Page images
PDF
EPUB

his great match with Pavilion, and was winning it when his horse broke down. He also won the Doncaster St. Leger, with Sancho.

Buckle, as we have already said, commenced riding exercise at a very early age, but his first appearance in public was on a colt of Mr. Vernon's, in 1783, when he rode one pound short of four stone, with his saddle. He soon entered the service of the late Earl Grosvenor, with whom he remained to his death. His weight was favourable, being seldom called upon to reduce himself, as he could ride seven stone, eleven pounds with ease. He continued riding in public until past his sixty-fifth year, and his nerve was good even to the last, although, as might be expected, he was latterly shy of a crowd, and generally cast an eye to the state of the legs and feet, when asked to ride a horse he did not know. His jockeying Green Mantle, however, for Lord Exeter in the second October meeting, 1828, and winning with her, after the tricks she played with him before starting, showed that even then his courage was unshaken. But it is not only in public, but in private life, that Buckle stood well. He was a kind father and husband, and a good master, and his acts of charity were conspicuous for a person in his situation of life, who might be said to have gotten all he possessed, first by the sweat of his brow, and then at the risk of his life. In a short biographical sketch of him, his little peculiarities are noticed in rather an amusing style. He was,' says his biographer, a great patron of the sock and buskin, and often bespoke plays for the night in country towns. He was a master of hounds, a breeder of greyhounds, fighting cocks, and bull-dogs (proh pudor!), and always celebrated for his hacks. In the language of the stud book, his first wife had no produce, but out of the second he had several children. We may suppose he chose her as he would a racehorse, for she was not only very handsome, but very good.' He left three sons, who are comfortably and respectably settled in life-one a solicitor, one a druggist, and the other a brewer. 'Young Buckle' is his nephew, and considered a fair jockey, though he does not ride so often as his uncle was called upon to do. But Frank Buckles are scarce.

"

The present Samuel Chifney presents the beau ideal of a jockey*

-elegance

How much is it to be lamented, that we have no faithful representation of the Olympic jockeys-of Philip on his brother to Bucephalus, or the king of Syracuse on Phrenicus! We are not to expect that they were dressed à la Chifney; but we could not see deformity on such classic ground. As suited to their occupation, nothing can be more neat-nothing more perfect-nothing more in keeping, than the present costume of the English jockey; but a century back it was deformity personified. Your clothes,' says the author of The Gentleman's Recreation, in his direction to his race-rider-for by the print annexed we must decline calling him

jockey

-elegance of seat, perfection of hand, judgment of pace all united, and power in his saddle beyond any man of his weight that ever yet sat in one. It is scarcely necessary to add, that he is son of the late celebrated jockey of his name, by the daughter of a training groom, consequently well bred for his profession, to which he is a first-rate ornament. Such a rider as James Robinson may slip him, but no man can struggle with him at the end, and his efforts in his saddle, during the last few strides of his horse, are quite without example. There are, however, peculiarities in his riding. Excellent judge as he is of what his own horse and others are doing in a race, and in a crowded one too, he is averse to making Let whatever number of running, sometimes even to a fault. horses start, Chifney is almost certain to be amongst the last until towards the end of the race, when he creeps up to his brother But it is in the rush he jockeys in a manner peculiarly his own. makes at the finish that he is so pre-eminent, exhibiting, as we His riding his own said before, powers unexampled by any one. horse, Zinganee, for the Claret stakes (Craven meeting, 1829), was a fine specimen of his style, when contending against Buckle and James Robinson, and winning to the astonishment of the field. In height, he is about five feet seven, rather tall for a jockey, and not a good waster. In fact, he is subject to much Samuel does not punishment to get to the Derby weight. ride often, but whenever he does, his horse rises in the market, as was the case with his father before him at one period of his

life.

Some anecdotes are related of Chifney, confirming his great coolness in a race, and among others the following:-Observing a young jockey (a son of the celebrated Clift) making very much too free with his horse, he addressed him thus: Where are you going, boy? Stay with me, and you'll be second.' The boy drew back his horse, and a fine race ensued, but when it came to a struggle, we need not say who won it. Chifney's method of finishing his race is the general theme of admiration on the turf. 'Suppose,' says he, a man had been carrying a stone, too heavy to be pleasant, in one hand, would he not find much ease by shifting it into the other? Thus, after a jockey has been riding over his horse's fore legs for a couple of miles, must it not be a

"

jockey-' should be of coloured silk, or of white Holland, as being very advantageous to the spectator. Your waistcoat and drawers (sans culottes, we presume) must be Let your boots be made close to your body, and on your head a little cap tied on. gartered up fast, and your spurs must be of good metal.' The saddle that this living object-this figure of fun '-was placed upon, also bade defiance to good jockeyship, being nearly a fac-simile of that upon a child's rocking-horse; and which, from the want of a proper flap, as well as from the forward position of the stirrup-leathers, gave no support to the knee.

2 E 2

great

great relief to him when he sits back in his saddle, and, as it were, divides the weight more equally? But caution is required,' he adds, to preserve a due equilibrium, so as not to disturb the action of a tired horse.' Without doubt, this celebrated performer imbibed many excellent lessons from his father, but he is considered to be the more powerful jockey of the two.

James Robinson, also the son of a training groom, is a jockey of the highest celebrity, and, as far as the art of horsemanship extends, considered the safest rider of a race, of the present day. He may owe much of this celebrity to his having, when a boy, had the advantage of being in the stables of Mr. Robson, the chief of the Newmarket trainers, and riding many of the trials of his extensive and prosperous studs. When we state that such a rider as Robinson is considered equal to the allowance of three pounds weight to his horse, we can account for his having been employed by the first sportsmen of the day. It is supposed that he has ridden the winners of more great races than any jockey of his time. In 1823, he won the Derby and the St. Leger, receiving 1000l. from a Scotch gentleman (a great winner) as a reward for the latter; and in the following year he went a step beyond this. He won Derby, Oaks, and was married all in the same week, fulfilling, as some asserted, a prediction— according to other authorities a bet. We may also notice his kindness towards his family, which we have reason to believe is most creditable to him. As a jockey, he is perfect.

William Clift is next entitled to notice, as one of the oldest, the steadiest, and best of the Newmarket jockeys, and famed for riding trials, but he has taken leave of the saddle. William Arnull, who has ridden for most of the great sportsmen of the day, has long been in esteem at Newmarket, and considered particularly to excel in matches. He has been much afflicted with gout, but when well, is a fine rider, and steady and honest, as his father was before him. Being occasionally called upon to waste, he feels the inconvenience of his disorder, and the following anecdote is related of him. Meeting an itinerant piper towards the end of a long and painful walk,- Well, old boy,' said he, I have heard that music cheers the weary soldier: why should it not enliven the wasting jockey? Come, play a tune, and walk before me to Newmarket.' Perhaps he had been reading the Mourning Bride.

6

'A good name is as a precious ointment,' and by uniform correct conduct in the saddle, as well as in the stable, John Day -a very celebrated jockey-has acquired that of honest John.' The endowments of nature are not always hereditary, and well for our hero that they are not, for he is the son of a man who weighed

6

twenty

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

twenty stone, whereas he himself can ride seven! His winning the Newmarket Oatlands on Pastime, with nine stone six pounds He resides at on her back, is considered his chef-d'œuvre. Stockbridge in Hampshire, where he has a large training establishSamuel Day, his ment, and several race-horses of his own. brother, is also a jockey of great ability, and a singularly elegant horseman, with remarkably fine temper. Wheatley is the son of an eminent jockey of that name, who rode for the celebrated [O'Kelly, and contemporary with South and Pratt.' He is a fine horseman, and esteemed a dangerous opponent in a race by reason of his tact in creeping up to his horses, when little thought on, and winning when least expected. He is likewise a severe punisher when punishment is wanted, and has a character free from taint. He has ridden Mameluke in some of his best races, and exhibited a rare specimen of his art in the evermemorable contest between that fine race-horse and Zinganee, with Ascot Heath Chifney on his back, for the Ascot cup, 1829. never was honoured before by so many good horses,-and, alas! never again by the presence of George IV. George Dockery stands high on the list as a powerful and good horseman, with excellent nerve in a crowd: but he is a bad waster, and is much punished to bring himself to the three-year-old weights. Frank Boyce is very good, and esteemed an excellent starter, a great advantage in the short races of the present day. Richard, or Young Boyce, as he is called at Newmarket, a very pretty horseman, with a good head, has now given up riding, owing to being too heavy. Conolly, who has been riding successfully for Lords Chesterfield and Verulam, is in high repute at Newmarket. He has a bad Irish seat, but he is very strong upon his horse, and his hand and head are good. Wright is also a steady He has been very good rider, and comes light to the scale. successful on Crutch. Natt is a very improving jockey, and is engaged by the Earl of Chesterfield. James Chapple, very good and very light, seven stone without wasting, rode the winner of Derby and Oaks this year. Arthur Pavis has the call for the light weights at Newmarket, worth 100l. per annum to him at least. He is in very high practice in public and private, and never being called upon to waste, is in great request, and perhaps rides more races in the year than any other jockey in England. As practice makes perfect, Pavis is approaching perfeceletion, and will, no doubt, arrive at it in time. He has a very gant seat, being cast in the mould for a jockey, and is very full of power for his size. Another of the clever light weights is Samuel Mann-the lightest man of all his Newmarket brethren, and of course very often employed. Macdonald, another New

market

market jockey, is a very superior horseman, whose skill is not confined to the turf. He is famed for riding and driving trotting matches, having ridden Driver against Rattler, and driven Mr. Payne's Rochester against Rattler in the disputed match. He has capital nerve, and shines upon savage horses, which many would be unwilling to encounter. Darling, a very eminent country jockey, has lately been riding for Lord Exeter at Newmarket, where we hope he will be often employed, as he has been very true to his clients, Messrs. Houldsworth, Ormsby, Gore, and others.

The name of Goodison has been long associated with Newmarket, the late Richard Goodison having been so many years rider to the Duke of Queensberry, with whom the present jockey, Thomas Goodison, began, by winning the famous match on Pecker, against Bennington, in 1795, B. C., five hundred guineas aside, then riding only 4st. 1lb., and six to four on him at starting. His father accompanied him on a thorough-bred horse during the latter part of the race, as he was riding against an experienced jockey, and perhaps his instructions enabled him to win. Thomas Goodison rode much for the late king, but his first master,' as the term is, was the Duke of York, for whom he won many great races, and particularly distinguished himself by winning the Claret stakes with Moses (with whom he also won the Derby) in the Craven meeting of 1823, beating Morisco, Posthuma, and three other good ones, by extreme judgment in riding the race. He has ever been distinguished for his patience and decision, and the turf lost a first-rate jockey when he retired.

There are more Edwardses at Newmarket than there were Cæsars at Rome, and they all ride, as it were, by instinct. James, or Tiny Edwards, as he is called-par excellence of course-is father of all the jockeys that bear that name, and also of William, formerly a jockey, who trained for his late majesty, and has a pension and part of the palace and stables at Newmarket, as his reward. James trains for the Earl of Jersey, and is considered first-rate, and particularly so in his preparation for the Derby course. The cleverest of the jockeys is Harry, (the one-eyed man, who lived with the late Earl Fitzwilliam,) a very elegant horseman; and our Caledonian friends will not forget his winning the King's Plate on Terror. George is likewise very good, as are Charles and Edward, young ones, not forgetting Frederick, little better than a child, but with the seat of an old man. When his late majesty saw his own horses mixed with Lord Jersey's at Ascot, and the answer to every question of 'Who is that?' was Edwards,'Bless me,' exclaimed the king, what lots of jockeys that woman breeds!' It happens, however, that they are the produce

6

of

« PreviousContinue »