FAR AND NEAR. (By THE POSSIBLE.) The Tesult of the Manawatu Stakes, in which Count Witte, Glenculloch and Elevation filled ; the ' three ' places, did not surprise me, as I quite expected to see the. two-year-olds assert their superiority. T_i.e form of these three colte: \v_m very eatisfactoiyv ■BSowii^R as it did, that the best of our present lot of two-year-olds must be reckoned quite up to the average. In Count Witte Mr Stead has evidently got a colt of more than ordinary ability, and as he is probably susceptible of more improvement than the other pair, he should have a good career in front of him. The only regret about th© race is that, in finishing last, Achilles closed his turf career rather mauspieiously- I understand the brilliant chestnut has now bid farewell to th© turf, bis owner having decided to relegate him to stud life, in which^ sphere 1 hope he will succeed in giving us a few performers as good as himself. The prospects for the autumn meeting of the Ashburton County Racing Club are excellent, if the nominations can be accepted as a criterioji, as the total is eighty more than for last year's meeting, irrespective of the Lagmhor Plate, tor which entries have not closed yet. The principal events have filled fairly well, and they should produce good contests. It is x however, in the minor races that the increase is chiefly noticeable, and in theee, with heavy nominations, and quality more in evidence than usual, the outlook is particularly promising. The trotting ev exits, too, have filled especially well, and aito- " gether it looks as if the club was going to -have a very successful meeting. I met Mr A. A. Fooks, the secretary, last week, and lie informed me that tho improvements to[ the course were well in hand, there being little doubt that all would be in readiness for the gathering on May 15 and 16. Handicaps for the first day are due next Monday, and acceptances on the following Friday. Sandix, who won tne Longburn Handicap, the principal handicap event at the Manawatu meeting last week, is ft three-year-old' by San Fran — Miniature. The latter will be remembered as a mare by Medallion— : Miss Lucy, bred by Mr M. Sherwin, in whose colours she once l-an second to Multiform at Riccarton. This was in the Champagne Stakes, but it should be added that there were only the two starters, and Multiform won in a canter by two lengths and a half. On the following day Miniature finished third to Goldleaf and Bracelet in the Autumn Nursery Handicap. Sandix was Miniature's second foal, the firet, Miiss Minx (by Rangipuhi) being unknown to fame. .The publication of the nominations foi* the leading events to be decided at the winter meetings of the Wanganui Jockey Club and the Auckland Racing Club serves ac a reminder, if such were needed, of the near approach of the jumping season. The lists make very pleasant reading. Those for the big Auckland jumping double constitute a record, and altogether it can safely be said that the prospects for the approaching winter campaign are excellent. So far as the hurdlers are concerned, there are no notable recruits, but the best of the present performers have been engaged. The Auckland Racing Club has certainly every reason to feel satisfied with the response of owners for the Great Northern Hurdle Handicap. This is a race which deserves to succeed, if only for the reason that it is run over a distance of ground calculated to prove a thorough test. The policy of the club during the last few years in connection Avith the Great Northern has been in the direction of encouraging stamina among our hurdlers, and the big nomination received for the race this year, which, for the first time will extend to two miles and a half, is therefore distinctly encouraging. We have plenty ot two-mile hurdle races all oyer the colony throughout the year and I have often thought that our leading clubs would bo acting wisely in extending the distance of the principal events decided over hurdles during the winter. That such a more would appeal to owners is apparent from the nominations received ior the Great Northern Hurdles, and ' this fact should encourage the Cantel--
bury Jockey Club to go one step fur- | ther and convert the Grand National Hurdle Race into a three-mile race. In Victoria long distance hurdle races in the winter are very successful events. The Victoria Racing Club's Grand National Hurdle Race, of three miles, has never attracted less than sixteen starters during the last ten years, and the corresponding race at Caulfield, which is run over three miles and a half, less ninety-two yaijds, has a minimum field record of twelve for the same period. These facts, combined with the entry received for the Auckland Racing Club's two-mil-SHand-a-half race, shouldencourage tho Canterbury Jockoy Club to launch out with a long-distance hurdle Tace in August. Among tho horses engaged in the steeplechases nt the Wanganui and Auckland meetings axe all the cracks of last < winter, as well as several very promising recruits from the ranks of the hurdle racers. With the winter racing season so close at hand, it is interesting to look round and see what horses are available at Riccarton to assist at the approaching jumping campaign. The first thing that struck me. was the fact that G. Murray-Aynsley, who > usually has one or two jumpers under his care, will this season be unrepresented in i either steeplechase or hurdle , event?. Taggart will have the Grand National winner, Slow Tom, who may have to be again reckoned with in cross-country events; and also Leeside, whose bestform has been shown in short distance | hurdle races. Tagga.it also had another Grand National winner in. Avvahuri, but presumably he has failed to satisfy the trainer as to his soundness, as he has been returned to his own^r. When Phaetontis won the Grand National Steeplechase last August be was in Moraghan's stable, hut has sinoe changed hands, and he is now being trained at Ashburton. It will not surprise me, however, if he is sent to Riccarton to be finished off for the approaching campaign. Moraghan has also lost Deerslayer, who has gone back to his owner, in the meantime, to be qualified for hunters' events, but his place has been taken by the South Canterbury horse Carlo, who won tho Enfield Steeplechase last Augmsrfc, and who may prove useful this year : n more, ambitious company. In Ability this trainer has a hurdler that will have to be reckoned with in the principal events, and the remaining member of the team, Monkey Puzzle, may pay her way if judiciously placed. Clarke's lot only includes one horse that has raced over hurdles yet. This is Stronghold, who so far has not proved a success. lam afraid he is the soTt of horse that may be difficult to convert into a proficient hurdler, though, if he took kindly to the game, he would be a hard horse for the best to beat. Probable is destined for hurdle racing, and he is a likely sort for the game. Chryseis was also to"- be tried, but her lameness in the autumn may have caused a modification of the plans. The stable also shelters two more, in Giovanni and j Gwendoline, who will probably find their way eventually into tho ranks of the jumpers. H. Carr, who was so long associated with that safe fencer, Pipi, hut who is now quartered at Riccarton, has a highly promising recruit in Idasa, who has shaped well in her schooling, and he has also taken in hand a five-year-old by Musketry, 1 * named Kaikomaku, who won the Llaiden Plate at Little River a couple r of montJjs ago. Ev.enlode, who > ""till" recently was trained in the oountry, is now at Riccarton, under C. Hart's care. He has shown himself to be a proficient hurdler, and it will be no surprise if he develops edfual ability later on over big oountry. Other jumpers at '" headquarters, including Narcissus, Wild Cat, Pram, Helios and Wet Blanket, are not likely to shine except in moderate company, but the best of the local lot should prove capable of playing their part well in the big events to be decided during the next few mouths. Anti-racing faddists appear to play a stronger hand in America than anywhere else in the world, and in this connection a New York paper remarks that a severe blow has been dealt highclass racing in the State of Tennessee. The Lower House of the General Assembly passed the Anti-Racetrack Bill, which had previously passed the Senate, and as the Governor will isign the Bill, which takes effect immediately, the tracks at Memphis and Nashville, whei'e spring meetings have been scheduled, will be closed. Meanwhile it looks as if the sport would also be prohibited in Arkansas, as the Senate at Little Rock has passed, by a vote of 27 to 2, the Anti-Pool Selling Bill, which prohibits betting on noree races. An amendment, which sought to restrict the provisions of the Bill from applying to organised racetrack enclosures, was defeated. Sentiment in the House indicates that ; the Bill will also pass that body, and that it will be rushed to the Governor for his signature, so that the gates of the Oaklawn track at Hot Springs can be closed without further delay. A number of bookmakers who attempted to do business at Oaklawn were promptly arrested, and notice was served on the track managers that there would be no let-up in the crusade. All of these tracks are controlled by either the Western Jockey Club Or the American Turf Association, in which Celia, Adler, Tilles, Condon, Coxrigan and others hold the balance of power. These influences differ in many ways from those that prevail in the government of the jockey club tracks in the State of New York. Many turfmen believe that if the gambling element had not been in control at theee Western tracks adverse legislation would not have been successful. The first of the English three-year-old classic races, the Two Thousand Guineas, will be decided to-day, to be followed on Friday by the fillies' race, the One Thousand Guineas. Since the close of the last racing season little has been heard of the prospects of the three-year-olds, but recently a cable message arrived giving a list of those that were most fancied for the Derby, ahd as some of them claim engagements in the Two Thousand Guineas as well, it is reasonable to expect that they will figure prominently in that race. Those mentioned in the cable referred to were: — Captain Greer's Slieve Gallion, by Gallinule — Reclusion; Major Loder's Galvani, by La-veno—-Gallinaria; Mr Abe Bailey's All Black, by Gallinule— Vortex ; Colonel Baird's- Wool Winder, by Martagon— St Windeline; Lord Rosebery s Bezcnian, by Velasquez— -Gas; M. E. Blanc's Ouadi Haifa, by Persimmon—Yesterling: Lord Derby's Olympian, by Orme —St Victorine; and Mr R- Groker'e Orby, by Orrne — Rhoda B. Unfortunately, however. Galvani, Wool Winder, Ouadi Haifa and Orby are not in today's race, while all this season s three-year-old classics will lose somewhat in
interest from the fact that Polar Star, the unbeaten two-year-old of last season, does nq£ claim any prominent engagements. On last season's form, therefore, it looks as if Slieve Gallion should open out with a win in the Two _ Thousand. To quote an English authority, wonderful stories were in circulation about this colt after he won the New Stakes at Ascot, and these were repeated after he had come home an easy winner of the Champagne Stakes al Doncaster ; but he had his wings clipped when Galvani beat him half a length for the Middle Park Plate, aud at the moment he does not stand out in the way he did before he was beaten. At Ascot, Shove Gallion raced away from a big field, and practically came, in alone; but if one lopoks 'at the record of that race it will be seen that there were no great subsequent performers among the beaten lot, and apart from the winner the field would appear to have been very moderate. In the Champagne Stakes it was quite different, as My Pet 11., Bezonian, Weathercock, Candahar, Linacre and Rockbourno were tho runners, and all have proved themselves usofnl, either before or 6ince. Yet Slieve Gallion won with a good deal in hand, and up to this period of the season could undoubtedly claim to be the best two-year-old of the year. Then came the Middle Park Plate, in which the long odds laid on the Champagne winner were upset by Galvani, who stayed the six furlongs — a steep hill finish — better than Slieve Gallion, and who has since shared favouritism for the Derby with the horse he boat. Slieve Gallion is by Gallinule, and Galvani by Laveno, and, in spite of the Middle Park Plate, the last-named has not so good a record for the year as Slieve Gallion. Indeed, Galvani won four rac ejs, and was three times beaten, and to glance briefly at his performances, he began by running fourth in the Hurst Park Foal Plate, won by Oseila. This race may, however, be wiped out, as Galvani did not get off with the others, and was only running into his horses when it was too late. He next won the Chesterfield Stakes at Newmarket, beating the Claque colt and Simon Square, and then he took the International Plate at Kempton August meeting, when those he beat were not in the first-class. At the next Kempton meeting he was beaten by a neck when trying to give Bezoniaii a stone, but after that he accomplished the d'fc'.bl-* event of J_in:>eivV_J-> Produce Stakes and Middle Park Plate, and had he not run again he would havo retired for the season with the best credentials of any two-year-old in training. As it was, he threw down the gauntlet to the unbeaten Polar Star in the Criterion Stakes, and was beaten a couple of lengths. This race, then, gives a clear line of tlie public form of last year's two-year-olds. There is noneed to trace Polar Star through his long succession of victories, and, as a matter of fact, the opposition in many of the races he won was remarkably weak; but at the end of the year he stood out the conqueror of Galvani, who a fortnight before had beaten Slieve Gallion. Polar Star would have been favourite for the Derby had he been entered for that race, but his name is missing from the list, and though lie has been entered for the Ascot Cup, it has been stated that he will not be prepared for that race. He certainly stands out as the two-year-old champion of last season, and he may be quite an exceptional honse; but he is .badly engaged, and cannot take part in the principal three-year-old events of this season. Mr John Wren has not yet forgiven the committee of - the Victoria Racing Club for barring him as a racehorse owner. The action Vp-as taken hecause ho possessed interests in town betting places, and insisted on pleasing himself about giving them up. It had no bearing upon Mr Wren's racing methods ; it was all on account of tho betting affairs. Prior to that he had won a Caulfield Cup with Murmur, and won over it as heavy a stake as any owner has collected on one race for many years. Shortly after this success Mr Wren increased his string, gave good prices, and supplied himself with New Zealand-bred horses among others. He was launching out as< a prominent owner when the club's action stopped him, and ever since, being a man who does not take kindly to being sat upon, he has shown a disposition (says the Sydney writer "Umpire") to test the powers of the Victorian ruling body in some directions, or to assist others to do 60. Though there was probably nothing in common between Mr Wren and the general body of Melbourne bookmakers who bet at the registered meetings, both have had differences with the Victoria Racing Club. It was a registered bookmaker who challenged the right of tho club to charge license fees, and the case of Cohnan v. the Victoria Racing Club was only stopped in its process through the appeal stagee when the new Gaming Act made pursuing the matter any further useless. There is now no doubt of tlie powers of the Victoria Racing Club as regards bookmakers. They are subject only to approval by the Governor-in-Councd of such regulations as may bo made, and there will be no more challenging of the club's authority. The club will in future collect fees also from bookmakers using the Flat, which was free and under no control before. _ Tho now Act has caused an upheaval in many ways, and all the town betting that will be done, with the risks attached to it, will probably not be serious. Tho new Act, however, taxes the racing clubs, and it takes the powers of licensing racecourses and fixing dates of racing. Therefore, a pony meeting is just as legal as any other, ancl unlesz the Act is amended to define what galloway height is, and appoints someone to see that it is correctly interpreted, horses of all sizes will continue to race on the pony courses. This brings us to the t latest move by Mr Wren as a racing caterer He possesses a good course of suitable size in Ascot, and has given out that he will chip m at Cup time with a large stake of sufficient value to tempt horses away from the registered ranks. He proposes to make it of the same value as the Caulfield Cup, and mat the distance will be a mile. A legal opinion has been obtained that the new Act will allow of this, and possibly we may hear of a law case to test
whether the Victoria Racing Club can disqualify horses that happen to compete. Anyway, the militant spirit of Mr Wren has not been subdued, evidently, and his programme has caused the committee to seriously consider its risition and powers under the new Act. ike the New South Wales Act, it may have been much more heavily loaded than the Government reckoned. Since the Victoria Racing Club barred Mr Wren as an owner he has stirred up a veritable hornet's nest so far as the ruling body is concerned, and could the Gaming Act have been anticipated, possibly its policy would have been to have waited patiently for its coming, and to have influenced the legislation more than it has been able to do. France is undoubtedly setting anex- i ample in horse-breeding that, it' is thought Great Britain might copy witli confliderable advantage. The French Government ha__ realised that it is from the racecourses, and especially from the ranks of steeplechasers, that they must obtain horses of strength, speed and quality as stallions for the State stud farms. France breeds the homes for its army itself, and is independent of oth^r countries in this Tespect. In various j parts of the provinces laTge stud farms Imve been established, and over 200 thoroughbred stallions have been bought from the racecourses to serve as stallions the mares, mostly half-bred, that are selected with similar enterprise and ca.-e. An English writer f.ays: — Those people who are agitating for the suppression of racing in England are evidently not aware of the important part that the racehorse plays in the military programmes of Continental countries. Not only France, but Germany, Austria. Russia and Italy have large establishments supported by tbeir respective Governments for breeding from thoroughbred stock (brought to a high standard on the racecourse) the hordes required for national defence. AVhen we read of a famous racehoi-se being bought for a large sum by a foreign Power, it is not merely for the development of racing that he has been acquired, but for a far more important mission. All the racecourses in France are under the direct control of the Ministers of Agriculture and Finance, and it is specially stipulated by law that no racing will be permitted that does not have for its aim tho improvement of the breed of horses. Large sums are voted annually by the State in the way of prizes and premiums, and the inspectors make periodical visits to the various training establishments and purchase horses that have proved their superiority on the racecourse. Special prizes are given for steeplecha's>e-_, on the understanding that the Government has the right to take the winner at a stipulated price. There is one race in particular at Auteu.il to Avhich £2000 is given, and (should the winner be a four-year-old tlie Government has the right to buy him for £800, the price being reduced to £400 if the winner should be five yeaTS old or upwards. In this way the owner, or breeder, gets a good price for his horse, and the Government acquires on® that has stood the test for strength and stamina. In this system we have the explanation of the remarkable progress that France has made, and why racing in that country has become such a great national industry.
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SPORTING NEWS., Star, Issue 8917, 1 May 1907
SPORTING NEWS. Star, Issue 8917, 1 May 1907
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