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THE COLOUR QUESTION.

Sir Walter Gilbey has written a little volume about horses' colours, from which. all kinds of interesting scrape of information may be derived. In the early days of the Stud 800k— 1791 to 1808— Sir Walter finds that greys and bays were "almost universal, tne chestnut norae being comparatively rare." Chestnuts then began to increase in number, the influence of Eclipse and his eons and daughters making- itself felt, but in ail the Derby has only fallen to 54 chestnuts, whilst 65 bays have won lasting .renown at Epsom, and just two dozen browns, not including Volodyovski, described as " bay or brown. It is rather curious that the chestnut Derby winners usually came in pairs. Election and Pan won in 1807-8, Azur and" Sam in 1817-18, OedTio and Middleton in 1824-5; then came two pairs together, St. Giles, Dangerous, Plenipotentiary, and Mundig, in 1832-3-4-5 ; Pyrrhus the First and Coesaok in 1846-7, Teddington and Daniel O'Rourke in 1851-2, Thormanby and Kettledrum in 1860-1, Donqaster and George Frederiok in 1873-4, Shotover and St. Blaise in 1882-3. Orby, a chestnut, won this year. The Derby has >nly once fallen to a grey — Gustavus, in 1821 — and I am not among those (say 3 "Rapier'") who believe that Holooauste -would have had the remotest ohance of beating Flying Fox in 1899, if he had survived the course. He had, I believe, lamed himself in his last race before he same to England, and Sloan's declaration that he " would have won " but for the jolt breaking his fetlock I put down as amongst the wild assertions to which Sloan occasionally gave utterance. It is remarkable that greys should have died out to so great an extent in England. Grey Leg being the only sire of that colour 1 at the stud to the besfc of zny recollection, though greys are numerous in France, descendants tor the most part of that good horse Le Saner, who was a sen of Atlantic and the grey Gem of Gems (Strathconan — who was a grey — Pointeettia). If Holocaust© had left England alive the crop of greys would doubtless have received many additions. By the way, if The Bard had been called a roan instead of a chestnut many people would have accepted the description. Sir Walter does not mention the very strong prejudice which many racing men entertain against blacks. Only one horse of that colour ever won the Darbr, Smolensko, 1813. The Flying Dutchman look* black in ,

the famous picture of him, but he was a brown. I have heard it argued that Slieve Gallion might not improperly be described as a very dark chestnut, but Captain Greer calls him black. If Colonel Hall Walker's estimate of Black Arrow be correct, here was a black who formed a marked exception to the rule — if it be a rule — that horses of this colour are soft and uncertain.

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/OW19071211.2.253.7

Bibliographic details

THE COLOUR QUESTION., Otago Witness, Issue 2804, 11 December 1907

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482

THE COLOUR QUESTION. Otago Witness, Issue 2804, 11 December 1907

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