I HAVE been having a look this weekend at some of the 21 Yorkshire-trained horses which comprise no less than half the field for the Lincolnshire Handicap on Wednesday.
I have watched them walk, trot, canter and gallop, and I have studied them from all angles in their stables.
I began operations on Knavesmire York early on Saturday morning, a fresh, invigorating Saturday morning with the sun playing hide and seek with the clouds as they flurried and frolicked across the sky.
Mr. Tommy Dent, of Dringhouses. was out with Mr. G C. Plummer’s Dutch Clover, and as she cantered past us on the fresh turf, a grey dream of equestrian perfection. he told me about his business.
“Training a horse for a big race is simply matter of keeping it fit,” said, picking up a large lump of stone from the grass which might have caused tragedy if left.
“You can’t put into it what it hasn’t got but you can make sure it’s at its best —what we call wind clean and not blown up. You that by giving it plenty of the right sort of food and Just enough exercise daily.“
The first string goes out at eight and stays out for an hour and half, walking trotting, cantering and, twice a week only, galloping.
Other strings follow later. As soon they are back in the stables they are brushed over, and after a change of straw they are let loose in the stables with hay and water.
The next item is lunch at 12.30. This is a more varied meal and consists of oats and beans, with handfuls of damp bran and chopped hay. There may also be such delicacies as a handful of grated carrots, and. when in season, a handful of chopped dandelions. A large block of salt is hung in the stable, and the horse takes a lick when he feels like it. Some love it. but others rarelv touch it.
Yorkshire’s best hope for the Lincoln is Lord Allendale’s Rising Flame, a handsome five-year-old. He is being trained at sumptuous surroundings at Highfleld. Malton.
Captain Elsey’s model establishment, which is vaguely reminiscent of the best type of German cavalry barracks. A large number of winners arc turned out from here each, season, and Rising Flame may well set the bull rolling.
The experts say he does best in a small field, and may not find the Lincoln to his liking. But experts are often wrong.
Malton, course, teems with racing stables, and four other Lincoln runners are training in the town — St. Ives, El Ayashy, Claverhouse and Newton Heath.
St Ives has a double Yorkshire connection, for he is being trained by Mr. W. Binnie for Mr. H. F. Hartley, of Bingley.
I saw Mr. Davey’s much fancied El Ayashy resting in his stable after dinner “A grand horse.” said his groom appraisingly as took off the rug to reveal the horse’s glistening back.
Mr Davey has high hopes for him, although says quite firmly that few horses today have the quality they once had.
Davey thinks finance has much to with declining standards. ‘Racing costs too much today.” he said gloomily “There is certainly no money left in training. The usual fee is seven guineas week, and if you do the Job properly you don’t get a fish supper out of it.
Take straw, for instance. You could almost have it given before the war. Now it’s very expensive”
I heard similar complaints at other stables, and no doubt the lads have their grouses, too.
But this weekend the main concern is the Lincoln on Wednesday — and for the stable which sends a winner all problems will doubt disappear for a time.
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