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Moreover, contemporary with the foregoing twain, was Abingdon Meeting, and eke that of Knutsford. Anent the latter I ain silent, lest I enact towards it both the accusing spirit and recording angel of my Uncle Toby's oath.......
"Is this a weakness which our reason scorns ?
Ah! surely nothing falls but something mourns !”
Abingdon, it must be said, reads like unmistakable leather platery. If any local interests be served, and no proper prejudice is offended by that character of racing, why-vogue la galère. That it bears any consanguinuity with the legitimate purposes of the turf is of course beside the question. Turn we to metal more attractive. Like the Byropic hour—" when storms are done ”—was the advent of Goodwood dawning upon the troubled passions of political strife and struggle. And passing fair and fitting, both in time and place, was that model of an English meeting ”-the vernacular of her national sport. The anniversary of the Sussex chivalric tryst for ’52 commenced on the 27th ult. The weather was the ideal of summer-sunny, breezy, fragrant as the Tempé of poets. The occasion was not one wherein business occupied the ascendant ; even the profession found temptation “dississipere in loco”-that is to say at Bognor, Southsea, and even extreme Ryde. The conspany in quality and quantity perhaps exceeded all former ante. cedents; all, at least, of recent experience. The racing was ultra profuse. Leaving the holyday details unsung, at least in this untuneful retrospect, we will pass in review such of the issues as point the moral of the especial matter on the scene, and dissolve, in some sort, the shadows of coming events.
The Craven, with a field of nine, opened the proceedings : Lamartine, first in the ring at 8 to l against him, was first in the throng...a muster, it must be confessed, of but small account. The rich four-year-old Sweepstakes of 300 sovereigns each, with its quartet at the post, worth £1,950, vas won by Newminster, 3 to 1 on him---Harpsichord, Phlegethon, and little Midas, were his adversaries ; of course it was but a canter for the northern champion ; how it came to a race--that is to say to a run- at all, seems a difficult riddle to solve. A round dozen having contended for a Fifty Pound Plate, with a chicken sweepstakes - another victory for the favourite-Gold Dust- the Lavant drew forth its youthful array. These were eight in number, the betting being 6 to 4 only against the Sister to Mountain Deer, 5 to 2 Hybla, and long odds against any other. It was not at any point the pretence of a race, the Sister to Mountain Deer winning in a canter, and looking as if she would keep the word of promise to the good old sporting Squire, which, by fair means or foul, her brother has broken to his hope.... The Gratwicke was another guess affair ; the talents had selected Father Thames as the pick of the basket, with the following policy and fortune : odds, 7 to 4 against Sir Robert Pigot's colt, 3 to 1 Longbow, the same about King Pepin, and long figures offered about the others. Seven ran, and after a most difficult launch, Red Hind following the suit of so many of her fractious stable-fellows, they got under way. The first and second in the odds quotations, however, had it between them, in the quality of a match ; while Butler won on Longbow, and the post, by a head. Alfred Day rode Father Thames; so that it was the horse that won, and the horse that lost, and not the jockey. The Ham, one of the most sporting two-year-old stakes of the calendar, brought out eleven. The betting, which was spirited, made favourites of Defiance and Belgravia—7 to 2 against either, 4 to 1 against the colt by Touchstone out of Refraction-one of the domestic team-and 6 to 1 against either Talfourd or Vanderdecken. This was another excitement-Defiance and the Refraction colt racing together stride for stride from the distance home, the latter having the best of the fight by a head. The 50 sovereigns Sweepstakes for three-year-olds, one mile and a-half, was a match for Stockwell and Harbinger, which the former won rather cleverly-either for choice-and thus the list was run out... Thus good begins, and great remains behind, as the sequel will show. The results, so far as they have progressed, serve to prove that public running will, barring casualties, be served --as the rule; and that, at meetings such as this, it is a safe criterion. It is unnecessary to say that all the details at Goodwood are the perfection of sporting mise en scene : offensive punctilio there is none-all is “gentle," and the largest moiety is “ aristocratic.”
Wednesday was a repetition of the skiey influences of its predecessor, upon an improved average ; the attendance, seeing that an eye to business has ever its influence in this land of shop-keeping philosophy, was better--to gauge by numbers--but below the accustomed crowd. The list looked more attractive than it turned out-but is not this the order of life? There were nine events on the cards, but as two of them paid, only seven races. The first of these was The Dining Room Stakes, with 12 nominations, and seven runners. The favourite was Filius, at 5 to 2 against him, and after a sort of a set-to with Ilex, Sackcloth was the winner. Sir Robert Pigot’s horses do not turn out according to expectation, at least as relates to the Ring. A Sweepstakes of 300 sovereigns each, h. ft., for three-year-old fillics, was a match wherein Common Sense, with 7 to 4 on her, was defeated by Hirsuta, very cleverly. Anon, a similar Sweepstakes for colts being walked over for, and off with, by Lord Exeter's Stockwell, The Cowdray Stakes helped us to another match, in which the champions were Toga and Herniione -the former the fancy, at 6 to 4, and the winner by sundry lengths. Then came the essential feature of the afternoon—The Goodwood Stakes, with a field of twenty-one. Business was very extensive, the best at the close of the market being Surprise, at 5 to 1 against her, Haricot 6 to 1, Musician 8 to 1, Bushranger the same, 10 to 1 Chief Justice, Cariboo the same, 12 to 1 Don Pedro, 15 to 1 Weathergage, and 20 to 1 about anything else. How they changed and chanced going out, matters not; but as they hove in sight on the top of the hill for home, the favourite was in front. Shortly afterwards Sackbut came down, and broke the arm of Garvey, the boy who rode him, and Champion broko his (Champion's) leg ; Backbiter, later in the race, broke down, so that General Anson's sorrow came not as a single spy. As they descended the hill for the straight run in, Weathergage and Haricot had cleared thenselves of the rack, the latter leading till they neared the Stand; then Weathergage came out in earnest, went on in the van, and won with ease by two lengths. The finish was a very ragged one with the bulk of the horses... The Stewards' Cup had five-and-thirty runners, at all mannor of odds, from 5 to 2 against Billy Bar, to poundings against the scabies. How the early portion of this mortal scurry was enacted no man knoweth, nor ever did know. How it concluded was, -Kilenny won by a couple of lengths, the judge placing four-Evadne second. A chicken Sweepstakes, for all ages, Phlegra carried off ; a ditto for all ages save two-year-olds Cotton Lady won. Harbinger walked over for the Sweepstakes of 100 sovs. each, for three-year-olds, one mile and so we arrived at finis. In this embarras de riches one is too bewildered to desport with small deer-the holyday befitted its deeds of chivalrous import-more may not be imputed in its favour.
Thursday-here, as at so many other Olympian festivals, le jour de jours—will long be remembered as among the most brilliant, if not as the most brilliant, of Goodwood Cup days. The company was courtly beyond almost all former precedent; the weather was exquisitely delicious, and the sport, as this hurried epitome will show, of a character suitable to those for whose reception it had been prepared. It opened with the Sussex Stakes, for two-year-olds, run a match between Defiance and Sir Robert Pigot's filly by Bay Middleton out of Belle Saurage--7 to 2 on the former, an estimate rather under the mark, the favourite cantering in a winner. The First Year of the Second Bentinck Memorial Stakes, for two-year-olds, brought to the post halfa-dozen, the Ring selecting Pharos as first, with only a point of odds against him. Again the talents were right, for Pharos, having bided the time till they reached the stand, came, and won by half a length. Sittingbourne, by whom the latter portion of the play was made, was second. The Racing Stakes, a three-year-old issue, had four runners -5 to 4 on Stockwell... The first of the distance Father Thames led -on sufferance--the favourite going to the front a quarter of a mile from home, and winning in a canter. A Sweepstakes of 200 sovereigns each, for two-year-old fillics, being divided by Exhibition and Incense, The Molecomb, another two-year-old stake, summoned a trio to their devoir. They laid 9 to 2 on Elmsthorpe ! and with the issue at his discretion from end to end, he won in a canter....
With this prelude the all-important feature of the day was put on the scene. It boots not here to retrace all that “prophecy” has said and sung anent it : at the final quotation the odds were 7 to 4 against Stilton, 5 to 1 Little Harry, 6 to 1 Kingston, the same about Hobbie Noble, 10 to 1 Teddington, 12 to 1 Newminster, and 20 to 1 against any other.... There is something beyond picturesque in the start for the Goodwood Cup-it has all the air of an equestrian pageant. The clustering of the champions in front of the lists, populous with “fair women and brave men;" the dazzling pomp and circumstances of their array; the hushed and ominous silence of the circumambient throngs--all this is a spectacle at which the heart quickens, and the breath comes fast. To the encounter ! ... The phalanx parades eleven ; the flag has fallen ; the most famous coursers of the world, in their day, are launched for the struggle--and the victory. With Hobbie Noble for a pioneer, they swept down the straight ground and round the first turn ; there Buckthorne took up the speed, and carried it over the hill ; the French mare, second up to this point, being third, and the whole group on good terms—the pace was not good. Anon, Little Harry became third, and thus they approached the bend for home, when Hobbie Noble was once more leading. At the distance Little Harry, with Teddington and Kingston, rushed to the front, ran a rattler past the Stand, and fought every inch thence to the chairKingston finishing first by half a length—Little Harry second, three parts of a length before Teddington. The judge placed Hobbie Noble fourth, but the first trio were alone at the wind up.... The winner had many friends for the Derby-was it the distance that served him here, or the 15 lbs. less there was to carry ? The Second Year of the First Bentinck Memorial Stakes of 10 sovereigns each, for three-year olds, came off a trio-betting even on Harbinger, and 5 to 4 against Longbow. The favourite, with the issue at discretion, made his own running, and won as it suited his convenience-by a length. Longbow ran out at the start, and was left behind. The Duke of Richmond's Plate of a Hundred Sovereigns, free trial for all ages and everybody, out of a field of some eighteen, saw a trio placed. The betting took a most ample range, the best regarded being Alfred the Great, Catalpa, Radulphus, and Plumstead, 6 to 1 being the odds against any one of them— Vivandière, not named in the market, won by a head, after a scurry “past the telling of all words "! For the Sweepstakes of 50 sovereigns each, for three-year-olds, mile and a-half, Mr. Morris was permitted to walk over with the winner of the Cup; and then there was running and riding among the amateurs for their especial display. For the Anglesey Plate of £50, Gentlemen riders, Craven Course, the muster was fiveat 5 to 2 against Agis, and 2 to 1 against Roller. Of course this was a bonne bouche, and after a spirited spurt it fell to the bonne fortune of Agis, ridden by the owner. For the Sweepstakes of 100 sovereigns each, for three-year-olds, one mile, 3 subscribers, the Duke of Richmond's Harbinger walked over ; and his Grace's princely pageant, the anniversary of Goodwood's especial passage of present chivalry, concluded. FLOREAT.
Time and the press--the despots !--forbid further allusion here to the gallant four days of Sussex racing ; little question, however, the final movement of that brilliant quartet will be found worthy of its spirited and artistic antecedents......
THE UNSUCCESSFUL MAN;
PASSAGES IN THE LIFE OF TILBURY NOGO, ESQ.
“ Dined, o'er our claret we talk o'er the merit
Of every choice spirit that rode in the run;
Do you pity him ? no: he deserves no pity.
As You LIKE IT.
Time-half-past eight o'clock at night ; scene-a snug dining room, a blazing fire, and a horse-shoe table, on the polished surface of which the massive cut glass decanters, sparkling with old port, that glows like liquid rubies in the firelight, are making their rapid and welcome rounds. The dinner has been excellent, the company agreeable, Mrs. Montague and the ladies have just retired, and we stretch our legs under Jack Topthorne's mahogany with that delightful sense of repose and comfort which those alone experience whose excrcise in the open air has been pushed up to the point at which fatigue commences, but has stopped short of actual " distress." How loose and easy are the thin sable “ continuations” to limbs that have been encased since morning in the uncompromising buckskins of the fox-hunter! how grateful the soft well-cushioned chair, to a frame that has been pounding for some eight or nine hours on the unyielding pigskin, perchance with low cantle and flaps devoid of stuffing or support. How, as the mind looks back through a halo of enthusiasm on the events of the day, do the difficulties and mischances of the chase wane in proportion to the waning decanters, whilst its exploits and its triumphıs stand out in bold and glorious relief ! “ Breathes there the man that cannot at least go over the mahogany"-whose nerves are not braced (for the time) to that pitch at which ox-fences are a privilege and a delight, whilst wood and water, in the shape of stiles and brooks, as negotiated in countless succession by his "little bay horse," furnish themes for the pleader's eloquence and the poet's fire ?
The after-dinner autobiography of an equestrian is usually a surprising display of self-deception and infatuation : then how general is the epidemic, attacking equally the old and the young, the bold and the timid, the "customer” who has all day " had the best of it," and who