King Edwards Favorite: Some Account of Persimmon and His Contests with His Rival, St. Frusquin, Daily Racing Form, 1915-12-06


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, I i 1 t t j t I 1 ] s 1 * i t i i i | • I s j , . , , . . , KING EDWARDS FAVORITE SOME ACC0TJHT OF PERSIMMON AND HIS CONTESTS WITH HIS RIVAL, ST. FRUSQT/IN. Remarkable Demonstration Following His Victory in the Derby — His Easy Triumphs in the Don-caster St. Leger and Ascot Gold Cup. The late King Edward had been racing a good many years before lie became possessed of an animal worthy of wearing the royal livery; but in the nineties there came along three colts — all by St. Simon out of that wonderful mare Perdita II. — ill of which iu turn carried the purple and scarlet jacket with considerable distinction. The first of the trio to arrive was Florizel II. , which won tae Manchester Cup and other races, and the last wis Diamond Jubilee, which won the triple crown iu 1900. In between, in the year 1S93. to be precise, the greatest of the famous brothers made his appearance, and was in due course given the name of Persimmon, a name which recalls extraordinary scenes of enthuusiasm at Epsom on a certain summer afternoon nearly twenty years ago. That Persimmon was a good colt had been amply proved on the trial ground prior to his introduction to a race course. This was deferred to the Ascot meeting, the royal colt making his debut in the Coventry Stakes, in which he justified his private reputation by racing liome three lengths in front of Meli Melo, with Gulistan third. Prior to his next essay, in the Richmond Stakes at Goodwood, Persimmon was subjected to a trial with the siieedy Ugly, the result of which made it more than ever obvious that the youngster was a race horse of the first order, and he won the Goodwood event with ease. IMs next race was the Middle Park Plate, in which he sustained his first defeat, finishing third to St. Frusqandin and Onila-dina, being four lengths behind the latter. It is-probable, however, that Persimmon, which had been coughing previously, was not his usual self on that occasion. Persimmon was not seen again until the Epsoin summer carnival of the following year. In the meantime the Middle Park Plate winner, St. Frusquin, had added to his laurels, having opened his second season with a victory in the Column Produce Stakes in the Craven Week, and another of greater importance in the Two Thousand, in which he treated such as Love Wisely and Labrador as though they were hacks. Small wonder, then, that Mr. Leopold de Rothschilds colt was a good favorite for the Derby, odds of 13 to 8 being laid on him, though Persimmon had no end of supporters. The event, indeed, was regarded as in the nature of a match between the pair, and this subsequently proved to be the correct view. The race was worthy of the greatness of the ocassion. Towads the end the rest of the opposition had been disposed of for all practical purposes. St. Frusquin was leading, but it was seen that Persimmon was gaining, and less than a hundred yards from the post he got in front. Then the cheering commenced, but St. Frusquin still stuck to it, and when the judges box had been passed it was only a neck advantage that Persimmon held. This was sufficient, however, and the populace, the classes, and the masses, let themselves go. The Royal owner, who led the winner back to the weighing-room, was naturally delighted, while his subjects were jubilant. It was a great day. The winner was ridden by John Watts, who had ridden many fine races, in his time, but never a better one than on that historic occasion. The Derby battle was refonght at Newmarket a month later, when the leading pair at Epsom. together with Sir Visto. Troon, Laveno, Klrkcounel, Regret and others, competed for the Princess of Wales Stakes. St. Frusquin, which was in receipt of three pounds, was again preferred to Persimmon, but Regret, which was receiving weight from both, was actual favorite. Another fine contest between the Derby winner and second was witnessd, though it was scarcely so thrilling as the previous race and iu the end Mr. L. de Rothschilds colt held a half-length advantage over Persimmon when the winning post was reached, with Regret a like distance away third. Persimmon was given no further opportunity of measuring strides with St. Frusquin, as the latter failed to stand his preparation for the St. Leger, the Doncaster race drying up somewhat disap-pointinglv. Nothing better than Labrador opposed tlie royal champion on the Town Moor. Odds of 11 to 2 were demanded from those who desired to support the Derby winner. Labrador being second favorite at 0 to 1 against, while the only other competitor quoted — Funny Boat — stood on the 66 to 1 mark. As expected, Persimmon gained a comfortable victory from Labrador, with the Duke of Westminsters second string, Rampion, a bad third. Another easy victory was recorded by St. Simons son in the Jockey Club Stakes in the autumn. Here he was opposed by Sir Visto, Knight of the Thistle. Laveno. Kirkconnel. Regret, Bay Ronald — which achieved later fame as the sire of Bayardo — The Lombard, and others, but only the Derby winner of the previous year could make tlie slightest impression upon Persimmon, and Lord Roseberys four-year-old was two lengths behind the winner when the race had been won and lost. Persimmon reappeared as a four-year-old on thf course on which he made his debut. The race in which he took part was the Gold Cup, and in this he had as rivals Winkfields Pride, which had won the Cambridgeshire the previous October: Limasol. which had secured the Oaks for Lord Hindlip; and Love Wisely, the Gold Cup hero of a twelvemonth earlier. Odds of 85 to 40 were laid on Persimmon, which justified the confidence reposed in him by cantering home eight lengths in front of Wink-fields Pride, Love Wisely being four lengths further in the rear and the Oaks heroine tailed on*. His final race was the Eclipse Stakes, in which the opposition was moderate, and Persimmon scored easily from Velasquez, thus winding up his turf career in a blaze of triumph. Exactly how Persimmon compares with the great racers of various periods it is difficult to say. but that he was a really good colt in his day is beyond question. At the stud he soon made his mark, one of the first of his progeny being the brilliant Sceptre, which won the whole of the classic races except the Derby in 1902. Other famous animals sired by PeTsimmon were Zinfandel. an Ascot Cup winner: Keystone II. and Perola. Oaks winners; Your Majesty and Princec Palatine. St. Leger winners; and Royal Realm. These by no means exhaust the list. Four "times in all Persimmon headed the list of winning sires, while he twice filled third position. His career was brought to a close as the result tf an accident. While out at exercise he fell, and though tlie mishap did not annear to be serious, it was eventually discovered that he had fractured his pelvis. Hopes were entertained of saving him. but after appearing to make improvement, he again became worse and died in the February of 1908 at the ase of fifteen years. — "J. F. P." in London S-orting Life.

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