TALK OF. THE DAY.
* # * The death is announced of Mr David Kirby, of Kuri Bush, who succumbed on Wednesday of last week to an attack of inflammation oi the lungs. The deceased gentleman was well-known in sporting circles throughout Otago, and was familiarly acquainted with all the Forbury men, by whom he was held in no little esteem on account of his civility and his straightforwardness in business transactions. Among the many horses that he at one time or another owned or had an interest in, the most famous was Adamant, who ran in Mr Kirby's nomination and was partly owned by that gentleman when he won the Dunedin Cup of 1883. Latterly Mr Kirby's connection with the turf was maintained principally through tho progeny of King Philip, a horse that Mr Kirby always had a high opinion of. Fireball, Mameluke, Mall Bay, and Assassin were among the latest of Mr Kirby's breeding. The last time I saw him at the Forbury was about six weeks ago, when he came down with Shylock and Stranger.
***"Rata" telegraphs on Wednesday: — Manton and British Lion will proceed to Auckland to-morrow (Thursday), and these will be the only Riccarton representatives at the Northern meeting though Lochiel is going from Yaldhurst, and it is reported that Enid wi'.l also accompany him. Manton ha? been given some strong work during the last few days, and no doubt he will strip perfectly fit for hia Auckland engagements. British Lion is also in good nick, but his trainer is of opinion that he ought to have gone up a week earlier. *** The Americans do not begrudge money by the hatful when they have set their minds on buying a horse. The latest sensational sale to them is that of Ormonde, for whom the Duke of Westminster received £17,000. This knocks the record kite high. Strange to say, the Duke of Westminster rras concerned in the next biggest sale the world has ever seen, when he bought Doncaster from Mr Peck for £14,000. One can hardly see how a horse can be worth these high figures.
%* The Canterbury Times speaks out plainly on a matter which escaped my notice at the Forbury meeting:— "The jockey who had the mount on Water Baby in the Selling Two-year-old Race is no longer a boy ; he has had the advantage of a capital training in his profession, and is connected with a stable which is certainly as well disciplined as most of its cod temporaries ; and yet this young gentleman first quarrelled with the filly at the post, sacrificing his em-
ployers' interests to his own impatience, and > then, after being well beaten by the horsemanship of a mere child, vented his spite onthe unfortunate animal he bestrode by a vigouroug application of the whip. We wish we conld add the offender was called before the stewards and disqualified for the remainder of the meeting. Nothing need be said of the fashion in which Water Baby was ridden between the start and the finish, even the best horsemen make mistakes ; but a jockey who gives a cruel display of anger by deliberately punishing a horse after passing the post should have an opportunity to acquire patience on foot before' being entrusted with another ride in public. Some , months ago we defended this particular jockey from what we believed to be an unjust charge of ,, severe iiiling, but in the present instance we are compelled to raise our voice against an exhibition which should have met with the prompt censure of the stewards."
*** Last week I referred to the extraordinary leniency with which Sultan had been handicapped in the Wellington Cup. Other scribes take up the same subject, as follows : —
Beferee: At Dunedin Sultan gave Wolverine 71b and a beating in the St. Andrew s Handicap. Now Wolverine has to give Sultan 51b. Mr Evett may have argued that Sultan has never yet shown his ability to get two miles, but then neither has Wolverine, and even allowing for improvement on the pait of the three-year-old between now and February he cannot but be regarded as most inequitably handicapped with his St. Andrew's Handicap conqueror. Press : I shall make no remarks on the Wellington Oup handicap until the weights are verified, for it is impossible, supposing Mr Kvett bad seen the account of the Dunedin meeting, that he could have placed Sultan at 7-8 and Wolverine at 7.13, seeing that in the St. Andrew's Handicap Sullan (8.6) beat Wolverine (7.13). It is true that the distance of ' the Wellington Cup is half & mile more than the St. Andrew's Handicap, but that cannot account for the difference, and I am under the impression that the figures have to be reversed, and that Sultan's weight will turn out to be 8.7 instead of 7.8
Canterbury Times : Everyone pounced upon Sultan at 7.8 as the pick of the handicap. Mr Evett certainly seems to have dealt very kindly with Mr Hammond's horse, and although the latter has never attempted n two-mile journey, he must certainly hava a good look in on the present occasion.
♦** Among the impressions left on me (" Senex ") by the Dunedin meeting I may note the following : — I now think Sultan about the best of the Apremonts we have yet seen as a weight carrier over a distance of ground, notwithstanding the performance of Apropos and SHvermark, but of course wo did not see the latter at his best last week. That Enid is nob a brilliant filly, but with a light weight up will keep moving at a useful pace at the end of a long journey when the others are stopping. That The Brewer is a real useful horse in second class company at any distance, and so probably would Kimberley be if he would only stand a thorough preparation. That Civis is a useful horse over hurdles, and in the hands of a professional trainer and rider will be bad to beat, for he jumps nicely and can stay. That the Le Loup stock are all game, and no matter what their shapes may be can gallop and carry weight. That Hermitage appears to have taken a fresh lease of his life, and Messrs Hobbs deserve credit for the manner in which they brought; their none too sound horse to the post. And lastly that' Mr Dowse is the best handicapper we have in the island.
*** From circumstances that have come to my knowledge within the last few days I deem it my duty to warn the public that those who are taking 3 to 1 about Manton for the Auckland Cup are getting very much the worst of it as compareil with the layer. At present I will not go so far as to say that Manton will not win, bub I have reason for bidding backers beware of making too much of a certainty of the colt. He may go down as Stonyhurst did before Nelson, or he may not start. Anyway, I should want to see him at the post and cherry ripe, and with the owner's, money in the machine before taking what are supposed to be the present current odds about the New Zealand Cup winner. British Lion is at the price a far better investment. Now don't all rush this horse, or he may also see a figure at which it would not pay to back him. And before the flag falls there may be something unearthed that will be a better one to follow than either of tho3e mentioned. " Gang warily "is my advice to those who are betting on this race. It is not all gold that glitters. Of course I may perhaps after all go for Manton at the finish. I am waiting and watching, and that is the only safe courso to pursue. But Manton will win the Auckland Derby, for the greatest certainty there ever was.
*** Newmarket would not have seen me (writes "Pendragon") but for the wild desire that always possesses me to witness the meeting of any two men or animals of exceptional ability ; it was known that both Friar's Balsam and Minting would come out for the Champion Stakes, and so I could not resist the temptation., and called once more at headquarters, on tha way between Ely and Modern Babylon. Minting looked an enormous size, but everybody who saw him felt satisfied that bone and sinew made up the bulk of his proportions, and ICO's to 60 had to be laid by those who fancied his prospects. Friar's Balsam had plenty of friends, but the bookies never tired of laying 5 to 2 against him, which, seeing what he has been through this year, and the sort of gentleman he had to meet, is perhaps iv no way surprising. We who were waiting about did not know the race was being run until the horses were within 500 or 600 yards of us, and then it wasn't possible to make out colours distinctly. The only thing that we could be certain about was that Zanzibar, whoso scarlet jacket loomed out like the sun in a London fog. was doing her best to cut down the champiorus, who, however, as they came over the brow of the hill, seemed in no way distressed at having to go her pace. When they came well in sight, Friar's Balsam had half a k-ngth advautage of the favourite. Going down to tbe finish of the Abingdon mile, Webb bhook his charge up with the intention of reducing this. Barrett responded, and as they .now 'ran on, each one doing his level nttaost, it was evident that the gigantic bay was only just able to hold his own with the little chestnut, and that unless the latter cracked he would maintain his advantage to the finish. He did maintain it, there being no change in their relative positions during the last couple of furlongs. Poor o!d Minting ! lam sorry he wound up his' career with a beating. But, presuming Friar's Balsam has returned to his form, it is no disgrace to any horse, no matter how mighty once, to succumb to him. My own opinion is that neither champion was as well as he might have been. The big one was not as clean in hirwind as is necessary for such a task as that he had undertaken, and when I saw Friar's Balsam after the race he looked as though he had been dragged through a river. The bad place on the lower part of his jaw is plain for all folk to see, aud the easiest of snaffles and lightest of hands still give him much uneasiness.
%* The race meeting got up as a complimentary benefit to Mr Donne seems to have been hardly a success in any sense of the word. From the particulars supplied as to the attendance and the amount of money passed throngh the totalizator, it may be gathered that the financial outcome was not enough to constitute "a rise" for the recipient; and the racing cannot be considered up to much when a horse like
The Spy can' win the chief event. So far as jny memory serves me, this was the first occasion in New Zealand on which a race meeting was got up for a private benefit. It is a pity that it did not attain a greater degree of success, for there is not in the colony a more worthy sportsman than our mutual friend George Donne. The only grudge we have against him \s that in days gone by he used to be so confident about Minerva or The Poet that some of us pressmen occasionally did a mild pluDge of 5s or thereabouts on his " tip." But it is not correct to say that we owe him a grudge on that account. We always got long odds, and were as perfectly certain of a straight run as if his horse was the wearer of the Zetland spots. But that is sayiDg something considering that iv tho3e aute-tota-lisator days "some beautiful "stiff 'uns " were to be seen in nearly every race.
*** New Zealand is supposed to be more or less concerned in a trotting dispute which is creating some stir in Victorian* sporting circles. The Argus of the Ist says that a special meeting of the Bendigo stewards* was to be called for the following day to deal with the matter of Brunette and Hawkdeen in the Handicap Trotting Race, run on the secoud day of the meeting. In the meantime Mr Stamp has telegraphed to Sydney and New Zealand concerning Brunette. The mare is believed to belong to New Zealand, and was eufared as a maiden. It is alleged that her brands have been tampered with. The rider and trainer said that she was a New South Wales mare, but it is known that they are New Zealand men. The stable party secured £1100 in bets by her victory— all from the cash fielders. As soon as the race was over the mare was sent awaybufore she could be stopped by the stewards, and the money was also collected from the bookmakers. Messrs Stamp, Walker, and Wilson followed the mare, and took her brands. As regards Hawkdeen, nothing is suspected concerning the horse, but the peculiar changes in the betting, and the fact that he hails from New Zealand, lead to the belief that there may have been collusion with the Brunette party. The Bendigo stewards, and the owners of the second hor6e (Maud S.) are trying to obtain information.
* # * From the Sportsman I learn that the facts of- the case are as follows :— Brunette was entered as a maiden and placed on the lOsec mark. It was a three-mile race, and this mare, laying well behind the leaders until the last mile, came with such a marvellously fast dash at the finish that people well versed in the sport ejaculated: 11 That's no maiden ! That's the fastest trotting mare in Australia, wherever they've brought her from !" Then knowing individuals remembered that the mare was backed to win many hundreds —13 or 14— at longish odds by strangers evidently "in the know." Later on— the moment, in fact, that she left the weighing enclosure— the aforesaid wily strangers presented their tickets, collected their cash, and silently departed in company with the mare, all within, I believe, the space of about a quarter of an hour from the time the race was run. Then the stewards determined to hold an inquiry. But, alas ! 'twas too late, for many of the bookmakers, including Mr Joe Thompson, had paid out, and Brunette's backers had departed. It was then currently reported that the mare was a celebrated New Zealand trotter, and people even went so far as to assert that she was identical with the notorious Lady disqualified at Elsternwick for being somebody else. Until the Sandhurst stewards have finally decided the case, the mare's identity is likely to remain unsettled.
%♦ Our contemporary goes on to say :— 11 IE the identity of Brunette is not satisfactorily established as Brunette all bets will, in all probability, be declared off, and the affair decided "no race." This, of course, will be rather hard on the bookmakers who have already paid out over Brunette; but it would press equally hard on them if the stewards decided to award the race to the second — Maud S. — as they would then have to pay out over her, in addition to disbursing over Brunette. There was another unsavory matter in connection with this trot which will probably influence the stewards in declaring it no race. Hawkdeeu was installed a very hot favourite when the betting opened ; but such marked hostility was displayed against him that he ultimately receded to 20 to 1, and it was asserted that some of those connected with bim bad backed Brunette. The whole affair smelt very fishy from the opening of the betting to the departure of Brunette and her backers from the course ; and the stewards have a most complicated trouble to disentangle. Since the above was written the following additional facts have reached me officially :— The man in charge of the mare stated that Hunter was a commission agent at 189 Bourke street east. The committee meet on Tuesday, ' the 11th inst. The rider of Brunette (Wallace) has been identified as a New Zealand trotting jockey named M'Laren. The man in charge of the mare has been recognised as a New Zealand haunter of racecourses there. The mare Brunette was entered as having no performances. She is a handsome, low set, low barrelled mare, with rather a course head ; dark brown in colour, possibly dyed. The brands appear to be tampered with, they now look like L W 1 (one), on the off shoulder.' The mare has not yet been identified. The committee would be very glad if any person could forward any information likely to aid them in their investigation. We have instituted inquiries at 189 Bourke street east, a restaurant, where little or nothing appears to be known about Hunter." %♦ It is quite possible that the dissemination of the above particulars may be the means of light being thrown on the problem. If any of my readers are in the possession of information which may lead to the identification of the mare, I shall be glad to publish it, for it is everyone's duty in an affair of this kind to redeem our colony from the reproach of being mixed up in what is prima facie a shady transaction. Time will assuredly unravel the mystery; but meanwhile I am inclined to doubt the accuracy of one remark that occurs in the extract from our contemporary — that I mean in which it is said "the rider of Brunette (Wallace) has been identified as a New Zealand trotting jockey named M'Laren." Wallace and M'Laren are Doth known here, and it is unlikely that one would take the name of the other— first, because ao good purpose could be served thereby; 3econdly, because, even if there was anything in t, the dodge could be so easily bowled out.
V Veracity, winner of the Cambridgeshire Handicap, was remarkably successful as a two-year-old, winning eight times out of 10, and running second twice, on both of which occasions he started favourite. Ab the end of the season bis present owner, Mr W. J. Legh, Lyme hall, bought Veracity for 2500g5, but during the whole of last year he never once won a race. This season, howevor, ho commenced by winning the Lincolnshire Handicap, starting at the outside price of 50 to 1, and later he was successful n the Nottingham Spring Handicap. Although figuring at 20 to 1 for the Cambridgeshire, Veracity was a bad horse for the ring. The sporting editor of the London Daily Telegraph says thaj; Lord Randolph Churchill backed Veracity on the strength of a dream. His ordehip saw the number 22 in his dream, as the wimcer of the great handicap, and he accepted
2C fiftieß at thelast moment on the strength of it At the same meeting the Duke of Portland's colt Donovan completed an extraordinary two-year-old career by winning the Dewhurst Plate, starting at 100 to 30 on in a field of five, and bringing his total stakes for the season up to 16,48750vs for 11 wins, he having been beaten twice only. \* The committee of the Australian Jockey Clubhave framed the programmes for 1889, which show added money to the extent of 6900aoys in addition to that given last year. The Winter meeting, fixed for the 6th of July, introduces stakes amounting to 1750sovs, including the Winter Stakes, of 500sovs, and Steeplechase, of 400sovs. In the Autumn meeting the Doncaster Handicap is increased to lOOOsovs, the Sydney Cup to 1500sov«, and among the other events the All-aged and Cumberland Stakes, City and Place Handicaps, are each increased to 500sovs, and a mutual selling race of 400sovs introduced. For the Spring meeting the Epsom Handicap is increased to lOOOsovs, and the Spring Stakes, Squatters' Handicap, Graven Plate, Sydney and Waverley Handicaps, are each increased to 500sov8. For the Summer meeting the Summer Cup has lOOOsovs added money. V It will be observed that the handicaps for the chief events at Dunstan and Cromwell are on much the same lines as regards most of the horses, the most noticeable difference of opinion between Mr J. Young and Mr G. Dowse being that the former puts Victory at 8.10 and Mr Dowse lets him off with 7.12. I fancy that both handicapers have been a little rough on La Rose in placing her within 81b of Silvermark in a mile and a-half race. As I shall not have an opportunity of seeing the acceptances in time, I may as well record my opinion of the Dunsfcan meeting at, once, and it is that, all in, the finish for the Midsummer Handicap will be between Silvermark and Windsor, and that Moss Rose may be good enough to win the President's Handicap. It is, I think, a foregone conclusion that the stakes in the events will not this year be won by any of the local horses The local contingent is represented by Don Jose, Viking, and Knickerbocker Sam, who have seen their day, or at any rate can have but little show of putting down the best of the visitors, who are a rather smarter lot than usual.
*** The weights for the Midsummer Handicap appear in this issue. Lochiel is well in, but he may go North. Sultan is said to have done a great trial at a mile and a-half prior to running in the St. Andrew's Handicap, and we know that he broke the Forbury record for that distance in the race itself, so he cannot be held to be out of it with the same weight as he then carried. Wolverine, too, has a show, and a very good one, of getting nearer than second ; while Ruby (if well) must be dangerous, and Dudu must not be lost sight of. I reserve my tip until the acceptances appear, but meanwhile have most fancy for Wolverine. I should prefer Lochiel and Sultan, but have an idea that they may be reserved— the former for Auckland and the latter for Wellington. The throw-in of the handicap is St. Clair, bat I am afraid the little horse is not quite so well as he might be. *** How many stories have we all read, I wonder (writes" Rapier"), the plots of which show how some villain was bent on " getting at" a horse before a big race, and was prevented from doing so by luck or by the adroitness of the animal's protectors ? Such plots are so common that they seem to belong rather to the realm of fiction than of fact, but all the same such attempts are still made or designed. It is a fact, at any rate, that Jennings was in a state of considerable apprehension about his charge, Tenebreuse, before the Cesarewitch. Some members of the ring were never tired of laying the French mare, and their operations strongly suggested a knowledge of mischief. A boy had come from France with her, but Jennings had no reason whatever to suspect the lad of any evil design, and such suspicions would have been completely unfounded ; but the trainer was far from comfortable on the subject. Tenebreuse did not seem to be doing well. In her stable she had a listless, depressed air, a head-down tail-up sort of look that would have much disturbed her backers had they seen her, and a few days before the race Jennings decided to change her box. She was put elsewhere, and to all appearances benefited much by the change. Her listlessness left her, she brightened up— why it is impossible to say ; perhaps horses have fancies about their apartments as men have, and Tenebreuse had taken a dislike to her firßt quarters ; and with what ease she won her race history now records.
%* Mr Butler has taken the preliminary step in anticipation of a trip to the other side, having nominated Manton for the Sydney Turf Club Anniversary Handicap, of lOOOsovs, to be run on the 26th January. I presume that the horse will not be taken over for this meeting until the weights have been seen. Even if Manton doesn't go over to compete at the January meeting, I shall expect to see him take wing for Australia, so as to be there in time for the V.R.C. and AJ.C. Autumn meetings. \* " Augur " has the following :— " While wo grant that the Melbourne Cup is the bright and shining star which attracts the thousands from near and far, and laystho foundation of the fortunes of the Victoria Racing Club, we must confess a preference for our great weight-for-age race of the autumn, the Champion Stakes. There are racing men who would, if they had their way, expunge the weight-for-age race from the programme of the V.R.C. altogether, and substitute in its place a rich handicap; but those who hold these views cannot be regarded in the light of sportsmen. They merely look upon the turf as a means whereby they can gamble to their hearts' content. With them the improvement of the thoronghbred is a secondary consideration. There are, however, many racing men who would prefer to see half-a : dozen first-class horses go to the post for a weight«for-age race than 30 face the starter for a handicap. Well; then, there are more than half-a-dozen first-class horses engaged in the Champion Stakes of the V.R.C, and we see no reason- why they should not come to the post. Somehow or other most turf men regard the Champion Stakes as a match between Mentor and Tradition, or perhaps Carbine and Tradition. For our part, we expect to see a very different complexion put upon the race before the time for the great event comes round." The writer proceeds to speak hopefully of the chances of Abercorn, Carlyon, Australian Peer, Arsenal, Melos, Theorist, Mentor, Carbine, Tradition, Chaldean, Lady Betty, and Cyclops.
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TALK OF.THE DAY., Otago Witness, Issue 1934, 14 December 1888
TALK OF.THE DAY. Otago Witness, Issue 1934, 14 December 1888
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