
Prophets make mistakes in places other than New Zealand. ♦• Playfair is a horse that will be outclassed at Aintreo " was the dictum of one of the leading London scribes in the middle of February.
Weights of the placed horses in the Liverpool Spring Cup : Plantagenet, syrs, 7st 121b ; Eilcreene, 6yrs, Bst 21b ; The Sage, 4yrs, 7st.
At the date of last advices by the 'Frisco mail Friar's Balsam had advanced to 2 to 1 taken about his chance in the Derby.
Obituary ; Mr J. H. Walsh (" Stonehenge"), of the Field ; aged 77 years. He had been chief editor of his paper for more than 30 years. Thistle, winner of the Blueskin Cup, is one of the few winning horses claiming Laertes as sire. Blue Nell, who claimed the honours, in the Hack Race, is the cast-off of Allans' stable that figured at the D J.C. meeting.
The opening day of the A.J.C. meeting found the Hon J. White still more than holding his own with those marvellous three-year-olds of his, Carlyon winning the Autumn Stakes easily from Algerian and Arsenal, and Abercocn romping over Australian Peer in the St. Leger. This colt of Mr Gannon'6, by the way, could not have been much amiss, or he would not have been started in this event. The squire of Kirk ham, however, saw his representative beaten in the Sires' Produce Stakes, and Volley was put down by Bonnie Spec in the Trial Stakes — so by comparison with a day at the V.R.C., Saturday last was not a very prosperous one for the popular Sydney owner. On the second day Mitrailleuse upheld the fame of New Zealand by pulling off the stakes in the Flying Handicap, which was a pretty fast run race. The Sydney Cup— a race that attracted no notice whatever in these parts this season — was captured by one of the crack three-year-olds, but not one of the Hon. J. White's this time, Mr Gannon having the felicity of seeing the Derby winner put down Acme and Carlyon. The lastnamed broke down, and finished absolutely last. Heavy weights, long distances, and incessant work are bound to tell their tale in finding out any weak spot in a horse. Springston is the seventh three-year-old that has won the great Autumn Handicap. If , anyone a week ago had said that the race would result in Silvermark being beaten in over 2.42 he would have been laughed at for his pains, for it was generally believed that Mr Goodman's colt could crack 2.38 if it were required of him to do so. The only explanation that suggests itself is that he must have "gone off" after leaving Dunedin, for I am morally sure that he was wanted. Carbine must be a real game one, for he ran under the terrible disadvantage of an enlarged hock, and yet managed to score twice in most severe races. 1 1 can hardly believe that the colt is very bad, or Dan would not run the risk of permanently breaking him down ; still he could not have been at his best. He is pure grit, every inch of him, and I sincerely hope that so good a colt will wear through his three-year-old season, and thus help to keep the punters in funds. Titbit, I notice, gained a place in the Templeton Stakes, which I take to ; be a sign that he is once more regaining some of his lost form ; and it is with a good deal of pleasure that I read that Mr Turnbull pulled off a couple of races with Wolverine and Haka. This Haka is about the best of the Satirists we have yet seen. St. Clair's miserable show in the Autumn Handicap is sufficiently accounted for by the fact that he braised his heel while doing his final gallop. According to telegrams received here the colt had shown his trainer something very nearly good enough to win, but for this unfortunate mishap.
Nominations for the handicaps at the Dunedin Jockey Club's May meeting close on the 14th inst. It will be seen by the full report of the
Auckland 1 races "in' this issue' 'that Sextanfe won ( the Auckland Leger as he- liked, but could only get third place in the Autumn Handicap. Hilda, winner of the Champagne Stakes, is full sister to Artillery. In this issue appears 'a letter from Mr Sydney James In connection with the point of racing law raised by the Briacleaf case. I have already expressed my opinion on the question, bat am free to admit that Mr James gives cogent reasons for espousing the other side. Seeing that this is, so far as I am aware, the first time such a discussion has cropped up in the colony, would it not be wise for the Heathcoto Club to request the metropolitan club to favour us with' a ruling on the point? Or perhaps it would be wise' to refer the question to som9 other tribunal— say the /.R.C, or the English Jockey Club. It is not the part of a sensible man to be too dogmatic about these matters ; and some day or other, as Mr James points out, there may be heavy interests involved in a similar dispute. It is preferable to argue momentous issues in cold blood rather than fight them out when angry passions are aroused.
Farlie Creek races were held on Thursday of last week.> Malvioa won tho Hurdle race ; Iroquois, the Maiden Plate ; the Cup fell to The Brewer, with Derby second, Miss Webster, Nelly, and Hollywood being the other starters; Wire In beat Woodpecker in the County Plate; the Trot went to Guy ; Derby put through The Brewer and Miss Webster in the Easter Handioap; and the Consolation was won by Miss Webster from Hollywood and Nelly. The sum of £638 1 was passed through the machine by Messrs Mason and Roberts.
Seeing the comparative form shown in the Easter Handicap by Apropos and Silvermark, one is led to think on comparing the weights for the two races that Mr Goodman would have very nearly won the Great Autumn Handicap had he relied on Apropos instead of Silvennark — providing, of course, that the mare could get the distance in the onger race, of which I have little doubt.
The Winton programme has been approved by the D.J.C. The sum of £95 10s is to be given in stakes. The date is May 24.
Mr J. Fleming informs me that he has sold his trotting mare Duchess to Mr G. C. Hall, and that she will go to Sydney. Her departure is a great loss to the trotting, turf, for she was one of the gamest and most honest trotters we have ever had in the colony.
Mr Armitage's hunter, All Fours, died on the passage to England.
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TALK OF THE DAY., Otago Witness, Issue 1898, 6 April 1888
TALK OF THE DAY. Otago Witness, Issue 1898, 6 April 1888
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