Page images


“There lie sat, and, as I thought, expounding the law and the prophets, until on drawing a little nearer, I found he was only expatiating on the merits of a brown horse."-BRACEBRIDGE HALL.

[ocr errors]


WAY BILL:- Thc Month—The Doncaster Great Coursing Thc Forfeit List

- Messrs. Weatherby's Book Calendar, The Foal List-Principal Winners The late Colonel Lowther, M.P., Mr. Ivie Campbell, and Mr. Ransome-The

Birmingham Dog Show. Tone TURPites are laid up in ordinary at last, and the roughs

'The owners of Thormanby and Trumpeter have been deep in the contemplation of Shorthorns at Islington; and Mr. Judge Johnson might be seen inspecting the vast plateau of roast beef on M'Combie's black ox, as keenly as the five nobs which were presented to him almost simultaneously, in the Newcastle Queen's Plate. The most dashing bettor of the year strolled through the long-wool classes, looking as blithe as a lark after his losses, and an eminent book-maker was looking as pleased as a boy with the solemn process of hand-feeding Howard's pigs. The M. ¥. H. with the wonderful hat," which nobody can deny," was a prominent feature of the middle avenue, but very few of the fraternity were there. In fact, from the reports of the visitors it was very difficult to say whether England was enjoying open weather or not. Évery man had a different tale, and some had encountered three kinds of weather en route. "The plungers" must have had many twinges over their turkey and pudding this Christmas. The ghost of their portion of the £100,000 which the Upper Ten are said to owe to the ring, must linger with them even under the mistletoe, and reading “No Thoroughfare” will hardly prove an equivalent for half-a-dozen hunters in the shires. What with the frost and fog and moderate entries, the steeple-chasers have only had a poor

time of it, and “dog books" have not been opened with any spirit. The Cannon and Parry business was happily settled without an appeal to Quarter Sessions, and there has been no good turf case for Mr. Hawkins at Westminster. Worse still, the Billy Nichol case has not yet come on for argument at Westminster, as Sir Joseph's lot fairly deadens all Derby speculation, and a draft from Mr. Merry's with Liddington and Mirella in it is not enough to tempt one into "the yard." Steeple-chasing has been playing at cross purposes with frost, and somehow the coursing men have had quite the best of it, though the “dog books” for the Waterloo have not so far been opened with much spirit.

In the country, to use the language of a recent novelist," the dogs are running about in a state of the deepest agitation, with their noses to the ground,” but somehow or other they don't make much out.



We do not know of anything great, but a run with Mr. Chaplin's from Stapleford Moor into the Duke of Rutland's country, with a kill; and a long old-fashioned hunting day with the Badsworth. There are five badgers in John o'Gaunt's, and when we last heard, the spades and the terriers had not brought any of them to book.

The monetary affairs of the Doncaster Corporation have quite a perennial interest for our “ stable mind.” We do not care to know how much the rents from Balby and Hexthorpe Manor bring to the credit side, or how much goes to the debit for “horse corn “dyking Low Pasture,” or even the particulars of that imposing “miscellaneous” (£935 4s. 7d.) item; but we do keep, as old Fuller bas it, “ our most fixt

on every figure that relates to Doncaster Moor. We had heard divers rumours that the grant was to be increased, but the Corporation had kept their real intentions dark. One London paper had not forgotten them, and gave a significant warning ; but the other oracles were dumb. We shall never forget the pleasant galvanic shock to our feelings one snowy morning, as we travelled Londonwards from Penzance, and learnt the news at Plymouth.

Our next anxiety was to get the Doncaster Gazette, andsce the discussion when the £1,200 was transmuted into £1,500. We did, but we were most grievously disappointed. There were times when the great “ Jingo” had to do batile for his country and his gods; and, after two hours of hard-fighting and hot abuse, he thought himself lucky if he carried a supplementary grant of £200 10 add to the £1,000. The whole town would be shaken to its centre on the point, and corporate heads were coupted most assiduously in every bar, to find who were faithful to “Jingo

" and who were not. The whips were at work night and day, and there were dark rumours that “ Jingo ” would be seized and carried off to “the levels” by the Alford party. We keep the records of those remarkable divisions. The £200 supplementary grant was won, but it was only by 11 to 9. The Mayor of the period (whose honoured name we forget) was one of the nine; so was Sir Isaac; so was Mr. Waite, who wished it " to go forth to the world that I am not an enemy of the races”; and so was Mr. Milner, who was “as mad as a batter” when the division was announced, and relieved himself by saying that he“ would forth with prepare a financial statement of the races,

which he never did. “Jingo " sang “the cork leg" with greater emphasis than ever after his victory, and, having once had their centre broken, the obtructives never showed good pluck again. The next year he won by 15 to 6, and then the opposition dropped down to 3-Sir Isaac Morley, Dr. Dunn, and Mr. Parkinson.

The proceedings this autumn were remarkably quict. Mr. Foster proposed that the grants both to the May and September meetings be discussed by the Council in committee when it could have a morning to itself; and Mr. Wellborne, who has always run very staunch, both in and since " Jingo's " day, moved that the names of those who attended in committee should be published, so that if there was any jibbing, there was in the days of old,” the burgesses should know who attended and who did not-and, in fact, all about it ; which, as Mr. Alderman Clarke observed, “ they generally manage to do.” However, this was not carried ; but in the committee of the whole house a resolution was Çarried that the £1,200 grant should be £1,500 in future, and hat


every drawback should be given up. Sir Isaac was not at the committee nieeting, in consequence of “urgent railway affairs,” and pretty urgent they proved. If Doncaster racing matters had not been better managed than those of the Midland Railway, the Town Moor would bave been a very Slough of Despond.

Mr. Clark's thirty-five saplings averaged about £13 each at Aldridge's. Four Patents made about £17 apiece, and three Marionettes £16 6s. The highest price was £33 13. 6d. for a daughter of Bonus and Braxy. Marionette won the Clifton Cup in great style at the Ridgway Club, where Mr. Gibson ran up to her with Ronald. Mr. Gibson's luck has been most remarkable, as that Glasgow of the leash has actually won two cups with Geargatherer and Ronald within a month. It did seem as if his day was never to come, as Granite and Gunboat, and even Coorooran disappointed him, and an accident settled Grand Master-one of the closest-working puppies that ever was slipped at a hare. Mr. Warwick can never say enough about the way in which he knocked one about on the Douglas Sheepwalks. Mr. Blackstock has also revived the honour of Cumberland,


won, divided, and run up with the three Belles which he took to Hordley. Trovatore is hardly herself this year, and it was not to be expected, after what she did towards the close of last. Lobelia is kept in lavender for the Waterloo Cup, and the unbeaten Saucebox will carry a waggon-load of Newmarket money for that event. Some good coursers say that no bitch bas taken their fancy more this season than Brigade by Brigadier. The Waterloo Cup would almost seem fated for one of the threc; but there always starts up a dark one to bowl over the certainty. If any one can quite understand the “ Maida” and the Ardrossan Courser's correspondence, he must be an individual of remarkable subtility. However, “ Maida" has received a first-class certificate, engrossed on vellum, from the hands of Mr. Sharpe in the Corrie coursing-field, and signed by some excellent coursers. His opponent (whose name is well-known) has therefore nothing for it but to hold his peace, and adopt Joey Ladle's advice—“After that ye may all on you go to bed.” Our only wonder is that the correspondence has been admitted at such length into the papers. One clause was to the effect that some grapes had been sent to the club dinner, and that “Maida” did not mention the fact with rapture. But coursers and boating-men may be backed against the world for an eternal and illnatured correspondence about nothing.

The Messrs. Weatherby have once more dispensed their grim Christmas-boxes in the shape of a forfeit-list reminder. We cannot exactly say of its recipients as the Devonshire child-murderess did of one of her customers who wished to be rid of her infant at half-price, "She was a bad woman-she had no money;" but, unless several of them had been very reckless in their nominations, or let little forfeits from 1 to 5 sovs. slip out of their heads, there would not have been such a good broad sum of about £10,000 owing upon the three past seasons. Mr. T. Conolly, Mr. J. R. Preston, and Mr. Blacoe are all heavily in; and Anadyomene £180, Brown Dayrell £145, Catherine Parr colt £165, Conservative £403, Emma £258, Favorita £185, Montrose £670, and Musketeer £255 are the nags which are, so to speak, in pawn. Only £150 is due on the Two Thousand for the last three years; but the

[ocr errors]

winners of the Derby, Oaks, and St. Leger are not so lucky. Still £800, £650, and £1,125, thanks to nominators standing in the breach, are the only unpaid remnants of those great races.

Weatherby's Book Calendar grows fatter and fatter, and its bulk has swelled from 593 pp. in '57 to 840 this winter. Four countiesRutland, Cornwall, Westmoreland, and Mr. Disraeli's “Porch, Tank, and Oven” shire of Bucks--are still deaf to the voice of the 2 to 1, bar one, charmer; and the other 36 have 137 meetings between them. Yorkshire has a dozen, with Northallerton in aid once more ; but the twelve counties of Wales can only muster five. Ireland is in no great form with nine as its portion; while Scotland, thanks to its youug blood, can boast of twelve, and some of them very superior to what they have been. Prince D. Soltykoff and the Marquis of Exeter are the only Jockey Club elections of the year ; but Lord Colvile takes his soat ex-officio as Master of the Buckhounds, in the great Turf Council. The president, vice-president, and three stewards of the French turf are also honorary members, and so are & couple of kings (Holland and Belgium), and the Prince of Orange. The rest of the members, headed by the Prince of Wales, number 71; and, contrary to their usual rule, the Messrs. Weatherby have not persisted this Christmas-lide in retaining the dead among the living. The decrees of the session do not seem to have boon of a very important character : they are simply the foreign foal certificate, the private handicap exemption from extra weights, the reception of certificates from men holding a Highland and Agricultural Society's diploma, the abolition of the first half of the Abingdon Mile as a course, the ignoring of hurdle races, and the resumption (for grass) of the arable land let to Mrs. Bottom. Of the Blenkiron business we read nothing; and the definition is not pursued any further touching who are, and who are not, to share the top of a Newmarket stand with the club. One of the Jockey Club's best moves this year was to arrange for second and third money in the Derby, Oaks, and Two Thousand; but the Sporting Life had worked the point some time before.

“The purple jacket with scarlet sleeves and gold braid buttons, and black cap with gold tassel,”_which “George Guelph loved of yore, does not yet appear to the Prince's name. Dr. Short house goes in for colours—white and crimson cap; and Mrs. W, Snewing registers, “a gold jacket, green velvet cap, with gold tassel."

' There is nothing new in the descriptions of racecourses. Cardiff is “well drained ;" Cheltenham has “rich meadow land, with unexceptionably good turns ;” and Durham, “sound old grass ;" West Drayton has “good going in the driest seasons;" but exit Castle Irwell meadow and its “alluvial deposit of four feet soil.” Racing men are not sorry to leave it to the floods, and to betake themselves to New Barnes Farm, which is almost as near the Exchange. It is quite cruel of Messrs. Weatherby to write so bewitchingly as they do of the old Derby course, when we are condemned to such a wretched substitute: “The late Derby course is exactly a mile and a-half, and somewhat in the form of a horseshoe; the first three-quarters of a mile may be considered as straight running, the bend in the course being very trifling and the width very great ; the next quarter of a mile is in a gradual turn, and the last half-mile straight.”

[ocr errors]

In the calendar part the races begin on February 1, and end on November 22nd. Queen of Trumps ran in the last race but one. She might be sick of the whole matter, as she began racing on February 28th, had been out forty-seven times during the season, and only won £595 in six of them. This hard-working “old charwoman " has run 164 times in her six seasons, and won 42 times, or very nearly every fourth time, which is anything but “monkey's allowance" in these days of severe competitive examination for the turf, as well as the civil service. She first appeared as a bad fifth in the Doncaster Trial Stakes of 1862. Oddly enough, her stable mate, Moulsey, who ran his last race at Warwick Autumn, came out at Doncaster Spring in '63 as a bad fourth for the Betting Room Stakes; and he retires this year, after having run 113 times, and won 34 times. The calendar in which this pair—who ought not to be severed in their paddock loveshere figure, extends, with its indexes, over 671 pages; and well it may, as the races have risen from 1,514 in ’62 to 1,862 in '65, and to 2,140 in ’67 ; while the horses of those respective years are 1,826, 2,042 and 2,458. As in the Dutchman and Charles Marlow's year, which has its In Memoriam in the inner parlour of nearly every licensed victualler, only 1,315 horses ran, and it had 264 two-year-olds and 419 threes, whereas we can now count 752 and 661 of those ages. Miss Havelock (2), John Davis (3), Dalesman (2), Sundeelah (3), Challenge (2), Nutrition (2), and Rama (2), have done best with the Queen's Plates in England; so there has been no Fisherman monopoly. In Ireland, Russian Bee (4), Selim (3), Claret Cup, Dunsany, and Centaur (2) each, have been “saddled for her Majesty's service to some purpose.”

The number of brood mares returned is 2,691 ; and of these, 694 have been barren, or slipped their foals, and 96 were fallow : the foals were never more numerous, and the 902 fillies are in a majority of 66 over the colts. The 1,738 foals are by 293 sires, and Audubon, De Clare, Egbert, and Foam merely put in a half claim. Paradigm, Virago, Canezou, and Pocahontas have no foals. There is really nothing fresh to say, as the editors have already squeezed the orange dry. When men call new fillies “O Sapientia!" "Oudity,” and “Physiology,” there is not much hope of their chances of success; it is like putting a ban upon them at once.

Coldstream, Ralph Lambton, Salute, and Falkland are names of a very different stamp: the list begins with “Bar 1,” and “0 S” by A 1, and much goud may they do anyone.

The once flying Molly Carew has a first foal by Amsterdam, and we trust it won't get itself " concussed” against a cart, like its once flying dam. Lord Straithnairn enters an Artillery daughter of his white Nejd Arabian. Madame Eglantine has deserted Beadsman (who had only one or two mares in Yorkshire) for Asteroid, by whom Sir Joseph has half-adozen. Lord Glasgow has another pair of " tight uns by Barbatus," and six more couplets, all by horses of his own. Blair Athol seems a moustrously sure getter. IIis '66 lot numbered 30, and now he has 32, of which 19 are fillies, and one of them the only grey, bar six, in the list. Dam of Queen Bertha has a colt by him; so has Lady Clifden, and he has furnished Mr. Jackson with five chesnuts and five colts out of his eight Fairfielders.

Old Castanette, who must be well on to twenty-six, has a filly by

« PreviousContinue »