Invasion of English Turf: International Racing Under Review by Old Country Critic, Daily Racing Form, 1924-02-08


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INVASION OF ENGLISH TURF , 4 International Racing Under Review by Old Country Critic. Advises That American Horses Should Reach England Early In May and Have Time to Become Acclimatized. Just before the Zev and Papyrus match I expressed a doubt whether it would be practicable to have regular international matches between English and American race horses, writes Touchstone in All Sports Weekly. Such a scheme was in the minds of the New York Jockey Club when they promoted, or at least supported, tho famous match at Belmont Park. They even presented a valuable gold cup to tho winner of that race, to be held by his owner until it was challenged for again by a European champion. Perhaps I was wrong in questioning the probability of further international racing of this class, for, according to authoritative reports, Epinard is to be sent to the United States in the summer ; while Zev and Grey Lag have been entered for the Ascot Gold Cup. Which suggests that the owners of these horses believe that there is a future for international racing, and this in spite of the fact that the visit of Papyrus to America fizzled out into the merest travesty of a contest. Evidently M. Pierre Wertheimer is not dismayed by the fate which befell the English Derby winner. And it is equally clear that Harry Sinclair holds the opinion that it will bo possible to send one or both of his horses to Ascot with a reasonable chance of success. Well, we shall see. Epinard has not gone , yet, nor are we within measurable distance, of the departure of Zev and Grey Lag from the States. Much may happen before next May to cause the owners concerned to reconsider their plans. In the meantime, let us imagine that Zev is actually on his way to tho Old Country. CRACKS AT ASCOT. What chance does he possess of vanquishing tho English and French cracks at Ascot? Undoubtedly, he is a colt of really high caliber ; but it may be questioned whether he is a real world-beater. You will remember that after the Papyrus match a colt called In Memoriam gave Zev such a tremendous race that the judges verdict, awarding the honors to Zev, was seriously questioned by many of the onlookers. "But look how easily he defeated Papyrus !" may be said. Yes, that is true enough. But do you seriously believe that tho English Derby winner was at anything like his best Continued on eleventh page. IK. INVASION OF ENGLISH TURF Continued from first page. that day? It is obvious that he could not possibly" have been fit, having done practically no real work since his tremendous race in the St. Leger. And even if he had been fit, the conditions under -which he had to race at Belmont Park, with the dirt track converted into a sea of mud by the heavy rain -which fell so inopportunely, were enough to upset any horse. You will remember that Papyrus raced in 1 plain plates, -whereas his rival was shod with clips which gave him a reasonable foothold in the atrocious ground. All the best judges of racing in America j said that Papyrus did not have an earthly chance of winning under these conditions, and they blame Basil .Tarvis for not taking the advice of our old friend, Andrew Joyner, and others, who warned the Xewmarket trainer that plain shoes would not do. It is manifest, therefore, that, as a test of the respective merits of the best three-year-olds in America and England, the match between Zev and Papyrus was a complete wash out, and it should be totally disregarded in j any effort to estimate the precise class of Mr. : Sinclairs horse. The dispatch of Papyrus to I America was necessarily a hurried affair, and J the project of sending Zev to this country stands on an entirely different footing. ! There is no reason why Mr. Sinclairs I trainer, Sam Hildreth, should not ship the horses quite early in the spring, and thus give them time not only to acclimatize, but also to become accustomed to the ground on which they will have to race. Now, I do not suppose that it is so detrimental to a thoroughbred horse to be transferred from dirt tracks to grass as it would be the other way round. I may be forming a wrong conclusion ; but my theory is that Zev and his stable companion j ! would not be long in settling down to galloping on real turf. And I believe that j they will not be seriously handicapped by the ! nature of the Ascot track, vastly though it differens from the courses on which -their careers have been passed. "Whether the climate will upset Zev is another matter ; but as he will be here when the I 1 weather is at its best, I do not think that the change will trouble him. There is thus a good prospect that he will be in good racing condition at Ascot. I would advise those connected j with him to have him in an English stable by the first days of May at latest in order that he may have ample time to shake off the effects of the sea voyage and j to complete an orthodox preparation for the great race. What excitement his presence at the Roy meeting will arouse ! The Gold Cup is always one of the biggest events of the racing year, ajid it marks the culmination of the most brilliant meeting in the world. "With Zev in the field it will create unexampled in-t crest FRENCH KEEX OX WINNING. Even if the American colt does not turn up, this greatest of long-distance races bids fair to have a strong international interest; for French owners, who have always been keen on winning the Gold Cup, and have been successful on a number of occasions, are very I strongly represented in the entry. All that is best on the French turf in the way of long- ! distance performers is found in the race. i Even Epinard is there, which shows that M. AVertheimer and Eugene Leigh, have greater faith in their colts staying powers than is possessed by the majority of racing people. Epinard is admittedly one of the , greatest horses of his time, but I decline to ! believe that he is such a phenomenon that he i can win the Stewards Cup, over three-quar- j ters, in one season and the Gold Cup, over two miles and a half, in the next. Such a performance would be without precedent in j the history of the English turf, and if M. j Wertheimers colt can accomplish it we shall be left dumbfounded. For my part, I consider it extremely improbable that Epinard will bo seen in the Gold Cup field, and for the time being I shall leave him out of consideration so far as that race is concerned. France will have some stayers of real quality to represent her. One is Filibert de Savoie, who won .the Grand Prix in attractive style last summer. Another is Massine, who, later in the year, finished just in front of Filibert de Savoie, in the Prix de lArc . de Triomphe. That race was won by Parth after a thrilling struggle, a fact which may engender the belief that the French cracks will be held safe by their English rivals at Ascot. It has to be remembered, however, that the race which Parth won was over a mile and a half. An additional mile has to be covered at Ascot, and French critics believe that the longer journey will be all in favor of the best of their lot. That remains to be proved. Parth Avonld scarcely be selected as a representative of English stamina. He appeared to be beaten in the Doncaster St. Leger simply by lack of staying powers. TUIIN TABLES ON TRANQUIL. Papyrus will, in all likelihood, be in better fettle here than he was at Doncaster, and I shall not be a bit surprised to find him turn the tables on Tranquil. Xor is the latter certain of repeating her Doncaster triumph over Teresina. Twice these grand fillies have met at even weights. Tranquil came out on top in the St. Leger, but in the Epsom Oa!;.s j the Aga Khans filly finished in front of her. Therefore, honors are even between them, so far, and Teresina is such a glutton for long-distance work that she will assuredly come in for plenty of public support if she and Lord Derbys filly meet in the Gold Cup. AVe have to go back to the days of La Ficche to find and instance of this event falling to a filly ; but. then, how seldom have two young mares of well-tried stamina like Tranquil and Teresina been trained for the race, There are great possibilities about some of the other English four-year-olds. Inkerman, for instance, may do big things this season. He startled us last autumn by upsetting the odds laid on Tranquil in the Jockey Club Stakes, and he looked at that time to be a colt capable of still further improvement. Inkerman is just the sort of horse that Alec Taylor loves to train. His staying powers, which were convincingly demonstrated When he beat Tranquil, can be further developed by another course of long-distance work at Manton, and I dare say he will prove himself a better cup horse than Salt-ash, in the same stable. The last named is undoubtedly an improving colt, hut he may not be equal to staying the Gold Cup journey in first-class company.

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