« ForrigeFortsett »
THE RACING IN AUGUST.
“ Nothing extenuate, Nor set aught down in malice."
Goodwood, with which the racing in July terminated, also opened the turf season of the past month. In characteristic “ pomp and circumstance" no meeting in the kingdom will bear comparison with it. In the quality of the sportmas an average-it is without a rival. In natural “ appliances and means” it is an English Eden. In “ metal more attractive" for those who occupy their business in the course, thus the account stood on its last anniversary : the gross amount disbursed in the form of " added money" was £845 ; deducting from this Her Majesty's hundred, payments to the Judge out of the stakes, and debiting the fund with receipts for nominations (these items, however, are rather obscure), the sum actually contributed to the credit of the meeting appears to be £640 or thereabouts, at the rate of £160 a-piece for each of the four days; thore were two costly trophies also, but these were provided out of sources distinct from the revenue of the races...... A ball at Guildhall costs six thousand five hundred pounds -- an Olympic pageant of unparalleled magnificence in Goodwood Park one hundred and sixty ; and yet you hear people holding forth against horse-racing as an expensive amusement !
By way of prologue to the review of the performance, a brief anticipation of the plot will serve as a convenient illustration to the text. Our drama is an equestrian spectacle in four acts ; the characters, as customary, represent good and evil in strong relief. Life-like its coun. terfeit prezentment on the stage-is not a scene wherein the actors are " all honourable men." This, our instance, had of course its “ perfect monster,'' and also its dramatis personce of indifferent character. The name of the first villain was Cariboo, and he made the Goodwood Stakes his “ point.” The fact was thus adverted to in Bell's Life of the 3rd ult. : * In reference to the scratching of Cariboo" (and the bleeding of his backers, which is “ understood”') " at the last moment, a good deal of sore feeling was manifested. It was known that Mr. Greville had publicly expressed his readiness to back his horse for the Stakes as well as the Cup, provided he could get twenty monkeys to one—that is to say, $10,000 to £500. There was no response to this offer ; but on this hint the public inferred that he would go for the Stakes as well as the Cup, and hence he was backed for both events : and even on Sunday" (the scene is laid in Christendom) “ offers were made to take odds that he won both. There was nothing to indicate that these offers came from Mr. Greville ; but it was urged that if he did not mean to start him for both he ought at once to have avowed his intention. Those acquainted with the modern tactics of betting see nothing extraordinary or unusual in keeping up the mystification. That there are voblemen and gentlemen who would have pursued a different course experience has proved ; but there is an imperative law on the subject" (Where, and by what imperative enactment ?) “Nevertheless, if it be justifiable in some, it is equally so with others ; and if a penalty is to be inflicted for such conduct all should be alike subject to its consequences. Mr. Mangan was seriously censured for having done likewise' with Russborough at Ascot, and heavy weights were put on the unoffending animal for his subsequent engagements.” Shakspeare satisfactorily accounts for this apparent discrepancy when he intimates--
“ Thal in the Captain's but a choleric word," which were “ rank blasphemy" in any one not holding a commission.
Nancy---" the first lady" -was subjected to a highly offensive imputation. She was openly charged with having concealed her agewith having passed herself off as younger than she really was! In this dilemma one Mr. Field, of Oxford-street, London, was challenged to the rescue, and his defence proved the insinuation to be
“A weak invention of the enemy." Anon it will be seen who was the first gentleman. The antique name for a drama was “ a mystery"--and in this latter category so much of our plot must remain for the nonce.
Place aux dames : in the case of the heroine it is convenient to premise that her champion, Mr. Martinson, who is also her owner, and a licensed victualler, I believe, of Hull, wrote a bitter letter to the editor of a Sunday paper, allusion to which will be made presently. That epistle had the subjoined postscript, which certainly contained matter of moment under the circumstances :-"Your assertion that Nancy's age was objected to, and lier mouth examined, when two years old, at Doncaster, is equally untrue, and the idea only existed in your own imagination.” This is in the exasperated style ; but Mr. Martinson certainly cannot be expected to treat the newspaper press with especially polite consideration. He finds himself implicated in an aristocratic sport, which offers impunity for the perpetration of a crying offence against him. It is openly inferred that he is a rogue and a swindler, or a dupe and a noodle, and the proof failing -- voilà tout. Now, because he may keep a public-house or hostel, it is no reason that he should keep his temper under the irritation of discourteous usage.
" Our countrymen
It is the attempt to stereotype past forms, and to apply them to circumstances totally different to those for which they were originally intended, that constitutes the essence of modern anomalies...... In 1850, Mr. Baxter's Nancy, two years old, ran for the Eglinton Stakes, handicap, carrying 6st. 7lbs., which was won by the Black Doctor, another two-year-old, 6st. 3lb., The Bee-hunter, three years old, 8st. 121b., second; Naney, as aforesaid, third ; nine running and three placed-at Doncnster. Now, taking the difference between the weights of colts and fillies of two years old at 2lbs., for this race Nancy gave The Black
Doctor six pounds. Ou the same day she ran third for the Nursery Plate, for two-year-olds, carrying 8st. 3lbs., Entre Nous, the winner 8st., Louie second, 7st. 4lbs., Sir Rowland Trenchard fourth, Sst. 2lbs. On Thursday, October 24th, 1850, the Two-year-old Stakes of 10 sovs. each, with 20 added, T.Y.C., 8 subscribers and seven runners, at Northallerton, was won by Mr. Job Marson's Nancy, 7st. 13lbs., Emily Ann, 8st. 7lbs., second, The Cutler, 8st. 10lbs., third, and the whole lot placed ; the victory was an easy one, the winner carrying fice pounds less than anything in the race. On the 10th of February, 1851, she made her debut in the Chester Cup betting at 50 to 1. On Wednesday, April the 30th, 1851, she won the Chester Cup, carrying four stune twelve pounds, beating The Black Doctor, second, by half a neck, carrying five stone four pounds, receiving from him the same weight lie had given in the previous autumn. For this race Nancy ran as Mr. Lister's br. f.......I copy from the official Calendar. Passing to Good. wood, on July 31st, 1851, we find that the Cup was won by Mr. Martinson's Nancy, three years old, 7st., beating Cossack, Sst. 10lbs., second, and eight others. Upon the conclusion of this event, according to the newspapers, “ Some surprise was felt when it was announced that Mr. Pedley, the owner of Cossack, had required that the winner's mouth should be examined, a ceremony which, we believe, was performed at Doncaster last year, when she was a two-year-old-and desired time to offer further evidence. The stewards complied with Mr. Pedley's request, and the next day was appointed to hear the case, Mr. Field, the veterinary surgeon, having been sent for in the interim.” I avoid all reference to the theories of this event, and contine my statement wholly to such facts as were made public. The day following, the subjoined certificate was issued :
« Goodwood, August 1, 1851. “ This is to certify that I have this day, by desire of the Stewards, examined a bay mare-Nancy-and am of opinion that the said mare is three years old. " (Signed)
“ William Field, Vet. Surgeon.” Bell's Life of August 3rd had the following paragraph, referring to this investigation..." Previous to the examination, Mr. Pedley publicly declared that he would give £2,000 to any one who would enable him to establish his objection : 20 to 1 was offered on the inare, and 1,000 to 20 offered to be taken that The Black Doctor got the Chester Cup! From the following description of Nancy's marks, it would appear that there would be no difficulty in ascertaining whether she is the animal purchased of Mr. Baxter, the breeder : She has a star on the forehead, white spots on the back and on both sides, a few white hairs in the tail, and the heel of the near forefoot white ; she is, in short, a bay mare, with white hairs.” On the 10th of August the same journal stated, " We have received a long letter from Mr. Martinson, the owner of Nancy, expressing great indignation that he should have been ciassed with such persons as Messrs. Lister and Redgraves, with whom he says he should be ashamed to identify himself, and reiterating that which was proved before the stewards at Goodwood, that he was, and is, the sole proprietor of Nancy.”... It would be small courtesy towards the readers of these pages to assume that they require any note or comment on this passage of horse-racing in 1851. The facts point a moral which not only those “who run may read," but that the least interested in a noble national sport will mark. That the lore they learn may bring forth good fruit, let us hope, at all events.
By an enactment of the Jockey Club, passed on the 31st of May last, the sixty-sixth rule of their code has received the following addition : " But in all articles where it is stated that winners shall carry extra penalties of weight, such penalties shall be enforced up to the time of starting." That is to say, should a horse win after having been named for a race whose conditions impose penalties for winning, and before starting for it, such penalties shall be as operative as if they had been incurred before such naming. In consequence of this alteration, Case No. 17 was ordered to be omitted in all future volumes of the Racing Calendar, as being, in fact, directly opposed to this resolution.
The brilliant Sussex tryst commenced on Tuesday, the 29th of July. Like all its ; redecessors of the season, it was under the average of recent years. It was good, but not great ; as recent time has seen it. The sport opened with the Craven_handicap-for which, of the halfscore that were named, nine ran. The betting was 3 to 1 against Hippogriff, 4 to 1 against Woolwich, the same each against Cheerful, Era, and Runnymede, and 6 to 1 against Tordesillas. The ruck of horses rounded the turn together, and thence to the distance the favourite and Runnymede raced together for the front, which they reached before making the Stand ; just before attaining that point, Hippogriff swerved towards his antagonist, drove him out of his ground, and passed the chair, beating Runnymede by half a length. Nothing else was near the leaders. “On coming to scale,” says the Racing Calendar of the 6th ult., " Sir Robert Pigott claimed the race on the ground that Hippogriff had crossed Runnymede. The stewards heard the case after the second race, and gave the following decision-After having Leard the evidence given by all the jockeys who rode in the Craven Stakes, and in accordance with the 64th rule and order of the Jockey Club, the stewards consider it imperative on them to give the race to the second horse.'” A Fifty Pound Plate, for all ages, brought together sevenyoung ones-half-a-dozen " threes” and one two-year-old. The majority of them found backers of course, the layers were sufficiently plentiful. Julia was first in the odds at 2 to 1 against her, and No Chance-as bad as anything in the betting, viz., 5 to 1-was first in the race. To recur to the preceding event and its issue, it may as well be said it was the second occasion in which Hippogriff was exposed to a similar charge with the same result. The Ham Stakes-100 sovs. each, h. ft., 29 subs,-one of the rich morceaux of the meeting—had a field of nine at the post : odds, 2 to 1 against Claverhouse, 3 to 1 against Harbinger, 4 to 1 against Cheshire Witch filly, and 5 to 1 against Glenluce. Save the favourite- also the winner from end to end in a canter--the lot, to the eye at least, was poor indeed. A Sweepstakes of 300 sovs. cach, h. ft., for four-year-olds, 6 subs., caine off a match between Nutshell-7 to 4 on him—and William the Conqueror. As the journey was long, they began-as the wont was on the Road under the like contingency-leisurely. There was, in fact, no pace till they drew near the Stand, where Nutshell ran first as fast as he could, and William ditto after him ; but he never caught him, and
the favourite won by half a length. Nine hundred pounds earned in such wise looks like a glimpse of the golden age. The Gratwicke Stakes, for three-year-olds, 100 sovs. each, h. ft., 37 subs., brought out half-adozen. The betting was 7 to 4 on Hernandez, 3 to 1 against Miserrima, and 5 to 1 against Iris. The race requires no telling beyond the fact that the favourite waited in the early part of the contest, came when he was called upon, and won in a canter by half-a-dozen lengths. Barcelona was second-the lot tailed away. “Marlow,” says Bell's Life, in the report of the race, “ weighed for and mounted Reindeer; but on Lord Burghley being apprised that the nominator was largely in arrears for forfeits, his lordship decided not to run him." This illustrates the operation of the principle which recognises a nomination without a deposit. It is hardly necessary to observe that Lord Exeter was not the nominator. The Lavant Stakes, 21 subs., mustered a quartet at the post. They laid 3 to 1 on Home-brewed, and touched nothing else. As the distance was but half a mile, they were soon on their legs, of which the favourite made in his case such good use, that he passed the chair first, at his ease, by a length. To be candid, however, the victory in such a field was not an achievement of much account. Fifty Sovereigns, for three-year-olds and upwards : Five ran ; 2 to 1 against Simplicity, 5 to 2 against the filly by the Ugly Buck out of Margellina, and the same against Chatterer. The first of the run. ing was made by Cossachia and the Margellina filly. At the distance Chatterer went up, passed his horses, and won easily by a length. The winner was entered to be sold for £50—once upon a time he was estimated higher. A Sweepstakes of 50 sovs. each, h. ft., for three yearolds, 3 subs., Midas walked over for ; and the list of the day was disposed of.
About this time, the stewards having gone into a "case" alleged against Nancy for the Cup-namely, that she was the property of “notorious defaulters"--came to the subjoined resolution : “ The stewards, having investigated the objections to Nancy's qualification to start for the Goodwood Cup, are of opinion that she is entitled to run.”.........I know no more of Mr. Martinson than I do of the man in the moon (if there be one there, which is very doubtful); but this I must say, if he were as big a rogue as Jonathan Wild, instead of an upright inhabitant of Hull, as I am assured he is, he would be justified in denouncing the treatment to which he has been subjected as anything but English fair play. Upon the principle that men at Goodwood declared his own horse did not belong to him—with impunity, may not men at Hull assert with the same result that his wife does not belong to him, nor his house, nor anything that is his? Is he sure of the coat on his back ?-of the nose on his face ? “Prove them to be yours, sir-prove it-how do you prove it ?" Here's a pretty situation for a Christian publican !
While in the moral vein, a word about betting, though certainly it is not a sequitur. For the principal events of the opening day, it has been seen that the favourites were backed at odds on them, in some instances as high as 3 to 1, and they won. In the face of this—in the proverbial assurance that Fortune is the subtle fiend which poets have appropriated according to the bias of their fancies-- Mephistophiles, or the soother of a railway dividend—this policy was persevered in by the aristocracy, the talent of the turf. “The gentlemen,” said the news