( Originally Published 1898 )
The Jockey Club, an association of noblemen and gentlemen dating from 1751, gradually became the supreme authority and the governing body of the Turf. The control of racing exercised by the Club is absolute. The Rules of Racing have been drawn up by the members with such continual additions and alterations as circumstances have seemed to demand, and adherence to them is rigidly enforced, offences against them being visited by fines of various amounts, and penalties which may effectually prevent those by whom they are incurred from running horses or taking any part in the sport; for horses may be disqualified from racing under Jockey Club Rules if, for instance, their owners are found guilty of corrupt practices, or if they run at unauthorised meetings—that is to say, meetings not under Rules; and men may be warned off Newmarket Heath and other places where the Rules are in force, as in fact they practically are at every place where a thorough-bred horse is at all likely to run. During the off season, when there is no regular flat racing, and in connection with steeplechases, hurdle-races, and a few other contests when flat racing is in progress, the National Hunt Committee is the governing body ; but this is in close relation with the Jockey Club, and may be said to execute a delegated power. The seasons used to be distinguished as the " legitimate" and "illegitimate," but the expressions are less common than they were. There is no more select Club in the country, as will be judged from the following list of the present members.
His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales
His Royal Highness the Duke of Saxe Coburg-Gotha
His Royal Highness the Duke of Connaught
His Royal Highness the Duke of York
His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge
His Royal Highness Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein
His Majesty the King of the Belgians
His Imperial Highness the Grand Duke Vladimir of Russia
Lord Alington Capt. E. W. Baird
Douglas Baird, Esq. H.. T. Barclay, Esq.
Right Hon. H. Chaplin Lord Colville
R. H. Combe, Esq. Daniel Cooper, Esq. Earl of Cork and Orrery Earl of Coventry W. G. Craven, Esq. Earl of Crewe *Prince d'Arenberg *M. Henri Delamarre Earl of Derby Duke of Devonshire Viscount Downe Earl of Dunraven Earl of Durham Earl of Ellesmere *Count Tasselo Festetics Earl of Feversham Earl Fitzwilliam
Hon. H. W. Fitzwilliam Lord Gerard
Sir Reginald Graham Earl of Harewood Lord Hastings
Hon. Sir H. Hawkins
J. H. Houldsworth, Esq. Earl Howe
Earl of Ilchester
Sir R. Jardine, Bart. Sir F. Johnstone, Bart.
*The Master of Her Majesty's Buckhounds
"The President of the French Jockey Club
"The Chairman of Committee of the Victoria Racing Cub
All officials clerks of the course, handicappers, stakeholders, clerks of the scales, starters, and judges must receive licences from the Stewards before they can act, as must all jockeys. Election to the Club is by ballot ; nine members must be present and two black balls exclude. The affairs of the Club are actively directed by three Stewards, the senior of whom retires annually, and is replaced in the spring by some energetic member who has been recommended by the retiring Steward and has consented to act. The Stewards have much more work to do than is usually imagined. Arranging the dates of meetings for the following year is by itself a most troublesome business, for it involves an infinity of correspondence. It rarely happens that charges are not annually brought, openly or anonymously, against some of the jockeys ; and the Stewards have the task of investigating what they come to hear in one way or another, and of considering whether to renew the riding licences. The attendance of the Stewards at Messrs. Weatherby's offices is constantly requested ; indeed there is always pressing business demanding their attention. The three Stewards of the Jockey Club are Stewards of all races run at Newmarket, and are also, ex officio, Stewards of Epsom, Ascot, and Goodwood ; in conjunction with the Jockey Club Estate Committee they have complete possession and control of the property and estates of the Club, and the management of the course and the training and trial grounds at Newmarket is in their hands. There is practically no appeal from them for men convicted of offences against the Rules of Racing. On a few occasions the common law has been invoked, but with no satisfactory result to those who have thus taken measures against the Club. The Stewards are frequently grumbled at for what they either do or fail to do, their action having very likely been influenced by excellent reasons of which the fault-finders can know nothing ; but no one ever attributes their proceedings to unworthy motives, and the most absolute confidence is reposed in their earnest desire to do their best for the sport. Their powers are great; for to be "warned off" not only prevents a man from visiting Newmarket Heath or entering any ring or enclosure at a race meeting, but involves a social stigma which irreparably ruins character ; and, to make the penalty more sweeping, the warning off is usually reported to the National Hunt Committee, and various foreign Jockey Clubs, by which it is extended to meetings under their control.