(" Baily's Magazine.")
The sun is upon the steep slope of Cottington Hill, and bathing in a golden light the brick, and stone and red tiles of the house at its foot. The. .fog. lingers, though on the summit of Cannon Heath, and the outline of Sydmonton Down" is invisible, while the grand view that ought to have been spread before me as I made the. descent into' the valley,. is partially hidden from- the same cause. But the afternoon in its temperature is one that January has' stolen from March, or even late April. The ■ western breeae is balmy, and brings the scent of violets in its train; a top coat feels undesirable, and a handsome Persian cat sunning herself by 1 the portico is evidently under the impression that summer days have 'come. ■ A day/cut out from the dreariness of wintry London ; one on which there' is no reminder of mnddy streets and greasy pavements 1 ; one, I cannot Kelp thinking, expressly made for me as I enter the hall, .and John Porter gives me cordial welcome to his home at Kingsclere. Kingsclere, Highclere, and Burghclere, once upon a. time severally the properly of | the Crown, of the church, and the burghers, i lie within easy distance of each other, a beautiful stretch of down and ; arable land of woods, and running « streams. The small house, built some 30 years ago or more By the late Sir Joseph Hawley,' has grown now into a. handsome residence, replete , with every comfort, surrounded with spacious gardens -and conservatories (not forgetting an orchid house, its owner's pride and hobby), stabling and loose boxes, abodes for the blue blood that occupies them, and has occupied them from the days of Blue Gown, and Rosicrucian downwards. It sprang from "comparatively small beginnings, however, the Kingsclere establishment. Sir Joseph Hawleyhad only stabling for 14 horses, and it was a little while after his death, when Mr Porter purchased the property, that the place began. to assume its present proportions. At that time he was private trainer to Mr' Gretton, bu; the connection was soon .severed, and on Percy of Pimperne's death, Lord Alington, Sir Frederick Johnstqne, and .Lord Portsmouth came, to Kingsclere, and there have remained, to the mutual pleasure, and satisfaction of employers and employed. The Duke of, Westminster about the same time sent his horses there, and what triumphs " the boy in yellow " — chiefly personified by poor Archer and Tom Cannon-^-secured for ■ Kingsclere, I need not I 'at this'timo remind my readers. Shotoverwon the Derby in' the Duke's first year, and though the glory of Ormonde has 1 somewhat eclipsed that of others, the, times when the jacket was "cherry" and not "yellow" are duly-re-membered, 'and ' the boxes that" have' held Blue Gown, Rosicrucian, Pero, .Gomez, Siderolite, The Palmer, &c, are the places of- honour.
| And now Friar's Balsam stands in Ormonde's box, and the hopes of Kingsclere centre, I think, round the dark chestnut. • " I should like to win my fifth Derby," says my host, as we stand looking at him. He has trained the winners of four blue ribbons, and been beaten by a head for that event twice. , I venture to opine that he will lead 'back his 'fifth winner on that Wednesday jri the' merry month, and Mr Porter's smile seems to say that the event is not improbable. There is" Ossory, however, in an adjoining bqx, a second string of undeniable character and pretentions. The own brother to Ormonde has to my eye not been standing still since he won the" Criterion. I remember on that afternoon some people said his> shoulders were loaded; 'but I cannot so look on them. I always have a great respect for a two-year-old that comes weil up the Criterion bill, and though Ossory did not win quite in the style of his wonderful brother, he won easily enough. If I .am not. mistaken, we shall see Ossory a vastly improved horse this year, and I also fancied — perhaps' only faney — that his trainer's eye rested upon him with much satisfaction. More than mine did on Orbit in the next box. " Tell me," I said to my companion, ", his good points." " Well, I don't think he 'has got any," was the reply. He has the gift of going, as we saw at Derby in November, but there is little form or comeliness in the leggy I colt, with his ill-shaped neck and flat sides. I The bestthat can be said of him is that he is a game one and will probably stay. ,
But there are the horses of the Prince of Wales, that kind and gracious patron of Kingsclere, of whom the trainer speaks in terms of high admiration,' with .the supplemental wish that H.R.H. could only get some horses as good as he deserves to have. "He mill have them';"' adds my companion energetically, ".when he, breeds, them himself." ' When the stud now formed at Sandringham is, so tO" speak, in working • order, then it will happen 'that John', Porter's anxious wish will be fulfilled, and we shall see the royal colours where all loyal men would like to see them, iri the van!. ' It may be that we may see them this year, and though the high priced Loyalist has as yetbeen difficult to train, there are some* promising two-year-olds of whom some hopes are entertained. No one would be more pleased tban the , trainer if they 1 were realised. "And in this class the ' Duke of Westminster has two or three who, if they do not race, it will be extraordinary. A veiy grand-looking two-year-old is Ben Strome, by Bend Or from Strathfleet, with a splendid back and quarters, standing apparently on legs ©f irori. The Kingsclere trainer is no advocate, I am glad to say, for early two-year-old racing, and shares the sentiments of the late Sir Joseph Hawley on this subject, so I do not expect to renew my acquaintance with Ben Strome until laic in the year. ..'>'•
A very pleasant place is Kingsclere, and its master's lines ( ate past, I think,in..vety pleasant places. Pleasant it is after " staples " to find oneself' in the handsome drawing room with Mrs Porte.r and her daughters ; to know that there is music toisooth the ear, and pleasant looks to charm the' 1 eye.- The dining room on the, other side, hung "with portraits of departed worthies) is given up to
a warm hospitality, at which after a long ■walk 'with my host, royal mutton from Sandringham and '47 port is a pleasing memory. Then to the drawing room again, where we sit and "let the sound of music creep into our ears." John Porter is a musician, and can appreciate the fine touch of his youngest daughter on the piano as well as the singing of another, supplemented as both are by the splendid baritone of a visitor. It is a pleasant close to two pleasant days, when The night is passed in music, ' ' And the cares that infest the day Fold their tents like the Arabs, And as silently steal away. J. 0. 0. FIXTURES. April 6 and 7— Kumara Autumn April 7 -Canterbury Trotting Club April 7— Onehunga April 7— lsland Bay Racing Olub's Autumn Meeting April 10— Blleamere Autumn April 12 and 13— Oamaru April 12 and 13— Taranaki April 12— North Canterbury J.O. Autumn.—Acceptances and entries, April 6 April 14— Takapuna April 17— Plumpton Park. — Nominations, April 7; handicaps, April 11 ; ' acceptances and entries, April 14 April 19 and 20— Ashbutton April 21— Foxton May 1 - Waipawa County May 10— Ashburton Tradesmen's B.C. May 24— Waerenga-a-Hika May 24 and 26— Dunedin Jookey Olub's Winter.— Nominations, April 14; handicaps, May 8; acceptances and entries, May 15 May 24— Porirua May 24— Cromwell District Trotting Club's Meeting May 24— Napier Park May 24— Ashburton Tradesmen's July 26— Qrand National AUSTRALIAN. April 7 — A.J.O. Autumn September 13 and 15— Hawkesbury September 22, 25, 27, and 29— A.J.C. Spring BNGLISH. April 11 -City and Suburban Handicap May 2— Two Thousand Guineas May 4— One Thousand Guineas May 30— Derby June I— Oaks June 10— Grand Prix de Paris June 14 — Ascot Gold Cup July 27— Eclipse Stakes September 12— St. Leger October 9— Oesarewitch October 22— Cambridgeshire
Permanent link to this item
KINGSCLERE., Otago Witness, Issue 1898, 6 April 1888
KINGSCLERE. Otago Witness, Issue 1898, 6 April 1888
Using This Item
See our copyright guide for information on how you may use this title.