More About Hammerkop: Gilpins Story of the Great Mare Abounds in Interest, Daily Racing Form, 1924-02-05


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MORE ABOUT HAHMERKOP Gilpins Story of the Great Mare Abounds in Interest. llovr the Winner of the Cesarewitch Hounded Out a Brilliant Tnrf Career to Become a Matron of Quality. In a recent issue of Daily Placing Form there was published an entertaining story told in the London "Weekly Dispatch of his great mare Hammerkop, winner of the Ce-sarewitch. Continuing that narrative from the year in which the mare wound up her campaign by a glorious victory in the Kings Plate at Derby, P. P. Gilpin writes: The following year JIammerkop again ran for the Gold Vase at Ascot. She was third this time, instead of second, to The White Knight, being beaten a length and three-quarters of a length. But she gave both first and second thirty-three pounds each, so she was not disgraced. At that meeting we repeated our tactics of the previous year and once more brought Hammerkop out for the Alexandra Plate on the Friday, when, as usual doing her part nobly, she repeated her performance of the corresponding day of the previous year, winning this time by three lengths. She started J at 5 to 2 on. ! It was in this race that Ma.or L.oder ran j a horse named "Waterchute, as he Avas anxious to see what he would do in public. "Waterchute was older than Hammerkop and had also been trained by Huggins as a two : j and three-year-old. An own brother to Ham-! merkop and Sirenia, he was a fine big black gelding and a grand goer. When four years old he was sent to Ireland, where at Con-yngham Lodge, the Curragh, he was tried a certainty on more than one occasion, but did not win, much to the surprise and cha- j I grin of everybody concerned. When he was : with Huggins he was also tried good enough j J to win several times, but always with dis- appointing results. I j WAS REPEATEDLY FI1IED. Before he went to Ireland and while there J he was treated for lameness. In fact, there i ! seemed to be no part of him, except his tail, which had not been fired. After he had disappointed j several times at Conyngham Lodge I asked Major Loder and Mr. Noble Johnson, ! j who so ably managed Major Loders stud and on whose advice Major Loder had bought ! j Kyrefield Ixdge, to let me have the horse to ! lead work, but they both demurred, saying he I j was always lame and would be no good to ; ; me. j I I replied, "Let me have him and see what ; i he will do. If you dont you must buy j j another horse to lead work, as I have none J suitable." So AVaterchute was sent to Clare- j i haven. j When he arrived I. looked him all over I j carefully and saw that he had been fired everywhere. He was very stiff when he j j came out of the stable in the morning, and : ; to all intents and purposes was a cripple. 1 However, I made it my business to watch j I i him critically as he left his box every morn- ing for a week or so, and I came to the conclusion that, despite the many times he j j had already been fired, his late masters , Jiad not found the source of his lameness. j My diagnosis was that there was nothing : wrong with his feet or legs, but that the seat i of the lameness was in the kidneys. Conse- quently I instructed my head man to treat AVaterchute for kidney trouble, which he did, ! j and a few days later he began to show dis- 1 tinct improvement. Soon after this he wasj j perfectly well. All signs of the lameness, ; save the marks of the firing, had completely; disappeared. j I AVATERCHUTE A AVOXDER. j j It was then I discovered that Waterchute was not only a speedy horse but a veritable wonder. But for ill luck and perhaps for having been punished when not feeling himself he might have been a really good Avin-Jier. As it Avas he had lost heart for running in public, although his speed was phenomenal. So much so that I had to put from fourteen to twenty-one .pounds more on him than Pretty Polly Avhen he led her in a gallop or he Avould have ruined her. For the benefit of the uninitiated I may say that it does not do to ask horses to do too much, in my opinion, in their every-day work, for the simple reason that if you did they would very soon get Avcary of the job and give up racing. All the heart had gone out of AVaterchute when he came to me. If a horse overtook him he. was done. Probably he still remembered the punishment he had received when asked to do more than he was physically capable of accomplishing in his then condition. However, we gave him a chance, and I ran him in public three times. He won twoj small races under protest and would noti j have Avon them but for the masterly and! brainy manner in which he Avas ridden on! each occasion by Otto Madden. But in ai trial, when properly ridden, he Avas quite i invaluable. I j A well-known man on the turf who found AAaterchute to be a marA-el Avas the Hon. i George Lambton. One day Mr. Lambton! came to me and said that in Princess Flori-! zel he had a mare which he thought was a j useful one. He Avished to run her in the 1 Northumberland Plate, but unfortunately he! had no animal quite suitable to try her with j and he asked if I could lend him one. At this I told him that the only horse I had in my stable that I could give him a gallop with was Waterchute, always provided that : lie and Princess Florizel AVere ridden as 1 1 should direct. AArhen I mentioned Water-j chute Mr. Lambton Avas naturally skeptical.! I replied that AAaterchute would definitely tell him everything he wanted to know. "All right." he said, and the time of the trial was arranged. When I asked him what weight he would like AVaterchute to carry he said: "I suppose Princess Florizel should givve him some weight?" At this I laughed heartily and Mr. Lambton looked puzzled. I asked him to pardon my merriment, adding that none kneAV but myself what a horse Waterchute was. Mr. Lambton then suggested that the two horses should run at the same weight or the weights slightly j In faAor of Princess Florizel. "Waterchute would run clean away from your mare," I told him. i I believe that Mr. Lambton then thought! I was pulling his leg badly, but he asked j rather hopelessly: "Well, what do you suggest?" "I think," I returned, "that my horse J ! j j : I j : j J I j J i ! j ! j ! j ! j I ; ; j I ; i j j J j i j I j j j : ; 1 I i j j j , j : i ! j 1 j ; j I j j j i j i j 1 should give yours just twenty-eight pounds. If you then gallop them as I suggest and yours beats him you may be sure of winning the Northumberland Plate easily enough," Avhieh statement only added to Mr. Lambtons growing amazement. The horses were weighted as I suggested and the rider of Princess Florizel received instructions not to come within two lengths of AVaterchute until the last furlongs. If she then beat my horse the trial would be perfectly satisfactory. If, however, my horse were tackled before the last furlongs the trial would be useless, as he would fade out immediately. TRIAL REMARKABLE OXE. There were one or two other horses put in the gallop, for companys sake, as a two-j horse gallop is very rarely satisfactory. The trial AA-as carried out exactly as planned, with the result that Princess Florizel flashed j past AAaterchute when they were nearing ! the post and won cleverly by two or three j lengths. On this occasion, however, AAater-i chute did not give up but ran gamely until j the end. To be beaten only three lengths by Princess Florizel, which was carrying twen-I ty-eight pounds lessi was an astonishing good j performance for a horse that had never Avon any sort of a race at that time. After it was over I said to Mr. Lambton : "I think your mare will Avin the Northumber-I land Plate all right and shall be glad if i you will put me a "pony" on her Avhen you j back her yourself." He did and Princess Florizel, a four-year-old, carrying ninety-one pounds, won easily by five lengths. That AA-as in 1905. In the race for the Alexandra Plate in which AAaterchute had run against Hammer- I kbp, the former, as I had predicted to the ! owner, broke down and was never any good again. Major Loder, knowing I was very fond of the old chap, kindly handed him over to me for a hack, but he had shot his bolt, and after giving him every chance I AA-as reluctantly obliged to destroy him. THIRD IX GOLD TASE. After Hammerkop had won this Alexandra Plate Major Loder sent her to Ireland, Avhere she AA-as trained at Cunyngham Lodge and sent back the next year to run for the third time for the Gold Arase at Ascot. She Avas again beaten and unplaced. On the folloAV-ing Friday she Avas pulled out again for the Alexandra Plate, but ran unplaced. My representative in this race was an animal named Great Scott, which had been ."jent to me from India, where he had AA-on the Viceroys Cup twice for Mr. A. A. Spear and where he AA-as considered to be a very good horse. He ran third in this race, and it AAas then obvious to me that he had seen the best of his days. He was a most charming horse, Everyone in the stable loved him, and it was the prettiest thing in the Avorld to see him led out of his box and let loose, when he would move off to the sandbath, thoroughly enjoy tAvo or three rolls and walk back to his stable. After that last race for the Alexandra Plate old Hammerkop ran once or tAvice more, but without success, and so she was retired to the stud. There was something peculiar about the mare Avhieh caused me to doubt whether she AA-ould make good in her jnew sphere, and, frankly, I thought it was extremely unlikely that she Avould ever breed, but I AA-as wrong as the sequel will show, In 1910 Hammerkop produced a filly named Martellina, by Laveno, but she AA-as no good as a race horse and AA-as retired to the stud, Next year Hammerkop gave birth to a dead foal by Spearmint, which Avon the Derby in jlOOfi, and the following year another dead foal was born to her by St. Frusquin, which was beaten a head for the Derby by Persim-jmon. AAe began to despair of Hammerkop s a brood mare, and when the following year she was barren to Spearmint hers looked like a pretty hopeless case, However, the following year she produced a colt to be named Hammerhead, by Buck-j AA-heat. We hoped for the best, but he turned out no good and was sold for a few soA-ereigns, and I was A-ery glad when lie went. Once again Hammerkop had a foal by BuckAvheat, but again we Ayere disap- pointed, and then she AA-as once more barren to Spearmint. TIIEX CAME SlIOX KOP. Her next foal produced in 1917, hoAA-eA-cr, was to turn out a A-cry different animal. He 1 was by Spearmint, and Avas named Spion Kop ! That Spion Kop, after a most disappointing tAvo-year-old career, won the Derby in 1920 is general knoAvledge. During the years 191S. 1919 and 1920 she produced nothing, but in 1921 she had another foal by : Spearmint, and again aac had hopes of an-j other Derby Avinner. But those hopes van- ; ished as soon as they arose, for the foal died : and Hammerkop died too. In eleven years at . the stud she had only produced one foal that i proA-ed to be any good, but Spion Kop AA-as : Avell Avorth AA-aiting for. If every other good mare Ave had sent to the stud produced a Spion Kop aac should have had nothing to complain about. My readers Avill remember that it A-as reported, after Spion Kop had won his Derby, that he Avas selected by among others Mr. Asquith, Avho, though he does not bet, had made him out to be the Avinner because he Avas the foal t of tAvo such good horses as Spearmint and Hammerkop. I do not knoAV if this report AA-as true, but I do know that Lord Chaplin , always greatly admired him. This year Ave saAV a repetition of merkops luck at the stud in Captain Cuttle, i The dam of this picturesquely named three-j year-old was Bella Aista. which for ten years from 1909 to 1919 produced nothing! worthy of mention except a colt called Sunny. Land. And yet Captain Cuttle, which AA-as readily beaten by our hors?. St. Louis, for the Two Thousand Guineas, came out and Avon the 1922 Derby in a canter. Such is racing luck and the luck of thei stud as Avell. Of Spion Kops public and priA-ate performances and of that much-discussed trial before the Derby I shall have more to tell in subsequent instalments.

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