Memoirs of the British Turf, Daily Racing Form, 1922-06-23


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V Memoirs of the British Turf J No Ii better equipped with inside e knowledge ;iud pood Btoriea about English ti social and sporting life than the Hon. George e Lamb ton, brother of the Earl of Durham, * and one f.f the most popular personalities ■ of the English tiuf. An all-round sportsman ar:d the finest amateur horseman over r femes la the country in his day, be has been ■ for thirty years and is now one of the most successful trainers of race burses In England. I Below he begins a series of reminiscences 5 which will he printed in Daily Racing Form 1 from time to time. BY THE HON. GEORGE LAMBTON. First Article. If I were asked to name the most memorable period in the history of the turf within my own recollection I should turn to the years between 1880 and 1800 — years notable ? for great horses, great jockeys, great trainers " and owners who were sportsmen in the highest sense of the word. George Fordham, Fred Archer, Tom Cannon, 1 Charles Wood, John Osborne. Fred Webb, Jack Watts, Jim Snowden and J. Oonter were all riding in the early eighties, and without any doubt they were not only good Jockeys but splendid horsemen. The » parade for a big race was a great sight. Jockeys in those days were much more ., particular about their appearance than they • are now and took a pride in turning themselves . out as well groomed as the horses 5 they rode. Their breech;-:: were spotless, their boots shone like mirrors,. To see j Archer, Webb, Tom Cannon and Watts cantering . to the post on a big occasion, showing ; their horses and themselves off to the best advantage, was a sight for trie gods. And how many splendid finishes we used to see ! M Races then were run in a different style, , and at times, no doubt, the practice of waiting - and coming with on » run was carried to excess. 1 am not in agreement with these ! Who think our present-dsy jockeys are bad, , but I am afraid they are losing the art of [ waiting. WAITING A LOST ART. The present style of seat does not lend I itself to waiting, and the public are so accustomed to seeing a field charging along ; in a line that anyone who lies off in a race : and then docs not win conies in for most : unjust criticism. I am certain if Fordham, John Osborne. , ! ! Tom Cannon or Jim Snowden, perhaps the ■ greatest exponents of the art of waiting, i were resurrected and began riding again the public would be howling them down, that certain of the press would demand their head:-, from the stewards ; but equally certain am I that they would win many laces, arid not always on the best horses. Of present-day jockeys Carslake. Bullock and Childfl often reveal that waiting can be practiced with great success. In IMS, although 1 was only twenty, I had begun to go racing fairly regularly, and the race that made the nwi impression on Bse of that year was the Manchester Cup, I Won by Isonomy, carrying 13$ pounds and ; j bestlnt; The Abbot, 93 pounds, a neck. The j i Abbot had been third in the Two Thousand, I beaten less than a length from the winner, i | Isonomy, ridden by Tom Camion, got Up | i in the last hundred yards and won a splen-j did race by a neck. The horse started at I 16 to 1 ; for though he eras a great public i ! favorite and had won the Ascot Cup the ! i previous year, his task here was considered ! impossible. DEMONSTRATION OVKB. ISONOMY. The Manchester crowd went mad with snthusiasm and it was with the greatest difficulty that Tom Cannon could get his1 horse to the unsaddling inclosure. The horse i Stood the mobbing with the utmost uncon- j ! eern, and Tom Cannon, for once, allowed himself to smile. This scene taught me i j What splendid sportsmen the British racing I 1 public are and how they do love a good horse. I Incidentally, at this meeting I first made ! the acquaintance of Fred Archer. He was | not riding In the Cop and I asked him what! I I should lark. He answered: "The Abbot! j will pro;. ably win, but you put something on | the best horse and the best jockey in the ! race. isonomy and Cannon." I took 00 I j to 0. That began a friendship which lasted! Uninterruptedly to the day of his death. Lord Falmouth, Mat Dawson and Fred! Archer were names to conjure with. The: i combination of owner, trainer and jockey j j had been extraordinarly successful. Most of their ft rest triumphs were before I went . racing regularly. 1 only knew Ford Falmouth slightly, but enough to know that he had s ipr me confidence in his trainer and |sckey, and turned a deaf car to the malicious rumors which always attack success. Matthew Dawson trained at Heath House, Newmarket. He did things on a lavish scale, and the principle of "Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves" found no favor with him. DAVvSON MODEL OF COURTESY. In spite of his strong, fearless character, which would brook no Interference from any man in What he thought the duties of his profession, he was the most courteous of men, both to his. employers and to those who worked tor him, and I never met anyone in any rank of life who had not the greatest respect for him, and those who knew him well loved him. But be had no use for weal; men or bad horses. He was never a big bettor, and was continually warning me against the folly of betting beyond ones means, saying that although he had had the good fortune to have trained more good horses than any other man in the world, on the occasions when he had put more money than usual on a horse it hud generally been beaten. Apart from this, he had a contempt for money in itself, and used to call Archer, who had an eye to the main chance, "that long-legged, tin-scraping young divil." His appearance in the morning at exercise would astonish us in these days; a tall hat, varnished boots, and usually a flower in his buttonhole — for he was almost as good a gardener as he was trainer. Like many people of those times, his language was strong, but as it rolled out of his mouth in broad Scotch it sounded more like a benediction. , In the later years of his life Dawson left | Heath House and went to Exning, where he had only a few horses, but his success con- i tinued, and he turned out Minting to win the | Grand Prix, Lad as and Sir Visto to win the Derby for Lord Rosebery, and Mimi the One ; Thousand and Oaks for Mr. Noel Fenwick. ] e ti e * ■ r ■ I 5 1 ? " 1 » ., • . 5 j . ; ! M , - ! , [ I ; : : , ! ! ■ i I ; j j i I i | | i I ! i ! i ! i j ! i j I 1 I ! | I j | ! I j i j j . , | i | ; ] I Mimi was far from a good filly but trained to the hour ; she beat a moderate field for j the One Thousand. j At that time there was a Six Thousand d Pound race at Leicester in the spring. Mimi ii ran for this and started at 4 to 1 on. She e was beaten casiiy by a French horse called 4 Reverend. I did not see the race, but the following ■ morning, as I was walking from Newmarket to Exning, I met Mr. Fenwick looking very disconsolate and dejected. I condoled with him on the defeat of his mare, and he said, ! "Yes, that was a nasty blow : but now I am Jj in the devil of a mess. You know Mat Dawson never went to see Mimi run, and - there is no doubt she was got at, or that I something was wrong; so I came down early this morning to blow him up about hi3 care- _ lessness. "I told him what T thought about it, and . when 1 had finished the old gentleman said, • Look here, Mr. Fenwick, you can take your- self and your horses out of my yard ajd take them somewhere where they will not be got at- "I tried to smooth him down, but he would 1 I not let me say anything, and only repeated • : Will you be so good as to get out of my t house at once? " Mat relented to a certain extent, and con- - sented to train the horses for the remainder r ! of the season, after which they left! Mr. ! Fenwick was at the head of the list of win- - ning owners that year. 1 must add that t subsequent form showed that Mimi had no I chance of beating Reverend. DAWSONS HEALTH FAILS. In 1896 Mat Dawsons health was failing j ! fast, but he refused to give in and used to | watch his horses working from his brotigh-1 - j am. On inquiry as to hiw he was: "Very t well, except for me d d legs." He died In i 1897. He had trained five Derby winners, , six Oaks winners and six winners of the St. Leger, and had won all the other big races. He always led a simple life, but t where his horses were concerned, "If they f want gold they must have it," he would say. Generous and open-handed to a degree, with all hi3 long career of uninterrupted 1 success, this greatest of all trainers left only 00,000. One of his favorite expressions — - "Damn the Blunt" — was truly his motto. The first time I ever saw Archer I did l not know him till the following year was on i my first visit to Newmarket in 18 79. Of course, I had read in the papers of [ his marvelous feats, and I was naturally anxious to see the great jockey. At St. . Pancrss station 1 saw the Duke of Hamilton ■ talking to a quiet, pale-looking young ; man dressed in a dark suit with a black tie ! and a big pearl in it. I asked who it was, , "Why, that is Archer," was the answer, much to my surprise, for he was unlike what I had pictured him to be. About 5 feet 10 inches in height, with a wonderfully slim and graceful figure, re- markably small hands and feet, there was ■ even at that time the shadow of melancholy in his face which indicated a side to his l nature never far absent even in his brightest days and which was partly responsible for his tragic death. No one seeing him for the first time would have put him down as a jockey, or suspected that such tremendous energy lurked in that frail body. It was that untiring energy which was the secret of his great success, leaving no stone unturned to achieve the one object of his life — the winning of races. ARCH KITS REDUCING FEATS. From the beginning of the racing season to the end health, leisure and plea-sure were sacrificed. Walking nearer 154 pounds than 140 pounds in the winter, he was always ready for Lincoln and Liverpool riding 122 pounds. lie had a Turkish bath in his own hou:-e and he used some medicine which went by the name of "Archers Mixture," prepared by a clever doctor at Newmarket called Wright. I tried it myself when I was riding races and from my own experience I should say it was made of dynamite. Archer ate practically nothing all day, but usually had a good dinner which sometimes would send him op in weight 3 to 4 pounds, I but the next morning with the Turkish batb j and his mixture that would go. How his] constitution stood such treatment for ten: : years was astonishing, but I have no doubt j | when he was taken ill with typhoid fever in 1SSG his health must have been seriously undermined. Taking him all around Fred Archer was the greatest of all jockeys. Apprenticed to Matthew Dawson when he was 11 years old, I it was not long before his master discovered that in this long-legged boy he had some- i j thing out of the common. He was only j 17 when he won the Two Thousand Guineas; i for Lord Falmouth on Atlantic. From that j time to the end of his life, at the age of 29, he was at the head of the winning jockeys. The number of races he won was astounding. In 1S7G, 209; 1877, 218; 1878, 299; 1879, 197; 1880, 120; 1881, 220; 1882, 210; 1S83, 232; 1SS4. 241; 1885, 24C ; 1SS6 . . . They included five victories in the Derby, four in the Oaks, and six in the St. Leger. He had many great qualities. To begin with, marvelous hand and seat. I think! it was Joe Gannon who once said, "When you give Archer a leg up he drops into the saddle and in a moment he and the horse are as one; no pulling up or lengthening of stirrups, but away they go, complete confidence between man and horse." I have noticed the same thing myself about Stephen Donoghue. EXPERT ON EQUINE CHARACTER. Archer had a wonderful intuition regard- ; ing the character of any horse once he had been on its back and he knew how to get the most out of him; undaunted nerve and supreme confidence in himself without an atom of conceit. When he was beaten by a head or a neck for a race he generally thought that if he had just done this or not done that he would just have won, and that is how a good jockey can make himself into a great one. He had a great appreciation of other good riders and he studied their methods. George Fordham he was always afraid of, saying, "In one race George comes and taps me in , the last stride on the post. I am determined i not to have this happen again, and then he just gets home and I beat him a stride past the post, with his clucking and fiddling you i never know what the old chap is up to." Jim Snowden, when in form, he said, was I : a terrible hard man to beat. "You might 1 nave him. as you thought, well settled twice i ; , i i I : 1 i in a race and then he would come at you again; you never knew when he was done with." Tom Cannon he thought the most beautiful and finished of jockeys, and Fred Webb the strongest. Charles Wood, he said, was a wonderful judge of pace and always in a good position in a race. Effective as he was you could not call Archer a pretty finisher ; he was forward on his horse and in the last fifty yards often rode with a loose rein, but horses seldom swerved with him. There was a tremendous race for the Two Thousand between Galliiard and Goldfield, Archer and Cannon riding. It looked much like a dead heat, but Archer and Galliard had it by a short head. I asked Archer after the race if he thought lie had won. | "I dont know whether the horse won," he said, "but I know I beat Tom ; he sits back when he finishes and I sit forward, and you know that may just catch the judges eye." In those days jockeys were allowed to bet, and Archer at times betted heavily, but on [ such occasions he did not always ride with | his usual good judgment, as he said he was in too great a hurry to get home. But I have known him to ride some wonderful races against his own money. On one occasion at Windsor, Golding asked him if he would ride a brute of a horse called Westwood, with no mouth and a habit of bolting out into the country. Archer said, "I will if you like, but I dont mind telling you I am going to have ,000 on Domino." Golding said that did not matter, as West-wood had no chance. In the race Archer, riding like a demon, got up and beat Domino by a neck, after having twice nearly gone into the river in two false starts.

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