Page images
PDF
EPUB

and third, those devoted to business the second and fourth; and sad fun they furnished for the profession, the favourites carrying all before them. The attendance was exceedingly great ; all the stands--and there are legions of them—were filled on the court occasions. Money must absolutely encumber that piece of heath : Golconda is nothing to it. The Vase and the Cup were both won by The Hero, at his ease and pleasure ; whereat Honest John, senior, danced the polka in presence of his sovereign and her ladies and lords of estate. The New Stakes gave us a spice of Mr. Green's flavour. It's better, they say, to be born to good luck than a large estate. Surely Mr. Green has thrown sixes in life's raffle. Ilis “ lot,” in every meaning of the term, is an enviable one. Assault was his cheval de bataille in the present instance. But it's a long way to Epsom yet. Conyngham ran more profitably here than in Surrey, but he was evidently no Eclipse ; and Red Hart, by beating Miami, penalty and all, was held by his friends to have been entitled to the Derby. The quantity of betting was enor. mous ; it was reported that the quality was inferior. Here whispers of disasters, that presently were destined for accomplishment, became rife. Ten persons now go to Ascot for one that did so previous to railway transit. The rail is not, indeed, so sporting or picturesque as the road used to be, but it's five hundred per cent. cheaper, beside affording a great saving of time. You now breakfast in town before you go, and dine there when you return, should it happen to be your head quarters. Formerly it was a journey, now it's a jaunt......

I say nothing of Hampton, because I can say nothing favourable. It's the prettiest little theatre for olympics in the kingdom. Thousands upon thousands crowd it. There cannot be lack of funds, but there is great scarcity of all else that marks a prosperous English race-course. Remember our theory of compensation, Messieurs les Directeurs. Meetings were celebrated at Sutton Park and Bibury and Stockbridge about this time ; also there was racing at Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Here Lord Eglinton had a dashing run of good fortune. He won the Northumberland Plate with Eryx, and with Van Tromp both the colt's engagements. There were four days of very excellent sport, fair fields, and good remuneration. It may as well be observed that Sir Tatton Sykes ran last for the Cup, won by The Conjuror after a dead heat with Grimston.

The July three days at Newmarket were not much distinguished either for good or its antagonist. Iodine won the July Stakes, and The Sheriff the Chesterfield ; neither of the twain can fly. The fast ones of their class have been already spoken of. Liverpool overflowed with good things-luncheons inclusive. Behold, again, Mr. Green and his " lot!" Assault wins the Mersey at his leisure, with lots of odds on him and “ Teddy Ed’ards." The Cup falls to the share of Mr. Meiklam, with his good mare Inheritress. The Liverpool St. Leger, ominous of the coming event, was won by Marson by half a length, on Van Tromp, who would probably have won by something more signal. There were three ample days' racing, and all went with éelåt. On the subject of theory the following paragraph is worth consideration by all whom it concerns :

“ The question has again becn mooted by many friends of the Liverpool Meeting, whether the policy be a good one which arranges tàat the

66

entries for the Cup be made as long previously to the meeting as the preceding first day of the year, on the ground that, by the time the weights are to be fixed, one-third at least of the horses named at that period will be hors de combat. On the other hand, most of the great nominations being made on the 1st of January, a larger number of horses is secured for Liverpool, by naming them, than would be the case were the entries postponed to a later period, so that nothing is really ultimately lost ; and I believe an attempt was made two or three years since to better the arrangement, by fixing the time of entry considerably later, which proved a failure, and hence the resumption of the more successful arrangement.

The writer is an eminent hand, and his hint worth being had in remembrance. In this brief retrospect it is absolutely necessary to throw over meetings by the score. Having done so, we mark the most princely and picturesque of all the merry marts of British chivalry. We are at...

Goodwood ! To be sure it is easier for you or me to achieve this adventure, reader courteous, than the post horses that drew us thither. But what of that? Your post-horse now has no hope except in an angle of forty-five degrees, about the relation between the city of Chichester and the race-course in the Duke of Richmond's park. Well !” said we to ourself, as our jades toiled upwards, and so saying we felt a grim satisfaction, “ Well! it will be some time yet before a railroad will do as much-broad gauge or narrow.” One really ought to be all graciousness with such a prospect below and about; that isle of beauty in perspective --this company of syrens in the foreground ; therefore not a word of the procul o procul arrangement..... The household brigade was strong as a whirlwind, and carried all before it. Red Hart opened the campaign by winning the Gratwicke; then Nectar won the Levant, and Ennui the 300 sovs. Sweepstakes, seventeen subscribers—it makes one's mouth water to write it-and Surplice the Ham, and Camera Obscura the Goodwood Club Stakes ! This Surplice is a mighty big two-yearold—or rather, it should be said, was. If he goes on growing another year as he commenced, they'll have to take the roof off the stable to get him in, and make a ladder ready for Mr. Flatman against Epsom races. They called the Ham a mere canter over for him; only let him go

adding to his stature, and the National Gallery will be only a canter over for him. Both his victories were, however, very decisive. I notice the Steward's Cup, because Mr. Rolt ran first and second for it, winning with The Cur instead of Collingwood, with which he declared to win ; hereupon he preferred a complaint before the stewards against Whitehouse, the rider of The Cur, for disobedience of orders.

George defended himself by urging that he did not know whether it was Collingwood or Campanile that was running him in, and that defence was accepted. They said, indeed—but on dits are not evidence. Sweepstakes of 100 sovs. each, all the money and twelve subscribers, Planet was disqualified in consequence of being “improperly named !” .... Think of that, Punch ! There's matter for friend Leech. For it was the owner " did it all.” Colonel Peel's Lola Montez won him a stake worth twenty-four hundred pounds—these are the things to pay cavalry. For the Molecomb, Glendower beat Nectar—the filly carrying half a stone extra for the Levant ; and then we had the Cup. Young John Day made his re-appearance on the course for this event-riding the Hero a

on

For a course.

winner, certainly by as fine a specimen of the equestrian art as ever was seen. Over that terrible distance he made killing running, actually racing the first three-quarters of a mile as if it had been the run in, with an old Arab yelept Monarch, to whom he gave the weight of a man, or thereabouts. I never saw such a race in

my

life. That some idea may be formed of the home stable, it may be observed that for a sweepstakes of 200 sovs. each, all forfeit, nine subscribers, Mastiff was suffered to walk over, Deerstalker only withdrawing his stake. For the Racing Stakes Van Tromp stripped wofully. He struck me as being less in every way than he was at two years old. Something had been amiss-that was plain-however it was at the moment. Planet beat him, of

The Anglesea Stakes were won by The Widow, carrying 10st. 10lb., and Mr. Berkeley. She ran as the property of Major Pitt. Clementina gave Slander 5lbs. and a beating for the Nassau Stakes, and Collingwood, 6st. 10lbs., having won the Chesterfield Cup. Here ends our look at this brilliant festival. Lord George Bentinck is no longer its bright particular star-whereby the galaxy lost a sun ; still the lesser lights served us in good stead.

Next to Goodwood you will nowhere find so delightful a race-course on the top of a hill as at Brighton. But its accompaniments are by no means in a concatenation accordingly." It has a villanous old barn for a grand stand, and—but we will pass the rest. There are materials here for one of the best provincial meetings in England-how long will they be neglected ? Preston redivious, and Wolverhampton, and many another one, had its run subsequent to the great Sussex meeting. But we will proceed from Brighton (we did go to Brighton for the love of its prawns and its chain-pier) to York--they are next-door neighbours, if you travel by the express trains. It was in full dress to receive usall sunshine and new white vests. Mr. Gully and Mr. Meiklam were in force with Mathematician and Inheritress; and for the Prince of Wales' Stakes Mr. Bowes, with Springy Jack, beat our Nin-tongpaw of the two-year-olds-Assault succumbing to the son of Hetman Platoff and the 2lbs. extra. It was a splendid race, and well worth—the losing. Ellerdale carried off the Great Yorkshire Handicap-129 subscribers, 10 sovs. each, with £100 added—which will pay that young lady's board and lodging for the season. There were a couple of dozen races on the cards, of which about a score came off. No lack of sport this, it will be seen. But Mr. Jaques will make it better next year they say; he is one of the most practical patrons of the modern tuif.

A crowd of provincial races occupied the interval between the York and the Great Northern Meeting, for which there is not space in this paper. Were it otherwise, mention should be made of the sport on Runnymede, and the Hero's latest triumph at Warwick. But this must be passed sub silentio, while we make the best of our way to Doncaster.

The sporting head-quarters of Tykedom was pretty much in statu quo. They still stuck to the screw in all their charges ; but you got some worth for your money. There are places farther south, where you are both fleeced and starved. A great many horses were in the town, as well as asses, according to custom. A great deal of overt mystery prevailed, as well as covert thievery, as the habit is. But there was a brave English festival spread before you, without stain or impeachment, saye from those mockeries of a Christian faith wherewith the thoroughfares are defiled--denouncing damnation to those who dared to offer the homage of glad hearts for the good vouchsafed them

bile

The Champagne is the first event of mark. Assault was the winner; but it was very fine, Loadstone being beaten only by a neck! Still I think it was rather gammon ; for have they not odds to look to? The St. Leger, with its 145 nominations, brought eight to the post. As usual, it was marked by passages of management not quite according to John Bull tactics. John has an old-fashioned notion that it is proper the best horse should win. The modern professors of the turf differ from that philosophy : they have a policy of their own. Cossack, winner of the Derby, and backed at 5 to 4 on him, was declared not to win--if Foreclosure could beat all but him. So neither Foreclosure nor Cossack won ; but Van Tromp, the true courser of a true knight : may he long shine--the mirror of chivalry. It's a specific for my to see such men in the van, whatever they put their horses to. The race was not an exciting one, except as regarded the manæuvring with the Danebury horses. Cossack made the running at very resolute speed, which Eryx insisted on at the hill. Thus they came round the turn, when Marson brought his horse into the second place. He waited on Cossack to the distance, where he caught and collared him, ran the fastest and the gamest home, and finished first by a couple of lengths. Foreclosure never showed in the race ; and was as like a Leger winner -as the donkey that is promised flagellation in the song. Yardley beat a very large field for the Great Yorkshire Handicap by a neek. The day was very far from agreeable ; and the mise en scene of this affair was not artistic, neither picturesque. The Cup was a burlesque. The Hero had frightened everything out of it save War Eagle (a good three-year-old), with six and twenty pounds in hand! Well, it was run a match ; and The Hero, with 2 to 1 on him, as well as the 26lbs. extra (avoirdupois), was beaten easily by a length. Can't they do something with this Cup to insure a tolerable exhibition for it? Assault had, just previous to it, won the Two-year-old Stakes, at his ease_6 to 1 on him! Ellerdale won the Park Hill ; who was, or very nearly, as good a filly as we saw out during the year.

Skipping a whole host of autumnal meetings, here, there, and everywhere, we come to the October series at Newmarket-meet finish for a sporting scene of action. The First October week was a great improvement on its predecessors. The lists were real substantive affairs, and the racing was good. The Hopeful was won by Mr. Moore's Blaze an Irish horse by birth, though not by extraetion ; subsequent arrangements have placed him in the position which ensures him a prominent part in the Derby drama. Red Hart beat Conyngham for the Grand Duke Michael-6 to 1 against the winner, 7 to 4 on the loser. Foreclosure won the St. Leger, here, by a neck. It was a miserable affair, Miami beaten off. The Duke of Rutland won the Rutland Stakes with a colt called in the lists, St. Antonio di Padua. I wonder what the cads call him! There were seven races the last day ; so that things are looking up at Newmarket. The Second October set in with promise of an abundant crop. During the intermediate week Olympus prevailed in every corner of the kingdom ; from Monmouth to the Frith of Clyde. Speculation had by no means so wide a range, It was absolutely limited to the Cesarewitch, a handicap upon which more than one gentleman in difficulties rushed as on a forloru hope. This issue was disposed of on Tuesday, the running by which it was preceded being very ample, but of no account beyond the moment of its transaction. The occasion was a gala. It drew the curious and concerned from far and near, and a lot of thirty to the post. More than three-fourths had miscellaneous backers, but among these three-fourths the winner was not ; he “had not a friend in the world”—like Sterne's donkey-but one. His owner “stood by him,” as they say in Ireland, and some of the Manchester “men” did a bit of chicken about him ; but he was touched as people take swipes, for anything but pleasure. The race was really a fearful sighta squadron of horse charging across the Flat as if “possessed” by steamengines. Of course Cawrouch, being Irish, came away as hard as he could crack, leading this terrific troop, and never being caught from end to end, I believe. But who could speak of his own knowledge ? Not the young gentleman even that rode him. The result was harmless ; it helped nobody to ruin his neighbour or himself.

For the Clearwell, Glendower beat Blaze—it was run a match : both carried 8st. 131bs. The odds were 3 to 1 on the loser. People cried out because at the eleventh hour and fifty-ninth minute Loadstone was declared not to start. Those persons were not, as we were, present during the Running Rein trial in Westminster Hall. Loadstone won the Prendergast ; which gave him less trouble than he might have had with Glendower. The meeting ended on Friday, with an epilogue as long as the Beacon Course.

The Houghton week, which consisted of seven days of actual racing, winds up the matter of our eventful history. It offered the last refuge for the destitute ; a few of whom had already betaken them to their penultimate home Boulogne-their “ Bunk.” . . To attempt even the shadow of an epitome of such a week is, of course, out of the question. The mere returns occupy upwards of twenty pages of the Book Calendar. Loadstone won the Criterion, with 6lbs. extra on his back; a good performance, for the field was good. The Cambridgeshire—the man or a mouse" matter with many a gallantwas the great creature of Tuesday. It brought out the largest field ever seen on Newmarket Heath, thirty-seven ; and I've my doubts if so many ever started anywhere, since the Olympic games. Fit closing comment on the handicap: it was won by The Widow-an old Jezebel that had been hacked and knocked about and amateur-race racked; in short, that had sustained every ignominy of which equine nature is susceptible. Indeed, it almost seems as if everybody were ashamed of her still, for sbe appears in the Calendar as ** Mr. Leigh's Widow ;" whereas rumour asserts that she is the relict of Mr. Drinkald. There can be no doubt but that the last great handicap of the season was won by the most valueless screw among the party; and we leave the deduction to work its own moral

Blaze, with 9st, 2lbs. on him and Colonel Anson as his godfather), ran second to Mrs. Tuft (8st.) for the Nursery.

It was a good performance ; but I think fit to say that, with one exception, the two-year-olds of '47 were very nearly together. I know my view is not that taken by the market; but I also know the market

« PreviousContinue »