William Day.

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

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his rude familiarities both in the sale-ring and at the
luncheon-table. For Hill, like Diogenes, was fond of
drinking the wines that cost him nothing, and feasting
on the same economic principle. But when it came to
touching his own pocket, it may truly be said he lived
in affluence without enjoying its comforts. The last
time I saw him was at Mr. Rice's Medical Hall, Picca-
dilly, nearly blind, and as full of complaints and trouble
as ever. He left no will ; at least, none was ever proved,
having, it is surmised, but little to leave, much to the
surprise of those who knew the immense wealth he once
possessed Ack worth Park being the only property left
by him at the time of his death. The disappearance of
his ready-money may be variously accounted for. Prob-
ably the number of his lady favourites may have had
something to do with the economic disposal of it ; for that
in such transactions they would be the greatest gainers
few people will dispute. It is also said that, in order
to save Succession Duty, he disposed of the remainder of
his property to his son by deed of gift in his expiring
moments, thus showing that the ruling passion love of
money like his intellect, was strong in death.

Pedley, another of the confederacy, was a North-
countryman, hailing from Huddersfield, and also rose
from the ranks. He commenced betting, like all the
rest of his class, with the smallest possible capital, and


soon reached the coveted dignity of a professional. He
was in his calling reputable, and made a large book.
He was well known from his ungainly figure and sten-
torian voice. He could be heard shouting all over the
ring, ' I'll lay against the favourite : two monkeys to
one against anything !' in a thundering tone. Yet his
voice was a musical one, and he was fond of singing.
Of the possession of the gift, some proof has reached us
in an account of a party given by Gully at Newmarket.
' Pedley,' so it runs, ' in due course roared out like old
Boreas, subdued to a baritone, " The Cats on the House-
tops are Mewing, Love." Gully lighted a cigar, Bill
Scott a clay, the latter remarking that if Pedley was
not audible at Cambridge it was not for want of bellows,
and that he was a real stunner at a chorus.'

With the acute sagacity of all his class, Pedley was
never known to lay more than the proper odds, except
in the case of ' sickness.' Then he would be a little
more liberal in his terms ; sometimes, indeed, even to
rashness in desperate cases. He had several horses,
which he trained at Danebury, and won the Derby
with Cossack in 1847. The victory appears to have
done him but a temporary service, as he came to grief
shortly afterwards. I learned he was poor quite acci-
dentally. I saw him at Chester in Our Mary Ann's
year, 1870, and he asked me what I would advise him
to back. I told him to have 100 on her, as I thought
she would win, and was worth the investment. With
mournful significance he replied, ' I wish I could ;' and
added, * Things now with me are very different from
what they used to be.' After the race he came and
heartily thanked me. He had won 500, which he
took to a pony, as he could afford to stand to lose no
more, and it had saved him. This was the last time I


ever saw him. He married one of Gully's daughters,
and so became a member of the Danebury Eacing
Confederacy; and died shortly after the event I have
just related, in anything but nourishing circumstances.
I may mention that amongst his creditors was Mr. Fred
Swindell, for 300, money lent. The amount was taken
out in wines, which had the reputation of being of rare
vintages, and very choice ; and probably truly so, if they
were taken by Mr. Swindell for his own consumption,
for that gentleman was not only a good judge of wine,
but drank the best always, cost what it would.

Joshua Arnold was another of the group, of whom
little need be said, as his light was soon obscured by
the dazzling effulgence of the master-spirits. He was
by occupation a bookmaker and commissioner, in which
capacity he worked for and with Gully and Hill ; and,
like his masters, trained horses at Danebury. The best
horse he ever owned was Saucebox, which, after his
death, Harry Hill, with his usual kindness, took pos-
session of; but, in ignorance of his merits, disposed of
this really good horse to Mr. T. Parr. In the following
year he won the St. Leger, and many other good races.
From some cause or other Arnold became deranged in
his intellect, and was placed under restraint, and died
soon afterwards in an asylum.

Mr. Turner was another of these so-called Danebury
patrons, of whom I confess I know but little. He was,
I believe, a bill-discounter of an eminent West-End
type, and kept a few horses, more, as may be guessed,
for the sake of the company he might meet in racing,
than for what he might win by means of the animals
themselves. I think few, if any, of his horses ran in
his own name. I am therefore unable to describe or
even name them. But if any did, I am afraid their


achievements were not great, or I should probably have
seen or heard something of them.

In this chapter I have described but a few of the many
doughty acts in which the renowned Danebury con-
federacy played so conspicuous and unenviable a part.
I do not for a moment profess to vouch for the accuracy
of every statement. Yet so far as I can judge, the facts
set forth may be relied upon as being substantially correct.
Many of them are given from my own personal knowledge,
and in so far are literally correct, as I have endeavoured
to set them forth with candour, and without partiality,
to the best of my recollection. If in their narration I
have felt bound to express myself freely, it is, I must
trust to the reader to believe, rather from a conviction
that deeds of the kind exercise a most baneful influence
on our national sport, than from any desire to be arbi-
trarily critical. My motive, and the risk I run in carry-
ing it out, have before been expressed in better words
than any I can pretend to give :

( E'en I must raise my voice, e'en I must feel
Such scenes, such men, destroy the public weal ;
Although some kind, censorious friend will say,
" What art thou better, meddling fool, than they ?"
And every brother rake will smile to see
That miracle, a moralist, in me.'



My knowledge of his lordship Purchase of Say Middleton Lameness
pured by my brother Failure at the stud A Yorkshire view of him
^-His produce Lease of Venison, and attempt to get him back
fot a lucky breeder Early races and successes Performances of


Crucifix Change of luck on leaving Danebury Amount of his win-
nings Race between Grey Momus and Bamboo The running con-
firmed Lord Suffield's disappointment A rival jockey bids me win
Bay Middleton's Derby Lavish entry of yearlings Crucifix trial
Her breakdown The secret kept Tripoli in the Feather Plate ;
action of the Jockey Club Horses run unprepared, proved by in-
and-out running Gaper and Miss Elis Castration of Naworth A
comparison The Derby of 1839 Objection to Mr. Ridsdale's
Bloomsbury Lord George's defiance of the Jockey Club ; brought
into court ; result Lord George's motive (?) Exposure of the Run-
ning Rein swindle ; his interest therein Scourges minor faults of the
turf Levanters Conduct towards Glen the baker His wagering
on Bay Middleton for the Derby and on Elis for the St. Leger con-
trastedFalse trial of Cherokee Behaviour to Mr. Wreford
Difference with Mr. Greville How Preserve simulated influenza
A coughing-bridle Wins 2,000 from Wm. Scott on Red Deer
Solicitude for morality of trainers not always carried out A race in
a fog, and curious decision Am asked to swear to what I do not
know Accuses ' The Squire ' of swindling Episode of the duel ;
reflections thereon Reputed munificence, but faint proofs thereof
Takes back a gift Personal appearance Bold riding to hounds
Curious choice of associates- Care for his paddocks Raises Good-
wood to a first-class meeting Mode of travelling Visits to Dane-
bury Performances in the saddle, and as a starter Attitude to his
parents Army career His superior officer cashiered General dis-
approval of his conduct Attacks Sir R. Peel Mr. Disraeli and ' the
stable mind ' Hasty sale of his stud Its real value, extent, and
nomenclature Mistaken judgment of Gaper and Cotherstone
Separation from Danebury Erroneous reports of the real cause Ill-
feeling to my brother Crucifix and her clothing Delay in settling
his accounts Triumphs of the old stable, and effect upon him of
continued disappointment Result of Mathematician's defeat of
Crozier ; backs the wrong horse Melancholy end.

So much has been written by abler hands than mine of
the Hon. William George Frederick Cavendish Bentinck,
commonly called and familiarly known as Lord George
Bentinck, that I feel diffident in attempting to add to the
existing records of his life. Yet I feel I may be able to
contribute something of interest to the better knowledge


of one of the most conspicuous characters that ever
graced the turf. It is far from my intention to attempt
to disprove anything that has been written concerning
himself, his actions, his honour, or his honesty. I may
find it needful to correct some errors of fact, such as that
into which Admiral Eous fell concerning the weight
carried by Tripoli for the Feather Plate at Newmarket.
But I may be allowed to say that not a little has
appeared on the subject of the doings of this nobleman,
which, far from being literally true, would bear a different
significance if the circumstances connected with them
were thoroughly understood.

My first recollection of racing and racing men dates
back from 1836, when Bay Middleton won the Derby,
and was soon afterwards transferred from Newmarket to
Danebury, Lord Jersey having sold him, after his racing
career, to Lord George Bentinck for 4,000, then con-
sidered an enormous sum for a stallion. This event will
serve as a fit introduction of the latter's connection with
the Danebury stable. On the horse's arrival he was
found to be lame, but as nothing could be seen to account
for it, the lameness was attributed to rheumatism. He
was consequently once more put to work, which soon be-
trayed the cause of the injury. Bay Middleton had very
high action when galloping slow, and it was discovered
that he continually struck the inside of his off-knee with
his near fore-foot. It may be remembered that Lecturer
did much the same in later years, and had to be run in
tips, or half -shoes, which prevented or minimized the
self-inflicted injury. The discovery was made by my
brother John, who effected a cure by letting the horse
wear a peculiarly constructed boot. On hearing of this,
Lord George, in writing to my father, said : ' For his
skill in detecting the injury he [John] ought to have a


crown of gold as a fitting tribute for such eminent ser-
vices.' But how did he show his gratitude? By,
within a very short space of time, persecuting him with
the most bitter malignity, until his lordship left Dane-
bury, and even after !

At the stud Bay Middleton was a gigantic failure. I
remember that when the man who came to Danebury to
take him to Doncaster, where most of his lordship's
mares were kept ' a tyke,' I need not say saw him, he
remarked derisively :

' If he was not Say Middleton, he would have to beg
his bread in Yorkshire.'

I cannot call to mind so good a horse, with such run-
ning blood in his veins, so bad a sire. He was the largest
thoroughbred I ever saw, very tall, nearly seventeen
hands high, with a bad middle, being as shallow in his
fore-ribs as he was light in his back, and stood wretchedly
bad on his fore-legs upright as a walking-stick and
light below the knee. He had forty to fifty of the best
mares put to him for many years, and, if I remember
right, got very few good ones for his lordship himself.
Of his produce, Flying Dutchman, the winner of the
Derby and St. Leger, was Lord Eglinton's ; and Andover,
also a Derby winner, was bred by Mr. William Etwall,
of Longstock, Hants once a Bluecoat boy. Nor were
Hermit, Aphrodite, or Vanderdecken bred by Lord George.
But the following two were : Farintosh out of Camarine's
dam, a most beautiful yearling, and heavily engaged
but he became a roarer, and was good for nothing ; and
Gaper, who could run, but was far from a good horse.
Several of the rest he bred won many races, but none
were first-class horses, and nothing like so good as their
sire, though many resembled him in shape and lightness
under the knee,


On the other hand, his really good stud-horse, Venison,
was let by his lordship to Mr. Sadler for three years at
300 a year, with the option of purchase for 1,500 at
the expiration of the time. In connection with the lease
of this stallion I may give an instance of his lordship's
peculiar notions of dealing with others. Seeing how
bloodlike was the stock which Venison got, his lordship
wanted to have him back again, and adopted the follow-
ing ingenious method to gain his end. Calling on Mr.
Sadler in one of his most affable moods, he said :

' By the way, I have a foreigner who wishes to buy
Venison, of whom I can get a fair price ; arid as I don't
suppose you would like to keep him, I shall esteem it a
favour if you will let me have him.'

But genial as was the request, Mr. Sadler naturally
did not see the force of it. It was at the time supposed,
and most probably rightly, that his lordship wanted him
for himself. Very shortly after the failure of this attempt
to recover him, Venison passed into the hands of my
father and his son-in-law, Mr. George Dixon, whose
joint property he remained until his death from fever of
the feet, at Broughton, near Stockbridge.

In fact, had not Lord George bought as well as bred
yearlings, his racing career, I suspect, would have been
short and disastrous. Crucifix, the best mare he ever
owned, was bought with Octaviana, her dam, of Lord
Chesterfield for 60. Grey Momus came from Sir Tatton
Sykes' stud. Venison my father bought for him for a
small sum from Lord Lonsdale. He also bought D'Egville
for 500, and most of his lordship's yearlings at that
time. I should add that his lordship was a most ex-
tensive breeder, having over sixty brood mares, and the
most costly stud in England, if not in the world.

Lord George, so far as is known, commenced racing in



1835 or 1836, under favourable circumstances. In the
latter year he won his first Leger with Elis, trained at
Newmarket by Mr. John Doe, and ridden by my father.
The following successful horses were trained at Dane-
bury : Venison, who won for him twelve races out of the
fourteen he ran for as a three-year-old, feats of endurance
little less than some of the horses trained by Mr. T. Parr
himself were called upon to undergo. He was only beat
by Bay Middleton for the Derby, and by the five-year-old
Touchstone for the Doncaster Cup. Drummer, Chateau
d'Espagne, and Foozool were other horses that ran, and
each was a winner. With a stud increased to nine, in

1836 five of his horses carried his colours to victory. In
1838 Grey Momus won him the Two Thousand, the
Ascot Cup, and five other races ; Chateau d'Espagne the
300 sov. Sweepstakes, at Goodwood (Queen's Plate
course); whilst Foozool, Seth, Mulberry Wine, and
Ratsbane were all winners. For several years success
followed success, for we find his lordship with Crucifix
winning seven of the best two -year -old races, and
dividing the eighth, the Criterion Stakes, with General
Yates's Gibraltar, after running a dead heat. Grey
Momus followed his success of the previous year by
winning the Post Stakes. Capote, Sal Volatile, and
D'Egville were also winners. Grey Milton ran in two
raees, which were won by his lordship's other horses.
Dormouse was the only horse that ran once and was
beat; but with this exception every other horse was
either a winner or was only beaten in races in which the
winner was some other horse in the same interest.

Such luck year after year seems almost incredible, and
too good to last. Yet the following year may almost be
said to have eclipsed its predecessor. The Two Thousand,
One Thousand, and the Oaks fell to Crucifix, making


eleven races in which she had not suffered defeat, and
her winnings alone over 11,000. Whilst of his remain-
ing ten horses only two were beat, or, I should more
correctly say, were not winners. Success, however, had
only the effect of making his lordship impatient of de-
feat, and next year caused him, on almost his earliest
reverses, to leave Danebury for Goodwood. But the
change was not satisfactory, and must have reminded
Lord George of a certain * discontented little fish which
jumped out of the frying-pan into the fire.' For at
Goodwood, with a string increased threefold, he met
with nothing like the same good fortune. It is true that
he won many races and some important stakes with Miss
Elis ; but on the whole the results, due to his own mis-
management, must be considered much below what might
have been expected from one of the best studs in the

As to his winnings, there can be no doubt that he won
more over Crucifix, when she won the Oaks, than over
any other race. On this occasion he seriously crippled
the ring, which, amongst other accomplishments, he
sincerely hoped and tried to break. But the recupera-
tive powers of the magic circle are inexhaustible, and it
still reigns supreme, and is likely to hold undisputed
sway. In all her two-year-old races, as I have said,
Crucifix ran a winner, and in every race he backed her
heavily outright and for the Oaks coupled ; repeating the
same tactics the following year on the Two Thousand
and One Thousand. I see one authority puts him down
as having won 20,000 over the Oaks alone. This I con-
sider much below the mark. If we double the sum and
add 60,000 for his winnings on her in other races, we
should not perhaps be over-shooting it.

With this outline of the results of Lord George's racing


career, I may now offer some interesting particulars of
individual races. When Grey Momus won for him the
Two Thousand, riddsn in straw-coloured satin, Mr.
Thornhill's Sainfoin was second, whilst the third, Lord
Sumeld's Bamboo, was a horse that the Newmarket
people thought could not be equalled, much less beaten.
The race was a memorable one. It was run at a good
pace all the way, Bamboo leading several lengths to the
Bushes and across the bottom ; but he tired on ascending
the hill, and was beat. Lord Suffield and many other
people, including Mr. Boyce, the trainer, said that the
jockey, Arthur Pavis, lost it from bad riding. Indeed,
the race itself was a show. Trainers were seen riding
wildly excited, their hats waving in the air, and shouting
at the top of their stentorian voices, * There he goes !
There he goes ! They will never catch him !' believing
it impossible they should do. But he tired to nothing.
In the evening Lord Sumeld, not being satisfied with the
result of the race, challenged Lord George to run again
for 1,000 a side at the same weights over the same
course in the October Meeting. My father being con-
sulted, said :

' Make the match now, and we shall win ; but if you
wait till October, when Bamboo is made better from
condition, we shall lose.'

The match was accordingly made for the Friday, for
1,000 a side though ostensibly for 300 only as Lord
George was afraid it might come to his father's ears, who
would not have liked his matching for so large a sum.
The race was run at the best pace, by which the others
hoped to correct the supposed error made in the running
of the first event, Bamboo leading to the Bushes, when
he again stood still from the severity of the pace, and
Grey Momus won much more easily than he did before


a result certain, indeed, from the way in which the race
was run. It was bad enough to get beat with a good
horse unprepared, but much worse not to have known
it ; and the height of folly to make running with a horse
in such a condition, after seeing how he tired in the first
race. There was much betting on both events, particu-
larly on the Two Thousand Guinea Stakes, and the
excitement great. I think the amount of money Lord
Suffield lost over the two races was the cause of his
temporary retirement from the turf ; but he afterwards
had his revenge, for Caravan beat Grey Momus in the
Houghton Meeting, over the T. M. M., in a match for
1,000 sovereigns ; as did Vulture, Colonel Peel's mare,
for the same sum when he was a two-year-old.

Lord George did not, on the whole, get much by his
matching for heavy sums ; for I do not remember that
he ever matched any of his other horses for so large a
stake, though he made many matches for less. With
respect to Grey Momus; I should perhaps say that when
he won the Ascot Cup, beating Caravan and Epirus, the
jockey of the latter must, I think, have backed the
gallant gray which I was riding. For just as we entered
the straight he rode up beside me, and shouted excitedly
in his well-known tongue, ' Go on, go on, or you will be
beat !' and then disappeared like a shooting-star from the
front, and I won easily. It was said that Lord George
won 20,000 on this race. He also won a large stake
over Bay Middleton for the Derby, entirely from his beat-
ing Elis in the Two Thousand. In the latter, although
Bay Middleton won only by a neck, my father, who rode
Elis, always declared he won in a common canter, and
attributed the closeness of the finish to his ' slipping '
James Robinson, and nearly snatching the race out of
the fire. Nor was he singular in this opinion, for others


thought so too, and subsequent running proved the truth
of his belief.

When Lord George knew the form of Crucifix as a
yearling at Danebury, he entered her in every race worth
running for that he could find unclosed ; and not only
her, but with her all the rest of his horses of the same
age, so that no one should know which he thought the
best. She was tried with Seth, an old horse, at two
stone, with several other yearlings that were beat a long
way, myself up, my father riding the old one. Just as
we started, we saw three or four chimney-sweeps stand-
ing in the way ; and as they would not move till we got
close to them, Crucifix, who was leading for I could not
keep her back took fright, and ran out of the course,
and we finished at the back instead of the front of the
stand, as we had intended she winning easily. Lord
George's notion of engaging all his yearlings, good and
bad together, for such a purpose as keeping the public in
the dark as to his plans, might have been a very costly
experiment. For had Crucifix broken down before
running, or gone amiss early, the amount he would
have had to pay in stakes and forfeits would have been

Shortly after Crucifix won the Oaks she did break
down. This misfortune served to -throw some light on
the peculiar racing ethics held by his lordship, and
showed that he was not incapable of doughty deeds
hardly worthy of ' The Napoleon of the Turf ' and
noble supporter of its moral rectitude. The secret was
so well kept that the mare remained for a long time
afterwards first favourite for the Leger ; and there can
be little doubt that his lordship succeeded in laying a
large stake against her, either personally or through
agents. Moreover, the fact that he could not secure


my father's co-operation in his plan was one of the
causes of his leaving Danebury, as I shall show when
I have an opportunity of relating the particulars of the

From this point we must, I fear, come to the con-
sideration of some of the more doubtful actions in the
racing career of this nobleman, if we would arrive at a
true estimate of his character, and of his influence on
turf morality. In the memorable race at Newmarket
for the Feather Plate the last three miles of the
Beacon Course Tripoli was entered, and ridden by
Bob West, a lad in our stable, carrying 7 st. 10 Ib.
Here I have to correct the mistake before referred to,
made by the Admiral, who, in his book, gives the weight
as 7 st. 5 Ib. Tripoli made the running, and was beaten
a long way. This was done, as will be at once recog-

Online LibraryWilliam DayReminiscences of the turf, with anecdotes and recollections of its principal celebrities → online text (page 6 of 27)