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TALK OF THE DAY.

BY MAZEPPA

*** As anticipated, Mr H. Driver has declined re-appointment as starter to the Dunedin Jockey Club. He has, as I take it, realised that it avouUl be to the interests of the club that he should stand aside and let someone else have a turn at the thankless job, and has sunk personal considerations for the sake of the body Avhose prosperity he has ahyays taken active measures to advance. His action is such as might have been expected of a gentleman. The question now is, Who is to be the new starter ? The club has not a very Avide choice, there being but feAv men in the colony — or out of it, so far as Aye knoAV — Avho have proved themselves able to give satisfaction. I take it that it is the plain duty of the club to secure the services of one of these few. It is out of the question to try experiments. Personally I don't care a picayune Avho gets the appointment, so long as the choice falls on a man Avho can perform the duties, and as I believe the committee are fully impressed Avith tho importance of their duty I do not deem it advisable to obtrude any further recommendation on the point. There is only this to be said, that if the applicants for the position do not include anyone to Avhom the flag can be handed Avith confidence it would be as Avell that only a temporary engagement should be effected. Twelvemonths would be rather long for an experiment. Ido not suppose this difficulty Avill arise, but if it should the proper covirse to adopt avouUl be to engage the officer from meeting to meeting until Avell assured of his fitness. I may take this opportnnity of congratulating the club on obtaining the services of Mr Bremner as successor to Mr S. G. Smith as clerk of the scales. Mr Bremner is a careful man, and one who is not likely to mako a mistake.

* # * Hawke's Bay Evening NeAvs gives the" following as a story which is current iri Hastings : — B owned a racehorse which he leased to A. Tho horse had done no racing for a length of time, but B thought A was getting him into great form, but was keeping it all to himself, so as to make a rise. He therefore planned a little scheme to find out the truth. A day or two before the races he got A to go up country to fetch some mares and promised to look after the horse meanwhile. A would have swallowed the bait perhaps had not B told the stable boy to go to bed early, as he intended to take the horse out before daylight and have a trial. The boy casually told A, and as he (A) was not on the best of terms with B, he slightly altered his plans. He was to have left for the mares about 8 o'clock, but instead of doing so he delayed his departure. At 9he gave the horse a good mash, at 11 he gave him another, and about a couple of hours afterwards he gave him a good belly full of water. Then he left for up country. B came in an hour or so later and took the horse out for the intended trial, with the result that the length of the straight separated the horse which is the chief figure in the story and the one he Avas racing Avith. B put him away, quite convinced he had found out all about it. Two days later were the H. B. Jockey Club's races. A advised Bto put a bit on him or he might be sorry for ifc, but B re|)lied that he knew quite enough about him ! The horse Avon iv a canter, and A, Avith a select few, scooped a pool. Bis still satisfied that he kuoAvs quite enough about the horse, but he doesn't care about hearing his name mentioned too loudly.

*.** Puriki, whoso death is announced, was one of twins born to Toi-toi in 1874, the year that Lurline won the first Dunedin Cup. She was bred by Mr H. Redwood, got by Towton out of the dam of those well-known horses Kakapo and Hornby. Puriki went to the stud in 1877, and her first produce was Cathedral, winner of several hurdle races and a few flat races in Otago, one of these being a maiden plate at the Forbury, paying a nice dividend. I remember that because a friend suggested that I should share an investment with him and I did not do so. Cathedral was in the Dunedin yards a few months ago, a perfect wreck about the legs. In 1880 she produced Icenian to Cassivflaunus. This horse broke down through an accident while racing in the Tally-ho Steeplechase at the Forbury in September 1888. He was going very strongly at the time, and Kingan would have just about got him home but for the mishap. He was saved for stud purposes. Tiger Tim, got by Cadogan in 1882, was expected to run well in tho Now Zealand Cup won by Fusillade, but he Avas loft at the post and had no show. In 1884 Puriki produced CruehhYld, the best of the family, who is still winning. Parvula, a year younger, is now quartered in Southland, and has, I think, gone to the stud, though she was racing quite recently. Then followed that very fast horse Lord Aston, by Cadogan, who distinguished himself more than once in a brilliant fmish, notably one in which Ruby just beat him at the Forbury. Puriki's 1888 foal by Tasman did not live, and since then she has not returned anything that I inioAv of.

*V* Freedom and Flprrie, with thoir stablemate the steeplechaser Freeman, wont away to Melbourne very quietly at the tail end of last week. No one seems to be particularly interested in this expedition. In most previous years New Zealanders have been very keen to find out which of our horses were likely to cross the water for the autumn meetings, and those who first secured what they regarded as correct information rested not till they had got a bit, either straight out or in doubles, so as to retail it to those who were not so smart in getting tho news. This year I have not heard of anyone backing either Freedom or Florrie for their V.R.C. engagements, and I do not think the owner has much if anything about them, or we should have heard of it from Melbourne. Perhaps this lack of interest in the movements of the Lonsdale Lodge representatives is a good augury. For years running the New Zealanders have been heavily backed, and, but for Lochiel's separate wins of the Newmarket and Australian Cup,£there has been no return — the doubles, wherein plungers hope to make a rise, have invariably goue cronk. This year there is every prospect of the Maorilniifjers running unsupported by the general public, and perhaps they may win. That would be just our luck. I cannot, however, recommend them as fivst-rate investments. Freedom is somehow regarded as not quite a proved stayer in a fast-run race, and neither he nor Florrie is altogether chucked in in either event. Our Australian friends must not expect quite so nmch of this pair as of others that we have sent in previous years. Freeman is as likely to earn money as either of the flat racers. With luck, however, the team will pay their way, and either of the three should sell well, if that is the game. I wish Dan the best of fortune. He is a constant advertiser of this colony's resources, and not wanting in judgment or enterprise.

*^* There is not likely to be much Derby betting this winter, a writer in Truth says, although there is' evury reason why the bookmakers should endeavour to stimulate specu : latiou, after their very satisfactory experience of the last two years. Twelve months ago there was not a human being outside of the Kingsclere stable who had ever heard of Common, and until within a veiy short time of the Two Thousand being run for, the animals' abp.ut which the speculative herd were crazed were Peter Flower, Orvicto, Gouvenieur, and Orion, which were backed in lots for the Derby for many thousands. Last year, again, Sainfoin was never thought of iv connection with the Derby until about a month before-the race, and "his subsequent form has conclusively proved that I was perfectly right at the time in defin; ing his Epsom victory as a fluke of the most flagrant description.' It remains to be seen whether Orme will stand much training, apart from the direful possibility that he may become, a roarer ; but, even if all goes well with the Duke of Westminster's steed, there docs not seem to me to be any affinity to reason in the crack-brained jargonings about the Derby being only a question of health for him. I have predicted the success of Orme for every race which he has won, and his high promise was mentioned when he was a yearling, so that I cannot be prejudiced in any sort of way against him ; but when one comes to look closely into his form there has really been nothing in his achievements so far to justify the extravagantly highflown panegyrios of which he has been the object. Orme has won his races easily enough, but there has never been anything of the highest class behind him, and there is no explaining away his previous collapse at Manchester. It is much to be regretted that M: E. Blanc did not start Rueil, the brother to Reverend, who is the best two-year-old, in France, for the Dewhurst Plato, for then we 1 should have discovered something really tangible about Orme, but they may possibly meet in the Two Thousand. If Orme and La Fleche had run together at Newmarket in October Ido not fancy that Jreally good judges would have been, disposed to bet odds on tho colt, and La Fleche was every bit as capable of improvement as Orme, and. aha

appeared more likely to train on. Baron Hirsch is certain to start his mare for the Derby, but the pair may have met previously in the Newmarket Stakes, which would indeed he an exciting race if they both started, supposing that La Fleehe had won the One Thousand, and Orme the Two Thousand, in which race the filly is not engaged. La Fleehe is, of course, in the Oaks, but she was not entered for the Grand Prix. They are both in the Leger. *** The circumstance should not be allowed to pass without remark that one of our oldest sporting men is leaving Otago. I refer to Mr George Smith, who until recently had charge of the billiard room at Wain's Hotel. He is leaving to take up a similar position in Wellington. Mr Smith was here, I think, before any of our surviving sporting men bar one, Mr John Stephenson, who arrived first by three weeks. That was in 1863. George, as he is familiarly known, was but a lad when he was •despatched by Shadrach Jones to go out to the Taieri to find a hit of ground that would do for a racecourse for the meeting to which Sam Waldock was coming with Falcon and other Melbourne horses. He reported in favour of the site afterwards known as the Silverstream. That was one of his early experiences. It would take a three-volume work to recount all his doings in Australia and New Zealand, but I may mention that the first horse he ever owned in the colony was Bob Apples, a Tasmaniau-bred member ; that he was p assessed of the Maori-bred Hatter atone time, and travelled him all tho way from Invercargill to Greymouth for a race that they tried to exclude him from, saying that it was a district race, and was intended to be so advertised — Hatler, by the way, was sold for the occasion to a local man and started, but broke down when winning easily ; that Mr Smith also owned the well-known horse Ranger; that he trained Kauri Gum for the LSOO match that he won, and also trained the trotter Major for his race for LSOO with Rocket, the former winning ; and that in later years he was owner for a short time of that flyer Apropos. There are few men in New Zealand who know more about blood horses, and none that I know of who are so competent to tell an interesting story of bygone times in an agreeable manner. Mr Smith is well-liked throughout Otago, and many will join with me in wishing him success in his new home. I have much pleasure in introducing him to the sporting men of Wellington. He has not been there for 20 years. *** There was some capital trotting at the Canterbury Trotting Club's meeting last Friday, but no sensational finishes, most of the winners having their fields disposed of before the last quarter. Mr Digby's Jena (late Black Bess) won the Maiden Handicap, two miles, in 6.3 i, iind paid L 6 7s, the favourite being Bob 11, who finished second. In the Midsummer Handicap, three miles, Mr Bowie's La Grippe 38sec was made an odds on chance in a field of 10, and won as he liked in the very fair time of 8.23. Mr Fox's Shamrock II won the Disposal Stakes, and was bought in at the ridiculous price of L 3. Mr Manton's Dick secured the Pony Race after a set-to with Mr Patten's Belle, these being the favourites. For the Cup of 63sovs, four miles in harness, there were six starters. Bedalo, the scratch horse, had no show, the prize being captured very easily by Mr M'Alister's Springfield SOsec, who did the distance in 12.3, paying a dividend of L 2 lls. Mr Gaskins' Pansy, a daughter of Berlin, won the Addington Plate, doing two miles in 5.45 ; the Stewards' Plato in harness fell to Mr Jarden's Princess, who paid L 8 16s dividend ; and the Electric Stakes was a soft thing for Mr Clegg's Ada 11, who did the mile in 2.57. The sum of L 1261 was passed through the totalisator during the day. . *#* A lively half hour, writes the correspondent of the Southland News, took place in Wyndham on Saturday week through the disputed ownership of the thoroughbred horse Falsehood, said to belong to Mr T. Mortimer, of Gore, and presently in the possession of Alexander Brown, who was travelling the animal in this district. Mr T. C. White tried to take forcible possession of the horse, while Brown had hold of him. Brown refused to give him up. In the dispute White assaulted Brown, but was prevented from obtaining possession by the bystanders. The services of the constable had to be called in, and Brown retained possession-. On Monday Brown summoned White for assaulting him, the case being heard before James Forsyth and A. Dolamore, Esqs., J.P., at the Wyndham Courthouse. The assault was admitted. The bench fined White 10s and costs lls, and ordered him to find sureties to keep the peace for six months, himselt in L2O and one surety for LlO. Since the above took place I understand White and Brown have sold the horse. Some further developments are likely to take place. * # * We may ta^ c * fc > * suppose, as an oversight that at the recent meeting of the Dunedin Jockey Club's Committee no reference was made to the past services of Mr S. G. Smith as clerk of the scales. He was not a candidate for re-election, and passes out with a record of 16 years' service, during which, so far as I can remember, he has not once been accused of making a mistake either in weighing out or in. He was once placed in an awkward position, when the owner of a certain horse for reasons of his own refused 1$ weigh in, but there was no fault chargeable to the clerk of the scales, who did what he conceived to be his duty by fining the offender LlO. That and the celebrated trotting dispute, which, as a matter of the interpretation of rules, was sent to other tribunals for decision, were the only occasions that I can recall in which Mr Smith has had any trouble. His work has not been heavy, but it is a responsible duty that he has performed satisfactorily for a lengthened period, and it struck me — that is why I write this — th it it would be a gracious thing to acknowledge the services in a short minute, as is customary on such occasions. Perhaps this will havo been done by the time these lines are in print *a* At the annual meeting or the Taieri Amateur Turf Club the balance shcufc submitted was considered satisfactory. For the last Easter meeting, remarks the local paper, the receipts were L 4-57 lls, and the expenditure L 468 15s <kl. On the face of it this looks like a slight loss, but it !ns to be borne in mind that the legal expenses connected with the registration of the company mid rho purchase of the course, the removal of tho buildings, the erection of fencing, kc, weie all charged at this meeting.,; For the Spiin^ meeting the receipts were "L 646 ss, and the expenditure LSOB 14s lid, leaving :i substantial profit. At the annual meeting in 1891 the debit balance at the National Bank was L 1526 10.s ; it has now been reduced to L 139.0 4s 4d. The following office-bearers were elected : — President, Mr C. J. (re-elected); vice-president, Mr Robert Todd ; committee — • Messrs Low, O'Donnell, R. Green, Smith, Hislop, and A. Bremner ; secretary, Mr W. Carncross (reelected) ; treasurer, Mi 1 R. Churton (reelected) ; auditors, Messrs J. Oughton, Brent, and Dr Allan.

*** A correspondent of tho local Argus protests against the proposal of which he has heard a report to the effect that the Cromwell Jockey Club intend to throw their Derby open to all Otago. This Derby, he s>-iyt>, was started to improve the breed of di l;i r t horsiv, and I maintain that it has answered its purpose well,

and will continue to do so if kept for district horses. In proof of this statement I ask any one to compare the three placed horses cf the Derby of 1891 with any three horses that have ever raced in that Derby, and they will more than hold their own. Why is the improvement to be checked by the introduction of foreign horses who will come into the district, take the stake, and depart. The race will then be confined to one or two horses bred down country, which, having shown as two-year-olds that they are not fast enough for big meetings, will be nominated for the Cromwell Derby by their owners as a means of selling them. There will be fewer nominations from the district, and more horses will pay the forfeit in November. If the club truly wishes to encourage the breed of horses in this district let it put in more restrictions, let it insist that the foals be got in the district, let it put a stop to the sending of mares to horses at a distance, and thus good entries will be brought to the district, and many a man will pny, say, L 5 for the services of a horse who cannot afford to send his mare to a distance. How many among us can afford to pay L3O for the chance of getting a foal ? and that is about the cost of sending a mare to Dunedin, getting her served, and bringing her back.

*** As one who takes a great interest in this and other country produce races, I may perhaps be pardoned for putting my oar in to the extent of advising the club not to further multiply the restrictions as recommended. If the club is ever induced to stipulate that the foals be got in the district it will mean a direct discouragement to improving the breed. Lest some uncharitable persons should accuse me of having a "down" on some particular horse or owner, I beg to say that at the moment of writing this I purposely refrain from looking up the papers to see what stallions are available in the district. What lam concerned to remark is this : that as a rule there will be better blood outside any one district than within its confines, and therefore it would be absurd to check the sending away of mares. Moreover, as bearing on the same point, there may be mares in the district that for scientific reasons could not be expected to nick well with the stallion of the district ; and even if the scientific reason does not intervene it is often a good thing to get a fresh mixture of blood. Take the case of the Hon. G. M'Lean as an example. Here we have the owner of a large and successful breeding stud, with stallions of his own, and yet he once sent Lady Emma to Le Loup and lately railed Lady Evelyn and Malice to Canterbury to visit Maxim. Again, if breeders must stick to one or two stallions that are fixtures in a district, the produce will soon come to be all closely related. The suggestion made would not result in "good" eutries for the Derby. It might result in " many," but this would be at the risk of degeneracy. I am quite sure that the club should not listen to this branch of the proposal referred to, unless indeed provision is made with owners to ensure a regular change of stallions.

*** The constitution of the Canterbury Trotting Owners' Association as drawn up by the committee was agreed to at the adjourned meeting last week, and it was resolved to make the following suggestions to the various trotting clubs who have their headquarters iv Christchurch : — That the Owners' Association should have the appointment of a handicapper to act with the club's official iv the framing of handicaps, the two haudicappers to have the election of a referee in the event of disagreement ; that the association should have the appointment of a timekeeper ; that the several clubs should submit to the Owners' Association a dulyaudited balance sheet of receipts and expenditure at the end of each year ; that horses which have not previously started should all be placed on the same mark in any one given handicap ; that there should be at least one class trot in every programme. The election of office-bearers resulted as follows -.—President, Mr H. F. Recce ; vice-president, Mr J. A. Connell ; hon. secretary, Mr H. Reynolds; hon. treasurer, Mr J. Buggey 1 ; committee— Messrs C. Kerr, B. Clarkson, A. Duncan, M. Taylor, and J. Munro. *** They had good fields and fair to close finishes at the Maniototo Jockey Club's meeting last week. The North Otago contingent rather more than held their own. They provided the winner of the Maiden in Millstone, a gelding that has been running in the Oamani district for the last couple of years ; and Miss Mack, another of the Hotspur race hailing from the same locality, gave all her opponents weight and a beating in each of the principal events. She must be real grit to have carried 10.10 in the mile and three-quarters of the Naseby Cup, and then play with a fair performer like De Trop, in receipt of more than two stone. Kauroo was another from the same quarter that made his mark, and it must not be forgotten that he gave weight to Ben over a mile and could, says the local paper, to all appearances have won easily with another stone. This Kauroo is a very useful horse. His first race at Tuapeka satisfied me on that point. Of the local horses the most worthy was Dfi Trop, who captured the District Race, was second iv the Cup, and pulled off the President's Handicap after one of the closest contests ever seen on the course. Lupus, the Cromwell Derby winner, was one of the beaten horses in this field, and neither he nor his contemporary Huia seems to be able yet awhile to hold its own in the company of decent handicap horses. Their future is before them. Messrs Solomon and Murrell worked the totalisator, and passed through L 1996 during the two days, or L 197 more than last year. The meeting will turn in a profit of about LBO. * # * Our Melbourne correspondent sends an interesting letter, mainly reviewing the weights for the Newmarket Handicap and Australian Cup. With the view of affording Witness readers all the information possible, I append the opinions of other leading turf scribes on the same subject.

" Ribbledcn " (Australasian) says :— " I don't see anything among the extreme light brigade with good prospects for the Newmarket ; and if I were to select a dozen to beat the field I should choose the following :— Whimbrel, Deerswood, St. Blaize, Spokesman, Wild Rose, Epi, Harbour Light, Courteous, Bloodshed, Mortlake, Pygmalion, and The Seine. As to the Cup, I don't think I shall bs far out if I take the following as a likely sextet to provide the winner :— Malvolio, Strathmore, G'Naroo, Portsea, St. Albans 11, and Megaphone." "Ajax" (Sydney Referee) :s—" At this early stage I will pick the following- dozen to provide the winner of the Newmarket— viz., Bungebah, Stromboli, Zalin^ki, Wild Rose, Gladstone, St. Blaize, Pennance, Hartington, Town Talk, Fortunatus, Gaudy, and Burlesque. I fancy the winner of the Cup will come from Malvolio, Tirailleur. Strathmore, G'Naroo, Stromboli, Chintz, Titan, St. Albans 11, Litigant, and Little Maid."

"Nemo" (Sydney Mail):— "For the Newmarket Bungebah is treated with a considerable degree of kindness ; Strathmore should be well content, and Paris should not be overlooked. Pigeontoe, St. Blaize, and Deerswood have been about properly placed, and among others that read well on paper are Yarran, Steadfast, Wild Rose, Shamrock, Patrol, Biragambil, and Town Talk. For the Australian Cup the best at the weights are Strathmore, Covreze, Highborn, Pigeontoe, and Portsea." I rMartiudale" (Town and Country Journal) :— "After caiefully looking through the Newmarket li&t, I can bee nothing to beat last yeai's

winner— -Bungebah— who .is now asked to ctyry 151b more than when ho won by three leugths from Matador, while the third horse on that occasion— Deerswood— has been increased 111b so that he can have little or no chance if the straight-legged chestnut is well on the day. So fesv horses can travel the Australian Cup journey that the main item is the picking out of those that can cover the distance. Megaphone must be allowed to have a fair chance. At 8.10 Strathmore reads particularly well, and I should pick him to beat all those above him. Portsea is a great favourite with me, and a real good game horse that will go the whole journey. St. Albans II is fairly weighted, also Penance, Albcmarle, and Affiance ; but to pick one I should select Strathmore."

" Sterling " (Sportsman) : "If obliged to select a dozen to furnish the winner of the Newmarket, I should choose Bungehah, "Whhubrel, Rudolph, St. Blaizc, Penance, Quality, Town Talk. Spokesman, Fortunatus, Barefoot, Gladstone, ami llenata. In the Cup Megaphone, Strathmore, G'Naroo, Stromboli, Portsea, St. Blaize, St. Albans 11, Litigant, Forty Winks, Penance, Yanan, The Rebel, and Dramatist seem best in at the weights, and from these I fancy the winner will come."

*#* A valued correspondent writes as follows: — "Dear Sir, — Unless I am very much mistaken, the late Alick Sutherland was known on Dunedin racecourse much earlier thnn nny occasion you refer to. I am under the impression that he was here in 1874- (when Dick Mason rode Lurline and he rode Calumny), and afterwards with Parawhenua. Am I right, or is 'my memory defective? I quite agree he ought to have had Nelson's Cup here with Necklace, who was palpably bored. I was leaning over the rails near the distance and saw it. Nelson's head was drawn right across Necklace's." This is quite correct. Mr S. Mercer, who ought to know, seeing that it was from his stable, 'then at St. Clair, that Lurline went forth to win her Cup, tells me that the Sutherland who rode Calumny in the Stewards' Purse and Town Plate and Parawhenujj in the Flying and Consolation at the 1874 meeting was the jockey whose death was recently recorded. I was away from Dunedin that year.

! *** The first event at the Caulfield meeting i on the 23rd ulfc. was the Holiday Stakes, a fivefurlong handicap for two-year-olds, in which Mr M. Jacobs' Rosalind (by Neckersgat— Jarto) upset the favourites. Mr Wilson's Sultan, winner of the Dunedin Cup, put up 10.12 and started at even money for the Hurdle Handicap, the others that weighed out being Boonoke 11.2, Sundowner 11.4, and Drilldool 11.7. Sundowner, followed by Sultan and Boonoke, made the running for a mile, when he retired to the rear. Sultan now took the lead, with Drilldool next, and at the half-mile post they were level, but the New Zealander held Drilldool safe throughout, and, coming away in the straight, he won, hard held, by nearly a length from Drilldool, with Boonoke a bad third, and Sundowner, a long way off, last. Time, 3min 26see. ' Drilldool was disqualified for not having carried a 71b penalty, through winning the Selling Hurdle Race at Moonee Valley, and second money was awarded to Boonoke. There were 13 starters for the Anniversary Handicap of 300sovs, and Annesley 8.9, who was made favourite, won comfortably from Propounder 7.10, doing the 11 furlongs in 2min 23£ sec, which is a record for Caulfield, the previous fastest having been Pygmalion's Hopetoun Cup performance, when the son of Apremont carved out the distance in 2min 24;isec. Anncsley is a four-year-old, and carried 8.9, whereas Pygmalion is the same age, but only carried 7.8. Shanks 11.0 won the Steeplechase, in which Orangeman 11.6 and Chemist 12.5 also competed. The Apprentices' Handicap produced eight starters, and was won by A. Day on Little Maid. *#* It is estimated that the attendance at the Canterbury Jockey Club's meeting on Saturday last numbered over 1500. The weather was fine, and the general arrangements up to Dick. Backers commenced well by selecting Inez as the favourite for the Hornby Welter. She lay in a good position throughout the race, and won with very little to spare from the disappointing Yon Tempsky in 2min 14-^sec, the same time that Bay King took last year. Clark was called upon for an explanation of the miserable display made by the second favourite, Cajolery, and it is presumed, in the absence of a report to the contrary, that the explanation given was satisfactory. The five starters for the Middlepark Plate, two less in number than last year, included four winners and a brother to Freedom, the latter, who was above himself, being manifestly not fit, and therefore not much backed. We read that Vogengang jumped away three lengths in front of Stepniak when the flag fell, with Wakawatea two lengths further off. It was not, however, a bad start, or if it was the telegraphed report does not say so, but Vogengang probably owed his success to the incident as we may call it, for we read that he just home from Stepniak by a head after a tremendous struggle, with Wakawatea third. The latter started live lengths behind the winner, and was beaten by three lengths, and I observe by the Lyttelton Times' report that his rider lost a stirrup during the race. Honours are therefore pretty equally divided between the placed three, and Vogengang will have to race some more before he can crow over the other pair. He is, however, a really good colt, though not fashionably bred, and there are more unlikely things than that he may prove the best three-year-old of next season. He is, so far as I know, the best of the Burlingtons. The time was 2,} sec faster than Florae's a year ago. There were 11 starters for the Midsummer Handicap — the largest field that ever started for the race, the next largest being seven, when Springston beat Ruby and Mokoia in 1888. Prime I Warden, last year's winner, was made favourite. Ido not know how the choice came \ to fall on this horse, even though he was weighted at 51b less according to w.f.a. scale than when he won last year, for his performances this season have not been particularly good. I should have expected more trouble from Palliser, but this member was beaten on the point of staying and finihhed nowhere. The race seems to have been a good oue, reflecting credit on tho handicapper, but so far as can be made out there were only two in it from the distance, Cruchfield and Merrie England. The former had not much to spare. His time is about up to the average, as will be seen by the following list of WI.NMiKS 01" THK MIDSUMMKR HANDICAP.

*** There was a great finish in the Craven Plate, in which race I regret to hear that Ruby broke down so badly that he will probably never race again. This good old slave has had an honourable career on the turf. He was bred by Mr Webb himself, by Albany out of Wave,

in 1883. As a two-year-old ho made his first appearance in theC.J.C. Juvenile Plate won by Soudan, and next day started in the Nursery Handicap, being beaten out of a place on each occasion. At the C.J.C. Summer meeting he refused to budge when the flag fell for the Middlepark Plate won by First Lord. A fortnight later he won his first race, a maiden plate at New Brighton, and then, coming to Dunedin, he ran Artillery to a head in the Champagne Stakes, following up that sterling performance by a somewhat fluky win in the C.J.C. Champagne, in which event, it will be remembered, a collision prevented the race from being truly run. The next season he finished unplaced six times in succession, and his only win as a three-year-old was in the Birthday Handicap at Heathcote, in which, with 7.9, he defeated Wairuna, Spec, and eight others. Ruby began well in the season of 188788. He won the Cup at New Brighton and ran a capital second to Gipsy King in the North Canterbury Cup, beating such horses as Beresfoi'd, Silverraark, and Cruchfield ; and this was followed by his capturing the Criterion Stakes at the C.J.C. Spring meeting, defeating Kimberley, Silvermark, and nine others, among them Sultan, who is his junior by a year. At Dunedin the same year he won the Spring Handicap, giving weight to Apropos, St. Ives, First Lord, and five others. His next and only other win that season was in the C.J.C. Craven Plate, the very race in which he was destined to break down four years later ; and his feat then was a remarkable one, in that he broke the New Zealand record for seven furlongs, reducing it to 1.27^, at which it still stauds. He carried 7.13 and won by a head from St. Ives 6.10, with Marlborough 7.5 third. As a five-year-old one of Ruby's best performances was running second with 7.6 to British Lion 7.0 in the Metropolitan Handicap, beating Leopold 6.12 and a strong field. With 7.13 he was second to Golden Crest 6.12 in the Craven Stakes. In February he won tho Publicans' Handicap at Dunedin, carrying 7.12, beating Ravenswingß. 2 and five others. At Dunedin in May he ran a rattling good race in the Birthday Handicap with 8.5 up, being beaten only a head by Chudleigh 7.12 ; and next day with 8.9 he was second in the Provincial Handicap to St. Clair 7.3, winding up the meeting by appropriating the Consolation — only his second win for the whole season. In 1889-90 his five wins were in the D.J.C. Grand Stand Handicap 8.0, beating Blizzard 6.5 and 10 others ; in the Consolation at the C.J.C. Midsummer meeting, he having been second with 8.6 to Tornado 6.7 in the Craven Plate ; in the Consolation at Ashburton in April ; in the North Canterbury Autumn Handicap 7.12, beating Ahua 8.13 ; and in the Tradesmen's Handicap at Dunedin in May. It was in this event that we had the terrific finish elsewhere alluded to between Ruby and Lord Aston, the latter conceding three years and 21b. Last year Ruby scored only three times. He first annexed the Consolation at the C.J.C. Spring meeting, carrying 8.13 and beating Richlake 6.0, and a strong field. Next he once more got home in the Craven Stakes — his old love — this time with 8.6 up, beating Yon Tempsky 7.2 and seven others ; and his third success was in the Consolation at the D.J.C. Cup meeting. This season Ruby ran second in the Criterion Stakes and Jockey Club Handicap at theC.J.C. Spring meeting ; was twice unplaced at Dunedin ; and broke down in the Craven Stakes at the C.J.C. Midsummer meeting. His full record is as under :—: —

88 18 22 11 37 £2089 It is almost unnecessary to state what every one knows — that Derrett rode Ruby in the majority of his races. Ruby and Derrett were almost inseparable. *%* Northern trainers who propose paying Dunedin a visit for the Cup meeting may take my word for it that the tracks at the Forbury are in excellent order. The plough is quite a success and is in constant use, and so far as I could see when on the spot on Tuesday morning the middle track is good going. The course itself was never in better order. A visitor sees the worst of it close to the entrance, there being a patch of rather sour ground between the stand and the windmills, but even there the turf is pretty firm and showing a decent sole of grass, while the rest of the circuit is like a carpet. Mr Philp, who makes this department his special charge, deserves credit for what he has done and is doing, and Marshall seems to be the proper man to carry out the necessary instructions. My business on Tuesday was to form one of a press deputation to meet the Works Committee and point out what further accommodation is required for the reporters. It is hoped that some improvement in this respect will be effected before the Cup meeting.

* # * The Christchurch meeting on Saturday has had the effect of bringing Cruchfield into more demand for the Dunedin Cup. There were takers for him at 6 to 1 after his win in the Midsummer Handicap. Merrie England's performance in the same event was also such as to encourage his party, and I have heard of 4 to 1 being accepted about him. Prime Warden's position in the market has not been affected one way or the other, and he is difficult to quote, but I think 7 to 1 could be had if anybody wants it. Rosefeldt is pretty firm at the same figure, and as that price has been accepted it seems highly probable that some one in the know believes she is coming. The current odds yesterday were as follow : —

Dunkdin Cur,

'.i to 1 agst Occident 4 — 1 Merrie Englaiul

(i — 1 Cruchfield 7 — 1 Prime Warden

- 1 Rosefeldt

8 — 1 Thame Good business is still being done on the double, Cup and Publicans'. The latest picks for the shorter race are Heather Bell, Clanranald, Galtce, and Hippomenes.

iss:j 1881 1883 1«86 1887 isas ISS9 ]S!W 1891 ISD2 v a TJundoora (Jlio\ iot Wapiti Leon Patrician Spring^ton Sultan P. Warden; Cruchiield ■ Hor»e. Webster 4 Bay 4 White ' 4 Clark 4 Dortcl 4 Jackson 3 Brown 4 White 5 Devrett 3 Derrett a Rider. . ] To |S st lb 8 3 8 8 (> 7 7 3 6 3 6 0 7 f> 1 !) 2 7 12 7 13 6 ! 5 3 6 7 I) V, 11 I 6 H in s 3 35 3 41 3 :js 3 3fi! 3 71 2 3Si 2 38 2 40 2 38 2 39

No. of Races. Ist. At2yns... 6 2 Afc3yrs... 8 1 At4yrs... 19 5 At syrs ... 15 2 Attiyrs... 18 5 At7yrs... 17 3 AtSyrs... 5 0 2nd. 1 1 (5 4 5 3 2 Un3rtl. placed. 0 3 0 6 3 5 1 8 3 5 4 7 0 3 Stake! Won. £47(5 38 558 295 42!) 250 43

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/OW18920204.2.53

Bibliographic details

TALK OF THE DAY., Otago Witness, Issue 1980, 4 February 1892

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TALK OF THE DAY. Otago Witness, Issue 1980, 4 February 1892

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