TALK OF THE DAY.
By MAZEPPA. *** The formation of the Wingatui course to the order of the Danedin Jockey Club, though somewhat delayed, ii'at last finished, save for a few touches here and there which' will be done under the "supervision o£ the olab's subcommittee — the Hon. G. M'Leau, Mr Peijec Miller, and Mr J. Stepheuson. These gentlemen went out to the coarse on Friday last aud made a thorough inspection, with the result that it was decided to plough up the track at once in readiness for early spring Rowing in grass, to trim up the row of bluegums which are regarded as valuable shelter, and likely to be useful for picuic parties, and to form the public approach to the course. These matters being attended to will carry things over the dead of winter, and soon after that we may hear something from the sub-committee about fences and buildings, and other preparations for occupation.. I have an idea, however, that there is not much chance of racing at Wingatui before February next.
*x* Ho sets all over the colony are now being tried over hurdles. The notion in OTraew' heads is that, there beiug good stakes to go for, especially at the National meeting, if one o£ their flab racers, a bit past the prime 'for ordinary purposes, should prove a natural jumper, it would have a show of beating most of its adversaries for pace. Several Forburytraiced horses have been given schooling lessons over the hurdles during the past week or two, and I can mention three that exhibit tome promise. Two of these aYe not in the category of tbose condemned to tbe illegitimate game because they are getting up in years, but thafc consideration probably does apply in tho case of Hippomenes, for although he ran a capital race in the Birthday Handicap — so good that I feei convinced he would have won on hart going — it can be only a question of a year or so at the moßt when his brilliancy will have died out. He bad his initial jump on Tuesday week, when, ridden by Jack Bauniber, he fahlF zs'onisaed the few onlookers by the cleverness with which he flew the fences. Misrflre, a young horse, whose size and weight suggested from the first that he would sooner or later come to hurdle racing, has »Ibo shaped very creditably in the schooling, J. Cotton declaring that he. jumped quite naturally, as though used to the business ; and another promising debutant is Slatin Bey, who is shaping pretty well. I regard it as probable that these three horses will be nominated for the Grand National Hurdles. They are not, however, the sort I should choose in doubles. Beginners win sometimes, but the rale is that they are comparatively slow in their leaping, and a novice at hurdleracing is easily and often * discouraged by the bumping that generally takes place in a large field. This, I am satisfied, is the chief cause of disaster to the new chums. Sent alone they might very likely jump cleanly enough ; it is the jostling, whisi> even if accidental seems inevitable in a en fat 1 of hurdlers, tbat knocks them out. 1 can quite understand that Hippomenes could afford to be slow, and then win, if left a clear course— his pace between the fences would bring him home, provided he jumped at all. But there is no horse in the colony that I know of that is so soon disheartened with bumping. For this reason, even wero he to turn out very clever, I would not seriously back him for the coming event. By-and-bye he may perchance be ft firstrolftss hurdler. It seems to n», by tig
tray, that a chance of this race is sometimes missed by delaying the schooling until the flatraciDg season is done. Would it not be wiser, with » horse of whom hopes as a jumper were entertained, to give him a trial at the game a little earlier— say at the back end of the autumn p
*** We can talk as much as we like about the horse-owners of old racing for the leve of sport alone, says the Field, but it may be doubted whether more than a very small minority did so — after betting -facilities were invented. Horse-racing apart from betting was mot according to the idea of our forefathers, and it was the desire on the part of racing men of old to bet to a greater extent than they could hope tc do with each other that called into existence the first professional bookmaker, and from that day to this his successors have been liberally patronised. The wants of a sort of betting exchange appears to have been felt somewhere about the latter half of the last century, and it was supplied by Mr Tatter? all, who opened his " new stables near Hyde Park Turnpike" about 1760, and the establishment soon became the acknowledged resort of the sporting and bett'ißg world. Here it was that in 1791 the then "Duke of Bedford ssttled for his last Newmarket winnings at Tattersall's, ■when his Grace received between £6000 and £7000." The original subscription room was opened about 1789, when there were 76 subscribers, and for the first dcz&n years of its life it was a select gathering ; nor was it until the present century had dawned that its numbers were reinforced .by the professional element, Crockford being among the earliest to join. They then trooped in gaily ; the old room was found to be too small, so it was rebuilt about the year 1843, and the 76 subscribers of 1789 had grown to 1000 in little more loan half a century. The betting which took place there was no doubt upon parole; but it is by no means improbable that long anterior to this time it had been the practice in certain cases for the money to be staked — not necessarily with the layer, but with some third party, so that altogether there is no little justification for our opinion that a turf uncounected with betting has never been known since racing has been practised npon a system.
*#* I hear that the hope of training Gipsy Grand again is not so bright ai it was. What really happened at Hawke'a Bay when h& got hurt was not, as thought at the time, that he had merely wrenched his leg. A Government vet. who saw the horse some months later declared that the small bone of the leg had been slightly splintered. So I learn this week for the first time. There was nothing of this to be discovered at the time by examination, but the attempt to train the horse later on cauted a certain amount of inflammation, and the limb now seems to be permanently weak as Gipny Grand gambols about the Elderslie paddocks. Time and time only can now effect a cure, and Ahis may possibly result, bat with an active and heavy horse of his stamp it is impossible to keep him in condition and ensure rest, and as I understand the position there is nothing left for it but to leave Nature and the horse to fight out the matter between them. In the meantime there is so fear of Gipsy Grand's splendid qualities being wasted. He is the natural successor of his famous sire, good old Grandmaster, and as such he is getting rare opportunities at Mr Reid's stud farm, several choice mares, including some belonging to Mr Stead, having been booked for his services, in aedition to Elderslie mares.
*** In its comments on the racing at the Q.T.C meeting 'the Brisbane Courier has the following smect the Royal Stakes, in which Archie's Daughter defeated Battalion : — " In view of his great performance in the Moreton Handicap, when he conceded upwards of 2.0 to Archie's Daughter, and ran her to a dead heat, it was not in the leasb suprising that any number of backers could be found willing to lay 5 to 1 on Battalion when the order of things was reversed and the daughter of Arohie essayed to give the champion a ccuple of ponnds in actual weight. Once again, however, a surprise wai in store. Just as she had done in the handicap race, Archie's Daughter, after lying bandy for a mile, ran quickly up to the champion at the turn into the straight, and a battle royal all the way np the running resulted in the filly '« favour by a head, the mile and a distance being thrown behind in the exceptionally fast time of lmin 58Asec. Two such desperate contests as those fought out by Battalion and Archie's Daughter have seldom, if ever, before been seen on a racecourse under similar circumstances in the matter of weights, and it is difficult indeed to account for the champion's defeat at weight-for-age after his previon* brilliant achievements, unless it may be that the severity of the battle in the mile and and *-quarter race nnder such a crushing weight took much more steam out of him than it did oat of the Archie filly with her 9.2."
"**** The ligt of even-time trotters, last published on the 6th of May, ism this issue brought up to date by including the performances at North Canterbury, Afthburton, Dunedin,' and the Canterbury Trotting Club's big meeting. There are six* recruits to the mile division, none, however, having scored particularly fast time. Taking them in alphabetical sequence, n« have Candidate 2 ruin 57£ sec, Comus 2min Mfaec, Gazelle 2min 42sec, Hassan 2min 44-sec, Utah 2min 38§sec, aud Van Wilkts 2min 54£ sec. More important than all these is the significant fact that Jessie Palm, a two-year-old, has reduced her record from 2min 54-sec to 2min 43£ sec. That I regard as a promising performance. Coming to the mile and a-half section, two new members are entered on the register, these being Hampton with 4min lOjsec made at the Forbury and Toby with 4-min 15Bec done at Ashburton. Six fresh ones come in with the two miles, these being Collector smin 36 3-sspc, the pony Coral saojn 38sec, Ebony smm 30sec, Fairy smin 33iec, Farewell II s ruin 40£ sec, and Florrie smin 32sec ; and we also have some reducing of records of note, for Ned Kelly'i two-mile time has come down by over 17sec to smin 16sec, Opossum in scoring smin 16£ sec has knocked 9eec off his previous best time, Prince Imperial has got within measurable distance of record honours by lowering his time to Smin S^sec, Vainglorious has chipped about 21seo off his previous best and now claims a record of smin 19sec, while the pony Worthiogton has ' crept down lsec to smin 48aec. There ia a lot of merit in some of these reduction*, and they give point, to the reasonable contention, not heard often enough, that a handicappor who went solely or even chiefly on winning performances would " fall in " pretty often. The only other amendment to the list is in respect to Welcome Lass. Mr M'lntyre's question about the Beaumont time led to the discovery that this mare was recorded to have done the two milei and *-half in 7min lOsec, and I have entered it up accordingly.
*** The Irish horse Winkfield'a Pride is being specially reserved for the Ascot Cup, in which he will meet Persimmon, and touching on this the Pink 'Vn remarks:—" Bfrioh as
Winkfield's Pride has accomplished in public, if all that we hear is correct we have as yet by no means seen him at his best, and there will be some heavy gambling on him if he goes to the , post for that event as well as be is now. That the stable, which is a heavy betting one, will stand him with the utmost confidence against Persimmon is certain, and we have already heard of a significant bet of a pony that he beats the royal representative. There is beginning to be a fear that Persimmon may be a trifle too magnificent, and at present, or at any rate when we saw him two or three weeks ago, he looks more like a handsome stud horse than one that is in train- ' ing, and he conducts himself like one. We, of course, think and hope that Persimmon will j win the Aecot Cup, but the job will not be the easy one we at one time anticipated it would be. ! The present intention is that Winkfisld's Pride j shall give him no quarter, but keep him on the J stretch all the wsy. Therefore, if Persimmon ; ii not wound up to the last ounce,, or does not really stay, the weak spot in his armour will be penetrated."
'- *** The following paragraph is from the j London Sportsman of April 30 :—": — " There is no I disguising the fact that the replies given by the i Home Secretary in the House of Commons I yesterday afternoon to the questions of Mr Duncombe and Sir John Kennaway were of a disquieting nacure. The Home Secretary distinctly stated that he was not prepared to advisb any alteration in the Betting Act, and whilst making light of the undoubted tact that ' every person present in a 'placs ' where betting j is carried on renders himself liable to arrest, \ stated that he was advised by the law officers of the Crown that the judgment recently delivered in the case of Hawke v. Dunn applied to all ' sorts of betting, and that the metropolitan police, the only body of police under his control, had received instructions to take proceedings against bookmakers and others who could he , proved to have infringed the provisions of the ; act of 1853. As the others are to be proceeded ; agaiuet it is difficult to accept the Home Secrei tary's assurance of the comparative safety of j her Majesty's subjects whose tastes incline to ; racing, and we are afraid that anyone who j happens to be in & ' place ' where betting is carried on is likely to be summonsed, if not to bs summarily arrested." The remark of the Home Secretary above alluded to wa« this : He was advised by the law officers of the Crown that the judgment in question applied to all kinds of betting — letting on credit as well as ready-money bitting.
j *#* "Umpire," of fcheiSydney Referee, writj ing on the 2ad inst., says : Nothing has been ' heard of Mr Sleath's Totalisator Bill since its first reading. It may come up again to meet its fate at any time. When it was brought in there was a popular idea that it was the longpromigedbill introduced on behalf on the A.J C. J It appears that Mr Sleath has anticipated tfie committee, who were not quite ready with their special effort when he thought well to , »pring his bill upon the House. What will be ] the ending ot Mr Sleath's bill is not worth speculating upon, and it is perhaps as idle to discuss whether any other totalisator bill will be passed for some time to come. Someone with special knowledge of parliamentary procedure, and a good idea of how present mem- * bars of Parliament may be inclined to vote on such a question,- -may be able to give an inspired opinion, but things appear to be rather ! mixed about the promised totalisator. One ' thing appears to be fairly clear, and that is that A.J.C. committeemen are not in any hurry to pronounce their views and let Tihe public know what they are going to advocnte, either about [ totalisator conditions or what it is desired to effect in the way of reducing racing with the assistance of the legislation which we were told < was to be .'ought during the present session. In j time the views of the committee may be learned, but they are evidently in no hurry to unbosom themselves on a matter that ia creating a deal of public interest and no little uneasiness i in certain quarters.
i *** The Craven Stakes at Newmarket is April resulted in the hollow defeat of the favourite, All Moonshine, who finished abso1 lutely last in a not very strong field. The well- ' bred Guernsey, son of Bend Or aud Jersey Lily, J won in good style. The Epsom Spring meeting 1 followed, and here backers had a very decent innings, so far as the chief events were concerned. To begin with, they spotted the winner of the Westminster Plate, laying odds on Allegro, who, after a fight with Cobra, went on for an easy win. Allegro is by Lactantius from Cheerful, by Peco Gomez from Hilarity, jby King Tom. For the Great Metropolitan, two miles and a distance, Chitchat had been . regarded as certain to start favourite on the i strength of a home gailop, but. though in that respect anticipations were fulfilled, he cut a bad figure in the race, and Solimtn, who has put together quite a creditable record over hurdles, was & very easy winner. He was followed home by Qlentilt, a bearer of the royal colours, just purchased to lead Persimmon in his work, and the Irish-bred Hattie was third. Soliman, a half-brother to Son o' Mine, itai bred by Lord Durham, who sold him at the end of an nnsalisfactory three-year-old career. The winner's breeding is by St. Simon from Alibech, by Hermit from a Musket mare. The City and Suburban Handicap brought out a strong field of 14-, of whom Balsamo was made favourite, and he made a sure job of it early in the race, doing the mile aad a- quarter in 2min 14-ses The Hyde Park Plate was also readily picked by backers, who would have nothing but Perthshire. This colt, who won from start to finish, is by Royal Hampton from Mentone, by Promised Land — Montana, by Rit apian.
*** The Argus interviewer who secured a chat with the secretary of the A J.C. record* that a curious incident, and one which Mr Clibborn naturally regards with some pride as illustrating a clitnt's faith in him, occurred when the Chesters were sweeping everything before them, or rather leaving everything behind them, on the turf. Chester's brother, Sc. George, was to be gold, and just before he was brought into the ring a well-known Sydney turf man handed a letter to Mr Clibborn, sayiog, " I know what's in that latter, and Mr Wilkins, of New Zealand, want! you to read it before you sell St Gporge." "Is he a buyer?" was the question asked. "Yes, I'm bidding for him," was the reply. " Then," said Mr Clibborn, " I should prefer not to read that note." The horse went to Mr Wilkini at 1350g», and as <oon as he was knocked down the successful bidder called out, " Now, if you don't mind, I'll open this note myself, and read it out — it's a, good advertisement for you." The note ran — " You can buy i Chester's brother for meat2ooogs, or if you like jgo on as long as you like." It was an exceptional compliment to pay a. man whose duty it 1 j was to get as much as possible for the owner, 1 and whose commission grew with the bids. ' I
1 j *#* An appeal was made at Sydney by | Charles Westbrook against the decision of Mr i TV. Johnson, S.M , imposing a fine of £5 for * i breach of the Betting Houses Suppression Act i ia betting in the saddling paddock at R-Midwtclr during r&ces held in November last, 'lue prm- > oipal grounds of the appeal were ttat fcba iu-
formation did not sufficiently define the place the defendant was charged with using, and the pines mentioned was not a " place " within the meaning of the aot. The Argus reports that Mr Piloher, Q.C , on behalf of the appellant, said that the question was, what was a "place" within the meaning of the Betting Suppression Act ? This bad been a matter in dispute between the Eoglish and the colonial courts for years. In the English case, Hawke v. Dunn, the point had been settled by . five English judges in the Queeen's Bench Division, for there was no appeal under the English act to the House of Lords or the Court of Appeal against that decision. According to Mr Justice Hawkins's decision, if a bookmaker went within a 30.00J-acre paddock and made a bet he would come within the scope of the law. Mr Justice Stephen : Or if you put a riog round the universe ? Mr Piloher : Yei. The Chief Justice aaid his opinion whs that the authorities were forcing the matter to bring about legislation upon ihe subject. They were sweeping the bookmaker*; -off the courses in every direction. Mr Pilcher said that they were not all hunted away yet. The Chief Justice, in delivering judgment, said that the court could not distiuguish this case from that of Hawke v. Dunn, and consequently it must foilow the English decision until it was overruled. Mr Pilcher intimated that he hud advised his client to carry the matter to "the Privy Council, so as to settle the question one way or the other.
*#* There are no fewer than 74 acceptances for the races on the first day of the Tahuna P«.rk Record Reign meeting— Saturday, the 19oh iust, the day after to-morrow — so that, in spite of the criticism to which tha handicapping ■was subjected, owners are not at one in condemnation of Mr Dowse' 8 calculations. I understand, by the way, that one of the owners who considered himself aggrieved wrote to the club asking for au explanation of the handicapping in certain particulars, and that the reply was to the effect that the club was satis-fisd in most respects with the explanation given. The reply, at any rate, expressly guarded the club agaicst a full endorsement of the handicaps as a whole, though generally justifying the haudicapper. And that I take to be the position of most of the critics — not those who have forced their way into the daily prints, but thote who regard the questions fairly. They admit that mistakes have beea made, but are fair enough to add ihat with so much queer material to work on it would htve been impossible to work out all the adjustments with mathematical accuracy, and that the wonder in that more mistakes have not been made. This is probably a reasonable conclusion. lam not concerned to argue for or against the handicaps, being unable to analyse them critically for' want of a basis ; but because of that very want I desire to stand up for the handicapper. He also must .have felt the lack of reliable form. If owners want good handicaps they must make it a more regular practice to show what their horses can do. Taking the acceptances as I find them, and exercising what judgment it is possible to bring to bear, I make the following selections for Saturday : — Maiden, Handicap, JoeorOwaka; Marram Pony Handicap, " Blackie; Jubilee Handicap, Harry Sneaker or Jenny ; Novel Race, Taieri Maid orOwaka; President's Handicap, May; June Pony Handicap,' Bona or Pippin ; Ocean Bsach Handicap, Harry Sneaker or Lugnaquilla. The meeting will be continued on Tuesday, the 22nd.
*#* The Australian batting ring — for so many years deamed a perfectly stable institution — no joke intended — is by all accounts in a very queer way. On the Sydney side there is no plac?- at all for the layers oi odds ; they are chivvied about like Joe. Once on a time the suggestion that the law could suppress betting would have been received nnywh^ro in the colonies with scorn. To-day we fiud the bookmakers practically acknowledging defeat by the power that it was thought had no existence. Bookmakers, be- they ever so wealthy, cannot go on for ever paying increasing court fines, and, realising that fact, some of them have thrown up the game in the meantime, while otherg are taking temporary refuge in Melbourne. I write advisedly in using the word "temporary," for it only requires a test c-vse to be taken into the Victorian courts to set the law in motion there as well as in Sydney. There is Home talk of a migration to New Zealand ; but men accustomed to the old-fashioned system of betting would not like our -ways until they got used to them, and, besides, our colony is producing as many layers as there is room for. How all the trouble will pan out it is hard to say. Perhaps the remedy will be by Mr Levien'a Bill, which proposes to exempt Randwick and other main courses from the definition of "a place."- In that event, however, half the bookmakers will be forced to turn to some other mode of making a living, for the leading courses alone will not support the army of fielders now existing in the colony. The ultimate solution of the difficulty will be, no doubt, the introduction of the totalisator. This will sweep away the ring as a ring, bat room will be found in all likelihood, as ha^ been the experience in New Z°aland, for a number of men who are satisfied to do an outside business. England, America, and Australia have become places of torment to the bookmaker proper. New Zealand, with all her troubles, givea her layers a decent living, and they can remain in peace so long as they don't fight the clubs. To that or a similar state of affairs other places will come when they have learned the lessons which we got off years ago. The days of the monopolising ring are numbered, and I cannot say lam sorry. There is, however, hope for the men individually, not by resisting the totalisator, but by helping to establish it.
*#* The Auckland Racing Club has decided to refuse the application of the Takapuna Club for permission to hold a race meeting on the 22nd inst. without the totalisator. I applaud the metropolitan for stiffening its back in this matter. Takapuna is practically Auckland, being a suburb within reach of a sixpenny return fare by steamer ; it draws on the town for its horses and its people ; and everybody is agreed, save perhaps the Takapnna folk 'themselves, that racing is beiug done to death in the Auckland district. The refusal of the metropalitan is in the general racing interest, as displaying the power of selfgovernment in our turf organisation, and providing an answer to those goody-goodie* who on the least provocation seek to put their oar in and manage racing for us. These persons may now be told to mind their own business, since the racing authorities are not complaisant when unreasonable concessions are asked. It is an important; principle, reaching further afield than the Auckland district, that the A.R.C. has upheld, and I hop^ the example will be follfiwed elsewhere. These unregistered meetings are becomuig not only a nuisance, but a menace to the turf at large.
% ■ The Grand Prix de Paris,_run ab Longchamp ou Sunday last, was won by M. J. Ai'c.ud'fl Doge, a son of Fricicdeau and jJog;,rftJße, with M. M. ■ Caillauit'» filly Rose-
lane (by War Danee — Rose of York) second. I Third place was filled by Parasol, and this I ! take to be M. A. Abeille's colt by Raeil — Pyrale, though on this point there is room for doubt, ait there are two three-year-old colts of the same name in France. The Parasol I think it is did not run last season. Nor did Doge, . the winner. Roxelane, who finished second, raced three times last srason, and won each of his races, one of them being the Grand Criterion Stakes, a mile event .worth 120450t«, run at Paris in Angus t. The placed horses this year are all French-owned, but Roxelane is ofdirect English breeding. Farther particular* will be given when the papers arrive.
*#* The Hawke's Bay Steeplechase meeting will be held on Tuesday and Thursday of next we*-k. Writing before the acceptances appear — though arranging to hsve them published if they arrive iv time — I t»ke Dante, Ilex, Prince Charlie, and St. Anthony as a dangerous quartet in the Hurdles, and whatever goas out, I shall expect the winner to come from these four, unless, indeed, Donald M'Kinnon goes to the post in his best condition, in which event I should give him a chancß, especially since the top weights were so successful at Auckland. For the Steeplechase my particular fancy is Rhino, but as it would be a daring thing to try to pick such a race in one, I join with him in my selection Tiritea, Mor*g, and Flirt, thus making up a pretty stroDg party. Asked to p : ck the double in one shot, I should go for St. Anthony and Rhino.
*#* At a meetiDg of the South Island Trot- ' ting Association held at Christchurch on ; Monday night the appeal of J. Loughlin j againet< the" disqualification of hirasalf as rider j of Count aud of the, horse by the Canter- . bury Trotting Club for 12 monbhs on account of auspicious riding and running in the Winter Handicap and of the owner's subsequent refusal 1 to allow the horse to be ridden by the club'e j nominee was upheld. The owner stated that j he had backed the horse for £40, but ; Count was an unreliable starter, and refused in ■ the present case to start. The case from Loughlin'6 point of view was presented ab the time, and 1 would merely add, now that he has succeeded ia clearing himself, that I think the , a«soci«.tioa's verdict is just. I write this because we all know Couut to be a fast horse, yet one that has never paid his way. Were he reliable he would havd been the madium of a coup long ere this.
*k* Tiara will no further vex Mr Goodman nor disaopoint backer*, for she has passed into the possession of the Hen. G-. M'Lean, and is now at Warringtou, losing as fast as possible all the condition that her late owner put upon her and qualifying herself for the duties ot the stud which she will shortly uudertake. Being by St. Leger trom Bangle, Tiara's presence in the Warringtou stud will no doubt be of considerable service, and 1 hope the enterprising owner will have the luck to get some good faals from her.
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TALK OF THE DAY., Otago Witness, Issue 2259, 17 June 1897
TALK OF THE DAY. Otago Witness, Issue 2259, 17 June 1897
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