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THE DISTANCE CHAIR.
For such races as heats are run, it is of course necessary to have a man in the distance chair, who drops a flag the instant the Judge lowers his, and has to observe what horses, if any, have not passed his post. He should be provided with a list of the horses and colors of the riders, accurately made at the time the jockeys are weighed, in order that he may not mistake one horse for another. There are several country courses on which the distance chair is placed too near the winning post. Two hundred and forty yards is the proper space, and ought to be adhered to, as a jockey is deceived in his calculation if it is out of place.
THE JUDGE. At many Country Meetings the Stewards take upon themselves the important task of judging the races. It is, however, in many instances a post which requires practice. If three or four horses are running in very near together, and even if it is a very near race with only two, a person unaceustomed to it frequently experiences difficulty in deciding. Should there be any after-dinner racing, I would by all means advise the Stewards to eschew the office; as, independently of its being a great tie, it precludes the possibility of attending to the little duties of society which most Stewards are anxious not to neglect, and which frequently operate on the attendance of company when the same Steward officiates at future meetings. In order to judge a race correctly, the person,
whoever he may be, filling the situation should be provided with a list of the horses about to run, which list should be carefully made when the jockeys are weighed, and should in fact be made by the Judge himself, never depending on the printed cards, which are often very incorrect. The color which each jockey rides should be accurately noted. When the leading horses are about fifty yards from the post, the Judge should fix his eye upon the colors of those riders who are in front, divesting his mind of what horses they may be. On arriving at the post he will attend to which horse has his head first; still having his attention fixed on the color of the rider, and traversing his eye with the horse past the post confirms his decision by the color, and places such other horses as he is enabled to do by their positions.
Whenever there are Stakes of any great value it is always desirable to employ some person accustomed to the task. Mr. Clark, of Newmarket, officiates with the highest credit at many Meetings in the South, and Mr. Orton, of York, at the Northern
Their services more frequently called forth would be very desirable.
HANDICAPPING. The Stewards of Country Meetings will frequently find it necessary to make a Handicap of the horses for race on the last day. Some difficulty occasionally arises if there are horses to be handicapped which have not run at the Meeting. In order to do justice, the running of such horses as are expected to be entered for the Handicap should be carefully attended to. Many, if they cannot win, will be pulled up as soon as their chance is found to be over, for the sake of being more favorably weighted. Their appearance, when the jockeys come to be weighted, should be noticed, when much may be discovered as to
whether the beaten horses could have been nearer at the finish---by observing whether the
has been used—whether the horse appears distressed—and whether he is long in recovering his wind. The ease with which the winners have won their races may by the same attention in some measure be ascertained ; and their running should also be considered. Horses that have not been running at the Meeting can only be handicapped according with their running at other places ; and such as have never appeared in public must be weighted according to their pedigree, and the performance of the produce of their dams, providing any of their produce have started. Practice alone, and strict attention to the performance of horses, will enable any one to put a Field well together, and Stewards will find the advantage of calling in the assistance of some experienced tactician as a colleague, should they not feel perfectly conversant with the merits of each horse.
There are still some Meetings where the sociability of an ordinary continues to assemble the Gentlemen of the county and those more immediately connected with racing. I must confess I am old-fashioned enough to advocate such meetings. There is something in the English constitution which is vastly improved by a good dinner, and, as a companion to a race, ought to be supported. It may truly be said to give a zest to the day's sport: it is the sauce piquante which gives a flavor not to be obtained by any other means : it promotes friendship, and causes persons to meet together and form acquaintances which no other occasion can produce. At the social board the little disappointments which the losers have sustained by the morning's amusements are forgotten; and Races and Matches for succeeding days are formed.
“ The jolly crew, unmindful of the past,
The quarry share, their plenteous dinner haste.” One arrangement, however, I cannot pass over without a comment. It is the absurd practice adopted at a few minor places of sport of dining between the morning and afternoon races. This is objectionable in the extreme. In the first place, to attend a single race at twelve o'clock, return to the town to dine at two, and proceed to the course again at four or five, is horridly disagreeable ; to which must be added the danger which invariably exists from the lower classes having had time to become intoxicated, when they indiscreetly trespass on the course, and cause danger not only to themselves but to the jockeys and their horses. Another objection is, that it causes the racing to be so late that night very frequently comes on before the amusements of the day are over. It is asserted, at the places where this custom prevails, that it is for the benefit of the Innkeepers who subscribe to the Fund. I never could ascertain how the benefit arises ; because those who attend the ordinaries, whether at the hotel patronised by the Stewards, or those held at the other houses, will most assuredly spend more money, having time to enjoy themselves, than by being hurried away to witness the afternoon racing, which being over, the major part of the spectators retire to their homes. Innkeepers have in many instances been the cause of the ordinaries being discontinued, or thinly attended, solely by their own bad taste in supplying inferior wines. On such
occasions they ought to procure the best that can be had. At those places where a good dinner and superior wine is produced, the ordinaries continue to flourish.
ON DECIDING OBJECTIONS FOR CROSSING. Much difficulty frequently arises in deciding objections made for crossing, if the alleged cross happens far from the winning post, when there is scarcely any evidence to be had except that of the jockeys, which in many instances goes no farther than the statement made by the complainant, the other jockeys being frequently unable, from their particular situations, to give any information at all. One circumstance should be particularly remembered—that if a horse swerves from distress or temper, so as to cross the track of another behind him, it is equally decisive as though the rider caused it intentionally or through carelessness. The Rule will be found the 54th in the Book Calendar, and is a very just one. It is impossible in all cases to decide whether it be the fault of the horse or the rider; and if the latter is not to blame, it is a hard case to attribute it to him.
The readiest way to get at the truth of such disputes is, immediately on the complaint being made, to call the jockeys who have been riding and other persons who can give any evidence into the weighing-room, or other convenient place, which should be cleared from all persons not actually concerned, and, by investigating the particulars, decide as circumstances may dictate : for it should be remembered the Stewards of the Jockey Club decline giving opinions on such events, which, being matters of fact, can be better determined on the spot. The Rules laid down in the Calendar are very clear upon this point-the only difficulty which can arise being the positive fact as to whether the alleged cross did occur or not. A case of considerable interest was decided in 1829 by the Stewards of the Jockey Club in consequence of a dispute arising from an alleged cross for the Ladies' Cup at Bath. The rider of the second horse claimed the race on the grounds that the winner had swerved against him ; and the case was brought before the Stewards of the Meeting, who decided against the complainant, none of the parties being aware how the Rule was expressed in the Racing Calendar. The following morning they were induced to revoke their decision, having learnt how the law really stood. The question then arose, 66 Whether an objection having been made, and a decision pronounced, the Stewards had the power to revoke that decision ?" In that form it was submitted to the Stewards of the Jockey Club, who decided that the verdict could not be altered, as establishing a field for never-ending disputes, and consequently creating great confusion in the settlement of bets, as, if a precedent were to be admitted, no time being defined, cases might be heard and re-heard to the day of eternity.
It is, therefore, highly incumbent on Stewards to consider well before they give an opinion ; and, if they entertain any doubt on the point, to refer the case to the Jockey Club, providing it is such a one as they will take into consideration. It takes the responsibility from the shoulders of the acting Steward, to whom it must be more satisfactory to have the dispute determined at Head Quarters, as it precludes the possibility of any personal vindictiveness from the unsuccessful party.
CECIL. (To be continued.)
STUD TO PHENIX.
" Where every pen with modest light
Shall keep its proper station."
It would somewhat appear that in the many facilities which the good opinion of the powers who conduct this work have afforded me, I have expressed my opinions so firmly that your present Correspondent Płanix surmises I am nimis acer et ultra ; for in confuting, and which he has ably done, a firmly expressed opinion of mine, he adds, “I trust STUD will not feel offended,” or words to that import. It is true, that, not having had facts hitherto produced against my lucubrations, I have tenaciously adhered to preconceived opinions, which to the best of my judgment I honestly believed on the n, and still consider to be, correct. But pray let not PHENIX foreclose his estimate of me too hastily. Dr. Johnson used to say he loved a good hater: now I conceive there was nothing harsh or malicious in this, but that it implied more than it seems to signify. In my poor opinion, if a man be not full of his subject, and fully resolved, unless fairly confuted, as I am in the present instance, to sustain it against all attacks, whether of pretension or assumption, unauthorised by, or at variance with, facts, he will stand but a poor chance of effecting that which should be the main object of any one, however unaided by the shield of notoriety, who takes upon him to discuss such matters; and as long as our natures continue such as yet they have been (what the tee-totallers and pantilers may effect we know not), there will be always a spice of the old leaven in controversy as well as in oral argumentunfortunately often too much. But as I candidly acknowledge I like a firm opponent, I trust those who may stand in that light to me will take it into consideration, and believe that a man may be warm, but not offensive ; firm, but not dogmatic; and while under the emotion
“Of those stern joys which writers fill
In foemen worthy of their quill,” take it in the true manly and British spirit, and, however resolutely they may set-to, shake hands both before and after. I shall not further allude to the topic (one unluckily of great notoriety of late) upon which I have, as jolly Jack says, “ to lower my topsails”_-viz. that of a mare being covered by two horses in one and the same season. I shall take an early opportunity of so doing : meantime, while I bow to the castigation, the ability of the hand which has imposed it renders it quite easy; and I shall feel at all times happy if his further or fresher experience will continue to point out any errors I may fall into, while nothing can be more pleasant than such a medium as these pages for the expression of our opinions. One and all ought, in their station, to give and take, neither allowing themselves to sink under any mere opinion, however or wherever expressed, or permitting their feelings or vanities to overpower their candour or discretion, but each in his own orbit steadily to revolve for the common good of the service they are engaged in-in furtherance of which consummation, I am, candidly and cordially, Phenix's obedient servant,
BROCK, THE SWIMMER.
"I have therefore been inclined to think that there are greater men who lie concealed among the species than those who come out and draw upon themselves the eyes and admiration of mane kind."-Spectator,
That truth is stranger than fiction the experience of every day serves to confirm, and to separate the one from the other is in many cases no easy matter. How many great and extraordinary actions are performed, acknowledged, wondered at, and forgotten, from the want of some recording hand to present them to posterity! Rude and pretentionless are many of the monuments of human achievements, which the hand of
Time has spared to “point a moral and adorn a tale.” Four hundred and fifty years have passed away since the bold Douglas and Earl Percy fought a Chevy.chase: the feats of heroism and personal valor performed there are presented to us with all the freshness of a yesterday occurrence by a doggrel verse ; and the history of perfidy, murder, and retributive justice (composing a homily), in the nursery tale of the “ Babes in the Wood,” excite and plant some of the earliest feelings of just indignation, never perhaps to be effaced in the infant breast, against inhumanity and oppression, and is conveyed through the same channel. Vain may be the hope that the tale which will form the subject of this paper shall be so honored in the course of time;" but should these lines, before " decay's effacing fingers" have preyed upon the frail materials that present them, meet the eye
ture Scott or Crabbe, possibly the swimming feat of the hero of my story, Brock, the Yarmouth Boatman, may in future days be as “ household words familiar on sea and on shore, not only to the physiologist, but to all who delight in contemplating the wondrous powers that are occasionally called forth upon emergency from a combination of mental and bodily strength. In our leisure wanderings through the world, how many interesting incidents call us from the straight road, and beguile us on our way, unless we are of those whose cry is “all is barrenness !” Scarcely a day passes by but something is to be culled by an observer, that may serve, if only dressed in comely apparel, to entertain or instruct those who have merely time allowed amidst the cares and business of life to taste of the fruits which are gathered for the general use. Under the impression that every one who has the opportunity should offer his mite, I am induced to present this narrative to your Readers, confident that, albeit I may be "little graced with the set phrase” of literature, the
subject ” is worthy of a place in your graphic pages. Leander's love for Hero had never been told but for the feats which he performed before fate defeated him : his swimming is the basis of his immortality. Byron placed this useful and manly accomplishment with his own hand amongst the leaves that compose his never-dying garland; and Lieutenant Ekenhead's name is coupled with the Hellespont from possessing the same amphibious quality. But these men, recorded to have a held acquaintance with the wave," and made mighty in their prowess by classic lore, must retire into the shade when Brock's simple story is told. It would almost persuade us that Palinurus and Orion really
VOL. XIX.SECOND Series.- No. 111.