Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
This article displays in one automatically-generated column. View the full page to see article in its original form.

TALK OF THE DAY.

BY MAZEFPA. • *** The Tahuna Park Trotting meeting wiU claim attention on Friday of next week. Acceptances appear in this isbue. My selections will appear in the next number. *** Dilemma has again met with ill-luck. He somehow struck one of his forelegs when doing a gallop, and a tendon became injured, with the result that the horse had to be tiken off work just at a time when his trainer was beginning to fancy that he might have a say in one of the races at the May meeting. That settles his hash for the season, and we shall see no more of him till the spring. By that time it is to be hoped he will be ready for another shy at the New Zealand Cup. *k* The Dunedin Jockey Club's last meeting of the season commences this day week. Four have dropped out of the Hurdle Race (one of the quartet, Melton, is not in work), leaving nine engaged, and of these I prefer three — namely, the top weights and Invader. I saw Smuggler go the other day, and his appearance did not impress me. Rebel was rompiDg over him. Nenthorn is perhaps worthy of attention, for he looks like a hurdler and has nothing to carry, but I cannot recommend him till assured that he will jump. The three chosen are pretty sure to do that. Rebel and Empire are both well, tbe latter particularly so. He has never looked so like racing since coming to Dunedin as he does now, and though he is not favourably handicapped in comparison with Rebel, he may beat the latter. A horse as well as Empire is mußt be dangerous, and, on full consideration, he is the one of the three that I feel most inclined to recommend, reserving the right to a final selection in the Times after the horses have all been seen at the Forbury. Of the Maiden Platers I

should take Errington, Ultimatum, Wheedler, and Barnardo to be the most likely four, and from my knowledge of them the first aud last mentioned eeem the most promising. My idea about the Birthday Handicap is protty muca the same as that held by the general body of backers — that is, I have a liking for Hippomenes, but with the possibility of heavy going, which would be prejudicial to his chance, I do not regard the chestnut as by any means a certainty. Every horse left in the race has a show of some sort, and the result largely depends on the state of the going and the way the race is run. Liberator is one that I should like to see before giving a final tip, and Lady Zetland must take a lot of doing. While, then, admitting to a fancy for Hippomenes, I beg to state that thi a is only a conditional selection. Mariner, it may bo remarked, is particularly fife just now. Soma may think it good enough to back him on that information. Passing over the Trot in the meantime, we come to the Selling Race. In this Blizzard's name catches the eye at once, and it would not require muchjof a revival on his part to win ; but Galtee and Glencairn are perhaps more trustworthy, and Cactus has a show. Tho Tradesmenis Handicap looks to be a fairly good thing for Forbury, since, though the distance is rather beyond what he is best at; he has such a lot of paoe that ho may be expected to stay in this compauy, and, moreover, he cao travel iv the mud. The next best, probably, is Warrington, while some think that tho better of Waddeh's pair (which I take to be Captive) will be dangerous, and Dunoon may possibly repeat the Riccarton surprise. But I am content to stand Forbury for the present. I'iual selections will appear in the Daily Times. J

*#* When a horse really makes up its mind to take charge, the man or boy on his back has a very fair chance of being made ridiculous in the eyes of the onlookers. A friend of mine, now a grey beard if he be alive, once told mo of an experience he had as a boy in one of his firbt mounts. •• I never felt so small in my life " said he. • • When the fl«g f ell I gave my f ello w a, prod with my heels, and off he went at a trob. I Bhook him up— still he trotted ; I gave him a taste of the stick— he took no notice of it; nothing that I could do would persuade him to to at any othor ga t ; and rather than stand the barracking I should have got in passing the stand at that pace I pulled him up at the back aud stood there to warch the finibh." It was Izaak Walton, I think, who once played the gams in Auckland cf jumping the {course wall and bolting straight for his stable. Over in Tasmania they have a jumper called Freedom who also has ideas of his own. Of him " Tain o' Shanter " thus writes : When he takes it into his head he will go . straight— for anything. Unaware, probably, that the colours were up, he assumed that his mission at Elwick on Saturday was the usual swimming exercise, and from the quarter-mile post the chestnut went arrow-like for his customary dip in the briny, sailed away at his top past the spectators, through the entrance gate, alorg the main road, and 'was brought to the halt near Cooley's. Luckily $he railway gates in Elwick lane were open, or the incident would not have provoked amusement only.

*#* On the subject of the breeding of hackneys there is an instructive paragraph in oue t of the English journals. Mr Burdett-Coutts states that the breeding of hunters and wtightcarrying hackneys is in many instances being carried on on false principles. The practice of the early improvers- has now stood the test of inoro than a hundred years, aud every year bub more strongly confirms the theory on which that practice was based— namely, that like begets like. That practice is what Mr BurdettCoutts advocates, and what he at>d such acknowledged breedera as Sir Walter Gilby have proved to be correct in respect of saddle horses. One of the theories most commonly met with is that a thoroughbred horao ought to be used in breeding weight-carrying hunters and hackneys ; and as tho best of the raciDg sires stand at a service fee far in excess of what a breeder of hackneys can afford to pay, it follows, as a matter of course,- that the interior ones — horses that have " trained down" or been otherwise cast for the turf— are deemed good enough to get hacks. ••But," cay the advocates of the thoroughbred, <• the blood is there all the same, and must tell." That is a dangerous theory, and one that ruined the best breed of cattle that was ever evolved. In tbe early days of racing, when three-mile races were the test of strength and endurance, when races were decided by the best of three heats, as was the case in Australia in tbe forties and fifties, it was safe to U6e a thoroughbred eire iq/ the breeding of hacks ; but ,by far the larger majority of our racehorses in these days are only called upon to curry- feather-weights over a short course, and tbe best of these are nn» fitted to become the sires of good hunters. Mr Burdett-Coutts very properly points out that a thoroughbred racehorse and a hunter or hackney are totally different animals, bred to perform different kinds of work ; and he asks the pertinent question, Why should the recognised law '• like begets like " be not recognised iv the breeding of hackneys while its observance is go strictly enjoined in the case of all other kinds of stock P It appears to be the opinion of those who advocate the use of .the thoroughbred for the breeding of hackneys that the union of a thoroughbred sire and a moderately heavy mare will unerringly result in the produce btiog of a type midway between the two breed i. Exp nence is emphatically against su;h an assumption. Of such a union on,'y a small percentage is of that description, the largar proportion being nondescripts. By mating a true hackney stallion to a mare of the same description the results can be depended on with certainty, * # * Kowai Pass, the district inland from Christchurch of which Springfield (the start-ing-point of the West Coast coaches) is the centre, has revived its race meeting with more than a little success. Raoes used to be held thera many years ago. In 1880 they had Marie Antoinette winning a double ; Sam Powell was raciog Mireille; Billy Hankins, afterwards killed by a fall from Magic, took the Hurdle Race with Swindler ; and the local sport, Hugh Cassidy, won the Publicans' with Titauia's brother Elfin King. The next year Me E. A. Derrett won two of the principal events with Don Juan, beating Clarence in one race and the Tasmanian horse Galstock in another, and that useful horse Rouser accounted for the Maiden Plate. The 1882 meeting brought together a number of well-known horses. Dan O'Brien rode his own jumper, Trovatore, to victory in the Hurdle Race, beating Harry Piper on Levant, and a couple of Grand National winners m Mousetrap and Kosoiusko were among the starters,' besides which they had Tasman winning the Springfield Plate, and the oae he had to beat was Farewell, subsequently famous, as the dam of Marlborough and Au Revoir. ' There was no meeting in the season of 1882-83; but in October of the following season the fixture was revived, Mr Cassidy winning two eventß with Lady Harris. Then

he Kowai Pass folk dropped the meeting till march of 1887, when Secretary won the Hurdle Race and Larry Markey took the Cup with Tasmania, dsni of tho yearling Quatorze now in Dunedin. In the following season the meeting was held earlier, in the middle of January, when Mr W. O. Rutherford was the principal winner, his Presto eecurißg a double and Azim landing the Hurdle Race for the same stable. Tarantalus, who onco beat First Lord, was second to Presto in the Cup. In 1889 the management reverted to March, when Young Guy, Eillarney, Lavender, Erin-go-Bragh, and Rewi won races, and Snapshot competed without success. Only £416 was passSd through the totalisator duriDg that afternoon. Since then no meeting has been held at Kowai Pass till last week, when, the day being beautifully five and a fair number of horses assembling, tho fixture was revived under somewhat favourable auspices. It will be seen by the report that Aqualate, the daughter of July and Teredo, won two races. On form she was certainly the best of tbe crowd that were stripped during the afternoon. Springston ran once, but barely got a place, and the horse that won (Emerald) was aiter* wards bought at 9gs. This does not give the Autumn Handicap winner a very high value. I notice that Lord of Misrule and Roseguard met in the six-furlong race at a difference of 51b, and the result was the same as when they raced in the Addington Plate at a difference of lib — namely, Lord of Misrule beat the mare, though the latter was favourite. The fact is interesting in view of the row that took place over tbe race at Christchurch, to the extent of showing some ground for the supposition that Lord of Misrule, who, by the way, now carries Mr Topham's colours, may be Roseguard's master on such terms as they have been meeting. If so, he might have won the Addington Plate without adventitious aid.

*#* It is not often that a tout drops in for a really good thing in tho shape of witnessing a big handicap trial, and being taken into the confidence of a trainer. It happened on one occasion, however, says a Home paper, and in connection with the late Baron Meyer de Rothschild and Hayhce, names which have been familiar with the public jusb lately. The Baron, it will be remembered, had won the St. Leger with Hannah, and after that race — in the autumn of 1871 — it was thought that the stable had a certainty for tho Cesarewitch in Corisande, and a large stake could of a surety be won, always providing a trial could be brought off on the quiet between the pair. Consequently, directly after the Leger was run the Baron ordeied Hannah to be cent back to Newmarket, much to the vexation of Hay hoe, who had other horses fulfilling their engagements at Doneaster and did not want to leave for home until the meeting was over. But the Baron was obdurate, and, what is more, he meant business. Nothing if not practical, he liked the public to "follow him " well enough, but he certainly did not care about them preceding him in their investments on horses carrying his famous jacket. So Hannah was despatched home, and just before sunrise one Friday morning the Leger heroine and Corisande were tried together on the July Course, when the latter, after a pelting finish, won by a head. Besides those interested, ODly one person witnessed the spin, but that one exception looked like spoiling all, for the individual in question was a notorious horsewatcher, who, despite the precautions that had been taken, had by some means got hold of the affair. However, Hayhoe promptly took the bull by the horns. " What will you take to hold your tongue P" he asked, going up to the man. ' ' I'll stand in with you^" was the reply — the tout, a master of his art, being, as a matter of fact, really a smart fellow.. " Consider that settled," returned Hayhoe ; *' you're on the odds to a hundred if we can get the commission worked all right." The tout kept his mouth shut, and told nary a soul, so that the stable commissioner next day was enabled to get a bet of 10,000 to 300 as a start, and, as the world knows, Corisaude confirmed the truth of her trial by cutting down 26 opponents.

* # * A decision recently given by the Canterbury Jockey Club is of more than passing consequence. The facts are shortly these : — Certain forfeits being due to the C.J.C. on behalf of the horses Rosehill and Frivolity, their names were placed in the unpaid forfeit list. This -was done after the horses were entered at Ashburtsn. Before any further payments were rueon account of the Ashburton engagements the sums due were paid. The Ashburton Club asked the opinion of the metropolitan as to whether under these circumstances Rosehill and Frivolity were eligible to run, and the answtr returned was that there was no bar to their running at the meeting. The case is a very simple one, and the question may reasonably be asked why there should be any doubt about it. To such an inquiry I may reply that the rule on the subject is worded in a foggy style, and that, although there can be little doubt as to what is meant, the Ashburton secretary was fully justified in having the question disposed of once and for all before the meeting. It would be well if all secretaries were as careful as Mr Saunders ■was. In the interests of backers and all concerned, clubs should clear away difficulties beforehand whenever this is possible, and this may be done in nine cases out of ten when the question is one of eligibility. The rule referred to is No. £0. It begins by laying down, very properly, of course, that so long as the name of a person is on the forfeit list he cannot enfctr a horse for a race, whether acting as principal or agent. Then follows this choice sentence : "No horse which has been entered by him, or in his same, or under his subscription, or of which he is wholly or partly owner, or which after his default has been published . . . fhall be proved to the satisfaction of the bte wards to be under his care, training, management, or superintendence, shall be qualiiied to run for any race." If these words tneun anything, it is that immediately a mau's name appears in the forfeit list all his horaes' engagements are forthwith cancelled. That-, of course, would be absurd. The forfeit list is not intended to be used as a means of punishment. It is a simple and direct way of bringing pressure to bear on a man who will not pay up what is due oa account of his horse, and if the person concerned gives way and forks out he is from that moment relieved from disability. Tbat must be the idea the framers of the rules had in their minds. They pay as much in the concluding words of the rule — " And so long as any horse is in the unpaid forfeit list such horse shall not be entered or run for any race." That is distinct and reasonable, and ie ia the part of the clause which fully justifies the decision of tbe metropolitan. There would, indeed, have*, been no need for a reference to that body bat . for the bewilderment of the previous clause, the construction of which imparts a doubt and might be argued to imply that when once a horse's name appear* on the list there is no way of getting it off. I commend to tbe conference the desirability of recasting this rule in the direction of ridding it) of its ambiguity and. making it clear, if tbftt ii really tbe intention, tbat while a person, whose name U iP9lud*4 In &9 Mrt w>nofc enter o* jt?^o {W ft fewsi aa bfi«»iu «i&!tate3 in

those privileges as soon as he pays up whatever sum is due. *** Mr Stead, as a representative racing mau, very properly conceives it to be his duty to say something in defence of the sport. The opportunity presented itself when he was occupying the chair at the annual meeting of the Canterbury Jockey Club, and he rose to the occasion, making a few happy and conciliatory remarks which gather weight from their very moderation of tone. It was satisfactory, he said, to those who thought the totalisator was a proper means of providing revenue for racing, to find that.there was a feeling gainiog ground in many quarters that the totalisator, if used with discretion, was of advantage to racing clubs, and the machine was not likely to meet in the future such opposition as it had met with in the past. He was referring to remarks which tad been made in newspapers — made by leading politicians, and also by a clergyman who realised that amusements were absolutely essential for the welfare of the people, and if tbe amusement of racing was to be carried on successfully, one of the best means of providing the sinews of war was the totalisator. Some people looked upon racing as something very wrong, but they should remember that it was only a form of sport, as cricket, football, tennis, &c. were fcrms of- sport to which the English race was attached, and any right-thinking man must admit that if all amusements were taken away existence would be dull and dreary. It so happened that horse-racing was one of the most expensive of cur amusements, and that without revenue it could not be carried on. As the totalizator had provided a perfectly voluntary form of contribution from the public, probably no better method could ba devised for raising revenue. There was no doubt that to a certain extent in New Zealand ib had been abused, but abuse of it had now fallen to such an extent that instead of being a crying evil, people were found in some country districts ' who said that some country clubs would have to be abolished through the restrictive legislation of the metropolitan clubs, and an agitation was on foot for lightening tho rules as to the amount of money to be provided by a country club before it could use the totalisator. It was satisfactory to know that it had not been abused in the Canterbury district for over 12 months.

*** Encompassed in the above remarks are two powerful arguments in favour of existing arrangements. The totalisator provides a perfectly voluntary form of contribution from the public. In pointing this out, Mr Stead has struck the nail on the head. The old system of betting turned in no profit to the clubs. The public provided stakes and a living for a host of bookmakers as well. The latter charge is now done away with. ■ The public, of course, pay for totalisator expenses, but this is now a direct charge, and the business supplies a material source of revenue, which is properly applied towards stakes and other legitimate expenditure ; besides which there is now absolute exemption for the non-racing man. Those only pay for racing who go racing. Is not this a much fairer system than the old one under which funds were supplemented by levies on business firms, publicans, and so forth— on men who took no interest in the game and silently cursed it whenever they saw the appearance of a collecting committee to whom they dared not reply with a refusal? The argument in favour of the new order of things is • simply overwhelming, and this is one of the safeguards of the totalisator, that the people recognise it as a fair thing. No Parliament can over-ride this conviction, and, as I have often said, if the machine is ever delegalised by a chance majority in the House, the public will soon rise up and order their representatives to reinstate it. The second point which Mr Stead makes — he of course does not pretend to originality, but I do like to hear plain, honest answers to the sentimentalities of some of our advising friends— is that racing is defensible as a national amusement. I submit this as a fair test of the soundness of that proposition — that in the judgment of the great crowd, the mass of the people, a man who makes racing his amusement is not necessarily worse or better than anyone else. Putting the issue squarely, if a question arose as to an election to a position of grave responsibility, would the public make it a condition that competitors should have, no connection with racing, and confine their suffrages to the opponents of that sport P I think not. The issue would not turn on such a consideration. If racing were such an unmixed e' ; l as some would try to make out that it ie, uj man who recognised it would be fit for decent companion, ship. Instead cf this, we find, all tbe world over, racing men in positions of trust and enjoying public confidence. Lord Rosebery in England may be cited as an example.

*** Seventy-eight subscriptions were made to the Two Thousand Guineas of this season, and Ladas scoops the pool. That he had an easy win is proved by the state of the Derby market on the following day. It was then odds on him for the big Epsom event — 13 to 8. Everything points to a repetition of the Isinglass procession of victories. Ladas was unbeaten as a two-year-old ; he is ttill in the same happy position ; and to all appearances, bar accident, he will conquer all before him in the spring as his friends have corfidently predicted. Two Buggestive iaots, apart from the betting, present themselves as testimony of Ladas's superiority over hiß contemporaries. Firstly, he has met and defeated John Porter's crack, Matchbox. One person here and there has argued that Bullingdon was the better of Porter's pair, butthat was net thegeneral opinion. With amateur backers and professionals also, public form was re lied on as showing that if anything had a show with Lndas it was Matchbox. This is the colt tbat now runs fecond. And then, again, Ladas could not have been fully 'strupg up when he won on Wednesday week over the Rowley Mile. The touts told us in the middle of March that Ladas, though in robust health, was very backward for a first favouri'e. He was eased up in February, just whpn the watchers expected him to be sent along, and it was probably this indulgence on the part cf old Mat wbich set the report going that the favourite was amiss. The chances are that Dawson is stringing him up specially for the Derby. If Ladas doss get home in the Epsom race there will be a great demonstration. The public always assume a sort of proprietary interest in a Derby favourite, and Lord Rosebery's personal popularity will lead to general satisfaction if he lands his treble. Matchbox, as already remarked, was a good performer as a twofyearold. He suffered defeat only once out of four tries. Athlone was quite unknown so far as records go, the Guineas.being his first race in public. As to the placed fillies in the One Thousand Guineas, Amiable ran nine times last season, winning twice; Lady Minting ran twice without success; Mecca won three of her six races. Among the three now-placed, not one is engaged in the Derby to be run on Jane 6,

*** I once knew a jockey to say, m, dis« mounting from a horse that bad been b»dly beaten, ««Tb»t'» not ao*and.sp ttiit l*v« been

[opinion that the horse had been stiffened by some one. At New Orleans in February last there was an incident of a similar character, but the matter was pushed a step further. Jockey Sam Doggett is reported to have expressed himself publicly to the effect that the horse Outcraft, which he rod« ou the Saturday previous, and who failed to make a good showing, was "dead." Outcraft is the property of Ireland Brothers, and they took exception to Doggett's remarks and made complaint thereof to the Board of Governors, who ordered Doggett to apologise. This the jockey refused to do, believing in the truth of his statement, and feeling very sore because he had induced his friends to bet upon the horse, who could not run a little bit. Doggett was then ordered to surrender his badge, which he of course did, and the New Orleans meeting has thus lost one of the best riders at its track. Doggett thinks he has been put up on many " dead " ones, so as to shorten the price and aid certain parties in laying against them. On the occasion in question Outcraft started an 8 to 5 favourite, which was justified by his previous good races, yet Doggett was utterly unable to get him near the front at any part of the rsce. Ten horses started, and, despite Doggetfc'a best efforts, Outcraft was never nearer the front than seventh.

*** The Wellington Trotting Association has passed a rule to tbe effect that winners may be rehandicapped to the extent of 7sec per mile. It seems to me rather a pity if it be a fact that this new departure has been taken without consultation with the southern authorities. My business is not to argue that the southern practice of rehandtcapping to the extent of ssec is preferable, nor can I presume to question the right of the Wellington folk to fix up a separate rule of their own. The doubt in my mind is as to the expediency of having a variation within the limits of the colony. The geography of New Zealand seems to be a natural bar to formal incorporated unity as between north and south. This operates against the formation of a New Zealand Jockey Club for the governance of general racing. But there is true federation on the basis of the uniformity of the rules. And that uniformity, which has so far obtainedjn regard to trotting as well, is worth striving to retain. The deviation now noted is in itself a ' very small matter. I hope, however, it is not the thin end of the wedge which is to cleave apart the practice hitherto found so useful. It would be a decided loss if we were to have different sets of rules obtaining all over the colony. That would tend to confusion, and unintentional infringements of the law, and a visible severance would possibly cause a general lack of sympathy as between those whose common interest it is to make trotting a decent sport. Ido hope that before other departures from the accepted code of rules are decided on there will be some attempt to take the sense of tho trotting authorities at large, with the view to cementing that unity of spirit which ia the real bond ot peace in the trotting world.

*** Concerning the Adelaide Cup, the correspondent of the Sportsman writes :—": — " The first to bound from the mark were Mostyn and Port Admiral, and before many Btrides had been taken the yellow jacket of Mostyn's rider was being borne to the front, but Port Admiral was on his quarters aB they passed the stand, and thus early in the race it was noticed that Quinn, his rider, was determined to occupy a front rank position to avoid the risks of a less favourable situation. After going a quarter of a mile the field became remarkably well-bunched, and from this out to the turn for homfet race was the prettiest and most compact seen on our courses for years, Clonard being the only contestant • that left much daylight in the field. Directly after passing the mile post Port Admiral displaced Mostyn in the lead, and bounding on in great style, he maintained his position with great ease to the turn, where Royal Master and Mostjn, his two nearest opponents, were being bus* lid to keep adjacent to him. Into the straight the big son of Richmond swept, hugging the rails closely, and at this point he was still going well within himself, but a few strides further on Quality made a stroDg iun, and the brilliant daughter of Neckerßgat, nursed nicely by Hodgkius up to this effort, was soon in a position that cheered the hearts of her supporters. Approaching the distance Lady Rose made a forward movement at a very rapid ra';B, and she and Quality put ,in such a strong claim to the prize that Quinn, to make his hitherto apparently easy task a certainty, had to bring out hi§ whip, and from tbe half d'stance he had Port Admiral all out under his vigorous efforts. As Mr Blackler's gallant racer strained every nerve to maintain his leading position, and Lady Rose and Quality were slightly gaining ground, the finish became more exciting than it had previously promised. The Fulhim Park horse, however, never wavered under his punishment, and he passed the post ahead of Lady Rose and Quality, the most popular winner seen on our courses for many years."

This article text was automatically generated and may include errors. View the full page to see article in its original form.
Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/OW18940517.2.106

Bibliographic details

TALK OF THE DAY., Otago Witness, Issue 2099, 17 May 1894

Word Count
5,181

TALK OF THE DAY. Otago Witness, Issue 2099, 17 May 1894

Working