Horse racing, or rather pony racing, is a popular pastime in 3apan. The Tokio Imperial race track is under the control of the Nippon Race Club, and was built by the present Emperor for his special race meetings, held for three days during his birthday week. The course is well laid out. being nearly a- mils in circumference, and constructed on a beautiful site in the Uyeno Park. It is bordered with fine cherry trees, and the centre contains a picturesque lake and an imperial tea pavilion. Racing is well patronised by the princes and the nobility, many giving splendid cups and purses, the Imperial Cup being, of course, the trophy of the meeting. The Japane.-e own some very good ponies, notably the horses of the present Prime Minister, Count Ito. The Jap. ponies are a cross between a China pony and an Australian horse, standing much higher than the China pony, cleaner limbed, and are altogether finer animals. The totalisator system is the fa\ourite mode of betting with the majority of Japanese. Mr August Belmont, chairman of the American Jockey Club, has been visiting France and England with the idea of cementing the reciprocal arrangements between the Jockey Clubs. The warning off of Lester Reiff did not create so much comment in the land of the mighty dollar as did that of Tod Sloan, but there is a general impression that the verdict is an unfsir one. It might not have been so. and would not have been so, had the Vlecision been arrived at on general principles or on any bad-looking race. Unfortunately, the race picked out fov the action to be taken bore the earmark of being a perfectly lionett ride on the part of Rciff, and the fact that it was so is borne out not only by the trainer, Huggins, but nlso by the horse's previous form. It is a pity that jockey clubs seem to feel it incumbent upon them to conduct their business behind closed doors. There is no good end to be gained by seeiecy.
M'Ginn, the jockey engaged by Richard Croker to ride for him in England next season, finds himself in a peck of trouble. A trainer — W Karrick — had second call on his services this year, but became so dissatisfied with his riding — more especially when he was b°aten on a filly of his, Lady Radnor, at Brighton Beach, America — that ho asked the Jockey Club to declare his contract void. The Jockey Club went into the matter thoroughly, but decided in favour of M'Ginn'-j contract. The jockey was not willing to let the matter reEt at that, but proceeded to bring suit against the trainer, claiming damages for slander. A coloured rubber, who had been employed formerly by Karrick, recently informed him that "M'ljinn had made 'him an offer of 300 dollar- if he would swear that he had seen Karrick dope hor.=es." Karrick put the matter in the hands of detective*, and the coloured man w?s told to pretend to enter into negotiations with M'Ginn, who is now threatened with prosecution for subornation.
Fred Taral, who has long been a favourite with the American public, and was for se\eral scisons our loading jockey (says an American writer) returned recently fiom his Austrian trip He speaks very highly of the treatment he has met with over there, and, from all accounts, was the premier jockey in that country. Among many testimonials received he displayed a blue and white-spotted banner — the colours of his principal patrons — Baron Uchritz ?nd Andrew yon Pechey. The banner is inscribed in gold letters, "To Fred Taral, champion )ockey, Austro-Hungary, 1901." He sayß that he won 90 races out of a total of 350 mounts, the stakes being worth lll.OOOdol. He is much in love with the rubber starting barrier, in use there, and also claims that the Austrian horses are far better-behaved at the barrier and generally better broken than those in this country. A useful word of warning, which he gives to his brother professionals, is that "If a jockey dissipates at night his fate is sealed ; and if he is found in the betting ring Austrians have no further use for him." Taral was always au exemplary jockey in this country, and his departure for abroad was regretted by all. He is without doubt a great rider, but his weight was against him. He did not get sufficient riding ; and owners seem to prefer putting up light-weight hove, who are riding three or four times daily, even although they have to carry a stone or two of dead-weight. Had Taral gone to England, he would have ectibl'shed a groat reputation. He would have been popular with everyone, and none could outride him. He returns to Austria in February.
! There is but one opinion, Bays the Ameri- | can Horseman, of the wonderful son of Domino, and that is Commando is probably the fastest horse of the last 50 years, and certainly one of the best looking. This is not enthusiasm, but justice and fact. His proportions, quarters, leg 6, and neck are balanced, he ib built up all round and all o\er, and while other horses may be more showy, more catchy to the average eye, possibly, if Commando were brought alongside the veriest tyro in horseflesh would see that he is a Colossus among thoroughbreds. Like most great horses of the past, there are no frills and feathers about him. He is good tempered, and, one may pay, modest in the paddock, both before and after a race. There is no snorting, plunging, or showing off. He takes everything quietly, as though he knew what he was there for, what he had to do, and that there was not the slightest doubt about him accomplishing it properly, !-o long as it is reasonably witliin his distance and weight. There is probably not a horse in this country that makes him really gallop, and it has been suggested that he be pitted against two horses, both speedy milers. — one of these to f-tart with him and the other to pick him up at the haJf. This is somewhat I of a novel idea, and has its attractions II I would certainly brine; together such a crowd I of horsemen as the world has seldom seen, I ard would be the treat of the conturv. | There is. howovp-r, one thing which should I nover be lo=t «ieht of if such an event should I be- brought about. This is, that under no i ciroum«tancf>s whatsoever shall the second I horse be allowed to beat Commando. It woud be a di-pracc forever to those* ■nho I permitted it. Race him to his limit, if hiowner and trainer are willintr, but beaten in such a manner ho must not be.
has been Record Reign's illness (fays the Indian Planters' Gazette of December 7). He has under the treatment of Captain Stratton, A.V.D., of Meerut, and was so bad earlier in the week that the V.S. sat up all night with him. His temperature etuck persistently at 105, and he would take no nourishment. The horse is now an almoßt non-starter for the Cup, and it would, we Bhpuld think, be madness to try and prepare him. Immediately after this announcement, which did not emanate from the stable, the horse went clean out of the quotations, such as they are. There is little doubt that Record Reign has been none too fond of India since his arrival. When he landed he looked very sorry for himself, and we then expressed doubts as to its being possible to get him ready to go If miles at the pace they will run the race this year. Talk as they will, we do not see wherein lies the sense of rushing a horse out to India bo late in the year and then expecting him to come round and win a race that is almost as severe a journey as the Leger. After all, they are only flesh and blood, and not iron and springs. Record Reign was, futhermore, racing in Australia up to within a day or two of his leaving for India, and practically walked straight off the racecourse on to the ship.
The stallion Sir Tristram has been bought by Mr H. C. White for his friend Mr FrankReynolds, and will be shipped very shortly for New South Wale*. Sir Tristram is an extraordinarily well-bred horse, being by Bend Or out of Angola, by Macheath out of Angelica id am of Orme), and he is, moreover, a horse with great bone and with remarkably good limbs. He was also a winner on the turf, and covered a few good mares last season. It is a little curious that Angola^ first three foals should all have gone to the Antipodes. The first, a filly by Prince Rudolph, weut, before ever having a chance to run here, along with Haut Brion to Sydney, Mr Hordern having purchased them both ; and I see he has sinca mated this filly more than once with the horse so as to combine St. Simon and Angelica. Angola's second foal was Saucer, by Sorcerer, which won a race or two here and was sent to New Zealand covered by Patron. She produced a foal to him there this year, but to English time, so it will, of course, have difficulties to contend with, though in the colonies they make allowances on the weight for age principally for korses bred above the line. Why our jockey club should not reciprocate on similar terms I cannot imagine, for it would then be possible for Australasians to run m our Derby under proper weight conditions, we considering them ffs three-year-olds, though in their own country they would be in the autumn of their two-year-old career? Ido not say that Australian owners would bring their good young ores to England on any mch chance, but it would at least be courteous to give them the same weight for age recognition which they accord to us. It would also make their young stock more saleable for the English markot. Such attempts as have been made to breed bloodstock to unnatural times have, rightly enough, failed. No Australasian-bred colt will ever win the Derby except under conditions such as I suggest. Angola's fourth foal is an own gister to Sir Tristram, named Benjamina. who won races last year. The fifth is a big two-year-old colt by Trenton, which has not yet run. The mare is now owned by Mr Simons Harrison, who last season mated her v/ith Aurum. Saucer was imported by Mr G. G. Stead, and is now at that gentleman's stud in Canterbury.
It was recently given out that the Hon. W. C. Whitney intended retiring from the English turf, and his reasons for doing so were freely quoted in sporting journals. The American correspondent of the London Sportsman in a recent letter says : — John Huggius is cominer home to this country for a change and rest after his labours. He is an ardent devotee of dog and gun, and has always taken a trip to his native state, Texas, at the close of the racing season. There game is plentiful, and he can enjoy himself to his heart's content. Presumably, it is carrying coals to Newcastle to tpll you that he has been engaged again by W. C. Whitney for next season to train his hordes in England. These will con«ist mainly of Volodyovski and the yearlings which he leased from Lady Meux. To race those lastnamed in America would have been a waste of promising material, tince their engagements are made in England, and there would have been little chance for them to compete in any but minor frtikes and pur«e events in this country- 'With Hupgins to train for him, Mr Whitney will feel perfectly satisfied with th# conduct of his English stable, ar.d the arrangement is a good solution of the difficulty which confronted him. This much having been decided, it now looks more than probable that this? good two-year-old, Nasturtium, may be =ent over to fill his engagement in the Derby, and, should he do so, he will certainly find favour in the eve-; of your good judge?. He is a big, growing youngster, with that main attribute of a racehorse ■ — spppt], and, in the judgement of those who ought to be qualified to know, is the typo of a Derby winner. The get of Watercress, when they made thri<- debut in this country, were generally con c idered soft, but their many good performances this year discount this Hippo'od failing. Even though tho accusation may be truthful, they get there just the Mine. Our best Watercress on this side — Watercolour — has proved conclusively that he can stay, -wherefore wo may reasonably pxpect Nasturtium to do ditto. On the other hand, it must be admitted that our best Watercress has shown unmistakable signs of "dog" in some of his races when he has been collared. Should Nasturtium develop this same Watercress failing, we can only hope that he may turn out a pood brer»d of dog, and not one of the yellow species.
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TURF TOPICS, Otago Witness, Issue 2497, 22 January 1902
TURF TOPICS Otago Witness, Issue 2497, 22 January 1902
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