Memoirs of the British Turf, Daily Racing Form, 1922-08-31


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Memoirs of the British Turf . Twelfth Article. BY THE HON. GEORGE LAMBTON. Geheimniss, a brown filly by Rosicrucian tameless, owned by Lord Stamford and trained by John Porter, was a magnificent 1 marc, a trifle on the leg. with beautiful action. She won all her seven races in a canter. St. Marguerite, a chestnut filly by Hermit Devotion, the property of Mr. Manton, also a beautiful filly and royally bred, won four good races, and Shotover. another magnificent-looking chestnut filly, by Hermit, owned by the Duke of "Westminster and trained by John Porter, ran three times without distinguishing herself. Neither I nor any other man have ever seen six such fillies in one year. Between them they won the Two Thousand Guineas. One Thousand Guineas, the Derby,, the Oaks and the St. Leger. Before the Two Thousand Guineas we heard that Shotover was greatly improved and was to run against the colts. As we all knew that Porter did not imagine his geese to be swans, she was well backed and started at 10 to 1. In a big field, ridden by Tom Cannon, she won easily by two lengths. On the Friday she came out again for the One Thousand Guineas, starting at 4 to 1 on, and was beaten a neck by St. Marguerite, with Nellie third, only a head behind. I did not see the race, as I had gone to ride at Ludlow. I know that I left a commission to put ,000 on Shotover, and my pleasure in winning two races at Ludlow j was considerably marred when I heard ihe result But the next day, greatly to my relief, I had a letter to say that the money had not been put on as my commissioners did not like the look of them before the race. Dutch Oven did not run in the One Thousand Guineas as she had not been doing too well during the spring. She was held in reserve for the Derby. The colts of that year were not good, and Bruce, by See-Saw Carine. stood cut as the best. He had won all his four races as a two-year-old and had been the winter favorite for the Derby. Reported to have wintered well and to have won a good trial, he made his first appearance in the Derby, starting favorite at 9 to 4. with Shotover at 11 to 2. Sammy Mordan had ridden Bruce in all his two-year-old races. He was anything but a good jockey, and in the Derby lie rode even worse than usual. Shotover, beautifully ridden by Tom Cannon, won somewhat easily from Lord Bradfords Quick Lime. Dutch Oven was unplaced. I suppose Bruce was a good horse. He afterward won the Grand Prix with Archer up, and then I fancy leg troubles practically put an end to his career. Shotover was not pulled out for the Oaks, and it was left to her stable companion, Geheimniss, to do duty for Kingsclere. Starting at C to 4 on, Tom Cannon brought off the double event, beating St Marguerite and Nellie easily by two lengths. ACCIDENT TO KEItMESSE. My readers will be wondering what had become of Kermesse, which in my opinion would have been the best of the lot Unfortunately for Lord Rosebery and Joe Cannon she split both pasterns early in the spring and she never ran till the second October meeting, where, in the Select Stakes, she met Nellie and Shotover, the latter giving away nine pounds. After a great race Kermesse and Nellie ran a dead heat, with Shotover beaten a length. On this form, considering the split pasetrns and the long rest that was necessary, I think there are good reasons for saying that Kermesse was the best of these good fillies. After Epsom Shotover went to Ascot where she won the Ascot Derby and another race. She was then put by for the St Leger. Geheimniss also went to Ascot, and started in the Fern Hill Stakes, five-eighths at the odds of 8 to 1 on. The transition from mile and a half work to five-eighths being too much for her, she was beaten a head by the two-year-old Narcissa. Dutch Oven so far had not reproduced her two-year-old form, but she was supposed to be at her best when she came out again at Goodwood for the Sussex Stakes. The race was on the Wednesday. On that morning I saw Dutch Oven do a canter with Mat Dawsons other horses, and again later I saw her come a good mile gallop. Archer was beside me, and nearly dropped off his hack with horror. He rode up to Mat Dawson, saying: "Why, the mares race is today." The old man took out his book and replied: "By God, so it is, I was thinking it was on Thursday." Notwithstanding this, Dutch Oven started at even money, but only finished a bad third. Archer told me the next day that I ought to back her for the St Leger, as the race was all wrong, because the mornings work had taken too much out of her. I told a friend of mine, Mr. Algy Bourke, this story, and he backed her to win him a good stake. At York August meeting there was the usual interest and talk about the St Leger. The public fancies were Geheimniss, Shot-over and Dutch Oven. DUTCH OVENS EASY VICTORY. On the Tuesday Dutch Oven won the Yorkshire Oaks in a canter and was pulled out again for the Great Yorkshire Stakes on the Thursday. This time she blotted her copybook badly, being only a moderate third to Peppermint and Nellie. Peppermint ridden by John Osborne, set a tremendous gallop from the fall of the flag and showed up Dutch Over as an apparent non-stayer. She went out to 40 to 1 for the St Leger. As it was well known that Geheimniss was better than Shotover she became a raging hot favorite for the race. Fred Archer, thinking that Dutch Oven had no. char.ce, asked Lord Falmouth to let him off riding her. as he had been offered the mount on Geheimniss. I believe that Lord Falmouth was quite willing to do this, but Mat Dawson would not hear of it and Archer had to ride Dutch Oven. Before the start of the race they betted II to 8 on Geheimniss, 100 to 15 Shotover, and 40 to 1 Dutcli Oven. I remember seeing my friend Algy Bourke just as he was going up into the stand to watch the race the most dejected of men, for not only bad he had a lot of money on Dutch Oven which he could not get out of. but he had also laid heavily against Geheimniss. If she won he was a ruined man. I have not a clear recollection of the earlier stages of this race, but I know that Dutch Oven was away behind at first Two hundred yards from homo Geheimniss had taken the measure of her field, appearing to be an easy winner. Then Archer, apparently dropping from the clouds, swept past her and won in a canter to the great astonishment of everyone. I shall never forget seeing a radiant Algy Bourke bounding down the steps of the stand, and for the rest of the afternoon he did not know whether he was standing on his head or his heels. As usual, there were people who said that Archer must have pulled Dutch Oven at Goodwood and at York. I have written what occurred at Goodwood, of how Archer had told me to back him for the St. Leger, and of how, after York, he was greatly disappointed with her, declared she had not a thousand to one chance, and did his best to get off riding her. I should imagine that this was the only occasion on which fillies had filled the first three positions in the St. Leger; and the most curious part of it all was that not one of the three could really stay. Lord Rosebery has owned many beautiful mares, but I doubt if he ever had a better one that Kermesse. On looking back on this history of the famous horses he has bred and owned one cannot help being struck by the fact that his good horses were all, with the exception of Sir Visto, of exceptional beauty and quality. There is no doubt that Ladas, Neil Gow, Cicero, Velasquez, Chelandry and Bonny Jean were types of the bloodlike quality horse, and to this day his horses seem to retain much of that character. LORD ROSEBERY RETURNS TO RACING. After 1882 or 1883 Lord Rosebery, for various reasons, did not take an active part in racing for some years, but about 1890 he started again. At that time I think Matthew Dawson had practically made up his mind to retire, but when Lord Rosebery asked him to train his horses, he being then at the zenith of his breat career. Matt could not refuse. He told me that no other man could have made him go into harness again. I think it must have been in the first year of his training for Lord Rosebery that Ladas came out as a two-year-old. Some time before Epsom summer meeting I was going down to Newmarket by the early morning train, and I traveled down with Lord Rosebery, who told me that he was going to try Ladas for the Woodcote, and that Matt Dawson had told him that he was a good horse. I was considerably in awe of the great man, but he was so pleasant and amusing that by the end of the journey I wondered how I could ever have been afraid of him. I remember that he had a bad cold, and I noticed that he had on thin, low shoes. I remarked that I hoped he had a change, as the grass on the Limekilns was very long and wet He replied that he never worried about trifles of that sort, but Matt Dawson, however, did, and I believe he would not let him go off the road beside the Limekilns when the horses were tried. I did not see the gallop, but I imagine that it was not quite satisfactory, as, in a small field for the Woodcote at Epsom, Ladas started at 10 to 1, but, ridden by Tiny White, he won in a canter, upsetting a 3 to 1 chance on Glare, owned by Sir Daniel Cooper and trained by George Black-well. Now, George had graduated under Matt Dawson and become one of the most famous trainers of his day. He had all his old tutors love of a good horse and a hard preparation. I have much to say of h!m when I come to later days. LADAS NEAR PERFECTION. The beautiful Ladas was a brown colt by Hampton Illuminata. I should say just over 15.3, and near perfection in make and shape. What a gentleman he was in manners and appearance, well worthy of carrying the colors of not only a great sportsman but the Prime Minister of England! After winning all the four races he ran for as a two-year-old, ending up with the Middle Park Plate, he went into winter quarters favorite for the Derby, and carried the hopes and good wishes of not only the racing world but of the people of England, although the Nonconformist conscience pretended to be shocked at the Prime Minister owning the favorite for the Derby. Now Matt Dawson was famous for the tremendous preparation that he gave his classic horses. When it was seen that Ladas, on the contrary, was having rather an easy time of it people began to think that there might be a screw loose. So much so that a friend of Lord Roseberys, General "Bully" Oliphant who had a lot of money on the horse, invited himself to stay with me, so that he might see what was going on. Matt Dawson had told me that he was well satisfied, but that owing to Ladas breeding and constitution he did not require a strong preparation. I forget the name of the horse that led him in his work. He was a bad one, but at his own pace could get any distance. Matt told me that although Ladas could give him four stone he was always carrying level weights in his work. There was the great trainer who understood his horses. GENERAL OLIPBTANTS CONFIDENCE. In the afternoon General Oliphant went to see Matt Dawson and Ladas. He came back full of confidence and full of whisky, for, like Matt he was a Scotchman ; he stood his money and he won it. Ladas first came out as a three-year-old in the Two Thousand Guineas. He was a picture walking round the paddock, won easily, and followed it up at the next Newmarket meeting with the Newmarket Stakes. As he had beaten all the best three-year-old form the Derny looked a foregone conclusion. Sure enough, ridden by Jack Watts, he won in a canter from his constant opponent Matchmaker. The enthusiasm was almost as great as in the days of Persimmon and Diamond Jubilee. Then came the sad part of the story of Ladas. In the earlier days of Matt Dawsons great successes the Two Thousand Guineas, the Derby, possibly a race at Ascot, the St Leger, were the objectives of the good horses. Now there is the Newmarket Stakes, sandwiched in between the Two Thousand Guineas and Derby. After Ascot there are also the Princess of Wales Stakes and the Eclipse Stakes. Matt, who aimed at perfection when he trained a horse for a classic race, did not believe it possible fcr any man to keep a horse keyed up to his best for so long. He told me that he wished these races at the bottom of the sea, and he would in his heart have liked to miss these rich prizes. He could not really advise Lord Rosebery to do so. as the races were worth about 550,000 and Ladas had a great chance of winning them. I have no doubt whatever that Matt was right in his opinion as to the continuous strain being too much for a three-year-old, and I believe that deterioration of really first-class horses that can stay a reasonable distance comes from abuse of them when young. The fact is that there are too many valuable races for three-year-olds and not nearly enough for four-year-olds and upward. You cannot expect owners to resist the temptation. I dont blame them ; it is the system that is wrong. To return to Ladas. There is no more difficult job for a trainer than to let a horse down when he has been thoroughly fit and then to produce him again at the top of his form, unless he has plenty of time in which to do it Now, Ladas had "an easy" after the Derby, missed Ascot and then was brought out again on July 5 for the Princess of Wales Stakes at Newmarket, when, with the odds of 3 to 1 laid on-him, he was third, beaten three lengths from Isinglass, which just defeated Bulling- don by a head. A fortnight later he again had to tackle Isinglass in the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown at the same weights. Although he was again beaten, he put up a much better show, and he was running against one of the best horses ever seen, who at the moment was at the top of his form. Ladas was then put by for the St Leger, but when he got into strong work again he showed unmistakable signs that his rather high-strung and delicate temperament had suffered from his strenuous season. He had now taken to pulling very hard, and was inclined to be irritable. In spite of all this, as the time approached for the big race he bore the hall-mark of Matt Dawsons sk:l-ful training and it looked a good thing for him. LOATES RIDES LA3AS. In every race as a three-year-old he had been ridden by Jack Watts, who was exactly the jockey he required ; but in the St. Leger Watts was claimed by Baron Hirsch for Matchbox and Ladas was to be ridden by Tommy Loates. Tommy was a good jockey, but had neither the length nor the strength to ride Ladas. I believe that after he had ridden him a gallop he was not at all keen on having the mount, as he was afraid that he would not be able to hold him. His fears were justified, for in the race, after fighting hard for his head for a mile, Ladas took charge of his jockey, dashed to the front and ran himself to a standstill. Moray Cannon, on Throstle, realizing that the pace was too fast to last had been a long way behind at the Red House, but gradually making up his ground, and coming with one of his irresistible runs, he caught Ladas a hundred yards from home and beat him three parts of a length. The finish of his race reminded me much of Dutch Ovens St Leger. There is no doubt that if Watts had ridden Iadas he would have won. In writing this I dont want in any way to depreciate Tommy Loates" jockeyship, but physically he was not the man for the horse. He was a lightweight riding at 102 pounds. Ladas only ran once again, as a four-year-old in the Jockey Club Stakes, when he was fourth to Laveno, giving him twenty-six pounds. I dont think he was seriously fancied. Once you get to the bottom of a highly strung, generous horse he is never so good again. HOW TO MAKE MONEY RACING. The career of Ladas reminds me of a talk I had with Matt Dawson one day. He had been saying to me that I wight to make money racing. I reminded him of how he had once told me that betting was no good, and that ninety out of a hundred people lost money. "Yes," he replied, "that is so, but you should make money by breeding and selling horses if you study their make, shape and constitution, although remember this, horses are getting more delicate and nervous every year." I asked him how he accounted for this, and he said, "Horses for years have had too great a strain put on them in their two-and three-year-old days, consequently every succeeding generation becomes less robust and you will find that as time goes on horses will less and less be able to stand the work that their more hardy ancestors did." He added that if he was a young man he would aim at breeding from the best staying blood availaole. I say that these prophetic words of his have been proved to be right for year after year we see the high-class two-year-olds degenerate into non-stayers in their three-year-old careers, and you have only to look through the. entries for the cups and longdistance handicaps of this present year to realize their truth. Lord Rosebery made many attempts to win the Derby before doing so with Ladas, but when he had once broken the ice another success quickly followed. In 1895, the year after Ladas triumph, he won again with Sir Visto, a bay colt by Barcaldine Vista, Sir Visto was rather a plain but lengthy bay, with sickle hocks. He only ran twice as a two-year-old, winning the Imperial Produce Stakes at Kempton Park on his second appearance in public. I dont think many people marked him down as a likely Derby winner, but he had the good fortune to be born in a year of moderate horses. In a small field for the Two Thousand Guineas he was third to Kirkconnel and Laveno, and in the Newmarket Stakes he was third again, but this time he beat the non-staying Kirkconnel, which started a G to 4 favorite. In this race he stayed so well that for the first time Matt Dawson began to have visions of another Derby. SIR YISTOS EPSOM DERBY. I never liked Sir Visto, which was rather ungrateful of me, for, on Matts advice, I had quite a nice bet about him. Starting at 9 to 1, he won Lord Rosebery his second I Derby. He was ridden by Sam Loates, a good jockey and a wonderful judge of pace, who gave nothing away in a race. Sir Visto then won the St. Leger with the same jockey up, beating a bad field. Lord Roseberys next Derby winner was a horse of totally different character, the beautiful little Cicero, but as this was ten years after Sir Vistos triumph I will deal with him later. I I had often heard of Lord Roseberys wonderful personality and his great charm, but for a long time I had not the opportunity of experiencing it, for he was considerably older than I was and also moved in circles which I did not frequent I have, in my last article, referred to a journey to Newmarket with him, and how quickly he had dispelled my feeling of awe. On another occasion I had the good fortune to dine alone with him at the Jockey Club rooms at Newmarket. After that I completely understood the extraordinary fascination there was in the man. In that anxious and almost painful time, when the horses are at the post for a big race, it has always interested me to watch the faces of the owners of the fancied horses. In their different ways they generally show the intensity of their feelings, but Lord Rosebery, with his sphinx-like face, gave nothing away. For all that I believe him to have always been a most sensitive man, and I am sure that the victory or defeat of his favorites went to his heart more nearly than is the case with most people. He has always taken, and takes to this day, the keenest interest in the breeding and racing of his horses. In 1896, the year after Sir Vistos Derby, the colors of Lord William Beresford appeared on the English turf. He was the eldest of those three remarkable Beresford brothers, the other two being Lord Charles and Lord Marcus. Bill Beresford had been for some years military secretary to the Viceroy of India, and in that country he had . carried all before him, both socially and on the turf. These Beresfords were a wonderful trio, a devil-may-care lot who took and gave all the joy that was to be had out of life, but in addition to this they made their mark in whatever line of life they adopted. Bill was a distinguished soldier and a V. C. ; Charlie was one of the most able and gallant of British naval heroes, and Marcus was for years, and is still, the manager of the Royal Stud. The three brothers were extraordinarily devoted to each other, and in particular Marcus adored Bill, who, in spite of his distinguished record, had always something of the reckless boy about him. Bill Beresford had not been in England long before he married Lily, Duchess of Marlborough, an American by birth, and he became the owner of a large stud of race horses, which were trained in company with Mr. Lorillards by the American trainer J. Huggins. This was the beginning of what we at that time called the "American invasion." American owners, trainers and jockeys played a large part in the racing world, and perhaps the most remarkable figure among them all was that wonderful little jockey Tod Sloan. The first occasion that I can remember seeing him ride was when he was beaten a head on St. Cloud for the Cambridgeshire in 1897. Kempton Cannon on Comfrey won the race. At the time we most of us thought that Sloan, on St Cloud, ought to have won. Little did I imagine that this same Sloan in a little while would revolutionize the whole system of race riding. SIMS NEVER MADE GOOD. Sims, another American jockey, had come over a little while before with a great reputation, but he never made good, and I, in common with many others, despised and and ridiculed the monkey seat of these jockeys. At the same time I could not tc blind to the fact that Sloan during the short time that he was in England in 1S97 won twenty appear to have particularly good chances. In 1S98, shortly after Doncaster September meeting, Sloan returned to England and became first jockey for Lord William Beresford. He began at once to ride winners, but I was still stupid enough to oppose him. At the Newmarket first October meeting he carried all before him, and owing to my obstinacy by the end of the week I was nearly "broke." My jockey at the time was Fred Rickaby, a fine rider, and the best servant a master ever had. He was a man of few words and never gave an opinion without good reasons behind it. I asked him what he thought of Sloan. He answered: "If I were an owner I should not run a horse unless Sloan rode it" I was so impressed by this that I determined to put up Sloan whenever I could get him and when my horses were in at weights that Rickaby could not ride. For years Rickaby had been first jockey to my brother. Lord Durham, and Lord Derby. He was one of the strongest and most fearless of riders. In later years his son. Freddy, after serving his apprenticeship in my stable, also became first jockey to Lord Derby. He rode for us until the war claimed him. After greatly distinguishing himself in tank fignt-ing, he was killed shortly before the end of the war. He was as faithful a servant and an even belter jockey than his father. I dont think I ever knew any jockey so universally respected and liked by owners, trainers, and those of his own profession, and so it was in the war. OF THE YOUNGER RICKABY. The commander of his tank squadron told me that he was the most gallant orderlv little fellow in his command, and set a good example to everyone both when fighting and in camp. The turf could ill afford to lose a man of his character. Father and son will later come into my memoirs. To return to Sloan. At the time Rickabv gave me his opinion of him I trained a three-year-old filly belonging to the late Lord Derby called Altmark. She was a beautiful little chestnut mare by Marcian Alti- ora, but all through the year she had greatly disappointed us in her races. I had won the Liverpool Spring Cup that year with a five-year-old. Golden Rule, the joint property of Lord Stanley and Sir Horace "Far-quhar. Before the Craven week I tried Alt-mark and another three-year-old, Schom-terg, at even weights with him. Altmark won easily, with Schomberg a neck behind the old horse. She ran in a small welter handicap in the Craven week, where she was receiving lumps of weight from moderate horses. I had by then given up high betting, but on this occasion, and for the last time in my life, I had" ,500 on, and I almost thought I was robbing the bookmakers. Ridden by the best lightweight of the day, Nat Robinson, she was a bad third. To Be Continued.

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