Sterlings Great Race: Custance Relates How Famous Horse Won Liverpool Cup.; How Noted English Rider Accepted Chance Mount Proffered by Fordham and Gained a Vicory [Victory] in Rich Classic., Daily Racing Form, 1924-04-24


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i i i j i [ I I l j I » ! 1 STERLINGS GREAT RACE ♦ — Custance Relates How Famous Horse Won Liverpool Cup. * . How Noted English Rider Accepted Chance .Mount Proffered by 1 onlham and Gained a VIcory in Rich Classic. . * In his Riding Recollections and Turf Stories" Henry Custance relates the story of Sterlings great race in tho Liverpool Cup of 1S73. The writers story is reproduced here-[ with : "On two occasions only have I had the pleasure of wearing Mr. Grettons colors. but both were Sterling good rides— if the joke may be excused. The races in question were the Cambridgeshire and Liverpool Cup in 1373. One was quite a casual mount and came about in this way : Fordham and Chris Penning were great cronies ; the latter was always a great friend of Mr. Grettons, and they had laid themselves out to win the Cambridgeshire with Sterling, and Ford-ham was to ride him. "All went well until they came to Newmarket. Fordham. who had not been in good health, had not been riding anything but quiet horses. All his employers allowed him to pick his mounts, knowing he was not in condition. One day he was asked by the trainer, a man named Houghton, who was formerly head lad to old T. Taylor, father of Alec, to come ride Sterling a gallop in the morning. This he tried to do. but in cantering previously to his mounting the old horse began rearing and kicking, which poor old Fordham could not stand, so he said to Houghton : " T think you had better get someone else. to ride this horse. I am not strong enough. "Houghton asked: Who am I to get? And Fordham replied: T will get you a jockey." CUSTANCE OFFERED THE MOUNT. "Subsequently he sent round for me to go and see him. and told me all about it, Chris Penning being in tho room. He asked me if I would ride Sterling in the Cambridgeshire if they put me on a thousand to nothing. I immediately told him I would only be too glad of the chance for half the price. He also informed me the horse was a bit nasty, but that I should not mind it. It was an unlucky day for me when I rode Sterling in the Cambridgeshire. It rained in torrents, and was dreadfully cold. I had been reducing for other races and, we were about three-quarters of an hour at the post. There wore thirty-seven runners, and Sterling, which had behaved himself pretty well for the first ten minutes, became almost unmanageable afterward. He reared, kicked and did everything he should not have done, a.s his temper was upset. "At last the flag fell to a straggling start, and before we had gone two hundred yards I was in the first three, with 111 pounds on. When we had gone a quarter of a mile 1 was second, with my reins like soft soap. 1 ought really to have been about nineteenth or twentieth, with top weight on, but it could not be helped, as I was perfectly helpless. My hands were numbed and the sweat from the horses neck made the reins quite past holding — in fact, I was under every possible disadvantage, although I finished third. "I beggea Mr. Gretton to accept with Sterling for the Liverpool Cup, but he was rather inclined to scratch him, as he hated to be forestalled. PICKS STERLING TO WIN. "One evening a day or two afterward, 1 was dining with Penning at Newmarket, when he said: " What will win the Liverpool Cup?* "I replied at once. Sterling. " Come round to Mr. Grettons place and tell him so then," urged Penning. "Mr. Gretton accepted with him: but soon after Sterling had an accident. Ho hit his leg, and was stopped in his work for nearly a week, so was knocked out in the betting, and looked like being scratched. However, he came round all right, and I went over to Aintree from Waterloo, where I was staying with Penning, to ride Sterling a gallop on Wednesday morning, the Cup being run on Friday. I was driven over by the landlord of the hotel at Waterloo, named Hine-son, who had a hotel at Liverpool, as well. "Arrived at Aintree, I rode Sterling a haif speed gallop over the Cup course. The horse was fresh, but pulled up all right and sound. When I returned for breakfast. Penning said to me: Well, how did he go? And I told him : First rate." " *By jabers, he said. He will ate half the brutes at the post, and win in a canter — a real Irish saying. "Sterling did not. however, eat any of his competitors at the post, and he certainly did not win in a canter — but I will try to describe the race. "There were fifteen runners and the handicap was rather a flattering one. Lilane, for instance, which had won several Queens Plates, had only 115. including a fivepound penalty. Naturally, Mr. Saviles mare made the running. COURSE IS HEAVY. Tho course was extremely heavy, and thinking that weight must tell, Maidment sent her a real cracker. As I mentioned. Sterling had been eased in his work — or, I might say. had done no work at all — for a week. 1 was obliged to wait with him — not quite last, as 1 dont believe in waiting too far out of your ground. "When we came round th? last turn, nearly half a mile from home, 1 began to draw away from the ruck, and by the time we leached the distance toward the front lot 1 saw King Lud and Louise Victoria racing : together. My old horse was going great guns at the time, but I wished Judge Johnson could ahtft his box nearer to mo, as 1 was afraid, when I asked Sterling the ques-tion, he would not quite get up to him. 1 still suffered and waited, letting the other two run themselves out and was at last rewarded, partly by their coming back to me, and partly by the extraoi dinary struggle made ! by Sterling. When I called on the gallant i animal for the final effort he responded I gamely and won by a short head, the same distance dividing the second and third. "In tiiis nice i beat two of my old masters, Mr. Cartwrigbt ami Lord Lonsdale, who ; owned Louise Victoria and King Lud, respe-- : tively. As was truely remarked in ail the : papers at the time, nothing ouuld have i excelled Sterlings brilliant gameness and determination. It wis a grand finish to a I lather uncertain career. : ! i I ; : : i I "I need not toll my renders that Sterling was a great success at the stud; and although I do not care about answering the question often put to me about Which was the best horse I ever rode. I am not certain, if I do so, that I should not nam.- Sterling. It wouid certainly he either Mr. Grettons horse or Thormanby. "Mr. Gretton had a real good race, and ho ga ■ me J..JOO for winning. This w:is, of course, a nice present indeed for me to winter upon. "Sterling died on March 2o 1191, having been for many years the bright particular star of the stud near Birmingham, where he was located. Of course the best horse he ever sited was Isonomy. which, in his turn, was the sire of a coupb of triple crown heroes in Common and Isinglass. Second in order of merit among Sterlings sons I think I should place Paradox, which was unlucky to be beaten at Epsom by Melton in *So. A half of that greatest of all turf prizes his son Harvester jam. d when he ran a dead heat with SL Gatien the year before. "He sired two of the Two Thousand winners in Enterprise and Enthusiast, and although his name is missing as the sire of a St. Legcr and Oaks winner, his Black ran second for each race with Geologist and Sup.rba. By the prowess of Isonomy he could lay claim to most of the Cups, and in lv 0 his son Gold credited him with the most coveted trophy which U run for oa Ascot Heath."

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