view raw text
■ ; . ■ " . • c ENGLANDS RACING HEADQUARTERS. Centralisation at Newmarket of all horse racing In England during the continuance of the war puts this ancient headquarters of the P.ritisli turf back where it was almost " l year- ago. Newmarket held a plan- apart in the early days of the turf. It was the tirst race ground, so far as known, which bad the patronage of the king, and it represented all thai "royal" Ascot, Kpaom and Don- i aster have sim d lor in more recent years. A- long ago aa 1063, when Governor Nlcolls laid out tbe first racecourse In America, on Hempstead Plain-, such was the prestige Of the name that be called it the Newmarket course. .iii-i when hois,, racing began at Newmarket in England la uncertain, but it was going on In 10J0, With the king. James I., as a spectator. As early as 1634 tin re was a regular spring meeting, attended by Charles 1. and his suite, who witnessed the race for I! e gold CUP. Newmarket seems to have been a favorlti place for the hunting and hawking exploits of tho Stuart Icings, ami perhaps of their predecessors, before the fb of the heath as a rue ground had gone abroad. It requires no stretch of the imagination to picture tin- royal visitors and their courtiers on sueh occasions racing their horses in "hunting matches." and in this way making the beginning of what In a er.v short space of time erystallized into "the turf." II seems likely also that through their patronage and participation at Newmarket horse racing came to be known as the "sport of king-." James I. and his court became SO enamored of the place and the pastime that a hou-e or pnlaCC wa- erected for their aeeoinnicdaiion. At the time of the eivil -war this house sustained eonsiderable injury, but Charles IL. on ascending tin throne, ordered it rebuilt, with the addition of a royal cockpit, ami lie became the chief patron of racing and cocking on the heath, Charles II. instituted the Kings plates for annual races at Newmarket, laid 0 t the "round course" over which to run for them, and in 1i 75 won one of them, as thus related in a dispatch seat by Sir Robert Carr, acting secretary of state at New- market: "Yesterday His Majesty rode himself three heats and a course and won the plate: all fower were hard and nere run. and I doe assure you the King won by good horsemanship. "The rival village." as Newmarket came to be called in the closing years of the seventeenth century, was the gayest and most luxurious spot in England during the reign of tbe "Merry Monarch." It was not unusual for the whole court and cabinet to attend the races, followed in crowds by lords and ladies, fox-hunting squires and sporting characters from all over the kingdom: Jewelers, milliners, maids of honor and venal beauties, black] Cga, horse thieves, highwaymen, peasants, gypsies and the whole gamut of humanity, which, in less picturesque garb, nowadays makes the picture on Derby day at Rpsoaa. James II. never went to Newmarket, and during his reign the sport seems to have languished, but when William III. came to the throne all its glories were revived. This "famous, pious and Immortal monarch" engaged as bis trainer, or "supervisor of the Kings racehorses," the famous or infamous Tregonweil Frampton, sometimes called the "father of the turf." and known also in turf annals as the man who is alleged to have castrated the kings celebrated horse Dragon to qualify him for a match race in which he was immediately run as a gelding. Frampton is said to have been the first professional trainer at Newmarket, and to have trained for Charles II., William III.. Queen Anne. George 1. and George II. He occupied the premises afterward the sit" of Heath House, where "Mat" Dawson made ids headquarters. In the time of King William. Newmarket had become a pi. no of business as well as of pleasure. It was known as the metropolis of the turf. Through tbe fostering aid of the kings and the nobility borne racing via- becoming the great national pastime and Newmarket the headquarters. In other parts of the country it made rapid strides, culminating in annual meetings at many courses, new and old, and finally, in 1750, resulting in the formation of the Jockey lub at Newmarket to exercise supervision over lacing. There wa- at this Hate, or shortly afterward, nearly loo places iu England at Which race meet logs were held, and this in spite of hostile legislation which, in 1740. put an end to many country meetings by tixing the minimum value of slakes to be run for. The spud was then more widely distributed than at the present day. though far more meetings are held, some of the present day courses having live or six a year. This tendency to centralization, which followed the building of railroads and enclosed courses near London, litis now been car tied to the limit by temporarily, concentrating all racing at Newmarket, the original headquarters. The Newmarket course is not far from Cambridge and about seventy miles from London by rail, so that vi-ilors can go and come from the metropolis every day, though most of them prefer to -lay in the Immediate vicinity of Newmarket to see the morning work of the lift, en hundred of two thousand thoroughbreds in training there. The course and the training grounds are called the latest in In land. The] are on a glassy heath, undulating in places .-Hid f-ur miles in length. I here tire something like fifteen or twenty courses on the heath, all i f different length and character, so that a trainer can enter his horse on the one That suits him liest I here are. or were until a few years ago, three set- of -lands and seven finishing posts. Nearly all the courses now used are straight, ■ r nearh so. The longest of these is the Beacon course, which has its start about three miles and a half from the stands in a bee line. Its length is f or mile- one furlong and 177 yards, but the tirst mile i- nowadays rarely used. About a mile from tin- "p.. c." starting | ost is the start for the Ce-- twitch, where the ting dropped when Prioress, in ]s"i7. and Foxiiail. in 1881. carried the colors of Richard Ten Broeck and Pierre borittard to victory a lie most important handicap of the P.ritisli turf. This race is run over a course of two miles and a quarter. Tin- Cambridgeshire, another of the great handicaps, i- over about the same ground, though onlj two thousand yards, or a little more than one mile and an eighth, in length. The start . f the Cambridgeshire is near the Devils Ditch, an ancient defensive earthwork-, twenty or thirty feet high, with a ditch al ils base, and sj miles long, which intersects the old Beacon course Shout two miles from tbe start. It is believed to have been thrown up by the East Angles 2,500 years ago, I.ver.v superstitious racing man takes off bia bat to it when it tirst conies into view. It c m-iiiainls a tine view of the races over some of the courses and is u-ed Instead of the grandstand by spectators in such occasions. The Kovv lev Mile i- a celebrated Course, named soon after the days of Charles II. Tint kin- was popularly known as "Old Rowley," which was the same of bia favorite saddle horse, and which is per petuated iii i in- course over which the Two Thousand Guineas and the One Thousand Guineas are run. As many as eight meetings are held at Newmarket during the year: three in the spring, two in the summer and three in the fail. They entail about thirty days of racing. The principal race-, iu the Usual order of their runnings, are the Craven Slakes. for three-year olds; the Two Thousand Guineas, for three year-old colis: the om Thousand Guineas, for 1 hi i- • v ear-old fillies; the Newmarket Stakes, for three-year-olds; tin- .inly Stakes, for I wo year obi-: the Prince of Wales Slakes, feu- three-] ear -olds and four year-old-: the Chesterfield Siaki s. for two-year-olds: the Jiat Eastern Handicap; the Great Foal Stakes, for three-year-olds; the Newmarket October Handicap; Hie Jockey Club Stakes, for all :i;i : the Cesarewilch Handicap, the Challenge Stakes; the Champion Stakes, fir all a-_«s: the Criterion Slakis. for two year obi-: the Cambridgeshire Handicap, the Dewburst Plate, for two-year oh!-, and the jockey Club Cup. Though the best horses in training inn at Newmarket and the best supporters of racing are among the spectators, tbe attendance, excepting on two or three days during the season, is surprisingly light. The casus] London race-goer will not make the long tourney frequently when be can see racing right at "his own door, so to speak. The local crowd is made up almost wholly of regulars, and often numbers only a few bundled persona When it is remem hen d that two stakes of high value each— the Princes- or w.Hes andi the Jockey Club as well a- a number of otber big ones." aYo "fVm» wed each year, it is difficult in understand bow loth ends are made to meet. But the racing is under the direct management of the Jockey club, which is not so anxious to make a profit as to furnish the best of sport.