Memoirs of the British Turf, Daily Racing Form, 1922-09-01


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Memoirs of the British Turf BY THE HON. GEORGE LAMBTON. Thirteenth Article. The next race was the Craven Stakes, and, to rub it in, Schomberg in a good field was second, only beaten half a length by Jeddah, which subsequently Avon the Derby. The following week Altmark was a good third for the One Thousand not two lengths from the winner. After that, although you could not make her do wrong at home, she ran worse and worse. Having now become a believer in Sloan, I resolved to try to win the Liverpool Cup with this jady mare it he would ride her. Bill Beresford gave his . consent, and, as she was well handicapped, we all backed her once more, trusting in Sloan to work the miracle. Tod hated riding gallops, especially early in the mrning, and I never could get him on her back previous to the race. But as he had won two or three races for me on shifty horses, I somehow felt confident that he and Altmark would hit it off. When it was known that he was to be her jockey she became a hot favorite. T remember on the morning of the race feeling frightened that she would let me down again and make a fool of me. "When Sloan came into the paddock I could see that he was not on good . terms with himself, and he said to me, "They all tell me this is the meanest mare on earth and that I have no chance." Now, unless, he was confident half his greatness was gone, so I did not feel happy. He then said, "Where is the mare? I have never seen her." She was walking just outside the paddock gate and she certainly looked beautiful. He gave one look at her. In a moment he was a changed man, exclaiming, "Oh ! I shall win." Now, it was well known that Altmark was an impetuous, nervous mare, and naturally the English jockeys were not particularly keen on Sloan winning, which perhaps accounts for the fact that they were forty minutes at the post. In the many false starts the mare three or four times went nearly a furlong before Sloan could pull her up. But, to my great surprise, instead of returning thoroughly upset, she was as cool as a cucumber. Her jockey seemed to have hypnotized her. When they did go she was off like a rocket. Nothing ever got near her again, and she won pulling up, showing her true form for the first time on a race course. The start for the Liverpool Cup is close to the stands. After the first breakaway, when Sloan had pulled Altmark up, she looked as if she were going to "play up." I saw him lean right over on her neck. He appeared to be whispering into her ear. Anyhow, what ever he did she calmed down and behaved perfectly from that moment. Sloan won on another curious old horse for me at the same meeting, Lord Farquhars Nouveau Riche. This horse had in his time won many good races, but he had become cunning and sulky. He was in the habit of beginning so slowly that he would be quite out of the race from the start. With Sloan up he jumped off like a two-year-old and won, running away, by eight lengths. I think the old horse thought he had a devil on his back. It certainly is a fact Sloan produced a marvelous effect on all sorts and kinds of horses. Nouveau Riche was in another handicap on the Saturday of the same Liverpool week and we proposed to run him again, but as Sloan was sailing for America that morning we had to find another jockey. Rickaby could not ride the weight and I could not find a single one who would take the job on. At last I persuaded Sam Loates to do so. "I shall pull up my stirrups," he said, "and be Tod Sloan on the old brute !" So out went Sam with his knees under his chin, looking very uncomfortable, and away went Nouveau Riche from the fall of the flag as though he had the same devil on his back. NOUVEAU RICHE FAR IN LEAD. Coming to the canal turn, he was leading the field by ten lengths, but about then he began to discover that his rider was a jockey and not a devil, and he pulled up into a canter. After two or three horses had passed him, Sam Loates scrambled back into his old seat. He picked up his whip and shouting out, "Heres two for old England," he hit the horse two terrific clouts which set him going again, with the result that, dashing through his field, he won by ten lengths. Nouveau Riche never won a race again. That week was a good one for Knowsley and my stable. We won eight races and were three times second, but, as so often happens, . the . "good thing" of the week came unstuck. This was a two-year-old belonging to - Sir Horace Farquhar, as Lord Farquahr then was. It was entered in a mile selling race. With Sloan up it was something to bet on without fear. Sloan had won the race in a common canter, but, pulling his horse up, he was shot on the post and beaten a head. Sir Horace not only lost his money but he also lost his horse, for the latter was promptly claimed. Bill Beresford had backed it to win him 0,000, which he declared fcefore the race he intended to -invest on Altmark for the Liverpool Cup. The best year Lord William Beresford ever had was in 1899, when he won sixty .races, value 10,000. They included the One Thousand, the Jubilee, the Champagne Stakes, the Middle Park Plate and the Dewhurst Plate. If he had stuck to his own horses he would have won a fortune, but he would bet on every race, which drove his trainer, Huggins, almost to despair. It is most disappointing for a trainer after he has brought off one or two good things for his owner to hear that, after, all, he has had a bad week. LEARNED FROM AMERICA. There is no doubt that the "American Invasion" taught us in England a lot, especially in regard to the plating of horses. Their racing plates were far better made and lighter than ours. I remember Huggins telling me once in July that, in his opinion, having American plates on instead of English made the difference of at least four lengths in a mile race. He added that he would rather run his horse without shoes at all than in English ones. This so impressed me that I asked Sloan to cable to America ordering a box of these plates to be sent over. Meanwhile I ran several of my horses without shoes, with considerable success, but to do this you must have a horse with particularly good feet, and the going must be perfect. I did not get my American plates until the firat October meeting at New market, I was running a sharp little two-year-old called Handspite, belonging to my brother Colonel Charles Lambton. Sloan was riding her. When I told him that I thought she might just win, he said, "I wish she had our plates on." "So she has," I replied, "for they arrived last night." The little man fairly jumped, and saying "Please excuse me, I have forgotten something in the weighing room," he ran on. Having found what he wanted he came back, declaring that he was sure to win, and so he did, beating a field of eighteen by two lengths. The Americans also taught us that open doors and cool stables were far better than the hot-house atmosphere usually to be found in English stables at that time. It was Sloans misfortune to be always surrounded by a crowd of the worst class of people that go racing. Once a man gets into that set, I have hardly ever known him get out of it, even if he wants to. This was the ruin of Sloan and eventually brought about his downfall. He was a genius on a horse; off one, erratic and foolish. He threw away a career that was full of the greatest promise. As a jockeys, in many ways he reminded me of Fred Archer. He had the same wonderful hands and was as quick as lightning to take advantage of any opportunity that occurred in a race. Like Archer, once he had been on the back of any horse, he had an almost uncanny intuition into its peculiarities and nature. A race I remember well was when he rode Knight of the Thistle in the Jubilee. The Knight was a great big good-looking horse, but a loose-made sort of customer and easily unbalanced, in addition to which he was not too generous. He was owned by Lord William Beresford, who had backed him very heavily for the race, and he started favorite. In the parade Sloan seemed like a pea on a drum on this big horse, and knowing that other good jockeys had found him more than a handful, I would not back him. The horse was as obstinate as a mule at the post. During a long delay it looked very much as if he would be left. In the end he got off fairly well, but all Sloans usual quiet persuasive efforts to induce him to race properly were unavailing. He had to fall back on the whip, and in the end slammed him home by a length. When he rode back to the unsaddling inclosure Sloan looked quite exhausted. SLOAN" TOO TIRED TO REDE. I had engaged him to ride a two-year-old filly of Sir Horace Farquhars in the next race. Bill Beresford came to me and said, "Sloan has asked me to tell you he cant ride for you, as he is so tired." I tried to get another jockey, but, as there was a big field, I found everyone was engaged. So I went to Sloan and told him he must ride. With his funny American twang, he replied, "That was the meanest horse Ive ever ridden. Im tired to death, and I can t ride any more." But I insisted and weighed him out. When he came back into the paddock he lay on his back in the grass, repeating, "Its no use, I cant ride." Bobette, which was a beautiful little filly, was walking about close by. Sloan, still lying on his back, asked, "Is that my horse ?" When I said "Yes" he was on his feet in a moment and all his depression and lassitude disappeared. He won the race easily. Sloan was like that. When he was full of life and confidence he could do anything, but when he was down he could do nothing and would be beaten on the best thing in the world. The two American owners, Mr. Lorillard and Mr.- Whitney, were the type of sportsmen that any country would be proud of, and their trainers, first Huggins and later Andrew Joyner were two good fellows. Both of them, especially Joyner, were popular with the racing world. Their horses were: always run out in the most straightforward manner. I can say that at the time when Joyner made up his mind to leave England and return to America there was no more popular man in Newmarket, and I shall always look back with pleasure on the dinner we gave him before he left The more Americans of this sort that come over the better. TRAINER WISHARDS SUCCESSES. Another American trainer, Wishard, was a shrewd man, who won a great deal of money. He went in for a different class of race and trained for a different class of owner, but personally I liked him. He was a remarkably clever man with horses: There is no doubt that he supplemented his great skill as a trainer by making use of the dope. In those days there was no law against this pernicious practice. Wishard brought over with him as jockeys the two brothers, Lester and Johnny Reiff. Lester was a tall man and had great difficulty in keeping his weight down. He was a fine jockey and a wonderful judge of pace, while Johnny as a boy was the best lightweight I ever saw, excepting Frank Wootton. Glorious Ascot! And so it is. There yov meet all the best of the racing world horses, men and women. Ever since I was at Eton, when we used to run over in the afternoons and hope for a lift back on a coach, I have looked forward to these four days in the year. I remember on one occasion that nearly a hundred boys, myself among the number, were caught on the way home and reported to the headmaster. He gave us a Georgic to write out and we had to put in a hundred lines every day at his house. It was no joke having to do this in the summer half. I happened to be friends with a certain person in the headmasters household who was fond of sport and with whom I used to talk racing. He hinted to me that his master was rather careless about these punishments and would only take a casual look at the papers, so I thought that I would not put in my next lot and see what happened. As nothing was said, I never wrote another line, which was the only time I ever scored over the authorities. FIRST VISIT TO ASCOT. My first real visit to Ascot was in 1S78 with my father. I saw the races from the trainers stand. It is curious how these early days come back to me and a race I remember seeing distinctly was the Prince of Wales Stakes, won by Mr. Houldsworths Glengarry, ridden by George Fordham. What the names of the other horses were I forget, and I have no Racing Calendar of "that date. I was standing next James Ryan, the trainer of Glengarry, and I remember that halfway up the hill there were four or five horses fighting out a desperate race. My eyes were glued on the green and gold colors of Mr. Houldsworth,- as Ryan had told me that he thought he would win, and I had a bet of on the horse with him. I saw the green and gold jacket drop out. Ryan put down his glasses, saying, "I am beat," and I thought it was all over. But not a bit of it, for then I saw my horse gradually creeping up again, and one dash close home put his head in front on the winning post This was my first lesson in the art of race riding, and the first of the many brilliant races that I have seen George Fordham ride. Another thing that impressed itself on my memory was the delight of the other trainers at Ryans success. When later I came to know him well I understood the reason. He and his master, J. H. Houldsworth, were two of the best sportsmen in the world. Everyone liked to see them win. Mr. Houldsworth had many good horses, but ill-luck always stuck to him in classic races. I should say the best horse he owned was Springfield. James Ryan was for many years master of the Newmarket Drag Hounds and was a fine horseman and a good man to hounds. That same year, 1878, a French horse, Verneuil, carried off the Ascot Vase, the Ascot Cup, and the Alexandra Plate. He was trained by old Tom Jennings, who was a great trainer of long-distance horses. Tom Jennings gave his jockey, James Goater, orders to jump off in front from the fall of the flag, saying that if he ever allowed any horse to head him Goater would never ride for him again. I believe Verneuil made every yard of the running in all three races. In 1881 I stayed for the first time at Ascot for the week. That meeting was chiefly memorable for Peters Hunt Cup, which I have already written about. I dont know if it was in this particular year that Peters gallant owner, Sir John Astley, appeared in the inclosure in a short coat without any tails to it. The Prince of Wales took exception to this and told him that he should come properly dressed. So "the mate" got a pair of large buttons and wore them sewn on to the back of his coat the next day. He showed himself to the Prince, saying he hoped that his Royal Highness was satisfied. The latter was too much amused to be angry. In 18S1 a good horse, Robert the Devil, won- both the Ascot Cup and the Alexandra Plate. The previous year, as a. three-year-old, he had been beaten a head for the Derby by Bend Or. But he was a fine stayer and took his revenge on his Epsom conqueror by easily winning the St. Leger from him. Bend Or did not put in an appearance at Ascot as a four-year-old, but he had won the City and Suburban with 126 pounds, easily beating Foxhall at 92 pounds, and a big field of useful horses. Foxhalls next appearance was in the Grand Prix, in which, ridden by Fordham, he won a head from that good horse Tristan, with Archer in the saddle. I should like to have seen that race. But to return to Bend Or and, Robert the Devil. - On the Friday of the Epsom summer meeting, 1881, they ran their great match over a mile and a half for the Epsom Cup. I shall never forget that sight. When the two horses came on to the course there was almost a hush. Betting stopped, and everyone gazed at these two champions. CANNON RIDES ROBERT THE DEVIL. Robert the Devil was ridden by Tom Cannon in place of his old jocitey, Rossiter. He was a great, slashing bay horse, slightly on the leg. In the parade he was somewhat on his toes and anxious to get to his woric, while Bend Or, a beautiful chestnut, walked sedately along, with Archer on his back. The reins were loose on his neck and, when he passed the stands, he actually turned his "head round and yawned, as much as to say, "Whats all this fuss about?" What a gentleman he looked. The odds were G to 4 on Robert the Devil. From the fall of the flag Cannon did all he could to cut his opponent down, but two hundred yards from home Archer brought the golden chestnut alongside and won almost easily by a neck. The jockeys in those days had marvelous confidence. In a match of the greatest importance, opposed to an artist like Tom Canr non, Archer was content to win by a neck when he could certainly have made it a length more. Bend Or, though he had beaten Robert the Devil at Epsom, did not oppose him for the Ascot Cup. If he had he would most assuredly have been beaten, for he could not stay that severe course. In 1882 the Cup was won by the American horse Foxhall, belonging to Mr. Keene, but there were only three runners and he had not much to beat I do not think Foxhall l had improved from three to four years, as I he was easily beaten later in the week by the Duke of Hamiltons Fiddler in the Alex-I andra Plate. The horse he had beaten a head in the Grand Prix the previous year, the beautiful Tristan, won three races at this meeting the Ascot Vase,, a Biennial, and the Hardwicke Stakes. TRISTAN BEAUTIFULLY MADE. Tristan was a dark chestnut by Hermit, just under sixteen hands, most beautifully made, with legs and constitution of iron. All courses came alike to him, and shortly after winning three long races at Ascot he won the July Cup, six furlongs, at Newmarket He was a queer tempered horse, but game. The following year, as a five-year-old, he won the Ascot Cup and again the Hardwicke Stakes He was the property of Mr. Lefevre, a French owner, and was trained by "young Tom" Jennings, the son of old Tom. Like , his father, "young Tom" believed in a strong preparation, and I remember Tom Corus, the I commission agent, saying of their horses that they were so hard "you couldnt drive a nail into the beggars." Tristan remained in training until he was six years old. That year St Simon was a three-year-old, and they were both entered in the Ascot Cup. I dont think there was any desire on the part of their owners to oppose each other, and a curious match was made at Newmarket between these two horses, over, I think, a mile and a half, each with his own pacemaker. Good as Tristan was, he met more than his match here. St Simon beat him in a canter. Consequently he did not run for the Cup, which was won easily by the younger horse. But he won the Hardwicke Stakes for the third time. Tristan was not a great success at the stud, but he was the sire of Canterbury Pilgrim, which won the Oaks and was the foundation of Lord Derbys present stud. Ascot is a course where good jockeys and good horses shine. In those days the two-year-old course was 200 yards over the five furlongs, so that any horse that won on it was sure to be a stout one. But at times when two good two-year-olds opposed each other the struggle home would be very severe and left its mark, so the course was altered to the present one. It is now easier. As the start is down hill the speedy horses get such an advantage that they are sometimes never caught. I thought at the time the change was made that it was a good one, but I am sure now that I was wrong. A good horse, if he does not strike off quickly, has not sufficient time to make up his ground without a great effort. The result is that he may get an even more severe race than was the case before. In the old days the course at Ascot was bad. From the nature of the soil it must always be hard, but it was then rough and full of holes. Hundreds of good horses have been ruined on it But now, thanks to the energy, care and skill of Colonel Carter, it is the best kept course in England. In all ways the arrangements are perfect ASCOT MORNING WORKS. Anyone who really loves good horses should never miss the early morning work on the Tuesday and Wednesday of Ascot week. All the horses have to work up the same piece of ground. You see everything there is to be seen between the hours of G:30 and 8:30. In the ever,!ngs, after the races, in those early days of which I have been writing, everyone foregathered at the stables of the Royal Hotel to see the horses. There you met all "the swells," as they were called, usually in company with their trainers. I can picture in my mind many remarkable figures in those days. There were the two partners, Lord Alington and Sir Frederick Johnstone, both of them full of fun and wit, but with the keenness of a sword under it where racing matters were concerned. They used to train with William Day, and afterward joined the Kingsclere Stable, owning many good horses, among them St Blaise, Common and Matchmaker. Lord and Lady Bradford, with Tom Wad-low from the north, always had a good string for Ascot. Lord Bradfords best horses in my day numbered among them that great stayer Chippendale, Sir Hugo, which won the Derby, and Retreat. With the Brafords there was generally dear old Colonel Henry Forester, "the lad," as he was called. He was the frailest, most delicate-looking old man- in the, world, but one of the shrewdest that ever went racing, and he, was supposed to be one of the only gentlemen who had really made money by betting. COL. FORESTERS HANDICAP ROOK. Colonel Forester was a wonderful old man, and. I have seen him go well to hounds when he was so weak that he could hardly sit on a horse. He worked hard at racing and kept his own handicap book, which he made up carefully after each day. When he said a horse was a good thing in a handicap it generally won. He gave me much good advice in his time, some of which 1 took, and some I unfortunately did not. There also you; would find Lord and Lady Cadogan, the Castlereaghs, Lord Hastings, the Duke of Portland, with Matt or George Dawson; Sir George Chetwynd, Lord Lur-gan, General Owen Williams, Harry Hun-gerford, with Sherrard from Newmarket, a trainer who turned out his horses with a most wonderful polish. Sherrards was a big betting stable, and for a time most successful, but, as usual, that did not last. Lady Cadogan and Lady Castlereagh afterward Lady Londonderry both knew as much or more about a horse than most men. W. G. Craven, one of the best-looking men I ever saw, would come with William Goater from Findon. He was also a fine judge of racing, but never lucky. Some people said he was too fortunate in other matters. But his trainer, Goater, brought off some big handicap coups, notably Don Juans victory in the Caesarewitch. Fordham was the stable jockey and the story goes that when the boy who was riding Don Juan in the race went out to get up on him Fordham took his whip, a new one, from him, saying. "Dear me, what a pretty whip this is, my boy, but what a pity it is these pretty things lose so many races. Dont you think you had better leave it behind?" Putting it in his pocket he walked off with it Then at the stable you would also see the north country lot, Sir Robert Jardine, Lord Durham and his brothers, the Vyners, Johnny Cookson, Charles Perkins, and with them the big, burly north country trainers, Fred Bates and IAnson, and sometimes Tom Green. Mr. and Mrs. Rothschild would come with the Arthur Sassopns. They and their trainer Hayhoe always had a good string of horses. If he. could spare time from his political duties, Lord Hartington was sure to be seen. In 1891 he won the Ascot Cup with Morion. In later years, when he became Duke of Devonshire, he and the duchess were great lovers of racing. The duchess took the greatest delight in betting and wouid back three or four horses in one race for small sums. She had an extraordinary knack of picking out long-priced winners. I remember once having to back four horses for her I forgot one of them and it turned up at 33 to 1. Prince Soltykoff, who trained with Tom Jennings, always had useful stayers in his stable. He won the Cup with Gold, a great big, burly chestnut horse. Gold took a lot of riding and Fred Webb, a magnificent horseman, was given the mount. I remembered when that horse came in there were two raw places on each side of him where Fred had been squeezing him with his knees. It was a fact that he could nearly squeeze the life out of any horse. CAPTAIN MACHELLS STABLE. Another successful stable was Captain Machells and with him there were to be seen Lord Calthorpe, Harry McCalmont, Lord Gerard, Mr. "Bunny" Leigh and Sir John Willoughby. The captain and his trainer, Jewett, always laid themselves out for Ascot The Hunt Cup was their favorite race. They won it twice for Lord Gerard wfch Elzevir and Sweetbread, and also with Suspender and Knight of the Thistle. Captain Machells handicap winners were nearly always good-class horses with plenty of weight. He did not win with horses that had shown no form and were thrown in at the bottom, but he was a past-master in throwing dust in the handicappers eyea in a legitimate manner. Then there was the Duke of Westminster with the Grosvenors and a splendid lot of horses trained by John Porter ; old Alec Taylor with Caroline, Duchess of Montrose ; that most courtly of gentlemen, the late Duke of Beaufort; Lord and Lady Coventry, and many others. Altogether those Ascot evenings are good to look back upon. To Be Continued,

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