Great English Races and Horses: Impressions of an Expert as to St. Simons Supreme Quality in Racing, Daily Racing Form, 1919-02-01


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GREAT ENGLISH RACES AND HORSES Impressions of an Expert as to St. Simons Supreme Quality in Racing. Since my first visit to Epsom and Itlnir Athols Derby in 1877 I have seen many notable contests, but the nice which I think impressed me more than anything else in a lifelong exierience of the sport was the way in which St. Simon smashed up Tristan and three others for the Gold Cup at Ascot in 1884, writes Audax in Horse and Humid. This was the only occasion I saw St. Simon run, but I then came to the conclusion lie was the greatest race horse 1 had seen up to that time, and after a lapse of thirty-four years I still retain the same opinion. Of course, comparisons between horses of different generations can only be a. hunter of conjecture, and there are many people who would place another unbeaten racer, Ormonde, whicli was two years younger than St. Simon, as the best. Fred Archer, however, who was in a position to know, as he had ridden both and was a splendid judge in addition to being a magnificent jockey, once told me he was convinced St. Simon would have beaten Ormonde over any distance, and that Galo-pins son. whose nervous energy was so wonderful, was tiie liest horse he ever rode. Whether Archers estimate was correct or not, of course, cannot lie proved, hdt there are occasions when a public test shows the respective merits of horses of different years. For instance. Ormonde in the Hardwicke Stakes at Ascot in 1885 showed how greatly superior he was to Melton, the best three-ycnr-ohl of 18S5. and in 1S87, when lie gave twenty-five pounds to Kilwarlin and treated him like a hack in the Rous Memorial Stakes on the same race course, lie illustrated plainly that nothing in reason wouW have brought him and the pick of the three-year-olds of 1887 together. These races I saw, and also that famous struggle for the Hardwicke Stakes, the day after the dukes colt had beaten Kilwarlin six lengths over tiie new mile, when Ormonde, four years, 130 pounds Tom Cannon, defeated Minting, four years, 130 pounds J. Osborne, by a neck, with Itendigo, aged, 13S pounds J. Watts, three lengths away, and the only other competitor, Phil, three years, 110 pounds, more than a hundred yards behind Mr. Barclays excellent horse. For all that, Phil was close up fourth, a neck behind Timothy, for the St. Leger, which Kilwarlin, after losing a lot of ground at the start, won by a half length from the Derby winner Merry Hampton whose first race was the Epsom one he in turn beig a head in front of Timothy. PROOF OF PUBLIC PORM. Here Ave have proof of public form about which there can be no argument, and another instance was when Ard Patrick and Sceptre, much the best of the 1902 three-year-olds, showed in the Eclipse Stakes how vastly better thev were on the weight-for-age scale to Rock Sand, the Triple Crown champion of 1903. This form Sceptre later on once more demonstrated conclusively tobe correct in the Jockey Club Stakes, as, although giving fifteen pounds to Rock Sand at Xewmarket, as against nine pounds at Sandown, and with the latter, on which odds of 5 to 4 were laid, having the services of great Danny Maher, as against Hardv on the filly, she beat him easily indeed by four lengths. This was a length more than was the judges verdict between the pair at Sandown, when Ard Patrick, on whicli Otto Madden rode the race of his life, beat Sceptre Hardy by u neck; but I shall always think that in his excitement over this great struggle dear old judge Robinson underestimated the distance separating Sceptre and Rock Sand on the Eslier slopes and that it was much nearer six lengths than three. Moreover, although Alee Taylor hail got Persimmons renowned daughter wonderfully fit for her Sandown race, she was even better at Xewmarket. Coming to juite recent classic racers, I shall always reckon that in the autumn of 1917 Gay Crusader was the best horse I have seen run in England for many years, and certainly superior to the lust vears crack, Gainsborough; but as they have not met, and never will, this can only be a matter of opinion. Regarding the last named, he is a lazy horse, while, on the other hand. Gay Crusader was an extremely free-running one. The only line to be obtained between the pair is through Dansellon, whicli was extremely unlucky not to have won the Cambridgeshire, and on this I should make out Mr. Coxs horse a few pounds the better; but such a margin between a couple of high-class horses means a great deal, as in few of all the Derbys I have witnessed lias the victor scored with ten pounds in hand.

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