TALK OF THE DAY.
* # * Don't prospect the French dictionary when looking for names. Make a selection from such words as o,re easily spelled apd ready to pronounce, Give the stable hands a chance. It is simply awful to hear some doing their best to get off their nearest approach to even such titles as Apropos and Apres Moi. Also, give your friends a show. I h,ave heard visitors, in $heir anxiety to make it appear that they do know how to pronounce foreign names, make most ludicrous failures, far more noticeable, by reason of the assumption of knowledge, than the stable lad's open confession of ignorance as displayed in his honest effort to treat the awkward words phonetically. Mr Butler shows his good sense, we are told, by calling Au Revoir " The Frenchman." The champion instance of confusion arising from the use'of French names comes from London. Truth tells the story. Captain Machell, it says, bought at the Doncaster sale 9/ Sir Tatton Sykes's yearlings a colt, by St. Simon out of Plaisanterie, for £3000,' and sold him to Mr M'Calmont for £4000, and he was named St. Esprit, the idea being that this united the names of the father and mother. But their knowledge of French was defective, and they were not aware that St. Esprit is French for one of the persons of the Trinity. Thiß was first pointed put by Prince Soltykoff, who is a steward of the jockey club and a member of the Greek Church, a church which has so great a veneration for the Third Person of the Trinity that its members do not even eat pigeons. The name of the horse, therefore, has now been altered, and it has been named Raconteur,
! *#* A trotting club is to be formed in Wanganui. The one in existence there early in the eighties was, I think, the first of its kind in the colony. A report of its inaugural meeting,|held on May 24, 1881, is before me. It shows a good programme, 130sovs being given to six races— not so bad in those days of small Btakeß — and they had time starts, which was a new arrangement at that period, the ordinary custom up to the previous season, at the Forbury and other places where trotting was in vogue, being to handicap by distance. Jack Vezey'a Zulu was the last winner at Dunedin under that soheme. At the Wanganui meeting referred to there were also harness races, and this was an innovation so far as New Zealand was concerned. One of these events was a three-mile race for pairs to vehicle, and for this there were three competing teams, belonging respectively to Mr J. M. Byrne, Mr F. W. Evana, and Mr A. M'lndoe. It was a very poor race. Red Lead and Nettie, representing Mr Byrne, had a start of 1208 ec, and they reached a point, only 20yds short of the half-mile post before Marmion and Millie, Mr Evans's pair, who were at scratch, got under; way. The last-mentioned passed Mr M'lndoe's couple at half distance, and did the^three miles in lOmin 14gsec, but Mr Byrne's pair, having such a long start, were able to win by about 400 yds, though their time was 85sec slower than that of the winners. The total sum invested on the totalisator, which in those dajs was in its infant state, was £7, of which amount £4 was on the successful team. The Maiden Trot, also at three miles — with all their progressiveness, tho Waugarmi folk of those days could notfind then justification for breaking away from the cherished superstitions as to the need of distance as a test—was the next event, and this ako fell to Mr Byrne through tho agency of Red Lead, who did his first mile in 3min 50sec, and completed the course in 9min 45£ sec, paying the decent dividend of £7 16s. For the Harnesß Handicap, three miles, only three started, and Marmion, who was at scratch, was outhandicapped in being called on to give 119 sec start to Cocktail and Darkie. Both beat him, Cocktail by 50yds and the other by 20yds. Charlie Chavannes rode Dark"ie in this event. Mr Haff's Mjstery won the Pony Race ; iudeed she was never asked to extend herself, having a start of 140 sec in two miles. What on earth the management could have been thinking about to provide for such .starts, or to allow them, I cannot divine. What would they say to George Dowse nowadays if he gave anything a start of 70sec in a mile ? For the principal raco of the day, a handicap of 50«ovo, at the regulation distance of three miles, 11 started, and the places were filled by Red Lead llOsec, Mystery 119 sec, and Cocktail 1193ec. Marmion, at scratch, was, of course, nowhere. By thia stage it may be guefsed that Mr Evans was getting oross with the handicapper ; but he had another go in the Consolation, and was again unplaced, the winner being Mr Kirk wood's Darkie, who did the two miles in 7min 57£ sec. A year later the olub introduced the system of mile heats. Two of the eventß were got oif on that principle, the Maiden going to Mr Martyn's Blackthorn, who showed a gait of 3min 9£sec, and the Handicap being taken by Mr Chavannes's Little Nell, who did 3min Bjjsec and twice beat Our Pony, tho latter receiving 7sec. The chief race, value 75sovs, at three miles, went to the Daydawn gelding Tommy 75sec, and Mischief 35sec was second, beating 10 others. Mischief secured the Consolation, Our Pony failing to concede her 2sec in two miles. The Our Pony here referred to is the smart little mare that afterwards came to Dunedin. I have often heard Mr Taggart say that she was the cleverest trotter he ever owned. She was a good mare even in those days of which we are speaking, for in a'match with Little Nell, just after the Wanganui meeting of 1882, she won in 9min 2sec for the three miles — not a bad pace for a midget such as she was. In the Wanganui Trotting Club's third and last season tho meeting was held in October, and this served to introduce Wakatu, who afterwards came into prominence in Otago, and will for ever be remembered by her remarkable finish with old Bella, the two mares coming home under the whip in the last hah! mile without flinching or swerving. In some respects this was the best trotting race I ever saw.
* # * "Freelance" takes up the cudgels on behalf of certain riders disqualified by the V.R.C. I do not agree with all he says, but that is no reason why his arguments should not be stated. Hayes (he remarks) has of late refrained from attending any race meeting, and this may by some people be* adduced as one of the reasons which may influence the V.R.C. in re-issuing his license. It will be argued that, unlike Cusdin and Robson, Hayes has not endeavoured to ride in New Zealand or elsewhere, and that consequently he has not flouted the V.R.C. The idea that in applying for licenses in New Zealand the jockeys named have flouted that powerful body is simply ridiculous. Every man, even a fashionable jockey, has a right to- endeavour to make his own living (legitimately, of course), and if barred— justly barred, we'll say — in Victoria, there is no reason why he shouldn't ride in New Zealand if the local racing authorities will grant him a permit to do so. It may not be expedient perhaps, but my own experience has taught me very recently that expediency nowadays hinges very much on the condition of a man's pocket. If the disqualified lads had made the plunge and boldly thrown in their lot with the pony people, then acting with their eyes open in distinct defiance of the V.R.C. statutes, their case would probably be considered hopeless for a very lengthened period, but as neither of tho three I am referring tp has, up to date, made that plunge, I fail to see how any charge of flouting the V.R C. authorities could be substantiated. Which reasoning reminds me that it has been hinted that Mr Dan O'Brien has been mysteriously and melodramatically warned in the columns oJE a contemporary to beware ! leab the Victorian racing authorities deal with him for daring to allow Cusdin to'ride his horse in New Zealand. Rubbish. If anyone has done wrong in this connection or treated the V.R.C. contemptuqusly *tis the Auckland Racing Club, and if anyone deserves fighting or punishment 'tis the A.R.C., not Dan O'Brien or Cnsdin. Cusdin having got his permission to ride, and so being qualified, it was" open for any owner to employ him.
*£ From a strictly legal point of viewlooking at the subject, as it were, through the spectacles of officialism — there may be something in the contention that it is not a defiance of the Y.R.C. to go beyond the territorial limits of that club's jurisdiction and apply for employment. But that is not the question. Nobody blames Cusdin. What he may have done, or what he may yet do, is entirely a personal matter as between himself and the V.R.C. Speaking for myself, I think he has done a foolish act ; that, though he may be within the letter of the law, he can hardly deny that he has exhibited disrespect to the club under wh,ose immediate displeasure he has fallen ; and that he can hardly be surprised if this action should be found to operate against his early reinstatement. In this I may be wrong. It does not much matter. Cusdin may be presumed, |jo kn,pw w ha<j he is about;,.
He has elected to run what seems to be a risk, and if his venture should fail, and he is called on to stand down a bit longer so far as the leading tracks are concerned— well, it is only his business. As I have said, nobody blames him. Tho action of the Auckland Club is what is criticised. Surely, without bending iv self-effacement before the decrees of the premier tribunal of the premier colony, some deference may be paid, and at no cost of dignity, to decisions of that body, especially in a matter of this sort, where the punishment awarded is in pursuance of a policy which we are justified' in assuming is entered upon for the general welfare of the colonial turf. Fair consideration is due to an endeavour of that kind, and, though the V.R.C. has perhaps made a mistake in neglecting to formally apprise other clubs of the decision arrived at, and thereby in law given an excuse for an assumption of ignorance concerning the ruling, this fact does not exonerate clubs from responsibility. This feeling is pretty general, so far as can be discovered, and it will be a surprise to me if Cusdin gets enough employment in New Zealand to keep him going. Very few of the clubs are likely to follow the Auckland lead. I doubt whether one will, though even up to the present date the Auckland excuse, such as it ia, stands good, that the V.R.C. has not formally notified Cusdin's suspension. To tell the truth I feel rather sorry for this lad. He ba3 been illadvised, and may have to suffer for following the counsel given him. I hope that circumstances will soon arise under which this competent horseman can once again take up his proper position in the jockey world. But beyond and above the comparatively insignificant question as to this boy a personal success there is the principle of whether jockeys are to rule the roost, and if in the enforcement of necessary authority he temporarily pays the penalty of a little notoriety, he must blame himself for accepting such a compromising situation as that in which he now finds himself.
*** At the Dnnedin Police Court on Thursday of last week William Hayes (two informations), George Campbell (3), Joseph Dixon (3), Thomas Barnett (2), Peter Grant, and John Mason were charged with trespassing on the racecourse during the Spring meeting. Mr B. C. Haggitt appeared to prosecute and Mr Solomon to defend. Mr Solomon said that after the expression of .opinion given by his Worship in the cases already heard, the defendants would plead guilty in the present cases. Mr Haggitt had agreed to one conviction only being recorded against the defendants, and the other informations were to be withdrawn. As regarded the cases already heard, he would select the case ugainst Grant as a test case for tho Supreme Court. Each of the defendants (with tho exception of Mason and Grant, who had previously been convicted) was fined 50s, and costs, on one information, the other informations to be withdrawn. Thus endeth the prosecutions so far as the lower court is concerned, and we 6hall all wait anxiously for the decision of Mr Justice Williams on the legal points to be submitted to him. The men profess to have a defence in equity, but in the meantime their success or otherwise depends purely on questions of law.
*#* Betting is illegal in South Australia. The Government has refused to allow the clubs to license bookmakers. On this point there is a conflict as between the betcing men and the authorities, and to us in New Zealand, who have betting troubles of our own, the proceedings are ot special interest. The position in the two colonies is not similar. In South Australia the hostile parties are the Government on the one side and the bookmakers on the other, the clubs neutral, or perhaps sympathising with the fielders. In New Zealand the battle is as between the clubs and the bookmakers, and the Government playß the part of a disinterested spectator, allowing the clubs to enforce the law where it is clear, and to compel by costly process interpretations of the statutes on doubtful points, though this assumption of indifference is pure hypocrisy, as the Government 13 largely interested in the revenue. But though there is this dissimilarity in the contests the progress of events in South Australia will be watched carefully by New Zealanders who are anxious to discover the strength of the Ring. So far the Government of the wheat-growing colony is victorious. It has won its first battle. Premier Kingston personally attended the last meeting at Morphettville, saw a host of bookmakers betting in defiance of the law, and instructed the police to proceed. As a consequence, 51 informations were laid against 40 bookmakers for transgressing the " Totalisator Repeal Act of 1883 " by betting at Thebarton on December 16, and at Morphettville on January 1. The cases were called at the Adelaide Court on the 10th inst. The first defendant was Reuben Lazarus. Evidence was given that the police had intimated to the bookmakers that they might bet provided that they walked about quietly. Mr Anderson, who defended the accused, said it was notorious that if the Premier had not attended the racecourse and given directions for the prosecution no action would have been taken. The defendant was fined sb, with costs ; in all, £7 Is. James Turner, on being called upon to plead, said that he would plead guilty to anything except being Premier and an adulteVer. The police magistrate : " That is not a proper remark." The defendant repeated his remark. The magistrate: "If you repeat that I will send you to gaol." The defendant : " You can send me where you like." He then repeated the remark. The defendant was then ordered into custody. When being removed he called out, " I was never bound over to keep tlie peace, at any rate." Subsequently Turner, through his solicitor, was charged with wilful misconduct in court, and apologised through his counsel for introducing irrelevant matter. He was fined £5. The rest of the defendants, all but three, were fined sums varying from £5 to £7. In cases where there was a second information a penalty of £2 only was inflicted.
*** " The Old 'Un," the well-known Sydney wricer, advocates the appointment of paid stewards. If independent men could be found to takejthe'position of stewards without payment, he says, well and good, but can they be found ? I should certainly like to look upon such a novelty. The honorary steward plan has utterly failed, so why not try the paid steward ? It would be in the interests of horse-racing to give £500 a year each to three good men to act as independent stewards at all our race meetings. When they held inquiries either the press should be admitted or notes should be taken of the proceedings by a competent man, and handed to the press for publication. There would be very few appeals from the decisions of these paid stewards to the A.J.C, because all parties would have confidence in the men appointed. In a case where the three stewards wereunanimousinthcirdecisiounoappealshould be made, but whon there was a majority of two to one then if the owner felt so disposed he could appeal to the A.J.C. I think in nine cases out of ten there would bo unanimity among tho three stewards. If these stewards neglected
their duty in any way they could be dismissed by the body appointing them, or such power of dismissal might be safely left to the A.J.C. committee. The stewards, as at present constituted, do what they think is right, but occasionally they do what many people consider wrong. They lay themselves open to blame by their own actions, and I have seen more than one steward openly making wagers in the paddock. This is not calculated to inspire confidence in their decisions. The appointment of paid stewards would relieve the gentlemen at present acting in that capacity of an irksome job, and would give them better facilities for having "an interest " in the races.
*** The Poverty Bay meeting demands a little more notice than was given in the telegrams. I observe that Vasco, whose sire is indicated by the name, and who claims Jilt as his dam (not, I think, The Jilt that made the running in Adamant's Dunedin Cup), won both Hurdle Races. On the first day he received a stone from Criminal. It is said that Vasco won easily, and this may well be believed when on looking further into the facts we find that on the second day he gave Criminal a stone over a longer distance and beat him easily) dieposing also of Diaturbancei who was receiving weight. The two-year-olds running at the meeting were not, I fear, a very bright lot. Valentia, a daughter of Derringer and a mare named Virginia, won the Welcome Stakes, boating six others, and in. the next day's handicap the same filly won again — in fact the placings were the same each day. Lottie was the best performer of the meeting. This handy and shapely daughter of Muskapeer and Ladybird, the property of our old friend Jim Kean, won the Turanga Stakes very easily on the first day, receiving lib from Brigand and giving weight to the four other starters. On the second day she went out for the Stewards' Stakes, seven furlongs, with 9.6, and could get no nearer than third at the finish, the race being captured by Mahoki, the three-year-old son of Ingomar and Steppe, who bad 6. 13, while King Cannibal 8.3 was second. The last-named had a concession of 161b for his defeat by Lottie on the previous day, and this enabled him to turn the tables on her in the Stewards' Stakes by finishing second. Lottie had her revenge, however, in the Sunderland Stakes, a mile and a distance, for at the same difference of weight as between herself and King Cannibal — viz., 161b — she romped over him when it came to racing. Kean had also the grey filly Vivat running for him at this meeting. She is a four-year-old by Captivator from Vivandiere, and therefore half sister to Son-of-a-Gun. On the first day Vivat 9 10 was beaten a neck by Lady Wester 9.12, the wiuner"being ODoof the tew representatives of Sou'wester that rank among the winners. Next day Vivat with 7.0 only just gained a place in the Publicans' Purse, five furlongs, won by Daniel O'Rourke's daughter Glanvena 7.0, Mahoki 7.3 being second ; but when the Forced Handicap came on Kean's filly proved that she is a cut-and-come-again sort of customer by winning with 7.4, beating four others, among whom waa Lady Wester in receipt of a couple of pounds. The running in these races seems to have been a little in and out, but I suppose it was all right. Beauly, the son of Norseman that went up from Canterbury, succeeded in pulling off one of Hack Races, from which fact I gather that the hacks at the meeting were not a particularly good lot. Tho^ fixture seems |to have been [an enjoyable one. The totalisator passed through £2342.
*#* Here are words of wisdom on a subject which has been consistently brought forward in these columns, and I reprint them in the hope of arousing interest in a subject of the last importance to the racing world. The writer is one of the Sportman's correspondents. He is commenting on the American enactment, just passed into law, which provides that no colt shall be eligible for nomination in any stake unless he is registered in the office of Mr S. D. Bruce, who compiles the American Stud Book, with all marks on the animal so registered, and where he has no distinctive marks, obliges the owner to brand it with a distinctive brand on the neck and register the said brand. The writer is arguing that such a law ought to be passed in Victoria, and what he says applies with equal force to New Zealand. In all thinlypopulated countries, he remarks, the possibility of the substitution of one horse for another is not only possible, buc probable, and before the Victoria Racing Club imposed its rule upon the racing clubs of Victoria it was no uncommon circumstance for horses to win half a dozen maiden plates under different names, and so far has this practice been carried that even a Melbourne Cup winner is said to have masqueraded under another title at a country meeting. They do these things better in France. There the State takes the matter in hand, and every foal has to have its birth registered, with particulars as to its sire and dam, natural marks, &c. That the publication of the Stud Book should cease would bo nothing short of a national calamity, and it is a reflection upon our representative institutions that such an important undertaking should depend upon private enterprise. It is a matter which is properly a function of the State, but a function which could easily be made not only selfsupporting, but a source of revenue. This could be done by adopting the system in vogue in France, and compelling every man who breeds a foal to register its birth in the same way that the births of children are now registered, a small fee being exacted for each of such registrations. The breeder should be obliged to give the sire and dam, the breed thereof, colour, the distinctive marks of the foal, and distinctive brand and number. The whole machinery for this system already exists, as it would simply be an extension of the duties of the registrars of births and deaths.
*%* There was some capital racing at the Gore meeting. The contests in the hurdle races will long be remembered by those present as among the most exciting ever seen in Otago. The struggle on the first day was as between the whole of the four starters. Masterpiece boldly showed the way for about a mile, and thea resigned the lead to Comeaway for a couple of furlongs, when Masterpiece again resumed the position of advance guard. The others closed up as they neared the last hurdle. Rebel here looked dangerous, but his spurt had lasted only for a few strides when he cried Enough and gave Poole a good eight of the finish between the other three. They raced home in a clump, all under punishment, and, thanks to Dave Whybrow's horsemanship, the contest ended in favour of Silvertail by a head. As a result of this contest Silvertail waß called on to meet Rebel on exactly a stone woree terms on the second day, at a shorter distance. The grey started at an outside price — about 10 to I—showing1 — showing that backers thought he was called on by the handicappcr to perform too heavy a task. The result, however, was a justification of Mr Dowses calculation to this extent, that Silverstail and Rebel fought out a magnificent finish. The latter won by only a head, all out. No one would have been surprised if a dead heat had been declared. After this there was no more heard about Silverfail's weight. The
spectators, indeed, saw that this horse ought to have won. Not that Whybrow gave away any points. He rode cleverly and courageously, and it is questionable whether anyone in the colony could have got an ounce more out of the horse under the circumstances. What stopped him from winning was the fact that ho crashed through one of the hurdles — the third one from home. He went at it with such force as to drag the hurdle out of the ground. Whybrow displayed rare skill in keeping his seat when the shock occurred, and thanks to this and the luck of the thing Silvertail did not seem to stop at all, but an accident of that sort must have had some influence on the result, and it is not a stretch of imagination to hazard the statement that it was this that lost Silvertail the race. The time was particularly fast — 2min 58sec for the mile and a-half. I think it is the record for Otago, being half a second faster than Wai* tangi's go when he beat Mammoc at Dunedin. A good finish was also seen in the Pony Race, Maid of Craignair getting home only by a nose. In the Cup the positions changed frequently, and no one could pick the winner with any degree of certainty till heads were in a line for home, where Mariner came through very smartly and had his opponents settled by the time the distance was reached. Though the race was interesting, ho really won easily at the finish. He seemed, however, ts be quite done up afterwards, and no ono was surprised to find him beaten badly on the second day. He waß a fair trier, but was utterly unable to gallop. The explanation is, possibly, that he is a delicate sort of a horse, feeling really well only once in a way. Forbury won both his raceß easily, and Wolaeley impressed the racing men with a display of really good form. Mr H. M'Lean was the unlucky owner of the meeting. His mare May pulled up lame on the fiftt day, and in the Croydon Handicap hie filly Whirligig broke her off foreleg just above the fetlock. The only other disagreeable feature of the meeting was the Consolation incident. T. Buddicombe's riding of Specton at the finish was apparently not so earnest as could be wished, and the stewards had him up. The jockey's explanation of his defeat was that he had been caught napping, and this was so far accepted as to lead to the case being dismissed with a caution. From what I can make out it was a narrow escape of being put down for a term. The meeting was very satisfactorily managed, and I am pleased to hear that Mason and Roberts did good bu&iness, putting £3424 through the totalisator, or £55 more than last year.
*** Referring to the dead heat among three horees at Moonee Valley, "Ribbleden" is reminded of ether similar instances. One was at Williamstown on April 7, 1890. Five horses Btartod for the Soiling Race, and three of them — Moonstone, Smolensko, and Typhon — ran a doad heat, Surprise finishing a short head behind tho threo inseparables. In the deciding heat Typhon was withdrawn, and Moonstone beat Smolensko, on whom odds of 6 to 4 were laid, by a length. But a still more remarkable instance at Ballarat as far back as 1857 — the more remarkable because the race was a steeplechase. The competitors were Walkover, Ballarat, and Camel, and they ran a dead heat, victory ultimately resting with Ballarat. A dead heat among four horses is even of rarer occurrence, but there are authentic records of at least two such events. At the Hoo races, held in Gorhambury Park, Hertfordshire, on April 26, 1851, four horses ran a dead heat for a race entitled the Omnibus or Open Hunters' Stakes—- viz., Defaulter, The Squire of Malton, Reindeer, and Pulcherrima. In the deciding heat Reindeer and Pulcherrima were each backed at 6 to 4, but Defaulter won by half a length. Again in a sweepstakes at the Newmarket - Houghton meeting (October 22, 1855) five horses ran, and four of them — viz. , Overreach, The Unexpected, Gamester, and Lady Golightly — could not be separated by the judge, the other horse, King of the Gipsies, being only half a length behind the quartet. Ultimately Overreach won the race by a head.
*ji* One incident of the Gore meeting that caused some comment was the ruling out of Paramu and Surefoot from the District Race. Exception was taken to them on the course, the ground taken by the objectors being that these horses, being owned in Invercargill, were not district horses, as the limit laid down in the programme was a radius of 35 miles. The stewards held a meeting, and after taking some evidence as to distances Paramu was pronounced ineligible. It was shown, I understand, to the satisfaction of the stewards that the distance from post office to post office was 36 miles. One mile ! As to Surefoot, there were other considerations. His nominator has property reaching some distance Gorewards from Invercargill, and the question arose whether in his case it would be right to apply the ruling which had excluded Mr Edmonds's gelding. The decision first arrived at, I hear, was that Surefoot might run under protest, and the owner was willing to accept the proposition, but before the time of this particular race a second meeting was held, at which the resolution come to was to stop both horses. The nomination and acceptance fees were consequently returned, and the horses were regarded as out of the race. This was a bit of a hardship to the owners, inasmuch as they probably had the District Handicap specially in view when nominating for the meeting and paying the travelling expenses of these horses. Besides, if I am correctly informed, Invercargill horses have never before been objected to. If this is so, that Invercargill has always been reckoned inside the district, the inference is pretty clear that when the radius was settled the club fixed on 35 miles with the intention of including Invercargill, and I take it that it was a surprise to find the objection sustainable. Looked at in this light, the protest was really based on a mistake of the club's making. The whole affair was vexatious to the owners of Paramu and Surefoot and also to the club, who lost revenue and sport by ruling these horses out ; but I have no doubt, even on the possibly imperfect statement of facts retailed to me, that the club adopted the wise course in running no risk of after questions concerning the race. The error as to geography, if there was one, will be rectified next time a programme is being prepared, and we shall no doubt then find out beyond dispute whether the intention is to admit or exclude horses belonging to the southern centre.
*** Last year there were 11 acceptors for the Dunedin Cup out of 24 entries ; in 1892 the January payment waß made by 14 out of 31 handicapped. Rather fewer than half in each season. This year, therefore, there being 13 content and only eight withdrawn, Mr Dowse has cause to shake hands with himself. The withdrawals are The Workman, temporarily broke down ; Rangipuhi, a horse whose measure has perhaps not been quite taken, and who consequently has to be looked after ; Response, whose detection, hardly possible to be attributed to overweight, may perhaps be interpreted as a signal that she is bound for the V.It.C. meeting; Vogengaug, who has been fairly tried up to a mile and a-balf, with the result, possibly, that his trainer sees that distance to be the length of
his tether ; St. Anthony, who not improbably was reckoned badly treated in comparison with some of the other light weights, though in truth he has not done enough to warrant his being pitchforked into the race at the minimum ; Magazine, for whose withdrawal I can assign no reason'; Beadonwell, reserved very wisely for the seven-furlong race ; and Addington, who has left the colony. The handicapping is not, I think, to blame for any of these retirements, unless perhaps in the case of the imperfectly-tested Si. Anthony. The 13 survivors include all that were first picked on when the weights appeared — Response is the only possible exception — and I look forward to as interesting a race as can be hoped for so long as the distance remains as it is. A mile and five furlongs would be more popular with owners and give just aB good a starting place — at the entrance to tho straight run of 11 chains at the back of the course. Ab to what Will win, this is rather early to form an opinion. It may be worth remarking, in addition to what was said last week, that Mr Stead has paid up for Stepniak. This horse has a big weight, to be sure, but Vanguard won very easily with lib lees, and I do not know that Vanguard was much better than Stepniak is. This remark must not be taken as advice to rush Stepniak, but it is of importance as justifying the assumption that the horse ia well, and the winner of a Canterbury Cup is not to be altogether despised. Tha Publicanß' Handicap has suffered a lot of cutting about, and only a dozen remain engaged, 16 having dropped out. Of these, the only one to do backers any harm is Vogengang.
*#* The report of the Lake County meeting which came to hand last week did not stats the results of the two last races. These were the Novel, in which Mistake 8.2 beat Goblin 8.4, and paid £6 2s, and the Consolation, won by Melton 8.9 from Wenonah 6.2 and Wayland 6 7— dividend £1 13s. Concerning certain events at this meeting, the Lake County Press has some remarks to make. In the Derby, it says, Cornicello led to the straight, when Aberdeen came up, Rivers (on Cornicello) giving an exhibition of bad horsemanship, running the mare into the furrow. The owner called out near the distance post, "Let her go. What are you holding her for?" Thereupon the mare nearly ran over Aberdeen. Rivers never settled down to ride, and T. Buddicombe was taking Aberdeen in so easily that Rivers could not help nearly beating him on the post. The owner of Cornicello openly expressed his dissatisfaction with the riding of his jockey, saying that he had burst the surcingle through holding the mare. He offered to make a match for £50 for next day — same weigtitß and distance, but thero was no alacrity shown in closing. Later ;on, Aberdeen's supporters offered to close a match ; but in the meantime the trainer of Cornicello had dissuaded the owner from making a match, as the mare had pulled up lame. Then Scoles offered to make a match for £50 to £100 a-side in a month's time. The Trot was an unsatisfactory race. The only triers amongst the capable goera in this race were Modesty, Violet, and Beeswing. Modesty was allowed to come up on the field from the very start, the difficulty being to keep slow enough. Modesty just laid back, and passed her horses at leisure. The second day's Trot was won by Mr Mountney's, Gipsy, which 'gave rise to a great deal of uproar amongst the public, and a protest was entered by Mr Baird, owner of the second horse. The first <day Gipsy received a handicap of 26sec from Modesty, and went at such a miserable pace from the start that Modesty had gained her handicap ere they were fairly going. The result was that Gipsy was conceded another 16sec the second day — namely, 42sec from Modesty. Gipsy then went away at a great pace, the rider at once exhibiting her real pace in bare-faced style, and won as he liked, easing off down the straight to reduce the distance by which she won. The public were in a state of ferment while the protest was pending, and while some were saying the club would award the race to Gipsy, others emphatically declared "They dare not ! " Press representatives were not admitted to hear the evidence, but, so far as we can learn, the club were not active in inquiring into the matter, but simply judged the evidence brought forward. Surely no one will attempt to deny that the mare's running was suspicious, or that it was a case in which the club might very properly have taken action of their own accord.
*#* One of the hundreds of interesting lettera published during the controversy which raged many years ago in respect to the merits and demerits of the celebrated Blacklock has just reappeared. Blacklock had been beaten by Ebor in the Leger of 1817, and subsequently he ran four miles at York, carrying 8 7, in fmin 23sec. These facts were in mind when the letter was written. Blacklock's performance at York, sayß tho writer, •• taking into consideration the circumstance of his not being run in, is certainly a good one, bus is by no means so exceptional as suggested. The same distance was performed at Doncaster by Sir Solomon, carrying the same weight, in less time in 1801 ; CammertoD, carrying 8.10, ran four miles over Stockbridge course in 7min 32sec, nor was he urged to his speed, as there was not one of his antagonists which could run him in. Oatton ran the four miles over York, carrying 8.10, in 7min 49sec, and Altisidora, carrying 31b less, was only six seconds longer over the same course. But look a little further back, and supposing the performances of each horse to have been correctly timed, we shall see that Blacklock is not to be compared with many horses formerly on the turf. In 1772 Marc Antony 8.7 went the Beacon course in 7min lOaec, as did Coriander, same weight, in 7min 15see. Rockingham 9.0 performed the same distance in 7min 20sec, and Match 'em, though", with 71b less, ran it in the same time. Nabob, carrying 8.7, did it in 7min 16sec, and I could quote numerous other instances which far outshine Blacklock's, and prove that he is no more entitled to be called the modern Eclipse than is the veriest plater." These arguments were at the time answered very warmly, and when the contest was recently renewed there were numbers of students of pedigree lore ready to stand up in defence of the much-abused son of Whitelock, and to-day the Blacklock blood is recognised as most valuable. I may remark that every one of the yearlings recently offered at Wellington Park is in direct descent from Blacklock, for Brigadier, Hotchkiss, and Tetford have this strain through Verbena, Castor through Hermit, St. Leger and Tasman through Sbockwell, and The Dauphin through Maria Theresa; and most of the mares bred otherwise than through these sires havo separate strains of the Blacklock blood. That there should be any question about Blacklock's value seems ridiculous to a colonial sportsman.
*#* The Wellington Cup decided this week wa3 the twenty-first of the series. My records begin with the race of 1880. There were a dozen runners, and stable ruouey made the Hon. W. Robinson's Foul Play (syrs, 8 4) the favourite at 3 to 1, while thore were backers for Lara (aged, 6.13) at a point longer. Templeton was top weight with 9.5, and other good horses in the field were
Chancellor 7.13 and Hippocampus 7.5. The pace was made fast by Hailstorm, then a four-year-old, carrying 6.1. Lara challenged at the home bend, and was in turn tackled by Foul Play, who, thanks to Derrett's well-judged run, got home cleverly by a length, with perhaps a little in hand. Hailstorm was a fairish third. Norseman was jammed against the rails, unhorsing Wally Clifford, who was riding at 6.8. An accident also occurred in the 1881 race, Randwick's jockey having a spill through a stirrup leather breaking. This was the race in which the sporting barber's horse Dan (aged, 61) made such a bold display. Jeered at by the majority of town sports, and supported by the Wanganui contingent, this gelding was at. the same time a disappointment and a burprise. He lasted very much longer than was generally anticipated, and when, after disposing of Luna6.5 and Mischief 6.2 in a struggle for the lead, he showed the way half way up the straight, his detractors began to think they had made a mistake. The hack pegged away most gallantly, and he kept the lead till a couple of strides from home, when Natator (syrs, 8 1), ridden by Derrett, slipped past him and Libeller (4yrs, 7.4) snatched second honours in the very last stride. This waa the meeting at which Clarence beat The Agent in both jumping races, and the same results were registered in 1882, when Hilda won the Cup for Mr Bate, beating the hot favourite Salvage, then a, tbree-year-old and weighted at 6.6. The Robinson stable was pretty Btrong at that time, and the Mist gelding was fancied as soon as it was found ho was the accredited bearer of the colours. Thomson had the mount on Hilda. This was the Albany— Miss Flat mare, then a four-year-old, handicapped at 6.4, the lightest weight ever carried to victory in this race. Salvage's price at tho start, in a field of seven, was 6 to 4, and nothing else was backed with any spirit. Mr Bate's pair, Hilda and The Poet, were quoted at 8 to 1 each, but Hilda paid dividends of £36 11s and £31 165. ' Salvage made the pace, and was not headed till inside the distance, where Hilda, who in the early stageß lay second, and afterwards waa steadied, came at him with a second run, and an exciting contest ended in her victory by a head. The Poet (3yrs, 6 12) was third and Lady Emma (4yrs, 7.7) fourth. King Quail did not finish, having lost his rider on the journey.
*** The Cup of 1883 had only three starters —viz., Mischief (syrs, 8.10), Louie (4yrs, 8.4), and Parera (3yrs, 6.9). The • last-mentioned was a daughter of Lillipee hailing from Marlborough. Louie was tho supposed good thing, at 6to 4 on ; but the result ouco again proved that backers don't kuow everything, for tne favourite led, apparently holding Mischief safe, till tho straight was reached, when the latter mado her effort, settled Louie very quickly, and won by threo lengths. Jimmy Wattie, who rode Mischief, had been doing a bit of 1 • kidding." Another surprise was worked off iv 1884. Vanguard, then a four-year-old, weighted at 8.7, was taken across the Strait by Bob Ray, and, though it was the horse's first appearance that season, he was made a great favourite, being backed at 6 to 4 on in a field of half a dozen. What happened in the race was that the despised Poet (6yrs, 7.1) led all the way, and the member he had to beat at the fipißhwasNormanby(syrs,6.B),whogavetheprovincial sports a mighty good run for their money. Vanguard, ridden by Ray, finished third. The Poet, who was determinedly ridden by Charlie Stratford, paid £15 15s and £13 ss. Normanby, though previously classed as a hack, showed himself possessed of condition and bottom by beating Salvage, Administrator, and Minerva in the Stewards' Stakes, a mile and a-half, run after a short interval between it and the Cup. In 1885 the general opinion was that the Clip would be a match between Tigridia (3yrs, 8.3) and Sou-wester (syra, 8.5). The first-mentioned of this pair had a record up to date that season of five wins out of six tries. But both were beaten rather easily by Dan O'Brien's best friend, the bulldog Tasman, who, ridden at 9.6 by Derrett, smothered Sou'wester and two others before the home turn was passed, and, stalling off a rush by Tigridia, got home by a couple of lengths, paying £10 per £2 ticket and £4 14a per £1.
# # * Eighty-six was Nelson's year. The story is quite familiar of how Major George's handsome chestnut scooped the three Cups — Auckland, Wellington, [and Dunedin — in that season. It was owing to that conquering march through the colony that the southern clubß decided to delay their handicaps till after the Auckland results were known. Well, Nelson had won 'at Ellerslie, with 7.8, putting up a record of 4min, and at Wellington with 8.4- he was reckoned good enough to back at 2 to 1 on. Brown again had the mount, and of tho five opponents he had only one to beat — namely Waitiri, then three-years-olds carrying 7.2, the same weight as at Auckland. She challenged Nelson at the entrance to the straight, and for a few strides held the big horse, but his answer soon produced its effect, and he won easily by three-quarters ofj a length. Pa9ha (4yrs, 8.2) finished third, and Lady Emma (aged, 7.10) was last. Backers had a turn of fortune in the Cup of 1887. They went straight for the locally-owned Pasha (6yrs, 8.4), on whom Clifford had the mount, and it proved to be good business to take 2 to 1 about thiß son of Rose d'Amour. •He was ridden patiently, the running being made by Tigridia 80, .Administrator 8.3, and Lady Norah 6.0 till well nigh tho straight, when the favourite came along and buried the lot, winning easily by three lengths from Lady Norah, who, however, had run a good race for a three-year-old. Artillery 7.9 and Rumour 7.7 were the unplaced starters. In a field of six Beresford (3yrs, 7.8) was backed down to 6 to 4 for the Cup of 1888, and Huxtable piloted him home a winner by a length. His moßt formidable opponent was the aged grey gelding Little Scrub 6.0, who carried the good wishes, if not the confidence, of a large section of Wellington men. The Shah (syrs, 8.4) finished a fair third. Neither of the other three had any say in the race during the last half-mile. Four started in 1889, these being Sultan 7.8, Dudu 7.7, Lenore 8.8, and Enid 6.6. Dudu, ridden by Brown, went out at less than level money. She soon, disposed of Enid, and thereafter was not seriously challenged, for Sultan was never able to get up, and the last half-mile was merely a procession, the favourite eventually winning by 15 lengths.
*** Tho next year began Cynisca's series of wins. Dudu 8.10 was the favourite, being quitable at about even money. Matthews rode her and Sweeney had the mount on Cynisca. The latter forced "the running from the jump off, and in a great finish she outlasted Dudu and won by a head. This waß the first time the race was run at a mile and a-half. Wakatipu (syrs, 6.11) finished third, and Whisper (syrs, 8.5) headed the other three. The dividend was £9 14s. • The Cup of 1891 caw the decisive defeat of Ciack&hot (3yrs, 8.11). He finished fifth, being beaten by Cynisca (4yrs, 7.12), Boulanger (4yrs, 7.10), St. Andrew (3yrs, 7.7), and Dudu (6yrs, 8.8). Cyuisca won with a bit to spare by a couple of lengths, paying £10 6s. In the Cup of 1892 Thame (3yrs, 7.4) started favourite and finished fourth to
Cynisca 8.12, Boulanger 8.11, and Cruchfield 7.8. Cynisca was ridden by Derrett and paid £5 10s. Last year, when Retina (6yrs, 7.6) won, the actual favourite was Queen of Trumps (syrs, 7.5), who finished third, intherear of Merrie England (syrs, 8.7). There were 10 starters, and Retina paid £17 4s. This year Vogengang and Clanranald were practically equal favourites, and the choice was fully justified, as this pair wore out all the others, and took first and second places. Excuses are made for Clanranald's defeat. They say he was blocked two or three times. If so it was no disgrace to be beaten. At the same time, explanations of this sort do not count for a very great deal, and we may fairly congratulate Mr Tommy Sheenan on his well-deserved success with a horse who has given him a large amount of anxiety. I thought after hearing of Vogengang's public trial at Hororata, coming as it did in succession to a good performance in the Craven Stakes, that the gelding would about win, and I said as much last week, when it was also my luck to spot Johnny Faa and Clarence for the races they won on the same day.
*#* One of the outside division in this year's Wellington Cup that was honestly backed and really had a better show of winning than some of those more generally fancied was Kent, the son of St. George, who has been recently promoted from country company. He was left at the post, and, very wisely, Kaiser Myers did not flog the horse to death in a vain effort to achieve the impossible. But his party are satisfied that with a fair show anything that beat this horse in the Cup would have to do the mile and a-half faster than "40," and the subsequent running furnishes confirmation of the soundness of that judgment. To say that Kent must have won from a fair start implies actual knowledge that. Vogengang was all out, and I do not see this proved in the reports ; at the same time there is evidence that Kent can do "40" or thereabouts, and he was doubtless* unfortunate in not getting a chance of showing what he can do. As to Yogengang, I incline to the belief that he was not overtaxed in the Cup. He could not have been very much distressed when he was able to come out later in the day and win the Flying. In this race, by the way, he paid a very fair price, circumstances considered. At the Forbury he would have started at a shorter price. His owner must now, I should say, be "whipping the cat" for takiag him out of the Publicans' at Dunedin. Clarence's double win recalls memories of his more glorious namesake and what he- used to do at this Wellington among other meetings. The present Clarence has no pretensions to rank with the old bearer of the name, but ?ery clearly he is the daddy of the northern crowd at any reasonable concession in weight. The only other matter calling for notice this week is Johnny Faa's good luck, Mr George Smith deserves his success, and I speak for all Dunedin in saying that we hope the son of La Bohemienne will go on winning. He is always sent to try. So are most horses, I am willing to believe, but there are exceptions, and possibly there are men in New Zealand who could pick out one or more of these Wellington runners that were troubled with " taihoa " fever.
*** Chandler's big jump at Warwick in 1847 is still the subject of occasional discussion. The distance, as we know, was variously measured. For a number of years, says a recent writer, it was thought to have been 39ft, but the editor of the sporting paper in which the record was first published afterwards explained that this was a printer's error, and that the distance was in reality 37ft. This in itself is big enough ; so big, in fact, that there are many horsemen in England to-day who will swear it is exaggerated. The portion of the race in which the jump occurred is reported as follows in a description of the race in Bell's Life of the issue of March 28, 1847:— "This left the lead with King of the Valley, but he refused at the top of the hill, and soon after Regalia caught up with him. They raced together to the brook, with Chandler following them. Chandler's rider pulled back as they approached it, expecting that Regalia would bring grief to somebody, and when they arrived at it sent the spurs into his horse and followed them withall steam on. Both went into the brook, and while they were there Chandler, who was not able to stop, whatever inclination he may have had to do so, made an extraordinary jump, and cleared the brook, horses and riders together." The account goes on to say that Chandler won the race with ease. The length of the leap was immediately measured, but there was some doubt as to where the animal had landed, as the ground was soft and a number of hoofprints had been made. Captain Broadley, the rider, said that the distance was 37ft. This beat the record, as far as known, the best previous record being that of Lottery, who cleared between 33ft and 34ft. One of the witnesses of the jump was William Archer, father of the famous Fred and Charles Archer, and he was willing to swear ever afterward that the distance was 39ft. The Hon. F. Sawley, a well-known sporting writer in England, was also on hand, and he has declared that the tape measured but 34ft. This is the minimum estimate. Summing up, it may be said that while there is some doubt as to the exact number of feet cleared, Chandler's performance was an unusual and impi. ctant one. The same may be said of a horse 0 vUed Proceed, who is said to have cleared 371t while running in a steeplechase about the time of the above event. A horse called Culverthorn is reported to have jumped 33ft on ono occasion, and Lather, a hunter owned by Lord Ingestrie, is aid to have jumped 37ft and sin over a pit. None of these measurements are absolutely authentic.
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TALK OF THE DAY., Otago Witness, Issue 2083, 25 January 1894
TALK OF THE DAY. Otago Witness, Issue 2083, 25 January 1894
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