On March 6th, 1895, at the Agricultural Showgrounds at Flemington, the annual sale of Victorian yearlings occurred. First on the list came the St Albans’ yearlings bred by W. R. Wilson. Only a year or two before, Wilson had spacious sale yards erected at St Albans with the intention of selling his yearlings there, but the construction outlays hadn’t been matched by prices during the hard financial times. The St Albans’ studmaster had realised belatedly and reluctantly the need to send his yearlings to Melbourne among the buyers, rather than conveying the buyers to Geelong among the yearlings. A special train left Melbourne at 2.15 pm for the Showgrounds on the day of the sale. The St Albans’ list included no less than thirty yearlings and the day would be remembered afterwards for the sale of just one, in particular, Lot No.15, a chestnut colt by Newminster from Oceana, a brother to Froude.
Newminster, a son of the imported The Marquis, had carried Andrew Chirnside’s colours to victory in the very first Caulfield Cup run in the autumn of 1879 and stood most of his stud career on lease at St Albans. Oceana had carried the colours of Daniel Cooper initially and ran for two seasons, winning just one race – a minor six-furlong handicap at Hawkesbury, although Cooper had parted company with her by then. Afterwards, she went to the unregistered meetings but became so bad in her wind as to be useless. This yearling was her fourth foal, and the best to date was Froude, the winner of ten races. Idalia, the dam of Oceana, was a sister to Briseis, but a stud failure nonetheless, the best of her stock being the rather second-rate Belmont.
One man in attendance at the Showgrounds that day and who had his eye on the colt was James Wilson jr. Young Jim was just fifteen when his father had bought the St Albans’ Stud and began breeding and training his horses there. Although his father had sold out in 1885, he still knew every acre of its grounds and most of its broodmares besides. The Newminster colt attracted his attention because, apart from his commanding appearance, his maternal great-grand-dam was none other than the legendary Musidora, one of the two foundation mares that had made St Albans famous. Rather than make a bid for the yearling himself, he feigned disinterest and engaged Ned Sparrow, the breezy secretary of the Geelong Race Club to act for him. Ned made a bird of it by getting the chestnut for 120 guineas. James Wilson jr registered the colt as Newhaven and took him away to Bonny Vale to be broken in. The chestnut colt fired his imagination from his very first gallop despite an extravagantly high front-end action.
Although Newhaven gave no hint of the greatness to come when he was beaten in his first two appearances in public early in the season at Caulfield and Flemington, he lost his maiden tag in a rich Nursery on Caulfield Cup Day when he beat the Sydney crack, Coil to land some good bets for the stable. Rumours that sweep a racecourse generally come to rest in the betting ring and that day at Caulfield was a case in point despite the presence of Coil. A 1000 guineas’ yearling purchase by Tom Payten on behalf of Ballarat identity, William Bailey, Coil was bred in the purple being a full brother to the Caulfield Guineas and A.J.C. St. Leger winner, Cobbity, and a half-brother to our 1892 A.J.C. Derby hero, Camoola. Bailey hadn’t even seen the colt when he instructed Payten to buy him at any price.
Offered amongst the Kirkham draft on the second day of the annual yearling sales at Randwick back in April he was easily the most expensive horse sold that week. Newhaven and Coil met again, along with five others, in the Maribyrnong Plate at level weights on the opening day of the V.R.C. Spring Meeting in what was then the smallest field ever assembled for the event. Newhaven again displayed a rare brand of speed to win easily – thereby emulating his sire, Newminster, in the same race two decades earlier. A little of the gloss went off the colt when he was beaten by a neck in the V.R.C. Normanby Stakes (5f) on New Year’s Day, but there were mitigating circumstances as he was giving 15lb to the winner, Kobold. Still, he easily avenged that defeat by beating that same colt in the Geelong Sires’ Produce Stakes a few weeks later.
The next essay for Newhaven was the Oakleigh Plate with a sparse crowd in attendance in close and oppressive weather at Caulfield. A race such as the Oakleigh Plate then was only exciting from a gambling perspective. Invariably there was a large field, a long delay at the post, and then a loud cry of ‘They’re Off!”. After a mad scramble of little more than a minute a mass of silks bustled up the straight and the innocent spectator was told, “so and so has won.” The only thing that made the 1896 Oakleigh Plate any different was that two of the best two-year-olds of that, or any other season, finished in the first three. Coil, who finished in grand style, got up to win by a head from Maluma with Newhaven, who was not visible at the turn, making a tremendous dash to take the minor placing. Maluma subsequently made the form look good by extinguishing a brilliant field in the Newmarket Handicap.
At Flemington, Wilson decided to withdraw Newhaven from the Sires’ Produce Stakes (6f) rather than concede Coil 10lb in the contest, and in his absence, William Bailey’s colt kept up the family’s reputation by winning easily. It was a very different story on Tuesday with the running of the Ascot Vale Stakes (6f) when Newhaven and Coil met on level weights. There was substantial betting on the race, and the two horses went to the post as equal favourites. Equal they may have been in the betting ring, but on the course, it was a one-horse affair with Newhaven leading all the way to win effortlessly and Coil finishing a bad fourth. On the fourth and last day of the meeting, Newhaven was brought out again for the V.R.C. All-Aged Stakes (1m) but in a field of four went down to Hova, then arguably the best horse in the land up to a mile, and the winner of the V.R.C. Newmarket Handicap two years before.
Fortified by his dominance of the juvenile ranks at the Flemington fixture, a month later the punters sent Newhaven to the post at 4/7 for the rich Champagne Stakes at Randwick in a field of seven with 7/1 offered against Coil and each colt carrying 9 st. 6lb. Before the race, the well-known Victorian sportsman, W. T. Jones, acting with William Cooper in partnership, had paid 2000 guineas, plus half the stakes of the Champagne, if any, for Newhaven. The announcement of the sale didn’t come as a surprise as there had been newspaper speculation ever since the Flemington gathering. Moreover, James Wilson jr was a horse trader and virtually every horse in his stable had a price. Only weeks earlier he had sold his classy mare, Quiver, to Thomas Fordham, the well-known Indian buyer. However, for all of young Jim’s shrewd trades in horseflesh during a lifetime, and despite the 2000 guineas that he pocketed, this was the one sale he would most come to regret.
Messrs Jones and Cooper themselves may have had some momentary regret, given Newhaven’s first run in their ownership in the Champagne Stakes. The new owners suffered the indignity of Newhaven, carrying his new colours of ‘black and yellow diamonds’, compounding in the last half-furlong after taking command at the half-mile, with Coil going on to win the race by two lengths. Even a despised outsider in Gozoczar edged out Newhaven for second money. The son of Newminster’s course that day estranged many of his previous admirers. The loss cost James Wilson Jr £900. A condition of the sale of the horse was that Wilson was to receive half the prize in the event of Newhaven winning, but he lost £300 in bets as well.
Thence came the A.J.C. Easter Stakes on the following Thursday, again with each colt on the same handicap. It brought about a complete contradiction of the running in the Champagne Stakes with Newhaven going to the front from the jump to win in a canter by some ten lengths with Coil finishing unplaced. The juxtaposition of these two performances by Newhaven in the course of just four days triggered one of the most hostile demonstrations seen at Randwick for years. The stewards instituted an inquiry into Newhaven’s equivocal display and concluded that the horse’s previous loss was attributable to his jockey, Ettridge, easing up on his mount near the post.
Reflecting on the A.J.C. Autumn Meeting, William Cook (‘Terlinga’) writing in The Australasian described Newhaven thus: “A finer looking youngster has never been seen racing south of the line. He has plenty of size, length, and power, splendid bone, and is a nice, evenly-made colt of great character.” W. T. Jones and William Cooper announced at the conclusion of the A.J.C. meeting that, following a spring campaign, Newhaven would go to England to race. Alas, the proposed spring campaign wouldn’t include the A.J.C. Derby. Although James Wilson junior had nominated Newhaven for the A.J.C. St Leger, the A.J.C. Derby had never been within his sights. As a result, William Bailey’s Coil wintered as a very short-priced favourite for Randwick’s blue riband.
Both the V.A.T.C. and V.R.C. handicappers, Messrs Vowles and Dakin respectively, were unanimous in their choice for top weight in the three-year-old class that year when the weights were released for the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups. That honour in each race went to Newhaven, in the Caulfield Cup with 8 st. 2lb, and in the Melbourne Cup with 7 st. 13lb. Up until that time, the heaviest weight carried to the front by a three-year-old in the Melbourne Cup had been 7 st. 5lb by Martini-Henry. Coil was rated 2lb inferior in both races. Accordingly, their respective trajectories were watched with interest when each resumed racing in the new season. While James Wilson Jr had saddled up Newhaven in the A.J.C. Champagne Stakes at Randwick after his sale, upon the colt’s return to Melbourne, he went into the Coreena Lodge stables of Walter Hickenbotham, one of the shrewdest trainers in the land.
Born of English stock in Sydney in 1848, Walter Hickenbotham had begun his working life apprenticed to a shoemaker. Alas, young Walter’s eyesight was none too good for such fine, intricate leatherwork and in a moment of wrath, his employer told him to clear out. He did. Rather than stick to his last, Walter opted for his first job in stables with a view to becoming a jockey. Working his way out to Mudgee and Dubbo, it wasn’t long before he was attached to Mr McGregor who owned such celebrities as Canobie and Union Jack and did most of his racing about the Dubbo district. Hickenbotham was soon riding in races, his first mount coming at Trafalgar, near Bathurst, on a mare of McGregor’s named Orphan Girl. How appropriate that the man whose name would be most linked to the great racehorse Trafalgar, garnered his first race mount in the town of the same name.
No one would ever claim that Hickenbotham’s reputation as a jockey came within coo’ee of his reputation as a trainer but he did enjoy some success. We find him riding at the 1866 A.J.C. Autumn Meeting that saw The Barb and Fishhook make their appearances as two-year-olds. Hickenbotham’s first significant victory came a few months later in July 1866 when on McGregor’s Union Jack, he beat Sappho to win the Dubbo Jockey Club Handicap worth £100 and run three times around the Dubbo course. Sappho, of course, went on to become the dam of Kingsborough, Lecturer, Savanaka, Nellie and Spinningdale. As we have seen, in 1868 we find the 20-year-old Hickenbotham retained by Archie Thompson to supervise his team of horses, which that spring included The Duke, the A.J.C. Derby winner.
At the 1870 Dubbo Annual Races, we find him winning two races on The Alpaca, who later became the dam of Woodlands, the 1877 A.J.C. Derby winner. 1870 was also the year that Hickenbotham partnered with Barmaid in that famous 100-mile race against Colonel conducted from Dubbo to Orange. Roger Davis, who for many years acted in the capacity of headman for Joe Burton, partnered Colonel. The weights were 9-stone each and the stake at issue was 100 sovereigns aside. Barmaid was beaten at Shepherd’s Creek and the match was won easily by Colonel, who, according to Hickebotham’s account, covered the distance in nine hours and a half. Hickenbotham afterwards rode Barmaid back from Orange to Dubbo, the journey occupying two days.
It was soon after the Dubbo fixture that Hickenbotham joined the stables of John Tait. Hickenbotham was with him for about eighteen months, which included the 1870 spring of Florence’s famous A.J.C. Derby and infamous V.R.C. Derby. In later life, Hickenbotham spoke fondly of his time with Tait and the many points about training horses that he picked up from the Master of Byron Lodge. Indeed, when the time came for Hickenbotham to register his own set of colours in Victoria, he adopted the ‘yellow jacket, black cap’ made famous by Tait. Little could he have thought then that he would eventually match the Master’s four Melbourne Cup winners. The move that made Hickenbotham and set him on the road to such success came when he agreed to become the private trainer and jockey for Mr C. M. Lloyd of Yamma station. An Irish gentleman, Lloyd had adopted pastoral pursuits in the Riverina and Hickenbotham stayed with him there for almost twelve years. Too often in his early years, the newspapers referred to him as Higginbotham, which made the task of historical research more difficult.
It was in 1883 that due to ill health, Lloyd sold out his stud to D. S. Wallace and Hickenbotham transferred his services at the same time. Upon entering Wallace’s service, Hickenbotham retired from the pigskin and devoted himself exclusively to training. As we shall see, his reputation in the saddle never matched his fame as a trainer although he was a capable jockey and had gained victories on the likes of The Diver, Swiveller, Kit Nubbles, Marchioness and Sonneteer. However, it was when Hickenbotham, at D. S. Wallace’s suggestion in 1886 and with his continued patronage, left Ballark and set up as a public trainer at Flemington that he caught the full flow of the tide which swept him to the foremost rank in his profession. It was in July 1886 that Hickenbotham took possession of his newly-built stables and cottage in Sandown-road, Flemington, which he christened Coreena Lodge.
In June 1887, Auger of The Australasian dropped into the Hickenbotham establishment for a visit. He observed: “Altogether he has eight boxes, and in one of these I saw a two-year-old colt by Swiveller from Nightmare (full sister to Commotion). The youngster is a good deal like what his sire was at his age, especially in front of the saddle, and for his owner’s sake, as well as his trainer’s, I hope the colt may turn out as good a performer as his uncle, Commotion.” He did. Owned by D. S. Wallace and subsequently registered as Mentor, seventeen months later he won the centenary Melbourne Cup – the richest race ever run in Australia up to that time. The money won from that Melbourne Cup led directly to D. S. Wallace buying the champion three-year-old Carbine when he was put up for sale in the days after that 1888 V.R.C. Spring Meeting.
Hickenbotham then trained the wonderful son of Musket and Mersey for the balance of his career, which included among so many other races, the 1890 Melbourne Cup. Carbine showcased the remarkable genius of Hickenbotham as a trainer and other major owners rallied to his banner even before Messrs Jones and Cooper. I refer to the likes of Ernest Brodribb and the expensive Titan; the V.R.C. committeeman, John Turnbull, for whom he trained Light Artillery, Fishwife and Tantallon; and Robert Barr Smith and his son, Tom, for whom he trained Mostyn and Destiny. Supplemented by other horses that raced either in his own nomination or that of Donald Wallace such as Megaphone and Comedian, Hickenbotham had enjoyed his share of high-class gallopers long before Newhaven came along. Indeed, when he did, Hickenbotham could boast that the three highest-priced racehorses known to the Australian Turf in Carbine, Titan and Newhaven – a trio that at one time or another changed ownership for £20,580 – had passed through his hands.
The Governor, Lord Hampden, attending his first A.J.C. Spring Meeting since his arrival in the colony the previous November, drove to Randwick on Derby Day in a drag and four spanking brown cobs with docked tails with the whole assemblage admired as it passed along the Randwick road. Hampden was never to embrace the Turf with much enthusiasm and restricted most of his interest in horse racing to attendance at the autumn and spring meetings. Still, his presence and mode of transport aroused considerable interest. There were a few stylish equipages at Randwick, but less pretentious conveyances were far more common, the hansom cab being much in evidence. It was perhaps a sign of the times but thousands elected to walk, while the convenient tram carried the bulk of the visitors with the attendance estimated at some 14,000 people. Changes noticed in the Saddling Paddock since the previous Derby included the erection of a cigar divan as well as increased accommodation for the horses to the extent of twenty-four boxes. The apartment set aside within the official stand for the use of His Excellency the Governor had also been enlarged.
There was a real crackle of excitement in the spring air on Derby Day, and it was all brought about by one particular three-year-old – but not one engaged in the Derby itself. Not nominated for the A.J.C. Derby and his owners wishing to retain him in Melbourne for the V.R.C. equivalent, it looked at one time as though Newhaven would not be seen at Randwick in the spring at all. However, his trainer Walter Hickenbotham had other horses engaged at the A.J.C. Spring Meeting and, no doubt, this, together with the advice of C. M. Lloyd after Newhaven’s impressive win in the V.A.T.C. Balaclava Stakes on the opening day of the season, induced Messrs Jones and Cooper to allow their colt to fulfil his two Randwick engagements in the major weight-for-age events of the meeting, the Spring Stakes on the first day and the Craven Plate on the third.
The 1896 A.J.C. Derby field and race conditions are set out in the table below:
The Derby field of seven, sans Newhaven, seemed like a performance of Hamlet minus the Prince of Denmark. Nonetheless, Coil was installed as a warm favourite ahead of Charge, a son of Carbine owned by the brothers’ Henry, Ernest, Arthur and Victor White of Belltrees and trained by Tom Lamond. Unraced as a two-year-old, Charge owed his market prominence to his only appearance in public when he finished runner-up to the classy Hopscotch in the Hampden Stakes at the Tattersall’s Club Meeting. Coil had finished third in the same race, albeit with 10lb more weight. The only other horse considered a genuine chance in the classic was Tire, a New Zealand-bred gelding out of that marvellous producer, Florence Macarthy, and raced by his breeder Spencer Gollan. As we have seen, Gollan had already won a host of classic races with Tirailleur, Tiraillerie and Bessie Macarthy, all previous sons or daughters of Florence Macarthy and was hoping Tire could supplement the family’s haul of silverware, although many wondered whether the diminutive gelding was up to carrying Derby weight.
The racing correspondent for The Referee observed: “The A.J.C. Derby of ’96 will often be quoted in the future as one of the worst exhibitions for a classic event on record.” It was only a waiting race until six furlongs from home with the field going no better than a ladies’ canter for that part of the journey. At ‘Oxenham’s Corner’ the field had slowed down to a walk, and one wag from the Flat shouted ironically: “It isn’t a false start, you can go on!” It was only coming to the six that Matt Harris took charge, both figuratively and literally, in an attempt to steal a break on Coil. Gozoczar almost immediately headed him and proceeded to cut out the work in his best style until fairly into the straight when he compounded. Charge was left in command, with Coil closely challenging.
The dance of death that played itself out over the final furlong was only partly choreographed by Matt Harris, as Huxley on the favourite rode like the very devil himself. Indeed, Coil claimed Charge thirty yards from the post and even headed the son of Carbine, but Harris conjured one final effort from the colt to win by half a neck with Sabretache two lengths further back in the minor placing. Not surprisingly, the time was miserably slow, and the instant verdict was that it was a substandard classic. While some sportsmen speculated that Coil would have won the Derby given a sterner pace, Nemo writing in the Sydney Mail was dismissive and in his politically incorrect, idiosyncratic style opined: “His chance with Newhaven in the Melbourne Derby is about as attractive as a Barcoo black running in boots and wheeling a barrow.”
Charge, a big, angular brown colt with long, drooping quarters, had been bred by the Hon. Donald Wallace at the Lerderderg Stud, near Bacchus Marsh. He was not a particularly fetching youngster when he was bought at the break-up of the stud in March 1895, for his near foreleg bowed out at the knee in the most unsightly fashion. However, the colt appeared likely to have power behind the saddle, and his pedigree was attractive, being a son of Carbine and out of Forest Queen, whose brother, Myall King, had won three Viceroy’s Cups in India for Lord William Beresford. H.C. White got him for 250 guineas. At those same sales, Forest Queen herself, having been served by Carbine, went for 220 guineas. White promptly handed his purchase over to his nephews, Henry, Ernest, Arthur and Victor White of Muswellbrook – the four youngest sons of his deceased brother, Francis. It was a typically generous and avuncular gesture. The four brothers jointly owned the famous pastoral station, Belltrees, and under Ernest’s direction were attempting to build up a small thoroughbred stud there on the side to complement their vast sheep and cattle flocks. How the brothers came to acquire Belltrees says much about the manner in which the White family first established, and then maintained, a pastoral dynasty in the colony of New South Wales.
Henry Charles (H. C.) White was born in Stroud in 1837 and was some nine years younger than his famous eldest brother, the Hon. James White; although of all the brothers, he was the one who most shared James’s passion for the Turf. As we have seen, their father left a will instructing that his estate be divided equally between his eight children, all of whom were under the age of fourteen at the time of James Sr’s death in 1842. That spirit of equity and fairness reflected in their father’s bequest, together with their mother’s guidance and James Jr’s precocious talent for managing the family estate, saw all the brothers prosper as they supported each other and, in turn, their children. Individual sibling rivalry existed, of course, but it was never allowed to impede the greater family good.
It was in 1848 that James, Francis and George White – the three oldest sons of James White Sr – first leased the property of Belltrees from the colourful explorer and politician, W. C. Wentworth. Subsequently, in 1853 the brothers were able to convert the leasehold to freehold and at the same time acquire the neighbouring estates of Waverley and Ellerston. George and Francis initially managed Belltrees, although in due course Francis took possession of Edinglassie as his share of his father’s estate while George got Ravensworth. It was this shuffling of properties that saw the management of Belltrees fall into the hands of Henry Charles White until the year 1885.
Henry Charles White always enjoyed a close relationship with his older brother, Francis – despite the seven-year age gap – and it came as quite a shock when Francis succumbed to typhoid fever in 1875 at the age of just forty-five. Francis left behind six sons ranging in age from twenty-one to eight. While the eldest son Francis John White got Saumarez and Aberfoil stations and the next oldest, James C. White, received Edinglassie, the four youngest sons required provision. As we have seen, James White had a childless marriage, and it was always his intention to provide generously for Francis’s four youngest sons. While upon his death in 1890, his widow Emily inherited the Cranbrook and Kirkham properties, together with £5,000 and an annuity of £2,500, much of his pastoral empire he bequeathed to his brothers and nephews.
It was in this way that Francis’s four youngest sons, viz. Henry, Ernest, Arthur and Victor jointly assumed ownership of the famous Belltrees estate, with their favourite, Uncle Henry, casting a paternalistic eye over proceedings. Henry (Luke), being the eldest, took over the management of the property from Uncle Henry in 1885 when he turned twenty-five. Ownership transferred to all four brothers in 1889 when the previous partnership, between the Hon. James on the one hand, and Messrs Francis and Henry Charles White on the other, was dissolved. At the time Belltrees and the adjoining properties contained some 150,000 acres, and the number of sheep together with Durham and Polled Angus cattle raised there increased considerably under the management of the four brothers due to improved methods of husbandry.
Messrs H. E. A. and V. White soon became known as ‘the firm’ in popular parlance, and as joint breeders of bloodstock were to become prolific names in the Australian Stud Book for a time, although their success on the racecourse – Charge’s A.J.C. Derby notwithstanding – was never to match that of their Uncle Henry or indeed, their own expectations. Clannish the brothers were – something that was reinforced by the fact that three of the sons of Francis married three sisters viz. Emmeline, Louisa and Millicent Ebsworth of Bronte House, Bronte, daughters of a prominent wool-broking family. Before his death, the Hon. James White had presented the boys with a few well-bred broodmares from his Kirkham Stud to kick off their bloodhorse adventures including Lerida, Paraphrase and Ilex. At around the same time, the boys purchased Blue Mountain as a stallion, the best horse over timber ever to pass through Jim Scobie’s hands. (Given that the three sisters had married into the family, the acquisition of Blue Mountain seemed appropriate.)
However, Belltrees as a thoroughbred stud never really prospered in any meaningful sense despite the Kirkham blood and later on some good broodmare purchases at the dispersal of W. R. Wilson’s St Albans Stud. Much of the problem lay with the brothers’ choice of resident stallions at Belltrees. Admittedly, Blue Mountain was only ever intended for high-class station horses, but other thoroughbred stallions tried there, also disappointed. Lennox, a son of Maribyrnong, and originally purchased by the Hon. James White for 1050 guineas, was a failure, as was Cakewalk, while Walter Hall’s Delaware, who stood at Belltrees for a season, got nothing of note while there. It was hard to avoid the impression that the brothers seemed more interested in breeding for picnic races around the Hunter than the classics at Randwick.
The one decent resident stallion installed at Belltrees was Ruenalf, and the firm only got him for 300 guineas thanks again to Uncle Henry’s bid at the break-up of Mr A. E. Anderson’s Myrangle Stud in November 1903. Charge’s A.J.C. Derby was the best prize the brothers ever secured on the Turf although they did win the Doncaster with Parapet, a home-bred in 1900. Cherson (A.J.C. December Stakes and Villiers Stakes) and Cakewalk (Tattersall’s Stakes) were other good performers to carry the ‘gold and white hoops’, but after a time the brothers dropped racing in partnership and generally ran horses on their own account. Ernest patronised the stables of both John Finn and Tom Lamond, and the latter also trained a horse or two for Victor. Arthur gave the odd horse to John Allsop.
Henry might have been the oldest of the four brothers, but he was arguably the least interested in the Turf while Ernest was the most devoted horseman of them all. Ernest began as a polo player and from there developed into a first-class amateur jockey. He was prominent at the Muswellbrook amateur races, a club that was established by his brother James, and rode for his friends at other picnic meetings, winning a Tirranna Cup for Dr Ewan Frazer. Ernest was always the first jockey for Belltrees and Victor second at such meetings. It was also Ernest who invariably represented Belltrees in the saddle when there were amateur races at Randwick. Following the death of Uncle Henry, it was Ernest who ran Bellis and won the two Nationals with him.
After that, he was determined to win the A.J.C. Derby in his own right and it was that dream that prompted him to pay a staggering 4500 guineas to secure Golden Slipper at George Stead’s dispersal sale in 1908. As we have seen, she ran unplaced in the Derby and proved a failure on the racecourse. However, the firm did enjoy a modicum of satisfaction with some Golden Slipper’s foals including Golden Bronze, Golden Cello and Golden Shoe. Welcome Trist and Grist were two good horses Ernest raced subsequently to Charge. A bachelor, Ernest died in January 1914 from a burst appendix. The value of his estate for probate was £158,354 and, apart from a few minor bequests, the vast bulk of the money was left to be divided equally between his brothers and partners viz. Henry, Arthur and Victor.
Henry, the first in the H. E. A. and V. White firm, died in 1927 at the age of sixty-seven after a lengthy illness. He was a cultured man given to a variety of interests, which perhaps explains the relative lack of success on the racecourse. One of Australia’s leading philatelists and ornithologists, Henry left his prized stamp collection valued at £40,000 to the Sydney Mitchell Library in two tranches in 1917 and 1921; and his ornithological collection to the Melbourne Museum in 1917. His estate was sworn for probate at £160,850 and, after generous provisions to his widow and two daughters, the bulk of the estate eventually went to his only son, Alfred Henry White. Victor died at his residence, Roslyn Gardens, in 1937. He relinquished any active interest in Belltrees a few years after his marriage in 1909 and relocated to Sydney but travelled extensively.
Living relatively close to Randwick, he continued to take a keen interest in the Turf, and for the last twenty-five years of his life, his horses were trained at headquarters by Harry England. Among the good gallopers to carry his colours were Vaccine, winner of the 1920 A.J.C. Breeders’ Plate and High, that top Randwick performer who finished runner-up in Hall Mark’s Doncaster. Victor White’s only son was Patrick, the Nobel Prize-winning writer. Arthur White was the last of the four brothers to survive, and when he finally crossed the great divide in 1948, he bequeathed his half-interest in the H. E. A. & V. White partnership properties of Belltrees and Terreel to the four children of his partner and nephew, Alfred Henry White.
Perhaps I have trespassed too long on your patience regarding this brief history of the Whites of Belltrees but before I quit, pray, allow me a word on the famous Uncle Henry. In his early years, Henry Charles White was associated with Woodlands in the Upper Hunter, where he bred useful station horses and a few thoroughbreds. However, the turning point in Henry White’s bloodstock fortunes came with his purchase of the broodmare Valetta and three of her daughters in 1871 for £1,000 from Charles Baldwin of Durham Court. It was the Valetta family that would give White his greatest racehorse and first A.J.C. Derby runner in Paris, and although he failed in that 1890 Derby he did go on to win two Caulfield Cups beside a Doncaster and a Metropolitan. Other good horses bred by H.C. White from Valetta and her daughters included Pentagon, Bungebah, Autonomy and Valiant. The 1890s was a busy decade for H.C. White, as, like his eldest brother, he sent horses to England to race.
Paris was the first and after he had won the Northamptonshire Stakes, Lewes Handicap and the Princes Handicap at Gatwick, White sent both Georgic and Form. Georgic won the Prince Edward Handicap at Manchester and the prestigious Cambridgeshire Stakes at Newmarket, while Form also won good races there. H. C. White transferred most of his bloodstock to Havilah, the Mudgee property he purchased for £80,000 in May 1880, when it came onto the market following the death of Nicholas P. Bayly the year before. Like his eldest brother before him, Henry then retained the eminent architect John Horbury Hunt to undertake major extensions to the Havilah homestead. H. C. White’s racing colours of ‘red jacket, white cross, red cap’ were very familiar on the racecourse, and he would send them around in no less than eight runnings of the A.J.C. Derby, without success. The closest he ever came to victory was with two runners-up viz. Clarion, another son of Carbine, in 1897; and Caravel in 1901. Nonetheless, the 60-year-old White derived enormous satisfaction from seeing his four nephews win the classic with a horse of his choosing despite his own runner finishing down the course.
Charge was the fourth and last winner of the A.J.C. Derby that veteran trainer Tom Lamond sent forth from Zetland Lodge and he had been very sanguine about the colt’s chances before the contest. Lamond’s previous Derby winners had been Kingsborough (1874), Nellie (1879), and Wheatear (1881). Apart from those Derby winners he also had no less than seven placings in the race. Nonetheless, he wasn’t so fortunate in the Victoria Derby, never actually winning the race although he did run second twice with Queen’s Head and Chesham. He might have only won the Melbourne Cup once – that being with the outsider Zulu in 1881, but his effort to get the delicate Trenton to the post in 1886 and in so doing run Arsenal to a long neck with 9 st. 5lb in the saddle, was perhaps the finest training achievement of his lifetime.
A most accomplished horseman, both inexperienced two-year-olds as well as seasoned stayers came alike to him. This is evidenced by the fact that he won both the Maribyrnong Plate (Habena, Narina, Nellie, Necklet and Lady Mostyn) and the Champagne Stakes (Hyperion, Spinningdale, Blairgowrie, Oxide and Reviver) no less than five times. Lamond won the Sydney Cup on four occasions (The Prophet, Vixen, and Speculation in successive years, and Darebin); and the Great Metropolitan Stakes once with Reviver in 1900. I might also mention that a horse named after the great trainer won the Metropolitan in 1888 although he was prepared for the race by Joe Cook. A three-year-old brown gelded son of Newminster, Tom had bought the horse for the trifling sum of 50 guineas but later sold him to Joe Cook at a profit. It was Cook who registered the gelding as Lamond, in deference to the gentleman with whom he served his apprenticeship. Few apprentices nurse such warm feelings towards their former masters as to name racehorses after them. This action says as much about Thomas Lamond’s kindness and abilities as a tutor as it does about Cook’s gratitude and capabilities as a pupil.
While it was the Governor of New South Wales, Sir Hercules Robinson, that really gave the impetus to Lamond’s training career, his other clients included John Farraher; J. R. Smith of Tucka Tucka; Edward, George and William Lee; Walter Hall; Daniel and William Cooper; James and George Osborne; W.R. Hare; Edward King Cox; and George Blake. Lamond tutored some very able jockeys as well, including William Duggan, Richard O’Connor and Mark Thompson – who all went on to become very successful trainers, testimony enough to the quality of Lamond’s stewardship. However, Lamond’s chosen profession also gave him his lowest moment in life when in September 1884 his second son, Tom, aged just twelve, died of injuries received at Randwick while riding a horse, ironically named Friendship. Lamond had legged up the lad, but the horse overpowered the boy, bolted and threw him.
Outside of his profession, Lamond was a keen member of the Redfern Masonic Lodge and took an interest in municipal affairs and served for twenty-one years (1887-1907) as an alderman on the Waterloo Municipal Council and was elected Mayor four times (1892, 1897, 1898, 1903). He was also a pillar of the Chalmers Presbyterian Church, opposite Prince Alfred Park and there is a brass wall tablet there in his memory. In November 1909 with his health deteriorating, Thomas Lamond handed over Zetland Lodge to his son, Stan, who had been assisting him for some years and who that month was granted an A.J.C. training licence. At the age of seventy-two, the great trainer ‘weighed in’ for the last time at his Zetland Lodge residence in June 1912. His beloved wife, Elizabeth, died at Zetland Lodge almost four years later. However, as we shall see, the Lamond family wasn’t finished with training A.J.C. Derby winners. While Thomas and Elizabeth’s son, Stan, would only enjoy a relatively modest training career interrupted by war, Stan’s son would bring further glory to the Lamond name by winning the 1943 and 1954 classics with Moorland and Prince Delville respectively.
Seldom has the fizz about any Derby winner been flattened more quickly than that surrounding Charge. The shadow of Newhaven was always going to loom ominously over proceedings on Derby Day and just an hour after the running of the blue riband the name of the three-year-old on everybody’s lips was the son of Newminster. Hickenbotham’s wonder colt had won the Spring Stakes with his head on his chest in a race over the very same course as the Derby but covered the distance thirty-seven seconds faster, albeit carrying only 7 st. 5lb as compared to a colt’s Derby weight of 8 st. 10lb. Moreover, the relative ordinariness of Charge seemed to be confirmed when he never showed in the first flight of the Metropolitan on the following Tuesday when handicapped with 7 st. 12lb.
Terlinga, writing of Newhaven in The Australasian, articulated for the multitude: “What a mess he would have made of them in the Derby!” If anything, Newhaven’s triumph in the Craven Plate on the following Thursday was even more impressive when he humbled an excellent weight-for-age horse in Hopscotch and his erstwhile rival, Coil. The merit of that performance was underlined when Hopscotch emerged a couple of hours later and beat True Blue in the Wycombe Stakes when conceding Mr Hooke’s horse 6lb. It was only now, after his Craven exhibition, that the chestnut began to ride up to the sky: a new star blazing forth in long-awaited brilliance. In the wake of the A.J.C. Spring Meeting, Newhaven became a pronounced favourite not just for the Victoria Derby, but the Melbourne Cup as well.
Returned to Melbourne, the Caulfield Guineas (1m) seemed a foregone conclusion for Newhaven despite a 7lb penalty, but on the heavy ground with Ballarat jockey John Anwin in the saddle, he was beaten two lengths into second place by The Officer, with Coil in the minor placing. This defeat led some bookmakers into taking liberties in the Victoria Derby, and although Newhaven went to the post as the favourite, it was at the seemingly generous price of 7/4 with the St Albans‘ colt, Resolute, a son of Trenton, best-backed to beat him. The field of eight included all three place-getters from the A.J.C. Derby as well as Sam Cook’s Caulfield Guineas’ winner. So it was to be a test of the best. After Newhaven’s two impressive appearances at Randwick and despite the Guineas’ failure the Flemington crowd was expecting something special from the thirty-eighth running of the Victoria Derby on that last day of October. And they got it.
It might have been All Hallows Eve, but Newhaven was to prove no hobby horse. Harry Gardiner didn’t disguise his intentions either. Newhaven didn’t so much trick his opponents, as treat them with contempt. In the boisterous wet weather, Newhaven was first away and after that never headed. A length in front going out of the turn, Newhaven ran them off their legs in the first two furlongs and had increased his lead to two panels as the field turned into the river stretch. He was three in front at the bridge and four lengths at the back of the course and past the abattoirs. Turning into the straight for the run home, Newhaven was five in front and travelling comfortably. At the post, he was eased down to win by six lengths.
Notwithstanding the ease of his triumph, the softness of the ground, and the headwind in the straight, Newhaven’s time was only a half-second outside the race record held jointly by Martini-Henry, Trident and Carnage. Neither Jones nor Cooper was present to witness their wonder colt, both being in England, whither they expected to repatriate the son of Newminster before the end of the season. Jockey Harry Gardiner wasn’t much in evidence after the race either, having dressed and gone home almost immediately. As Gardiner expected, the Derby field proved easy beats, and he had Tuesday on his mind. While 6/1 was available about Newhaven for the Melbourne Cup just after the running of the Victoria Derby, by flag-fall weight of money had seen the colt firm into 4/1 for Australia’s greatest race.
Money talks and it often talks loudest on the racecourse. Walter Hickenbotham was sublimely confident that Newhaven, which had run up so blatantly tight behind the saddle following the Derby, would easily give him his third Melbourne Cup winner. It was before the Cup that a racing journalist asked Hickenbotham if the horse was a true stayer. “I do not know”, answered Hickenbotham, “he is so fast that none of his opponents can test his stamina.” Newhaven never had a two-mile gallop all the time he was with Hickenbotham. The chestnut being a dashing goer, a gallop over the full distance was not thought necessary. Hickenbotham declared: “Newhaven’s Cup trial was his race in the Derby.” Newhaven himself wasn’t concerned; he swaggered into the saddling paddock before the race, seemingly conscious of his stamina and appearance. To the Flemington multitude, Newhaven declared rather than insinuated that here, was an equine body constructed in pure and perfect order and harmony – specially made to run two miles! And as widely expected, the Cup – just like the Victoria Derby – proved a one-horse affair.
Harry Gardiner received instructions to be fourth or fifth if the pace was good but to come right away and let the others try to catch him if it was not. For almost three furlongs Gardiner didn’t hurry and played his part in this intricate choreography involving a cast of twenty-five, but when the colt got a bump and started pulling, Gardiner let him go. One horse kept with Newhaven until the beginning of the stand and then he was off! The first half-mile went by in 52 ½ seconds; the second in 50 ½ seconds; the third half-mile took 54 seconds and was the slowest quarter of the race; but in the last half-mile, Gardiner began to ride Newhaven, and my, how the colt responded! Newhaven’s time for the final six furlongs was 1 minute 17 seconds and the winning margin was six lengths.
It was a wonderful performance for a three-year-old carrying 7 st. 13lb and Terlinga speculated that the youngest person on the course that day might never see another three-year-old triumph in the race with such a handicap. And how right he was! No subsequent three-year-old winner has ever come close, although Aurum ran the minor placing with even more weight the following year. Coil and Charge, each sent to the post at 100/1, finished down the course. Newhaven appeared again on the last day of the V.R.C. meeting to easily annex the V.R.C. Spring Stakes against just one opponent. What the V.R.C. Spring Meeting had established was that Newhaven was at his best when allowed to have his head and keep his own company. Indeed, his defeats in the Champagne Stakes and Caulfield Guineas could be attributed to the fact that he was pulled about during the early part of those races.
I might note that Newhaven’s achievements in both the Derby and the Cup were recorded for posterity on film by Marius Sestier and H. Walter Barnett, almost the very first made in Australia. The footage still exists of the lawn near the bandstand, the Saddling Paddock, and the finish of the Melbourne Cup, arguably the oldest celluloid in the land. Alas, the filming of Lady Brassey, wife of the Governor of Victoria, experiencing difficulties decorating our Derby hero with the blue ribbon, hasn’t survived. The films were screened later in November at the Criterion Theatre, Sydney, and the Princess’ Theatre, Melbourne.
Australia’s first cinematic star was freshened up and brought back again in late summer for one last Australian campaign. The V.R.C. St. Leger was expected to be a cakewalk and Newhaven went to the post a 4/9 favourite against his only two opponents, The Officer and Resolute. However, a fall on the track the previous week had left Newhaven short of a gallop and this, compounded by the cut-throat tactics adopted by Resolute’s jockey, left both horses a sitting shot for The Officer in the last furlong. It was a different story five days later in the V.R.C. Champion Stakes (3m). In a field of seven, Coil went off the 5/4 favourite on the strength of his impressive wins in the Essendon Stakes and the Australian Cup at the meeting. Contrary to the custom of being allowed to run freely, Newhaven was hard held for the best part of the journey, but when the moment of truth came at the distance, the big chestnut ran away to win handsomely from The Officer and Coil. On the last day, Newhaven easily won the weight-for-age V.R.C. Loch Plate (1 ¾ m).
Brought over to Randwick for the A.J.C. Autumn Meeting, Newhaven took out the A.J.C. St. Leger by eight lengths from The Officer with a further four lengths to Charge, humbled in the minor placing. Five days later, Newhaven found the mile of the All-Aged Stakes too short, finishing unplaced in the race won by Hopscotch. However, in his last race appearance on Australian soil, Newhaven destroyed Coil in the weight-for-age A.J.C. Plate (3m), posting a winning margin of some twenty lengths! And so, for Newhaven – at least on home soil – the strife was over, and the battle was done! In summary, from 24 starts in Australia, the champion colt had posted 15 wins, 4 seconds, and 2 thirds. This so-called ‘horse of the century’ was destined for England.
In January the distinguished Australian baronet Sir William Cooper, who we first met in our 1886 chapter, had negotiated to buy out W. T. Jones’ half-share of Newhaven. Cooper was among the most fashionable of men on the Turf, wallowing in the perpetual high noon of fin de siècle magnificence. He could afford it. After all, Sir William had inherited substantial property from his great uncle, Daniel Cooper, and this had been held in trust for him until his coming of age in 1872. At one time he had owned Woollahra Point, Alexandria, Waterloo, and a swathe of Redfern. His opulent Sydney residence, Woollahra House at Point Piper, built in the year 1883 to his instructions in early Victorian Colonial architectural style with a dash of the French Renaissance thrown in, was one of Sydney’s grandest mansions and remained so until demolished in 1929.
Tweedy and faux British, Sir William Cooper, had an English aristocrat’s approach to life such that haste seemed undignified and any quiver of the upper lip was rather poor form. Newhaven would sorely try that last characteristic. William Cooper had left New South Wales in 1888 to reside permanently in England giving himself up to the frivolous world of social ambition and the pursuit of pleasure, although he did make occasional return visits to the land of his fortune. He wanted his champion Australian racehorse to sport his ‘all orange’ livery in the rich distance handicaps on the English Turf. As events transpired, it was perhaps the most bittersweet interlude of his racing life. Strong inducements were offered to Hickenbotham to accompany Newhaven as his trainer. “At the time,” reflected Hickenbotham in November 1910, “I had a fancy for the trip, but the thing fell through, and never since has the desire returned. I promised Messrs Jones and Cooper to go to England if they bought Aurum and Hopscotch. These terms were agreed to. The prices I put on the horses were 2500 guineas on Aurum and 1500 guineas on Hopscotch. Mr W. A. Long (who happened to be in England) asked 2000 guineas for Hopscotch, and Mr W. R. Wilson put a prohibitive price (7000 guineas) on Aurum. So Newhaven went to England without me.” Hickenbotham always considered Newhaven the most brilliant horse he ever had. Up to a mile and a quarter, so he claimed, he didn’t know which would win – Carbine or Newhaven.
Rested at Tom McCarthy’s stables at Randwick after the A.J.C. Autumn Meeting, the wonder horse was finally loaded onto the steamship Oroya at Circular Quay in mid-May, 1897. Newhaven went into the Newmarket stables of the emerging young trainer, George Blackwell, formerly head man to Mathew Dawson. Blackwell already trained the horses of Daniel Cooper, William’s brother, and in the fullness of time would enjoy an impressive training career highlighted by guiding the great Rock Sand to the English Triple Crown in 1903 and twenty years later Sargeant Murphy to the Grand National. Alas, at first Blackwell’s talent couldn’t do much for Newhaven, which was renamed Newhaven II for English purposes. The horse’s first start in England was deferred for almost a year to allow him to acclimatise.
Newhaven’s debut on English soil came in the 1898 City and Suburban Handicap at the Epsom Spring Meeting. Bay Ronald, to whom he was conceding 8lb, beat him into second place after Newhaven was slowly away. Although he won the March Stakes at the April Newmarket Meeting against one solitary opponent and ran second in the Epsom Cup over the Derby course, Newhaven still hadn’t fully acclimatised and ran a series of disappointing races to finish the season with only £440. It was a different story the following year when he not only went one better in the City and Suburban Handicap but won the March Stakes and Epsom Gold Cup as well, not to mention minor placings in both the Ascot Gold Cup and Goodwood Cup, winning stakes of £2,980. However, the rising six-year-old injured his suspensory ligament about a mile from home in the Goodwood Cup won by the Australian horse Merman and was promptly retired to stud. During the four seasons he was on the Turf in Australia and England he was successful in 19 races, which, together with place money, brought his total winnings to £13,254.
Despite Newhaven’s successful second season on the English Turf, William Cooper was not nearly as lucky as his older brother, Daniel, back in Old Blighty. Perhaps he wasn’t the best judge of horseflesh, and he could be impatient with his bloodstock at times. There is a curious sidelight to Newhaven’s career on English racecourses that demonstrates this fact. William Cooper gave £1,000 for Chaleureux, a son of Goodfellow, specifically to lead Newhaven in his training gallops and even managed to get a couple of races out of him. However, Cooper soon tired of the horse and disposed of him to another patron of Blackwell’s stable, Sir James Miller. Carrying Miller’s distinguished colours, Chaleureux went on to win both the Cesarewitch and the Manchester November Handicap. Not only that, but Chaleureux was later to stand at Miller’s Hamilton Stud at Newmarket. Chaleureux was the stallion who famously exchanged neighs with the mare Signorina each day in her paddock when taken out to exercise. On a sentimental impulse, Signorina’s owner, Cavaliere Ginistrelli, paid the nine guineas fee for Chaleureux’s services and Signorinetta, winner of the 1908 English Derby, was the happy result! The sale of Chaleureux was the second occasion upon which Cooper had gotten rid of a horse before it won a good race. He was guilty of similarly poor judgement with Kirkconnel, who later won The Two Thousand Guineas in 1895.
William Cooper set Newhaven’s initial stud fee at a modest 45 guineas and hoped that the horse, despite the vagaries of his maternal pedigree, would attract breeders. After all, he was a descendant of the Marquis line of Stockwell through his sire and of the Blair Athol line through his dam – and thereby offered an agreeable variation from the everlasting Doncaster strain. Alas, it wasn’t to be. In January 1900 came the news that Messrs Weatherby had declined to admit Newhaven into the English Stud Book owing to the impossibility of tracing his pedigree on the dam’s side. Commenting on this William Allison wrote:
“In refusing to include Newhaven II in the appendix of the Stud Book in terms of the preface to Vol. 18, Messrs Weatherby has acted with unfairness and inconsistency. They keep on admitting American stock which is not claimed to be at all points thoroughbred and can be shown to be otherwise, but if there be a lapse in an Australian pedigree, they reject the animal, notwithstanding its pedigree certificate from the Australian Stud Book. Thus our colony is boycotted. It is not for me to say why, but it is more than ever clear that the ‘Stud Book’ with all its far-reaching power, should not be in private hands to make or mar the value of stock according to the whim of an utterly irresponsible individual. This is a matter which more than any other reform demands the attention of the Jockey Club stewards.” William Cooper, however, was not to be so easily dissuaded and proceeded to buy a number of mares at the December sales intending to match them with Newhaven himself.
Cooper’s stud venture with Newhaven in view of the continued intransigence of the Weatherby family proved short-lived, however, and in January 1901 came reports that he had given up his thoroughbred breeding stud and sold the stallion to his brother, Daniel to stand at his Stechford farm. There was a curious coincidence at work here because, as we have seen, Daniel Cooper had first raced Oceana, the dam of Newhaven, having bought her as a yearling for 575 guineas with Tom Lamond doing the bidding and she had been trained out of Zetland Lodge. Alas, she had the reputation of being a jade. When just an early-season four-year-old, Cooper insisted Lamond get rid of her. John Crozier had then bought Oceana at a satisfactory figure for stud purposes at St Albans. Given the issues with Oceana and his maternal pedigree, Newhaven’s service fee had by now plummeted to just nine guineas. The question of the admission of Newhaven, into the General Stud Book, was referred to the stewards of the Jockey Club early in 1901. As recorded in the appendix to the General Stud Book (Volume 19): “Having taken the opinion of many of the principal breeders, they recommended that though there was a great probability of his being thoroughbred, his pedigree, even as far as it went, rested on such doubtful authority that he should not be accepted.”
The decision greatly lessened the value of not just Newhaven but others from some of Australia’s most distinguished home-bred families of obscure origins. Moreover, the General Stud Book’s ostensible pursuit of absolutely demonstrable purity had been irrevocably compromised by the admission of the Lexington blood from America. Nevertheless, despite the bar sinister in his pedigree, Newhaven still served about twenty mares in each of his first three seasons, the majority coming from the Cooper family. Sadly, class consciousness ran deep in England, and when the first draft of Newhaven yearlings came up for sale in November 1903, there was no demand for them. Indeed, the only one that sold was a gelding, which went for 120 guineas. Breeders continued to fight shy of Newhaven, and although he managed to get a few winners in England including Ravenshoe at Haydock Park for Daniel Cooper, overall he was a disappointment, lack of opportunities notwithstanding.
The field for the 1896 A.J.C. Derby appeared less than distinguished even before the race, and it was a verdict subsequently confirmed by history both on and off the racecourse. As we have seen, Charge became mired in an enervating slough of defeat after that Derby and only won one more race despite being campaigned vigorously over the next three seasons. That victory came in the Waverley Handicap (14f) on the last day of the 1899 A.J.C. Spring Meeting when Jimmy Swan, private trainer to Messrs White at Belltrees, prepared the horse. The stallion retired from the Turf after finishing unplaced with 7 st. 8lb in the 1900 Sydney Cup won by La Carabine. Although Charge’s overall performances on the racecourse were distinctly ordinary, he was nonetheless a Derby-winning son of the legendary Carbine and as such the White brothers held some hope for him to lift the flagging bloodstock fortunes of the Belltrees Stud. The horse stood his first full season at Belltrees in 1900 at a service fee of eight guineas a mare.
However, he proved a failure in the stallion barn and was subsequently moved on at the R.A.S. Show sales in April 1907 for just 110 guineas to a Mr J. Murphy of South Grafton. Perhaps the best horse he ever got was Rally, a galloper that proved quite useful around the Herbert River in North Queensland and where his wins included the 1902 Ingham Cup. Coil was the most successful racehorse to emerge from the 1896 A.J.C. Derby and the following year his wins included the Australian Cup and Essendon Stakes at Flemington and the V.A.T.C. Caulfield Stakes. After a gallop at Randwick on Christmas morning, 1897, Coil pulled up very lame and was never the same again. He later stood stud duty at his owner’s Terin Allum (or Terrinallum) estate, a magnificent property of 50,000 acres, through which ran Mount Emu Creek. While not a success, he managed at least to sire the winner of a Hotham Handicap and Williamstown Cup in Sea Bound, as well as two other stakes winners in Hugli (Launceston Cup) and Volumen (W.A.T.C. Easter Handicap).
However, the most curious story relating to the class of 1896 and their subsequent lives in the stallion barn concerns the peripatetic Newhaven. Given that English breeders had shunned him, it was left to the Osborne brothers of Bowylie and Currandooley to repatriate him. While holidaying in England during the spring of 1905, the Osborne family negotiated for the purchase of Newhaven and returned the great horse to Australia aboard the S.S. Damascus in July to test his stallion prospects in the land that should have most properly valued his worth. Newhaven initially stood at a fee of 15 guineas a mare at Currandooley but was only marginally more successful here than he had been in England, although in fairness it must be said that the chances afforded him were limited. Perhaps the best horses he got here were Nangar, Angelique and Bunbury.
A melancholy litany of events then unfolded almost with an air of inevitability. After a few seasons, the Osborne family sold Newhaven to Francis Foy who used him briefly at his Monastery Stud at Parkes. It was from there that the old horse went to Orange for sale and he entered Charles Hebden’s Errowanbang Stud at Carcoar from where he was sold for 20 guineas upon its dispersal in February 1916, looking but a shadow of his former self. I fancy that he was bought for one last season at stud but things didn’t work out and a kindly Colin Campbell of Jerula, Cowra, interceded to give the old warrior retirement in a rich, fertile paddock.
Newhaven died at Cowra in February 1917. Sadly, set against the dark background of a shadowy pedigree and a failed stud career in two hemispheres, the flickering lamp of history has tended to obscure rather than illuminate Newhaven’s otherwise quite remarkable achievements on the racecourse, both in Australia and England. One man who never forgot the greatness of Newhaven was his old trainer, Walter Hickenbotham. Sentimental about his old favourites, his most treasured possession was a basket made from the hair of Carbine’s tail and enclosed in one of the shoes worn by Newhaven when he won the Melbourne Cup.