FAVOURITE'S GREAT STRUGGLE
(By PERCiVAL PHILLIPS in the Lon-
A !^a of tense, expectant faces, spread far across the Downs; the anxious murmur of a crowd so vast that'it staggered the mind to try to grasp its immensity and strength; a crowd that swayed and shook like a giant in pain—blind and deaf to everything in the world save a horse whose rider woro white and orange, skimming down the straight green stretch at tho finish of the Epsom course, and Lemberg had won the Derby. A crowd that watched tho raca in quivering silence until the horses swung past Tattenham Corner; then raised confused cries for Greenback and Lemberg as they drew ahead of their competitors, pitched their appeal a convulsive note higher as the horses strained every nerve and muscle in the final supreme effort; then settled"-into ono steady, thundering cheer for the winner as Lemberc shot past the post and pre sently came back again, trembling but proud, with Dillon, the jockey, who had won his first Derby victory, riding like a miniature Napoleon across a battle field of victory. Thus for two minutes and thirty-five seconds yesterday afternoon —'the time that it took Lemberg to cover the mile and n. half course —wo saw the soul of a Derby crowd when, instead of a chaotic mass* of motor-cars and omnibuses and struggling spectators, it seemed that a gigantic living creature, having but- one brain and one thought, sprawled over Epsom Downs —suddenly galvanised into being when those horses, with their gaily coloured riders, came swiftly up ths'hill, a mile away. Lemberg, slipping easily past the winning post, was not as impressive a_ sight as this glimpse of a crowd inspired— one of the greatest Derby-day crowds the present generation has ever seen— sending its deep rolling cheer after the winner of the greatest race in the world.
It has been called the " Black Derby1' because of the acres of black coats ana black dresses, but for all that the scene on which the sun shone with consistent warmth yesterday was anything but sombre. There must have been a quarter of a million people huddled together on the Downs and perched in the stands, which were filled to the topmost seats. They were pouring along all the roads towards Epsom from early morcring, the usual miscellaneous processions of perspiring humanity, in which nearly every conceivable kind of vehicle could l:e found.- Donkey carts and motor-omni-buses waged the usual bitter feud, and more than one modest conveyance shed a wheel after trying conclusions with an ill-mannered omnibus marked "Private." There were more omnibuses and .k-wer donkeys this year—a trying sign <f the times. But old 'customs die hard, and it is gratifying to record that rome half a dozen gentlemen, determined to uphold the best traditions of Derby-day, drove a donkey four-in-ltand triumphantly to the best part of the Downs and received the ovation they deserved. Motor-cars of fashionable cut- le.a vened tho mass of petrol engines, day excursionists, and chastened donkeys. They drove into the army of spectators, faced about, ejected lunch baskets .mcl wicker chairs, and in a twinkling became most desirable grand stands, with xoof seats that were the envy of kss fortunate folk who could not get off u>e grass. From early morning, when the «".rmv of excursionists sent its vanguard through Epsom, until one o'clock, when belated motor-oars vainly attempted to breast the crowd, the Downs fairly seethed and boiled with activity. From the grand stand, where one was entitled to a one-pound look, the sloping expanse of green suggested an enormous ant-heap suddenly disturbed. It was a bewildering ina?s of restless humanity, tightly packed between cars and booths and bookmakers, never still, never quiet, surging back and forth like a ruffled sea, with a muffled roar that sometimes recalled . the beat 01 ceaseless waves against a rocky coast. Old-time racing men crawled to their seats, looked out over the heaving Downs, and declared that it was one of the largest crowds they had ever seen. Below them a brigade of complacent top-hats marked the headquarters oi tho Jockey Club—a calm, restful island in the stormy sea. On either side the inhabitants of lesser stands made false prophecies and talked wisely of horses that were forgotten before the Oeroy was half run.
SIDE-SHOWS. There were all the usual side-shows and scientific devices for separating confiding spectators from their money;" there were the usual minor tragedies in hard cash and occasional interventions of the strong arm of the law. It was a good-humoured, contented crowd. Ihe sun shone merrily from a blue sky and large quantities of refreshment vanished with encouraging regularity. In these circumstances the u-'jrby runners eventually came to the siait-ing-post. It was -three o'clock and two races had already been run, but the spectators on the Downs did not allow themselves to rest. Several thousand people formed a straggling column across the hill to Tom Sherwood's cottage, to see the start. The horses walked°do\vn the course, and the crowd assumed a critical air. The air was thick with arguments between the partisans of Lemberg and Neil Gow. Shilling punters and Jockey stewards, and all the world between, acclaimed their superiority. The other horsrs were hardly mentioned.
" "They're off!" It was a quick, sharp shout from it hundred thousand throats. The effect was electrical. It was the cry of a crowd, not 'the scattering ■cheer of many individuals. Tho horses were coming up the hill on the far side of the course, huddled together, and moving as regularly as if they were mechanical horses mounted on one base. They crept along the skyline, and the colours of their riders could be picked out —white and orange for Lemberg, dark blue and buff for Greenback, primrose and rose for Neil
Gow. ' , , Almost from the first, the race lay between Lembcrg and Greenback. Tattenliam Corner passed, they came uock and neck, but Greenback began to lag, and Lemberg crawled up by Inches. Then the crowd writhed in an ecstacy of excitement and suspense. Lemberg was ahead. They shot towards the pos... and the crowd sighed between clours. It was over. Lemberg had »yon alter an exceptionally close rsico. Then the winner was led to the wcigh-ing-in enclosure. Mr. Fame, the owner, walked at the bridle, bareheaded, with tho inevitable cigar in his mouth, .-lividing the applause with Dillon, the jockey. , ~ Tho owner and the jockey were studies in quiet exultation. Their friends clustered around Lemberg, wfoo moved about nervously, still trembling niter lmi great effort. He was admired ns only a Derby winner can be admired — snv'o. perhaps, by some heavy backers of Neil Gow. who regarded him somewhat stonily from the other side of the adjoining enclosure^
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LEMBERG'S DERBY., Wanganui Chronicle, Volume L, Issue 12561, 14 July 1910
LEMBERG'S DERBY. Wanganui Chronicle, Volume L, Issue 12561, 14 July 1910
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