Lambtons Bargain Horse: Trainer Tells How He Won Four Races with a ,500 Discard, Daily Racing Form, 1924-03-27


view raw text

LAMBKINS BARGAIN HORSE Trainer Tells How He Won Four Races with a ,500 Discard. Sir Charles Hartopp and His Fickle Judgment- Madcap, a "Worthless Animal, "Wms a3 . Race and Causes a Hot Qnarrcl. The Hon. George Lambton, writing in the , "London Weekly Dispatch," gives the following account of the exploits of Franciscan, a .horse .which lie .acquired for. ,500 : A good horse that I bought out of Mat Dawsons stable for Captain A. E. Whit- aker was Franciscan. He was a lovely little chestnut, full of quality, but as nervous as he could be. He was the property of Lord Cadogan, and after he "had run badly in some race at Goodwood his owner sold him to me for ,500. In those days, as I have said before, you could buy good-looking horses for these small prices ; it cannot be done now. I rode Fran- ciscan about myself and jumped him over hurdles and small fences. This quickly worked a change in him and so well did he do that we put him in a smaH race at Derby. We gave him a gallop which he won so easily that it looked too good to be true, so Joe sent me over to Mat Dawson to find out what he thought about the horse. I found the old man not in the best of health and in rather a crusty mood. In answer to my .question he replied: "To tell the truth it is " little that I know about the horse, but I do remember telling my head man I thought he was damned stingy with his oats." Mat had no use for bad horses. WINS BY A NECK. We sent him to Derby, where he just got home by a neck, but he did not run with much resolution. After that wc went on jumping him, and he continued to improve. . We next ran him in a five-furlong race of : ,500 at Leicester against some good horses. Joe said that if he did his best, there was only one horse that could beat him and that ; was King of Diamonds. ; I did not go to the meeting, but shortly before the race I wired to my starting price bookmakers that I wanted 00 on King of : Diamonds and 00 on Franciscan. The first news I got was a wire from the starting price office "King of Diamonds 9 1, Franciscan 100 15, dead heat, congratulations." The little horses next appearance was in a handicap hurdle race at Kempton, where i I rode him myself and won in a canter at 100 30. Two months later he was in the Sandown Grand Prize, and in spite of a biggish weight we thought he would win. The ; day before I had a fall on some rotten brute in a selling steeplechase and broke my collar bone, so 1 toddy Owen rode for us, which was .probably a bit of luck, .for he rode one of the best races of his life. Never a yard from the rails, and yet riding a waiting race, he won by half a length. A GOOD RECORD. This was a pretty good record four races In succession for a ,500 horse. Small as he was, he was an ideal horse for Auteuil, so ; we decided to go for the Paris Steeplechase. Rather ambitious, perhaps, for a horse that had never run in a steeplechase, but I had jumped a lot of little fences on him. We also had a small school on the Links Farm, in which we turned the horses loose, and he loved going round it. Joe took endless trouble, had a small wall built, and other fences such as you meet at Auteuil. Everything was going famously, when leg troubles intervened, and the good little horse never ran again. Ono Sunday afternoon I remember going to see Toe Cannon and finding this usually delightful and happy-naturcd man in a de- pressed rnopd. . When I inquired the reason be said : "It is really rather heart breaking when you have brought off two good things to .hear that the men you are training for have had a bad week." What had happened was that Sir Charles Hartopp and Chris Murietta, after winning a lot of money on two of Joe Cannons horses, had yet managed to get into the soup by the end of the week. A FIXE JUDGE OF RACING. "Topps," as Sir Charles is called by all his friends, was a fine judge of racing and had a wonderful eye for a horse. In his time he picked up cheaply many good bargains, but, excellent as his judgment was, he had never any confidence in it himself, and would listen to every "cock and bull" story that was told him by the wrong people, and in the end this cost him a lot of money. In his younger days, when in the guards, he was a pretty good rider, and won the Household Brigade Cup at Sandown on Nina for Major Wiekham. But his excitable, nervous temperament was not suitable for race riding. One day at Sandown Marcus Beres-ford said to him before he was getting up in some race," "What on earth is the matter with your tongue?" for "Topps" had got it firmly clenched between his teeth. "Topps" replied that his teeth were chattering so it was the only way he could keep them quiet. But, like many men of this sort, he was brave enough when once he started, and could ride a good race. He had many useful horses, and always managed them well, but whatever money he might win on his own went west on other peoples. Wherever "Topps" went you would find plenty of life and fun, and lie was always inclined to burn the candle at both ends. He was, and is, a great friend of mine, but we fell out once for a short time. Captain Machell had a two-year-old called Madcap, .which had been down the course on several occasions. One night at dinner the captain said this was the worst horse in England. "Perhaps he is," said "Topps," "but Ill give you 50 for him." OFFER ACCEPTED. The offer was instantly accepted and the horse was sent to Joe Cannon. In about a months time he had him in a selling race at Croydon. "Topps," who could not get away, -asked me to go and see him tried, which I did. Ridden by George Barrett, he finished .last in the gallop. George told me that he was the worst brute he had ever been on- and could neither go fast nor stay. Ir. spite of this, "Topps" would have sent him to Croydon. Just before the race he came to me and said : "I dont believe in the trial, I shall have ,000 on him; he looks like a winner." I replied : - "You "must be mad. What is the use of trying a horse and when he finishes last throwing away ,000 on him? If you insist on backing liim Ill lay you the money myself; I may as well have it as the bookmakers." As I have said before, "Topps" was easily influenced so he did not have a shilling on. When the flag fell, Madcap jumped off in front and won in a canter. "Topps" came bounding off the stand, purple in the face, and said to me: "By God, you ought to be shot !" with a few other uncomplimentary remarks. My temper being pretty short, we had a considerable row. He bought the horse in and lost ,000 on the race. So Madcap went back to Newarket and shortly afterward "Topps" went down to try him again. He got Fred Archer to .ride, with the same result as before, the horsc.xjyas beat to blazes. Fred said he could not. understand how ho had won that race, for he never was and never would be worth a shilling. I was triumphant and rubbed it into "Topps," who was quite apologetic when he thought of the things he had said to me. However, he entered the horse for a nursery at AVarwick and although Joe Cannon iad another horse in the race called Jack Frost, which .vas supposed to be a certainty and started at even money. Madcap had to run and again he astonished us, for he ran a real good race and finished second to Jack Frost. But never again did this curious horse show one glimpse of form. No wonder bookmakers grow rich. The best of companions on or off a race course, I have had as much fun with "Topps," mixed at times I must admit with irritation, as with any man I know.

Persistent Link:
Local Identifier: drf1924032701_8_1
Library of Congress Record: