William Allison.

Memories of men and horses online

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old-fashioned waiting race on Craigmillar.

But I must not start writing about jockeys or I shall
really begin to enlarge on the "spacious" days of
Fred Archer and others, when the flag was in their
control and gate starting had not been seen above the

Among the trainers of whom I am writing, Felix
Leach is almost too young, and yet he is no chicken,
though I have known him since he was one, in his
early days with Mathew Dawson, when they trained
Ladas and Sir Visto ; and since then, in Persimmon's
days, with Richard Marsh.

That Felix Leach should be collected so to speak
in my memories is certain, for apart from training horses
he has sporting instincts all round, and his terriers long
ago gained great fame Newmarket Cackler in par-
ticular. That leads to a curious story, for a good many
years ago there was a dog show at Lingfield, and I
was asked to judge the fox-terriers, having never done
such a thing for over twenty-five years. I got on all
right with the smooth ones, but in my days there
were very few wire-haired ones, and those had straight

I saw dogs in the wire-haired class who had crinkly
hair and did not fancy them, but others with straight
hair were not good dogs in themselves. A dog of
obviously great character and conformation kept being


led past and I could not stand his coat. Yet what
was one to do ? None of the others was half such a
dog, so somewhat grudgingly I gave him the prize
and two other prizes, nor knew until afterward that
it was the famous Newmarket Cackler. I should have
looked well had I cast him !

Felix Leach has been not disinterested in game
fowl and in greyhounds, and I should say the boys
in his stable learn the best elements of pugilism. As
a trainer he is one of the very best, now that earlier
recollections of the work which Persimmon needed have
been got over. No one could possibly have done
better than he did with Orpheus and Spearwort, and
there are many others coming along.

George Blackwell is one of the old brigade, though
he has practically retired and has only the old jumper,
Sergeant Murphy, to deal with. He too is full of all
knowledge in regard to horses, and saw the dotty
jointed Rock Sand safely through the three classics
and on through his next season. Rock Sand's year
was a trying one for Blackwell as he had Flotsam
(Sir Daniel Cooper's) also in his stable, and there was
not much to choose between them. The position was
like that of John Porter when he had Orme, La Fleche
and Watercress.

Blackwell graduated with Mathew Dawson like many
others of the most capable, and he is one of those who,
if he wants a thing done, can do it himself. Thus when,
in the year 1898, the present Sir William Cooper came
into my office and asked if we could find him a horse
to lead Newhaven in work for the Ascot Cup, I happened
to be able to offer what I thought an ideal animal for
the purpose. This was Chaleureux, for 1000 guineas.


The deal was confirmed at once, subject to my having
the horse " vetted" and dispatched to Newmarket to
Blackwell as soon as possible. This was done, but
Chaleureux, rightly or wrongly, had the reputation of
being a bit savage, and Blackwell could not get a boy
to do him at first, so fell to and did the horse himself.
That is the class of man he is, and though Chaleureux
proved too good for Newhaven as a taskmaster, and,
indeed, did him more harm than good, Blackwell later
on trained him for the Cesarewitch to such a pitch of
perfection that even I, who never bet, had $ on each
way. He won in great style, and also the Manchester
November Handicap, carrying 8 st. 10 Ib.

He was just the sort of horse Blackwell has loved
to train, thriving on his work and feeding up on it, but
he was the last in the world if one had only known
to gallop with one like Newhaven, who was only at his
best early in the season when half fit as might be

Mr P. P. Gilpin I cannot class as an old friend, but
I hope he is a friend all the same. Once and once only
did I go round his stable, and that was in the spring
of the year when Spearmint was a three-year-old.
Admiral Crichton was the three-year-old I went to
see, as he was at that time supposed to be the crack.
I did not quite like him, but stayed when we came to
Spearmint stayed while the others passed on, and
formed a very definite opinion, which I expressed in
The Sportsman. Sometimes you see the truth some-
times there is darkness but I saw truth that time,
and I offered Mr Bottomley ^1500 a year for a three
years' lease of Wargrave (three parts brother to Spear-
mint) by the next post. Mr Bottomley, who was


hampered by some partner, wanted to sell the horse
for 10,000 guineas, and ultimately sold him for ^"1500.

I cannot, however, forget how Mr Gilpin, years ago,
before the Boer War, when my old friend, the late Major
Dalbiac, wanted a likely chaser for a little money, sold
him Kozak, then four years old, for I don't know what,
but said he would make a good clerk if not a parson.

Never was a better purchase made, but poor Dalbiac
went to South Africa and was killed at Senekal. He
had left the horse behind with me, saying he was too
good to take out there and get shot he would come
home and win the Grand National on him ; and I verily
believe that if Kozak had been kept for that purpose
it might have been possible ; but it was not to be. It
ended in me selling Kozak for 100 to Lady de
Crespigny for her to give as a birthday present to Sir
Claude. I remember they thought he was lame when
he arrived, but I should think he was the soundest
and hardest horse Sir Claude ever owned, winning
something like twenty steeplechases for himself and
his sons, apart from other work. Kozak was a cast-off
of Mr Gilpin's, but a right good one.

To enumerate the great winners trained from the
Clarehaven stable (Mr Gilpin's) would be almost
tedious, there are so many of them, and the cry is
still they come, though that there will be any others as
good as Pretty Polly, Spearmint and Spion Kop it
would be rash to presume. There has been St Louis,
however, already. Mr Gilpin has been extraordinarily
successful in training long-distance winners, such as
Hammerkop, Clarehaven, Sirenia and many others.
He has invaded France and twice won the Grand
Prix, and he is happy in the possession of a son (Victor)


who has inherited his father's ability and can at any
time be depended on as locum tenens.

Mr George Lambton can hardly be classed among the
old brigade, though I have known him for many years.
It used to be a pleasure to see him ride at N.H. meet-
ings. He was certainly about the best amateur of
his day. Since he took to training he has enjoyed
a very large measure of success, Canterbury Pilgrim
and her sons, Chaucer and Swynford, Keystone and
her daughter Keysoe representing some of his greatest
successes. In no stable are horses more kindly treated
than in Mr Lambton's. He is himself on the most
friendly terms with them all. It is quite a pleasure
to see this when you go round the stable with him.

Mr and Mrs Lambton are always ready to do their
best for the general welfare of Newmarket, and during
the war he was a most efficient and hard-working
captain of the local Volunteer corps. Training as he
does for Lord Derby, Lord Wolverton, Lord D'Abernon,
Mrs Arthur James and Lord Stanley, with, occasionally,
one or two for his brother, Lord Durham, Mr Lambton
has good material to work on, and he certainly makes
the best possible results with it.

One of the most popular trainers at Newmarket is
"Joe" Butters, who began his stable tuition under
John Scott, " The Wizard of the North." It is not
so very many years since Butters established himself at
the Kremlin, Newmarket, as he was for a long time in
Hungary, together with old John Reeves, who is there
still. Butters was in his day a very capable jockey,
and within the last decade there was talk of a match
in which he and John Osborne were to be the jockeys.
Both were willing, but nothing came of it. Mrs Butters


is a daughter of the late James Waugh, whose sons
have all gained distinction as trainers.

The eldest of them in England is W. Waugh, who
until recently trained at Kingsclere with much success,
but before that had charge of the late Sir Blundell
Maple's horses at Falmouth House, in succession to
Percy Peck. The stable was going very strong indeed
when Sir Blundell died, and " Willie" Waugh is no
doubt one of the most capable trainers in existence ;
but he and the whole family spent many years abroad
and were thus not so well known in England at first
as they ought to have been. The father was notable
here in an early day when he trained Macgregor, in
Kingcraft's year. "Willie" Waugh is not an optimist,
but he knows his job no man better.

Dawson Waugh is a peculiarly good and conscientious
stableman and trainer. He developed at Kingsclere
under the auspices of John Porter, and at Newmarket
he did marvels for Mr Walter Raphael, to win a One
Thousand Guineas and Derby with Tagalie, only just
miss a Derby with Louvain, and win a Two Thousand
Guineas with Louvois. He has a charming wife, who,
doubtless, encourages him to accomplish such extra-
ordinary successes with animals by no means in the very
first class.

Tom Waugh, another brother, has trained for Sir
Robert Jardine for many years, and Cinna, winner of
the One Thousand Guineas and other good races, was
a recent example of success. Charles Waugh has also
done great things, and nothing greater than when he
won the Cambridgeshire with Marcovil, who was believed
to be beyond the capacity of any trainer to get another
race out of him.


Percy Peck is a son of Robert Peck, and he trained
for Sir Blundell Maple with much success, Childwick's
Cesarewitch being one of many notable victories. He
and Sir Blundell parted company from no fault on
Percy's part, but owing to a stupid quarrel between
Sir Blundell and his father a quarrel engineered solely
by female influence. I need not go into that, but can
record that since then Percy Peck has trained first-rate
winners, such as Cicero for Lord Rosebery, and has
now the charge of Lord Durham's horses, with which
he has won many races.

Another old friend of mine at Newmarket is John
Dawson, but I knew his father and his Uncle " Mat "
so well that I cannot regard him as other than young.
Still it is a long time since he started training for the
late Lord Ellesmere, and he has gone on ever since,
popular and respected. He has paid no small attention
to breeding, and among his successes in that direction
Rambling Katie took high rank, while, to come to a
later date, Marcus and Trespasser are very well worthy
of honourable mention. His two sons did their part in
the war, and one of them was captured and imprisoned
in Asia Minor, the same camp where the Turks were
" spoofed " by vamped-up spiritualism, insomuch that
certain officers escaped. Mrs Dawson is a daughter
of James Waugh and, like all the breed, genuinely
good and true. They live at St Alban's House, built
by Uncle "Mat," whose favourite nephew John was.
Not a few happy evenings have I spent in that

I have embarked on a task in writing about the
older trainers which becomes formidable as it proceeds,
but I cannot close down the chapter without reference



The Rio Jockey Club The Courteous President A Really Good
Time Landing at " B.A." " Jimmy " Getting The Grand
Hotel Racing at Palermo Concerning the " Tote "Stables
at Palermo The Jehus of " B.A." Our Perilous Adventures
thereanent San Jacinto Las Ortigas Tracery The Panther

I AM constantly asked about the voyage from
Southampton to Buenos Aires and back, and what
one can possibly do in the six days at " B. A." when
returning on the same ship, as I always do. It may be
of interest if I give my latest experience, which is one
of many. I quote from The Sportsman of 8th March
1922 :


R.M.S.P. Andes.

I AM on the voyage home as I write this, but my last
despatch was from Rio, and I had not then learned how
well I was going to be treated there. As a matter of
fact, on the afternoon we arrived at Rio I landed with a
friend who, being a member of the " B.A." Jockey Club,
enjoyed reciprocal rights to use the Rio Jockey Club,
and to that establishment we repaired so as to arrange
about dining. We were very courteously received by
the secretary, who showed us all over the club house,
which is being greatly enlarged, and then we drove up
one of the mountains at the back of the town as far as the
H6tel Internacional. It was desperately hot, but the



view all around and down into the bay is superb. The
wonder is how the people live in these hill-side houses
with any degree of comfort, or how tradesmen ever reach
them. An ordinary landslide would carry dozens of
them away like a pack of cards. Our taxi-man was
more careful than most in these parts, and we got back
to the ship successfully, and an hour or two later we
landed again to dine at the Jockey Club. Now here
is the point of interest, which shows what courtesy is
extended in Brazil to visitors. We were at once, on
arrival at the club, told that the President, Senor Linneo
de Paula Machado, wished us to dine with him, and we
were ushered into his room. He received us in the
most courteous and hospitable fashion, and he is himself
a really good sort, talking English well, and immensely
interested in blood stock. With him we dined wisely
and well in the open-air roof dining-room, and nothing
would satisfy him but that we should come back to
breakfast with him next day, and before that be driven
out to see the old race-course and some of his horses
in training.


This also we did. The horses in training are not
his best, most of which are at San Paulo, and others
are in France, but the experience was very interesting.
The race-course is barely a mile round, and a new one is
being, or about to be, made ; but that necessitates the
filling up of the bed of an old lake, and it will take
considerable time no doubt. It is obvious, however, that
racing in Brazil is on the up-grade. Breakfast at the
Jockey Club was all that the most confirmed epicure could
desire, and I have never been treated with more genuine


hospitality. I was not allowed to leave without promising
to revisit my kindly host on the home voyage.

I have often regretted that it was not possible to treat
all well-known sportsmen who visit England with some
such hospitality, and I have tried to do what I can in
that direction, but the problem in England is not so easy,
for England is, from a racing point of view, the Hub
of the Universe, and visitors going from there to
the circumference are easily noted, whereas it is by no
means so easy to distinguish the right people amongst
the crowds that flock to England during the racing

The remainder of the voyage to " B. A." passed with-
out any particular incident, but it was not until about
9 P.M. on the Saturday night that it was possible to
land. Vaccination and other certificates, as well as the
medical inspection, did not cause much delay, and having
got through the customs, I was driven to the Grand
Hotel, where I am certainly at home, and there was
my old friend, Mr James Harmer Getting, waiting to
meet me. Not to know " Jimmy" Getting in " B.A."
is to argue yourself unknown. Of course he had every-
thing ready for me, including a card of honorary member-
ship of the Jockey Club, and a programme for each day in
the coming week, commencing with breakfast and racing
at Palermo on the morrow.


It is always a pleasure to breakfast in that beautiful
oval room of the Jockey Club at Palermo, and there is
certainly plenty of time given for doing so, as the first
race does not start until 2.30 P.M., though there are no
fewer than eight events on the card. Of course I met




many friends during the afternoon, amongst them being
Sr Ignacio Correas and Sr Unanue, but Sr Unzue was
away at Mar del Plata. There was an industrious " tip/ 1
however, that the last-named gentleman would win at
least three races. His trainer, Torterolo, however,
seemed to be anything but confident of his doing so,
except indeed that great, fine three-year-old filly,
Dorancia, must have a good chance for the sixth race,
but then she had Zigzag to beat, and this old horse
is a really brilliant sprinter. He had to give the filly
eight kilos, and he succeeded in doing so very cleverly.
He is a beautifully bred horse by Val d'Or (imp.) out of
Ondulee (imp.) by St Simon out of Ornis by Bend Or
out of Shotover. Dorancia is also by Val d'Or, her dam
being Petulancia. The two-year-old races were about the
earliest of the season, and here Sr Unzue supplied the
two favourites, but it was the public who insisted on
elevating them to that position. One of them, Gandou-
mint, an iron-grey colt by Pippermint, is full of promise,
and he ran very fast, but is probably backward. I
should think he will prove the best we saw. The
seventh race was won by a very good-looking son of
Your Majesty and Haya (dam of Amsterdam). His
name is Utrecht, and he never gave his field a chance.
There was conclusive proof during the afternoon that
an owner whose horses are known to be always out to
win has no chance whatever to back his own on any
reasonable terms. Sr Unzue's stable (Stud Indecis) is
in this position, and thus we saw his filly, Tajada, start
with 19,627 tickets on her, nothing else touching five
figures, while the winner totalled 9273 (second favourite),
the second 6217, and the third 2853. Again, in the
second two-year-old race, his colt, Gandoumint, had


27,977 tickets taken, as against the winner's 13,548, the
second's 5122, and the third's 8313. Even Zigzag was
not so heavily backed as Sr Unzue's Dorancia, the
figures being 25,093 and 30,226 respectively. This
notwithstanding the fact that Torterolo was by no
means confident of winning with any one of Sr Unzue's


The Monday was perforce spent in business arrange-
ments, such as visiting the bank (River Plate), where
the manager, Mr Scott, is one of the very best, arranging
details of return passage at the Royal Mail office, and
meeting friends, old and new, at the Jockey Club, which
has now been improved beyond the possibility of further
improvement, and its catering, under the management
of Edouard G. Cipollina, cannot be surpassed. On
Tuesday came visits to various training stables at
Palermo studs, as they call them and the first one
was where Aquino trains for Sr Victorica Roca. This
is one of the most important stables in the country, and
it is here, on a big, somewhat raised lawn, that the
famous Ojo de Agua yearlings are sold. Horses were
only just coming in from their afternoon work, but
Aquino was good enough to let us see them. They
included the very sensational two-year-old filly Energie,
by Your Majesty out of Energica. She cost 57,000
dollars at the Ojo de Agua sale, and looks as though
she may be worth it, though she is backward as yet. A
fine two-year-old by Your Majesty is Big Baby, out of
La Nenita (dam of Pulgarin, a first-rate Cyllene winner).
Another really good two-year-old is Bui Bui, also by
Your Majesty, and he cost 36,000 dollars. The good-


looking Utrecht is in this stable, and so is the now
five-year-old Hermann Goos, by Your Majesty out of
Energica. He has won many good races. It would be
easy to give many more details of this fine stable, but it
is not easy to interest English readers in matters outside
their own country. They may like to know that the
produce of Cyllene in the Argentine have won con-
siderably more than did their predecessors in England,
and the same can be said of Your Majesty stock. Polar
Star has also been very successful.

Leaving this stable, we went on to the Stud Indecis
(Senor Unzue's), where Torterolo is the trainer, and
there he has all arrangements thoroughly up to date,
including the yard, which had been well swilled down with
disinfectant. Juan Torterolo is one of the most success-
ful trainers in the country, and he and his father (whom
also I saw) are no strangers to Newmarket. His brother
Domingo is one of the most successful jockeys, but he,
unfortunately, has been very ill. The most interesting
horse in the stable is the grey, Palaspavos, by
Papanatas (son of Pippermint). He is a champion
stayer, both at Palermo and Mount Video, but both
his front hoofs are split, and it may be impossible to
train him again. He would make a very interesting
stallion, as he is a direct descendant of Hermit, whose
line has died out in England. You will see no finer
blood stock anywhere than in the "Stud" Indecis.
Dorancia, for instance, is a grand filly, but it is not
my purpose to go into details, though it may be right
to say that Senor Victorica Roca was the head of the
list of winning owners last year.



I hasten to add that we went in the third instance
to see Daniel Cardoso's stable, where he has some
extraordinarily good colts, the property of Mr Pats.
The best of these, to my mind, is a very remarkable bay
colt by Your Majesty out of Marie Helena. He cost
43,000 dollars at the Ojo de Agua sale, and he looks
worth the money. The best old horse in the stable
is Gaulois, by Cyllene out of Pirita. In this stable I
found everything really well done, and trainers have
overcome all obstacles except the hot weather and the
monotony of the same training ground and the same
race-course, for which the totalisator is alone to blame.

It is necessary to write a mere impression of these
good trainers and their stables, but I cannot conclude
without some reference to the adventures of myself and
Mr Getting in our journey to Palermo and back. It
necessitated the use of three taxis, the first having burst
a tyre before we got half-way there, and the second gave
us, on the return journey, a typical exposition of how
not to drive. All Argentine drivers appear to be quite
reckless, and ours ultimately dashed on to pass a cross-
road with a horse carriage coming from the right and
a tramcar from the left, all going at unreduced speed.
Our man at the last moment turned his car sharp to the
left, and, I am glad to say, just missed the horse, but that
did not prevent his dashing into the tramcar. We were
very lucky to escape as we did. Mr Getting cut his
knee rather badly, and I, who saw what was about to
happen twenty yards before it did happen, was practic
ally uninjured. The taxi was smashed up, and we
got another, which went along even more recklessly,


insomuch that it was only by a hairbreadth that we
escaped a similar and probably worse accident, but
Providence watched over us. Never did I see or
imagine such driving, and it is really wonderful that the
death rate in " B.A."is not largely increased by it. Our
troubles did not, however, prevent us from dining well
at the Jockey Club, with Mr " Barbaro " Hill and friends,
and subsequently interviewing Mr Rufino Luro, who,
with his brothers, wants a good stallion. It was a day
that did not tend to compose the nerves.

Whether the experiences of the earlier day shook the
nerves or not, we put in two more strenuous days, which
are described in the following article published in The
Sportsman of nth March 1922, and there was a good
deal more done, even on the morning of the sixth day
the Andes sailed at 4 P.M.

That will give some idea of what can be done in a
six days' stay at Buenos Aires, if only you know the
ropes. I always see what I want to see and whom I
want to see during that period, thanks to the everlasting
Mr Getting, who complains that I kill him during the
week, though he is much more likely to kill me, albeit
he is some eight years my senior.

Apart from business and blood-stock fancies, the
voyage from Southampton to " B.A." and back is the
most delightful one a played-out Englishman can do in
winter, and I recommend it to all.


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Online LibraryWilliam AllisonMemories of men and horses → online text (page 15 of 22)