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A FRENCH INVASION

{Pall Mall Budget, Nov. 17th.)

It is ten years since Admiral Rous published a little hook in which ho cried aloud for a public fund to defend us poor Englishmen against the Government of France, which wae buying up all our best stud horses ; and now it appears that Lord Falmouth desires to take protective measures against those foreign invaders who carry off the prizes in our most important races. Probably most people will think that, if the time has come when •we cannot hold our own without protective measures, either in the horse market or on the racecourse, the time has also come when we had better throw up the sponge altogether. But the completeat answer to the complaint of Adtninil Rous was given when " private individual enterprise," of which he has but a low opinion apparently, paid unprecedented prices to keep in this country Blair Athol and Gladiateur, to the great chagrin of the French — hors3s which promised, though have not fulfilled their promise, to be thegreatestsires of their generation. It is well known that no mon°y would have purchased The Flying Dutchman, until it became pretty evident that he would be a comparative iaihirc at the stud ; and it is a question whether in many other cases, even in the case of Buccaneer, the foreign purchaser has not to thank his lucky stars rather than his own wisdom. Besides, we have seldom or never let a promising horse go without keeping a sufficient supply of his blood to work its due effect according to the mysterious laws of transmission. As for Lord Falmouth'd wish to close our race courses to foreigners unless we are admitted as freely to theirs, it has an unpleasant smack of narrowmindedness. It is doubtful whether any advantage would accrue to us from the free admission, though it might have a graceful appearance ; and it must not be forgotten that by encouraging the foreigner to compete with us in horse racing we have not only received a great deal of his money in the form of entries, but we have enormously increased the number of customers for •ur thoroughbreds. We ought not "to grudge him any fair amount of success in the competition to which we admitted him, as au inducement it can haidly be denied, to promote a sport and a business which we were interested in extending.

That there has been a great victorious invasion of foreigners this year is true, though it may not be so alarming as is supposed. At the head of the invaders, principally French, stands, as was to be expected, Count F. de Lagrange. Some idea of the vast scale upon which the Count conducts racing may be formed from an enumeration not of all the horses he has run this season, nor perhaps of every horse which has won some small event, but of the horses to which he is chiefly indebted for tho prizes he picked up between March and the close of the Houghton Meeting m his own country and m ours. They are, m alphabetical order : Adrienne, Allumette, Aubepine, Augusta, Bijou, Braconnier, Canielia, Camembert, Chamaut, Charivari 111., Corneille, Craintive, Galba, Garde Noble, Gavarni, Grivoia. Honora, Leopold, Lina, M. de Fhgny, Moulin, Nougat, Pardon, Regalade, Roussillon, Tartine, Vernenil, and Vivacite. Of these names two lists shall be made, the first comprising the horses which have won money m

this country, the second the horses which have won money m their own country, together with the amounts won by each, indulgence being requested for possible omissions or errors, so that it may be seen at a glance what is the proportion between the sums won by Count tie L&grange m England and m France. In England, Allumette, Braconnier, Camelia, Camembert, Chamant, Gavarni, Leopold, Lina, Regalade, and Verneuil won, respectively, 970, 660, 5100, 910, 5930, 3. r )0, 230, 690, 391, and 1700 ponndß sterling, or a total of £16,931. In France, Adrienne, Aub^pine, Augusta, Bijou, Braconnier, Camembert, Charivari 111., Corneille, Craintive, Galba, Garde, Noble, Gavarni, Grivois, Honora, M. de Fligny, Moulin, Nougat, Parpon, Roussillon, Tartine, and Vivacite won, m francs, the equivalent, respectively, of 156, 143, 714, 2845, 3507 i, 1076, 641, 118, 163, 481, 653," 139, 110, 251, 225, 11435, 4,565 i (including the value of an " objet dart"), 132, 222, 432, and 96 pounds sterling, or a total of £15,253. In both English and French races, especially the latter, there is sometimes a sum of money for second, or even second and third horses, so that the total might have been swelled by the addition of such amounts ; but the proportion would have been very little, if at all, affected, and it is pretty certain that the sum won on French ground wonld not have been brought up to, let alone beyond, that won on English. It is doubtful, to' 1 , whether Re'galade ought to have been put down to the account of M. de Dagrange rather than to that of M. Lefevre or T. Jennings _; but. it is rather difficult sometimes to distinguish on a particular occasion between the ownershipr Nor was Re'galade so successful as to make her winnings of much importance. The upshot of the whole matter is that, on a pretty careful calculation, M. de Lagrange is found to have won during the period mentioned above something more than £30,000 m stakes and added money, more than half of which has been picked up m England. If this be. a subject for regret at all, wo should surely rather be moved by it to make every effort for the recovery of our old prestige, than to exclude foreigners from participation m our sports and our prizes, nominally because they refuse to reciprocate our apparent generosity ; but really, it would seem, because we have taught them and helped them to beat us, and we cannot stand it any longer. Moreover, it is a question whether, as long as our prizes remain the most numerous and the most valuable m the world, with the exception, perhaps, of tho Grand Prix, which is already open to us, — while our own meetings crowd so thickly upon us during the season, while our greatest events are timed as they are m relation ti the greatest events abroad, and while Sunday continues to be the day chiefly consecrated to Continental racing — we should gain much by the most complete reciprocity. If our breed of racehorses be really falling below the standard of the foreigner, it would come to this, that his best horses would cross the water to win our rich prizes, while our best horses unable to compete at homo with the strangers, would cross the water to run a chance of being beaten by his second-rate animals for his inferior prizes. Finally, if we were to exclude the foreigner altogether from our racecourses, we should lose the best if not the only test to prove the superiority or inferiority of our thorough-breds, and might go on deteriorating m self-complacent unconsciousness till we lost not only our commanding position, but all position whatever, among (he horse-breeders of the world, °

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Bibliographic details

A FRENCH INVASION, Timaru Herald, Volume XXVI, Issue 1662, 24 February 1877

Word Count
1,189

A FRENCH INVASION Timaru Herald, Volume XXVI, Issue 1662, 24 February 1877

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