Famous Epsom Oaks Winner: Hon. Geo. Lambton Tells of Canterbury Pilgrims Exploits, Daily Racing Form, 1924-01-05


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;FAMOUSEPSOMOAKS WINNERS J. J Hon. Geo. Lambton Tells of Can- terbury Pilgrims Exploits. t ; a In Her Tits of Temper Only the Presence of J I llarc Up, an Old Gelding, Conltl Calm x Her Her Two-Ycar-Old Showing. i t The Hon. George Lambton, one of Eng- j lands, leading trainers, gives the following account of the racing career of that fine race 1 horse and brood mare. Canterbury Pilgrim, In the "London "Weekly Dispatch." . "When Caroline, Duchess of Montrose, died, Lord Derby engaged her stud groom, John ; Griffiths, for the Knowslcy stud. He could not have chosen a better man, , for the Griffiths family is well known among breeders of bloodstock today. John Griffiths is still in charge of Knowslcy and his sons . hold good positions in other large studs, one ! of them, Walter, being Lord Derbys stud , Broom at the "Woodlands stud, Newmarket, j I It was largely on John Griffiths advice 1 that Lord Stanley bought Canterbury Pil- j Brim for his father at the sale of the Duchess , yearlings after her death. Beautifully bred by Tristan out of Pilgrimage, she was as a , yearling rather on the small side, with a good back and loins, but witn a short neck : and very low withers. But Griffiths judgment was good, for un-doubtedly this little filly has been the foundation stone of Lord Derbys stud. She grew little during the winter and did not show, any particular promise. She was excitable in 1 her work and had a bad mouth. I tried her twice and all she did was to show speed for about three and a half furlongs. FAILS TO "WIN AS TWO-YEAR-OLD. She ran five times as a two-year-old and I was unplaced on every occasion except one. That was in the Knowslcy Nursery at Liverpool, - when, thanks to a flying start, she was only just caught close home and finished a 1 good third with only 101 pounds on her back. . I have in a previous article told how the J late Robert Peck, after seeing her run fast t In the Champagne Stakes, for which she finished - last, had encouraged me by saying that t she would probably win the Oaks next year, . adding that she reminded him of that great t rrare, Marie Stuart, which he had trained, as she also had been a shor.t runner as a two-year-old - and then developed into a great t stayer. In the winter and early spring of 1S96 3 Canterbury Pilgrim improved immensely in 1 appearance, but when she began to do fast t work she became so irritable and pulled so J hard that it was difficult to do anything with 1 her. She was as spiteful as a cat and kicked at anything that came near her. "We had a big bay gelding called Flare Up " In the stable which had won many races for T us. He was as quiet and sedate as an old sheep and I sent him about with her away from the other horses. At first she would kick at him whenever he came near her, but suddenly she took a great fancy to him and so long as he was beside her she-would behave decently. FLAIiE UP TO THE RESCUE. So old Flare. Up constituted himself her echool master and he really seemed to take e the most intelligent interest in his job. They y had adjoining boxes in the stable and we e ir.ade the partition low so that they could always see each other. It was no pleasant job to do her in the e stable, for she would kick and bite like the e devil, but when she was making an extra a fuss the old horse would put his head over r the side of the box and if ever a horse e talked to another he did. "We even sometimes s took him into her box and let him stand beside her while she was being dressed over. ; So long as she was in training he never left her and accompanied her to every race meeting she went to. She pulled so hard that she did most of her gallops by herself, with old Flare Up ready to look after her when she pulled up and to take her home. 1 had made up my mind early in the year to train her for the Oaks and miss all other races, and she did a tremendous lot of long work. It was at the second spring meeting at Newmarket that she had her first and only trial. She had done so much work alone that I was not at all sanguine as to the result, and told Rickaby to ease her if ehe tired. She fairly astonished us by winning in a canter by many lengths, and when she pulled up would not have blown a candle out. It was not what she beat in the gallop, but the way she did it, which impressed us. I never tried her again, and she still did most of her work by herself. A DRY SEASON. It was a dry season, and the ground was very hard. In those days in dry weather the whole of the Limekilns were open, and you could go where you liked. Rickaby and I found one track which had escaped being used and was much better than anywhere else, so every other day she would come a good gallop up this particular bit of ground. The harder she worked the more she ate and the bigger she got, and that is a characteristic of many of her descendants. They are often mcst difficult and disappointing in their early work, but if you once get them going the right way, the more you give them the better they like it. The day before the Oaks it was frightfully hot, and when Canterbury Pilgrim stepped out of her box on arriving at Epsom the sweat was running off her in streams, and even Flare Up could not put her in a good temper. That day she ate nothing, so we gave her some stout with eggs beaten up in it, a beverage that Flare Up knew well in his younger days, and was fond of. By the next morning she was herself again. The One Thousand of that year had been won by the Prince of "Wales Thais. She was a strong favorite for the Oaks, and Persimmon having won the Derby, a great double was anticipated for the Boyal colors. But the men of observation at Newmarket bad not forgotten Canterbury Pilgrims gallop, and in spite of her bad record as a two-year-old, she had a good many supporters. Lord Cadogan had been round my stables the week before Epsom, and as he was leaving ho said to me, "You have shown me the winner of the Oaks," and he told everyone she was sure to win. As she walked in the paddock beside the great Flare Up many people mistook the old gelding for the filly, and said what a great, fine, slashing mare she was. I was so sure of her stamina and she had J t a J I x i t j 1 . ; , . ! , I 1 j j , , : 1 I - 1 . J t - t . t - t 3 1 t J 1 " T e y e e e a r e s ; done such a preparation that I wanted Rickaby to jump off and go all the way, but he would not hear of it, and said, "I must get her in behind and she will run herself -Uo a standstill." 21 So I let him do as he liked, only saying, "For Gods sake dont get on those rails, -but give her a clear run whatever you do." 7 Rickaby told me the other day that I 7 always gave him those orders when I thought had a good thing, but that he never obeyed them. He had a "passion for being on the rails, yet he always managed to get through at the right moment So in the race he waited with her till -they came to Tattenham Corner, and then 7 somehow in the straight there he was on 7 the heels of Thais. About half-way up he 7 dashed his mare at the favorite and settled her in a few strides. It was the fasihon in those days for a 1 jockey, when he challenged in a race of that 7 sort, to come as close to the other horse 7 as possible, with the idea, I suppose, of 7 demoralizing his opponent. So much so that 7 Tom Cannon said no man was a jockey who ? could not at the crucial moment pick his whip up just in front of the challenging horses head. Certainly on this occasion Rickaby was 1 extremely close up to Thais, and afterwards, when the Prince of "Wales congratulated me, he said, "Tell your jockey from me that he 7 came too close to my mare," and I think ", he was right, for the least swerve on either 7 side might have led to trouble. 3 I was desperately hard up at this time, and my only bet was 1,000-80, but as I was 3 getting in the train that night going home to Newmarket a letter was put into my hand from Lord Derby containing a check for - ,000, and I went home a happy man, think- 7 ing what a lucky day it was for my cred- " itors. ; Canterbury Pilgrims next race was in the Coronation Stakes at Ascot and here I made 1 a complete fool of myself. I was much . afraid that the mile, which is the distance of i this race, would be too short for her and I told Rickaby that he must jump off and ; come along with her from the start. He was dead against it, declaring that was the way to get her beaten, but I was obstinate 1 and I suppose had got a swelled head after winning the Oaks. I insisted on it, with the result that after . tearing away for three-quarters she went out like a snuffed candle. Her next appearance was in the Liverpool Summer Cup, which she won in a canter, beating a hot favorite of Bill Beresfords, a good horse called Paris . III. By that time my back had become bad again and I was not able to go to Liverpool, and shortly afterward I had to give up train- ing and co abroad. I did not come back till the first October meeting. The horses were left in charge of Harry Sharpe my head man and Charles Morbey. They had a xay , successful time and won a lot of races. Canterbury Pilgrim did not run in the St. Leger, as" Persimmon blocked the way, but she won the Park Hill stakes from a good field in a canter. She was then trained for the Cambridgeshire, which I thought was a great mistake, as it was not the sort of race for her. She would have been much more at home in the Cesarewitch. In this race she ran moderately, but two days later came out again for the Jockey Club Cup, where she had to meet a good horse of Mr. Rothschilds called Gullistan. He had won the Free Handicap for three-year-olds that week Avith 126 pounds on his back. I remember Rickaby who, as a rule al-r ways tried to stop me betting, saying, "Now this is an occasion when you can really let yourself go," arid I did. He was right, for she galloped Gullistan to a standstill and won by fifteen lengths. At the end of the racing season of 1396 Lord Derby asked me if I wanted to keep her in training for the following year and what I thought of her chance of winning the Ascot Cup. I knew that Persimmon was to be kept for this race and good mare as ours was over a long distance I was sure she would never beat this great horse. Also she was such a highly strung mare that she took a lot out of herself in training, so I advised him to send her to the stud.

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Library of Congress Record: https://lccn.loc.gov/unk82075800