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THE RACING SEASON.

BY CRAVEN

The winter of '46 and '47-unless the latter portion of it shall bring better things than we have any right to hope for--will have furnished as unsatisfactory results in all our hunting districts as the annals of the modern chase can parallel. The sport has every where as yet been short, and very generally undecisive. To be sure there have been some clippers here and there ; but a few swallows don't make summer, neither a few bursts a hunting winter. There have, indeed, been a great many “ brilliant runs in the newspapers ; but that's “ another pair of shoes.” It may be asked, what has this peroration to do with the thesis of my paper; and I should find it difficult to give any reason, save that perhaps the household logic was “ in my mind's eye” which lays the - flattering unction " to our souls“ The worse luck now, the better next time.” This other time, there are grounds for believing, may be the three latter quarters of this year of grace ; its luck, the fruits of the turf. A considerable proportion of the influential stakes and races close their nominations on new-year's day annually. On their last an. niversary one of the most goodly catalogues was published that has yet seen the light, on a similar subject. Moreover, the public money given as additions to several of the great cups and handicaps is of an amount hitherto unknown. The prosperity of racing, in short-if that noble national pastime be judiciously dealt with—is upon a footing to which it never previously has attained.

The subjoined remarks I wrote upon the appearance of the first calendar for the year; and they may appropriately be introduced here. The date was the commencement of the third week in January.

The great increase in the funds applicable to the purposes of racing will bring about these practical results--independent of a vast amount of miscellaneous accessories—we shall have more meetings, and more horses to run at them. Now, as the season is already pretty well engaged, and extends to the remotest limits of the autumn, all that remains for it will be to begin earlier. Indeed, it does so already ; and the manner in which the forces take the field at the commencement of the campaign is worth a slight notice at the present moment. Is the system of training the race-horse for the work now required of him convenient or consistent ? This is a question that all who venture their money in backing animals should carefully consider. Should the condition of an animal on whose form large sums are depending be wholly contingent upon such a piece of pure chance-medley as an open winter in a climate like this? Last year three-fourths of the stock named for the stakes which closed on new-year’s day were fit to run at the time of their nomination : in what state are the most precocious of the training stables just now? I only know one establishment of the kind in which provision is made for keeping horses in work independent of the weather, and that is at Lord Exeter's Lodge, at Newmarket, where there is a very picturesque covered ride, but of too limited space to be

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of any practical utility. One of Lord Exeters trainers, indeed, told me it did his horses more harm than good ; for, from its shape-a long oval, it taught them to shorten their stride. I understand that Isaac Day has something of the same sort, but still more confined, at Northleach. This will, no doubt, be speedily reformed. It will soon be discovered that a covered ride will pay as well as a covered rope-walk : demand, in this country, is certain to ensure supply. But here the premium for the backers of fields will not stop. Every day affords extended facilities for moving horses by railway, which enables trainers to bring them to the place of action, at the last moment, and fit to strip for their engagements, in lieu of taking their work for several days exposed to public canvass, not to say many a worse contingency. To a great degree this is the present position of those who make the moves in the great game of the turf. It is now competent for them to pop upon ' a blot,' as a hawk stoops upon a pigeon. Horses were, last season, summoned from their quarters by electric telegraph, when it was known, at the eleventh hour, that the fields opposed to them would be weak. But our public cannot guard against such chances as these : what, then, must be their course?

“We are now getting fast on towards the first month of spring, and hardly a race-horse in Great Britain, probably, has gone farther than a walk on his straw bed would allow. There was, indeed, a little week or so verging into open weather, in which some of the ultra-industrious may have stolen a march, or a canter ; but all was soon closed again to their hopes. We cannot, therefore, expect to see horses at the post for their early engagements in any advanced state of preparation. Some stables will be more generally fit than others, because they may be better situated and better managed ; but, as a rule, horses will be brought out short of work. Now, then, experience and science must be the resources of the betting man who would have a pull of his neighbour. He will be very careful how he allows aged animals, gross feeders, or naturally inclined to make flesh fast, to be losers for him. These require no end of sweating and quick work, and not only that, but a long course of it. These cannot, this year-at least early in it-come out on terms with animals of light frames and delicate constitutions. The effect of form upon a race-horse's performances it cannot be necessary here to dilate upon. The contrivances for preparing it are not so generally understood. Two seasons back, it will be remembered how invincible the Goodwood stable was at the early meetings—Northampton, Croxton Park, and Bath were the arenas of its glory. It was frosty to a very late period in the winter of 1845. In consequence of a portion of his exerciseground lying very favourably, Kent was enabled to keep his 'string' going when every other trainer had his ' tied up.' To keep his ground in perfect order, he used to cover it over with straw at night, and remove the layer when his horses were galloped in the morning. In this he was greatly assisted by the effect of the strong sunshine which prevailed during the day, while the freezing was confined to the night. This year it has been vice verså, and it is ‘no go’ at Goodwood. Your ploughed gallop is 'a weak invention :' they say it enabled the Queen of Trumps to win the St. Leger ; but I have little doubt it has helped many another good nag to throw away a chance.'

Casting forward to the summer sport, the first point d'appui is the

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Derby—such a Derby as regards its probable matériel as we have not yet had experience of. A positive multitude of horses may be said to be in training for it ; at least they are appointed to their respective quarters, and will be applicable, should it be expedient to use them. So far the betting on that most popular of all schemes for speculation has not been of much account : the traffic at Tattersall’s has found its way into new channels. There are now the Great Metropolitan Stakes, the Chester Cup, and several other races at the opening of the season, to divide the capital with the Great Surrey venture. The whole economy and market of the turf, in fact, is vastly extended. The Book Calendar for every year will henceforth be in two volumes ; and, as the proprietors announce, the Sheet Calendar will be published throughout the year more frequently than hitherto.” Newmarket will, perhaps, remain, as refers to position, in statu quo—that is so say, where it is and has been for some seasons. More racing there is not desirable : it would tend to enfeeble other meetings, and to crowd its own inconveniently. At the regal course, Ascot, we may anticipate a more brilliant tryst than that of '46. There sport, however, is certainly not the first consideration ; for, except the Cup, it is not the fashion to bet much on any of its issues. And what of gallant Goodwood ? So far as the calendar may be a criterion, its days of glory are far from numbered. For some more seasons, at all events, its great stakes are appropriately filled ; and, come the worst, the progress of the popularity of racing will ensure it no small éclat. York is just returning to its pristine estate, and promises to be at least a generous rival of Doncaster, if not a dangerous one. And Doncaster-it must go on and prosper. The Leger is the best got-up betting race, for the time it is in the market, of any turf contrivance extant. It picks your pocket with all the adroitness and gentlemanly tact of a Barrington. You feel you must be done, because the Leger is almost universally a foregone conclusion, as far as relates to the betting lots. But nevertheless you wager : you go to the rooms, and are satisfied there is an out-and-out piece of sharp practice on the carpet ; but you call your main. You may have luck, as they have sometimes who throw at hazard, but the après will beat Fortune ; and in racing, particularly in the north country, the stables stand in place of the tables. Thus it will be seen, the subject of this our notice will apparently not be deficient in zest. There will be excitement enough for the most fastidious ; this, too, independent, in a great degree, of that new racing sauce piquante--the handicap. I have not alluded to the places of sport made famous by that modern inventions of the enemy. The favour this system has acquired is, however, by no means ministered to in a proper fashion. And here, on the threshold of the season, I beseech the consideration of all the true friends of the turf to the method of its administration. Why is it anonymously got up ? Why is it-past all peradventure—wretchedly got up, if not more infamously? I have not space or inclination to go into the details of the handicap, the weights for which have lately made their appearance. That they are " quite athwart all decorum,” any body with an eye to read, or an ear to hear the way the penalties are dealt out, must perceive. The time has come when the character and prosperity of the turf require that among its other efficient functionaries it should be supplied with public handicappers of known experience and integrity.

« WHO'S UP FOR THE RESCUE ?"

ENGRAVED BY E. HACKER, FROM A PAINTING BY R. B. DAVIS.

“One material difference," says the venerable Mr. Taplin, “ is known to exist between stag-hunting and every other kind of sport: the utmost fortitude and indefatigable exertions are here made to save; in all the rest, the summit of happiness, the sole gratification of local ambition, is to KILL: so that, at any rate, stag-hunting has the plea of humanity in its favour. In proof of which, the hounds are never known to run from chase to view, but every individual feeling is alive to the danger of the deer, who has so largely and laboriously contributed to the completion of the general happiness of the day. A secret inspiration operates upon every latent spring of human sensibility, and no difficulty, at the moment, seems too great to surmount for the preservation of a life in which every spectator feels himself most impressively concerned.”

Our plate, then, by such authority, displays the very time and place for “this material difference” being carried out—a difference, by the way, that the tone of our author goes to assure us must be a proportionate advantage. Here, he appears to argue, you have all the excitement and ardour of sport, without any of its cruelties or blood-shedding drawbacks. The deer that's picked to run to-day shall live to run another day; while the field, who devote themselves to so harmless and innocent a pastime, can return home proof against the most fastidious of feelings and specious of pleadings. The great point, indeed—the finishing touch to the good run-is, that a death should not conclude the scene, just as, in fox-hunting, the summum bonum is that it should. Humanity, therefore, is its strong-hold; and, as a recreation approved of and increasing, we have to place it on record with this great virtue as the great agent of its success. By Mr. Taplin's reasoning, we perhaps ought; by our own, we the more certainly cannot.

The grand secret of modern stag-hunting is its convenience. Some might say, its splendour and clap-trap turn-out; or others, its speed and sail-away character; but, for our own part, we maintain the convenient to be its steadiest friend. Only look at the master or managing committee, for instance; and estimate the toil and trouble of one variety, compared with the other. Hounds, horses, and servants are, or ought to be, easy of management, either way. If it's a hound goes wrong, you draft him; a horse, you sell him; and a servant, you “sack” him: but the country, the foxes—the indispensable, without which there will be no fox-hunting-how does it run with those items? If you don't rattle and rout out the heavy, never-ending woodlands every other day, Sir Stephen Selfsafe swears he'll setto and kill the foxes, because you won't come and do so for him. If you "worry” the cream of your country, the stock in it becomes endangered, and you have to submit to the "Finance” the propriety of

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