The Greville Memoirs

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The Greville Memoirs

Mr Greville's connection with the Turf

Frequent references will be remarked in these volumes to the connexion of their author with the Turf, which was his favourite amusement, and to his position as an influential member of the Jockey Club. It may, therefore, be worth while to record in this place the principal incidents in his racing career; and we are tempted, in spite of the strange and incorrect phraseology of the writer, to borrow the following notice of them from the pages of 'Bailey's Magazine,' published soon after Mr. Greville's death:—

Though the Warwick family have long been identified with the sports of the field, it is fair to assume that Mr. Greville's love for the turf came from his mother's side, as the Portlands, especially the late Duke, have always been amongst the strongest supporters of the national sport, and raced, as became their position in society. That Mr. Greville took to racing early may be imagined when we state he saw his first Derby in 1809, when the Duke of Grafton's Pope won it, beating five others. At that period he was barely fifteen years of age, and the impression the sight of the race made upon him at the time was very great, and it was rekindled more strongly when, in 1816, travelling with his father and mother to Ickworth, the seat of the Marquis of Bristol, he stopped at Newmarket and saw Invalid and Deceiver run a match on the heath; and subsequently he saw a great sweepstakes come off between Spaniard, Britannia, and Pope, which the latter won. Four years elapse, and, as a proof that the lad we have described had kept pace with the times, we find him selected to manage the racing establishment of the late Duke of York, on the death of Mr. Warwick Lake. The first step taken by Mr. Greville on being installed in office was to weed the useless ones and the ragged lot; and with the aid of Butler (father of the late Frank and the present William Butler) he managed so well that in his second year he won the Derby for him with Moses. As the Duke's affairs at that time were in anything but a flourishing condition, Mr. Greville did not persuade him to back his horse for much money; still his Royal Highness won a fair stake, and was not a little pleased at the result. He likewise carried off the Claret with him the following year. With Banker, who was a very useful horse at all distances, he won for him many good races; and, by a reference to the "Calendars" of the day, it will be seen the Duke won in his turn, if he did not carry all before him. To reproduce the names of his horses now would not be worth while, as from the effluxion of time the interest in them has ceased. The first animal in the shape of a race-horse that Mr. Greville ever possessed was a filly by Sir Harry Dimsdale, which he trained in the Duke's stable with a few others of no great standing.

Circumstances with which the world are familiar rendering the retirement of the Duke of York requisite, his stud came to the hammer, and Mr. Greville came to the assistance of his uncle, the Duke of Portland, who trained with Prince. With the Duke Mr. Greville remained some little time, and afterwards became confederate with Lord Chesterfield, who was at that time coming out, and was in great force with his Zinganee, Priam, Carew, Glaucus, and other crack horses. During this time he had few horses of any great account of his own, although his confederate had nothing to complain of in the shape of luck. At the termination of this confederacy Mr. Greville entered upon another with his cousin, Lord George Bentinck, who, from his father's hostility to his racing, was unable to run horses in his own name. The extent of this stud was so great that we are unable to deal with it at the same time with the horses of the subject of our memoir, who can scarcely be said to have come across a really smashing good mare until he met with Preserve, with whom, in 1834, he won the Clearwell and Criterion, and in the following year the One Thousand Guineas, besides running second for the Oaks to Queen of Trumps. A difference of opinion as to the propriety of starting Preserve for the Goodwood Stakes led to their separation, and for a time they were on very bad terms, but by the aid of mutual friends a reconciliation was effected. From what Preserve did for him, Mr. Greville was induced to dip more freely into the blood, or, as old John Day would have said, to take to the family, and accordingly he bought Mango, her own brother, of Mr. Thornhill, who bred him. Mango only ran once as a two-year-old, when, being a big, raw colt, he was not quick enough on his legs for the speedy Garcia filly of Col. Peel and John Day's Chapeau d'Espagne, and was easily beaten. In the spring Mango made so much improvement that Mr. Greville backed him for the Derby for a good stake; and had he been able to have continued his preparation at Newmarket, and been vanned to Epsom, as is the custom in the present day, there is little doubt he would have won; but having to walk all the way from Newmarket, he could not afford to lose the days that were thus consumed, and although he ran forward he did not get a place. That this view of the case is not a sanguine one is proved by his beating Chapeau d'Espagne, the second for the Oaks, for the Ascot Derby, and within an hour afterwards bowling over Velure, the third in that race, for William the Fourth's Plate. On the Cup Day he likewise beat the Derby favourite, Rat-Trap, over the Old Mile. At Stockbridge, in a sweepstakes of 100 sovs. each, with thirteen subscribers, he frightened all the field away with the exception of Wisdom, whom he beat cleverly, and then he remained at Dilly's, at Littleton, to be prepared for the St. Leger. Having stood his work well, John Day brought over The Drummer and Chapeau d'Espagne from Stockbridge to try him on Winchester race-course. Both Mr. Greville and Lord George Bentinck had reason to be satisfied with what Mango did in his gallop on that morning, and the latter backed him very heavily for the race — much more so, indeed, than his owner. Mr. Greville was anxious to have put up John Day, but the Duke of Cleveland having claimed him for Henriade, he was obliged to substitute his son Sam, a very rising lad, with nerves of iron and the coolest of heads. The race was a memorable one, inasmuch as William Scott, who was on Epirus, the first favourite, fell into the ditch soon after starting, and Prince Warden running over him and striking him with his hind leg, he sustained a severe fracture of the collar-bone. Henriade also came down about a distance from home from a dog crossing the course. John Day, however, soon righted him, but the contretemps spoilt his chance. At the stand there were but three in the struggle — The Doctor, Abraham Newland, and Mango. The two former seemed to be making a match of it, and it looked impossible for Mango to get up; but a slight opening presenting itself, which was not visible to the spectators, Sam Day, with a degree of resolution which justifies the attributes we have before ascribed to him, sent his horse through with such a terrific rush that his breeches were nearly torn off his boots, and won by a neck.

After the race Lord George, who was a very heavy winner, gave Honest John £500 for his trial with the Drummer; the like sum to Sam Day for having ridden him better than he was ridden in the Derby, and an equivalent proportion to Montgomery Dilly for preparing him better than Prince for the same race. Mango was afterwards sent to Newmarket for the St. Leger, and "Craven," who then edited the "Sporting Magazine," having asserted that Mr. Greville had caused it to be reported that Mango was lame to get him back in the markets for that race, he called on him to apologise for the statement, which proving, by the volunteered testimony of Lord George Bentinck, Colonel Anson, and Admiral Rous, to be wholly without foundation, the writer in question made Mr. Greville the fullest amende honorable. Mango only won once again as a four-year-old, when he carried off a sweepstakes of 300 sovereigns at Newmarket, beating Chapeau d'Espagne and Adrian. Having thus established himself with Dilly, owing to Mr. Payne, with whom he had become confederate, training at Littleton, Mr. Greville made no change until Dilly gave up, when he continued his confidence to his brother William Dilly, who succeeded him on his retirement from Lord Glasgow.

It was some few years before Mr. Greville had another good horse, at least one that is worth dwelling upon, and Alarm must be considered the legitimate successor to Mango. This colt Mr. Greville purchased of his breeder, Captain George Delme, and tried him good enough to win the Derby in 1845 in a canter, even in the face of such animals as Idas and The Libel. But just prior to starting an accident occurred by which all Mr. Greville's hopes were destroyed; for The Libel flying at Alarm very savagely, he jumped the chains, threw Nat who lay for a time insensible on the ground, and ran away. He was, however, soon caught and remounted, and although much cut about ran forward enough to justify the idea that but for his accident he must have won, as no other animal could have got through the Cambridgeshire with 7st. 10lb. on him so easily as he did in a field of such quality as he met. In the following year Alarm made some amends for his Epsom failure, by winning the Ascot Cup, as well as the Orange Cup at Goodwood, the latter after a terrific race with Jericho. He also, at Newmarket in the autumn, won three great matches in succession, viz. with Oakley, the Bishop of Romford's cob, and Sorella. Going through the "Calendar," Cariboo is the next most noteworthy animal we come across, for it will be recollected he ran second to Canezou for the Goodwood Cup, having been lent to make running for her. But it is almost needless to add that, had Mr. Greville known him to be as good as he was, he would have been started on his own account, in which case the cup in all probability would have gone to Bruton Street instead of to Knowsley. Continuing our track through the "Calendar," we light on a better year for Mr. Greville, in 1852, when he had really two good animals in Adine and Frantic. With the former, at York, he had perhaps the best week he ever had in his life, having won both the Yorkshire Oaks and Ebor Handicap with her, besides beating Daniel O'Rourke with Frantic, who two months before had carried off the Union Cup for him at Manchester. The following year Adine did a good thing for him by winning the Goodwood Stakes, and two years afterwards he again won that race with Quince.

Between Adine and Quince's years came Mr. Greville's last good horse, Muscovite, whom he thought impossible to lose the Metropolitan, and backed him accordingly. He was much put out, however, by old John Day telling him he had no chance with his mare Virago. At first Mr. Greville was incredulous at what John told him, and made him acquainted with the form of Muscovite. This made not the slightest impression on the old man, who merely went on repeating Mr. Greville must back Virago for £500, and the value of the advice was proved by the mare beating the horse very easily. Muscovite's career for a time was a very unfortunate one, for when in Dockeray's stable he was so "shinned" that his chance for the Goodwood Stakes was completely out, and his trainer, who could not discover the offender, and who was terribly annoyed at the circumstance, begged he might be transferred to William Dilly's, at Littleton. While there he was betted against for the Caesarewitch in the same determined manner as he had been for his other races, and when he arrived at Newmarket, and stood in Nat's stables, which were perfectly impregnable, there was no cessation in the opposition to him, although his trainer told everybody that unless he was shot on the Heath, which he could not prevent, he would walk in. This he did, and the crash he produced is still fresh in the public recollection; but it is creditable to the bookmaker who laid the most money against him to state that out of £23,000 which he lost, he paid £16,000 down on the spot, an act which procured him time for the remainder.

Since Muscovite, who is now at the stud at Newmarket, Mr. Greville has had no animal that has done a really good thing for him, though Anfield made another determined attempt at the Goodwood Stakes this year; and having, at Lord Ribblesdale's sale of General Peel's horses, purchased Orlando, and added him to his establishment at Hampton Court, he has turned his attention perhaps more to breeding than racing. For some time his returns were very large, but of late, from the age of Orlando, and from getting some of his stock so small, they have diminished in amount, although the old horse looks as fresh as a four-year-old, and preserves all that fine symmetry for which he was remarkable both in and out of training. Latterly Mr. Greville, from being the confederate of Mr. Payne, has trained with Alec Taylor at Fyfield; but with Godding he has generally two or three at Newmarket.

In turning to Mr. Greville in his private capacity we hardly know how to treat him, for his is a nature that shrinks from having his good deeds brought before the glare of the public eye. No man, ever so high or low, we believe, ever sought his advice and assistance in vain; and to no one individual, probably, have so many and such various difficulties been submitted. Neither can we remember a new trial or even an appeal demanded by those who had sought his counsel. Beloved by his friends, and feared by his opponents, Mr. Greville will ever be considered one of the most remarkable men that have lent lustre to the English turf.

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