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Speed Rating For Thorough Horses

( Originally Published 1898 )

SPEED AND STAYING—Speed is the first requisite of the racehorse, his value depending largely upon the distance of ground over which he can maintain his best pace, that is to say, whether or not he is a stayer. A good definition of a stayer is much needed, and for want of a better he may perhaps be described as a horse who can keep on galloping for a long way when fully extended. Many, perhaps the majority of, racehorses have a flash of speed with which to finish a race —"one effort in them," as the phrase runs, and it is among the first essentials of jockeyship to know precisely when this effort should be demanded. There are not a few horses that cannot "get" even five furlongs, and among these very much depends upon the selection of the course, whether it is easy, as down the hill at Epsom (if the animal has good shoulders and can come down hill), at Derby and elsewhere, or severe as at Ascot, on the Rowley Mile, the old Cambridgeshire (or Criterion) courses, the Bunbury Mile, or where the winning post is at the top of an ascent. A really speedy horse that does not stay will beat bad animals over long distances, when running far beyond his course, in fact, because they fail to extend him. He is cantering while they are galloping hard; going on well within himself he does not tire, and so can keep with them at no exertion, reserving his speed but put the same horse in his own class, among worthy rivals, so that he is kept at or near full stretch, and he isexhausted by a very much shorter course as is natural. A " stayer " is a somewhat vague term, as regards the question of distance, but one generally understands a horse that can last with animals of his own class for at least a mile and a half. It would have been extremely interesting after Sheen had beaten Amphion at two miles to see what would have happened had the two run together over a mile, and then over a mile and a half. At a mile most people would have expected to see Amphion win easily ; at a mile and a half opinions would have been divided ; when they met at two miles Sheen won without difficulty. Kilcock's best distance is probably six furlongs, but he won at Newmarket over a course nearly twice as long (1 mile 3 furlongs), because against the horses that opposed him he had not to exert himself. The combination of great speed and staying power is occasionally found, but it is exceedingly rare.



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