Here and There on the Turf: High Rating for Epinard French Colts Campaign International Racing Grand National Prospects, Daily Racing Form, 1924-01-27


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Here and There on the Turf High Rating for Epinard. French Colts Campaign. International Racing. Grand National Prospects. Englands officid handicappers apparently recognize Epinard as the real "horse of the century," if the weights announced for the Lincolnshira Handicap are to be taken as a criterion. Polymelus was assigned 139 pounds for the race some years ago, and this stood as a record until Epinards assignment of 140 pounds was announced. Polymelus did not start in the race, and it is extremely unlikely that trainer Eugene Leigh will send Epinard to the post under such K crushing impost. The nineteen pounds which separates the Wertheimer colt from Con-dovcr would constitute a wide enough range between top and bottom weights in most handicaps. Yet Condover is rated next to the French colt for the Lincolnshire. If "the English handicappers are correct in their estimate of the French colt, Pierre Wertheimer can look forward with equanimity to Epinards pending invasion of this country, j ; Nobody would rate ths American horses that are to meet the French colt here on a par with Man o War, and even the Itiddls champion might have found the task assigned to Epinard in the Lincolnshire too great for him. Epinards progress during his early campaign in France and England wh;n the racing season opens will be watched with great interest by the American racing public. The Wertheimer colts exploits last year were sufficiently im-j pressivc to win him world-wide recognition. The 1921 campaign will cither place the seal on his greatness or tarnish the luster of his record. Whether he races his way to triumph in these early engagements or not may have a great influence on the present plans for his American invasion. A series of reverses may cause his owner and trainer to decide against carrying out the plans for his trip hre. In a great measure the future of international racing will depend on Epinard: If he comes here, trains well and emerges Avith flying colors, the venture will serve as a great stimulus to future international competition. If, on the other hand, he comes here and meets with the same fate as did Papyrus, it is extremely unlikely that a French or English owner can bz induced to attempt such a venture soon again. Epinard is to be given every chance to become acclimated and accustomed to his new surroundings before the first of his series of! engagements is run. Coming here early in July, he will be sent to Saratoga. For nearly two months at the upstate course he will be trained in preparation for the first race, over the three-quarters distance, at Belmont Park. A three-quarters race is not much of a com- parativc test, and even if the French colt has not reached the top of his form when the Belmont Park race is run he should be able to hold his own. Then the mile race, probably at Aqueduct, will be contested. The first race of the series will have s;rved its purpose m tightening up the celt for a longer distance, and he should show even better in the mile race. The last of the series is to be a mile and a quarter race at Latonia. This will b3 the chief event of the three and, while there will be many who regret that the racri could not have been arranged for a mile and a half, this third race should settle rather definitely the question of supremacy. A series of three races, in which the French celt will meet the best American horses of his age, will make the 1924 fall campaign of surpassing importance to racing in general. It will serve to keep public interest at fever height from the day of Epinards arrival in this country until the entire series is compbted. The big stake races of the fall always attract great interest, but much of this interest is confined to the racing public. The visit of Papyrus last fall made racing a front-page story in the newspapers and brought the sport to the attention of many thousands who had never before taken any interest in the turf. In England and France racing is of universal appeal. Almost everybody, from the factory worker to the prime minister, is interested in the sport. In America such a condition has ! never prevailed. Many sections of the country have no racing and a sport with which peopb are not familiar at first hand seldom attract. as much interest as those with which they are familiar. The International Race last October served to bring racing to the attention of almost every person in the country. There is something about a foreign visitor, human or equine, which appeals strongly to the curiosity of the public. Papyrus was an Epsom Derby winner and everyone was anxious to see him. Those who could not see him wanted to read about him. The newspapers were quick to realize this fact. In the crowd at Belmont Park Oc-j tober 20 were thousands who had never before seen horss races. They went to see Zev and Papyrus because their curiosity had been aroused. They left the course with the conviction that they had discovered a great sport, and it is not likely that any of those converts to the charm of the turf will allow their new interest to lapse. Stephen Sanfords Sergeant Murphy, which carried 157 pounds to victory in the Liverpool Grand National Steeplechase last year, is asked to carry seven pounds more in the 1924 race Shaun Spadah, which won the race in 1921 and finished second to Sergeant Murphy last year under 175 pounds, is assigned 173 for this year. Both of these horses arc veterans, far past the ajc jumpers are considered at their best in this country. Sergeant Murphy .is fourteen years old and Shaun Spadah is only a year younger. What they have gained in proficiency since last year they must have lost in other ways through the advance in age. Yet Grand National winners have always been well along in years. The Liverpool course is the most difficult steeplechase ground in the world and only an exceptional horse is generally considered as having a chance in the Grand National for this reason. Many Grand National winners have not shown to such advantage over easier courses. Younger, faster and flashier performers could b;at them over the easier courses. But their experience and superior jumping ability, as well as staying quality, told a different story at Aintree. Sergeant Murphy apparently k believed to have a few good races left in his system and Americans hope that he will be able to repeat his victory of last year. Precedent is agdnst him, however, as only three times in the history of the race has a winner been able to repeat in the following year. The first time this happened was in 1851, when John Osbornes Abd-El-Kadcr, winner in 1850, scored once more. In 1870 The Colonel, winner in 1869, repeated, and then in 1919 Poethlyn, winner in 1918, came home in front once more.

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