No corrections yet
,A POINT-TO-POINT STEEPLE
AN INTERESTING EVENT.
Hie event spoken of for some days past as a point to point steeplechase for hunters was run at Woodlands, near Bulla Bulla, jcBlerdoj, and the novelty of the event excited quite on exceptional interest It was not in the strict senBe, how ever, a point to point race, but rather a steeplechase in the open, with a condition that the competitors should be legitimate hunters and not prnct sed steeple horses of the second rank, which manage to win so many hunters' race» I he race was point to point in so far that the held on starting kept approximately one direction, but the line of country to be crossed was marked out b) pink lings so that the riders bad no discretion ns in the real point lo point event as to what course they should take 1 he affair was organised b) Mr lticliard Grice, honorary secretary of the Mel
bourne Hunt Club, the conditions being a ii sweepstake The ground chosen was tne head quarters of the Oakland Hunt Club, the start being close up to Warlab), the reaultnce of the master of tlie hunt, Mr A M Dougall 1 hence a five mile course had been marktd out by Mr I. Stevenson in a south westerly direction, aud as nearly as possible straight away In the five miles there were l8 fences four of them being road doubles T he course was in fair bunting count», with perhaps a halt do7en fences that might fairly be called stiff, and ot them a four railer amongst the YVoodlands sheoaks-a perfect " rasper "-but generally tne leaning was to the side of mercy In the five miles the course lay through Warlab), Glencairn, Woodlands, Cumber land, a corner of Glenara, and the finish in the open at Gowrie park On all aides was as perfect a spring proapect as the eye could wish to see lhe old house at YVoodlands peeping from amongst its clustering sheoaks, squares of emerald green round about indicat
tug the fields of oats, and the greyer tint of the pasture land on the open plains, with here and there a golden ripple iroru the yellow Cape weed.
lo the old huntsman and pioneer the country thereabout was full of hunting association Over a portion of the very course marked out in pink flags for this event was rua somewhere about 40 years i co the Woodlands Steeplechase, described by Itolf Boldrewood in his " Old Melbourne Memories. The winner of that historic event was the late Sir William Stawell, Chief Justice of A letona, then described by the well known Australian writer who chased him horns in the race as ' only a hard '¡ding, hard working, mam feutly rising barrister, and by the Irish maid servant at the homestead as "a mighty phsant young man wid foxy whiskers ' The late Xsieutenant-Governor rode in that race 'Hie Master ot the Koli», "a bad tempered horse, ' says the historian, and one " that a les« resolute horseman than the Chief would unhesitatingly have fought shy of ' However, he beat " an elegant blood looking grey, the pronerty of the heir apparent, the heir apparent at Woodlands ia those days being Mr Molesworth Greene, now ot Gre) atañes near Bacchus Marsh The riders in that race, in addition to those already named were Mr Hawdon Greene, Colonel "Vckland Anderson, Mr I dtnund M Neill, afterwards known lo his Irish tenants as "I mun Mohr -his height was hit 7_m -and llolf Boldrewood, ot lute best known as the author ot " -Jobbery bnder Arms ' In the later days when Lindsay Gordon sang and rude all m the same bretby way the country hereabout was well known to hunters Many a merry dance has that golden chestnut Canary with narry Horley in tho saddle led the 1 lemington pack across these far stretching plains when the stag Cotterell, named atter the hill, so prominent a lund mark away in the south west, was resting Not until a few days ago was Canary s high jumping record beuten by Spondulix Over the same paddocks very olten went the Melbourne hounds
the master as dashing a rider then as any ot his sons todaj, and the mmed "Lady m Grey ' well known by sight to every dweller on the plains The music of the Oakland pack of a Saturday afternoon should waken some old echoes hereabout.
It has been said that sport dissociated from betting has no charms. Yesterday u very direct contradiction to that belief was nftorded. There was no room for betting. Few knew what horses were startttig, or who was to ride them, and speculation was limited entirely to "sweeps." Yet amongst the crowd were layers uud backers in abundance, whose interest in horses was aup posed to be merely a commercial matter. Yet here, with nu other attraction save the race itself, the keenest interest was shown. The turn out was something amuzlng-not alone ot racing and bunting men lrom Melbourne, but of local residents from ull the districts aurrouuding. They
were astride every variety ot horse ; some I just released from duty at the plough, others uppatently too weedy for an) thing more trying than a pony phaeton and a teudei hearted driver. Amongst the vehicles from Melbourne were a toupie of four ui-hand drags, which gave just the neces- sary hunting mr to the occasion, helped ou by an occasional glimpse ot "tops"and velvet bunting caps wbete inernboia of the two hunts frtttermsed. 'Hie vehicles were crowded by stores into the Oaklands road to get a glimpse ot the start, and the apcttatle here just after the sturt wus something unique, as the congestion WUB tertninly dangerou». As the course Hanked the road tor a time scores nf vehicles elnahcil oil in the cltort to keep ni view ot the rate, and ever) tuw )tirds there were violent collisions and mishaps that were lunn) to all but the aullerers. More than a hundred horsemen dashed down the road in one wild charge, raising ii cloud at dast that hld the raco from themselves mid ever)one in their rear, 'lhose waiting tor the finish at Gowrie paik knew at once when the horses were m motion, tor the white dust rose up us ii signal pillar. At 2 o'clock there wus not n breath ol wind, and the sun was dulled by .ilver-Iincd " ivoolpuika" in the west, but just us thu rute started there was ii change, uud they liniBhcil under conditions which followers oi the Quorn mid Pytchley tit lenul ate said to love-tue t) pical " aouthtrly wind and cloudy sk)."
Twenty one hunters had been entered tor the event, and the weights ranged from lust. 71b ou the old grey veteran Abdallah down to list. 7lb. on a toupie ot the light weights. Only lit out ot the 21, however, eletted to sturt, the held being Mr. it Grtco's b a Dollar, U« 21b. (Owner), Mr J. B. Pcuder's b g Squire, llist (Owner), Mr. Hart's b g iieeover), 12st. Tib. (Mr. Morrison) I J'r- A. M'Cratkeu's b g Hark- away, liist. 71b. (Mr. Stevenson), Mr. It. Urice's b g Cotherstone, I2dt. (Mr. 0 GliiBd cock) .iMr YV. Power's b g O Connor, 12st. (Owner), Mr. Johnson's cb m Alice, Hat. 121b (Mr. Mittue) , Mr. F. Hutton's b g Ormu/, list. 121b. (Owner), Mr, J. B. Gill's bl g Muntham, Hsu 111b. (Mr. Godfrey YY'ataou), Mr. Prell'a br m Sissy, 12at. (Owner); Mr. Hoyea's b g Jim, list. 101b (Owner), Mr Basil Grays bg Goldtop, list. lOlh (Mr. J Merry), Mr. Cumming'« ch g YYuveile), Hat. 71b. (Owner).
Those who try to pick winners of hunting races look to the rider as wull as tbe horse, though generally it happens that the best riders uro on the best nurses. Tne remark so often heard alter an amateur ateeplechuac or hunters' cup generally runs something in this way.- It it isn't u COA., it is a Wutton, uud if its neither a Cox not a Watson, ita probably a Glasucock," lhe reference being, of course, to tbo rider of the winner. Popular opinion at the start for this rate was largely m favour of the big buy Cothcrtone, carrying the rose nnd blue stripes of his rider, instead ol the owners all brown, which waa borne by Dollar. With one exception, all the riders were in steeple chasing costume. To cicucribe such a ruce lrom start to finish would be difhcult. At first they kept well together, the ti.-t 10 being all packed in the spuce of a few lengths, anil going at a good hunting gallop. 1 he first sight the spectator» on the higher points hud of them waa the gleam ol the silk amongst ibu sheoaks as the held charged the tirât ot the YY'oodlands lour-ruilcrs and turned across a green lawn like slope to the accoud of the four panels, which shuckeel Muntham considerably, and for au in- stant it was heads or tulla as to whuther he was down or )et on Ins legs. Cotherstone was leading them with O'Connor and Harkaway ciuao up, und the stripes looked like remaining in trout to the finish. They dipped to ti creek, which, utter rain, would have made a nice little witter jump, then through a clump of trees andover the first of the Cumberland pillings. Originally I hey stood something liku lift, high, but the tops had bean sawn oil level with the top rall. Across the open here Cotherstone! waa still leading, with O'Connor, Harkaway, and Muntham all close up. A wiro leuce mulway across the Cumberland puddock, witli hurdles laid against it, so tliut tho horses might see what they bud to jump, anil they cania to the last double, uud on!) tour fonces lrom home. Sissy had pussett Cotherstone alter tho hurdles, und Harkaway in tura shot by tho pair, mid carne at the palings. The vehicles crowded the roadway, leaving only a narrow lane across,
and Mr. M'Crauken a gelding not knowing exactly what it all meant balked at the fence at the last moment, and running down It got in thu way of,bulli Alkoomi Cotherstone. Mun- tham gaining by the mishap, popped over the double cleverly, and as O'Connor hit the rails heavilv there wereoiilv Sissy und Jim to try
and catch the little black, and neltner was equal to the task It was lortunate for all that the last two fences were somewhat crnzy All the horses were m fair hunting but not racing condition and the five miles burst bad taken most of the steam out ot them So the mnj intj went through matead of over the last two fences, leaving behind a rum of split posts mid snapped rails but i« tougher win, between the first and second rails nearly brought a pair of thera down and Dollar thou, h he broke a rail wna decidedly staggered Mr Gills little black, Munthnm, eased at the last fence, ami got home comtortably by four len .tliB from hiss) und Jim eii,ht of the 13 horses manngin«, to complete the course lhe
result therefore vvns -
Ur J B Gill - 11 E Muntbain list. 111b (Ur God
fro« WaUou) _ 1 Mr 1 rell s br ni Sia.v 1 'st, (Owner)
Mr Boy ess lu, -lui list. 101b (Ov net) -
1 ne winner vvns ridden by Mr Oodfrey Wat son who it will be remembered won the lï-d C oat Steeplechase at 1 Isternwiclc recently on Mildura, in such nu event there was nntnrvlly a pood deni of rivalry between the members of the two hunts in the hunter competition at the Inte nericultiiral show the muster ot the Oaklands pack won first pri?e with one of his horses but yesterday, mern hers of the Melbourne Hunt had their revenge as the first and aeconit «vere both members ol tliLir club while an Onl Inntls horse was third A quarter ot an hour after the horses had passed the post a cloud of dust with some thing lil e a hundred vehicles enveloped waa dnituig down the Bulla Bulla road and the place was beginning to look rustic once again
Hie hnres frightened by tilt thunder of hoots out of the Woo Umida timber clumps, were cantering bael home a. ain congram luting themselves perhaps th it the end of the world had not come utter nil and the Hist scene of nil was the owner of Gowrie park contemplating a b g _ap in a three rail leuce and wondering by what means two hall panels of fence could be made to take the place of a whole one