Collection of Misfits: Gilpin Tells How He Sold a Stable of Overated Thouroghbreds, Daily Racing Form, 1924-03-12


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COLLECTION OF MISFITS Gilpin Tells How He Sold a Stable of Overated Thouroughbreds. Incident of Elrick, Which Apparently Belied His Reputation for Docility Few Gentlemen Trainers in Old Days. An interesting experience with a stable of overrated misfits is recounted by P. P. Gilpin, the English trainer, in the following article, which is reprinted from the London "Weekly Dispatch : In the year 1S9S, when I founded my tiaining establishment in this country, there came to me some twenty horses. Among them was Elrick, which had been bought as a potential Derby winner for tho stiff sum of some 0,000. Elrick was to cause me some amusement, also some annoyance, before I saw and heard the last of him. The twenty horses were owned by my old friend, Mr. Neumann, who had spent something like 00,000 in their collection. They were a gocd-looking lot, of line size, with plenty of range and scope, and well bred, and altogether made up a string with which anyone might feel well pleased. I looked forward to the future with hope. My expectations matured, but not in the way I anticipated. After I had had them a few weeks I discovered that they were a very moderate lot, and I told Mr. Neumann so at once, advising him to let me get rid of them as soon as possible and empower me to replace them. "But I have paid 00,000 for them," said Mr. Neumann. ITS NOT THE ORIGINAL COST. "They may cost you another 00,000 if you dont get rid of them," I rejoined. "They are no good. If you get two winners out of the whole bunch youll be lucky." Naturally Mr. Neumann did not feel inclined to send the whole string to the sales at once, so I sold them all in ones and twos for whatever I could get, which did not amount to much. Two or three did win small selling races, but nothing of any account, and of course as they did so I let .them ago, and was very glad when they had left me. Itacing stables are full of stories of horses with great expectations which have gone wrong in training or unaccountably failed to run up to their reputation. There is no trainer but can tell numerous stories of these "might-have-beens." But of all the failures not even excepting Tishy there was no more dismal illustration than that presented by Elrick. He was a good-looking brown colt with white heels, sired by that most famous of sires Gallinule the sire of Pretty Polly. Perfect tempered, he was as quiet as a sheep, but a great slowcoach. Though he came to me with the reputtaion of possessing Derby form, he had not run in the Derby. Had he done so he would only have been in the way. ELRICK STILL LEFT. After most of the string had been sold, Elrick was one of a small lot" that still remained on my hands, when one day a gentleman living in the neighborhood asked me if I had anything I could recommend him as a hack. I mentioned Elrick and offered him any trial he liked ; and he rode ie horse off. On his return some hours afterward I asked him 25 for the animal. : But he was not sulliciently impressed to pay 25, and he went away. Shortly afterward he sent me a letter offering me 5 for "the three-year-old with Derby form," and I replied : "The horse is yours." I had described Elrick as being a quiet animal, which he undoubtedly was. Consequently I was greatly surprised to receive a few days later a letter stating that I had obtained this paltry 5 for Elrick under false pretenses. The letter stated that the quiet Elrick had thrown his owner on to a muck heap in the stable yard, an un-gallant action which, knowing Elrick as I did, I regarded as unuelieveable. I expressed my astonishment in my letter of reply ; and I said that I could not agree to my clients demand to refund the 5, as I still contended that the horse corresponded with my description of him ; but I offered to refer the matter to Lord Portman, the principal gentleman of the county, and ask him to arbitrate thereon. MADE MANY THREATS. This proposal the new owner of Elrick rejected. Instead he threatened all sorts of reprisals, including legal action, but he did not carry out his threats. The following winter I saw him riding Elrick to hounds.. On that occasion the. "horse with Derby form" carried himself well and showed a most equable temperament. Many years afterward he was advertised for sale in terms almost identical with those I had employed when he went from my stable for 5. Meanwhile I had learned the secret of the outburst of bad temper which had resulted in his new owner being deposited on the muck heap. Elrick was being ridden the day after he had been "added to the list !" So I think his owner had deserved his ignominious experience. There were few gentlemen trainers in England in those days. If I remember rightly, the Honorable George Lambton and Garrett Moore were the only two. Training of race horses, I am afraid, was not regarded as one of the professions for gentlemen. It was considered rather infra dig. Doubtless today there are many who would prefer my profession to their own. I do not advise any one of them .to adopt it, nor do I counsel them to try other callings. Tho life is hard ; winners are as difficult to train as to find ; but competition is the essence of the game, so let them all come. ICempton Park and Sandown Park were new meetings in those early days of 1893. Hurst Tarlc, Lingfield, Gatwick and others have come since. Many of the old-timers say that horses were more robust in days gone by ; but I believe they are entirely wrong. These old-timers aver that race horses are now kept in cotton wool, that they only run a few races and are sent to the stud, whereas horses of the past, liko Fisherman and Lilian, used to run as many as sixty and even a hundrel races before their public careers were ended. "Wrapped in cotton wool" is not the explanation why horses do not run so fre-fluently today. The reason is that horses are asked to do far more than horses of the past half-centry.

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