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TALK OF THE DAY.

BY MAZEPPA. %* I am informed that a thoroughbred three-year-old colt named Telegram, bred by 'Mr Thosf. Kyder, of Invercargill, was the other day sold to Mr M'Kenzie, of Tapanui, for £31. ' %* The carefully-compiled table imported

from the. Canterbury Times into this issue shows that during the moribund season

I Maid of Munster headed the list of winning trotters with £206; Gipsy being second with £161 ; and Maniac a good third with £145. The! ex-Sou tblander Bob Gawn counts fifth, and Duchess sixth on the list. Maniac was a particularly good investment, his owner having bought him for something like £17, a sum that more than one fair judge thought at the time was s full value for the plain hat speedy son of Bucephalus. But Maniac did not earn a great deal for his owner in machine money, as to my knowledge the nag was well backed more than once when he broke badly. As to the time made during the season, I find that Victor is said to have done the three miles in 8 11, which is the record for the colony if the distance was fully covered. The reason I put iv this " if " is because it was stated in the programmes that the course was " about" three miles. I presume the compiler of these tables has satisfied himself -on this point. The next best, the performance that I had accepted as the record, was- Maniac's 8.21, at Lawrence.

%* It is reported that Mr Inglis' crack, Malua, has undergone a t borough preparation, will play a prominent part at the V.UC. Grand National meetkig. The Cup winner will indeed be a wonder if they get a jumping race out of him now, after his flat racing and spell at the stud ;_ but a really first-class horse takes a lot of knocking out. *** The Yankees don'fc stand any nonsense from jockeys. The following regarding aa occurrence at Lexingtou may be cited as an instance: — "At the tap of the drum in starting the third race, A. Williams, the rider of Overture, pulled the filly up. The starter called to him to go on, and he gave an insulting answer, and madu no effort to set the tilly going. When the facts were reported to the judges thay ruled Williams off the turf for six months. The boy is a goorl rider and under regular engagement to the Lamasney Brothers, and it will be pretty hard on them to fhave him set down ; but the dignity of the turf must be maintained, no matter who it affects."

*i* Cutting down the distance of the Auckland Cup to two miles is a step that will not meet with the approval of old-fashioned .sportsmen ; and many sportsmen who are not old-fashioned will probably view the proposition as lowering the dignity of the club by sacrificing the interests of first-class horses for the sake of getting larger fields. There can be little doubt that the desire to see more horses go to the starting post is the club's prime motive in view in shortening the distance, for no other reason that I can think of exists, oxceptiug that the reduction to two miles would cause the start for the Cup to take place away from the crowd, instead of, as at present, at the winning post. This, however, does not seem to have been ever considered an undesirable arrangement ; indeed some of the Auckland folk say that they look on it as a positive advantage to have the start in front of the stand, where everybody can see what goes on ; and we must regard the desire for larger fields as the real cause of the alteration. But is it certain that the change will have the wished-for effect? Looking through the records, I find that the Cup has been run 14 times and that there have been 112 starters, giving an average of eight. This is not very tall, but it compares favourably with the average for the principal event at tho Autumn meeting. This is the Easter Handicap, which used to be run over a two-mile course, but is now a mile and three-quarter?. For the 15 years this race has been run there have been 110 starters, the average being I\, It maybe unfair or misleading to build any argument on these figures, but they may at anyrate be used to show that it is not an absolute certainty that reducing the distance of the Cup will bring larger fields to the post. %* The first scratching for the Melbourne Cup was St. Julian, who is also knocked out of the Caulfield Cup. Theorist and Grey wing have also been scratched for the Melbourne Cup. %* The Grand National committee havo exhibited strange inconsistency iv framing tbeir handicaps. In the Grand National they gave Haka a substantial allowance, on account, I presume, of his inexperience at the jumping business, putting him within 71b of the minimum, and granting him lumps of weight from horses that on the flat would not have 100 to 1 show against him for speed ; and yet when the handicap for the Hunters' Hurdle Race makes its appearance we find a horse in a similar position to Haka figuring as the top weight and giving 111b to the next on the list. I refer io Torrent. Why should Haka be at the bottom of one handicap and Torrent at the top of tho other ? Neither has ever tackled the jumping business in public. It may of course be said that Haka is in the company of good jumpers and will have to go over heavy fences, while Torrent's opponents are ratLer a poor lot, and ho is only to negotiate the little sticks. There is something in this reply, I allow ; but on the other hand it is contended by some who ought to be able to form an opinion that a beginner lias a bf t*er nhance in a steeplechase, where he can be steadied at his jumps than in a hurdle race, in which he has to race over them ; besides which, Haka is a better performer than Torrent; and all the argument in the world cannot reconcile the palpable injustice of asking Torrent to give 101b to Premier, 141b to Squib, and 2st to Nero ! According to my lights the committee would have acted with more fairness and have come nearer the mark if they had put another stone on Haka and taken a stone off Torrent. Can it be that someone suggested to them that thc-y made a mistake with Haka, and that to enrrppnsate for the blunder they " took it out of ' Torrent ?

*** But owners are not hard to please in the matter of jumping handicaps. They are, as a rule, more concerned to get their horse into condition — wherein they bhow their good sense; and, while growling like a bear with a sore head, they generally pay up if the horse is'training on satisfactorily. It is therefore no surprise to me to find the uu fairly- weighted Torrent an acceptor for the Hunters' Hurdle Race, which event, by the way, opens the proceedings at Riccarton on Thursday next. The only nonacceptor in this event is Young Guy, -whose defection can hardly be because his owner considered him over-weighted. Had he remained in, the committee would have madea wonderful record ; and as it is they have every season to be pleased at having retained bo large a percentage of the entries for this and the big event. Chance was the only withdrawal from the Grand National when the final payment was due ; and we know that he was taken out because he is not rightIn giving my opinion as to what are to be the winning horses I shall not go into a long story fas to past performances, for the simple reason that j^the more important question is as to present condition, and in regard to this I am in the dark as to many of the candidates. I shall therefore rest content with making a selection from among those that I have reason to believe are acquitting themselves well on the training track, and present the following as having a good show : — '•

Hunters' Hurdles — Premier, with Squib dangerous if she starts. .

Grand National— iiiisn King, with Daddy Longlegs dangerous, and Haka next beak Maiden Steeplechase— Squib, with Playboy for a second string.

*^ + Charley Wood, being driven into a corner and compelled to pursue his action against the Licensed Victuallers' Gazette, has at last brought his libel action into court, with the result that a British jury has told him that they do not thiuk he pulled the horse over which the rumpu3 arose, but that his character was not damaged by the defendant saying that he did so. la other words, that Charley's reputation for straight riding is of a rather shady nature. That is all I can gather from, the verdict, which was i i favour of plaintiff with a farthing damages and bi costs. Could Wood have foreseen this result io would have required a team of working bullocks to have draggpd him to court. But all is not lost to Charley Wood even now. Theoretically, a jockey's stock-in-trade consists of two inseparable requirements — horsemanship and fidelity to his employer, but, as a matter of fact, the public do not regard these attributes as of equal value. Can none of our readers call to mind a case in which it is notorious, though never made the subject of a specific charge, that the jockey threw over his employer for the sake of earning a bribe from a third party? Such occurrences do not happen often, I am pleased to believe, but is there any bald-headed sporting man who does not know of at least one such case? Were there any useful purpose to bo served by so doing, and were there no libel law, I could refresh the public mind in regard to more than one flagrant intance of the kind, and yet the offender has never been brought to book, but is trusted as though he had all his life been panoplied with gaintliness. Perhaps it is as well that things are as they are; and' l daresay the public are as well served under the present condition of affairs as they would be were every suspicious bit of riding to be permanently remembered again&t a jockey. But it is all bosh to talk of a jockey being ruined because of one faux pas, and I dare pledge my word that if Charley Wood were to get his riding license tomorrow none would trust him the less because of recent events.

*#* In speaking of these matters I do not refer specially to New Zealand, though perchance there may be unatoned-for peccadiloes burdening the consciences of some of our knights of the pigskin. Should the cap fit, anyone who likes may wear it ; but Ido not refer to anyone in particular, as, so far as I know, any black marks of the sort have pretty nearly worn out — it is so long ago since they were first made.

%* I suppose there are few of our readers who are ignorant of the nature of the action brought by Wood against the Licensed Victuallers' Gazette. That paper in plain English accused Wood of having fraudulently and dishonestly ridden a horse called Success. General Williams at the same time brought Wood's conduct before the stewards of the Jockey Club. They summoned Wood before them to answer the charge. By way of reply he 3aid that he had commeuced criminal proceedings for libel against the paper. The stewards thereupon adjourned the matter, declining to pass any judgment until the result of the trial was known. Wood then abandoned the proceedings, on learning which the stewards refused to renew Wood's license. This action had the effect in the long run of causing the jockey to recommence his action. We know the result. The report of the case will be interesting reading.

*** Another interesting item from England is that the Jockey Club have reinstated George Barrett, whose riding license was taken away at the same time as Wood's. It is understood that several aristocratic sports, among them the Duke oE Beaufort, have all along openly espoused Barrett's.cause,and when the last mail left England it was expected that the whitewashing process would soon be undertaken.

*** There are six members of the committee appointed by the Legislative Council to consider the totalisator question. Five of these members are gentleman who, so far as we know, cannot be accused of knowing anything about horse-racing ; the other member does know something — a very great deal— of the subject ; and it is not an unreasonable supposition that his acquaintance with the turf and the totalisator caused his opinion to be valued by his innocent colleagues. If this presumption be founded on fact, it is no wonder that we find the report of the majority of the committee almost entirely in harmony with the recommendations made by the metropolitan clubs, the only point of difference being that the report would go a fitep further than the recommendations, in that it proposes to discontinue the licenses to clubs holding one meeting and giving a less amount in stakes than £100. Mi- Swanson audDr Meuzies disagree with the finding of the majority, and have issued a report of their own, in which they say that they can't see why the metropolitan clubs should have an advantage, aud that if the machine is to be continued at all it should be taxed. It is exceedingly doubtful whether this report of the minority will ever receive a moment's consideration at the hands of tb.9 Council, it boing'simply in the nature of a protest ; but, though the document may be despised, Mr Swanson and Dr Menzies will, I think, take good care tint their side of the argument is heard, and I should not be surprised to see Mr Swanson bringing forward a motion hostile to the majority's report, and thus provoke a debate. This report is of the mildest possible nature, and does not convey a particle of news ; but perhaps its very gentleness may prove its salvation, in so far that being moderate in its tone it may commend itself to those of the councillors who do not pretend to know a totalisator from a teetotaller. What the upshot of all these inquiries aud recommendations will be it is hard to foretell ; but one result is unavoidable — viz., that those clubs that are compelled to issue their programmes before the affair is settled will be mighty careful not to launch out in an increase of stakes.

*** A peculiar betting case was disposed of in the Jury Court as Brisbane on June 22. E. E. Jones, a bookmaker, laid Robert M'Cleery, a well-known publican, 100 to 10 against Trident for the Australian Cup ISB7. M'Cleery transferred the wager to Robert Adams, who neglected to advise Jones of the transfer. Trident won, and Jones gave his cheque for £100 to the original backer, M'Cleery. Adams applied to M'Cleery for Jones' cheque, but was told that it had been lost. Six mouths were allowed to elapse by agreement in order to see whether the cheque would be recovered, and at the end of that time M'Cleery denied all liability. Adams then sued him for the amount of the cheque, and the jury awarded him a verdict for the full amount.

*** The challenge issued in February last by Mr C. J. Hamlin, of Buffalo, the well-known breeder of trotting stock, to match his mare Belle Hamlin (full sister to Huon), 2.13£, against Harry Wilkes' Prince Wilkes or Oliver X., for 1000 Jol aside, on the Buffalo track on July 4 haviag failed to lead to a contest, the proprietary of the New York Sportsman prepared a stake that was confidently expected to bring together the three greatest trotters in the United States, provided that Mr Hamlin had a desire for his mare to measure strides with the fastest representatives of the celebrated Wilkes family. The conditions of the stake were that each of the three horses should be entered at lOOOdol to start, half forfeit, the Sportsman to sad 3000dol, the winner to receive 5000dol, and vhe second horse to Baye his stakes. Some time

before the closing of the stake the owners of Prince Wilkes, 2,16, and Harry Wilkes, 2.13|, intimated their willingness to nominate ; but Mr Hamlin declined to enter, on the ground that he would not trot his mare against two horses, and so the event fell through. V Over the double, V.R.C. Derby and Melbourne Cup, Mr Oxenham has laid 5000 to 40 against Volley aud Cardigan and Volley and Silver Prince, 5000 to 25 Volley and Theorist, 3000 to 30 Volley and Cranbrook, 2000 to 4 Volley and Volley, 5000 to 40 Lonsdale and Australian Peer, 5000 to 40 Lonsdale and Cranbrook, 1000 to 20 Lonsdale and Lonsdale, 3000 to 20 Lonsdale and Silver Prince, 5000 to 25 Magazine and Arsenal, and 5000 to 25 Magazine aud The Australian Peer. This betting is something like old times. There is also a fair amount of right ont business on the Melbourne Cup, for which 1000 to 40 has been taken about Cranbrook, and the same amount about Cardigan, while 1000 to 30 has been booked about Carlyon, Abercorn, Silver Prince, and The Australian Peer.

%* At a sale of thoroughbred yearlings held at Raceland, Kentucky, U.S.A., in May last, some of the youngsters brought pretty high prices. A full brother to the celebrated racehorse Hanover, by Hindoo from Bourbon Belle, fell to the bid of Messrs Dwyer Bros, at 8200dol ; and the same buyers secured a colt by Billet from Mundave for 4500d01, and a colt by Hindoo from Katie for 3500d0i.

*** After a rather severe illness " Brickey " Colley, the well-known jockey, is able to get about again.

%* The annual meeting of the Island Bay Park Company was held on Monday week. The directors' annual report was brought up for consideration, bub any action with reference to it was postponed for two months. Tho clause in the report which necessitated this was a recommendation to the effect " that the capital of the company be increased ' by a fresh issue of 5000 shares of £1 per share." The feeling of the meeting with reference to this clause was (says the Mail) that as Mr Orr, who is one of the largest shareholders, is at present in England, it would be better to allow the matter to stand over for the present. This was accordingly done as stated.

* # * Eecent advices from America state that the well-known sportsmen Messrs Dwyer Bros., who are ever on the alert to secure the best racing stock that money can purchase, have materially added to the strength of their stable by purchasing tho three-year-old colt Sir Dixon, by Billet from Jaconet, who was one of the best of the two-year-old division last season. The price paid for Sir Dixon was~2o,ooodol, with the contingency that his late owner, Mr Green Morris, should receive the first stake won by the colt while running under Messrs Dwyer's colours.

*** For some unexplained reason Cinderella has. been transferred from Kelly's stable to Kelso's. This is one of the items fay last mail.

*** The A.J.C. committee have decided to invite tenders for the clearing of all the scrub off the land on the opposite side of the course to the grand stand. This (says " Martindale ") is to be done so as to afford more room for the horses to walk about ; and it is much needed. The club also decided to erect 50 new boxes on that side, which will be a great boon to the trainers. When the improvements now being made in the paddock are completed there is little doubt that the majority of tho horses will go over to the back of the course to do their work ; so that these boxes will be badly wanted. The committee has also given notice that steeplechase horses, when training, can be put over any of the big jumps in the steeplechase course, with the exception of those opposite the stand. This is a move in the right^direction. Until lately anyone wishing to send a horse over the steeplechase course had to paj 5s for every gallop, in addition to the regular training fees. There being no other suitable jumps, this was very expensive business ; and it is not to be wondered at that we have had so few jumping horses

*** Pasha (8.12), and Tetford (8.4), are among tha acceptors for the Rosehill Cup. Teddy Yuille (6.8) has also paid up.

* # * It will surprise many people to learn that the " Derby " racecourse is the subject of legislation. Epsom Downs are waste lands of the Manor of Ebbisham or Epsom ; the soil is owned by the lord of the manor, a private gentleman, and the commoners of the manor are entitled to the ordinary rights of common over the downs. In making terms with the racing authorities, the lord of the manor appears to have looked after his own interests, but those of the commoners have been neglected ; aud it is no secret, the London Times says, that an action to protect the commoners' rights has already been commenced.

\* From the report of the special meeting of the Oamaru Jockey Club it will be seen that the affairs of the club are not so desperately bad as some had anticipated, the deficiency on the year's operations being only £2 odd. I am pleased to see that a hopeful tone was adopted by the speakers, and that there is a manifest disinclination to throw up tho sponge.

%* The time-takers did not all agree about Ayrshire's 'performance in the Derby. The Sporting Life tells us that the time was 2rain 42 l-ssec, which would of course be the fautest record ever made in the Derby ; while, on the other hand, the Sportsman gives us 2min 43sec, and this on the authority of Benson's chronograph. As few people in England care much about a few seconds one way or the other, I suppose we shall never know which of the records is to be relied 'on. I wonder, by the way, why certain newspapers in England are always so particularly careful to toll us that the time was taken by Benson's chronograph. This instrument may be, and probably is, one of the most perfect timiug machines on the face of the earth, but I presume tbats omebody has to start and stop it as the horses start and finish, and so long as that somebody is a human being he wili be just as likely to make a mistake with a Benson's chronograph as with a common stopwatch.

*** In 1879, when Sir Bevys won, the Derby was worth £7025 ; since then it has gradually declined in value, until this year the stake was worth but £3675. As compared with this, the French Derby won by Stuart was of the value of £4205.

%♦ The Duke of Portland is said to be a comparatively small winner over the Derby. The taker of the extraordinary bet; of £10,000 to £2500 about Friar's Balsam for the Derby before he made his debut at Ascot won £5000 over Ayrshire for the Two Thousand, and about the same amount on the Derby.

*** Several veterinary surgeons of high standing in their profession recently examined Merry Hampton, aud we believe (says the Sporting Life) that the decision they arrived at quite upset the ridiculous theories put about to the effect that his defeat in the City and Suburban was attributable to an injection of morphia. The horse is simply juusound in both fore legs, aud gave away to the stress of training and pressing in the race. *** Friar's Balsam is reported to be mending fast, and it is expected that he will be able to compete in the St. Leger,

%* Alex. Wood makes a suggestion which, if acted upon, would, he is sure, prove a boon to the sporting public, in reference to the important question of deciding the relative positions of placed Jhorses. This is what he says :—": — " The confusion over placing the horses in the Great Jubilee Stakes at Kempton Park suggests that something ought to be done to render such mistakes practically impossible. I know the duties of a judge are very irksome indeed, particularly when it comes to a near finish home. No one knew better than the late Fred Archer the advantage gained by throwing himself right forward in the saddle at the moment of passing the post, and thus first catch the judge's eye ; in fact, I for one believe his colours have been first past the post on many occasions whilst the horses could not well be divided. The notable finish for the Astley Stakes at Lewes in 1880, when three horses — Scobell, Wandering Nun, and Mazurka — ran a dead heat for first place and but a neck behind them were Cumberland and Thora locked together, is a strong illustration of the very fine points a judge is expected to decide. One would think it impossible to accurately place five horses passing the post like a flash all together. Now, my suggestion is that ' two judges should be engaged, facing each other across the course,' and agree alike before hoisting the numbers. This is a simple remedy against possibly serious consequences, and Lad this boen adopted at Kempton the confusion over the Jubilee Stakes could not have happened."

* # * A correspondent of the Field sends the following instance of lougevity coupled with fruitfulness in a thoroughbred stallion : — Will Scarlett, by Safeguard out of Herculaneum, by Venison out of Herculana, by Sir Hercules (foaled in 1858 at French Park, County Roscommon, and at that data the property of Lord de Freyne, but now standing at Foxborough, Tulsk, in the same county, and the property of Mr Patrick Taaffe), is in good health and serving mare?, and, so f»r as I have heard, getting strong good foals.

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TALK OF THE DAY., Otago Witness, Issue 1913, 20 July 1888

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TALK OF THE DAY. Otago Witness, Issue 1913, 20 July 1888

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