EAR AND NEAR.
(By THE POSSD3LB.) If proof were needed that we are fast approaching the date of our Grand National Meeting, it is supplied by the reminder that nominations for the principal events are due on Friday. For some years past jumpers of good quality have ueen rather scarce all over the colony, and judging by the meet" ings already held this winter, it looks as if no improvement in this respect can foe expected at the coming fixture. Of the twentyeight horses that figured in the nomination list for last year's Grand (National Steeplechase, only a small proportion can be regarded as likely to find a place this time, the majority of the number being out of the game. As usual, we will have to look to the North Island for the bulk of the nominations, but it is difficult to see, at present, where a strong entry is to come from. The Grand National Hurdle Handicap promises a little better than the crosscountry race, but even here the outlook is not as bright as could be wished. The Winter Oup, f on the other hand, should draw a good nomination, there being plenty of material in the South Island alone to provide a strong field.
Another phase of the Bangimoe case cam© up at a meeting of the Pahiatua Racing Club last week. At the last sitting of the Supreme Court in Palmerston North an action was brought to determine if a partnership in the horse existed 1 between W. Homes, trainer of the gelding, and R. Cameron, owner. The suit was brought by Homes, and the decisdon of the Court was against him, and at the same time an injunction previously obtained by him, preventing further dealings with the horse, pending the result of the litigation, was dissolved by order of the Court. The business the Pahiatua Club had before it was a protest from Mr Woodill, owner of Wangaehu, against Rangimoe, who won the Mangahao Welter Race at its meeting, on the grounds that the horse had not been registered by Mr Cameron, in whose name he ran, and there >yae nothing to show that the horse was owned or leased by him. Evidence was given by 'Mr Cameron, and also by Messrs Woodill and Homes, the two latter supporting the#protest. It was decided that the protest should be dismissed on the grounds that there was no evidence that the horse was not owned by Mr Cameron and by Mr Baldwin, breeder of Rangimoe, as stated in the evidence. Th« stakes were paid to Mr Cameron.
On the day she won the One Thousand Guineas, Pretty Polly was thus described by a London writer: — "Pretty Polly appeared early on the scene, and attracted great attention. It was generally agreed that she could not have wintered better, for, although she has only grown half an inch since last autumn, she now stands over fifteen-three, and is big enough for anything. lam told that she ha* thickened a little, but it is lucky that she has not done much in that respect, as she showed such an amount of substance as a two-year-old that there was small room for improvement in this direction ; indeed, she might easily have become almost muscle-bound. In apita of the exciting experience which she had gone through on the preceding day, her temper appeared as perfect as ever. Pretty Polly won her race in the inimitable style, with which she has rendered us familiar, ! and, though she covered the course in the excellent time of lmin 40sec, was never extended for a single stride. She appears to be a brilliant exception to the great majority of the stock of Gallinule, who are of little use after their two-year-old season. She returned to the weighing Enclosure showing little signs of having done even an ordinary exercise gallop, and, after appreciatively munching a lump or
two of sugar, made quite a triumphal progress through the town, led by her faithful hack, and followed by an admiring little group of stable boys."
The Ascot meeting, which was held last week, ranks as one of the leading fixtures in England. Handicaps occupy a very small place on the programme, , most of the stake money, . which is very liberal, being devoted to races for two-year-olds and three-year-olds and weight-for-age contests. A feature of the meeting is the prominence given to long-distance events. The three-year-old races include one of a mile and a half and one of a mile and five furlongs. The Ascot Gold Cup is run over two miles and a half, the Alexandra Plate two miles six furlongs and eighty-five yards, and the Hardwicke Stakes one mile, and a half . An Ascot Gold Cup victory i» regarded as a first-class stayer's certificate, and the roll of past winners contains the names of some of the greatest horses of their times. To go no further back than 1875, when Doncaster was successful, I find that . Isonomy, St Simon, La Fleche, Isinglass, Persimmon, Merman and William the Third figure as winners. The two last-named have not had time yet to prove their ability at the' stud, but the others mentioned have all made names for themselves since they bade farewell to the racecourse. This year's race was looked forward to, on account of the probability of Zinfandel and Sceptre meeting, these two being generally regarded as the two best horses in training in England. For the second time this season, Zinfandel has defeated the sensational Sceptre, but both have had to strike their colours to Throwaway, whose victory probably came in the light of a big surprise. He is a horse below the average in size, but by good authorities he is admitted to be one of the most stylish horses in training in England, and he has been selected as likely to become a good sire when his racing days are over. He was known to be a good stayer, but until last week there was nothing in his form to suggest that he was fit to tackle the best in the land on even terms. He has in the past been a very unlucky horse, for though he ran well on different occasions, he had not won a race since he captured the Liverpool Autumn Cup, in 1902. Last season he started eight times, and though he did not earn a winning bracket, he ran second in four important long-distance handicaps, these being the Chester Cup, two miles and a quarter; second in the Northumberland Plate, two miles ;^ second in the Great Ebor Handicap, one mile and three quarters ; and the Doncaster Cup, two miles. This season he finished third in the Chester Cup. These were all good performances, but not to be compared with the one he registered last week. His owner, Mr F. Alexander, is one of the straightest goers in England, and the way his horse was gradually raised in the weights for his easperating run of placed performances, has been quoted more than once during the last few months as an argument as to the penalty which an owner incurred for invariably running his horses out. The Royal Hunt Cup is . a race of a different class from the Gold Cup, and the three placed horses are all moderates. Csardas started five times last season, his best effort being when he ran third in the Derby Gold Cup. Hazafi ran five times last season. He won the Royal Handicap at Sandown, was third in the Kempton Park Jubilee Handicap, and second in a Highweight Handicap at Newmarket. Wild Oats had a busy time last season,, when he started ten times. He was five times successful, but he never beat anything with claims to decent class.
When the last mail left England the sporting writers bad plenty of material in trying to solve the Derby problem, and the papers contained a good deal about the relative merits of the three-year-olds. By the way, it is worth noting that St Simon blood is well represented among the leading colts of the year. St Amant is by a son of St Simon, while John o' Gaunt and Henry the First claim St Simon mares for their dams, but tie champion filly, Pretty Polly, does nob claim descent from the great stallion on either side. Regarding Pretty PollVi it is of interest to remember that ..her sire^ Gallinule, has hitherto laboured under the etigma that his stock, whatever their form as two-year-olds, ;did not train on, but this, theory hae been entirely disproved in the case of Pretty Polly. Similar criticism has also been applied to Melton, but Henry the First's form this season has silenced the detractors to a great extent. Latest files bring news of the Newmarket Stakes, in which Henry the First defeated John o' Gaunt by a head, with St Amant a bad
third. This performance lost St Amant a lot of friends. One writer stated that it is plain enough now that he has two styles of running, or, in other words, that' lie is a thorough rogue. When he was beaten by His Majesty in the Craven week it was generally thought that he did not try very hard, and the upshot was that in the Two Thousand Guineas he wore blinfc&re for the first time in his life. On. that occasion he ran home as straight as a- gun barrel, and won unchallenged in most decisive fashion. In the Newmarket Stakes, on the evidence of Kempton Cannon, 'who rode him, he was never going kindly, and would not take hold of his bit at all. He Avaa in the van for nearly a mile, but John o' Gaunt raced up to him before the Bushes were reached, and he quite declined to struggle furthet. In the Birdcage, as the horses were going out, a well-known trainer obeerved t ■" Oh, these rogues ; they generally run all right the first time they have blinkers on, but they often turn it up the next time." Events prov-sd that the trainer in question had summed up -the matter pretty . correctly. John o' Gaunt, after running second in the Newmarket Stakes, 'was picked out by many authorities as the best colt of the season. He is very majestic in appearance, with all the size and command of his sire, Isinglass, and the exquisite quality of his dam, La Flecbe, while his style of going resembles both. This colt is a special . favourite of the "Special Commissioner" of the "Sportsman," who wrote of him after the Newmarket Stakes thus:— "There is that, about him which suggests real greatness to anyone who can see the character of a horse, apart from his mere make and sh ■;■ pe. Where, I wonder, are the people who will now repeat th© parrot cry that La Fleece is a stud failure. Failure in a senae she has unfortunately been this past season, for she slipped twins to Ladas, and is now being allowed to lie fallow for' a year, bub John o' Ganint has the making of another Ormonde, and I am not waiting till he has proved his full merit before expressing that opinion." Henry the First is a colt of massive proportions, and for this reason he has been a difficult horse to prepare for bis three-year-old engagements, as he required a tremendous amount of work. In appearance he resembles St Simon more than his sire, Melton, lacking the fine quality of the latter. Pretty Polly, it is now "admitted, is an exceptionally brilliant filly. According to one authority the colts need not be so moderate if even a stone •"•behind iher, as she is a smasher. She is a magnificent filly, standing -well over sixteen hands, with enormous limbs, no soft spot aaywihere, arad) as temperate and cool as a ten-yeaavold hunter. In appearance she suggests her StockweU descent, possessing all the commanding stee and power of the best of the family. She is *built on more massive lines than Sceptre, and she carries more substance. When moving she goes like a piece- of machinery, and she does not seem to be exerting herself much when she is beating a field of horses with consummate ease. That she is a great galloper there seems to be no doubt. As to the colts, opinions vary somewhat, but all the English authorities are quite agreed as to the merit of the unbeaten Pretty Polly.
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SPORTING NEWS., Star, Issue 8043, 22 June 1904
SPORTING NEWS. Star, Issue 8043, 22 June 1904
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