TALK OF THE DAY.
*j* The Dunedin Jockey Club has received capital entries for the minor handicaps at the February meeting, and the figures for both the acceptances and entries are more than satisfactory by comparison with previous years when it is remembered that the club is for the present boycotted by an influential body of owners. I had hoped that one or two of those who were parties to the compact would have taken the earliest opportunity of breaking away from a combination which cannot be altogether to their liking, but they have not done so. Never mind ! another locus penitentia will be open to them before long, and if they decline to avail themselves of that, there will be yet other opportunities of joining in with us. They are welcome whenever they feel inclined to partake of the good things provided. It will be seen by the report of Monday's com mittee meeting that these good things are to be made still more attractive, instructions having been given to the Programme Committee to increase the stakes for the May meeting. In all likelihood the two chief handicaps will have more money added to them, and there iB talk of a two-year-old race. The club also contemplate extending the November mooting next season. The financial success of the Exhibition meeting warrants the club in launching out a bit", and the committee have no fear that extra expense will not be fully justified. * # * At the meeting to which I have referred it was resolved, in accordance with the suggestion made at the general meeting of members, to vote Mr Dowse a bonus in recognition of his services as handicapper, and the sum of £50 was pitohed upon as being suitable. The oommittee could not very well have offered less, and I daresay Mr Dowse is satisfied. The moral support accorded to him in hiß trouble is of far more value than any money oould possibly be, but at the same time a cheque for £50 will no doubt be appreciated. It is also proposed to make Mr Harry James a permanent officer of the olub— a suggestion which I hope will be carried out. Mr Sydney James has spent the best years of his life in the service of the olub, and it would be a graceful act on the part of the committee to make adequate provision for assisting him in the duties of the secretaryship by formally appointing his son to a subordinate office, so tbat^ the veteran— the senior seoretary of the colonies — may feel justified in taking things easier.
*i* To return to the acceptances. For the Cup we have 10 left in. Occident, the top weight, is going all right in his work, and in a weak field would be dangerous with all his weight, but, as 1 said when the handicaps came out, I should want to be assured of a weak field and also that the son of The West was quite at bis best, before backing him. Remember, hie weight and nothing olbq stopped him in the St. Andrew's Handicap. St. James is going fairly well, but at present I don't care for his show. We are told that Merrie England iB in work, but not doing the kind of preparation that he must go through if he is to win a cup. What, then, about him for the Publicans' ? He majr have a show over the ehorter distance, I think, however, it would be rash to say at present that this colt has no chance in the big event ; and though it would be folly to back him unless on speoial information, it would be equally foolish to lay much against him. The best thing to do is to leave him alone for a week or two. Lorraine I have no notion of at all ; but the next on the list, British Lion, will set them all ago if he
comes to the post in good form. lam convinced that the horse's running at Dunedin in November, on which bo is handicapped, was not his true form. I bear that Mr Hungerford has not yet made up his mind whether he will send British Lion across from the Coast. Ixion is still a live member, notwithstanding bis defeats at Queedstown. I have an idea that this horse will be better suited than come of the others by the long course of the Cup, but on form it certainly looks now as if he were no more than a match for Don Caesar. I shall reserve my opinion about Ixion also until I see him at work.- Stonehenge was a fair performer in Tasmania laßt season. He is a four-year-old by The Assyrian (by Countryman— Tinfinderl out of Queen, by King Cole— Truganina, by Fisherman (imp.) His three-year-old record is as follows— l submit it in full bocauee most folk are unacquainted with it:— At Oolebrook November: Second in Trial Stakes, 8.0, won by Helena (3yrs, 7,9), beating Toitoi (6yrs, 811) and six others, At Tasmanian Racing Club's November meeting : Second to Chaldean in Derby, beating Eclipse, Trixton, Assyria, and Myrtle. At Midland December : Won Oatlands Handicap, 7.3, 1£ miles, 2min 51seo, beating The Promised Land (3yrs, 5.3), Vision (aged, 8.7), and three others, including the well-performed Lizzie (syrß, 7.7). At Carrick December : Won Carrick Plate, w.f.a., two miles, 3min 55seo, beating The Promised Land and two others. At Brighton January : Won Brighton Plate, 8.3, 1$ miles, 2rain 57sec, beating Eclipao (3yrs, 7.0, Nora, (6yrs, 8.7), and Waratali (4yrs, 7.7). At Tasmanian Raoing Club's February meeting : Unplaced in Hobart Cup, 7.5. won by Chaldean 7.9, with Mozart (aged, 9.2) second, and Crown Brand (aged, 6,12) third ; third in Wilson Stakes, 7.0, won by Cenobite (4yrs, 7.0), with The Promised Land (7.7) second ; third in the T.R.C. Handicap, 6,7, won by The Promised Land, 7.0, with Cenobite, 7.2, second ; beating Crown Brand, 7.5. At Tasmanian Turf Club's February meeting ; Unplaced in Lauuceston Cup, 6.11, won by Chaldean 8 13, with Laura (6yrs, 6.7) second, and Crown Brand (8.1) third. At T.R,C.'s May meeting : Unplaced in Autumn Handicap, 8.7, won by Goodwood (aged, 7.5), with Green Isle (6yrs, 9.11) second and The Promised Land (9,5) third. At Oarrick May : Second in Birthday Gift, 8.3, won by Red Rose (4yrs, 8,3), beating Lizzie (syrs, 7.4), and seven others. It will be seen that of 11 starts Stonehenge won three races, was three times second, twice third, and three times unplaced. He has done nothing since coming to New Zealand ; indeed he has been unlucky enough to break a blood-vessel twice, but seems to be all right now, and will probably strip fit at the approaohirtg meeting, and a muob better horse than he ever was before coming to the colony. Speaking without authority, I think it just possible that this horse may be as formidable in the Oup as his more fancied stable companion. I understand that the stable' have not backed either Occident or Stonehenge. Phantom is a five-year-old mare by Musket out of Atlantis (imp,)— breeding good enough for anything. J-jhe met with accidental injury as a youngster and never raced. I am aurprised that she has accepted, and am beginning to wonder whether she may not be worth watohing. One thing iB evident : that she is very ligtly handicapped, and if Bhe can win the Cup the Publicans' iB at her mercy. Don Caesar is doing well at exercise, but up to the beginning of this week be bad never been really tried over a mile and a-half, He certainly won at Invercargill at a mile and threequarters, but the company there was bo poor that he did not have to gallop, Gipsy Prince is a pretty fair horse when he likes to try, and may perhaps effect a' surprise, but [for the present he is not a B&fe medium for a plunge. I shall refrain from speaking too positively about this Cup until I see the horses on the ground. Francotte and Peasblossom are doing fair woik and are all right. The former's withdrawal from the Publioanß* knooks out a lot of the doubles that have been laid.
*** On Monday of this week Mr Dowse produced the handicaps for the Hurdle Race and Stewards' Purse. In the former my selections at first Bight are Torrent, Wardrobe, Trimolite, and Royalty. If the handicapper had had the results of the Hororata meeting before him he would, I think, have given Royalty a trifle mote weight, but the horse, though a winner there, is not another Ahua, and I don't suppose ha will paralyse the field. For the Stewards' Handicap I like the look of Mon Loup, Miss George, and Quickstep as well as anything, There is, however, plenty of time to give a more pronounced opinion when we have the horses nere.
* # * One of the principal race meetings held last week was the annual affair at Poverty Bay, the place so named by the great circumnavigator because his ships could get no provisions when they touohed there. Am I not right, Mr Historian? It is one of thoße districts in whioh, fortunately or unfortunately, tie racing is as a rule pretty well restricted, unintentionally of course, to local horses. I know of places where this is regarded as an advantage. They say that the local horses are tolerably well matched, near enough of a class to enable a bandienpper to produce good contests ; and that when visiting horses come they Bpoil the sport by running in partnership, only one being on the job at a time ; and that there being a wide difference in class no weighting within reason can bring the travellers back to the local horses. This double ended drawback bo seriously impairs the sport that it would be regarded as a stroke of fortune if for once in a way there were no visitors. And I could, if put on the rack, name one or more places where owners from a distance, though providing excellent racing and winning fairly, have been looked on as pirates because they took money out of the district. In other places where a better feeling prevails, and where the course of racing has run so smoothly as to leave no ripples on the surface, visiting owners are warmly welcomed and occasionally made a fuss of. I don't kuow how things are at Poverty Bay ; but we don't hear any murmuriDgs of the kind referred to, and may therefore suppose that the good people there are lucky enough and sensible enough to keep clear of the troubles to which I have referred. If so inolined they had opportunities for a wail in that Captain Russell sent up a couple of horses and annexed throe important races. These were the Maiden Plate, which fell to the three-year-old Huerfana (by Vasco di Gama, sire of Don Pedro, out of Sydney) and the Flying Handicap and Turanga Stakeß, won by the Foul Play mace Katinka, This mare's suoceßß in the Turanga Stakes waa evidently not anticipated by the plungers, for she paid a dividend of £9. She carried 7.5, and did the mile and three-quarters in a tick over 3min 9|seo, being run to a head by a local horse oalled Pani. Waterfall, the Musket jumper, was beaten in both hurdle races. Too machine passed through £4234 during the two days. •
*„.* Mr Henshall's Alanna, the black daughter of Bundoora and Maid of Erin recently taken over to Melbourne with Emily and Violet, made her first appearance in Victoria in the Trial Stakes at Mentone on the 7th. She carried 7.6 and ran into second place in a field of seven, being beaten only by Pretender, another ex-New Zoalandor (by Vasco di Garan— Sweetbriar), who carried 7.2,
At Elstemwick on the following day Alanna again started in the Trial Stakes, five furlongs, and with 7.6 up gained third place, behind the same Pretender (7.4) and Albania (4yrs, 7.6), four others being unplaced. Myors, who has recovered from bis injury, his collar-bone having been broken, rode Pretender in each of these races. I understand that Pretender is in the same etable as Alanna, but that both were on the job, Hard luck this for Charlie Henshall. But he never was tho recipient of favours at the hands of Dame Fortune, More than once he has beer, cheated out of a decent dividend by the devil's own luck— an accident of some kind or other. I should like to see him get something better than Alanna to depend on. She is very soso,
%♦ "Warren Hill," an English writer, says that the Duke of Portland's extraordinary success is due to judgment as well as luck— judgment in breeding from such sires as Hampton, Galopin, and St. Simon ; and also in throwing in his lot with a youthful member of a family of trainers, who have done so much' towards bringing training to its present state of perfection, he surely again showed great foresight, for while fixing upon young George Dawson, he also secured the supervision of his father and uncle Matt when required. To the latter gentleman belongs the entire oredit, I believe, of substituting the present system of training for the old plan of long, slow work and frequent sweats. I have heard it said that the idea was formed from a very simple and lowly origin indeed— no other than the butcher's cart. No doubt, like everyone else in the world, Mr Dawson was repeatedly struck by the superiority of butchers' horses in those days (I am speaking of some 30 years ago) ; it wa3 plainly apparent that they could always go faster and stay better, too, than other people's, and it took Mr Dawson but little time to arrive at the conclusion that it was brought about by no other means than by sending them along as fast as they could go over the short distances intervening between their places of call. Tin?, then, led him to adopt the same plan with his racehorses, and with the result, I think I may Bay, of vast improvement in every respect of our racehorses in general. Unfortunately his is not one of the lucky stables this year, but 1890 may bring different tidings, for, apart from his highly-bred English horses, he has Australians, of whom much is expected.
* # * More opinions about handicapping — the mistakes and the remedies. Dr Cor tie writes thus to the Sydney Referee : — " Mr Scarr thinks that if an owner sees that his horse cannot win he should not scratch his horse, but should run him to show the handioapper that he has made a mistake. He has told me thia more than once. But, Sir, I contend that a horseowner has a duty to the public, and that the public have a right to expeot that when a man starts his horse in a race the owner should oopsider that the horse bad some chance of winning. I must confess that this view of the matter does not yet seem to be generally accepted, and the more popular one is that the raoing public are made to be fleeced, and need not be considered in any way. But, Sir, it is surely time that the handioapper learned that whilst in steepleohases horses should be handicapped with reference to their jumping capacities in hurdle races, the power of galloping under welter weights on the fiat is the chief thing to be com idered. ... I credit Mr Scarr with honesty of purpose, and know that he is most painstaking in his endeavours to bring horses together fairly. He is apt to punish winning horses, and often those who run second. The work is too muob for him, and I think there should be three handicappers, who should consult together, and it would be well if one of them were deputed to give Bpecial attention to jumping raoes. At present, in a handicap hurdle race, if a dozen horses start it is the rule for about two of them to be backed down to a short price, and for these two to run first and second frequently, or at any rate one of them to win easily. Rarely a close finish is to be seen in a hurdle race, whilst there is no reason why a close finish should not be the rule instead of the exception. I believe that most owners and trainers would be pleased if an alteration were made, and threehandicappers appointed instead of one." The journal addressed supports the view taken by Dr Cortis, and calls attention to remarks of its own on the subject published previoualy : " The handicapper being obviously overworked needs assistance, and should consequently have an assistant or colleague. It is very muoh easier work looking down a handicap than compiling it— we can all pick one to pieces, though to make one which defies oritioism is another matter; and I would therefore have two handicappers who should look at each other'B work. For the very important events of the year perhaps they might each make the handicap and compare the result, and, by the way, it would not seldom be interesting to see how two capable men differed. If one were found to have given a horseaßtone or so more than the weight allotted to him by the other, they would exchange their reasons, the result of whioh would often be agreement. Sometimes, however, both would remain unconvinced, and this would necessitate the appointment of an umpire, to whom the case and arguments might be submitted. I scarcely think that this umpire would have a very great deal to do, and perhaps one of the stewards of the Jockey Club would act ; or, if the three were all disinclined, some member of the club would doubtleHs be found to aocept the position and responsibility."
*** The race meeting got up as a complimentary benefit to Mr Andrew Town, and held at Randwick on the 4th inst. under the management of the Hawkesbury Club, was hardly the success it waß hoped it would be, the attendance being somewhat affected by the amount of racing held during the holidays and also to some extent perhaps by the heavy rain that fell during the previous night. Hengist won tho Hurdle Raoe by a dozen lengths from Melton, with Albert third, Marcella was made the favourite in a field of 20 for the Turf Club Handicap, but she was never prominent, nor was Too Soon, who was also fancied, the winner being Insignia, who beat Gaytime by a length and a-half. Mr Cook's Forty Winks walked over for the Sapling Stakes. The Trainers' Tribute resulted in Phaon winning by a neck from Volney, and the Bookmakers' Gift fell to Mr Oxenham with Fairfield, who started at sto 1. The racing was fairly good, but not worth describing in detail. %* A letter appearing in this issue, and for which space is gladly found, purports to give the reasons why a now racing club is started at the Taieri, They appear to numbor two : first, that the East Taieri folk have taken advantage of their majority on the members' roll of the old club to have all, or all but one, of the meetings held at their end, in violation of the original arrangement; and second, that the Mosgiel course is too far away from the weatom part of the district to be of much use for training purposes to Outram aud Berwick owners. The first of these arguments lacks substantiality. Even my correspondent hesitates about Baying straight out on his own authority that tbere was an absolute arrangement to the effect that the meetings were to be held alternately at Mosgiel and Outram. He cautiously says thub
"he haß been told" bo. It should be a simple matter to turn up the minutes and find out whether the old club wbb or was not founded on that basis. If it was, the arrangement was manifestly not a wise one, A club to bo successful must have a course of its own, for unless permanent improvements are effected for the convenience of the public tho public will not attend in bad weather ; and tbere is no club so wealthy that it can afford to maintain two courses. As to the second reason for formiog a new club, the same consideration applies — that is, that it must be better to have one good course, even though inconveniently situated for some trainers, than, to have two that would of necessity be unimproved, But this consideration of the convenience of the parties concerned may be and possibly is a valid reason why the old club in buying a permanent course should have pioked out a central site, I say " may be" in preference to speaking positively, because an outsider can scarcely be expected to know all the reasons that led to the purchaser of the course nigh to the factory, and perchance there were some sufficiently weighty to balance the objeotion as to its not being centra).
*** The fact is that a new set of circumstances have arisen out of tbe rapid growth of the Taieri Amateur Turf Club's business, and it would have been for the benefit of all parties that these should have been inado the foundation of a new compact, old understandings and grievances bsing by mutual consent buried with the view of making a fresh start. I still think it is exceedingly unfortunate that so thriving a olub should have its prosperity jeopardised by a split in the camp. Those who brought about the severance are blameable. At first sight I was disposed to allot the rej Bponsibility to the eeceders. My correspondent suggests that the blame lies with the other side. I am not disposed to argue the point either way, for in my ignorance of the p9rßons, and the parties into wbioh these persons have formed themselves and tho motives that have actuated the parties, I should probably not mend matters. Personally I would sooner act as a mediator than aa the champion of either 'aide.. Assuming that capacity, I would counsel the opposing factions to seek a frash understanding and form another coalition on a durable basis, If this muob is done, if the endeavour ia made and prove fruitless, I agree with my correspondent that tbe division is preferable to having a oat-and-dog life in the old olub. But lam sure that one club is enough for the Taieri, and in the common interest an attempt Bhouid be made, if not too late, to reunite the dismembered parties.
%* Patrician did nofc long outlive the jockey killed by his falling at Greymouth races. The littlo horse fell by colliding with Sweetie in the Kumara Consolation and broke his back. Patrician was eight years old, got by Feve out of Jenny Lind. For Mr Bate he ran a large number of races, and on that gentleman's retirement became the property of Sam Higgott, for whom he won the Midsummer Handicap (ridden by Dodd) after a dead .heat with Derwenter, A few months ago be waß sold to Mr G. Osborne. It cannot bo said that Patrician was a good racer. He never climbed up into the eight stone division unless in poor company. But he mußt ( have been a particularly sound horse to have stood all the work that was put into him. The West Coast Times says that on a post mortem examination it was found that Patrician's back was fractured below the mane, two ribs on one Bide and one on the other. The latter fracture, judging from appearance, must have been a few days old, as there were already signs of mortification. No doubt this happened on the second day of the Greymcuth races, when tbe horse fell, causing the death of poor Teddy Dodd. Since that accident tbe horse journeyed to Ahaura, raced there, went to Kumara and ran in four races, Generally a very high-spirited animal, bis inanimateness at Kumara seemed to indicate some ailment, but his owner thought he had only received a severe shaking, which he would lose when fully extended.
*** In its comments on the Lake County meeting the local Press Bays that the protest in the Two-mile Trot was entered by Mountney against tho stakes being paid to Selina or Rob Roy on the ground that the mare had not been run out the first day, and that Rob Roy had not tried to win this event. The ntowarda upheld the protest, disqualifying Selina and Rob Roy for the day, and awarding the money to Maggie, who must have been distanced, As, we are informed, Rob Roy's owner practically admitted being the owner of Selina, the disqualification of Selina appears to be just, for the mare evidently was not, trotted out the first day ; but Mountney's protest against Rob Roy was something like "dog eating dog," because, to say the very least, the performances of Mountney's horses Maggie and Present Times on the first and the second days was decidedly inconsistent, and while Maggie could, we think, have made a much better show the first day, bo could Present Times have done the seoond day ; and, if the disqualification of Rob Roy had depended on not trying alone, there would have been, in our opinion, quite as much reason for the disqnalication of Present Times the second day. It would have been more satisfactory, under all the circumstances, if the race had been declared null and void, and the totalisator money returned to investors, even if the percentage had been deducted. Messrs J. C. Knowles and A. Torrie were the purchasers of two tiokets on Maggie in the Trot, and when Selina came in first, Mr Torrie, thinking they woro no good, tore up the tiokets, together with four they had on Rob Roy. Afterwards, bearing that there waa a proleßt, he went to the spot where ha hud thrown down the pieces and gathored some of them only, as it proved. Thsse they tried to fit together, but did not succeed in completing one ticket, and when they appoaled to the stewards aud Messrs Mason &ml Roberts (who worked the totaliaator) the latter stated that they had paid out on two cenlro pieces of Maggie's— tho pieces no doubt missing from the two tickets in question. There can be no blame attached to Mesors Mason and Roberts for paying out ou tho centre pieces which boro their private mark ; but whoever presented those pieceß got paid money that rightfully belonged to Moasrß Knowles and Torrie.
\* Hororsita (Canterbury) races were held last Friday in pleasant .weather. There were five starters in the Hurdle Race, which in the estimation of the public was a capital handicap, tho individual investments being 49 on Macamoc, 46 Little Arthur, 42 Reuben, 32 Count d'Orsay, and 11 Royalty. Ab it happened the outsider won, and not through accident to any of tho others. Royalty carried the lightest weight and was splendidly ridden by Bob Kingau. The dividend was 14ga. Tua Farmers' Plato also resulted ia a boil over, Dragon, who went out a hot favourite, being put down by K^gaicuffin, who paid a dividend of over £8 This Ragamuffin ia a son of Nobleman, sire of Daddy Loaglega. Ahua (7.9) was nicely ric3'iou in tho Gun, aud managed to deftat; Roaslud (8.13), who waa tho belter faucied of the w-.lt, by a couple of lengths, the time bein^r fet down bb wonderfully faßt— viz., 2min 39^3ec for the mile and a-balf. Yarra (6.12) gained third place. The Lrotlera were rather a poo ot, and Flirt, the
dinner, is something lobb than a Princeßß. Her time for the two miles was 6min 36aeo. In the Welter Handicap 20 to 3 was laid on Tornado (11.10) against The Vicar (10.0), and fche certainty came off, this being the firet win of the day for a first favourite. That everlasting member Normanby beat three others in the Novel Race and was Bold for £12. The New Year's Gift was practioally a match between Roßebud (9.12) and Red Ensign (8.1). The latter was rather the better favourite of the two, but was defeated by a length. A protest entered by Wisby, rider of Red Ensign, on the ground that Stewart had Btruok tbe last-mentioned mare and foroed her to run wide, was dismissed, Stewart being cautioned to be more careful in future. In tbe Consolation the priza was taken by Golden Hope (7.5), who paid a dividend of £4 18a. Red Ensign (9.6), the favourite, finished last of the four that started. Mr CreßßweH'B handicapping at the meeting waß above the average. Messrs Hobbs and Goodwin passed £1300 through the totalisator.
* # * Mr S. Mercer left Dunedin on Monday to join tbe Aorangi at Wellington, bound for the Old Country. He has gone Horns on private business, and is unceitain as to the date of his return— it may be not until the winter iB over. Meanwhile, he tells me, his proposed suit against Tattersall's is hung up. In reference thereto, Mr Mercer pointed out to me an answer in the Australasian, of reoent date, which when read with the question (shown to me before being Bent) gives the opinion that the club has no power to adjudicate between non-members without their consent. Sam was practically out of business at the time of leaving, and bad no horses to arrange for. %* John Corbett and Charles Paget have got into serious trouble^ over the Tinwald meeting. It appears that Oorbett asked for an inquiry by the club so that he might have an opportunity of clearing himself from a charge freely circulated in Bportirjg circles to the effect that he had bribed the j ckey Robs to pull Little Arthnr in tbe Hurdle Race. The committeemen to whom Corbett unbosomed himself interested themselves in having a formal investigation, and this was duly held on Tuesday night of last week, with the result that the charge made by Robb was held to be substantiated, and both Oorbett and Paget were notified to appear before the committee last night and show cause why they should not be disqualified for life. The substance of the evidenoe given by Ross was that he was offered and agreed to take £5, which was paid down less 10s, to sell the race, but that he never intended to Bell the race, his idea being to sell the bribers. Confirmatory evidence was forthcoming, and this was bo strong that Corbett and his partner in the transaction were completely overwhelmed. The question aB to whether Ross ia punishable is referred to to the C.J.O.
* # * It is a matter for congratulation that so serious a charge should have been sifted thoroughly. The Tinwald committee sat till 1 o'clook in the morning, and then resumed in the afternoon to hear the evidence of P*get and others who were not in attendance on tbe Tuesday night. In passing I may be permitted to point a moral by remarking that some of the leading clubs might take a lesson from such olubs as the Taieri and Tinwald in these matters. Their inquiries are conducted with open doors and pursued to a finish, while the judicial sittings of Borne larger olubs are smugged up in the dark, and, so far as one can tell, carried on in a half-hearted manner aB though tbe stewards are afraid they will have to sentence somebody if they are too inquisitive. In this case tbe Tinwald Club deserves well of the whole Bporting world. I think, however, tint they made a mistake in referring to the C. J.C, the question as to whether Boss was guilty of a breaoh of the rules, Rule 154 of the new code provides that "if any jockey corruptly aocept or offer to accept any money, share in a bet, or other benefit . , , he may be warned off the course and other plaoeß where the rules are in force." What had to be decided was whether Ross acted "corruptly." That was a question on which the stewards were better able to form an opinicn than the C. J.C can possibly be ; and tbe decision should have inoluded Ross' sentence or acquittal. As to which it should have been I must say nothing at present,
%* The Tuapeka meeting, like all the rest of the country meetings this last couple of months, was rather dull, the attendance being bolow the average and cash scarce. For this the Exhibition is no doubt responsible to some extont, but I fancy that Tuapeka would not bave suffered much by the drain of money. Dunedinward if the weather had been at all noar the mark. A fine bright morning on Wednesday would have tempted a large number to make the excursion from town, and they would have taken some cash with them. As it was, many who thought of going altered their minds at the last moment, and wisely too, for the excursionists bad anything but a pleasant time of it on the trip up, and those who remained over the two days experienced a howling gale, with accompanying showers, that in combination completely blasted all hope of a pleasant outing, and made the course dangerous to run on, Altogether, four horses fell— Maxwelton in the Maiden, Fanny in the Novel, La Rose in the Flying, and Charlie in the Hack Race. The wonder is that there were not more accidents, the course being so greasy. Mon Loup in the J. O. Handioap and Belvidere in the Stewards' Purse were, I am told, scratched simply because the owners did not care to" run more risks with these horßes. Despite the drawbacks mentioned, the racing was pretty good. It will be seen by the report that Gipsy rrinoe, the brother to Gipßy King, won the Maiden Plate, that Mon Loup won the double on the first day and Mies Ann on the Becond day, while Trapper pulled off the Hurdle Race, Belvidore accounted for the Flying, La Rose was the heroine in the Publicans' Handicap, and Apres Moi took the Consolation. Dunedintrained horses thus appropriated all tho chief events. Messrs Solemon and Murrell ran the totalisator and put through £1498, the biggest dividend being £12 3?, on Ranger in the Twc-mile Trot. It is a strange fact that this Tuapeka meeting, held at a time of year when the weather should ba Bettled, baa for four years in succession been interfered with by heavy rain.
%♦ There are no lesß than 16 acceptors for the Wellington Cup, and a precious hard job it will be to pick the winner. As between some half dozen or more of those left in there is scope for any amount of betting, but Ida not expect we shall see much, for the days of ante-post wagering are effectually numbered — bo far as large transactions are concerned. This being bo, there is no urgent necessity to make ono's (selections until the last moment. I am especially glad in the present caee of a week's respite, and shall take advantage of it. I ahould like to know, for instance, before making up my mind, how Dudu is. I had been told, on what seemed to be excellent authority, that Bhe could not be go*, fit ; but more favourable reports of her are now to band, and Bhe must be reckoned as dangerous, for at her best Bhe would win straight out, unless we have an undiscovered Manton somewhere in the list. I do not, however, think that she can poßsibly be at her best, and therefore look on the raoe
as an open one. Leopold's running in the Auckland Cup entitles him to respect, but remember, plesse, that the stable may perhaps come with Fabulouß. Mr Gollan's pair may bave a say, too ; and I cannot think that Oynisca iB altogether out of it; while Rose Argent must be carefully watched. I shall attempt to pick the Cup in one in next week's issue. The general entries for the meeting are very fairly representative of the Northern districts. St. James, our Dunedin member, is, I notioe, not in any of the minor events. Master Agneß is once more nominated, being entered for the shorter jumping race. %* I am sorry to hear of the death of the Southland mare Forget-me-Not, a daughter of Sterlingworth and Memento. She stumbled while exercising. at tho Forbury on Monday, and in falling broke her shoulder blade. Forget-me-Not was some time back placed in James Cotton's hands to be trained. I don't think she was ever likely to turn out a second Dudu, but I do know that she was fast; and she would probably, 1 had she lived, won a few races for Mr Crockett if properly placed, more especially | aB she had still the range of a handicap to work through upwards. V Ifc is nofc s0 very lon £ aß°a ß° ( wriies " Asmodeus ") since the executive of the Australian Jockey Club struck terror into^ the hoarts of evil doers on the turf of the sister colony by the measure of condign punishment meted out to offenders. Their aotions attraoted the attention of the entire sporting community throughout the various colonies, none the less for the soverity of the sentences imposed as for the prompt and fearless manner in which tbe committee discharged their duty. It almost seems aB if the A. J.C. had assumed unto itself the unpleasant task of cleansing the Augean stable. The great werk of purification may be said to bave commenced when an example was made of the Victorian contingent, comprising The Nun, her owner (M. S. M»Kenzie) and her jockey (G. Moore), all of whom were understood, and deservedly so, to ,be banished from off the face of the turf for ever. Others equally culpable as M'Kenzie and Moore in that infamous job onlyeßcaped similar punishment by the skin of their teeth. Nothing important deserving censure at the hands of the A. J.C oropped up until late in the season, when retrospective action was taken in respect to the horses Marvel and Friotion, both of which were rubbed out for suspicious running. The offence in each instance was supposed to be of a pharacter that an early remission of the sentences was thought to be \ quite out of the question ; yet what do we now j find? viz,— that Moore, who was found guilty of pulling The Nun, is once more in harness ; and Marvel, who has only been off the turf about six months, again eligible to carry silk in public Surely, this is inconsistent behaviour on the part of the A. J.C meting out dire and wholesale punishment one day, only to revoke the same the next. It is not to be wondered that the turfites of the sister colony are clamouring for an infusion of new blood on the committee, and it will be interesting to know what turn matters will take on the 20th inßt., on which day the new committee will be elected. The system of voting by proxy is no doubt largely accountable for the unsatisfactory personnel of the A. J.C committee, and it iB to be hoped the contemplated attempt to introduce the same thing into the V, R, O, code will be signally defeated. %* The annual meeting of the Taien Amateur Turf Club was held on Monday evening. In the report the committee was glad to say they have every ground for believing that those members who have taken part in the formation of the Central^ Taieri Club will not lose any of their interest in their old club, and trust that as there is room for both institutions in the district they will work harmoniously together, Tbe balance sheet showed that the total receipts for the year, including interest on the money in bank, amounted to £981 4b 6d } the total expenditure being £629 8s sd, leaving a credit balance of £351 165. To this has to be added last year's balance of £435 9b sd, whioh makes the total credit balance of the club at date, £787 5a 6d. The election of officers resulted bb follows :— President, Mr C. Goie ; vice-preai-dent, Mr W. Low ; Becretary, Mr W. Carncross ; treasurer, Mr R, Ghurton. Six members retiring from the committee by effluxion of time, and Messrs Gore and Low having been elected to other offices, there were eight vacancies left in tbe committee. The following were elected :— Messrs R. Todd, R. Green, J. Rosa, J. Hislop, W. Smith, J. Melrose, D. Richardson, and J. O'Donnell. The Taieri Advooate adds that the owner of tbe .trotting horse Double Hill (or Barney) asked that his disqualification be removed. 1 Tbe committee ' sympathised with the present owner, who is in no way to blame in the matter, but regretted that they oould not see their way to comply with the request. Messrs Mason and Roberts waited on the club, and stated that in the matter of paying out on Shepherdess in the Three-mile Trot, all the tickets had been paid out on with the exception of one. There waß a claimant in Dunedin who said be had lost his ticket, and they understood there was a gentleman in the Taieri who also stated he bad lost his ticket. This would leave them (Messrs Mason and Robertß) in the position of having two claimants for the amount unpaid. The club resolved to leave the matter entirely to the discretion of Messrs Mason and Roberts. The club also unanimously passed a hearty vote of thanks to those gentlemen for the able manner in whioh they had always carried out the dub's business, and oxpressed entire confidence in them.