Welsh Newspapers

Search 15 million Welsh newspaper articles

Hide Articles List

11 articles on this Page



A RAMBLE IN WALES. ( From tlie Sparting Majazine.) BWANSEV RACES ABERYSTWITH RACES THE GOG Kill) DA V HOUNDS AND COUNTRY—SALE OF CAl'TAIN" UOWES DAVIES'S ULOOO STOCK. There is an indescribable pleasure associated with the anticipation ofrevisilin scene \vhere we previously passed hppy doys; and I never turn my horse's head towards the Principality of Wales, without looking forward with a hope that my ap- proachinj visit "ill be equally agreeable as the former ones. A* yet I have never been disappointed. There is a degree of hospitality and independence, or moreprorerly, freedom from unnecessary pn net i 1 i ousness and restraint, at all the houses in which! have hitherto been a guest, that carries with it an assurance of a hr irty welcome it proclaims that desire to accommodate a friend in all his wishes so truly characteristic of the Welsh disposition. For the first time in my I irc I had to encounter the hills between Abergavenny and Merthyr lydvil, and I hope it will be the last, fur they certainly are the longest, the steepest, and the roughest I over met with. Tliis vastly populous country was all alive in consequence of a Chal tit meeting allrll could not help reflecting with astonishment that men like these, with full employment, and earning liberal wages, Bhould be so led away as to become the dupes of a discontented fucli-m- First slave to word, then vassal to a name, The dupe to party—child and man the same." It only proves how susceptible the human mind is to impressions made by specious and designing cha- racters. Being in the neighbourhood of Swansea during the races, as a matter of eourlle I attended them. Free from the disputes which have this season been un- fortunately so prevalent at most of the great Meet- ings, here all present appeared desirous to contribute to the amusements of the day, unconnected with those avaricious speculations which arise from the introduction of heavy Stakes, and consequently heavy bettings, the greatest enemy to the pros perity of the British Turf. The little prizes were contested for with as much spirit, and ccrtainly more good humour, than they would have been if the amount had been ten times greater. The Glamor- ganshire Stakes afforded a pretty race between Alzdorfand Bay Hampton, the former taking the lead, and keeping it all the way. Bay Hampton was purchased laQt spring by Mr Gough with the expectation that he was good enough to beat most of the horses that were likely to compete with him in Wales. Hitherto he has been greatly disap- pointed; and in the Handicaps he has been much over rated, an event of not unfrequent occuirence with horses sent from the South of England into the Principality. In the first place, the horses which are bred in the neighbourhood are not so despicable as many racing men imagine them to be; and in the second place, it requires a little time for horses sent from a distance to become accustomed to the climate, and consequently to appear at the post in their best possible condition. The indifferent hay and corn too which they meet with, to a horse accustomed to the best, is a great drawback, especially at first. Most of the races were Handicaps, perhaps too great a proportion of them; but they all produced contests, with the exception of the Hurdle-race, which was a most absurd burlesque. In order to comply with the conditions, that three horses must start to obtain the public money, Lucretia, a cocktail, without the slightest pretensions to a hurdle-racer was started, also ahorse called Barrister, both from the same stable and a hunter whose rider contrived to tumble off in a very early part of the. race, com- posed the trio. Lucretia, having got over two flights of hurdles, gallopped off to her stable; consequeutly, after the parade of the three starting, the race terminated in a sort of walk over, and the Barrister became entitled to the stakes without much legal con- tention. This ought to be a convincing proof to those concerned in the management of these races of the absurdity of requiring three horses to start; be- cause, as in this case, it is frequently the cause of some trickery, and is also a means of preventing those who live at a little distance, and who are not disposed to conni ve at such Arrangements, from send. ing their horses. The Handicaps gave more than usual satisfaction to all, with the exception of Harris, from Bristol. When all are satisifed, or, on the other hand, all arc dissatisfied with a Handicap when it first comes out, it is the best proof of its being a fair one, and the fact of its being a good one must be decided by the event of the race. Loud and inde- corously as the aforesaid Harris protested against the weight which the mare Lauretta, trained by him, was doomed to carry, she won but the conduct which he thought proper to evince on the declaration of the weights is sure not to be forgotten the next tilDe his horse He to be Aborystwiih has never bcij^tcd of a more fashion- able coterie than during the present sea-on, most of whom honoured the races by their presence on the first day. It was one of the finest that we have en- joyed since the weather has been under the inOuence of the Watery Saint, Here, as at so many other places the clause requiring three horses to start, or the public money to be withheld, was expressed in the general conditions, and the consequence was, that some altercation aroe as to the ownership of two horses which were entered for the Members Plate. Without going into the question as to whether the two horses wpre or were not the propei ty of one individual, it is a grCclt pity that nn oppor- tunity should be afforded for any dispute. In future, thc good folks of Aberystwith intend to give thc whole sum advertised, even if walked over for—an example which many other Provinci.il Meetings would do well to follow. But here, and at such places as arc dependent upon horses beiug" sent from a distance, and not within reach of any other Meeting such an arrangement is indispensable. The most interesting race was for a Hunter's Stake, the oldfashioned distance of four miles, between Captain Boweu Davies's mare Lass, 5 years, and Mr Vevers' Charity, aged, well known as a steeple-chacer, 12st. each—won by the mare Charity, beautifully ridden by Oliver, made very strong run- ning from end to end, a task which calls forth a jockey's knowledso of pace; and 1 must do him the justice to assert, that I never saw the work cut out in a four mile race with greater steadiness, truth, and caution but the mare was too good, and won by superior speed and stoutness. A race for horses (hat had b"en regularly hunted with the Gogerddan hounds was confined to those belonging to the inhabitants of Aberystwith and the immediate neighbourhood consequently it produced an unusual sensation with the worthy natives. It win a Handicap, and was won easily by a clever little mare, the property of Mr J Davis. The articles required that gentleman riders only were to exhibit; in oposition to which, Moon, the jockey, made his appearance at the post. A protest wus entered against him; therefore, if his horse had come in first, as a matterof course a dispute would have arisen. Some of your correspondents have ailuded to this in- novation and I coincide in opinion with them, that it is imperative that the point should be settled as to who are entitled to ride as Gentlemen jockeys; till this is determined, disputes will continue to disturb the peace of Meetings where that condition is imposed. It is highly amusing to hear some of the fre- quenters of these little Principality races descant upon the abilities of the jockeys, the estimation iu which they are held depending solely upon the suc- cess which crowns their exertions. One person ex- pressed his astonishment at the cclebrity which Oliver has a quired, seeing him first of all in the uuenviable situation of steersman to a half-broken untrained hack, which, as a matter of course, was beaten and which, not being whipped, spurred, and tortured for mere wantonness did not exhibit the powers of this first-rate horseman in the light that would have called forth their admiration. It is a most thankless, unprofitable, and unsatisfactory office to ride such brutes. They are generally the pro- perty of some pretender to sporting fame, who ridi- culously believes that his nag possesses all the speed- stoutness, and condition which his imagination can conceive, and which must be superior to that of his competitors. This, heightened by divers libations of brandy and water imbibed each succeding even- ing during the last fortnight previous to the race, and embracing the important period of training—a lapse of time in his estimation sufficient to effect the purpose—he goes to bed to dream of success, and determines to illuminate the Turf by his owu bril- liancy and the astonishing performances of his mountain galloway. His excitement, however, effervesces lIke the bottle of soda water which he calls in aid to relieve a sick head-ache; the race terminates in a similar manner; the jockey is cen- sured, and a declaration being made, that tie could have ridden the race better himself, leaves our hero t determined on a future occasion to do honour to the pigskin in propria persona. The Stewards, the Hon. \V. Vattghan and the Hon. G. Edwardes, presided over the various departments in which the services of the Stewards at wntering- places are so diversified, with great assiduity. Racing alone does not exonerate them frotn n, duties of patronising theatres, ball., and ordinaries, each of which was visited in their respeciive turns by the beauty and fashion of the neighbourhood. There must be something very urgent, or there must be a barrier in the form of an injunction from the owner not to allow a strauger to view the etab- lish ment, that would induce me to pass by a kennel of hounds without endeavouringto pay them a visit, more especially if they have acquired any degree of tame. The veil knowu hospitality of the proprietor of the Gogerddan estates was as usual exemplified by the doors of the mansion being thrown open for the reception of all who patronised the races; and the renown which Mr Pryse has attained as a Sports- man both in the Field and on the Turf, and the cha- racter which he so justly merits for his kindness and alfabilily, were sufficient assurance that I should not be denied my request to pay my respects to his hounds. The wild and rough nature of the country, the difficulty which appears, I maysay the impossibility which exists of procuring in this remote situation many necessaries essential to a Sportsman, impress the mind with an Idea that a pack of fox hounds found in it wonld be a second-rate order. I know not why such feelings should prevail, except that they are produced by an association of ideis. With the«e notions I certainly entered Mr Pryse's kennel, but when I left it they ivei-e conipletely changed. I must pay his hounds the compliment, by asserting, so far as I could jude of them iu kennel, that a more even business-like lot need not be seen. Warrior and Welcome, brother and sister, particularly attracted my attention, and also a liht coloured hound, whose name I have forgotten, from ,Ilr T. Asslietoll Smith. There is a sufficient num. ber to form two packs, and everything is conducted with as mnch rcularity and order as can be desired in a niore fashionable country. Such, however, is the mortification which man is doomed to suffer, that with all Mr Pryse's perseve- rance, care, and liberality, something comes to mar his happiness. Here it it too easily distinguished in that determined enemy to hounds, kennel lame- ness. With every attention to its prevention it races with determined inveteracy. The bricks forming the pavement are laid in cement with a great fall, the whole of the department is dry, and clean as p SsiLle. With a view of remedying the evil, all the buildings are intended to be arched underneath, but I doubt the efficacy of it. Mr Boycott's kennel at Rudrrc in Staffordshire was so formed without any advantage whatever arising from the expense, and he was compelled to remove his hounds to another situation. Cox, the huntsman, who haa lately entered Mr Prywe's service, is of opinion that the water affects them, leid ore having been dug out ot the well. At the same time that I am quite ready to join him in the belief that such water is injurious, I cannot imagine that it would be productive of kennel lame- ness. Receptacles for the purpose of collecting rain water are about to be formed, in order that they may imbibe the pure dew of heai-en. I shall attend to the results of the two remedies with much curiosity and interest, The country which these hounds hunt over is the wildest of the wild and I have reason to believe the foxes are like the country. With comparatively in- terminable mountains to pass over, it is imposible for horses at all times to live with the hounds. On the most exposed situations, it is natural to conclude that the scent is more than commonly affected by the state of the atmosphere; but they have an unconquerahle difficulty to combat with, that of working through crowds of horsemen, which in more populous counties spoil many a run. They are never suffered to give up their fox so long as there is a particle of scent and a gleam of light to hunt by. There is doubtless a pleasure in travelling, which gives a tone and fresh vigour to human exertions. To the man of buincss, it is a recreation which he requires as a promoter of health; nay it is almost essential to his existence. To the student, it is a means of refreshing his capacity, as well as a source from which he derives fresh objects for contempla- tion. To those who profe-is no occupation, it is essential, inasmuch as it affords them employment, and thereby enables them to dispel that ennui which is the constant attendant of an indolent mind. But why so many Englishmen should fly to the Con. tinent as the only route for a trip of pleasure, I am at a loss to conceive. Those who seek for delight- ful mountain scenery, beautifully relieved by wood and water, may find it in Wales, and the adjoining counties of Monmouth, Hereford, and Salop, Dryden exclaims- Fain would I travel to somr foreign sliore, So might I to myself myself re-s-ore." If a man be reconciled to the enjoyments of such pleasures as are within a reasonable scope, he will not have so many causes for disappointment as we usually find our friends conplainof; nor will he feel dissatisfaction when he cannot obtain every object which ambition leads him to anticipate. The direct roads in Wales are excellent, and if there is a more beautiful drive from one place to another, I think it is from Trecastle to Llandovery. The distance is about nine miles, in which the diversified scenery and picturesque views are so constantly cbangillg, that the jonrney does not ap- pear to extend more th-wi that distance. The ac- commodation at the best inns will be found to be invariably good theyn.c- greatly improved within the last ten years. I cannot pass over this lIbject without mentioning the comforts and attentions which have been invariably found at the Belle Vue Hotel, Aberystwith, which has been for several years conducted by Mr and M.s Evans, two of the most worthy characters in their calling that can possibly be found. So well have their attentions been appreciated, that they have realized a cient competence to enable them to retire from business. They have disposed of the concern to Mr Marshal, of Cheltenham, who, being well known among Sporting men, will no doubt receive their patronage and if he continues to conduct the Establishment with an equal regard to the comforts of the long-conformed connexion which they have hitherto experienced, there can be no doubt of his succe<s. Having eulogized the direct roads in the Princi- pality as being good, and the country as affording interesting scenery, let me caution all travellers to eschew cross-roads and second-rate inns above all, if expedition be an object, to avoid such rosds as pass arar the mountains go round them so often as you please, but passing over them should never be attempted unless the rout be indispensable and the nature of the journey imperative; for you will be prompted to exclaim, 1 licc should hp- hours of necessities, Not for delights." One of the prevailing subjects with the Sporting men during my visit in the Principality, was the sale of the blood stock of Captain Bowen Davies, of Nlaesycrigie, in Ca rin artlien shire. Being by far the most extensive establishment of the kind in the county, it had for a long period been looked for- ward to as an event. Independently as the induce- ment which an inspection of the stud presented, numbers attended as a lounge, and to partake of the well known hospitality of the proprietor. His popu- larity also induced many of the County Gentlemen to attend out of compliment; consequently, be ween buyers and lookers on, there was a goodly muster. Captain Bowen Davies s object has been to breed for sale, the accommodation which he possesses in the way of buildings and the quality of his land af- fording him every facility but he has one great evil to contend with; that is, the remote situation of the place—few racing men believo they are likely too meet with a race horse, as they errotie- ously imagine, amongst the mountains. Such, how- ever is not the character of the estate on which they are bred more suitable land for the purpose is not to be found in Her Majesty's dominions. Another circumstance operated against the sale. Having trained some of the stock which he has bred, many persons were led to believe that the refuse only would be disposed of: indeed it is an error which many breeders fall into,if they breed for sale they never ought to train." The young stock were very promising, and realized fair prices. A very clever yearling colt, by Wamba out of Glan- tivy, xvns purchased by Captain Fendall, and a re- markable racing colt, by Wamba, out of Mina, was knocked down at eighty guineas. Wamba, the stallion, was not sold; and considering his excel- lent blood, as also the good size and racing likeap- pearance of his stock, he is a desirable horse to keep. Amongst the numerous amusing anecdotes which 1 heard, I wa much entertained at a novel mode of getting hounds out of covert when they were not disposed to obey the summons of the horn; and I was positively assured that it was occasionally practised by the Gentleman of whom it was related. His plan was, to get hold of one of the hounds on the outside of the covert, and to pull his ears so as to make him cry out, thereby inducing those which remained in covert to suppose that he was running a fox, when, by cheering and hallooing to the cry. he succeeded in getting them all away- As to the effect which such a proceeding would have upon the general conduct of the pack, there cannot be much doubt. I also heard of an event that took place some years since, which bears so much determination and character, and is so precisely what a Master of Fox hounds ought to possess, that I cannot forbear re- lating it. Although 1 am not disposed to^promote duelling in trifiing°cases, yet when a man's rights are infringed upon, himself or family insulted, and it is necessary to preserve order in society, this is Just the way in which such affairs ought to be con- ducted. A certain Master of Fox hounds had turned some cubs into a covert within the precincts of his Hunt—in fact, within sight from his own door— when, to his great surprise, a pack of hounds from a distant part of the county, came in the early part of the season to disturb his little preserve. Putting a brace of pistols into his pockets, he hastened to the scene of action, just as the hounds were begin- ning to draw. Addressing himself to the Master of the pack, lie requested him to get them away, when the trespasser resorted to a little argumentative per- I suasion. Upon this, finding words not likely to a- vail before the hounds would in all probability get one of the cubs on foot, the weapons were produced, with a demand that the matter might be immediately settled by their powerful decision. This determi- ned course had the desired effect; the hounds were taken away, and have never trespassed since. Wales presents many attractions to the Sportsman. The disciples of Isaac Walton find numerous rivers well stored with fish it i", however, an amusement which never took my fancy, therefore I cannot des- cant upon it. There are several very agreeable Racing Meetings; and those of Abergavenny, Mon- mouth, and Pontypool, although situated in Mon- mouthshire, being principally supported by the same parties who send their horses to the Meetings in the Principality, and being within a short distance may he considered within the same district. Until very late there were races at Carmarthen, \vhich have ceased in consequence of a defalcation in the shape of public money, which was advertized by the Stewards, but which, on the day of reckoning, was not forthcoming. As one of the most influen- tial racing men in the county was the winner, he has, very .justifiably exercised a power he possesses of suspending the races till his demand is satisfied. Country gentlemen who subscribe to Funds and Stakes in order to promote sport should be punctual in making their payments; they are not aware how their neglect becomes a subject of conversation, nor of the injury which they inflict upon the meeting which they profess to support. The lovers of the trigger have in most parts suf- I floent scope for their exertions. Except in some favoured places, gfime is not very strictly preserved; consequently it is not so abundant as might he wished nevertheless a fair sprinkling may be found, aud amongst other kinds the woodcock ap- pear in due season, the pursuit of which most IU- suredly ra nk-i highest injthe estimation of the kaights of tile fowling piece. As for hunting, there is plenty of ft, and if the establishment* are not supported with ostentations grandeur, yet they cannot fail to gratify those who are really fond of it. The merry harrier will rouse your heart, if you can be content with hare- hunting, and is a good substitute in mountainous countries for the fox hound. Even with the latter, those who enjoy hunting merely for the parade of riding to covert, orof riding a hunting steeple chase when they are there, must n"t resort to these quar- ters? such, however, are not sportsmen, conse- quently are not gratified with the legitimate character of field sports which Sportsmen only can appreciate. WILDRAKE.






[No title]

[No title]


[No title]