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ANTICIPATIONS OF PUNCHESTOWN

 
 
 
Leinster Express April 23 1881
 
 
ANTICIPATIONS OF PUNCHESTOWN
 
 
After being long and anxiously awaited, we may be said to have at last reached the eve of our great National carnival of steeplechasing, the fame of which, it is no exaggeration to say, has extended to every portion of the civilized world. Wherever the love of sport has penetrated, there also has Punchestown been heard of, while in this country it is the one grand institution of which all classes of Irishmen, from peer to peasant, are justly proud. No other meeting of its kind in existence can equal it; the course is the most perfect for cross-country sport to be found; the management of the gathering is such that most competent judges pronounced it beyond further improvement. Tuesday and Wednesday next will be devoted to the celebration, and already visitors from various parts of the United Kingdom are flocking Kildarewards, the Dublin hotels filling rapidly. In addition to this, we hear that the country mansions in the vicinity of the course are opening their portals for the reception of guests, attracted by the re-union which it is only common justice to mention owes its unparalleled grandeur to the exertions of Lord Drogheda, its founder and warmest friend. The prevalence of harsh winds for the past eight or ten days has had the effect of rendering the ground in a very adamantine state, and those who observed the condition of the sod at the Curragh during the week, naturally enough arrived at the conclusion that should some rain not fall before Tuesday, the going must be very hard. However, those who are, or pretend to be, versed in matters meteorological assert with apparent confidence that a visitation from Jupiter Pluvius may be looked for within the next twenty-four hours, and if the rainy divinity banishes Eurus and Boreas for the remainder of the season, he will have conferred a benefit on mankind in general, and asthmatic people in particular. A fine Punchestown is, however, devoutly to be hoped for. We have experienced it in many kinds of weather, and always, and under all circumstances, with pleasure; but unless the sky is cloudless, the sun warm, and the ground dry, its magnificence is, as a matter of course, veiled. We learn that Mr. Waters paid one of his final visits of inspection on Friday (yesterday), and saw the finishing touches put on all the arrangements, and when he is satisfied that all things are in apple-pie order, he should be a bold critic who could find fault. The entries are numerous, and quality amongst the animals engaged compares most favourably with former years. Seldom, indeed, in recent times has a steeplechase handicap fared so well in the way of nominations as the Prince of Wales’s Plate, for which the adjuster of the weights allotted imposts to eight-and-twenty. The acceptances, naturally enough, number much less, but, all the same, it is reasonable to anticipate a very exciting contest.
 
Taking the programme in regular order, the most important event on the opening day will be the Conyngham Cup, to which the substantial sum of ₤400 in the shape of added money is given. For this there are two and twenty subscribers, and to sift the wheat from the chaff, we may say that the pick of the basket are Rhea, Sir Garnet, Foreman, Seaman and Attainment. The first named of those is a mare for whom we have more than ordinary respect, as she not only goes a good pace, but is a most accomplished fencer. However, when “class” comes to be considered, she cannot be said to rank as highly as Seaman or Sir Garnet, animals that are deemed capable of performing creditably in much higher arenas. If we could make sure that Sir Gartnet was fit and well we should hesitate before passing him, and as it is we shall not discard the son of Victor. Before the Liverpool meeting he met with an accident which necessitated his being scratched for the Grand National, and since then he declined a valuable engagement at Fairy House. In giving 10lbs. to Seaman at Longford last year he showed that he was a downright good animal, but it may be that Seaman was not then the horse that he now is. Mr Linde will no doubt send Seaman to do battle, as he certainly cannot win with Beaumorris after what we saw of him in the Dunboyne Cup at the Ward Hunt meeting last Monday. Foreman is a useful but slow horse, who keeps on the even tenor of his way, and over a course like the Conyngham might easily win, as he once did before. Of Attainment we know little at present, but she promised to make a good chaser. We are warned that danger is to be apprehended from Munster, who would, however, to our thinking be better suited over a short course, and in fine, providing for wins, we shall look for success of
SEAMAN or SIR GARNET.
And in the absence of either, FOREMAN may be a good substitute.
 
In the Bishopscourt Plate are several of whom little can be known, but good accounts are to hand, or there is form to guide to us regarding Perambulator, Beware, Pictus, and Rosemary, of whom the last-names cleared the decks at a military meeting at Cork not long since. Menasha is another that will trouble the best of those engaged, and for the winner I shall depend on
PERAMBULATOR and MENASHA,
Expecting to find ROSEMARY in the first three.
 
The race for the Drogheda Stakes is by no means an easy event to deal with, but in suggesting that SWANGROVE and PIRATE will take some beating, we may have a pair that will acquit themselves creditably.
 
For the Handicap Selling Plate, the pair that please us most are ULYSSES and BLUE BELL, and it will not surprise us if the latter makes amends for her defeat in the Hurdle Race at the Curragh on Thursday.
 
For the second day only four events can now be dealt with, as the weights for the Railway Place will not be fixed until the night before running. Should BEWARE miss fire in the Bishopscourt Plate she may credit Mr Blake with this event, and to her and ATHLACCA, having a preference for the latter, we shall leave the issue.
 
The Irish Grand Military reads best for SCORN and BLUE BELL.
 
Only nine have taken advantage of the cheap terms of getting out of the Prince of Wales’ Plate, and of the twenty standing in we are sure to find fifteen at the post. Neither time nor space will admit or any lengthened analysis of the chances of the probable starters, and we shall simply record our opinion that
TUG OF WAR or VALAHAKA
will win. If these two are defeated, it will probably be by LADY NEWMAN.
 
The Farmers’ Challenge Cup will probably be won by CASCADE or THEODORE, and the Kildare Hunt Cup by THE BIRD or ROYAL MEATH.
 
Research by Mario Corrigan
 
Typed by Carl Dodd

The Leinster Express of April 1881 reports on the anxiously awaited National carnival of steeplechasing.   Our thanks to Carl Dodd


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