Memoirs of the British Turf, Daily Racing Form, 1922-08-04


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Memoirs of the British Turf , i j BY THE HON. GEOKGE LuVMBTON. Sixth Article. llachell turned to her, saying that he thought she always backed Archer. "So I do," she replied, "but he told me not to this time." The captain threw up his hand3, saying, "God save me from my friends." "When he passed Archer in the paddock he cut him dead. Archer came to me after t e races, looking worn to a shadow, saying he had ridden the mare into the ground, so anxious was he to win. Ho was cut to the heart by Machclls behavior to him. "I had to put all those touting people off," he said, "and the Captain thinks I put him wrong." Ten days after Archer was dead. For a long time Machell was a miserable man, this episode preyed on his mind, and he could never forgive himself for hi3 treatment of one who had been such a good friend and servant. "Could you believe it possible," he said to me, "that after seeing a horse beaten a short head in a desperate finish, I shouu think Archer was not trying, and yet I allowed myself to do so, and I am haunted by the look on his face when I refused to speak to him after the race." There is no doubt that Archer when h-rode this race was already sickening for the illness which was the cause of his death. The following week was Brighton and Lewes. Archer went to Brighton, which was one of his favorite courses, where he rode several well-fancied horse3 without success. On the Thursday at Lewe3 I saw him jns before he was getting up on Tommy Tittle-mouse the last horse he ever rode, an 11 t S chance. He looked very ill and said, ,rMy horse ought to win. but I am dead out of luck and cant win a race." He was unplaced, and after the race said he would net tm any more that week, but was going home to Newmarket. Just before he left he said "good-bye" to me. He was walking away when he "turned back and said: "If you sec a two-year-old called Eunuch in a mile selling race tomorrow you ought to back him; I got beat on him in a five-furlong race, but he is a certain stayer." ETJ2TUCH VfTJTS AT 5 TO L Sure enough Eunuch, the property of the American sportsman, Ten Broeck, was entered, and won easily at 5 to 1. Curiously enough on my first acquaintance with Archer he put me on a good winner in Isonomy, and the last words he ever spoke to me were to back this Eunuch. On his arrival at Newmarket he was founj to be seriously ill with what turned out to be typhoid fever. Unfortunately Archer always kept a loaded revolver in his bedroom, and this had not been taken away. He had overcomo the crisis of his illness and was a little better. His sister, who was nursing him, left hi3 room for a moment and he jumped out of bed and shot himself. I was at Liverpool when the news of his tragic death came. It was a terrible blow to me and many others. As Lord Marcus Beresford said when ho heard the news: "Backers have lost the best friend they have ever had." He certainly was the most attractive figure that I have ever come across on a race course, and, apart from my admiration for him a3 a jockey, I was very fond of him as a man. As I have said. Archers death was a great shock to Captain Machell, and it is a curious thing that in later years he, also, made two attempts to take his own life. Writing of Machell and Hermit, ones mind naturally travels to Hermits owner, Lord Chaplin, as he now is. In spite of bad health and his advanced years Lord Chaplin still takes the keenest interest in horses and racing. It was only the other day that I met him in London, on his way down to Newmarket to see Polemarch, the property of his son-in-law, Lord Londonderry. He had just recovered from a long spell of illness, but in spite of that and bitterly cold weather he was as keen as a boy. In the days of Hermit he lived at Blank-ney, and was known as "The Squire." He was, I believe, a most dashing bettor, and there Avaa no finer judge of horses and racing. He had more or less retired when I started racing, so I cannot write of his many successes and triumphs on the turf, but when I first went to Leicestershire he was still hunting. "What his weight was I do not know, but it was anything from 250 to 280 pounds. Moreover, he was not like most welterweights, who are content with seeing as much sport as they can from the background, but as long as his horse lasted he was there in the front rank. INCIDENT NEAR, MELTON. To see him thundering down at a fence on one of his great horses was a fine sight. I remember on one occasion we were all held up in a field close to Melton. The only way out was where a young sapling liad been planted in the fence surrounded by an iron cage, which stood about four feet six inches, the thin tree growing up several feet above it. There were shouts for a chopper or a pocket for sugar and apples; he had not knife, when down came the squire, forty miles an hour, with his eyeglass in his eye, seeing nothing but the opening in the fence. There was no stopping him, neither did the young tree do so, for his weight and the horses broke it off as clean as you would break a thin stick, and away lie went without an idea that the tree had ever been there. He was a magnificent horseman. "What he did not know about hunting was not wortli knowing. I was hunting with the Pytchley the year before the war and he and another veteran. General Brabazon, had a house at Brix-worth. It was with the greatest difficulty that he could be got on or off his horse, but once in the saddle he was as happy as a sandboy. One night Prince Kinsky, my wife and I went to dine with these two old warriors. The prince and I, after the slipshod fashion of the present day, had on short coats and black ties, and we felt quite ashamed v.h n we found these two old men, after a hard days hunting, beautifully turned out in evening coats, white waistcoats, and ties. Men of the old school they may havo had their faults, but in many ways they put the present generation to shame. As I look back on the past there are certain people I have known who, on account of their strong characters and great qualities, stand out clearly in my memory. There is an old saying "On the turf and under it all men are equal. This perhaps cannot be argued convincingly, but there is no question that the glamour of the turf is far-reaching and is felt by all sorts and conditions of men. Nowhere, I think, do they show more truly or more quickly what their real character is, according to the way they meet success or failure. Princes and politicians, soldiers and sailers, the workingman and the millionaire, all go to swell the ranks of the racing community; all have a common interest in t..e winner of the Derby. Before my mind, at the moment, is a picture of a particularly vivid and brilliant personality, that of the late Lord Bandolph Churchill, father of Mr. "Winston Churchill. "When Lord Randolph announced that he wa3 sick of politics and was going to turn his attention to racing, it caused some sensation in turf circles. In 1SS7 he began buying yearlings, w:.ich he placed under the care of Bob Sherwood, who was not only a good trainer but an extra good judge of a yearling. He launched out pretty freely and one day his friend. Sir Frederick Johnstone, told him that ho was not rich enough to race on such a large scale and that he would be broUen. Randolph laughed and replied, "Nearly all you people who go racing are fools and no really clever man has ever taken it up seriously, but now that I have dene so I shall succeed." Hi3 words nearly came true. ALWAYS FOND OF HUNTING. In his early life Lord Randolph had been too much occupied with politics to take much interest in racing, but he had always been fond of hunting. I first met him in Leicestershire hunting with the Cottesmore. He was keen on hounds, saying, "I go out hunting not to jump fences but to see hounds work," and although when hounds checked, Randolph, who had a wonderfully good eye for country, always mysteriously turned up, we came to look on him as a man who was afraid to jump. But one day when toward the end of a good gallop in Fernies country we saw hira sailing over a great black fence with an ox rail on the far side, we changed our opinion. Some one said to him: "Hullo, Randolph, what on earth were you doing? "Weil," he replied, "there was no gate, so what else could I do but jump the damned fence if I wanted to see hounds run into their fox." That was tj-pical of the man, for when once he had made up his mind what he wanted to do, no obstacle would turn him from it. To return to his racing, as he had jokingly prophesied, he quickly made his mark, collecting a nice stud of horses, and won many races, including the Oaks, the Hunt Cup, the Manchester Cup, and the Portland Plate with a very good mare called LAb-bessee de Jouarre. He took tremendous interest in his horsrs and really loved them; when he went round stable3 his pockets were bulging with apples and sugar and his special favorite was th? Abbesse. I remember going with him to see her when she had gone out of training and was at Mr. Lacys stud at Borough Green, near Newmarket. When we arrived we first went to look at some mares and foals, and Randolph began talking. Suddenly we heard the most tremendous hullabaloo going on in a box a little farther down the yard, something kicking, squealing, and neighing like the devil. "Good God !" said Lacy, "that is your mare ; there must be something wrong with her." Out he dashed, followed by Randolph ana myself, opened the door of the box. expecting to find some tragedy, but instead of that the old Abbesse came rushing at Randolph like a dog, trying to put her nose into his forgotten them, and being a most emotional man tears rolled down his cheeks. What memories horses have ! Randolph had not seen the mare for nearly twclvo months, and yet the sound of his voice in the yaid was enough. To Be Continued.

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