view raw text
THE TIME TEST IN ENGLAND. Having timed races carefully for many years past I know well that the improvement in time was coincident witli the arrival of Tod Sloan and other American jockeys. It was because lie knew how to ride a race in a certain time that Sloan secured his initial seipnnce of successes. In such a race every furlong is of almost equal importance, just as it is for pedestrians who are running, say. half a mile, and Sloan used to ride his races as if tin-other horses and jockeys were not there. He would mine along well in front of the dawdling field and tiny would all the time r inert him to come back to them, but he was not going beyond a true sp -cd for the distance and. therefore, he never did • ! back to them. Nay. more, when any of them by dint id" prodigious efforts got alongside him near the finish he always had a bit in hand to let out iu such an emergency, ami so win his race. It was a long time before the EagMah jockeys came to uiider-staiit the position. Some of tln-m never did under stand it. I think some of the old-timers would not have lioeu so easily deceived: indeed. I am quite certain that John Osborne for one would not. for he was an extraordinarily good judire of pace and could ride a Cup winne r in front all the way if the others did not go fast enough. I have a vivid recollection of seeing him do this on A|Hilogy when she won the Ascot Cup. .lohn Is-l.onie. however, graduated in days when there were heat races, and he says that knowledge of pace could be obtained in that school better than in any other. However, be all that as it may. it is an incontrovertible fact that the time of races has bei-ome. ou the average, much faster sine" tin- coming of Sloan and the introdm-t ion eif American methods of jockey ship, and for purposes of comparison it is useful, B0t as showing that the horses are superior to those of the earlier day. but that the races are now more truly run than they used to be. Now that they are so run they liegin to afford a reasonable means of comparison between horses as regards the time lest: but any such comparison needs to he made with full knowledge of all surrounding circumstances, just as in an Oxford and Cambridge boat race are want to know all ahoat the tide- and other eoadltioM of tin- waterway before we form any eon elusion from the time iu which the course is cave-red. Tin li. again, in England B0 two race courses are alike, wln-reas in the Argentine, for instance, practically all the- races lire run at Palermo, so that the coadltioaa vary very little. EueOBI is a law unto itself in reaped of time, for the live-furlongs races there are- usually done in a worlds re-cord, for the simple reason that they come down hill most of the way. The mile and a qaarter at Kpenai is also rery fast, for if misses the first two uphill furlongs of the Derby, and is correspondingly Maaef on the downhill rwoop. Tin- uphill iu the Derby more than balances the aelvanlage of tin- desei-nt. and it is therefore not a Cast eoarae for that distance; but it is worse than useless to compare times made at Bpaom, except with one another. The course is wholly different from any other in the world, and as for the sprint races there it is of little use to time "them at all. There is BOthing that can be said against tile time test in horse raeing which cannot equally be said of it in regard to anv other sort of racing. Kven boys at se-hoe l will of tea run loo yards under eleven seconds, but how often does the most famous chain pion make even time, ten seconds, over the same distance, and where would the boy In- if matched against that champion Then. too. inferior crews have often Blade raniarkably good time from Pulney to Morllake. and so. too, time plays strange tricks at Henley. The fact is. time- as a test of racing merit is a good ■errant, but a had master, and is most use-ful. If considered with full knowledge and apoceetatioa f circumstances and coadltioaa, but will lead us badly astray if we go by it slavishly without regard to circumstances and conditions. — Vigilant, in Loudon Sportsman.