Memoirs of the British Turf, Daily Racing Form, 1922-09-21


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Memoirs of the British Turf BY THE HON. GEORGE LAMBTON. The following article brings to a close the present series of reminiscences by the Hon. George Lumbton. The British trainer closes his series with a discussion of some .famous "savages" of the English nice courses and a few reminiscences of Americans which have cut an important figure on the British turf. Seventeenth Article. The Americans, as I have previously said, certainly taught us much that was simple and . intelligent in the treatment of the horse. AVhen I began racing horses were not given , enough fresh air in the stables, which were often badly .ventilated and without sufficient light. Open doors and windows were unknown at that period, and horses were heavily rugged up when at exercise. I think the change in these respects partly explains why horses of these days are so much better tempered than they used to be, and also so much sounder in the wind. Roaring in horses used to be prevalent, and it was not unusual to hear a string of horses coming up th cantering ground making as much noise ts a band. Nearly every stifle would contain one or two really savage horses and when, as occasionally happened, one of these broke loose there would be a regxilar stampede from the heath. Time after time I have seen a loose horse galloping about for half an hour or more before he could be caught, trumpeting like a wild beast. Now when you see one he generally trots up to his stable companions and stands quietly eating grass till he Is caught. I remember on one occasion at Newmarket when I was the only person left on the Limekilns, and it happened in this way. I was at the time suffering from a bad back and could not ride. I was on foot, waiting for my horses, when I heard j a most extraordinary noise proceeding from the plantation, which runs along the side of the Bury road. PRINCE SOION ROARS AXD TRUMPETS. Then a loose horse dashed out from the trees and stood there roaring and trumpeting in a way that I had never heard before or since. I at once recognized that it was a noted savage called Prince Simon, owned by the French sportsman Monsieur Le Baudy and trained by Golding. My assistant, Harry Sharpe, was with me, and I hurried him off to turn my string away on to the Waterhall ground, out of the way of this mad brute, which would savage anything he came near. Away went Sharpe, and everyone else made himself scarce. I could see and hear Prince Simon charging about the plantation in a mad state of fury, kicking and biting at the trees. He then went for Golding, who rode a white pony. Golding discreetly left his hack it was said that he climbed a tree. The pony galloped off, toward Moulton, pursued by Prince Simon, and I thought all was well. But, somehow or other, the pony eluded his pursuer and Prince again appeared on the Limekilns. Standing there, lord of all he surveyed, he was a fine sight, although rather too close to be pleasant. Still, I did not think he would bother about me on foot, but finding nothing else worth his attention he suddenly came down at me. It was not a pleasant position, as I was more or less of a cripple. But I had my shooting stick with me, and hit him a crack over the head, which made him stand on his hind legs and roar with rage. A DESPERATE CHASE. At that moment, by the greatest piece of luck, Goldings white hack emerged from the trees on his way home. Prince Simon catching sight of him dashed after him like a dog after a rabbit, and chased him to his stables, where they managed to let the pony into a box and shut the door on his pursuer. They were not able to catch the savage till- late in the afternoon, when, I suppose, being hungry, he Avent into his box of his own accord. Prince Simon was well bred and a good performer. After this episode he was sold to the French government, but when they received him in France he was so unmanageable that they shot him and refused to pay for him. On another occasion two horses, the property of Abingdon Baird, broke loose, also on the Limekilns. One was King of Diamonds, a good sprinter; the other a big chestnut called Snaplock, which was a good stayer. Mr. Bairds horses were then trained at Bedford Lodge, either by Charles Morton or Joe Cannon I forget which. When they broke loose these two horses went for each other, but King of Diamonds soon had .enough x of it, and away he went as hard as he could i down the Bury road for home, pursued by i Snaplock. It must have been much like a $ hare and a greyhound, for when they came to t the entrance to the sables Snaplock was so j close to King of Diamonds heels that he could not turn. So on they went straight through the town, 1 down to the Rowley Mile stand. Jack "Watts 5 followed them on his hack. They went into the inclosure for hacks by the Birdcage, and i came to a. barrier by the steps into the Jockey Club stand. There they had another scrap. A RUNNING FIGHT. Then King of Diamonds jumped the barrier j and Snaplock knocked it down. Then they both jumped a similar barrier out again, and 1 on they went across the heath, for whenever : King of Diamonds stopped Snaplock attacked 1 him. Eventually they both came to a stand- still beyond the Cesarewitch starting post. j Jack "Watts found them there, both so thor- A oughly exhausted that there was no fight left : in them, and they were taken home without : any difficulty. King of Diamonds was com-! pletely ruined, and, I think, never won a race j again. These somewhat lengthy stories have car- ried me a long. way from the Americans. l! must say that at first the American invasion j 1 was not much appreciated over here, and T j frankly confess that I hated it, for it upset so J many of my old theories and ideas. But there is not the slightest doubt that it did us ! a lot of good and roused us from that feeling j ; of superiority and complacence which is : : fatal to all progress. 1 "When I came to know these Americans I ! found there was so much to be learned from j them, and they were so ready to be friendly, j that I changed my opinion. The first American owner I knew was the : late Mr. Ten Broeck. I was only a boy at ! the time, but he struck me as typical of the shrewd, dry, humorous American that one reads of in the novels of Mark Twain. I know that he was very much liked over here, and his colors were popular on the English turf. 1 But at the time I write of Pierre Lorillard had a large string of horses in England, : trained by J. Huggins. He was as great a gentleman and. as good a sportsman as ever went racing. He was not a newcomer over here, for in 1881 he had won the Derby and St. Leger with Iroquois, and in 1S79 he had 1 the wonderful old gelding Parole. j This horse created a sensation by beating; Isonomy for the Newmarket Handicap in April. He was ridden by Charles Morbey ; and started at 100 to 15. His victory was not unexpected by his connections, and he . followed it up by winning the City and Sub- urban and the Great Metropolitan, in both of which races Archer was his jockey. i Mr. Lorillards horses were then trained by a curious old character, James Pincus. Ij I believe the reason that he brought his horses , to England was owing to so much govern-1 ; ment interference with racing in America, j He had an enormous stud over there. His yearlings were broken and tried at home, and : : I he brought the best to England, where he j had considerable success for some years. Harry Cuthbert, well known to racegoers j of today, then quite a young man, came over, with him as his secretary, made his entries 1 and had much to do with the breeding of his horses. Mr. Lorillard was a great believer j in English blood, and frequently replenished his stud with it. Eventually Lord "William Beresford entered into partnership with him, and with Sloan as their jockey they had a royal time. The late Mr. "Whitney and his son were both of the same class of owner. When they gave up and retired to their own country they were a great loss to the English turf. Mr. Whitney obtained his racing colors in rather a curious way. At that time I had some horses of my own, and my colors were light blue, brown cap. One August meeting at York I was in a run of bad luck, my horses being continuously second. Gerald Paget came to me after one of these reverses and said, "Are you fond of your colors?" "No," I replied, "I hate the sight of them." , , He then asked me if I would take 00 for them. "Give me the money," I answered, , "and they are -yours." j ORIGIN OF WHITNEY COLORS. The deal was completed at once, and then I learned that it was Mr. Whitney who wanted my colors, and as long as he lived his horses carried them. At his death I received them back again. Partly on account of my old colors I was always fond of backing his horses, and I had a good race on Volodyvskij when he won the Derby. I j Two other American owners whose colors , . were always popular in England were Mr. j 1 Keene and Mr. Belmont. Mr. Keene was the. owner of that good horse Foxhall, which was I trained by old William Day of Woodyeats. I William had trained at one time for myi father, and when I was about seven or eight J years old I was staying with my mother at some place about eight miles from his training establishment. I hired a donkey and somehow found my way to his stables, and when I turned up and told him who I was he was tickled to death. He never forgot it, and when as a young man I was racing and betting he would sometimes tell me things which he would hardly let his own right hand know. William was of the old school and went for big coups and handicaps. There is no doubt that things were done then which would raise a storm in these days. On one occasion there were three horses running in a race at Winchester, an open course with no rails round it. One of these was trained by my old friend.- He was one of those mystery horses which appeal to the public, had been entered for the Cesarewitch, and was supposed to be a "rod in pickle" for some good handicap. AN UNUSUAL TIP. I had been losing a lot of money, and I asked the old man if his was good enough to bet on. He hesitated for a moment, and then said, "If you know which of the other two will win back it." I had no idea which was the best, so I backed them both for as much as I could get on, ending up by laying 4 to 1 on the pair. I went up to the stand to watch the race, which was a mile and a half. Coming to the turn into the straight to my horror I saw Williams Continued on fifteenth page. MEMOIRS OF BRITISH TURF Continued from thirteenth page. horse ten lengths in front, and I nearly fell off the stand. There was a beautiful field of standing corn on the left-hand side of the run in. Whether the horse -was hungry or not, I know not, but instead of coming round the turn he dashed into thecornfield, and. there was an end of him as far as that race was concerned. The funny part of the story was that the horse, named, I think, Don Fulano, was really not worth a shilling, and was a good-looking impostor. William Day knew this when he advised me to back one of the others, but when after the race there were nods and winks about Don Fulanos extraordinary dash into the cornfield and talk of the Cesarewitch, he held his tongue and looked mysterious. FOOLING THE HANDICAPPEBS. He knew that when the weights came out for the autumn handicaps the horse would be thought by many people to be his best and would afford a screen for getting his money oh the real goods. The handicappers were so afraid of William that it was not easy for him to have his horses well handicapped. There was a tremendous plunger in those days called Sir Beaumont Dixie. At some race meeting where he was entertaining a large party early in the day Sir Beaumont asked William Day if one of his horses would win a certain race. William told him he fancied it, but said, "You must on no account tell your friends or I shall get no price." The horse started a hot favorite, and was beaten to the devil. After the race Sir Beaumont went up reproachfully to William, -who said, "Never mind, you will get your money back on him another day." "Oh!" said Sir B., "Im not worrying about my losses, but all my party have lost their money." "Ah!" said the old man, rubbing his hands, "that is just what I expected !" "Autres temps, autres moeurs," "Skeets" Martin was the first American jockey really to make his home in England. He was first jockey for the Whitneys and J. Huggins. No man was ever blessed with better hands ; he was a wonder at going away from the gate, and I never met a starter who was not loud in his praise. He never gave trouble, and they could always trust him. There was no more popular jockey in England both with owners and his brother professionals, for he was the most obliging fellow in the world. He was a fine jockey, especially on two-year-olds and free-going horses. His chief fault was not having enough confidence in himself. I have seen him ride many races on horses that were not great public fancies, but he would be terribly nervous before riding a favorite - for a big race, and if he was beaten he would worry himself to death. He won the Derby on Ard Patrick for Mr. Gubbins and Sam Darling.

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