Tattenham Corner Perils: English Reverence for Tradition the Reason for Its Existence Year after Year, Daily Racing Form, 1922-08-16


view raw text

TATTENHAM CORNER PERILS English Reverence for Tradition the Reason for Its Existence Year After Year. "Wherever racing and racing men can be found knowledge of the fame of the Epsom Derby is common to all. Scarcely less well-known is the fact that Tattenham Corner is a part of the Epsom course fraught with grief to many of the contestants. It is fresh in memory that the American colt Sir Martin lost the Derby by a tumble there a few years back. It fell to the versatile writer, L. B. Yates, to be one of those who saw Captain Cuttle win this years Epsom Derby. He was ably convoyed and witnessed about all that one could. He told all about it in an easy to read article in last weeks Saturday Evening Post A part of especial interest is his portrayal of why the famous Corner is such a point of danger to the horses. Also of why the Corner exists. Here is what he says about the" two items: Now I want to say that as far as this famous and sacred pathway is concerned it does not conform in a single respect to what anyone would consider the requirements of American racing. From the top of the high ground on what wc would call the back stretch and rounding the turn there must be a drop of two and a half or three feet. Since the course was first used there is no indication that those in control ever made the slightest attempt to level it. The turf evidently is in its original condition, possibly has been rolled after bad weather but leveled? Never. Just hills and hollows, as no doubt it was in its virgin state. Even the top rail is not laid evenly. In places it had the general aspect of an old-time fence, jutting out in some places and receding in others. No attempt has been made to throw up or bank the corners ; in spots the track slopes away from the inner rail at the most perilous angle, particularly when the grass is dry and slippery. Twenty yards away it may slope from the outside in. No course ever invented was more liable to throw a galloper off his stride. Personally I would hate to take the chance of running a first-class horse over it, and I can quite imagine the force of the argument when we are frequently told by experts that the best horse is often beaten in the big stake at Epsom. We wrere considering this aspect of English racing, perhaps from the too practical standpoint, and were accompanied by an American gentleman who has been prominent in the building of railroads and other national activities. "Well," said he at length, "why dont they go to work and fix it? What is the use of having it this way? With a gang of men I could straighten out that fence in half a day, and it would not take very long to plow the course up all around the turn, level it, and bank it up to the outside, so that all the trouble would be eliminated and every horse and rider would have an equal chance." In the very innocence of his heart that bird did not know he was treading on the very ragged edges of perdition. Captain Barry lifted one hand in mild protestation. His companions regarded the speaker with the indulgent air of a child who has babbled unknowingly ; but in a case of this kind the Britisher is always more than polite. "It could not be done," answered the gallant captain firmly as soon as he had found his voice. "Why, my dear sir, what would the Derby be without Tattenham Corner? Its the tradition ; its been here for a hundred and thirty-nine years ; nobody would even dream of suggesting that we should change it !" So there you have got to the cube root of it now. Tradition is keeping Tattenham Corner on the map.

Persistent Link: https://drf.uky.edu/catalog/1920s/drf1922081601/drf1922081601_12_1
Local Identifier: drf1922081601_12_1
Library of Congress Record: https://lccn.loc.gov/unk82075800