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6 and no
and drakes that Old England was making in the market; but there is an end of all things, and even this was little more than a nine days' mystery. Betting was “ uncommon slack," as the gentlemen of the profession say, and also not all couleur de rose. It conferred a few black eyes, for instance, on a gent "sometime affecting Limmers," and it begat "shindies" elsewhere.
But "time and the hour" wear away rough occasions, and, lo! we are on the eve of the races; and behold! there is a row, mistake,” to borrow the last novelty in emphasis. On the Sunday preceding the meeting_" the better day the better deed”—Mr. Gully made the most of the South Western Railway to Danebury, and having squeezed out of William Day-head boy at his father's training establishment there—that he, William, had leagued with one Stebbings and other dissolute persons, to get money out of Old England, Mr. Gully returned brimful of proper intelligence and indignation. On Monday afternoon, during full 'change at Tattersall's, he mounted a rostrum, and in a speech of considerable eloquence (for a ci-devant member of parliament) denounced one Mr. Hargreaves, of Manchester—or rather, “a Manchester man,” as the vernacular runs—with having seduced Billy Day; a most grave charge. He also said that temptations had been held out to his brother, "young John Day,” which failed; that young man being—according to Mr. G.'s expression, "above price,” which I suppose means not to be bought. We shall presently see whether Mr. Gully valued him properly.
But my conscience warns me that I am dealing with a most melancholy matter, as relates to one party affected by it, in too light a vein. We will pass for a while to the meeting under consideration, and return to it anon.
Epsom Races, in the present year of grace, commenced on the last Tuesday of May. The opening day here is an unengaging one; few people go, and those that do encounter the downs en déshabille, for the tent-poles have not set up their drapery. The first race, however, of the first day had interest enough to bring me to the post, as well as the nags engaged in it; in fact, the Craven had representatives from most of the great stables, and promised to be a tell-tale issue. It was won cleverly by the Knight-of-the-Whistle, making a sad example of Evenus, and the shadow of Idas's fortune that nobody would look at, long and lugubrious as it was. The Woodcote, a smart two-year-old of Lord George Bentinck's Light Cherookee, won in a canter: she is in next year's Oaks.
It rained dolefully in town on the all important Derby morning, and certainly the mise en scene at the Regent Circus, Limmer's, Long's, and such like points of sporting movement, was below many
former anniversary. The road down, however, was a very stirring sight, and when we reached Ewell, the rural contributions had swelled the stream of locomotion to a flood. The rain, which ceased before noon, had made the drive a delicious one for ose who started at a Cliristian hour; and the downs, soon after the sun made its appearance, were as dry as a carpet, and a thousand times more grateful to the foot than the best productions of the Persian loom. Epsom, at that hour, was as full as a fair, and the course, which I surmounted by one o'clock, presented a marvellous multitude. I never saw so many men and women there in my life, save on the hill
never such a lack of “turns-out.” Carriages there were, no doubt, in most admired disorder; but the specimens of perfect English equipage were few and far between. A horrid chaos and lucre-alluring Charybdis was the ring, made up of tens of thousands of civilized beings all intent on preying on their neighbours! The only gambling permitted by the Secretary of State for the Home Department is that done in the betting circles : in roulett, rowley-powley, and similar round games, he has made a counter revolution. If speculation had been heretofore supine, now it was making up for lost time; such vigorous betting has not been since the Queen came to her own.
Before we leave it, we may as well say that 3 to 1 was taken about Idas just as the ring broke up; 7 to 2 about Weatherbit offered; 10 to 1 against The Libel; and then the 20 to 1 lot, headed by Alarm. Merry Monarch was backed early in the week at 33 to 1, but I could not learn that he was ever named in the ring on the day.
The sight at the starting post was a very animating one; but I cannot conceive why even a disposition to disoblige the Grand Stand Committee-however well they deserve it-constrains the authorities to allow the saddling to take place where it does. When the Warren offered its protection to those engaged in this important solemnity, it might have been as well there as elsewhere; but now the practice is the most inconvenient that can be imagined. No pretence even is made to clear a space for the saddling; and not only the race horses, but all who go afoot to look at them, are at the mercy (or rather the want of it) of all who may choose to ride over them, or kick up any lark they feel inclined for. Surely this is monstrous. In front of the stand every facility for this preparation is afforded, while, at the same time, a most grateful exhibition would be afforded the greatest sporting assembly in the world. Is not this worth the consideration of all those it concerns ? and are not they, the subscribers to the Derby in general, and those who bring out all their horses for it in particular? At half-past two, in pairs and fours, the largest field ever seen for the Derby began to muster for the preliminary canter: to say which looked the best would be nonsense; there was hardly an animal short of the perfection of training, and not one ungainly brute to the eye, saving always the Irish champion, Clear-the-way, a great ragged giant, that, with Jim Robinson on his back, looked the ideal of the sublime and the ridiculous. When such a squadron is to be formed into “ double squeeze" (all youngsters, and not previously on visiting terms) it is easy to conceive that confusion must ensue: so it did. Libel, not the best tempered even of his peevish family, set to with Alarm, who ran away; his jock, Nat, being severely hurt in his wrist during the scuffle. Besides this, there were other episodes of kicking, which having wasted some three-quarters of an hour, Mr. Hibburd then succeeded in getting the lot away. The best off was the favourite, Woodpigeon being next him, then a close shoal of horses, the rear up the hill consisting of Old England, Annaudale, and Weatherbit. As they made the first turn, Pam ran up to the front rank, attended by Merry Monarch, and at the same time, The Cobweb Colt, Alarm, and some others threw up altogether. Closing Tattenham Corner, Pantasa and Mentor neared the leaders, and in dipping the hill the latter ran into Pam, capsized him, but righted himself, while Old England and Weatherbit leaped over the prostrate horse and his rider; the former, that is to say Pam, receiving some desperate cuts as he lay on the ground, and being otherwise disabled. Before making the turn, Salopian and Kedger were well forward; and now they cross the road, and the welkin is split with the cry “Idas is beaten!!!”- and so he was; his distance was done as well as himself. At the distance Kedger stopped, as also did Doleful, who had crept up from the top of the hill
. The race now consisted of Merry Monarch, Annandale, Wood Pigeon, Mr. Gally's two, and Pantasa, all'full of running. At the stand the former “came," as the phrase goes, got a good lead, held it, and finally won by a length cleverly. Annandale ran a staunch nag, and Old England's third place makes him as good as I thought him, or nearly so. Weatherbit, his jock told me, was altogether disappointed by Pam's accident; his finish, but for that casualty, would no doubt have been better. As the ruck of horses never ran beyond the distance, it is not easy to dilate on their merits. If Idas was not the last, he was the first to weigh to; nothing could have been more perfect than his condition when his jockey was in the scales, he did not appear more distressed than if he had never started. Libel was amongst the first beaten, with the big Irish horse and the Black Prince. The speed for the first mile was tolerably good, and the remainder of the distance was severely contested: still, that the race was a true indication of the relative qualities of all engaged in it, I do not believe. The gentlemen were the backers chiefly of the “ crack;” and as they were the chief losers, “of course” the settling was easy. Had certain of the market horses won, we should have had a still further weeding of the ring; as it is, their effrontery lives to run away another day. The race was worth, to the winner, £3,975; a great stake!
Thursday was truly an off day:" it was cold and comfortless and company less. The two principal events Lord George Bentinck won
the Sweepstakes with Moonshine, a cruel ugly filly, subsequently bought by Squire Osbaldeston; and the Surrey Cup Handicap with Croton Oil........ Friday, which gave us the once “gentle and aristocratic” Oaks, was sadly below its whilom palmy condition. There were a good many people, but too many of the wrong sort, which is à propos of an episode. In leaving the saddling house, as the preparations for the race were on the move, I encountered Mr. Charles Wagstaff, and wondered “what business had he there at such a time.” It was soon learnt. He had sold his Oaks mare to Lord George Bentinck, on whom he called (you see the turf and death alike level all distinctions) a day or so before the race, representing his Queen of Cyprus as a superior young lady, and consequently worthy of his lordship’s countenance. “Mr. W.," says a sporting paper, in detailing this affair, “happening to owe the noble lord £900 on the Derby and St. Leger, 1836, his lordship agreed to take the mare,” &c., &c. What an odd chance it seems that the son of a duke should be so situated with Charley Wagstaff! Well, the mare, as it has turned out, was four years old instead of three; of course she was good for nothing in one way or the other, or is it probable she would have been offered in liquidation of a debt of honour by Mr. Wagstaff?
In the ring, betting was at length active on this issue among the fillies. Nearly a score were in the odds-the Lancashire Witch at 7 to 2, Lady Wildair at 11 to 2, and the winner at 20 to 1, the party having put their money and their trust on Miss Elis, whose price was 8 to 1, One-and-twenty came to the post, and got away from it without mischance. Hope, attended by "Refraction, led up the hill ; Lady Wildair, Lancashire Witch, Longitude, Glee, and Miss Sarah next them, and the rest well up, for the pace was indifferent. In making the turn at Tattenham Corner the pace was better, and the appearance of the field worse: Hope still was in front, but the “ crack” was gone, and in her place was Miss Sarah, Lady Wildair looking also very well. The two first began to run together at the road, and had it between them to the distance, where Refraction challenged, beat them both before reaching the stand, and won easily by two lengths. Hope was second, with Lady Sarah a length behind her. The speed all through was below the general average; the first mile, in fact, was bad. It will be seen that Miss Elis, being beaten by Refraction, proved that Kent's trials must have been good for nothing-trials are the most deceitful touchstones applicable to the turf. I could tell a dozen that have come off since the race, showing how oddly animals run sometimes in public and sometimes in private. Fickle Wild Rose beat Lancashire Witch, in their places for the Oaks, hollow; Fickle was subsequently tried, and proved to be a brute that couldn't run on equal terms with a good donkey, and she had been tried, to be very good, with Sorella!...... The results of the meeting show that its popularity is on the wane; and who can wonder that people at length grow disgusted with the rule of robbery now common to its two great races ? “ Is there any reniedy for it?" shall haply be asked. “A specific,” is my answer. Do not bait the trap, and the vermin will not come near it. Offer a premium for the attendance of thieves at race-courses, and do you wonder that they come in handsome force? And is not such a premium offered when the son of a noble places himself in a position to lose his hundreds and his thousands to a son of a - ?
Ascot RACES. The royal meeting has been put right royally upon the scene of
Last season was a gorgeous anniversary; the was scarcely less brilliant. All the world was in town, and nineteentwentieths of it went to Ascot. It was a worthy successor of the Bal poudré, where fashion held its revels in the full dress of our great grand-parents : to my thinking, their great grand-daughters in demi-toilette formed a far more interesting tableau-all to nothing a more natural one. The weather was delicious, and the sport more than abundant. The court was, as usual, at Windsor, with a princely circle, the principal guests being the Duke and Duchess de Nemours. The royal party honoured the course with its presence on Tuesday and Thursday, and, it is needless to say, received a cordial and a loyal welcome. Her Majesty appeared to be interested with the scene, and looked remarkably well; his royal highness Prince Albert, unfortunately, does not seem to care for racing. It is not lawful here to speak of the bright particular stars which shone in the galaxy of the courtly train, or we could tell of those that would, by comparison, turn to gorgons the vaunted beauties of the Hampton Gallery.
The details of the course are every year undergoing improvement; the only fear indeed is, that by-and-by they will be too complete. A
present season or so back, the press loaded the authorities with thanks for provision made for the convenience of its members. They had no such obligation forced on their gratitude in the present—they were left to shift generally for themselves, all save the representative of the morning papers, poor fellow! whom I saw, with unaffected compassion, working at his onerous duties in a dismal cell, as dark and pot as roomy as a comfortable coffin.
Tuesday, the 10th ult., was the anspicious commencement of this auspicious meeting. The company was numerous, and of excellent caste; and soon after one the approach of the court was announced. They arrived in the customary procession, the only novel feature—at least, to my observation-being the magnificent character of the horses ; the royal stud has greatly improved since it fell under the management of Lord Jersey. The royal stand was surmounted by an ornamental awning as on former occasions, while for the first time a large space in front of it was railed in. There the horses saddled previous to each race, and the privileged few were permitted to view them : it is proper to say this privilege was accorded to the representatives of the press.
The amount of racing during the four days was positively prodigious, and any attempt even to epitomize it in a work of this kind would occupy a space that could not be spared. The race for the Trial Stakes (the prologue of the meeting) The Libel won in a canter, the distance a mile. People said this proved he was poisoned for the Derby: I was not so convinced. For the Ascot Derby (Swinley Course) Wood Pigeon beat Idas, and so he did for the Epsom Derby; yet people backed Idas at odds on him, but Idas also was made safe! Awful fields of horses ran for the first and second classes of the Ascot Stakes ; and Weatherbit beat Old England, besides many another, for the Welcome Stakes; and the Cobweb colt won £400 by a Sweepstakes; and Sweetmeat carried off the Gold Vase-for neither Alice nor Foig came out for it, after all the backing they found favour for in the market.
Wednesday was brimful of sport, and only escaped being a bumper in the matter of attendance. The only regular visitors that were absent were the card retailers--they could get no merchandise to sell.
Why are there monopolies of anything? Two or three of the great coaching houses of lang syne send individuals of their firms as directors into the chief railway boards in London ; consequently Messrs. Chaplin and Horne, for example, enjoy the bus monopoly of the South Western, for instance. Now, as full buses pay, and halffilled only remunerate, one bus attends to carry all the passengers
from a train west, and one east. Now, as the average of persons wanting such conveyance may be from fifty to a hundred, it is obvious they cannot all get into one bus, notwithstanding it be licensed to carry eleven in and ten out, in a space that would accommodate about a dozen. But the bus is filled, and the bus director-proprietor is paid, and the public goes to the wall, and so it does in every existing case of monopoly. Why are there monopolies of anything?
The Royal Hunt Cup was the feature of the day. It brought a whole wilderness of horses, thirty in amount, to the post, and was won by Evenus, the biggest of the lot-as big, indee:1, as two or three of some of them together. The distance, the straight mile, was the length