The Field takes advantage of Merman's form to praise colonial horses, thus : Undoubtedly the chief sensation at Goodwood was the dual victory of the Australian horse Merman in Plate and Cup ; but it is mournful to reflect that the Cup was practically a match between two colonial-bred horses, and that the English form was represented by nothing better than King's Messenger — a useful stayer in his class, but only a handicap nag, who cannot win unless he is leniently weighted. Merman has lasted on in such style as is rarely seen' nowadays in English racehorses of any class. If by any chance we do happen to have an old one who retains his form and can win races when he has reached the "aged" stage of existence, it is any odds on his being a sprinter only, and not a Cup winner like Merman. At the moment the only good English horse we can think of who keeps on winning on short courses is the seven-year-old Ugly ; but horses bred in other countries appear to be so much sounder than English-bred ones that they almost invariably last, and this is the chief lesson which Goodwood has supplied. In the Stewards' Cup, an American-bred seven-year-old (Americus) was pulled out again after a season of stud life. In the paddock he was almost a laughing stock ; he was as fat as a showyard bull, and looked the stallion all over. Yet in the race he made a wonderful show, and would actually have won had the course been five instead of six furlongs. In his best days Americus, like Ugly, could never travel more than five furlongs at top speed, and he reproduced his best form exactly, thus showing that he is quite as sound now as when he was taken out of training a couple of years ago. In Merman we have a horse who has been running three seasons in England (after having done a lot of good work iff Australia), and who in that time has won such races as the Lewes Handicap, Cesarewitch, Jockey Club Cup, Goodwood Plate (with the top weight of 9.0) and Goodwood Cup, and who is now, when a seven-year-old, as sound as a bell, and quite as good as he ever was. We cannot help admiring such a horse, in spite of the fact that he ought never to have been weighted as he was when he won the Lewes Handicap and Cesarewitch two years ago. In his case the handicappers were either hoodwinked or grossly blind to what was going on, for it was nothing less than disgraceful that a foreign-bred fiye-year-old, who possessed a big reputation in his own country, should have been let into the Lewes Handicap with 6.12, and, after winning that race, into the Cesarewitch with only 71b more. Before taking leave of Merman, we may mention that when Mr Jersey's horse won the Cesarewitch, he was followed past the post by The Rush, Carlton Grange, St. Bris, Comfrey, and Drip, fine English-bred ones, every one of whom has succumbed to the exigencies of training, while the Australian is as sound as ever he was. They may not be able to breed a Persimmon, a Cyllene or Flying Fox in Australia and America, but they can breed horses with such legs as are rarely seen in this country, and who can last on season after season until they are seven or eight years old, and then go to the stud as sound as when they were foaled.
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MERMAN'S DOUBLE., Otago Witness, Issue 2378, 28 September 1899
MERMAN'S DOUBLE. Otago Witness, Issue 2378, 28 September 1899
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