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LIFE STORIES OF FAMOUS JOCKEYS. ;
These articles, which are written . by one of * England's foremost sporting journalists, are being published in every Saturday's issue of The Register, Next Saturday, Freddie Rees. , -
Bichard Wootton, the Australian, made!
quite a unique mene in isngli6b| turf history for himself when he came here some half-dozen - years or so before, the fateful year of 1914. But. for the migration of that, clever trainer from 'down under,' the prowess of the-Wootfon family wonld never have been heard of in England and our racing affairs would have been carried on with out knowledge of such means as those of Frank and Stanley Wootton. It may be that one is stretching a point to say. this, because there are people who will contend that the ability possessed by Frank Wootton would inevitably have its reward, and that even without his father's aid he '? wonld have 'arrived' among us in some way or .other. Be that as it may, Richard Wootton came to England, via. South -Africa. In both these colonies he made his' mark as a skilful trainer; but one season was suf ficient for, him in South . Africa, and
from there he' decided to give England a trial. In those days young Frank tra- 1 veiled with the 'old man,' as an appren- i tice and -was in every sense the apple ofj his father's eye. ' It was in truth the ' period that Frank should have been asai-j duously studying the three It's, instead! of tackling the other— riding. Performances Connt. A colonial trainer arriving in this! country is not accepted on mere reputa-j tion. He has, on the ctJntrary, to prove; his worth: — usually to a ^eryi sceptical andT conservative crowd of critics. Kich-' ard' Wootton, aided by his son, soon con- \ vinced the racing world that they con-; stituted a force to be reckoned with, and before many months they were estab lished at Epsom with bright prospects and high hopes. It would be impossoble in a brief space to go into full details of the Wootton progress from strength to strength. While the father, at Treadwell House, trained many_ fine horses for Sir E. Hnlton (then racing as Mr. Lytham), and Mr. H. J. Hall ('Hall's. Wine'), and other well-known owners, the bpy; Frank/ enjoyed retainers from patric|an.' owners like Lord Derby, Mr. J.' B.' Jbel,: and others.' Under the strict tutelage17*]?
his father, the .lad rapidly 'made head way^ in every phase of the game and, against such famous - riders as Danny Slaher, Billy Higgs, Dillon, and others, emerged with flying, colours. ; - Kid Wootton. . Not since the dashing days of the 'Kid' Wootton has thiere ? been such a forceful . youngster; The closest compari son we can make is young Smirke who, remarkably enough, is a product of Woot ton ingenuity and care. This little jockey has - many * of - the : attributes - and much of the sagacity v of his. .j-redcessor Frank Wootton. In the training of both horses and horsemen, Stanley Wootton /has no superior.. : He is -a few^yeant younger than frank, but though riding quite suc cessfully never attained the reputation of his brother. Stanley retired early, on account of increasing -weight, to be come his father's^, right-hand man at Epsom. Fr^nk '- rode a tremendous number of -winners;, ''year after year, but was from the outset always up against the weight problem. When on the 6 st.' mark he was all the rage in big handicaps, and ran up a lot of successes on Glacis for Lord Derby, besides winning the Cesare witch on the lightly weighted Demure in 1907, which was the first of his wonderful years. He never had the fortune to be on' the back of a Derby winner, however, although his father was pretty confident of winning the Epsom classic with Shogun. Most people attributed the colt's failure to Frank Wbctton's^ absolute mania for getting the rails position, but in this in stance I rather think that the best of the jockey was not seen .that -day on. account of the fact .that just previously when dash ing around Epsom on his first 'motor bike he had the bad luck to come up against a stone wall! Much to his father's chagrin, of Course, but. Frank was put up on Sho gun all the same, because he knew the colt so-well. -Still, with ills right arm strapped to his side, he was almost attempting the impossible. He won the Oaks all right in 1909 'on Perola' for -the late Sir W. Cooper, 'and those who witnessed the win will not 'forget the shouts that greeted her victory: Lavish Presents. ? But is was in handicaps that Frank Wootton. became such a coveted pilot. Eyefy owner wanted his services, and many wererhe presents lavished upon him. It would not be cricket to go into the whole rigmarole of the Law Courts struggle in which all the Epsom appren tices and jockeys were concerned against Mr. 'Bob' Sievier,-bufc some idea of the amount of money which a successful rider can earn was very markedly retailed to the general public on that occasion. When the war came Frank Wootton had retired from the saddle, and was 'walking' at about 11 St., He. rested, or assisted Stan ley in training, as the whim seized him. In due course Be went into the army, and found himself out in the land of ancient glory— Mesopotamia. There he rode win ners in sporting events got up by the military, and'enioyed just as much popu larity as though ie were riding at Epsom. Frank never aspired to a 'Sam Browne/' but his brother Stanley was commissioned from the outset of his army career, and distinguished hinfself in France by gaining the Military Cross. Immediately upon getting back to 'Blighty' Frank became imbued with a desire to ride again, and so decided to go in for the jumping game. He now rides equally well over fences and hurdles, and is at the top of the tree—: just as be had been; on the &&%. , - This Jecbrd is unparalleled in turf statistics.*