« PreviousContinue »
ful legs, whatever else he has to do in his stable is comparatively trifling to the act of bringing a young one quite up to the mark, and keeping him there till he is wanled. The cock was sacred to Æsculapius by reason of his well-known watchfulness, nor should the eye of a training groom be shut whilst he has an animal of this description uuder his care, for a change may take place in him in a night, which, like a frost over the blossoms, will blast all hopes of his success.
The immense value, again, which a very promising colt now attains in the market, adds greatly to the charge over him; and much credit is due to the trainer who brings him well through his engagements, whether he be a winner or not.
"The treatment of the seasoned race-horse is comparatively easy and straightforward, with the exception of such as are very difficult to keep in place, by reason of constitutional peculiarities. Those which have been at work are thus treated, we mean when the season is concluded, by indulgence in their exercise, they are suffered to gather flesh, or become lusty,' as the term is, to enable them the better to endure their physic; but, in addition to two hours' walking exercise, they must have a gentle gallop, to keep them quiet. If frost sets in, they are walked in a paddock upon litter, it being considered dangerous to take them at that time from home.
When the weather is favourable, they commence a course of physic, consisting of three doses, at an interval of about eight days between each. A vast alteration has taken place in the strength of the doses given, and, consequently, accidents from physic now more rarely occur. Eight drachms of Barbadoes aloes form the largest dose at present given to aged horses, with six and a half to fouryear olds, six to three-year olds, five to two-year olds, and from three to four to yearlings. After physic—and after Christmas—they begin to do rather better work, and in about two months before their first engagement comes on, they commence their regular sweats the distance generally four miles. After their last sweat, the jockeys who are to ride them generally give them a good gallop, by way of feeling their mouths and rousing them, for they are apt to become shifty, as it is termed, with the boys, who have not sufficient power over them. The act of sweating the race-horse is always a course of anxiety to his trainer, and particularly so on the eve of a great race, for which he may be a favourite. The great weight of clothes with which he is laden is always rous and often fatal to his leg apd there is generally a spy at hand to ascertain whether he pulls up sound or lame. Some nonsense has been written by the author of a late work,* about omitting sweating in the process of training; but what would the Chifneys say to this? They are acknowledged pre-eminent in the art, but they are also acknowledged to be very severe with their horses in their work,—and, without sweating them in clothes, they would find it necessary to be much more so than they are.
It is quite certain, that horses cannot race without doing severe work—but the main point to be attended to is, not to hurry them in their
work. As to resting them for many weeks at a time, as was formerly the case, that practice is now entirely exploded amongst all superior judges, and experience has proved, that not only the racehorse, but the hunter, is best for being kept going, the year round-at times, gently, of course. With each, as with man, idleness is the parent of misfortune.
“Thucydides says of Themistocles, that he was a good guesser the future by the past; but this will not do in racing; and not only prudence, but justice towards the public demands that a race-horse should be tried at different periods of his training. The first great point is obviously to ascertain the maximum speed, and the next to discover how that is affected by weight: but here there are difficulties against which no judgment can provide, and which, when the best intentions have been acted upon, have led to false conclusion. The horse may not be quite up to his mark, on the day of trial-or the horse, or horses, with which he is tried, may not be so : the nature of the ground, and the manner of running it, may likewise not be suited to his capabilities or his action, and the trial and his race may be very differently run. Chifney, in his Genius Genuine, says, the race-horse Magpie was a hundred and fifty or two hundred yards a better horse some days than others, in the distance of two miles ! Tiresias won the Derby for the Duke of
Scott's Field Sports.
Portiand in a canter, to the ruin of many of the betting men, who thought his chance was gone from his previous trial with Snake, who beat him with much ease. It afterwards came out, that his being beaten at the trial had been owing to the incapacity of the boy who rode him and he was a bad horse to ride: indeed, we remember his taking old Clift, his jockey, nearly into Epsom town before he could pull him up, after winning the race. We are compelled, however, to observe, that much deception in late years has been resorted to, by false accounts of trials, and thereby making horses favourites for the great stakes-as in the instances of Panic, Premier, Swap, the General, Prince Llewellyn, and others, some of whom were found to be as bad as they had been represented to be good. But the trial of trials took place many years back at Newmarket, in the time of George I. A match was made between the notorious Tregonwell Frampton and Sir W. Strickland, to run two horses over Newmarket for a considerable sum of money; and the betting was heavy between the north and south country sportsmen on the
After Sir W. Strickland's horse had been a short time at Newmarket, Frampton's groom, with the knowledge of his master, endeavoured to induce the baronet's groom to have a private trial, at the weights and distance of the match, and thus to make the race sufe. Sir William's man had the honesty to inform his master of the proposal, when he ordered him to accept it, but to be sure to deceive the other by putting seven pounds more weight in the stuffing of his own sadalle. \Frampton's groom had alreudy done the same thing, and in the trial, Merlin, Sir William's horse, beat his opponent about a length. Now,' said Frampton to his satellite, my fortune is made, and so is yours; if our horse can run so near Merlin with seven pounds extra, what will he do in the race?' The betting became immense. The south-country turfites, who had been let into the secret by Frampton, told those from the north, that they would bet them gold against Merlin while gold they had, and then they must sell their land. Both horses came well to the post, and of course the race came off like the trial.
“ The Jockey Club law is very strict as to trials at Newmarket, notice being obliged to be given to the keeper of the trial-book within one hour after the horses have been tried, enforced by a penalty of 101. for neglecting it; and any person detected watching a trial is also severely dealt with. Nevertheless, formerly, watching trials was a trade at Newmarket, nor is it quite done away with at the present day; though we have reason to believe that the better who should trust much to inform ition obtained by such means would very soon break down. It often happens that the jockeys who ride trials know nothing of the result beyond the fact of which horses run fasiest, as they are kept in ignorance of the weight they carry-a good load of shot being frequently concealed in the stuffing of their saddles.
" But to return for a moment to the effect of weight on the race-horse. Perhaps an instance of the most minute observation of this effect is to be found in a race at Newcastle-under-Lyne, some years back, between four horses handicapped by the celebrated Dr. Bellyse; namely, Sir John Egerton's Astbury, 4 years old, 8 stone 6 pounds--Mr. Mytton's Handel, 4 years old, 7 stone 11 pounds--Sir William Wynne's Tarragon, 4 years old, 8. stone-Sir Thomas Stanley's Cedric, 3 years old, 6 stone 13 pounds. The following was the result. Of the first three heats there was no winner, Tarragon and Handel being each time nose and nose; and, although Astbury is stated to have been third the first heat, yet he was so nearly on a level with the others, that there was a difficulty in placing him as such. After the second heat, Mr. Littleton, who was steward, requested the Doctor and two other gentlemen to look stedfastly at the horses, and try to decide in favour of one of them, but it was impossible to do so. In the third dead heat, Tarragon and Handel had struggled with each other till they reeled about like drunken men, and could scarcely carry their riders to the scales. Astbury, who had laid by after the first heat, then came out and won; and it is generally believed the annals of the turf cannot produce such a contest as this. so much for a good handicap, formed on a thorouglı knowledge of the horses, their ages, and their public running.”
When considering the immense sums of money depending on VOL. II. NO. XII.
race-horses, the persons who have to ride them form an important branch of society; and although the term “ Jockey” is often used as implying unfair dealing, still there have been men, and there still are men alive, who following the occupation of Jockeys, stand high in the opinion of the world as men of high moral character, whom nothing would induce to do wrong. Francis Buckle was the elité of this fraternity. He is in his grave; but he has left behind him not merely an example for all young jockeys to follow, but proof that honesty is the best policy, for he died in the esteem of all the racing world, and in the possession of a comfortable independence, acquired by his profession. What the Greek said of Fabricus might be said of him—that it would have been as difficult to have turned the sun from its course, as to have turned him from his duty; and having said this, we should like to say a little more of him. He was the son of a saddler, at Newmarket—no wonder he was so good on the saddle-and commenced in the late Honourable Richard Vernon's stables at a very early age. He rode the winners of five Derby seven Oaks, and two St. Leger Stakes, besides, to use his own words, most of the good things at Newmarket,' in his time; but it was in 1802 that he so greatly distinguished himself at Epsom by taking long odds, that he won both Derby and Oaks, on what were coasidered very unlikely horses to win either. His Derby horse was the Duke of Grafton's Tyrant, with seven to one against him, beating Mr. Wilson's Young Eclipse, considered the best horse of his year. Young Eclipse made the play, and was opposed by Sir Charles Bunbury's Orlando, who contested every inch of ground with him for the first mile. From Buckle's fine judgment of pace, he was convinced they both must stop; so following, and watching them with Tyrant, he came up and won, to the surprise of all who saw him, with one of the worst horses that ever won a Derby. The following year, Young Eclipse beat Tyrant, giving him 4lbs. Buckle, having made one of his two events safe, had then a fancy, that Mr. Wastell's Scotia could win the Oaks if he were upon her back, and he got permission to ride her. She was beaten three times between Tatten. ham's corner and home ; but he got her up again in front, and won the race, by a head. The Newmarket people declared they had never seen such a race before, snatched out of the fire, as it were, by fine riding. In another place (Lewes), he won an extraordinary race against a horse of the late Mr. Durand's, on which he had a considerable sum of money depending, thus winning the race, but losing his money. He rode Sancho for Mr. Mellish, in his great match with Pavillion, and was winning it when his horse broke down. He also won the Doncaster St. Leger with Sancho.
“Some anecdotes are related of Chifney, confirming his great coolness in a race, and among others the following :--Observing a young jockey (a son of the celebrated Clift) making very much too free with his horse, he addressed him thus :
Where are you going boy? Stay with me, and you'll be second. The boy drew back his horse, and a fine race ensued, but when it came to a struggle, we need
not say who won it. Chifney's method of finishing his race is the general theme of admiration on the turf. Suppose,' says he, a man had been carrying a stone, too heavy to be pleasant, in one hand, would he not find much ease by shifting it into the other? Thus, after a jockey has been riding over his horse's fore legs for a couple of miles, must it not be a great relief to him when he sits back in his saddle, and, as it were, divides the weight more equally? But caution is required,' he adds, “to preserve a due equilibrium, so as not to disturb the action of a tired horse.' Without doubt, this celebrated performer imbibed many excellent lessons from his father, but he is considered to be the more powerful jockey of the two."
There are some good specimens of the pigmy breed of jockies now at Newmarket; John Day, for instance, has produced a facsimile of himself, cast in the right mould for the saddle, and who can ride about four stone. These feather-weights are absolutely necessary where two-year colts are brought to the post, and they sometimes ride a winning race; though if it comes to a struggle, as the term is, they are almost certain to be defeated by the experienced jockey. But, speaking seriously, it is a great blessing to the rider of races to be of a diminutive size, to prevent the hardship and inconvenience of wasting—a most severe tax on the constitution and temper. On this subject the following memorandum of some questions addressed by Sir John Sinclair to the late Mr. Sandiver, an eminent surgeon, long resident at Newmarket, and a pretty constant spectator of the races, with Mr. S.'s answers, may amuse our readers :
· How long does the training of jockies continue? With those in high repute, from about ten weeks before Easter to the end of October ; but a week or ten days are quite sufficient for a rider to reduce himself from his natural weight to sometimes a stone and a half below it.-What food do they live on? For breakfast a small piece of bread and butter, with tea in moderation. Dinner is taken very sparingly; a very small piece of pudding and less meat; and when fish is to be obtained, neither one nor the other is allowed. Wine and water is the usual beverage, in the proportion of one pint to two of water. Tea in the afternoon, with little or no bread and butter, and no supper.- What exercise do they get, and what hours of rest! After breakfast, having sufficiently loaded themselves with clothes, that is, with five or six waistcoats, two coats, and as many pairs of breeches, a severe walk is taken, from ten to fifteen miles. After their return home, dry clothes are substituted for those that are wet with perspiration, and, if much fatigued, some of them lie down for an hour or so before their dinner ; after which no severe rest is taken, but the remaining part of the day is spent in a way most agreeable to themselves. They generally go to bed by nine o'clock, and continue there till six or seven next morning.–What medicine do they take? Some of them, who do not like excessive walking, have recourse to purgative medicines, glauber salts only.-- Would Mr. Sandiver recommend a similar process to reduce corpulency in other persons ? Mr. Sandiver would recommend a similar process to reduce corpulency in either sex, as the constitution does not appear to be injured by it; but he is apprehensive that hardly any person could be prevailed upon to submit to such severe discipline, who had not been enured to it from his youth. The only additional information that Mr. Sandiver has to communicate is, that John Arnuli, when rider to his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, was desired to reduce himself as much as he possibly could, to enable him to ride a particular horse, in in consequence of which he abstained from animal, and even from farinaceous food, for eight successive days, and the only substitute was now and then an apple. He was not injured by it. Dennis Fitzpatrick, a person continually employed as a rider, declares that he is less fatigued, and has more strength to contend with a determined horse in a severe race, when moderately reduced, than when allowed to live as he pleased, although he never weighs more than nme stone, and has frequently reduced himself to seven.'*
The present system of wasting varies from the one here described, and particularly as to the length of the walk, which appears to have been unnecessarily severe. The modern Newmarket jockey seldom exceeds four miles out, and then he has a house to stop at in which there is a large fire, by which the perspiration is very much increased. Indeed, it sometimes becomes so excessive, that he may be seen scraping it off the uncovered parts of his person after the manner in which the race-horse is scraped, using a small horn for the purpose. After sitting awhile by the fire and drinking some diluted liquid, he walks back to Newmarket, swinging his arms as he proceeds, which increases the muscular action. Sufficiently cool to strip, his body is rubbed dry and fresh clothed, when, besides the reduction of his weight, the effect is visible on his skin, which has a remarkable transparent hue. In fact, he may be said to show condition after every sweat, till he looks as sleek as the horse he is going to ride. But the most mortifying attendant upon wasting is the rapid accumulation of flesh, immediately on a relaxation of the system, it having often happened that jockies, weighing not more than seven stone, have gained as many pounds in one day from merely obeying the dictates of nature, committing no excess. Non misere vivit qui parcè vivit, is an acknowledged truism; but during the racing season, a jockey in high practice, who, -as is the case with Chiffney, Robinson, Dockeray and Scott, is naturally above our light racing weights, is subject to no trifling mortification. Like the good Catholic, however, when Lent expires, he feels himself at liberty when the racing season is at an end; and on the last day of the Houghton meeting, Frank Buckle had always a goose for supper! his labours for the season being then concluded.
We now dismiss this subject, with no probability of our ever returning to it. That there are objections to racing, we do not deny, as indeed, there are to most of the sports which have been invented for the amusement of mankind, and few of which can gratify pure benevolence; but when honourably conducted, we consider the turf as not more objectionable than most others, and it has one advantage over almost all now in any measure of fashionable repute :-it diffuscs its pleasures far and wide. The owner of race-horses cannot gratify his passion for the turf, without affording delight to thousands upon thousands of the less fortunate of his countrymen. This is no trivial feature in the case, now that shooting is divided between the lordly battue and the prowl of the poacher,--and that fox-hunting is every day becoming more and more a piece of exclusive luxury, instead of furnishing the lord, the squire, and the yeoman, with a common recreation, and promoting mutual goodwill among all the inhabitants of the rural district, P. H.
* Arnull died at the age of 62. Fitzpatrick at 42, from a cold taken in wasting.