William Day.

Reminiscences of the turf, with anecdotes and recollections of its principal celebrities online

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acquainted with him a house as well known to needy


politicians, noblemen, minors, and the owners of ancestral
but encumbered estates, as is Capel Court to City men
who must have the excitement of gambling in some form
the danger of which, I may add, Mr. Padwick, astute
as he was, learned to his sorrow at one period of his life.
As a money-lender Mr. Padwick had, I need scarcely
say, many more customers than he chose, or indeed was
able to supply, despite the large resources at his back ;
for he worked other capital besides his own. From
Messrs. Hill and Gully, when the latter had money,
and from sundry private banking firms and joint- stock
banks, both town and country, he received liberal sup-
plies. To these the 10 per cent, which Padwick could
afford to pay was an irresistible bait when money was
at 1 or 1 per cent. ; not that it is to be supposed the
money was advanced without ample security in the shape
of deposit of mortgage- deeds, or at least bills with the
endorsement of approved names. His thoroughly busi-
ness-like habits soon won him the confidence of these
capitalists, so that he could from one source or another
command an unlimited supply of the precious metal.
His success led to an early move from Davis Street, to
a more pretentious abode, No. 2, Hill Street, Berkeley
Square a house he resided in until his death.

In his home Mr. Padwick lived luxuriously. He was
particular in his selection of a chef, and his table was
almost burdened with every delicacy of the season that
money could purchase. He set up also as a gourmet ;
and indeed his taste in wine was excellent, and his
cellar expensively, if not extravagantly, supplied with
the choicest vintages. Of this custom I ought to have a
grateful recollection, for he once made me a present of
some 1820 port, and of some madeira that had been
to Calcutta and back twice. I do not pretend to be


a connoisseur myself, but have sufficiently often partaken
of his hospitality to speak with some authority of his
judgment. As he used to say to me in his characteristic
way, ' I can poison myself much quicker and cheaper
than by drinking bad port.' His affability and generous
disposition soon brought him a host of friends ; or I
should perhaps more advisedly put it, added immensely
to his stock of acquaintances. For I am reminded of
the story of the gentleman who, when boasting of his
numerous friends, was told ' that whilst the church
itself would not hold his acquaintances, his friends
could be put in the pulpit without inconvenience.' At
all events, one thing I can affirm Padwick knew every-
one that was worth money, or that had it to lend, or
that wanted to borrow it.

Mr. Padwick commenced racing in 1849, when he ran
his horses in the familiar black jacket and orange cap,
and assumed the aristocratic nom de plume of Howard.
He began by buying a large number of yearlings, for
most of which he paid high prices. These were sent
to Danebury ; but not one of his, nor indeed of any
others sent there that year over forty in number
proved worth anything, except Prestige, and she only
won for him three races of moderate value the follow-
ing year. Such ill-luck would have daunted any but the
most enthusiastic ; but it redoubled his ardour. From
that time he became the man of the day among turfites.
At all the best yearling sales Mr. Padwick was to be
seen, my father by his side, giving 1,000 guineas for this
and 1,200 guineas for that, and fairly astounding the
ring of would-be buyers by the prices he bid. Yellow
Jack and Queen's Head were bought out of the Queen's
or Mr. Greville's sale for these sums exactly, if I re-
member rightly, the mare fetching the most. His horses


did not remain long at Danebury after this, being trans-
ferred in 1853 to Findon, where my father had still the
management of his now small but choice stable. Mr.
Padwick had bought a property here and built some
excellent stabling, and from it he raced with extraor-
dinary success such success as he never had before
or after, or indeed as scarcely anyone else has ever

It was at Findon that Virago was trained in 1853.
She was bought for Mr. Padwick by my father privately
from Mr. Stephenson when a yearling for 300, but had
to go through the sale-ring at Doncaster, when he once
more, ostensibly, became her owner at this figure or
thereabouts. I remember my father saying, before he
bought her, that he had seen the finest yearling in the
world, and that he should buy her for Padwick, cost
what she might. He did, and she turned out the best
three-year-old in England, or, indeed, in the world. She
was by Pyrrhus the First, out of Virginia, by Bow ton.
She was a beautiful, rich, but rather dark-coloured
chestnut, with a little white on her off- hind pastern,
standing about sixteen hands high, very powerful and
lengthy; a small and generous head, with a short
straight neck, but a little upright in her fore-legs ; very
quiet, and having fine temper. Take her all in all, she
was a splendid mare, and quite as good as she looked.
She ran only once as a two-year-old at Shrewsbury
Autumn Meeting; winner to be sold for 80, and un-
placed. I should remind my readers that in those days
it was only the winner that could be bought or claimed,
or she would not have run, as her merits were too well
known at the time to her party to run the least risk
of losing her. As a three-year-old she commenced her
victorious career by winning the City and Suburban and


Metropolitan Stakes at Epsom, a thing never done be-
fore or since on the same day. In the latter she beat
Muscovite, a five-year-old, at 21 lb., and he won the
Cesarewitch Stakes easily, carrying 8 st. 3 lb. The same
year, at York, she won both the Great Northern and
Flying Dutchman Handicaps ; the 1,000 Guineas Stake
at Newmarket ; the Goodwood Cup and Nassau Stakes ;
the Yorkshire Oaks ; the Warwick and Doncaster Cups
winning ten stakes out of eleven, of the collective
value of .9,750, beating seventy-six horses and being
herself only beaten in one race (T.Y.C.) by Ellermire,
a two-year-old and very fast, at York August meeting.

Virago's defeat on this occasion may, I think, be
readily accounted for. She had already run and won
so many long races that her speed must have been a
bit diminished, and it was a mistake to run her at all
over so short a course. But the owner had to be con-
sidered ; and Mr. Padwick could never keep a horse in
the stable if he thought he had the least chance of
winning a ribbon in which idiosyncrasy he followed
the practice of that renowned and original trainer, Mr.
T. Parr of whom more later ; and I may add, of the
late Mr. Osborne. Virago, I should state, was tried at
Findon before the Epsom Spring Meeting with Little
Harry, a five-year-old, at 10 lb., and beat him easy two
and a quarter miles, myself riding the old one, who was
second, and the rest beat a long way. This at least
proved how good she was, if we may take it that she was
Little Harry's equal at even weights, and he afterwards
won the Ascot Stakes, carrying 8 st. 7 lb., beating King-
ston, the same age, at 7 lb., and fourteen others. In the
winter of 1854 she went a roarer ; yet in the spring of
the following year won the Port Stakes at Newmarket,
beating Acrobat. After this she gradually got worse,


and never was again a winner, though she ran well in
both the Eoyal Hunt and Ascot Cups. Ultimately, after
running ingloriously unplaced in the Craven Stakes at
Goodwood in 1855, she left the exciting scenes of the
turf, where she had so often been victorious, for rest
at the stud, but proved the reverse of a success. Lord
Stradbrooke bought her of Mr. Padwick after her last
race at Goodwood for 500. Had it not been for her
roaring she would have fetched four times as much.
She was the dam of Thalestris which, carrying a light
weight, won the Cesarewitch for Lord Coventry pro-
bably the best she ever bred. She died in 1869.

Mr. Padwick owned other good horses. Amongst these
was Scythian, bought of Colonel Anson after being beaten
at Goodwood, who won many races, including the Chester
Cup of 1855, on which Mr. Padwick landed a good stake ;
Cheval d' Indus trie, Little Harry, Theodora, Vaultress,
Eclipse, St. Hubert, Kangaroo and Alvediston. Yellow
Jack and Queen's Head I have already named. Of these,
just as Virago was his best, Yellow Jack and St. Hubert
were the unlucky ones. As for the former, it is true a
glorious future appeared to be before him when he won
as a two-year-old at Newmarket ; but the next year he
was actually second in every race he ran : to Fazzoletto
for the Two Thousand ; to One Act for the Chester Cup ;
to Ellington for the Derby, and to Fly-by-Night for the
Ascot Derby ; to Rogerthorpe his (Padwick's) own friend
Hill's horse for the Goodwood Cup ; and finished up
his awful career by running second (shall it be told !) even
to Barber's horse, I he Prince of Orange, in a Sweepstakes
200 each, at Doncaster. St. Hubert, another good horse,
never absolutely won Mr. Padwick a race. For the Two
Thousand he was backed for a heavy stake with odds of
7 to 4 on him, when he ran second to Lord of the Isles,


beating Kingstown ; and again with odds on him he was
beaten at Goodwood, and never ran after. Eclipse,
another of his horses, ran a dead-heat with Beadsman
for the Newmarket Stakes, and divided. Beadsman,
however, beat him in the Derby. I therefore presume
Eclipse could not stay, or must have been unwell on the
day they met for the big event. He was afterwards sold
to Mr. Ten Broeck. He never, however, did anything
for his last purchaser, beyond receiving forfeit on a small
match ; and was sent to America, where, I believe, he
got some fair stock.

We have seen that Mr. Padwick exercised special dis-
crimination, not perhaps unaided by good fortune, in his
purchases. I have now to show that the same shrewd-
ness or good luck attended his sales. Kangaroo was the
sensational horse at Newmarket when he beat the Duke
of Beaufort's Koenig and eighteen others for the New-
market Biennial in the Craven Meeting ; and the Marquis
of Hastings purchased him of Mr. Padwick for 11,000,
the highest price ever given for a three-year-old in this or
any other country, so far as I have been able to ascertain.
Strange to say, though I imagine a very sound horse,
Kangaroo never won a 50 race after, being no doubt ' a
bad one,' and not within twenty-one pounds of a race-
horse. He started for the Derby at 1,000 to 10, and was
beaten easily in that and other smaller races. Again,
another of his horses, Elmsthorpe, which won him the
Molecombe at Goodwood and the Kutland Stakes at
Newmarket, was sold to Mr. Geo. Whieldon for 3,000 ;
and, unluckily for his new owner, died mad, just after he
had purchased him, from disease of the brain, which was
found on a post-mortem examination to have softened to
a semi-fluid state. And if, with his purchase of Oulston,
Mr. Elwes was rather more fortunate for he afterwards


won him the Drawing-rootn Stakes at Goodwood, and so
brought him back some of the 8,000 he gave Mr. Pad-
wick for him yet in no other race did he carry his new
owner's colour to victory.

These, it may be said, are some of the extraordinary
incidents in racing for which no satisfactory account can
be given by anyone. Nevertheless, in these transactions
Mr. Padwick may be adjudged the salesman without an
equal, in having got rid of three horses in training for the
extraordinary sum of 22,000, or an average of 7,333
each ; and not only credited with having thus secured a
small fortune, but also with the judgment shown in
selecting the time for parting with them just when they
had done all the good they were likely to do for him or
anyone else, and had shown public form sufficient to
enhance their value in the eyes of eager purchasers.

Nevertheless, with all his acumen, Padwick was not a
good judge of racing. His study had been the study of
mankind and the state of their exchequer, rather than
the merits of his horses and where to place them with
the best chance of success. One instance that came
under my own observation will serve to show this dis-
ability on his part. In the spring of 1861 he came to
see Alvediston, who was then very big (if any of my
horses in training were ever thought to be so), not having
to run early. On his return the next day he wrote and
expressed his wish that the horse should run shortly
after at Epsom in the Woodcote Stakes. I reasoned with
him on the impropriety of doing anything so indiscreet ;
but to entreaty he remained inexorable. The horse ran,
was well beaten, and he lost his money, as he richly de-
served to do. He then arranged that the horse should
be kept for his Stockbridge engagements. But the re-
solve had no sooner been made than it was broken. For


suddenly, at all risks, he would have him run at Ascot,
where he was sent about three parts fit, having had but
a hurried preparation. Luckily he just won the New
Stakes ; plainly showing, as I have before said, all that
Mr. Padwick wanted was to see his horses kept running.
The condition they were in was to him of little conse-
quence, notwithstanding that he was sure to back them
for a good stake. Now this was not, in my opinion,
the action of a clever, nor, indeed, of a discreet

In another instance, that of Joe Miller, he showed a
similar faulty judgment. When this horse was two years
old, he was the property of Messrs. Padwick, Parker and
Farrance. I thought well of him, and backed him for his
race at Stockbridge, as they did. Here he met Chief
Baron Nicholson (called after the presiding genius of ' the
Coal-hole ') and Kingston. At the distance, I thought
the former would win easily ; and as I did not want to
be second, or run up a good third, I did not persevere
with my horse, knowing I could not win. The result
was a dead-heat between The Baron and Kingston, the
former, through want of condition, standing still in the
last hundred yards. This I told Mr. Padwick. It was
run off, ending in a second dead-heat and a division.
This result would go to prove that the condition of Chief
Baron Nicholson was as good as that of the other. But
I hold that the pace was not so good in the second race,
of which a dead-heat was made owing to the riding of
my brother Alfred, who was up, carefully nursing the
horse to the last and coming with one rush. That this
was so, was proved in the following year, when The
Baron beat both Kingston and Joe Miller easily in the
Derby, running third to Daniel O'Bourke and Barbarian ;
a race, however, which seemed to have upset him, inso-


much that he could beat nothing after, and was indeed
beaten in turn in a canter at Stockbridge by the others.

Joe Miller was second to Frantic for the Goodwood
Nursery Stakes, and would have won had he not been
shut in opposite the stand. Yet Mr. Padwick would not
see his merits even here, and asked Alfred to ride him
for the King John Stakes at Egham, when he was last.
Now the latter, it pleased Mr. Padwick to conclude, was
his true form ; that, in short, the horse was good for
nothing, and that he would be wise to get rid of his share
in him. Mr. Frances Clarke (the ' Pegasus ' of Bell's
Life in those days), a friend of all parties, was called in
to say what Mr. Padwick's share was worth, and he put
it at 750, or about double what it would have fetched
at public auction. Yet, as it turned out the next year,
this proved to be but a tithe of his value ; for he won
among other races the Chester Cup, beating forty- two
other horses, and the Emperor's Plate at Ascot, in which
Voltigeur, Hobbie Noble, and six others were behind him,
3,830 being the value of the stakes. Fortunately Pad-
wick backed him for the Cup, and thus had a little salve
to his hasty indiscretion in parting with him.

I have referred to the mistake he made with Alvediston.
In connection with his purchase of this animal from me,
at the time being known as The Crossfire Colt, Mr.
Padwick's subsequent attitude was characteristic if
original. In the autumn of 1860 he came with Lord
Westmoreland to buy two horses Schism and The Cross-
fire Colt. His lordship took the former for 1,500, and
Mr. Padwick the colt for 600, with the proviso that
400 more should be paid on his winning 1,000 a sum
duly paid over the New Stakes at Ascot. Schism's per-
formances were well known, and from them his lordship
could judge of her value, and in taking her at the sum as


usual committed no error in judgment ; for he recouped
himself the outlay, and a considerable sum besides, in
winning the Handicap in the Second October Meeting
over the Cesarewitch course no great time after. But
with The Crossfire Colt or Alvediston it was a very different
thing. Here Mr. Padwick took my word, and believed
him to be what I thought and said he was ; and he was
not disappointed. For after winning, as before related,
the New Stakes at Ascot and a Stake at Stockbridge, he
refused 6,500 a sum I strongly recommended him to
take, as I thought the horse was too furnished and small
to improve much with age. Mr. Padwick, however,
would not take less than 7,000. On the second day he
ran a dead-heat with Mr. Merry's Costa, which stake was
divided, and was then sold for a very much less sum and
left me only winning once at Goodwood after and
finished his career ingloriously by being beaten, as an
aged gelding, in a Selling race, winner to be sold for 20.

Whether or not Mr. Padwick thought, to use an in-
elegant but apt illustration, I had ' set a sprat to catch a
mackerel,' and sold him a horse for 1,000, knowing him
to be worth 5,000 at the time, in the vain hope of
inducing him to give that sum or more for one not worth
a guinea, and conceived me to be as well versed as him-
self in an art in which he was so eminently proficient, I
am not prepared to say. But as he never bought another
of me, I presume he was not well pleased with his medi-
tations on the subject, and thought himself deceived.
However, we always remained friends, in the common
acceptation of the word.

This easy assumption by Mr. Padwick that deception
of any kind was practised in the matter, irresistibly
brings to mind the story of the astute young gentleman
who, having freely anticipated his fortune, applied to a


rich uncle to oblige him with a temporary loan of 1,000
a request readily assented to. With a deep ulterior
motive, the money was promptly repaid, with thanks.
The nephew concluded he had hit upon a veritable gold-
mine. The ready compliance with the first request ; the
straightforward repayment of the advance gave assur-
ance doubly sure that the dear generous old uncle could
deny the nephew nothing. So a second application was
confidently made, this time for the loan of a couple of
thousand. To the nephew's great astonishment the
request met with a flat refusal.

' No,' said the uncle; ' you deceived me.'

' How ?' answered the nephew hastily. ' I repaid you

' Yes, indeed,' retorted the other ; ' but I never ex-
pected you would.'

One word more concerning the sale of Alvediston,
which horse had been called after the place where I
was living. The sale was duly set forth in the local
paper, and a Mr. H. Parham, a farmer in the neighbour-
hood, wrote to me and inquired, ' if I did not want to
farm it myself, would I be good enough to ask Mr.
Padwick if he would give him the offer of it to rent ?'
I need not say Mr. Parham was not a racing man.

Of other dealings direct or indirect with Mr. Padwick,
I call to mind the following : On the occasion of his
purchase of Lord Exeter's stud by private contract, the
horses were resold by public auction, or in other ways.
One of them, Blue Hock, I bought as a yearling for ten
guineas at Tattersall's. He proved a good investment,
winning the Great Eastern Handicap, the Cup at
Shrewsbury, and other races. The then Lord Anglesey
was also fortunate in buying at the same time and place
the Flying Duchess, which, after winning a nice stake


or two for him, was in my stud at Alvediston, and later
became the dam of the famous Derby winner Galopin,
afterwards such a fashionable sire at Blankney, where he
was located with Mr. Chaplin's prince of stallions,
Hermit, whose dam, by the way, Seclusion, was also
with me as a yearling. On another occasion I bought
with him Mr. Simpson's yearlings, forty-five in number,
at 40 each. But long before the day appointed for their
resale by public auction, he withdrew from the contract ;
and rather than hold him to his verbal engagement, I
ook them over myself. The sale, which took place at
Alvediston, was a fair one, and I had no cause to regret
the course I had taken ; and as to the result of it, no
one was more surprised perhaps than Mr. Padwick

In connection with this sale, I should mention one,
to me, very disagreeable incident. When Brother to
Seclusion came up to the ring, a horse on which I had
put a reserve of 1,000 guineas, asking my brother John
to bid to that price for me, I noticed that he went
beyond that figure, and when someone had bid 1,050
guineas, he bid 1,100 guineas for him, at which price,
as I afterwards learned, he had bought him for Mr.
C. C. Greville. But this gentleman refused to take him.
He declared that ' he was told I had run him up ' (which
was utterly untrue), and ' that he was not worth the
money' (a thing he could not possibly have known).
He begged my brother's acceptance of a hundred-pound
note for his trouble, and asked him to keep the horse,
which John did, and won a race or two at Newmarket
with him, though he was never very good.

I must say that Mr. Greville's action on this occasion
was a great surprise to me. He was the last person in
the world that I should have thought would have been


guilty of anything of the kind. For supposing, which is
quite possible, that instead of one horse he had in-
structed my brother to purchase ten horses at the same
or even a larger price, the latter would as undoubtedly
have faithfully executed the commission, as Mr. Greville
would as assuredly, I may take it, have repudiated the
whole transaction without regard to the result, which
might have been my brother's ruin. This is one instance,
of which I fear there may be too many, when the word
of a gentleman unfortunately is not always to be taken
in its bare simplicity; and proves that in this, as in
other things, ' the great ones of the earth ' will be found
very much like the rest of mankind.

This was the first time I found Mr. Pad wick go from
his word, in which I had implicitly trusted ; for had he
not trusted me in the same frank way in the purchase of
Alvediston ? and could I let ' ingratitude so besmear me '
as to be less confiding in him ? However, it taught me
a lesson that has been useful in after-life and to the
present day. We have all heard of ' A horse kicking
a dog biting, and a gentleman's word without his hand-
writing ;' and I should no doubt have had a proper
stamped agreement, attested by an independent witness.
The lesson, at all events, saved me 500 shortly after-
wards in another transaction I had with him, an account
of which will fitly find a place here.

In my dealings with Mr. Padwick, I have been both
a borrower and a lender. His charge to strangers was
50 per cent., rising sometimes, as in the case of poor
Starkey, to 500 per cent. ; but to friends he would
charge the not very unreasonable rate of 20 per cent.
He was willing himself to pay 10 per cent, for the use
of the needful funds, and at this rate I once lent him
2,000 on his own bill of exchange. It was just after


Weatherbound had won the Cambridgeshire, when I was
of course in funds ; although I mention the fact merely
to show the method of repayment, and that whilst it
was easy enough to part with the money in one sum,
it was only recoverable in driblets, and after considerable
trouble in gaining repossession of it at all.

The last instalment of the loan, now represented by
his acceptance for 500, was falling due, when he came
all the way to Woodyates to settle it. As he could just
as readily have concluded the matter by sending me,
through the post, his own cheque crossed to my banker,

Online LibraryWilliam DayReminiscences of the turf, with anecdotes and recollections of its principal celebrities → online text (page 2 of 27)