Yearling Racing of Old: Such Contests Not Uncommon in England in the Early Days, Daily Racing Form, 1924-02-19


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YEARLING RACING OF OLD Such Contests Not Uncommon in England in the Early Days. Interesting Data Concerning Such Races Difficulties of Training Horses In the Longer Distances. It will be news for many that back in the good "old days" there was considerable racing in England at sprinting distances and races for yearlings were not uncommon. The latter statement is indeed surprising, but the Special Commissioner, in a recent issue of the London Sporting Life, presents proof to substantiate it. Here is The Special Commissioners interesting letter: I agree with a correspondent, whose letter appears in todays issue, that long-distance races are more attractive, as a rule, than short ones that is to say, so far as the spectators are concerned. All the same, a meeting between great sprinters has peculiar merits of its own. Let us imagine Epinard, Sicyon and Mumtaz Mahal out for a race of that character. It is quite a mistake, however, to assume, as is so often done, that the number of sprint races is greater than in former times. On the contrary, there used to be any number of half mile events, and races for yearlings over a quarter of a mile were not unknown. Thus, in page 416 of the 1S5! "Calendar" there is a race run at Shrewsbury Autumn meeting, November 15 : The Anglesey Stakes, of 10 sovs. oacli, 5 ft. with 25 added; for yearlings, colts, 7 st. 7 lbs., and fillies, 7 st. 4 lbs.; a quarter of a mile, straight run in. 15 subscribers. Lord Stamfords b. f, by Orlando Volley; Edwards l Mr. W. Days U. f, by Tadmore Promise; J. Adams 2 Mr. Barnards b. c, Cantab; G. Kordliam. . . 3 Mr. Inynes b. c, liorodino; Drewe 4 Col. Martyns br. f, Calcutta; Hray 0 Mr. II. Lamberts br. f. Jessamine; Clialloner. . 0 Mr. Harrisons br. g, Splitnose; Priteliard 0 Mr. John Wilkins b. f. Little Jenny; Itriton.... 0 Mr. K. Watson Taylors 1. c, Knuston; Iepg 0 Two to 1 against the winner; 3 to 1 against Tad-more filly; 7 to 2 against Cantab, and S to 1 against Calcutta. Won by a length; three lengths between second and third. A bad fourth. 20 HARM DOE. The winner, subsequently named Little Lady, so far from being damaged by this early effort, developed in due course into a successful matron, in which capacity she became the dam of the Two Thousand Guineas winner, Cambalio. She was very hard worked as a two-year-old, starting as early as February 22, and running no fewer than seventeen races, of which she won eight, but they were mostly oyer four furlongs, and in some cases only three furlongs. At the Shrewsbury autumn meeting, whon she won as a yearling, the first race on the card was an All-Aged Handicap Sweepstakes, "about three furlongs and a quarter." The third race was an All-Aged Selling Race, "about half a mile." Then came the yearling races over two furlongs. It is obvious on this showing that the "good old days" were not up to the mark of the present in the character of their racing programmes. The remarkable feature of the yearlings race is that the betting accurately foreshadowed the result, though it was only a two-furlong scramble. Little Lady continued to race at 3, 4 and 5 years old, winning in each of those seasons, her races being almost exclusively over half a mile. It might have been thought that after such a career her value for the paddock would be greatly depreciated, but she proved to be a very regular breeder from the first, and was only once barren in 15 years. Some of her foals died, and she twice slipped, but she did enough for fame in producing Cambalio, whose younger brother, Algarsyfe, was also a winner. HEAT RACES OF OLD. I suppose none of us are old enough to remember the long-distance heat races which used to be run, but they would almost invariably be run at a false pace, as the time records demonstrate. A point against genuine long-distance racing is that in the summer lime the difficulty of training horses for it is very great and that is why, even for the Ascot Cup, it is seldom that the field is not a disappointing one in comparison with the entry. Again and again Ave have seen horses pull up dreadfully leg-weary after that 2 1-2 miles gallop on the hard ground. I recall the day when Marcion won, and his opponents. Bucaneer and Orvicto, could hardly walk back to the paddock. The latter, indeed, had to be dismounted and led. The going at Ascot has been much improved since those days, but that does not alter the fact that for a Cup race a horse must do a lot of long-distance work at home, be the going what it may. The ideal place for training a Cup horse is Goodwood, and I Continued on twelfth page. YEARLING RACING OF OLD Continued from first page. have often wondered that the Duke does not arrange in some Avay to revive the old training stable there, for in the palmy days of Lord George Ilenlinck, it Avas by far the most successful stable in England. One three-mile race there certainly ought to be at Ascot, viz., the Alexandra Plate, Avhich is now nearly two furlongs short of that distance. It Avould be so easy to make it a genuine three miles by starting on the round course and coming twice past the stands that the wonder is Avhy this has not been done years ago. The race Avould be a A-astly more interesting one, as the spectators could see every stage of it, and it Avould enable us to single out the best stayer in training. Two miles six furlongs is a nondescript sort of distance, and as a result the Alexandra Plate finds less favor year by year, until it has now been subjected to the degradation of being called the Alexandra Stakes. Is it not clear, however, that the public, avIio like to sec long-distance races, should have some consideration for oAvners and trainers, Avho haA-e A-aluable horses and do not want to break them down by Cup preparations on hard ground? Moreover, it is by no means certain that many shorter-dstanco races are not of equal interest. The Eclipse Stakes at Sandown, for instance, has always been a genuine attraction, though the course may be none of the fairest, round that top turn. It can never be sufficiently urged that racing is for the benefit of horse-breeding, and not for the mere pleasure of the spectators, nor does it follow for a moment that the best type of horse for improving the breed is necessarily one Avho can stay long distances on the flat. Short-distance runners are, as a rule, the best sort for getting half-brcds, and the question of at-race stamina has never come to any very satisfactory conclusion, inasmuch as speed, after all, ig the chief essential for the thoroughbred, and those Avho possess it to the full can generally stay all right oAer a country, if they take to jumping. This question of long-distance running has undue importance attached to it. Who,. for instance, in campaigning, would assess the general endurance of his men in proportion as one could run 100 yards and another a mile? Time was Avhen I could and did run thirteen miles in good time, but many shorter-distance runners had a much stronger physique. I am dwelling on this subject because T know that, from a horse-breeding point of view, the demand for more long distance races is unjustifiable. When it comes to Via crucial test the best proved stayers are apt to make very indifferent stallions it may be because racing has sapped their vitality. The V lute Knight, Radium, and Torpoint may be mentioned in this connection, though they each sired something pretty good. Merman was a more decisive case in point, for though he won the Ascot Cup from a good field when eight years old he never sired anything worth serious consideration; moreover, his onlv good son was a sprinter.

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