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Messrs. Weatherby.

( Originally Published 1898 )

MESSRS. WEATHERBY. The name of Messrs. Weatherby occurs more than once in this article, and a few words must be added about the firm. Messrs. Weatherby are the active agents of the Jockey Club, the connexion having apparently arisen from the fact that in the year 1773 a Mr. James Weatherby first published the Racing Calendar, which became the official organ of the Club. The Sheet Calendar, which comes out every Thursday afternoon, and occasionally at other times also, contains records of all races run since the previous issue (including sport under National Hunt Rules), programmes of races to come, notices and orders of the Jockey Club, lists of licensed jockeys, etc., the forfeit lists, and indeed all matters which the Club desire to make known. There are also Monthly Calendars and Book Calendars ; a volume of " Races Past " and another of " Races to Come " are published annually ; and at irregular periods Messrs. Weatherby add to their already long array of volumes of the " Stud Book," which gives the pedigree of every thoroughbred foal destined to race or to be prepared with a hope that he may be able to do so. "Not in the Stud Book" is equivalent to not thoroughbred. Messrs. Weatherby keep what is known as the " Registry Office," and matters too numerous to mention pass through their hands. Before a horse's name is registered it must be sent to their office ; and they have authority, delegated by the Jockey Club, to reject it if there is another animal with a similar name, so that the existence of the two might cause confusion. They receive entries for almost all races, and charge fees for their services. But the firm has other functions besides those which arise from their agency to the Jockey Club. They act as bankers for the great majority of owners, and certainly save them an infinity of trouble. It would be a serious business if every owner had to send cheques for his entrance and forfeits, collect his own winnings from stakeholders, pay jockeys and so on. Messrs. Weatherby do all this for their clients. When a man "goes on the Turf" it is customary for him to start an account with Messrs. Weatherby (one or two other firms seek the same sort of business) by paying in a sum of money ; all forfeits, entrances, etc., are then paid for him as long as the money lasts, and his winnings are put to his credit. He may win so much that he can draw money for private use, or he may have to replenish his account. Some member of the firm has almost always, if not invariably, filled the position of " Keeper of the Match Book," his business being to receivethe stakes and collect entrance money and all other funds belonging to the Club, and he is entitled to charge half-a-crown for every horse entered to run at Newmarket. Once a year, shortly before the Derby, he makes a handicap of the chief three-years-old, thus giving the opinion as to the relative merit. Until a few years since, Messrs. Weatherby were handicappers to the Jockey Club, but they resigned.

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