[Editor: This article was published in the The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, 19 April 1881.]
(By our own Reporter.)
The annual meeting of the Lochinvar Jockey Club took place yesterday (Easter Monday) in the presence of about 300 spectators, of which a small number were ladies. As the races were the only amusement provided in the neighbourhood, there would doubtless have been a much larger attendance but for the ram, which came down in light showers during the day; notwithstanding a great number of Maitland sportsmen visited Lochinvar, both on horseback and in vehicles, two busses running from Maitland to the seat of war. A few games of chance were on the ground, and the proprietors thereof appeared to drive a good trade. The swinging boats and a “Punch and Judy” were also present, and the sounds of a cracked fife and a drum enlivened the proceedings. The racecourse is situated about fifty yards from Mr. Grealy’s Red Lion Inn, and that gentleman had a booth on the ground, and at both “pub” and booth he did a roaring business. The course, owing to the rain which fell during the day, and for some days previously, was in a very sloppy and greasy condition, and as it is but five furlongs around, and has a couple of sharp turns, short striding horses had a bit the best of it. Three or four policemen were present during the day, but their only duty seemed to be in stopping the proceedings of “gaffers,” of whom there appeared to be a great number. Happily no accident of a serious nature occurred to mar the sport.
Proceedings began with the Shorts Handicap, for which six weighed out, and after a good race, Grey Momus — well-known as Junor’s Carthorse — got home in front, followed by the constant Navy Eights, who beat True Blue by a head. Eight nags came to the post for the Hack Race, and Cessnock Pet (a very handsome hackney, but a bit gone in his pins) was a cut above the others at the weights, and won the two first heats. Only three came to the post in the Lochinvar Handicap, and Darkie was served up as a hot favourite, but again disappointed his supporters, as after a desperate race, Navy Eights stayed longer than True Blue, and won by a head on the post, Darkie being a couple of lengths away. Only two accepted for the Forced Handicap, and True Blue waltzed home in front of Cessnock Pet, who was out of his element. A couple of other races were also run during the day, one of them for a bridle being won by Mr. C. O’Brien’s Wallaby.
Mr. P. J. Ryan as secretary was obliging and active, and Mr. J. Crennan got his fields away in excellent style, and none of Mr J. J. Drinan’s decisions as judge was questioned. After the last race a rush was made for home, and the road to Maitland soon presented a busy scene. The following is an account of the running:—
First Race. — Shorts Handicap of £5, with a sweep of 5s. each to go to second horse; for all horses; ¾ mile.
Mr. Junor’s g.g. Grey Momus, 7st. 4lbs. ……………….. (Cahill) 1
J. Kelly’s b.g. Navy Eights, 7st. 2lbs. ……… (H. Roarty) 2
P. M’Carthy’s br.h. True Blue, 8st. 4lbs. …… (Maddigan) 3
H. Norrie’s b.g. Comet, 7st. 4lbs.
Junor’s ch.g. Silver Star, 7st.
J. Farrell’s b.g. Darkie 8st. 12lbs.
Betting: 2 to 1 on the field. The flag fell to a fair start, Comet getting away last, Darkie and Navy Eights being the first to show to the front. After they settled into their strides, Grey Momus went to the front and led his field up the straight, by a length, Navy Eights on his quarter. Along the back of the course True Blue was lying third, Silver Star being already in difficulties. Comet made a great effort along the hill, but, missing his stride, threw his rider on to his neck, and was not afterwards persevered with. True Blue made his effort in the hollow, and led Navy Eights by half a length to the entrance or the straight, but could not reach the grey; and Navy Eights, coming again, beat True Blue home by a head, two lengths away from Momus, the others out of it.
Second Race. — Handicap Hack Race of £2 10s. for all hacks to be approved of by the stewards; half-mile heats.
Mr. Goldsbrough’s g.g. Cessnock Pet 7st. 7lbs. …………… 1 1
Cessnock Pet won the two first heats easily from eight others, being followed home in the first by Mr. P. M’Carthy’s Ellen, 7st. 7lbs., and in the second by the same gentleman’s Julia, 8st.
Third Race — The Lochinvar Handicap of £10, with sweep of 7s. 6d. each to go to second horse; for all horses; 1½ mile.
Mr. J. Kelly’s b g Navy Eights, 6st 12lbs. ………. (H. Roarty) 1
P. M’Carthy’s br h True Blue, 7st 12lbs. ……….. (Maloney) 2
J. Farrell’s b g Darkie, 8st 6lbs. ……………… (J. Roarty) 3
Betting, 3 to 2 v. Darkie, 2 to 1 v. Navy Eights. A splendid start sent the horses on their journey, all breaking away together. When they got going, Navy Eights went to the front with Darkie on his quarter. They ran in this fashion to the back of the course, where True Blue took the favourite’s place, the pace being very slow. They ran very close together to the starting point, where the pace began to mend. Navy Eights led his field along the back by a length, and Darkie here made his effort, but was unable to get up. A great race ensued up the straight between Navy Eights and True Blue, but Kelpie’s son seemed to tire and falter when he “got the needle,” and the pony won a great race on the post by half a length, Darkie being two lengths away.
Fourth Race. — Forced Handicap of £3; 1 mile.
Mr. P. M. Carthy’s br h True Blue, 8st 5lbs. ……… (Maddigan) 1
— Goldsborough’s g g Cessnock Pet, 7st. ….. (H. Roarty) 2
Betting: 2 to 1 on True Blue. When the flag fell, Cessnock Pet jumped away to the front, evidently adopting cutting down tactics. The grey horse led along the back of the course by a couple of lengths, until a quarter of a mile from home, when True Blue took the lead, and was never afterwards asked to gallop, winning in a canter by half-a-dozen lengths.
The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser (Maitland, NSW), 19 April 1881, p. 4
got the needle = annoyed, irritated, peeved (derived from the annoyance felt when a needle is accidentally pushed into one’s finger whilst darning or sewing); feeling angry, resentful; having feelings of ill-will or dislike; holding a grudge
pins = (slang) legs
pub = hotel; an establishment where the main line of business is to sell alcoholic drinks for customers to consume on the premises (“pub” comes from the abbreviation of “public house”)