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PAST AND PRESENT.
'After a calm comes a storm' is a trite saying. In the realm of professional pedes trinnism just now thero is a calm of exaoed ing quietude and serenity, unbroken by tho souhd of a single shot from tho Btarter's gun. Not so much as a solitary shoe-spike has
Penotrated the surface of a Sydney track sinco tho last handicap at Botany. To well wishers of this branch of athletics the total collapse of tho sport is received with disap pointment, for, while wo wero earning world wido fame a Jew years ago for tho splendor of ur foot-racing events and the speed of our sprinters, now vro have drifted into insignifii cauce. ? ? ? Thus, if the well-worn axiom with whioh I led off these remarks is going to be prophetic aud reliable, this colony will be qualifioi for a violent storm of revival very soon. It may be that after a while public devotion to tho oindor-track pastime will again develop ; but at proaent tho game is having a decidedly ' cold ' winter. The time seems eminently suitable for a slight indulgence in rofe rences to the glories of the past, and a word or two may not be taken amiss by my readers. Writers at various times have preached homilies on the errors and short comings of the pod., and pointed out to him that his crooked dealings and general mono poly of all tho vices known to civilisation are the direct cause of tho pedestrian collapse. Therefore, a now sermon on tho same old text would find a resting place on particularly stony ground ; and, besides, I would havo to fill in a few indictments against others besides the actual peds. if the subject were to be dis cussed on its merits. However, there is no need to waste words about it now. * ' ? ? A consideration1 of pedestrian history for tho past few years makes me look for a parallel emblematic of its former splendor and its present ruins, and I don't readily light upon one. The woird and sorry story of the late mad monaroh of Bavaria is tho nearest comparison that can be suggested. King Ludwig did more than ' dwoll in marble halls ' whilst his boom was
on. Ho shone in a blaze of gold, silvor, preoious stones and mazy mirrors while the funds held out. Ho lived in a palace that words fail to dosoribe tlvj dazzling splendor of, rode on the lake at midnight on a golden swau, spent .£20,000 on a bed, -C2000 on a writing desk, and otherwise was a toff from Toffville. He thought he was a god, and ' performed as sich.' Filially he flopped iu to the waters of his lako aud became an ordinary clay corpse. Such was the finale to King Ludwig's greatness. . The transportation was sudden and complete. Now, the sport wo hanker after is not quite as dead as the mad potentate, and has, perhaps, a shade better chance of resurrection. ? ? ? A reviow of Australian foot-racing from the time that an early ancestor of Charlie Samuels defeated tho king of Botany Bay under nullah-nullah rules, wouldn't ?bo very interesting. In fact the records aro in o. bad state of preservation. So wo will start with a reference to AH Trindor's Botany of 188C, when the ox-Victoriau won on December 11, from tbo 14yds mark, and got credit for 'beating ovens' by 4yds in the final. C. E. Armstrong, 18yds, was second. Tho perquisites were then 250 sovs between tho placed men, the winner getting a gold watch as a trophy as well. A Hurdle Eaco was endowed with the goodly sum of 105 sovfl, and this was won by James Heagney, also of Victoria. The Eefehee presented its readers with a picture of Trindor and his trusty trainer W. Eiloy, in tho following issuo (aud splendid likenesses they wore). Trindor was the hero of tho hour, and a more importaut person than Dan O'Connor or tho Grand Old Man for the timo being. It was about tins timo that Hutchons and Tom Malone wero matched, aud other important sprinting events woro soon after negotiated. Carrington Grounds blossomed forth with a monster prize just afterwards, and on December 18, 1830, lminnlind .£525 for competition. Tho first
man got £325 and a gold watch, tho second £105 and a silvor watch, tho third £03 and a tiair of shoes, tho fourth £42 aud a pair of shoes also, whilst William Beach, tho sculler, tliou at tho zenith of his fame, presented 15 guineas to tho man who put up tho fastest timo in the first round. This iell to C. E. Armstrong. The handicap was tho biggoat thing o£ tho kind that had boon done, and was a great success. It was won by C. E. Mer chant, off 22yds; A. Warner, 28yds, was second: C.E.Armstrong, 19yds, third; and J. B. M'Mahon, 24yds, fourth ? ? ? We are now fairly in' ' tho Golden Aga ' of tbe spiked-shoe business. A good rumior was a demi-L'od. Ho had his va lot could livo iko a prince, and ovoryono delighted to do him reverence. Woll, to resume. Tho hoom that was breaking over tho laud caused tracks to bo laid out in every direction, lom Malono opened a ground at Tempo in 18SG, and within a year or two tracks with moro or less [ elaborate appointments woro doing businoss. I Thero was Ireland's at Burwood, Slowgrovo s | 1 at North Botany, ono at Sutherland, Birch.
grovo, Eagor's Grounds, and olaborato places at Ashfiold and Now Brighton. Botany and Carrington woro in full feather. Tho pro sont Lillio Bridgo Grounds woro also a dovolopmont of tho boom times. Other grounds woro going bosidos thoso, such as Mortlako, Chatswood, &o. At tho prosont, in most cases, they aro all idlo, and grass grows whore onco was lifo and bustle. Out of tho lot only Botany and Lillio Bridge survive Tho formor oan always command somo sort of respect on tho atrongth of old times, and Lillio Bridgo is used for pony races, which now thrives in place of tho dooayod foot racing. a ? ? After Merchant's Carrington big prize money was tho rule. A best-on-rocord was tho Sir Josoph Banks ovont, won by M'Garrigal in December, 1883, nhon 700 sovs woro put up by Mr. Frank Smith for tho Botany Handi cap. Tho winnor was allotted 500 sovs and a 50-guinoa watch and chain, tho second man 125 bovs and a 10-guinoa gold medal, the third 40 sovs and a C-guinea gold modal, tho fouith 30 sovs and a 5-guinea gold modal, and tho fifth 20 sovs and a 4-guinea medal ; whilst 10 sovs wero set apart for a rolief to the dis appointed feelings of the gentleman who had the bad luck to bo run out by the winnor in the third round. This affair was a huge success in every respect, aud drew immense crowds to tho famous Botany Grounds. Tho raco resulted as follows: — J. M'Garrigal, 21yds, 1 ; F. Nowland, 25yds, 2 ; J. Burtt, 2Gyds, 3'; C. Samnels, 16yds, 4; W. E. Quick, 235yds, 5. The time waa given as 121seo,
wlncli credits tho winner with OJyds better than even timo, and Samuels with something better. Wo got a lot of fast times recorded in those daya, but it was oftou a most unreliable guide, and, for various reasons, no official timo waa afterwards given on the Botany Grounds. M'Garrigal was roportod to have won £3500 as his slmro of the spoils, and tho amount is probably just about correct, whilst it is estimated that £10,000 changed hands throngh tho medium of bookinakors over tho result. H. Samuels got tho £10 for being run out by tho winnor. In the same month M'Garrigal won tho Christmas Handicap at Carrington. Ho won off 15yds, and got £150 for his win. Tho late J. J. Mooro was second, M'Gilvory third, and Larry Burns fourth. It was in this handicap that W. E. Quick mado such a sensational failure, hundreds of pounds being lost on his heat at '4 to Ion' whon Agnew 'defeated' him. Tho time was retnrued as 13 3-10seo, making the winnor do 2yds inside. At this timo winners of two heats got a fiver. It remained for tho Carrington proprietary to top tho epoch of big prize-money with a monster stake in February, 1889. Tho winner was B. E. Williams, 27yds, and he drew 550 sovs. E. Sutton, 25yds, got 150. sovs for second ; Dan Braithwaite, 25Jyds. scored 100 sovs for third, and Harry Murray threw in for 40 sovs as fourth prize. The total was 840 bovs, tbo largest prize-money given for a foot race. The official time was 12Jseo. There was a £10,000 Adams' sweep on this, and some great betting was done, tbe winner boing the outsider of tho party. The contrast to the present state of affairs is gloomy. Feds are not loadod down with handsome trophies, gold chronographs, medals, and onormous prizes in these days, and where they deemed it a breach of professional etiquette to jig unless ' half the sweop,' &c, &c, were forth nnminrr. Imnirlna f.lin ^clnnMn afn.l.-na n,,«1
backing, a solitary sovoreign would now ensure a go ' eyes out ' in any ordinary heat. Tho old times were good— too good to last. W. M'Laren has abandoned his walking handicaps on account of insufficient entries being received. ? ? ? Tho conditions of a Grand Sheffield Handi cap, to be run at the Pacific Hotel Grounds, Southport, Queensland, aro advertised in our columns to-day. The prize money is as follows :— First £35, Becoud £8, third £5, fourth £2. Entries are duo bofore August 27, and tbo date of running is September 19. Sir Joseph Banks rules will govern. Perhaps some of our unemployed runners will give Queensland a turn. ? ? * The following case is submitted by a con stant subscriber : — 'At Nathalie sports (Vic.) I backod F. Kingsinill, on 2yds, to win thn Sheffield. In the final were F. Kingsmill, VV. Mooro, J. W. Lyons, aud Neal. One of tho judges took Moore first, Kingsmill second. All the other judgea and the referees gave Kingsmill first and Moore second. Then, to save all unpleasantness, the oommitteo gave it a dead heat and the two ran off, resulting in a win for F. Kiugsmill, W. Mooro socond. In the ovening, at tho sottliug up, the committoe were asked how the bets went, aud they said with F. Kingsmill, as ho had got tho stakes and won. My ticket states ' hots paid with the Btakes.' The bqokmakor will not pay until ho gets your decision on it.' Whioh is, that backers of Kingsmill receive. ? ? # Sports were held at Wagga last Wednesday in connection with the Early Closing Associa tion, when tho following wore among the results : — Open Handicap : M'Lachlau 1, Wunsch 2, Graham 3 ; Hurdlo Eaco : E. Wunsch 1, Blarney 2, L. Wunson 3 ; 440yds Eace: J. H. Wilkins 1. ' G. Wood 2, G. P. Evans 3 : Consolation Stakos : Kendall De Groot 1, Maloney 2, Townend 3. ? ? ? # The All-England Handicap concluded at Sheaf House Grounds, Sheffield, on June 7, rauks as one of the most uninteresting decided in the annals of Sheffield podestrianism.. There
were but tow spectators and little or no betting. The final resulted: — J. Heppen stall,8Gyds, £80, 1; E. Massoy, 83yds, £15, 2 : J. Broad, 85}yds, £5, 3. The betting waa 5 to 4 on Broad, 5 to 4 v Heppenstall, and 10 to 1 Massoy. After a splendid start Hoppen slall drew ahead and won a great race on the post, six inches dividing tho others. Heppen stall is 23 years of ago, stands 5ft 71b, weighs lOst 71b, and was trained at Sheffield. ? ? ? Tho Manchester Pedestrian Co.'s £100 130 Yards Handicap ended in the victory of Cross, of Edinburgh. This handicap was concluded on Manchester racecourse on June G, some 1500 spectators being present. When the card was oallod over on the morning of the final heats Cross was favorite at 90 to GO on. Final heal: Cross, £80, 1; Marriott, £12 10s, 2; Budd, £5, 3 ; Howarth, £2 10s, 4. Betting: 8 to 1 on Cross, 10 to 1 v Marriott, 33 to 1 Budd, and 100 to 1 Howarth. Tho lattor was soon overhauled by Marriott, who led to the half-distance, whoro Cross got on terms, and the Edinburgh representative finishing strongly in the laRt thirty yards won by a yard, two yards between second and third, and half a yard botween third and fourth. Time, 3yds inside 12sec. ? ? ? On Saturday, June 4, the Bine House Ground, Suuderland (Eug.), was the scone of a foot race over half a milo between W. Williams, of Sunderlahd, late of Newcastle, and Harry Darrin, of Sheffield, for a stake of £100. Some timo ago the men met in a handi oap at Sheffield, and thoir performance then led to the match of Saturday. Darrin, who is twenty-threo years of ago, and of slight build, had finishod his training at Speuny raoor, Durham, while Williams, who is twenty-six years old, and a good deal heavier, was got fit at home. At 4 o'clock, when the raco was advertised to start, thoro would bo about 2000 pooplo present, but it was not until a few minutes to 5 o'clock that tho men appeared. Both looked in good condition, but Williams seemed much the stronger man. He was tho favorite, odds of 5 to 4 being- laid in somo iustancos on him. Tho track is about 40yds short of a quarter of a milo, so that tho men had to go little moro than twice round. Darriu got slightly the best of tho start, but
this advantage Williams soon wrested from him, and at the bottom of the straight tbo first timo the lattor held tho load, which he maintained for tho groator part of tho first round, when Darriu spurtod level. Soon Williams again shot to the front, and put a couplo of yards between himsolf and Darrin. When the east sido was reached Darrin de creased Williams' advantage, but was nnablo to get to tho front. Tho paco was now a cracker, and at tho last turn bofore the straight tho favorite had his opponent in troublo, and 40yds further Darrin ceased to persovero, Williams finishing alone, winning by from 40 to 50vda. Time, lmin 5Gtsco. According to a South Australian paper, an athletic carnival promoted in Adelaido was supported by 'all the champions of South Australia,' as follows : — ' Long-distanco champion, C. Swan; S.A. champion runner, P. H. Eoberts ; obampion Bkater, J. C. Baker ; 220yds champion, A. Sohneider ; the walking I champion, E. Lamb (the well-known Adelaide flyer) ; and Sam Allister, tho well-known athlete.' , . i