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There was a most picturesque meeting at Newton, to which succeeded several of minor account, such as Dudley, Stamford, Bridgnorth, and the like, not to forget Southampton, with its lovely sylvan course, in all its features the most appropriate appendage to an English town that can be imagined. Thus we come to the middle of the racing season of 1846, with this conviction attending every step we have taken--that the popularity and prosperity of the turf have reached a point they had never before attained ; that it never exhibited more healthy symptoms, or more excellent promise.
As the deduction from these premises, behold Goodwood--princely Goodwood !-a meeting that (would it were not to be anticipated !) probably reached its climax in the past season. Certainly it attained à point of excellence never before known in the annals of the turf. It came, however, not without "a great discouragement”-the knowledge that he who had made it what it was would no more lead its brilliant revels as of yore, as the greatest patron of the sport of horse-racing that the British turf has ever possessed, “ take him for all in all.” I allude to the secession of Lord George Bentinck, which may Jupiter Olympus avert! The first considerable stake, the Gratwicke, was won by as perfect a sample of an English gentleman and sportsman as the present age can boast. I speak of Sir Richard Bulkeley, my antagonist in my first race. Epirote, a rising favourite for the Derby, won the Ham Stakes pretty cleverly, but in a poor field. Weatherbit did for the great 300 sovs. Stakes what a good horse is sure to do one day or other : he put a large sum into his owner's pocket. To be sure he earned it dearly. The heat was absolutely terrific; and such an example as it--and the distance—the Queen's Plate course—made of the quartette that went, I never saw. The Lavant-a short half-mile spurt-gave us a sample of Van Tromp's speed. He beat the Cobweb filly by a head, in a good field of half a score. In the Drawing Room Stakes Joinville broke down (the day would have broken an iron horse in a second essay); and Humdrum won. Good luck is better than good desert. Passing the amateur display, and also the minor events of Wednesday, we come to the Orange Prize, for which a crack lot of half-a-dozen came together. There was Alarm-in uncommon form--and Jericho, and Wolf-dog, and the Cure, and Red Deer, and last, not least, Sir George. The first, of course--but I mean the first of my classification-won, after a very fine race, by a head. They said Jericho ought to have won: I don't know wherefore. It was a very interesting struggle--that's the fact. The Handicap of Sussex is the Goodwood Stakes-a very spirited-betting race on this, as on other occasions. The best three-year-old of the season, by a great deal, The Hero, was the favourite, though a good many others had staunch backers. Jonathan Wild, however, receiving a stone, won; and this brought off the first moiety of a bet of 10001. to 51., that Mr. O'Brien would not win that and the Cup! One-and-twenty horses started. Pretty Lady Wildair carried off the pretty cup presented by the stewards, and Leaconsfield the Queen's Plate, whereof came a dispute touching the entry. More of the philosophy of Queen's Plates requires revision than the mode of entry and naming. There was a dead heat for a sweepstakes, worth a couple of thousands, between Mathematician and King of Morven, which the former won in a canter on the second attempt. This was the first race on Thursday—the especial festival --when the temperature on the leads of the Grand Stand was up to “spontaneous cookery.” The Racing Stakes honest Iago put into his master's purse; albeit a wrangle was got up about some of the field having run the wrong course. The courses at Goodwood are complicated in the extreme, and, no doubt, difficult for strangers-in a hurry. The winner carried 8st. 131b., being 6lbs. extra : a good performance, if the actors in the same scene were worth any thing. Misfortunes never come single, as the song says. This race was followed by another row, that arose out of the succeeding event, a 100 sovs. sweepstakes, produce: 6 subscribers—all the money. The winner was Mr. Wreford's Wilderness; entered for it when a foal, as being by Sultan, out of Wapiti, instead of by Sultan Junior. The case was decided against him by the stewards, and the second—the Duke of Richmond's Cuckoo-got the stakes. Mr. Wreford grumbled, of course, and argued that the sire of his filly was no longer Sultan Junior, seeing that old Sultan, his father, is dead. These subtletics are matters of opinion. Grimston won the cup very cleverly, beating Wolf-dog a couple of lengths for second, but in a poor field. Thus did a young gentleman of spirit lose his 10001. to 51., considerably to his surprise, as it is believed he looked upon the winner, when he laid the bet, as safe as if made up into sausages. The Molecomb was an easy victory for Planet, with his stable-friend Slander next to himn. He beat the Cobweb filly-now Clementina—" off ;” but most probably it was the Tuesday's work did it. Besides this, there was a surfeit of sport, under a burning sky, and amid horrid oceans of dust. I never remember such grilling weather as accompanied the whole of the four days at Goodwood.
Passing by half-a-dozen provincial meetings, we come to Nottingham, where horses were scarce, in consequence of its clashing with four or five others; and thence turn to Brighton, of which it has thus been written :-“Although the matériel was but of a very moderate character, still the sport it furnished was extraordinary. On the second day the racing commenced ať two, and concluded at eight, and yet only three races were run. It is to be hoped that at the next meeting a stand more worthy of so aristocratic a town will be erected, so as to afford some protection from the weather to those who are induced to visit the Downs. The prospect for next year is most encouraging."
The York August races are rapidly rising in importance, and consequently in popularity. They are promoted on the part of the inhabitants with much spirit; and the result was somewhat in this wisc. The fields in all the races were large, especially for the Prince of Wales's Stakes, which brought out twenty-one of the élite of the “young fry.” Of these, Slander proved the best, defeating her opponents in the same clever manner she did at Ascot. The Great Ebor Handicap, which had been a good deal speculated upon, drew together a field of seventeen horses. Bourton and the Laura colt, the representatives of the Danebury and Middleham stables, were, of course, the favourites; but in this instance they, for once, deceived their backers, not even getting a place. The winner, Arthur, was not
fancied by his owner, nor were Miss Sarah or Farthing Candle, who occupied the second and third place, in any demand. The Great Yorkshire Stakes excited extraordinary interest, from the effect which its result would have on the St. Leger. Out of the thirteen starters for it, Iago was naturally the favourite, being backed at evens against the field. Had he not laid out of his ground so much, he could not have lost. As it was, he was only beaten by one of the shortest heads ever seen by any judge, and suffered nothing by his defeat in the estimation of his friends. This year, it is proposed to have two meetings on Knavesmere: it deserves them ; for it was the cradle of British horse-racing.
Wolverhampton is so locally adapted for becoming a crack country course, that with proper management it could hardly fail to achieve great éclat in that character. Let them give two good days' racing; that would be a mighty improvement upon the long-drawn-out” system. The Produce Stakes produced a good race between Auricula and Romance, which ended in favour of the latter, much to the annoyance of Mr. Mytton, who thought his mare had so little chance of being defeated, that he made an arrangement with Mr. Gully not to send Mendicant for it. For the Wolverhampton Stakes, Dulcet made a capital finish with that good public mare, Inheritress, but was eventually beaten by a neck. It was said at the time that he was not quite “ fit.”. In the Patshull Handicap, Connaught Ranger for once ran straight, and, but for the difference of weight upon Fair Helen, would, " for this time only," have remunerated his backers.
A slight biography of the “ little goes” that intervened between this gathering and the mighty northern tryst, will be sufficient for our purpose. The Egham meeting, which, to such members of the sporting world as remain in London until their presence is called for at Doncaster, is looked upon as a boon, was tolerably successful, at least on the second day, when the racing was good and plentiful. The Surrey and Middlesex Stakes, which Pine Apple ought to have won last year, he now carried off in a creditable manner, although from his uncertain temper he had but few friends. The Queen's Plate, which has since been the subject of so much discussion, fell an easy victory to the Hero, although Nat, on Wolfdog, did his utmost to “ snatch” it from him.
The meetings at Ipswich, Canterbury, Huntingdon, and Stourbridge, call for no remarks.
The Warwick Meeting was a decided improvement on the preceding one, and the sport gave unqualified satisfaction to all who witnessed it.
The Leamington Stakes went to that popular young nobleman, Lord Brook; more, perhaps, owing to the judicious riding of Crouch, than to the merits of Gwalior; for had not Kitchener hurried Camera Obscura in the manner he did, she could hardly have been beaten. The subsequent running of the pair would seem to bear out this remark. The Cup afforded a splendid race between Wolfdog and the winner of the Goodwood Stakes; and although the palm of victory was awarded to the former, yet Jonathan ran so gamely as to maintain, in all its pristine vigour, his former good character.
Doncaster meeting was a mighty popular gathering ; but less gentle
and aristocratic than was its wont. You missed the pomp and circumstance of the rural magnates: you found four days too many for your patience, as well as for the provision of sport. There is a good deal of money given. £1,000 well applied would ensure three days of remunerative racing, and, consequently, good fields. The race for the principal northern two-year-old stakes-the Champagne-brought out Van Tromp and Planet as competitors, the latter being beaten on two points-pace and lasting. This, of course, gave Lord Eglinton's colt another lift in public esteem and a better rate of exchange to the hedgers, who took long odds about him for the Derby. This year the Leger was destined to outstrip all its predecessors in the amount of obscurity and doubt and devilment by which it was ushered in. All the world know that all manner of plots were in contemplation and progress to rob and ruin all those who backed or betted against anything engaged in it; and every man you met had his own version of the conspiracies. The day-indeed, the whole week-was superb, and although the saints relished it as the palate does asafætida, it was a goodly tryst. Some folks in Doncaster are opposed to the races for conscience' sake: these are the people, I suppose, who, to mark their principle, charge a thousand per cent. more on that occasion for their wares than they are worth. The snivellers in the north are by everlasting odds the most offensive party in that district of the kingdom. “ Because they are virtuous (over the left) there shall be no more cakes and ale?”.... Come we to the second act of the farce—the getting up of the St. Leger race. Having been duly advertised that Sting had won his trial with The Hero, in a canter; that Fancy Boy could n't be beaten, inasmuch as a couple of gentlemen of the ring, originally employed to back Sir Tatton Sykes, had done the other thing, and got on Mr. Meiklam's nag—wherefore they must make Bill, or the baronet, or both, as safe as bowl could do it; that Bill was not to be “had,” being in safe custody of
“The three black graces-Law, Physic, and Divinity ;" that Brocardo was the broth of a boy, a leetle fattish, but uncommon fast, and so our public rated him, till
The saddling bell Called forth reality, and broke the spell. Wednesday “t'Leger" anniversary filled the town, as aforesaid, with company and rumours. The friends of Sir Tatton Sykes presently learnt that Captain Pitt, the reputed owner of that bizarre animal, had bestirred himself to keep all right, and that William Scott sweated in the morning, with the view to ride, and had also put on the brandy-and-water muzzle. In the event of Scott not having been able to ride, William Oates, his trainer, was to be put up-a young man whose general character is as good as any of his profession can boast-better than too many of them can lay claim to. .... Bill Scott did ride soberly and well, winning, as everybody knows, by a clear moiety of a length, Iago finishing very brilliantly at his quarters. The pace which Tóm Tulloch forced to his utmost for his length-a mile-was very severe, the time really being about three minutes sixteen seconds. A vast many versions of “ the play”
in this race have been sent out, with none of which I agree.
It was a true test of the quality of every horse that ran in it on the day. Sir Tatton won because he was the freshest of the first rank; Iago's was the best, the truest performance, regard being had to his late labours at York: non semper arcum tendit
Apollo. The Two-year-old Stakes Foreclosure won, beating Slander.... but scarcely in her form—they did not send Van Tromp for this. All things, however, had in account, this was an achievement which ought not to be lost sight of. As some return for capital, Tom Tulloch walked over for the Foal Stakes, and Iago won the Threeyear-old Stakes--a dollop of more than a thousand pounds. I must not set my seal on the meeting without stating that in his race for the cup-save the mark !—The Hero sailed away from his field as a Bermudian clipper would from the Lord Mayor's barge. What a pair of three-year-olds for one man to have in his life, Venison and The Hero! I have said nothing about the Great Yorkshire Handicap, not being very partial to issues of its class, and that they only interest those immediately concerned in them. Without wasting space on any small deer, we come to the final meetings of the season, at Newmarket.
The First October opened with the defeat of Sir Tatton Sykes, by Iago for the Grand Duke Michael. They told you the former horse wasn't fit, any more than his rider : he certainly ran a cur--that is, the quadruped--whatever might have been the reason. Here, too, Sting made a manifestation of his racing pretension, by winning the St. Leger in a really honest form : but he has been an ungainly courser. Of the youthful races no more need be said than that Isis won the Hopeful and Slander the Rutland. The Second October is an occasion of considerable account. Its last celebration was brimfull of sport, and some good racing to boot. The first sensation was caused by the announcement that "Sir Tatton Sykes was scratched for the Cesarewich; the second, the winning of that event by Wit's-end, a most middling The Clearwell was won in a most straggling field by Glentilt-said, by the very knowing, to be the stable representative for the Derbythis was not a flattering sample, at all events, of his quality, verb. sap. .... The weather had at last changed, and from frying, according to the custom in this climate, had receded to freezing. But the ardour of the turfite had in no way abated, so on he went till the Sabbath put an end to his career.... And now, to sum up our eventful bistory, the Houghton was put on the scene, as they put your villains and their deeds in the melodramas, in utter darkness. There was a fog as substantial, though far from as palatable, as pea-soup, and of a like hue. Alarm was the favourite for the Cambridgeshire, almost up to the time of running, when he gave way to a colt subsequently named the Prior of St. Margaret's. Sting was second, giving 21lbs !.... The race was truly run, perhaps; but it was run under false colours : “dun-ducketty mud" isn't the light for fine riding. Clementina, with a penalty of 71bs. up, was within a head of Coningsby, for the Criterion. This filly had too much of it during the season, to have fair lines from such a trial. The course, always a trying one, in this instance should not be held to have been a convicting one also. To catalogue the fun would be to