Racing Hospitality to Visitors, Daily Racing Form, 1915-12-12


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| I I RACING HOSPITALITY TO VISITORS. Comparisons are odious, so there shall be no suggestion of camparison in this article, but I would like to put on record my gratitude to the many trainers throughout the world who have shown me courtesy. Newmarket is the least hospitable center of racing throughout the world, ami I say this without Tear of contradiction, granted that, so far as I myself am concerned, no one could have lieen treated more hospitably than I have by the , trainers of Newmarket, but this has only lieen , liecause thev have known me personally. Put yourself in the position of a stranger in a 4 strange land, because it is only if yon are able to realise this position you will lie able to follow- me. Take India, for example. I arrived in Calcutta an entire stranger, but bad letters of introduction : to the late Tom ltobinson. a partner in the linn of I Turner ami Robinson, anil went to 11m* Croat Fast i ern Motel lo*siay. I did not know that Mr. Kobin- sen was r laving there, but there is no question , of coincidence. kMUM tin* Croat Kastern Hotel , J at Calcutta is. in a manner of speaking, the only . hotel there— that is. the only hotel that a Furopcan ] would fix ii|hui to go to. Mr. Robinson said. "Yott wiir like to u t to the race curse in the I morning, aud be introduced to the trainers? Better . i l - i - t - r 1 . • , ? i : ; - ; l ■ - I • I : t I t i f l . 5 - ; i - i i 1 ; c . . t . t s , ■ , " " " . J 1 | 1 1 1 J be ready at six oclock." It was a cold night, and I appeared at six oclock in flannels, but with a cap on my head. Mr. Robinson said. "You evi- dently do not know India. It is cold at the moment, but in an hours time you will be getting a sunstroke. Co and fetch your pith helmet." He introduced me to the principal trainers, aud by eight oclock the sun was a furious furnace. I left Calcutta after seeing the Viceroys Cup on Christmas Day. and Mr. Robinson and his brother gave me a farewell banquet consisting of currie, real currie, such as is unknown in England, and I spent the afternoon till the train left in their private sitting room at the hotel, amid hollv and mistletoe, listen- ing to English songs aud carols. Do you think a man ever forgets kindess like this? We will pass on to the States. This was when I was an another winters holidav. I had asked Lueien Lyne. the jockey, what was the best hotel in New York for a stranger like myself to stay at. Lyne had told me the Hoffman House, without a doubt. I wrote to Mr. August Belmont, the then president of the Jockey Club of New York, asking for permission to go around his stables, and when I arrived at the Hoffman Honse Hotel I found an exceedingly kind letter from him, enclosing several letters of introduction to various race courses and training stables, including his own. and they said: "Please let the bearer, Mr. S1. A. Phipps, see everything." Immediately on receiving this courtesy from Mr. Belmont I wrote to thank him, saying: "I have lived my life among race horses, and I think there is only one man in Europe who would have done for a stranger what you have done, and this is Mr. Leoiiold «I - Rothschild." Later Norman III. won the Two Thousand Guineas, and of course. I wrote to congratulate him, giving him some Interesting details about the race, and I received by return mail an autograph letter from Mr. Bel- niont saying he was glad to have been of service to a representative of The Sportsman on a visit to New York, and that the winning of a classic race in England had given him great pleasure. At that time the Belmont stables in the States were at Sheepshead Bay and at Belmont Park, It was in mid-winter, with snow all over the place. I went to the Sheepshead Bay stable first. This was under the control of Joyner, who is now Mr. Whitneys trainer iu England. I asked for Joyner. Joyner was not about. I said I had a letter of introduction from Mr. Belmont. The answer was not to me, but to one of the stable boys. "Say. Kid. you will take this gentleman straight to the bosss house and you will hurry." The trainers house was a mile away. The bpy was an English boy. The idol of his heart was Lueien Lyne. I knocked at the door of .Toyners house and Mrs. Joyner came out. I explained matters. She said. "Mr. Joyner has gone into New York, but of course you can see the horses. Come in while I get a horse put in the carriage." I went around the Sheepshead Bay stables, and there was every horse on view — no shillyshallying. no suggesting you shoud say this about this horse or that about the other. This was my firse ex-! perience of .Toyners stable, though I never met him personally till he came to England. From Sheepshead Bay I went to Belmont Park. The snow was a foot deep, and I did not know the way. Eventually 1 pulled up at the house of Mr. Belmonts trainer. It was eight oclock. I pre- sented my credentials and said: "I know it is too late to see the horses, but I am going back to England on Thursday, and. having come so far. I thought I would go through with it and pay you a call." The answer I got was: "You will come in and wipe that snow off your boots. Then we will see the horses. The horses in this stable are not sugar plums." Half an hour later, on a pitch black night, wading through drifted snow up to the knees, we went to see the horses. The horses were all loo!:- ing out of their boxes. There was not one shut up. Tlie doors of the boxes were half-doors, with wire netting over the upper half. "So you see. said the trainer at Belmont Park. "you have not disturbed the horses by coming through the snow." If this is not the true spirit of hospitality I do not know what is. Now we will pass to Egypt. T went for a boli- day to Cairo, and stayed at Shepheards Hotel. Within a few yards of Shepheards i-3 a rendezvous called the Bodega. I have no idea if the Cairo Bodega has anything to do with the Bodegas of London which dear old Fred Leslie used to sing comic songs about. I overheard in this Cairo Bodega an Englishman mention the name of John Porter, of Kingsclere. You who may never have been iu a foreign country as a stranger may not be able to realize what it was to hear the name of Kingsclere. We instantly foregathered. I introduced myself, saying I wiis a racing representative of The Sportsman. He told me he had learnt all he knew about racing under John Porter at Kingsclere. and gradually because he was the most modest and reticent of men he explained he was now trainer for Ibrahim, the Bey Sheriff, and that the Bey would bo delighted to meet an Englishman who was fond of racing, and that his carriage would await me at the door of Shepheards on the following morning at six oclock to take me to the race course where the horses were doing work. I got up at six aud there was a brake with a pair of magnificent chestnut horses in the shafts. I felt somewhat overcome, for there were footmen in front, and footmen in Egypt mean men who run in front of the carriages of persons of importance. This carriage, those chestnut horses, and those footmen •waited v.e every morning outside Shepheards till I left Cairo. The race horses of my host were stabled in what I can only describe as stables, of unlimited proportions. There was room not for dozens but literally for hundreds of horses. My on my leaving said: "You will take to England some souvenirs of your visit to Cairo? I will send some of my treasures to Shepheards Hotel, or where? • I thanked my very kind host and asked him if he cared to send to Europe as a memento any little keepsake to send it to the care of Cooks. I went on to Monte Carlo, and there preceded me when I got back to London a case of antiquated Egyptian pistols, blood-stained knives, and old swords which now adorn the walls of my bedroom. Shall we next past to South America? I had not been in Bum-os Aires three days— still a |ier-fest stranger — before I met a friend who knew all the trainers at Palermo, which is the Newmarket of the Argentine, and who took me out and introduced me to them. This was Mr. David Mann. The trainers opened their arms to an Englishman who had come to see their horses, and the impression which remained more than any other was the expression in the stable boys faces as thev silently welcomed a fellow copuntryman coming round the stables to look at their horses. Nearly all the stable boys in tlie Argentine are English. In South Africa, again. I was a stranger, but I had letters of introduction to Major Henely. the secretary of the Jockey Club there. At that time the club was beginning to embrace a wider range than Cape Colony, and Major Henley in South Africa held a positon similar to that of Messrs. Weatherby at home. Major Henley proved himself the most hospitable host, and it was not many days before I found myself not only going round the racing stables of Ca|ie Colony, the Transvaal, and Natal, but making friends with the Minister of Railways, with the idea of giving greater facilities to trainers for the traveling or race horses. Shall I ever forget the farwell dinner the Durban Turf Club gave me when I left South Africa? — S. .*i. P. in London Sportsman.

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