« ForrigeFortsett »
their prices come down “ in a concatenation accordingly.” The lees they get the less they ask......
"Turn thy complexion there, Patience! thou young and rose. Jipp'd cherubim." There is not much of Olympic account to chronicle. Mr. Wrather won the Cumberland Plate with his prominent star, the Maid of Masbam ; and there was store of goodly wrestling for those who had a stomach for it-.“ anything's fun in the country.” Moreover, “ about this time,” as they say in the almanac, there was a great deal of sinsilar activity in the south. There was racing at Woodford, and at Salisbury, at Ipswich, at Lenham, and eke at Maidstone. Leaving these rural revels to their proper province, we take our way to the shores of the Mersey.
Liverpool July Races commenced on Wednesday, the 9th ult., shorn of the hospitalities of Knowsley, in consequence of the decease of Lord Derby, upon which they so immediately followed. And, woe is me! they were a failure. “ We regret that this should have been the case," says the report of the meeting in Bell's Life, “ on account of the lessee, who, besides paying a higlı rent for the course, has annually, without any aid from the town, managed to provide something like £1,000 for the summer racing, and to incur a heavy outlay in providing an efficient staff.” But wherefore should there be any cause for this regret? Is anybody compelled to be a lessee at a heavy rent, if he or she don't like it? Why does the tenant continue his occupancy if it don't pay? It cannot be out of sheer philantropy-contempt of selfinterest, and a mere abstract devotion to the turf. If the rent of the course at Aintree be too high, is there nowhere else within half a dozen miles of Liverpool where a site could be had on better terms. Let us look at the facts. The races occupied three days. The added money and Plates given amounted altogether to £980; against this, for Her Majesty'a Plate, donations by Lord Derby, by the hotel and innkeepers, profits on eales of winners, and additions for expenses---calculated in the spirit rather than the letter--is to be set £326 18s., leaving the actual balance to be provided out of the funds £653 2s. Now, if the receipts of the Grand Stand and the other stands, of the booths, and the rent produced by the course and its accessories, did not cover this, with a margin to spare, at the end of the third day, then “it's a pity." I am prepared to see the meeting under consideration less remunerative to the lessee, whoever that may be, in future years than it has been in the past. The transit from the town to the course, more especially by rail, is fust becoming anything but a prologue to a day's pleasure. On the anniversary to which this notice refers, those who had experience of a Liverpool nob must have felt, in every sense of the phrase, what manner of comment it was upon that portion of the civilization of the nineteeuth century. A Crystal Moral Palace, wherein “ in their habits as they live" the miilion might be seen, and their social condition studied, would afford a lesson of deeper import, and far more pregnant with matter for our learning, than a temple consecrated to the work of man's hands. Ladies of England ! would you wear brows so bright and gay could the ribbons wherewith you deck them unfold the secrets of their prison-houses ?......
On Wednesday, July the 9th, began the summer races on Aintree
for the season of 1851. The attendance, it is admitted by all who have spoken out upon the point, was infinitely below the ordinary quality-as to the cause, there is not the same unanimity of opinion. The turf, as it at present exists, and is provided for, is waning in popularity : such is my reading of the consequences which the current year has especially developed. While all else is profiting by progress, surely racing should not stand still. Is it on a footing with contemporary social institutions? I think not.
The sport opened with the Croxteth Stakes. Three out of the four nominations went, in the face of 5 to 4 laid on the Maid of Masham. She won in a canter by two lengths. The Bickerstaffe Stakes, 100 sovs. each, b. ft., for three-year-olds, four subscribers, came off a match between Harpsichord and the Miss Whip colt. The latter was the favourite at starting. It was a race, of which Harpsichord had the best by three parts of a length. A Produce Sweepstakes for two-yearolds, 14 subs., came off a quartet, the colt out of Meanee the favourite, at 6 to 4 against him, and 2 to 1 against Bethgelert. This was a close thing between the favourites, the latter winning by a head. Happy Joe was about the same distance from the Meanee colt. The Sefton Stakes was a walk over for the Abbess, and then came the Lancashire Oaks, 23 subscribers, and four at the post. The odds were 6 to 5 against Trickstress, 10 to 6 Vivandière, and 7 to 2 Tightwaist. The first of the distance was done slowly, with Tightwaist in front; she then gave way to the favourite, who, after a give-and-take struggle with Vivandière, contrived to win on the post by a neck. Sweepstakes of 50 sovs. each, h. ft., for three-year-olds, 5 subs., Clasher walked over for. The Mersey Stakes for two-year-olds, 12 subs., was run for by five. They laid 7 to 4 against War-hawk, 3 to 1 each agst. Euphony and Brother to Shylock, and 4 to 1 each-no takers- against Bethgelert and the colt out of Meanee. The favourite having shot his bolt early in the race, the finish was left between the competitor for the two-year-old Produce Sweepstakes, and with the same result, Bethgelert just winning by a head. Second year of the Produce Stakes of 200 SOVS. eacb, b. ft., for three-year-olds, 8 subs., Iris walked over for, Harpsichord being permitted to draw his stake ; and the Maiden Plate not filling, the day's sport ended.
Thursday, thongh it dawned heavily, was fine throughout the racing division of its twenty-four hours. It was, however, in reference to the rupping, a very low average indeed. The Cutler having walked over for the Grosvenor Stakes, the Foal Stakes of 100 sovs. each, li. ft., for three-year-olds, 6 subs., was put upon the scene, a match. The pair that ran consisted of Pandemus, 6 to 5 on him, and Third of May. The favourite made the running, and, after a sharp rally, won by half a length. This brought on the great event of the meeting—the Liverpool Cup, 200 sovs. specie, &c. &c., handicap of course, with a world of penalties beside. I say nothing of the scratching and the like, because as times go “there's nothing in it.” There were 86 nominations to this event, whereof 49 declared, and so forth ; and eventually half a score ran. Betting : 9 to 4 against Officious, 4 to 1 Russborough, 5 to 1 The Marquis, 6 to 1 Strongbow, 8 to 1 Windischgratz, 15 to 1 Abbess of Jerveaux, the same against Truth, and 16 to 1 Colsterdale. An analysis of this speculation would be impossible--the only good property to wbich it may lay claim. The fashion in which the race was played is in a similar category--now they ran in line long drawn out; then they took close order, because the pace was of the kind that permits caprice of place. When they came into the turn for home, it was obvious the favourite had done with it, the first being the Abbess of Jerveaux, with Strongbow racing to catch her. This he presently did, and won with ease by a couple of lengths. Windischgratz was an indifferent third, and Officious a ditto fourth. Russborough, with Charles Marlow up, was “meant”; he was fifth. His weight was 8st. 7lbs., and if in his best form he couldn't get a better situation, he would not have been a cheap nag at £2,000. A Sweepstakes of 5 sovs. each, for all ages, 5 subscribers, brought out the lot. The odds were 6 to 4 against the filly by Ithuriel out of Miss Norton, 5 to 2 Troy, 4 to 1 Scar, and the same against Lady Speedy. All the running was made by Scar, and he won in a canter by two lengths. The Derby Handicap, 16 subs., came off a trio, with 3 to 1 on Strongbow, who won in a waiting race by a length as he pleased. The Queen's Plate, the Maid of Masham, with 6 to 1 on her, won by thirty or forty lengths, as regarded the first heat (run previous to the Derby Handicap), and subsequently walked over for the second. Her antagonist was the filly by Alpheus out of Boarding-School Miss.
Friday was amply provided in materiel for the industrious, but the company and the collaterals were “poor indeed.” There was an event --but it would be unfair to anticipate, so let things take their course. The Grand Stand Stakes Tightwaist was permitted to walk over for, and the opening race of the last day was the Stanley Stakes, 7 subscribers, and a field of three. They laid 5 to 4 against Truth, 7 to 4 against Evadne, and 2 to 1 against Sir Charles Napier. The favourite, however, never had a chance, the issue being a match between the other two, of which the filly had the best by a length. We now arrive at the accountable event alluded to. The Liverpool St. Leger, of its 23 nominations, gathered four together at the post. The odds were 6 to 4 against Mountain Deer, 7 to 4 Ariosto, 3 to 1 Hippolitus, and 10 to 1 Brother to Chanticleer. How was this? Who had found out that the Mountain Deer was the Mountain Sylph colt of the Criterion again ? that he was good enough to do at Liverpool that which even hope did not calculate he might compass at Epsom? Had he been “ tried ”in Hampshire, and found “ not wanting"? However this was, the four, as it has been stated, were together at the starting post, but there the assertion stops. In the first moiety of a sluggish, slovenly gallop, Brother to Chanticleer led-of course upon sufferance. Half the distance being thus got over, Ariosto went up, mended the speed, was never caught after taking the lead, and won easily by a length. Hippolitus was second, the Mountain Deer-two lengths behind him—third, and Brother to Chanticleer last-beaten off. The Squire's animal-by those lines - had not taken much by his change of quarters. What nice cards Lords Eglinton and Enfield hold for Doncaster...... The Bentinck Testimonial—handicap-12 subs., was another quartet. They laid 2 to 1 against Aaron Smith, the same against Melody, and 3 to 1 against Grief. After sundry changes and chances-Grief predominating in them, as usual in the affairs of man-they settled for the run home. The race now rested with Aaron Smith and Melody ; these two running a clipper, of which the former had the best by a head. One Hundred Sovereigns, given by the hotel-keepers, handicap, induced 30 to enter, and seven to run : as the entry was 5 sovs., and nothing but expenses saved by stopping in the stable, this seems an unaccountable total. Betting : 2 to 1 against Alonzo, 3 to 1 Candlewick, 7 to 2 Chatterbox, 5 to 1 Cnæus, and 6 to 1 Taly-very bookmaking. The running into the straight ground was made by a ruck of horses in front, the rear being brought up by the favourite. At the distance Alonzo had beaten the bundle, and finally won easily by a length. The second place was Taly's, and a length behind her came Chatterbox. The winner gave weight to everything, from which the character of the field may be implied. Lord Glasgow's (!) roan filly by Lanercost out of Physalis paid £100 ft. in a 300 sovs. match with Lord Derby's Iris...... The winding-up act was a Selling Stakes for all ages. Six named and five went. They backed Tancred even ; laid 2 to 1 against the filly by Ithuriel out of Miss Paton, and 3 to 1 against anything else. The filly by Ithuriel won by three lengths in a canter. A match between Merry-go-round and Misericorde, 200 sovs., h. ft., the former received in, the latter having died ; and the list was finished.
In the same week, but commencing on the first day of it, fell Worcester Races. According to a statement put forth in the newspapers, I have it on no other authority-after the meeting had been duly announced, the stakes made, and all the details published—and not till then-an opportunity was accorded the authorities by whom it was promoted, aud on whom rested all the responsibility, of coming to terms for the use of the Grand Stand with the proprietors of that convenience. The figure demanded, it seems, was “ exorbitant," and the upshot was that the races were removed to more reasonable quarters. This was taking the bull by the horns. Are Grand Stand proprietors to enact that quadruped in a china-shop with impunity? Because structures of the kind have been erected “ regardless of expense,” is it a reason the public should be compelled to rent them unfurnished, at one, two, and three thousand pounds a week? The sport was ample ; but not of a character to claim a special potice. The promise for next year, moreover, is very good.
The week which commenced on the 14th ult. was populous with minor meetings. The spirit of racing was never so active ; and was the great national sport better cared for better ordered—the turf might be placed on terms with the time. Betting, as it affects the million, las become a burlesque so rampant that it must speedily work its own reformation. The moderate character of the stock which just now forms the representative material of the course necessarily takes from the éclat of the current meetings. But the prime solution of the cause to which the popular deterioration of the turf is to be attributed, is furnished by the fact of its position in relation to other social institutions. One of the data submitted lately to the Comunittee of the House of Commons, inquiring into the Law of Partnerships, was, that within the last thirtythree years the value of commercial property in England has increased 130 per cent. ; in personal property, the legacy duty shows an increase of upwards of 100 per cent. The capital of racing has stood still for the last hundred years—50 has its policy, and its principle. Holcroft, in his Memoirs, alluding to the turf when Charles Fox was one of its meteors, says-" In addition to matches, plates, and other modes of adventure, that of sweepstakes has come into vogue." And this latter conceit is the last of its novelties. The rule was, and is, that the owners of race horses run for each other's money-plates and “ additions " are the exception. They are playing at hazard, with horses for dice (expensive substitutes), and an occasional cup to encourage them, after the custom of hells generally.
Nottingham Races took place on the 17th and 18th ult. They man:fested an improvement upon their former quality, with a promise to go on, and consequently prosper. Presently they will get rid of the system of heats -the dullest diversion that was ever devised. The balance of liberality was certainly in their favour as compared with the ordinary average. Including Her Majesty's £100, the “added money ” was £680; the deductions were only £35, leaving a profit on the whole, to the account of the racing interests, of £645. The sport was put upon the carpet-as the course may as appropriately be called as a most figurative applications of the word tapis—with a Two-year-old Stakes, to which there were eight subscribers, and the half of them at the post. They made the Lady Amyott favourite at 5 to 4 against her, and 3 to 1 each against Columbine and Kate. The view of the ring was a correct one, as the Lady cut out the work, and won easily by two lengths. The Sherwood Handicap had, out of sixteen nominations, a field of four also. The only lots in favour were Shropshire Witch and Chief Justice, each at 2 to 1. A close artistic race between two amateurs, Capt. Little and Mr. Davenport, the former on Shropshire Witch, the latter on General Sale, Mr. Davenport won by half a length. A Hunters' Stakes, non-professional jocks, had eight subscribers, and seven of them ran, Lysimachus, backed against the lot, was an easy winner. “ The names of the riders,'' as the vendors of the cards have it, in some of the cases was a curious concatenation with that of the ridden. For instance, a mare yclept Brownie, bad for her jockey a Mr. Reddish, and Contest was bestridden by “Mr. Briggs.” The Nottingham Handicap, which it is scarcely necessary to premise was the feature of the day, had ninetyseven subscribers originally, of whom sixty-eight “ declared,'' and eleven ran. Add to this that one of the runners, Montague, was at 2 to 1 against him, and we see the small space that a handicap extending over nearly a hundred animals may be squeezed into. They laid 5 to 1 against Hubert, the same against Oxford Blue, 8 to 1 against Snowdrift, the same against Castle, and 12 to 1 against Corypliée. It boots not to conjecture how they played the play; the fact of the catastrophe was in this wise: As they raced home, the front rank consisted of Montague, Hubert, and The Cocktail ; and it was heads and tails with the trio. They finished in the respective places as assigned them, Montague beating Hubert by a neck, and Hubert defeating The Cocktail by a like distance. The Bunny Park Stakes, thirteen subs., came off a quartet, whereof Merry-bird, backed to win even, was the best by a neck, The day's sport terminated with a Fifty Pounds' Plate in three heats.
Friday, the 18th, had a list of five events-by the grace of heats expanded into eight races. The first was a sweepstakes of 5 sovs. each, with 50 added, for all ages ; and of the seven that subscribed erery one ran. The favourite was Julia—2 to 1 against her--and she won in a canter by four lengths. Thus far, it will be seen, the fielders had hard times of it. Such a picking out of winners is not common in the provinces. The Chesterfield Handicap, with a nomination of two.