The Daily Telegraph
LORD LONSDALE’S SUCCESS
33 TO 1 WINNER.
By HOTSPUR. DONCASTER, Wednesday.
St. Leger Day at Doncaster calls loudly for fine weather, if the success of the big racing carnival is to be fully established. Sunshine and geniality should go hand in hand when the miners and the workers, generally from within an ample radius, come in their tens of thousands. When chill rain and drab skies must be endured, how can the great day be the same, even if the attendance be only slightly affected? That some stayed away we may be sure, but the race-loving Yorkshireman is not so easily deterred, and thus they came swarming into the town, many by train and many more by road. The racecourse itself is about as starved of shelter as any racecourse can be; but then, why dwell too long on the discomforts? Those who experienced them may want to forget them, and those who stayed at home may scarcely be interested, but unquestionably the many hours of steady rain throughout the night had a drastic effect on the going, and would influence one way or the other the chances of most of the aspirants for honours in the last of the season’s classic races. The rain ceased about noon, but there were intermittent drizzles throughout the afternoon. The general attendance seemed to be just as big as ever.
And now for the big race, which baffled all the wise men until the last, and appropriately was won by a forlorn outsider. Yet it says much for the popularity of Lord Lonsdale and for the sporting character of the crowd that although they had lost their money, they were there to cheer the winner and his owner as he proudly led in the hero of the day, Royal Lancer.
This horse, bred at the National Stud, had won by two lengths from Lord Derby’s Silurian, who in turn finished two lengths in front of the third, Sir Abe Bailey’s Ceylonese. His starting price of 33 to 1 shows how little his chance was esteemed, and, indeed, Lord Lonsdale remarked before the race that he considered his other candidate, Diligence, to be the better. This has been his opinion throughout, and even as he hurried to the gate to meet his horse returning he said to the writer that something must have happened to Diligence for him to have finished so far behind. In all fairness to the gallant winner, it must be said that he is genuine and good in every sense on the racecourse, and he has won in the colours of a splendid sportsman, who is popular and accepted as a model of honour and integrity wherever he goes. He is loved by the crowd, and any owner must have envied him the cheers and the congratulations that were his as he led in his horse. At last he has won a classic race after many years of striving and hoping, and it is surely right that this reward should go to one who has done so much for horsebreeding and the cult of the horse, who has been Chief Steward of the Jockey Club and is a Steward of this meeting, then the nation, too, is entitled to take some measure of proprietorial interest in the triumph of Royal Lancer, for the horse was bred at the National Stud and is leased to Lord Lonsdale. Under the terms of this lease the lessee takes two-thirds of the stakes, which approximately will amount in full to £10,000, the remaining third going to the nation.
The Panther, who was bred at the National Stud, was a classic winner, and thus Royal Lancer, who was sired by the Derby winner of 1906, Spearmint, is the second National Stud horse to gain classic honours.
As for the paddock inspection, let it be said at once that Villars presented a somewhat sorry spectacle for one that had been nominal favourite. He was enveloped in a black sweat, and must have been losing his condition like a snowball melts in the sun. It was rather pitiful and very bad luck for his owner and trainer, who had been almost confident. No horses looked better than Reggie Day’s pair, Ceylonese and Bucks Hussar. Silurian was turned out in top-hole condition, and he moved very well indeed, in the preliminary canter. Ramus, the French horse, which remained favourite to the end, is better looking than the early morning critics had led one to believe. His back showed some signs of slight skin disease, but he is very well grown and shows quality. His behaviour at the starting-post is quite another story. Harpenden looked well, as also did both of Lord Woolavington’s, Prestongrange and Fred Power, and as Donoghue could riot ride the latter through being claimed for Sanhedrim, Frank O’neill had crossed from France, having only received the request to do so at six o’clock last evening. Corcyrian was unquestionably a very fit horse, and Backwood was still big in condition, while Re-echo was approved, although he had definitely shown before this that he cannot stay. The sensation of the start was, of course, the dramatic touch imparted by the favourite, who just refused to move. Any mule would have been disgraced by such behaviour. One rather expected him to cavort and career about, upsetting himself and all others, but he stood with statue-like rigidity until the starter gave the signal. And the statuesque pose was still maintained, to the horror of his backers he just pushed his toes into the ground, so to say, and refused to be launched on the journey. When he thought the others had got sufficiently distant to disarm any danger on his part, he cantered off, gradually getting into top speed and then steadily reducing the gap which at one time must have extended to a hundred yards. Even in a year like this an invader cannot give such start and still win, and therefore it is simply wonderful that a mile from home he was with the tail and gradually working his way through tired and bad horses to the head of the procession. Finally, he finished seventh, and one must admit that he would surely have won had he agreed to go away at the start with the others. Much credit is due to Alfred Sadler, junior, for his training of the winner, and to the apprentice jockey, Jones, for the big share he enjoyed in Lord Lonsdale’s triumph.