CHRISTCHURCH RACING CLUB.
This, the fifth year of the Christ churcK Racing Club's meeting, is the first' of the series held at the back end of the season^ The inaugural meeting was on December 17, 1895 ; and the date in subsequent years waa the 16th of the same month. The idea of changing the date was, presumably, that larger fields would be produced and more money go through the totalisators. If so, the result is not entirely a success according to figures. At tho inaugural meeting there were 46 starters for seven races, and" £1499 went" through the machine; in 1896 there were 61 starters. for eight races, and the machine total was £2041'; in 1897, 56 starters for eight' races, and £2385 through the totalisator ; in 1898, 49 starters for eight races, and £2294£ through, the machine; and this year the record is 56 starters for eight races, and £199 pi invested) The number of starters has, it will be seen, come up to the average, but the machine money shows a falling off. This in, perhaps, partly explained by the double postponement necessitated by rain, for postponements invariably mean the detaching of some degree of interest in a race meeting, but as no one can say how much should be allowed for this, it is merely arguing in the dark to contend for or against the alteration of date, and the question will not be satisfactorily settled till we have another year's experience as a guide. Ilib, a mare that has so far been rather unlucky, won the Hurdle Race easily. Clarence, the one relied on to make a" race of it with, her, did not seem able to do anything. Benzoin, winner of the Maiden, is an Englishbred colt imported by Mr Stead. When at' his best he will probably hold his own in evert better company. Lapidary won both his racea easily, having behind him in the Flying two or three horses — notably Peerage and Bloomer — who are in the front rank of disappointments. Huku, winner of the Autumn Handicap, was one of the outsiders of the party, and properly so. Nobody could have backed him on form. At North Canterbury, on May 4 he carried -7.4 in the mile and aquarter race — the same distance as the Christchurch Racing Club's event — and finished'last, the race being won by Ppjadin 7.10, with Rangefinder 6.13 Becond^marshot' 8.13 third, and Skirmisher 8.12 fourth. These horses all ran at Christchurcb, and" we find Paladin, raised 121b, finishing fifth ; Rangefinder, lowered 31b. nowhere ; Starshot, lowered 4-lb, second ; Skirmisher, the same weight,"" unplaced ; and Huku, lowered lib, winning! Here is the statement in table form: — North Canterbury. Christchurch.
The stewards held a meeting to consider Huku's change of form, and apparently were satisfied with the explanation, whatever ifc was, since the judge's placing was allowed to rest. The other incident of importance at the meeting was the disqualification o£ Charles Stratford, the jockey. The clerk of .scales declined to weigh out this man for Speculator in the Welter, and an inquiry resulted in Stratford being disqualified for two years for improper conduct to the officials.
I UIU'JIII ... tlanftefinder ■Starshot .. ~kirmi^her Hnku fi 13 8 13 8 12 7 4 2nd 3rd 4th sth (i 10 8 0 8 12 7 3 urn;. Unp. 2 Unp. Win.