TALK OF THE DAY.
*** Billy Sharp, the jockey, who first came to the front by riding Adamant to victory in the Dunedin Cup, and in after years was recognised as a natural horseman, has, after a lengthy period of inaction, partly the result of illness, secured an appointment with Mr B. Reany, of Gisborne, and leaves at once for his new home.
*** The Hon. Mr Mossman's trio, Beau Brummel, Quatorze, and Blitzen, are, I understand, under orders to proceed to Queensland as soon as convenient, having been leased to three separate owners in that colony. This arrangement was made by Mr Mossman owing to his resolve to leave for a trip to the old country. One of the three youDgsters goes as far north as Charters Towers. Beau Brumruel's engagement in the New Zealand Cup will therefore be money thrown away.
*** Sydney sports had the chance of seeing two New Zealanders bucking against each other and mutually exposing their form at the Canterbury Park meeting on the 16th inst. It was in the Park Stakes, a handicap of SOsovs, at six furlongs. Twenty started, our New Zealanders being Mr Nathan's Acone, three years old, by St. Leger — Aconite, weighted at 7.3, and ridden by Joe Gallagher, and Mr D. O'Brien's three-year-old Ultimatum, bred in Victoria, by Dunlop from Result, handicapped at 7.11, and ridden a pound overweight by Ettridge. Acone, one of the team just taken across by George Wright, started as good a favourite as anything, 5 to 1 being the quotation at the post, and he eventually won by a little over two lengths, the time being lmin 17£ sec. Ultimatum will do better when he has had a little more ago. Some of the watchers say that at his best he is very fast.
*** Mr W. Hutchison is asking Parliament to agree with him that the totalisatocshonld be abolished as being an instrument of gambling
and a source of public revenue, and he wants the Government to bring in a bill to give effect to such a resolution — if it is made a resolution. So we may have a debate on the subject at any day of the week. Let it come. If the storm is to burst upon us, the sooner it ccmes the sooner will it bs over. There is no need to feel much concern about the fiaal result . Mr Hutchison is honest in his conviction that the totalisator is productive of barm ; others think with him ; and it may be possibly, that those of that mind constitute a majority in the House. Even if this be so, those of ua who think otherwise, and deem the machine tho regenerator of the turf, have no occasion to shiver in our water-tights. There is a possibility of suoh a motion being talked out. Should that hope fail, the obstruction of the Upper House may be of some value. In the event of a disappointment in both directions, the one great security of public opinion remains, and this is a strong anchor fully trustworthy as against all the mock storms which politicians may call up. The people understand and appreciate the totalisator, and should our legislators delegalise the use of the machine they will just be instructed to reverse their action. Ana we shall, perhaps, be all the better for a quiet exchange of opiuion on the subject as between those who view the totalisator from an elevation and others who make it the means to enjoying the national sport.
*V* The Noncomformist conscience of which so much has been heard lately is not the only agency which seeks to interfere with racing in England. Th ey have there another harassing presence in the shape of a Natioual Antigambling League. This body had before the mail left instituted a prosecution against the leßsees of the Northampton racecourse, and we learn by cable that this was heard on the 11th inst., when the magistrate dismissed the information. The league protested that their action was not directed against the keeping of racehorses or racecourses, which they recognise as perfectly legal, but to test the act of 1833 and to endeavour to obtain a conviction for keeping an illegal place— to wit, abetting enclosure on a racecourse. The association professed that it was prepared to carry the matter to the highest tribunal, so we may expect to hear of an appeal.
* # * On May 6, at the Paris Spring meeting, the raoe interchangeably known as tbe Poule d'Essai dcs Pouliches and the One Thousand was won by Calceolaire, a daughter of The Bard and Ella, by a couple of lengths from Floride, another one of The Bard's get. There were 11 starters, all French-owned, and the winner started at 9 to 4, the value of the stake being £2935. Eight, went out for the Two Thousand, and the result was somewhat the same, the success of the second favourite, in this case Beaujolais, a colt by Garnin — Bigamy, who ran the mile and a-half, with 8.11 up, in lmin 43min, winning £2636. On this same Sunday afternoon a . somewhat exciting scene occurred, though the full particulars now to hand are hardly so sensational as the. message cabled at the time seemed to imply. This is what happened, according to the public reports. In the Prix Reiset odds of 3 to 1 were betted on 'Toujours, who was the mount of Barlen, but none of the jockeys showed any disposition to send their horses along, and they practipally walked for some distance. When half a mile had been covered in this style Barlen took Toujours to the front, but the colt immediately belted. His rider, however, had the presence of mind to tbrow himself off his horse into the enclosure, and he" fell where the crowd was thickest. On the boltiDg of Toujours a disgraceful scene ensued, the crowd invading the course and threatening Barlen with sticks and umbrellas. The police appeared powerless to quell the disturbance. . Free fighting went on both inside and outside the enclosure, and so hoatile was the demonstration against the jockey that it was necessary to afford him police protection to his home.
*#* Portsea's gallant performance in the Champion Race has evidently impressed the V.R C. handicapper, for he has given the little horse the steadier of 9.12 in the Melbourne Cup, or 21b more than Strathmore had at the top of lasb year's handicap. He assesses Patron and Light Artillery as of equal merit and both capable of conceding lib to Carnage. So far as I can make out these good four-year-olds have all quite enough, and if a winner is to come from tho, top we gats I would sooner stand horses like Cremorne, Brocbleigh, or Jeweller. Loyalty is not over burdened by comparison with some others of his age, and. Stemchaser mu&t surely be very well treated with 8.7, wh'le Skirmisher has got off lightly enough in all conscience at -a stone below Carnage. Ido not know, however, that there is any serious intention of sending this horse to the other side, and if there is his game may perhaps be the Caulfield Cup, in which he is also leniently handicapped. I expect to have next week some expert criticisms on these handicaps to place before Witness readers.
*a* One of the most important events of the immediate future will be the meeting of the conference to be held next month. The order paper is already filling up. Dr Newman, of Wellington, is to move the establishment of a New Zealand Jockey Club. How this proposal will be received it is impossible to say for certain, but it seems to me quite on the cards that a number of the country delegates will require a considerable amount of persuasion before they assent to the scheme. The Hawke's Bay proposal— that no steeplechase shall be run from November 15 to April 30 — is also one concerning which something can be said both for and against, and my personal notion is that the " noes " would have rather the best of it in fair discussion. It can hardly be maintained that the southern courses are as a rule too hard for steeplechasing between the dates named, and our friends up north have apparently not found this an objection, since the Auckland Steeplechase, run at the Midsummer meeting, generally fills well, and is seemingly as popular wifn owners as with the public. On the point that steeplechasers need a term of rest, the principle may be admitted, but its application should be left to individual owners Occasionally* a steeplechaser goes wrong just as he is wanted for the winter season, and in such case it would be a bit of bad luck to be prevented from having a cut in now and again whenever an odd chance preseuts itself during the ordinary racing time. In practice there are hardly any steeplechases of importance within the range of the dates mentioned, and they should not, I think, be done away with excepting for some sufficient reason that has not yet been declared lam pleased to see that in the proposed new rule on the subject of trainers' licenses, while it is sought to give authority to issue permits for unlicensed persons to train their own horses, the proviso is to be inserted that a permit for every horse so trained is to be procured annually. This question needs to be approached very carefully ; otherwise an injustice may be done.
*** The question of questions at the conference will doubtless be that of the stake limit g
Tho country delegates will take care that this matter is not pushed into the background. With them it is the one important subject. Notice is already given of one motion on the subject, Mr Friedlander having intimated his intention of moving, that any club holding two meetings in the year must give an average of at least £1350 psr day in stakes. It seems to be mainly the clubs holding or desirous of holding two meetings in a year that are anxious for a concession on the present regulations, but it would not be surprising to find some of the delegates arguing for a modification in respect to the requirements of clubs that have but one meeting. What the outcome of the deliberations will be no one can tell. Much will doubtless depend on the attitude of Parliament with respect to the matter Sir Robert Stout has given notice of a bill to deal with gambling, and it is understood that one of the objects of this measure is to further restrict the number of race meetings in the colony. If such a bill is passed before the conference meets it will be very little use to grant facilities for more race meetings. But wo cannot possibly tell just now whether the House will accept such a bill, or, if it does, how far its provisions will be made to extend. The position is indeed extremely and I need hardly say that those country delegates who propose to take a vofce on the subject in the reconstructed conference are in a dilemma. While feeling by no means satisfied that they could obtain concessions as to the stake limit Which would not imperil the Safety of the tqbalisator, and thereby risk the interests of racing generally, I shall feel sorry if this proposed action of Sir Robert Stout s should intervene to prevent the full discussion of the question. Certain clubs experience a sense of injustice, and if there is a possibility of satisfying their claims without jeopardising the totalisator — this should be made an imperative condition— by all means let them have relief. In any case I would sooner trust to tho conference to work out a fair solution of the problem than have an arbitrary restriction forced upon tho racing community at the hands of a section of Parliament who confessedly know nothiug of the subject. No one who has the privilege of acquaintance with Sir Robert is likely to doubt the purity of his intentions in taking up the subject, but he is as ignorant as a baby of racing and its management, and ought to let someone else lead the way if reform is called for.
*** ft should have been stated in last week's paragraph concerning the death of Mr George Coombe that this gentlemaii also owned Flying Dutchman, the 1865 son of Peter Wilkins and Resistance, bred by Mr Field in Tasmania This horse never made much of a name for himself as the begetter of racehorses, but some of his stock could race. Two winners that occur to mjr memory are Miss Griffiths, who won the Maiden Plate, and paid £39 15s 6d dividend, on the day that Lady Emma wonher second Dunedin Cup, and some time afterwards went to Auckland, where she won a race or two in the jumping line, and Dutchman, who once effected a surprise at Palmerston. • Flying Dutchman was eventually sold as a station sire. That was the last I ever heard of him. It was about 1873 that this horse was brought to Otago. Barwon, bred by Mr J. Harper in Victoria in 1859, came across some time after the Dutchman — about 1877, when he was gettmg up in years. He was by imported Boiardo from Jeannette, by imported Little John from Wilhelmina, the latter the dam of Flying Buck. Barwon was a distinguished racehorse in his day, as may be proved by the fact that he won the sixth V.R.C. Derby, that of 1862, beating Malabar and Bayard in a canter, and his breeding was 'at that date quite the fashion,- his younger brother, Banker, running second to Oriflamme in the Derby and winning the Melbourne Cup of 1863, in which he carried &A and beat Musidora (4yrs, 8.5) by a length and a-half , that celebrated mare Rose of Denmark following thepairto the post. Both the stallions mentioned were practically buried in this colony. They got no mares of quality. Flying Dutchman's winners were few and far between ; Barwon is remembered by only one, the sledge-hammer-actioned but well-preserved Garibaldi, who is still knocking about somewhere down south. At the time of his death Mr Coombe owned, in addition to the stallion Wild Rake, the brood mare Black Pearl. I learn from the Brace Herald's notice that Mr Coombe was a Devonshire man hailing from somewhere about Bideford. He left England in 1852 on the rush to Australia, was a goldseeker for a while at various rushes, and then turned to storekeeping. He married when on the Fiery creek diggings, and kept stores at Fiery creek, Ararat, Lamplough, and longest of all at tho Amphitheatre in the Western Pyrcnnees, It was in 1862 that Mr Coombe came with the rush to New Zealand.
* # * A veterinary surgeon in England, who has the courage to avow his name, has started a crusade against the practice of firing horses. I refer to Mr H. W. Hooper, of Chelsea Having performed the operation, superficial and deep, on hundreds of horses, he affirms ,that no curative benefit can be attributed to the process of firing, and therefore for the sake of humanity, to reduce the period of uselessness of the animal, and to save expense to owners, he trusts his profession will abandon the p-actice in question. To my great surprise, he writes, I have been informed by one of tbe principal officers of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals that he has been told that horses evince pleasurable sensations during the performance of the operation. I am bound to state I have never witnessed the display of pleasure, even under anaesthetic application ; and no one, I should think, would be bold enough to gainsay that as soon as any such effect has subsided, with the return of sensation the excruciating pain owing to the operation is acutely felt. 1 almost feel ashamed to state that although our college was established more than a century ago, and we are ranked as members of a profession, this terrible operation has been perpetuated by us, I might almsfc say indiscriminately and automatically, none of us presuming to diecuss the question of benefits (if any) resulting therefrom. For my part, I am persuaded that those which have been set down as accruing from it are merely conjectural and hypothetical, and certainly do not constitute sufficient data to warrant the continued performance of the operation by scientific members of a recognised profession.
*** While the question of finance was before the members of the South Canterbury Club at their annual meeting, Mr Gunn called attention to the expenditure of £132 12s for salaries, and remarked that the club should be able to get a local starter and thus save a few^pounds. Though many starters had been tried not one was as good as the late Mr Powell, and he was sure that a local man could do as well as many of the men that had been tried. He suggested that Mr F. Simmons be asked to act as starter. Mr Guinness quite agreed with Mr Gunn in thinking that a local man could do as equally good work as other starters who were more oxless amateurs, and Mr Simmons was forthwith chosen for the office, I hope that he will sac-
ceed. The club deserves to prosper, in that it controls an important district, and is managed purely in (he interests of sport. But the inauner of makiug the appointment seems to bo opon to question. I doubt the wisdom of trying to save money in this direction. A club whoso disbursements reach a yearly total of £1800 is not ex'ravagant in the matter of salaries when £132 covers the lot. The explanation of Mr Gunn's proposal is, no doubt, that this gentleman, who is the treasurer, views the subject through official spectacles, and very properly he is anxious to make ends meet. But there is a point at which economy in such matters becomes parsimony, and I fear that that point is crosßcd in the resolution to abolish the starter's salary. The gentleman appointed was chosen because he could do equally as well as other starters who were more or less amateurs. This sounds plausible enough, but behind this there lies the very important consideration that stu'ters are made only by practice, that tho necessary experience cannot be acquired without the expenditure of a considerable amount of time and some expense, and that in a country of this sort, where everyone works, it is not to be expected that men possessing the latent ability for public office will qualify themselves unless there is a prospect of being recompensed for the outlay incurred. If all the clubs follow the course mapped out by the S, C.J.C , where is the future Powell to come from ? It seems to me that it is only by giving the promising candidates full and satisfactory trials that wo shall ever discover S. P. the Second. That such a man will appear sooner or later is absolutely certain. Powell had no monopoly of heaven-sent gifts to fit him for his position. It was by the process of a vexing and lengthy apprenticeship that he gained and deserved the title of the prince of starters. His succ ssor will break into notice after tho same process. And the more opportunities that are given for trial of the aspirants for tho office, thefooner shall we discover tho right man. I observe by the balance sheet that the fees actually paid for the year to the starter camo to £30 10s This is perhaps rather a large amount, considering that the secretary, who is always on the job, gets only £40, and some reduction in the starter's allowance would have been justifiable. But it is a mis'ake to make tho office purely honorary or to lower the feo to a nominal point.
*** The Americans recognise Portsea as holding tho world's record for three miles. They ignore Rataplan's smin 21scc altogether. This, saj s the Australasian, is not to be surprised at. Rataplan made his record at Warwick in 1855, and so littlo attention was and is now paid to time in England that tho Yankees, who are most jealous about accepting records,* arc inclined to be sceptical as to whether* the brother to Stockwell ever made tho time claimed for him. There is one peculiarity about Rataplan's race. He won by only a head from a moderate horse, and the time was not considered worth quoting in Ruff's Guide. On the other hand, we know that some English courses are wonderfully fast. A 'cute Yankee racing man recently timed Hawkesbnry to run a mile at Epsom in lm a 35sec, or a fraction bet' er than Salvator's time, whioh stands as the world's record for the distance. On the strength of what his watch told him, the American backed Hawkesbury for a handicap next day, and the horse won, but all the same he is not by any means the best miler in England. If then a second-rater can gallop a mile in lmin 35sec, there is no reason why a truly great horse like Rataplan should not have run three miles in smin 21sec, and for years, the pecord was admitted. Boll's Life in London invariably quoted the performance, and vouched for its correctness. The late "Augur," who was a most enthusiastic admirer of First King", never doubted Rataplan's smin 21sec, andbefoio his time Bell's Life |in Victoria always told its correspondents to treat it as a thing which had been done. The present-day American will not have thi9 sort of record apparently. Like Geoi-ge Seward's 9^sec for 100 yds there is a doubt about its authenticity. For years Seward's record was accepted, but the Now York Clipper has now expunged it, on the ground that it was run down hill and from a flying start. An article in the Spirit of the Times devoted to Portsea's performance concludes with a reference to another celebrated race at three miles. Abercom's run from the sheds in the Canterbury Plate, when he went after Sinecure and left Melos and Carbine toiling behind, is characterised as one of tho finest performances ever seen at Flemington. Had he started in the Melbourne Cup that year his 10.10 would hardly have shopped" him, and though he possesses the three-mile record for Australia — if not the world's record — Fortsea could never have held his own beside Abercorn. whose only superior was Carbine, tho horse that carried 10 5 and won the Melbourne Cup in 3min 28^sec, with Highborn, in receipt of 531b, second. The two giants are now at the stud, and their performances will be watched .with great interest, Abercom has staited pretty well, but unless rumour lies there will be at least one very good Carbine racing this spring.
*** Atthe Derby meeting, the fixture reported in the earliest of the English papers last received, Satirical went out absolutely friendless for the Welbeck Stakes, in which she ran a dead heat with Bill of Portland. It was after the latter had run in this race that he was bought by Lord Marcus Beresford on account of Mr W. R. Wilson, of Melbourne. The Chester meeting followed. The attendance here was enormous, over 32,000 persons paying for admission, but the Chester Cup itself hardly succeeded in bringing the old-established race into prominence '.so far as ante-post speculation is concerned, nor was the quality of the horses nominated of a very high order. On the point of numbers, however, the field was an improvement on those of the two preceding years. Eleven started, and the runners included Daredevil, twice previously a winner. Quiesitum, who had undergone a special preparation for the race, settled down as first favourite, with Cabin Boy next in demand. The latter found the distance too far for him, and Daredevil was left to dispute the issue with Qucesitum, the latter having no difficulty in placing the stake to the credit of Lord Penrhyn. The disappointment of the x'ace was Dendoscope, who gave his backers a poor show for their money and was beaten off. The value of the race was £1449, this including the champion prize Cheshire cheese presented to the winner. Cheeses were also taken by Mr Perkins and Mr T. Wadlow, the owners of the second and third horses. The sire of the winner (Hagioscope) is by Speculum (by Vedette) out of Sophia, by Macaroni, whilst his dam (Strange Lady) is by Blair Athol out of Baroness, by Mentmorc. Quiesitum has run with fair success in moderate company, his last performance last year having been third to La Fleche and Prisoner in the Liverpool Autumn Cup. Quiesitum's time for the distance, nearly two miles and a-quarter, was 3min 29£ sec. This is very fast, no other record since 1882 being better than the 4min 7sec of Vasistas in 1891. At tbe Eempton Park meeting the valuable Royal Plate fell to an outsider, as was the case last year, and the eighth Jubilee Stokes proved an easy thing for
Avington, trained by Chandler, who thus took Jubilee honours twice, he having prepared Amphion when that horee won for General Byrne in 1889. Siflisuse, Sir Blandell Maple's filly, started first favourite on the strength of a good trial, but made no show in the race. It was Avington's first appearance in public this season. He wa3 bred by his owner, Sir W. Throckmorton, and had previously won the City of London Foal Stakes at Kempton Pack and the Duke of York Stakes on the same course. The past winners of the Jubilee Stakes ■were : Bendigo 9.7, Minting 10 0, Amphion 7.1, The Imp 6.1, Minthorpe 9.0, Euclid 7.4, and Orvieto 9.5. The latter ran the course in lmin 40 3-ssec. Avington's time was not taken.
*** Next came the Newmarket Spring meeting, where on the first day Attar (by BragRose) won his fourth race and kept up his unbeaten record by an easy victory in the Two-year-old Stakes. The Two Thousand Guinea* was a poor race. Ladas waited awhile on Matchbox and St. Florian, hia rider evidently expecting ona or other of this pair, who were the leaders, to make the pace smart. Seeing that they wouldu't or couldn't, Watts let Ladas have his head, and this colt's speed enabled him to get to the front as the field entered the Abingdon Mile bottom. Then Matchbox wenb after him in earnest, but to no purpose, the favourite getting home easily by a length and a-halt in the good lima for the Rjwley Mile (1 mile 11 yards) of lmin 44sec. Lasb year Mr H. M'Calmont's Isinglass (9.0) occupied lmin 42|sec, the fastest time in which the Two Thousand has been run, the previous record (lmin 43seo) having been held by Diophantus, who was successful in 1861. It was Watts's first winning mount in the race, and in this connection it may ba mentioned that the day was this jockey's thirty-third birfcbdiy, that he received a fee of £500 for his ride, and that he had just previously brought off a 33 to 1 chance on Grand Duke in a plate. Matthew Dawson saw Ladas run in public for the first time in .the Two Thousand, and very pleased the veteran trainer was to witness the victory of the horse, which he declared before the race waa the best he had .ever trained. The One Thousand was a regular surprise. The public went for Jocasta, who had form and good looks on her side. Amiable, on the other hand, was affected with very pronounced stiinghalt in both hind legs. This, however, did not interfere with her speed when galloping, for she was returned an easy winner. Watts was to have ridden her, but be was anxious to have the mount on Jocasta, and a lucky ride thus fell to the share of Bradford. Amiable is half ovned by Lord Lurgan. Her time was lmin 46sec, and she credited h< r owner with £3550. Last year Sir J. Blundell Maple's* Siffl-^use occupied lmin 53sec, and tho stakes amounted to £3750, while in 1892 Baron de Hirsch's La Fleche covered the course in lmin 52§sec, and the stakes were worth £3650.
*** About 30,000 persons are said to have witnessed the race for the Brooklyn Handicap this year, and they say that this was a record attendance for a galloping race in America, though over 100,000 men have been seen on a trotting track. A delay of 50 minutes preceded the dropping of the flag, and the start after all was unsatisfactory. Three horses of the 14- competitors were left at the pos^, among them Clifford, the favourite. A local report says that when the field was let go Bergen sent Copyright to the front, and set ing a clipping pace he passed the firsb eighth pole a neck in "advance of Dr Rice, who was the same in front of Herald and Henry of Navarre, with Comanche laying at his side. At the stand, Dr Bice htd been taken back to fifth place, Taral evidently caring more for a good position than for racing with the leader.'. With the iirsb quarter covered, Copyright was leading Herald by a good neck, with Henry of Navarre and Comanche close up, and Banquet, Ajax, and Sir Walter almost parallel, a couple of lengths behind the leaders. Copyright was still leading at the half, but at the three-quarters. Henry of Navarre had wrested the lead' from him, while Dr Rice was now running third and going very strong, the balance of all hustling to keep up. Garrison here made an effort to go to the front with Ajax, »nd it looked for a moment as though he intended goiog for the lead ; it was a very weak effort", and he was beaten by the attempt, his showing being the most disappointing of any horse in the contest. There wore little other c\ anges until the stretch was reached, when Dr Rico headed Byron M'Clelland's three-year-old, and, keeping on, won without punishment by threeparts of a length. The time (2min 7^ sec) is nob the fastest that the race has been run iv, as Dry Monopole, in 1887 — the first year in which the race was run — negotiated the course a quarter of a second faster than Dr Rice. He was, however, carrying but 1061b, and was driven to his utmost, so that taking into account this circumstance and tho long delay at the post, Dr Rice's performance may bo classed as the beßt for the race. It was a great victory for Jockey Taral that he should ride the winner of the Brooklyn two years in succession, and a substantial one also, as Fred Foster gavo him 2500d0l for his services. This Dr Rice's owner could well afford to do, as he won in bets over 60,000d0l by hia colt's victory, beside his share of the stake.
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TALK OF THE DAY., Otago Witness, Issue 2105, 28 June 1894
TALK OF THE DAY. Otago Witness, Issue 2105, 28 June 1894
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