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SPORTING NEWS.

FAR AJSD NEAR. (By THE POSSIBLE.) If the nominations received last week can be taken as a guide the Auckland' Racing Club's gathering at the end of the year; should .bo unusually interesting. -The. entry for the Auckland Cup contains the names of most of the best horses in work a>U over the .colony, the South Island being represented by Cruciform, Martian. Grand Rapids, Uranus, Nightfall, Golden Knight, Secret Society, AiLsa and Bulawayo. To these have to be added all the northern cracks, including Achilles and Vvairiki, so that the outlook for the race is excellent. lii the other events which closed at, the same time South Island stables are also very strong, Savoury, Quarryman, To-morrow, Chry_eis, - Signalman, Crichton, and Cavatina having been engaged in addition to those entered in the Auckland Cup. With such a formidable lot- as this the southern-; . owners promjse to play an important part at the Auckland fixture this summer^' The Christchurch Racing Club has issmd a very, attractive programnie for ita summer meeting in De -ember. The stakes for niostyof the events have been increased, the total amount to be distributed in ; the two days being £885. The Windsor . Han- , dicap, of one mile, is 1 now worth £100, while £150 is attached to the Anniversary Handicap, ' oif 'one mile and; a . quar ter. The two celling ; 'rates

i , , i . — — - have heen cut out. On the first day a Welter Handicap has heen substituted, while on the second day another two-year-old race has been inserted. Altogether the club has shown- a very progressive spirit in drawing up the programme, which cannot fail to be favourably received by owners. The result of the Jockey Club Stakes, which was received' last week, did not come as any surprise. 'Rock Sand * ; tiad previously diown this season that he was; Well in front of most of his rivals, and his victory in this race was generally anticipaited when the last mail left England.- The race is open to three and four-year-olds., but if is probable that St Amant and John b Gaunt did not fulfil their "engagements. Rock Sand, as the winner of the Two Thousand' Guineas, , Derby and St Leger last year, was en- . titled , to rank as the champion of- his a _T*v '; but the fact that he did not meet Zinfandel ' ..caused some doubt on the point. Thjs season however, he has.demonstrated*unmis- , fakably that he ia a high-clase racehorse. > When 'the mail left he wot' at ''the head of the -winning horses for the season, with £12,284, or £4 more than the amount credited to Pretty Polly. Unless the three-year-old filly wins another, race before* end of the season Rock Sand will retain : his place at the head of the winners, as his victory last week would he worth more than was Pretty Polly's win in the St Leger, — r Musker, who filled the places in the Jockey Club Stakes with the full- brofrtors, . Henry the First and William ;R«™ S > ° a » been'v*ry unfortunate in Vcionnettion with important races. He has along ?^&? f "placed psfformanoe_,.but asa rule the^ is always something to beat hiaiThe Victorian spring campaign wiU be opened on Saturday, when the Victoria Amateur Turf Club's meeting w$ te oommenced at Caulfield. The Cauffie^<#"^ s > a mile race for three-year-olds, should\]Sr6 r vide an interesting contest. Scobie s PP r » Sylvan.te and Demas, have earned penalties by reason of their wins at Randwick, . but the first-named' should prove qilite equal <wi

form to winning under hie in-reared burden. The Debutant Stakes usually attracts a big field of two-year-olds. The Sydney trainer, -Payten, is always hard to beat in tbis class of raca, and' he has:a strong team to represent him this season, but it is too early yet to know how the -jureaiitesi are likely to turn out. Most interest., so far as the first day of the meeting is conoe-rn-ed, will centre in the Caulfield Stake?, a weight : for-age race mn over a mile and a furlong. Ths nominations had not closed when the last mail left, but it is certain that the field will be a strong one. Gladsome's good track; form, and. her victory last Saturday, at Fleming-.-ton„. m^z_fivz#.iy , mj^ff^i^f^xwiil'he Very hard io beat", md it ia probable tliat the New Jj^aland-br-d mare will go out favourite. The mooting will bs continued on the following Saturday, when the Caulfield Cup will be run.; - A large number of those who went to ihe 3eraldine races on Thursday had an unjsualand exciting experience. On leaving bhe train at Orari it is usual for visitors to reach the racecourse by taking ashcrt-cut through private property. The owner evidently has no love for the sporting members of .the. community, and while some fifty of thesa were spreading over his paddock like hounds "thrown off" with the racecourse as the' quarry, .they saw advancing upon them an outraged and ferocious individual armed with a twelve-foot pole, and attended by a bodyguard of one. woman and one man with what appeared to bean axe. All three were gesticulating wildly, | and brandishing their ''weapons," and as ! the crowd closed up to them, the- man with the pole made, warlike overtures to the foremost visitor. The latter, dodging a blow from the enraged pole-bearer, .closed in ahd proceeded to return the compliment with his fist, and the two then engaged in a "rough aud tumble," from which the aggressor emerged' rather th© worse of the two. The crowd, however, -passed on to its sport, and the. true significance of the incident was only appreciated on the second day of the race?, when a large prohibitory notice confronted would-be " short-cutters"" The recent meeting of the. Australian Jockeiy Club 'was responsible foT some unpleasantness in connection with the mare Electra. The matter? is thus referred to by the "Australasian " : — •' Last Easter the scratching of Seakale for the , Doncaster. Handicap gave rise to a deal of grumbling, and the Australian Jbekey Club committee refused the mare's entry for the Epsom Handicap and Metropolitan. In a lesser degree, Electra's scratching for the Epsom Handicap was the cause of grumbling at the late meeting. Bookmakers have a dread of the Motto Farm stable. It is a very difficult matter to back Horses trained there. ' "When Electra's name was called at the reading of the card^therewas scarcely an offer against her. Next day an at.tempt was made to back her on the course. A reasonable figure at a reasonable price was wanted, but the bookmaker3.'would not bet. They thought the owner would not scratch so* late, and that they would 'get against ' the mare at a very short price. But tho owner did scratch. Perhaps the money asked for about Electra was not for Mr Baron, and the mare may not have been fit to run, biit she was on the course, and people who knew this,- of course, assumed that she was struck out because she could not be backed. It is a pity to see wealthy owners quarrelling- wjth the public, but in this case, if the owner scratched Electra because he could not back her, his grievance was with.^ tfie ■ bookmakers, who would not lay his mare, not with the public for forestalling him." In another part of the paper, when T. 'Sealing with the Victorian Derby, prospects, " Terlinga" makes the following sarcastic reference to the subject .-—"The Derfav lookß a "matter of health for Sylvariite. Possibly Bee Bee,' who. won the"Maribyrnong Plate, will give the big colt. trouble. She is in the Electra etable, and may not even^starfc. Rumour says. Bee Bee has grown into; a fine mare.; ? Bumour may or. may not lie. AU I- know- about Bee Bee .is tHat she has not yet $een scratched for her Victorian spring 'engagements." Later advices- state ■ that Elebfra has gone wrong and has been sent home. • ' ' . L The Auckland writer " Phaeton " is- a strong"; opponent -of the principle of ' fixed penalties. JiiLlast week's issue of the "Weekly -.Newr*'' he had the following repurks to ina^.o^n the subject :—" I. have riever been 'able Ltd quite understand how it is that, thei^ld sjr?tem of a fixed eca'le of penalties, for wihfti_ag7l_b;pses should have so many -friends, and that there should ba a' filmg *;: almost amounting L to prejudice against- the' re-handicapping of winners. This' ii, all the more jemarkable in that one .hai.id^roceed. biit a'sbort way in the- study of tfie Subject -recognise how really ahsurd.th«.fixed?&£%'■ of penalties is at times, andi ..the'.jrr^vj^iuStus- *%zt . » ; - - - >■..._■'_' vy.JL' '• . ■ -•;•• >

■ licted on a man owning a winner. Non ust let us take up the conditions attache to the New Zealand Cup for consideratior J Ifc is there set ont that thte winner of 'an; race or races' shall carry certain fixed per _', ilties. Tliis, of course, takes in all race — that is, a winner of a weight-for-age rao ">r classic event- is penalised, though he in*; >ossi biy have been handicapped right v to the very top in the first instance. Mai tian, by reason of his win in New Sout. Wales, is mulcted in a 71b penalty for th New Zealand event, though he won his rae ifc Randwick against horses that are ho engaged in. the Canterbury Jockey Ou' race. Now, 'l would hot seek to lower tb valuo of Martian's winning display a Randwick for the purpose of bolstering v] the argument against fixed penalties, bu still I think I can legitimately contend tSa when provision is made in the weight-foi nge standard for a concession to a hors dred under the conditions that Martian wa« fc savours of downright injustice to pu him in for a 71b penalty in a h&ndica; event on what lie hae aohiewod in a weight far-age race. We can look at it in an >ther way also." Supposing, for instance that Achilles had been sent to Australia thi spring and had won a weight-fbr age event there of the value .-,. o 100 soys, he would have been cast ii a 7lb penalty for the New ZeahuK Cup, whadb would have had the effect o making his impost in the last-named-even lOst 71b— or a stone and 21b over weight for-age ! Would that be fair ? Then wi have the case of Gladstone, who incurs i penalty of 31b by reason of his succes: against a crowd, of moderates in the Avon dale Guineas. • I do not suppose that 31l is either hero or there, but it is the down right absurdity of the fixed penalty thai causes me to mention it. Taking, a wid< view of the whole situation, I think it : ii on every ground far preferable to adopi the course of re-handicapping winners in stead of relying on penalisation clauses The handicapper responsible would be abb to survey tlie whole of the situation an< shape tfie adjustment in such a mannei as to make ifc fit in with the circumstance: arising. With regard to weight-for-ag< races being counted in penalising for han dicap events, I certainly think' it is but fail to owners to have some stipulation mad< so that an injustice may not be. inflifcted.' At first- glance I felt inclined to disagr« with the opinion of my confrere, as I 'air a believer in fixed penalties. On readipj through his article carefully, however, J find that ho has advanced no argument! at all against the present system. -„, -Wha. he really objects to is that' horses shoulc be penalised in handicaps for winning weight-for-age or classic races. .In this I am in entire accord with. him. In mosi cases, a horse that is capable of winning a weight-for-age race is handicapped up tc weight-for-age class, and it is very Hare 1 that he should be further weighted for a success which the handicapper had reasonable grounds for anticipating when •h. framed, his handicap;; This principle it recognised in Australia, where penalties foi the big handicaps are only dependent or victories in handicap events.: - Regarding three-year-olds, however, much-' can. ,bf urged in favour of penalising them foi classic wins, and a provision to make ths winner, of the Avoii<h»ie, Wanganui anc Hawke's Bay Guineas carry a,' cert-ip weight in the New Zealand Cup. -if handicapped below it, could not' be objected to. This is the course followed in. Australia ir connection with the Metropolitan Handicap, "Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup, and it is found to work satisfactorily. : In reviewing the recent spring, meefcii^g Jockey Glub,.."jL T jopi"*">?. writos in the Sydney "Referee" as follows,on the subject .of betting :— The; string; prices of winners of the weight-for-ag* races were as follow: Glad*om.e- : 6 ,-to 1 (Lord Cardigan ' favourite at 6 to 4), Emit 8 to 1 (Gladsome favourite Lat, l 2f_jt<>v 1), Sweet Nell 4 to 1 (Lo,ng Tom/and. Contest favourites), Martian 6' to 1, (Emir favourite at 7> to 4). Defeated favourites in. the three-year-old • races were: Koopan.>, Derby, ever money (7 to'l the winner "/Koopany New Stakes, 6 to 4 (5 to 2 the. winner) ; Sylvanite, Grantham 'Stakes, -, even money (3 to 1 the winner) ; Nightfadl, Member?' Handicap,' 5 to 2 (7 to 1 the winner)'. These eight races are of the class which . careful backers, who consider .themselves sufficientIv. good judges, piek-oufc to win money over. . and do. not let tfoo handicap events trouble them much. The result of a calculation of the figures shows disaster. On fche first day every first .' favourite" w*s beaten, but three second favourites won. On the second day Birida and St Simmer were successful favourites; Dingo and Demao (second favourites) won ; the other ! winners were rank outriders. On the third I day, one favourite woo . .and two second favourites, whilst, the record ' of the foutfih day was the defeat of . every 'first favourite, and every' second favourite, th*. winners figuring respectively at 5 to- 1, 6t01..7 to 1, 10 to 1 (two) , and 14 to 1. Of the twentyfour races, three were won by. first favourites, whilst all the biggest pots boiled: over. If the pooplo who declaim against gambjijig on moral, religious or other grounds would figure out a result like this instead of talking silly twaddle, they might be more effective.. As a business proposition, betting does not pay the people who think they know most about it, with very rare exceptions, and the sure and • vce'rtouv fate of; the novices is obvious^ Still, there is lots of fun and excitement -about -it,- -as -there may be about other expensive luxuries wheTe the cash returns' are nil, but the experiences aire sufficiently useful for silent meditation.

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Bibliographic details

SPORTING NEWS., Star, Issue 8133, 5 October 1904

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2,421

SPORTING NEWS. Star, Issue 8133, 5 October 1904

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