Alfred Edward Thomas Watson.

The Badminton magazine of sports and pastimes online

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of a tree ! The reptile was so heavy I could not lift it. It
measured exactly 15 ft., and its greatest girth was 16^ in.

The natives about these parts consisted of Kamazia and Suk,
and were friendly. The Suk, I think, are the most extraordinary-


looking people I ever beheld. The men mat their long hair into a
huge pouch or bag, in which they keep various articles, such as
beads, tobacco, snuff, etc. From this pouch proceeds a long curved
bristle ending in a small ball of fluff, reminding one exactly of the
head-dress of a pantaloon in a Christmas pantomime.

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Whether a racing season will prove exciting, merely ordinary, or
exceptionally dull, must always be a matter of the purest speculation
before it begins. There may be a phenomenal lot of two-year-olds
to rival the wonderful year 1885, when Ormonde, Minting, The Bard,
Saraband, and others started their careers; and then of course some
animals we have already seen may make extraordinary improvement;
whilst in addition there are always a few dark three-year-olds that
for some reason or other have missed their two-year-old engagements,
the most notable of these at the present time being His Majesty's
Nulli Secundus. When I wrote an article similar to this twelve
months ago I quoted Richard Marsh, who had been kind enough to
write to me saying that he much preferred Mor^s to Nulli Secundus
— the latter, he observed, " looks like making a very big horse, coming
late, and is rather on the coarse side. He has not nearly such good
action as Mor^s, whose action is almost perfect." I had seen both
colts as yearlings at Sandringham and had been greatly struck by
them. At present, for some unknown reason, unfounded opinions

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have been formed about the two, the son of St. Simon and Nunsuch
being preferred to the half-brother to Zinfandel, and from the fact
of Nulli Secundus having been nibbled at for the Derby it is
evidently supposed that there are great possibilities about him.
How the idea obtained currency it would be interesting to know,
for the trainer himself is quite in the dark.

For some years past the three-year-old colts have rarely risen
beyond the ** moderate" standard, though it need hardly be said
that Pretty Polly is famous among fillies as one who will always live
in Turf history, and happily she is starting her preparations for the
season's ^rork in perfect fettle. She of course stands out by herself,
and it is only to be hoped that Presto II., the only animal that has
ever finished in front of her on a racecourse, will come to Ascot in
June to let us see how right or wrong that result may have been.
Shrewd and practical racegoers dislike excuses and always look on
them with suspicion, but a journey across the Channel may upset
a mare — or a horse either for the matter of that. It is unquestion-
ably a handicap. Presto ran creditably last season, winning nine
races out of thirteen ; Pretty Polly was absolutely invincible, and
until Presto beats her again there will be a strong consensus of
opinion in England that for once, in the Prix du Conseil Municipal
at Longchamps, she did not give her running.

What one usually looks at first in a consideration of the season
is the Derby, and there are materials, so far as can be judged at
present, for a sufficiently interesting race. In such little betting as
has taken place, Lally has naturally been made favourite. His
performances last season merit the position. After his first essay,
when he finished third to undistinguished animals — but frequently
** first time out " counts for nothing — he failed only twice in nine
races. At Ascot he was called upon to do duty two days running,
and probably on the second occasion felt the effects of his first race.
His other defeat was perhaps his most creditable performance, for it
took place in Ireland, he had the long journey "in him,** and this,
in the opinion of experienced men, as a general rule reduces a horse
greatly below his form ; but yet he only failed by a short head to
give no less a weight than 20 lb. to a more than useful colt in
Athleague. That Lally was the best two-year-old of the season is
accepted ; but there is always one great question about a three-year-
old, and that is whether he stays. Amphion, his sire, cannot be
rated as a stayer, and none of his sons or daughters has been
successful over a distance of ground. It remains to be proved
whether Lally can stay. He has not quite held his position in the
market. A rumour on the subject of his wind got abroad, but this
may mean nothing : such stories are often current without reason.

NO. cxxix. VOL. xxu.^April 1906 F F

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Lally is doing good work, but it will be some weeks yet before he
is fit enough to be tried, and until it has been ascertained that he
can last at top speed for a mile and a half, 7 to 2 is an absurd price
to take about him for the Derby. He is not in the Two Thousand
Guineas, but has been entered for the Newmarket Stakes, run a
fortnight later, on May 20, that being his first engagement of
the season.

What is there to beat him ? Returning to my article of a year
ago I find that Colonel W. Hall Walker, in a long letter he was good
enough to write to me, included a eulogy of Black Arrow. The
colt, he said, would probably rank in the first class, and if he did not
prove as good as Bendigo, his owner declared that be would be
greatly disappointed, for Black Arrow looked and moved in a manner
which suggested his superiority to either of his half-sisters, Jean's
Folly or Cherry Lass. He won his first two races in the manner
which was expected of him, so that after Ascot his price for the
Derby was inquired about, and it is said that in the anticipation of
his proving a wonder no more than 5 to 2 was offered. His per-
formance at Goodwood, however, was nothing short of a tragedy.
With odds of 20 to i on him he went to the post, but compK)rted
himself there in such mad fashion that the price gradually diminished
to 100 to 7 on him. He resolutely declined to start, and took no
part in the race, to the consternation of all connected with him.
Next time out he retrieved his character by winning the Champion
Breeders' Biennial Foal Stakes at Derby, and so was esteemed a
certainty for a similar event at Kempton, in which he met Lally, set
to give him 4 lb. The betting here was 5 to 2 on Black Arrow, 3 to i
Lally, 100 to 6 others; but Lally had things his own way, as Black
Arrow refused to gallop. On the following Tuesday he would do
nothing in the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster; and at Newmarket,
in the Clearwell, if possible he did less. What may happen in the
case of the black son of Count Schomberg and Black Cherry this
year, who can say ? The colt, by the way, is described as a brown,
but in truth he is black, and against horses of this colour a strong
prejudice exists in many quarters. He has two dozen or more
engagements, starting as early as April 5, and some people seem
to have a strong idea that he will fulfil his early promise. I can only
repeat, who can say ?

Another horse backed for the Derby is Pretty Polly's half-
brother Admirable Crichton, who, as Mr. Peter Purcell Gilpin wrote
to me before the colt had ever run, " for make and shape, temper,
constitution and action, is likely to shine as a racehorse.*' He did
not come out till the Second Newmarket July Meeting, and was then
understood to be so backward that in a moderate field of five for the


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Chesterfield Stakes 3 to i was oflfered against him, the favourite at
II to 8 being a bad filly called Rayon, a daughter of Diamond
Jubilee and Asteria, who has yet to win a race. He got badly away,
but came through his field and won comfortably. Admirable
Crichton reappeared at Goodwood in the Rous Memorial, in which
he was only opposed by Sweet Mary, in receipt of 5 lb. more
than sex allowance, and odds of 11 to 4 were freely laid on her; but
after a great race, for which Maher who rode her was praised in
some q^uarters and blamed in others, the colt won a short head*
After Goodwood he suffered from the illness which so frequently
attacks racehorses, but it was thought that he had recovered when the
Middle Park Plate was run for, and he was generally preferred to his

{Photograph by Clarenc* Hail$y, Newmarket)

Stable companion Flair, who, however, beat him rather easily. With i

odds of 6 to 4 on him he then went to the post for the Dewhurst *
Plate, in which he ran badly behind Picton, Malua, and Gingal ; so that

in his case there are doubts as to whether his illness has not left a 1

permanent mark. He is going on well at present, but this means ,
little ; horses often move attractively in their work and seem to be

at their best until a question is seriously asked them. When he is j

to run is probably not at present decided. He is in at Liverpool the ]

first week of the season, within a few days of the date when this (

number will be issued, but it seems likely that he will not carry silk ]

until the Two Thousand, run on May 2, in which he might meet I

Black Arrow, NuUi Secundus, and others of less note. i

FF 2 :

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Another that has been modestly backed for the Derby is
Sarcelle, who won three races last year, and was thrice second. He
is a son of Gallinule and Croceum, and may of course have made
phenomenal improvement ; unless he has done so it seems improb-
able that he will be found good enough, though on his last outing,
when beaten by Flair at Kempton Park, he was giving her lolb.
over weight for age. She, however, won as she liked. Flair is
of course a mare who must be taken into consideration if— but
this " if " is all-important — she retains her form ; as to which
it cannot be too often repeated that a good two-year-old filly is
almost as likely as not to be comparatively worthless the follow-
ing season. She may have improved as Memoir did ; she may, on
the other hand, have gone to pieces. A couple of years since
another daughter of St. Frusquin, Fiancee, was supposed to have
a great career before her. She had won all her races as a two-
year-old, and her friends were convinced that she was just the sort
of mare to train on into something notable ; as a three-year-old she
was worthless for racing purposes and was turned out of training.
Game Chick is another recent case in point, and indeed innumerable
instances of the same thing might be quoted. Flair was among the
best of a nice lot of three-year-old fillies last year, which included
Sweet Mary, Ulalume, Water Flower, and Colonia, of whom, how-
ever, Colonia was a stone behind Black Arrow. Doubts as to
whether Sweet Mary would stay have always been current; and
Water Flower, after winning five consecutive races, retired in July,
which she would scarcely have done had all been well with her.
" Makes a noise," is the whisper with regard to the daughter of
Watercress and Pansy. Between her and Ulalume there was in any
case little to choose, and the latter (Gallinule — ^The Message) seemed,
so far as one could guess, more likely to train on. But this
admittedly is pure speculation.

Other " possibles " in the Derby are Gorgos, Malua, Picton,
and, some people imagine, the White Knight, a son of Desmond and
Pella, who gained a little reputation which may or may not turn
out to be justified. It is not his public performance on which it is
based. Malua was talked about as a stone in front of Achilles, and
when he came out for the Fulbourne Stakes at Newmarket in July
he shared favouritism with Water Flower. After behaving badly at
the post he was left some lengths, and finished third, the race being
held to prove nothing. With 8 st. i lb. on his back he was made
favourite for the Prince of Wales's Nursery at Doncaster, in which
he could get no nearer than seventh. On the second of October,
he won for the first time, though this did not amount to much, and
Picton beat him by two lengths in the Dewhurst.

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Doubts, it will be perceived, exist with regard to the three with
the best credentials. Lally may not stay; Admirable Crichton may
not have recovered from his illness ; Black Arrow may decline to
start, or to race if he does start ; and anyone who wants to bet is
therefore taking serious risks. Not improbably the best of last
season's two-year-olds remains unmentioned. This is Vain Glory, a
daughter of Wildfowler — Fraulein. She has only run in Ireland,
where she has been consistently successful. Her form, judged

{Photograph by W. A. Rouch)

through Athleague, makes her out the same animal as Lally.
There is not much money to be won in Ireland, and her five con-
secutive victories have only brought her in 3^1,554. If all is well with
her she will probably come further afield this season.

The Ten Thousand Pound races — so called — do not promise
particularly well. Three of the animals entered for the Princess
of Wales's Stakes are now jumping hurdles with moderate success,
if any — Rydal Head, Lochryan, and Helter Skelter. M. Blanc

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has three left in, Gouvernant, Jardy, and Val d'Or, and the sdected
appears to have an easy task, though St. Amant is also eagaged,
and so far is doing well at Stockbridge. M. Blanc's two four-year-
olds are also in the Eclipse, together with Gorgos, Llangibby, Lally,
and Gingal. This also looks like going to France; and the two
names of Jardy and Val d'Or crop up again in the Jockey Club
Stakes, where, too, Cicero is entered. I chanced to meet Lord
Rosebery a few days before writing this article, and heard from him
a good account of the colt's progress. He may be out at the
Newmarket Craven Meeting — at least, he seems to have an easy
task in the Biennial, his only engagement before the Hardwicke
Stakes at Ascot. Notwithstanding that Cicero won the Derby, his
reputation suffered last year, for there was no mistaking the fact
that Jardy would have beaten him had the son of Flying Fox been
nearly himself. Cicero, however, appears to have been somewhat
unduly depreciated, for notwithstanding that Val d'Or beat him in
the Eclipse Stakes, there was only half a length between them, and
the French colt was receiving 33 lb.

Asking Lord Rosebery about his two-year-olds, he replied that
nothing was known about them, though they all looked to him like
Derby winners, which he found was usually the case in February,
and very far from being the case three months later. With regard
to other two-year-olds, several of my friends amongst owners and
trainers have with their accustomed kindness written to me on the
subject. Marsh is good enough to say : ** The two-year-olds I have
this year are rather on the big side, consequently backward, and I
have, of course, had no opportunity of testing them in any way. I
never like to train two-year-olds if of any size while they are growing
and their bone and sinews are hardening up. The most promising
to look at are His Majesty's Slim Lad (St. Simon — Laodamia),
White Frere (St. Frusquin — White Lilac), and Perambulator
(Persimmon — Spy Glass), also a hardy, racing-looking filly Victoria
(St. Simon — Meadow Chat). I should prefer Perambulator if I had
to take a single one, though he may not come till late. Lord
Wolverton has a beautiful colt, a remarkably fine mover, called The
Welkin (Flying Fox — Woodbury), her second foal. This is quite
a * classical ' one to look at. Mr. James has only one colt—
St. Savin (St. Simon — Aboyne), and the mare's produce have been
so disappointing that it does not do to expect too much, though he
is a nicish horse. Of his eight fillies, the sister to Atlas, and a
daughter of Diamond Jubilee and Lucina, are the most promising.
Mores and Nulli Secundus are still giving us hopes. They are
perfectly unknown quantities, never having been tried."

Several of my trainer friends have answered my inquiries by a

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kind invitation to go down to stay with them, and judge for myself,
which it would be a treat to do if there were fourteen days in a
week. Mr, Gilpin sends me what little information he can.
Writing from Ireland, he says : " Major Loder*s two-year-olds have
only gone over the last few days, and I had merely a cursory glance
at them in the stable here before they left. Weathercock (Gallinule
— Chinook) and Galvani (Laveno — Gallinaria) are two fine, well-
grown colts, and Adora, own sister to Pretty Polly, is a very nice
filly. So is the wiry, racing-like Miranda (Gallinule — Clarehaven).
She was, however, breaking when I left." He also is kind enough


(Photograph by Clanna Hailiyt Newmarket)

to ask me to go and look over his stable, and I hope perhaps later
to gain material for a further article.

The master of Beckhampton writes : ** My selection of the two-
year-olds sent last year has yet to be proved correct, as I never had
a chance with my horses while the fever we so unfortunately con-
tracted from the army horses hung about." And it may be added
the Darling seems to have been shamefully treated by the late
Government, so much so that his sympathisers round about Marl-
borough are, I know, heartily delighted at the removal of Mr. Arnold-
Forster from office. ** This year," he continues, *' I have only a
few two-year-olds, out of which I like a black colt of Captain

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Greer's by Gallinule — Reclusion, and a filly by Diamond Jubilee—
Cymbeline, called Prodigy, the property of Lord Dalmeny." My
friend Major Beatty prefers of his lot a big horse by Carbine—
Galinne, called Cargill, and I have a particular interest in this
animal, as I persuaded the late Colonel McCalmont tobuy thedam.
Others that Major Beatty has hopes of are Stage-struck, a chestnut
filly by Isinglass — Light Comedy, half sister to Peter Jackson,
Light Comedy's first foal; and a chestnut colt by Gallinule—
Excellenza. " I have nothing else among the dozen," he adds, "at
all likely to make history, and I only hope these three may do
something. If three out of a dozen go at all I suppose one ought
to be thankful. It is marvellous what becomes of the long string of
promising two-year-olds year by year."

Colonel Hall Walker, who was so particularly instructive and
accurate last year, writes guardedly. He has fourteen two-year-olds
of which he has never formed a high opinion, though he fancies
nevertheless that they may all win races. The two he likes best, a
colt and filly, are not so well engaged as others of less promise.
Some of Percy Peck's were badly amiss last autumn, and all his
are unusually backward. He did not win a single two-year-old
race last season, and so is rather despondent on the subject of his
youngsters. Alec Taylor does not think he has any particulariy
promising two-year-olds. Best of his string he likes a brown colt
by Marco — Last Link II.; a bay colt by Collar — Wafer II.;
Jubilee, bay filly by Diamond Jubilee — Jeunesse Dor^e; Comus,
chestnut colt by Cyllene — Galeottia ; and a bay colt by Tyrant-
Escalade. Joseph Cannon's favourites so far are a brown colt of
Sir Samuel Scott's by Ladas — Ardvourlie, and a couple of
Mr. Curtis's, Elan (Eagar — Hanoveria) and Emma Eames (Bay
Ronald — War Gallop). From Kingsclere I received a kind invita-
tion to go and see for myself. There are seven young St. Simons
that would be worth a longer journey, and others by Carbine, Ajt-
shire, Orme, Ladas, Isinglass, St. Frusquin, Velasquez, Donovan,
who should do something to atone for the disappointments of last
year, with an own brother to Flying Fox — Pipistrello and an own
sister to Sceptre among the failures. The latter. Crown Ornament,
is no longer in training; but Porter was never enamoured of her,
though he was of Culzean (Ayrshire — Miss Gunning IL), whoHdll
presumably be seen for the first time in due course.

Mr. R. C. Dawson picks of the lot under his management
Lord Carnarvon's Hermes (Gallinule — The Message), own brother
to Ulalume, and Sintram (Gallinule — Gay Rose). Major J. D.
Edwards likes several, though never too confident, and fully aware
how frequently disappointment succeeds hope. Mr. J. Buchanan's

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Sandstone (Black Sand — Lottie Hampton) pleases him; and he
thinks well of five belonging to his managerial brother: Raytoi
(Santoi — Achray), Yentoi (Santoi — Rot), Viz (Vitez— Mabel H.),
Mr. Girdle (Ortolo — Dhurade), and Tinkabelle (Santoi — Angry).

Mr. George Lambton,who twelve months ago picked Victorious
and Gemma as likely to win races, tells me that he has five nice fillies.
"The one I like best is Wife of Bath," he kindly writes, "a brown
filly by St. Simon — Canterbury Pilgrim. She is sound, a good
mover, and if she were a trifle bigger I should have no fault to find
with her. Maybole, another brown, by Ayrshire — Pace Egger, looks
Hke going ; Witty Girl (bay filly by St. Simon — Betty Wise), Vada
(bay filly by Volodyovski — Polynesia), and Ste. Claire H. (bay filly
by Isinglass — Santa Brigida), should be ashamed of themselves if
they can't race. The colts do not strike me as so good, unless a
great big bay by Orme — St. Victorine turns out well. If the Ormes
had not been so disappointing, I should have great hopes of him."
It will seem odd to some people to hear the sire of Flying Fox de-
scribed as disappointing, but for the last two or three years his
children have done very poorly. Tankard is a most moderate colt,
yet by meeting a worse than himself, Carstone, in a match, he
secured over 3^700 by a short head, and by another short head he
beat Mondamin and Dionard, animals whose existence the reader
has probably never realised, thus winning £1,808, without which
Orme would have had a very small total to his credit.

As for jockeys, it is to be hoped that some capable lads will be
found as Templeman was last year. To have ridden 66 winners
in a first season is probably unexampled, but the success was in a
large measure due to the 5 lb. apprentice allowance, which, for
instance, gave the Cambridgeshire to Velocity instead of to Santry,
as it gave the Cesarewitch to Grey Tick instead of to Zinfandel.
The allowance was the more unsatisfactory in important races
because handicappers were placed at a disadvantage. When they
were dealing with horses trained in a stable to which a prominent
apprentice was attached, they were tempted to frame theirweights
so as to discount the advantage; but it frequently happened that the
boy rode for some other stable, and so sib. was deducted from the
weight which had been properly allotted. The practice in riding, of
course, did the lads good, and it was a temptation to put good ones
up in order that the allowance might be claimed. As things are at
present apprentices will have ample opportunities. They can ride
with 5 lb. off ** in all selling races and in handicaps of a guaranteed
value of not more than 200 sovs." These last words do not restrict
the number of races quite to the extent that might be supposed, for
" guaranteed value " means the amount advertised in the conditions

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of the race. Stakes made by owners of horses engaged are not
taken into consideration. Thus "The Racing Stakes of 2oosovs.,
added to a sweepstakes of 20 sovs. each, half forfeit," might have a
large entry and be worth a good deal of money.

One general hope will be that His Majesty may meet with
better fortune. For the last four years his average of winnings has
been considerably under £2,000, and it need hardly be said that this
sum goes a very small way towards meeting the expenses of entries
and forfeits, not to add of breeding, training, travelling, running,
etc. Of course there were the great years, 3^26,819 in 1896, and
3^29,385 in 1900, and the sale of Diamond Jubilee for 30,000 gns.
last year was a big item to the good ; but owners with long strings
of well-bred horses expect to win races.

It may be int*eresting to wind up with a list of animals destined
this season — it is to be hoped — to carry the Royal colours. They
consist of: —

Moifaa, br g, by Natator — Denbigh, aged.

Online LibraryAlfred Edward Thomas WatsonThe Badminton magazine of sports and pastimes → online text (page 32 of 52)