It was on a balmy autumn Tuesday, March 2nd, 1858, that the bloodstock of the Macarthur Bros’ historic Camden Park Stud came before the public in an unreserved disposal sale. Situated just outside the County of Cumberland some forty miles southwest of Sydney, Camden Park had been the home of Captain John Macarthur and his descendants since 1805. In time, it had become the most influential nursery for blood horses in the land. John Macarthur began breeding quality horses while at Elizabeth Farm, Rosehill; Percy (1804) and Hotspur (1805) were arguably the first of what was to prove an impressive company of quality bloodstock that eventually emanated later from Camden Park.
Initially, at Camden, the stud concentrated mainly on saddle and carriage horses of a high class, but as the colony grew so, too, did the demand for racehorses, and Camden Park began supplying them in numbers as well. Now, there are times when trying to trace the historical record of our early bloodstock is like trying to trace the night sky. We see a few stars and group them into fictional constellations. However, what is mainly visible is darkness. Attempting to establish a lineal descent on some of the Camden Park horses and their race records is impossible in that benighted age before stud books and turf registers. We need to remember that many of the taproot mares acknowledged in the Australian Stud Book, arose from mating the small Cape and Bengal mares with prepossessing coaching stallions. So much then for proven bloodlines. While John Macarthur originally laid the foundations of the Camden Park Stud, it was his wife Elizabeth who mostly guided its fortunes during John’s enforced exile from New South Wales in the years 1809-1817 as a result of his role in the Rum Rebellion. Upon his return from his travels in England and the Continent, Macarthur virtually relinquished control of the Camden Park bloodstock to his two youngest sons, James and William.
These two brothers were established importers and breeders of fine bloodstock long before the death of their father in 1834. After all, it was the ‘Messrs Macarthur’ who in 1830 imported the famous broodmare Gulnare (G.B. 1822). It was also the brothers that bred the famous grey thoroughbred Zohrab (1832), by Rous’ Emigrant (G.B.) out of Gulnare (G.B.), at Camden Park, and Zohrab, as we shall see, became a highly influential sire of broodmares in New South Wales. Indeed, it was a preponderance of this rich mix of imported thoroughbred blood including strains of Theorem, Satellite, Gratis, St George, Tros, Gil Blas, and Calendar that was represented in the disposal sale of March 1858. Many people in the colonies wondered why such a successful and established Stud was being dispersed at all. However, James and William increasingly disagreed on the direction and management of Camden Park. It was as a consequence of the large-scale conversion of pasture lands into arable farms that the decision was taken to sell off the bloodstock.
The celebrated sale on the grounds of the property, extending over two successive days and commencing each day at half-past eleven precisely, was conducted by the reputable firm of Burt and Company. It foretold the end of a Stud that had been the primary source of quality bloodstock in the colony of New South Wales for half a century. A reasonable crowd journeyed to Camden to attend the sale including a few prospective buyers from the other colonies. The catalogue extended to 125 lots although, by a quirk of the organisation, selling was to begin on the first day, Tuesday, with lot 96, which just happened to be the famous racehorse and broodmare Cassandra.
Foaled in 1841, Cassandra was bred by James Macarthur at Camden Park and was by Tross out of Alice Grey, by Emigrant out of Gulnare. Gulnare (foaled 1822) was a mare by Young Gohanna (bred by Lord Egremont) that James Macarthur imported from England in 1830-31. Bred in Hertfordshire by Lord Maynard she went on to produce twelve foals for the Macarthurs and of which, five remained broodmares in the Camden Park Stud. Cassandra was a bright bay mare with black points and a touch of white to her off-hind foot; she stood at a height of 15.2 hands. Tros, her sire and a son of Priam, was a brown or black horse of great power and was bred in England in 1836 by the Earl of Albemarle. A good performer on the Turf during his short career in England, he was imported to Bungarribee, New South Wales, by Henry H. Kater in December 1839. Emigrant, the sire of Alice Grey, was imported by Admiral Rous and was the grand-sire and great grand-sire of many of Messrs Simson and Row’s best mares.
One man, in particular, was determined to secure Cassandra as a broodmare, and his name was Charles Grant Tindal, the 35-year-old owner of Ramornie station at Copmanhurst on the Clarence River. Born in July 1823 at Littleton Cottage, Honiton, in Devonshire, England, he was the eldest son of Lieutenant Charles Tindal, R.N., later governor of the West End branch of the Bank of England. As a very young man, Charles had spent two years farming in Norfolk when in 1843 he was asked by his father to transport some stud rams to the colony on consignment for his father’s naval colleague, William Ogilvie. Thus, at the age of just twenty, he arrived in Sydney on 17th December aboard the Hamlet.
Physically strong and single-minded, Tindal stood at more than 6’ and over 12 stone. Despite his impressive athleticism, he was unable to find employment as a station superintendent in the weeks after his arrival, and so he accepted Ogilvie’s invitation to Merton on the Hunter River. Commander William Ogilvie had been the first man to receive a Crown grant and to take up residence in the upper Hunter, which happened in the year 1825. Even today evidence of the original homestead buildings survives, and they have remained in continual use consistent with their original purpose. Today, the series of early nineteenth structures occupy a prominent site and overlook the town of Denman and are protected by, and listed on, the State Heritage Register.
During the next five years, Charles Tindal accompanied the Ogilvie brothers amongst others, on various expeditions in the northern lands of the colony as well as overseeing and share-farming sheep on Captain Ogilvie’s various stations. Tindal’s prospects slowly improved and by September 1850 he had leased Koreelah station near the headwaters of the Clarence River and invited his brother, Fred, to join him. The brothers laboured long and hard but began to prosper. In September 1852 Charles Tindal bought Ramornie at Copmanhurst, which henceforth became the centre of his ambitious and substantial Australian enterprises, which soon comprised manufacturing as well as pastoral. Life, of course, isn’t meant to be easy and in those early years of the colony’s development, it wasn’t. Fred Tindal apart, another brother, Arthur, came out to join the burgeoning business but he drowned on the coastal voyage up from Sydney after his arrival from England. Frederick himself drowned in June 1855 when attempting to ford the Clarence River at Smith’s Falls. This second fraternal fatality hit Charles particularly hard and occurred while he was in England, having sailed for Old Blighty in January 1855. Indeed, brother Fred was running Ramornie at the time of his drowning.
Nonetheless, Charles Tindal remained in England and on the continent and delayed his return while a cousin stepped in to oversee Ramornie. The fact was that Charles loved England and had also fallen in love there. In August 1856 he married Anne Amory and even then, only returned to Sydney as late as January 1857 aboard the Alnwick Castle with his new bride. Accompanying them were four horses including two thoroughbred stallions. One of the stallions was of rather ordinary breeding and was to be mainly used at Ramornie as a sire of stock horses. However, the second stallion was something else altogether. His name was Pitsford (GB), a foal of 1847 and by Epirus, out of Miss Horewood.
Pitsford’s bloodlines were as sound as his racecourse performances. Epirus, his sire, among others, had got Pyrrhus the First, winner of the 1846 English Derby for the famous prize-fighter, John Gully. Miss Horewood was a daughter of, and a half-sister to Cyprian and Songstress respectively, each a winner of The English Oaks. Moreover, Pitsford himself had won The Two Thousand Guineas at Newmarket in 1850 and been runner-up to the great Voltigeur in the English Derby as well as winning several other classic races for his colourful owner, Harry Hill, including the Racing Stakes at Goodwood and the Great Yorkshire Foal Stakes at York. Unquestionably, he was the equal of any racehorse brought to the colony of New South Wales up to that time. Charles Tindal was declaring that at Ramornie he intended to establish a first-class thoroughbred stud and with Pitsford he meant business.
It was Tindal’s quest to secure high-class broodmares worthy of his foundation stallion that had led the pastoralist to the Camden Park sales catalogue of March 1858. So, what was it about Cassandra that had fired Charles Tindal with a fixation to own her? After all, she was a rising 17-year-old broodmare whose best years at stud were arguably behind her. Considering Cassandra’s unique record as the dam of no less than three A.J.C. Derby winners, it is worth drawing her out more fully.
Cassandra, we are reliably informed, was a mare of almost perfect symmetry, combining a great strength of bone with a sweetness of temper. She was taken up from the grass in November 1846 and sold, or perhaps leased, to that well-known sporting character, Hugh Chambers, who had first emerged on the Turf in New South Wales the year before as the owner of Tally-ho. Cassandra made her racecourse debut at the Drapers’ Meeting at Homebush on the 1st of January, 1847, winning the first heat of the Union Purse from her eight rivals with ease. However, in the second heat, George Marsden her jockey, ran her against a post when negotiating a tight inside passage, by which accident not only did he lose the race but his life as well, some sixteen days later as a result of his fractured skull.
Afterwards, Cassandra carried off the Maiden Plate at the Bathurst Meeting in March and the Innkeepers’ Purse at Hawkesbury in April beating the famous Lady Theresa. At the Homebush Meeting in May, she won both the Maiden Plate as well as the first heat of the Ladies’ Purse but went down in the next two heats to Foig-a Ballagh. There were mitigating circumstances in those two lost heats as Cassandra met with interference. At Campbelltown in June Cassandra won again, but not without controversy, as she was entered in the wrong ownership. At Parramatta at the end of June, our heroine turned the tables on Foig–a Ballagh in the County Members’ Purse and again in the Farmers’ Purse, besides defeating those good horses Robin Hood, Whalebone and Blue Bonnet.
It was at Parramatta that Hugh Chambers accepted the challenge of Mr Perry, the owner of Whalebone. He had offered 250 pounds to race Jorrocks, Cassandra, or anything else in New South Wales. In the end, Whalebone did not come to the post, and the mare enjoyed a walkover. However, not for the last time a dispute over how much of the purse Chambers was entitled to, finished in the Supreme Court with the judge ruling that just because Whalebone failed to appear didn’t qualify Chambers to claim the whole of the stakes, although he was allowed £100 for damages. There was only one more challenge left for Cassandra on the racecourse, and that was to defeat the celebrated Jorrocks. For a time, both Jorrocks and Cassandra had been together in the same stud, Chambers having procured the aged champion before the Bathurst Meeting in March 1847. However, after successfully racing a few times in Chambers’ ownership, Jorrocks was moved on. It was now time for a challenge in the Publicans’ Purse at Maitland in August 1847.
Transported to the coalfields by steamer on a Saturday night, by Tuesday Cassandra hadn’t recovered from the sea trip sufficiently to race or even to gallop. However, by the following Thursday, she had rapidly improved and although a moderate canter was all the preparatory work she had done since stepping off the steamer, Chambers adjudged her ready to take on Jorrocks. The odds varied from 6/1 to 3/1 on Jorrocks against the mare before they appeared on the Maitland racecourse. Nonetheless, Cassandra vanquished the old champion in the two 2-mile heats. In the first, by a length-and-a-half after taking the lead at the half-mile, and in a time of 3 minutes 49 seconds.
I’ll let the correspondent from Bell’s Life take up the story: “Still the odds were in favour of Jorrocks, 5/4 against Cassandra, but few takers, it being considered scarcely possible that she could last out another heat against Jorrocks. The result, however, proved that as regarded bottom, she was in no way inferior to her rival, and in point of speed, that she could beat him and leave him when she pleased.” Cassandra won that second heat even more easily than the first, and in a time one second faster. It was with that brace of triumphs that Cassandra completed her short but brilliant career on the Colonial Turf. She had started for some ten races and lost but two – one by accident and the other by foul play. Perhaps some idea of her celebrity is imparted by the fact that an excellent engraving of the mare together with her record of Turf exploits appeared in Captain Scott’s ‘The Sporting Magazine’ the following spring. Yes, even in 1848 racing magazines flourished! However, Cassandra’s fame, like that of Jorrocks or the Victorian mare Alice Hawthorn, hasn’t transferred to more modern times largely because it wasn’t until the 1860s that a recognised Turf calendar was established.
Cassandra was promptly ‘re-purchased’ by the Messrs Macarthur, who sent her at once to the stallion, Aether. The result of her first mating was Calliope who found her way into Messrs Simson and Row’s stud in 1856. Although the buyers gathered at Camden Park on that day in March 1858 weren’t to know it, Calliope would become the dam of Camden, winner of the 1861 V.R.C. Derby and 1862 V.R.C. St Leger. Cassandra threw a couple of ordinary performers in the next few seasons, but in 1851 she delivered a late-October foal that suggested her reputation in the paddock was going to be every bit as good as the reputation she made on the racecourse. The foal in question was also called Camden, but this one was by the imported stallion, Calendar. (I should mention that in the nineteenth century it wasn’t unusual for any number of horses to carry a common name and Camden was a popular name because it was such a famous breeding ground.) Like his dam, a rich bay with black points and standing 15.3 as a three-year-old, he was an impressive specimen.
Camden had originally gone into the Government House Stables of the Governor of New South Wales, the feckless Sir Charles FitzRoy, but upon his recall to London in January 1855, all of his bloodstock was sold. The son of Cassandra fetched a tidy 170 guineas. It was money well spent. Camden reeled off the St. Leger at Windsor on May 17th; the Maiden Plate at Homebush on May 29th; the St. Leger at Homebush on May 31st; the Australian Derby at Parramatta on June 14th; and the Mudgee Maiden Plate on August 7th. Camden was then again put up for sale. After that, he was also referred to as Bay Camden when he distinguished himself in the ownership of George Duppa, both on the New Zealand Turf and much later, during the 1859 October Meeting in Melbourne. Cassandra’s reputation as a broodmare was also indirectly burnished by the good New Zealand racehorse, Meleager, carrying the colours of Mr H. St. Hill, and by Riddlesworth out of Althea, a half-sister to Cassandra.
Such was the knowledge surrounding Cassandra as a racehorse and a broodmare when she was the first lot presented for auction on that Tuesday in March 1858 at Camden Park. After some brisk bidding, she was knocked down to Charles Tindal for the princely sum of £204/15/-. The Master of Ramornie also bought Amy Robsart, a grey mare by Calendar out of Alice Grey for £105; and Zuleika, a chestnut mare by Old Satellite out of imported mare Gulnare and stinted to Glaucus, for £51/9/-. While the latter two mares would do useful service for the Ramornie station, it was Cassandra that would command the headlines.
Meanwhile, another pastoralist and bloodstock breeder hailing from the Clarence River country took a keen interest in the Camden Park dispersal. Alexander Mackellar was a friend and neighbour of Tindal’s and owned the nearby station of Fairy Mount on the Richmond River. Born in Argyllshire, Scotland in December 1821, he had first come to Australia with his parents and two brothers at the age of four on the good ship City of Edinburgh. His father, Duncan Mackellar of the Royal Navy had seen plenty of action during the Napoleonic Wars and although retired, was in nominal command of the City of Edinburgh on that voyage to Sydney. Upon arrival, Mackellar duly took up a significant land grant in the Braidwood district. Alas, for the young Alexander Mackellar, his early years in the colony weren’t to be happy for when he was just seven, a convict servant murdered his mother.
The young lad eventually went back to England to complete his education and didn’t return to the colony of New South Wales until 1853. Then, at the age of thirty-two, he first became superintendent of, and shortly after that, a partner in, James Atkinson’s Runnymede and Virginia stations on the Richmond River. Atkinson had purchased the runs, together with 9,000 head of cattle, by private contract upon the death of Ward Stephens in February 1853. Each station was princely, and Runnymede alone enjoyed a sixteen-mile frontage to the Richmond River. In October 1853, Alexander Mackellar purchased Fairy Mount on the Clarence in his own name.
The runs prospered, and so did Alexander Mackellar. The handsome Scotsman was active in social and sporting circles in the Richmond River district. For a time, he was captain of the Richmond River cricket team, and he was a significant instigator and supporter of the annual Richmond River Races, which began in 1855 and took place on the racecourse situated within the limits of the town of Casino. Entrances were restricted to horses owned by those men residing on the Richmond River and on occasions, Mackellar acted as one of the stewards of the meeting. 1855 was also the year in which Mackellar married for the first time although it was to be an ill-fated affair. The marriage was childless and his wife, Minna, died at sea onboard the Lochiel in April 1860 while travelling to England to visit family. It was against this background of a private tragedy that in February 1861 the Crown Lands Office approved pre-emptive purchases by Atkinson and Mackellar for both the Runnymede and Ellerby (on the Clarence) runs at £676 and £160 respectively at the rate of £1 per acre.
The first indication that Alexander Mackellar had taken possession of Cassandra’s yearling by William Tell came in March 1860 with the nominations for the First New South Wales Biennial Stakes. We find his name in the lists with two entries viz. a colt, Kyogle, by William Tell from Cassandra; and a filly, Virginia by William Tell from Cressida. Virginia soon after that went amiss, but her year-older sister was doing well. Clearly, Mackellar named both Kyogle and Virginia himself, because the names correspond to stations he owned at the time. “Kyogle” I might add, is an Aboriginal word referring to the egg of the scrub turkey that was prevalent in the Richmond River district.
Then in January 1861 the Sydney correspondent for Bell’s Life wrote: “As regards the prospects of our Metropolitan April Meeting, we have several reasons to consider them somewhat less gloomy than they appeared a week or two back. Besides the horses we have previously alluded to, Mr Mackellar has two “young uns” up, a colt and a filly. The latter, by ‘Waverly’ (sic) out of ‘Cressida,’ is three years old, and a very fine-looking filly; and the colt, by ‘William Tell’ out of ‘Cassandra,’ is a two-year-old; but as he has not yet arrived in Sydney, we cannot say what he is like; ON DIT, that he is a beauty. These very welcome additions to our racehorse ranks have been entrusted to Sam Holmes, who will train and ride them; and he has taken stabling within easy distance of Randwick Course, and training ground, where, as well as in their races, he will, no doubt, do his young charges every justice.” Some two months later that same correspondent was describing Kyogle as “one of the finest colts we have seen”.
The Randwick Autumn Meeting of 1861 opened under the most favourable auspices with brilliant sunshine and numerous attendance including the new Governor of New South Wales and his retinue. Sir John Young had only arrived in Sydney forty-three days earlier but had lost no time in accepting the position of Patron of the newly constituted Australian Jockey Club. Fresh from an uncertain stint as Commissioner of the Ionian Islands, Young was a capable and experienced politician who had represented his Ulster constituency as a Tory in the House of Commons for twenty-four years and during his last three years, was Secretary for Ireland. Married in Dublin in 1835 to the 14-year-old stepdaughter of the Marquess of Headfort, both Young and his wife, Annabella, enjoyed a love of the horse befitting such Irish antecedents.
Mackellar accepted with Kyogle for two races during the meeting. The first was the First Year of the First Biennial Stakes run over six furlongs on the second day of the fixture. A race of ten sovereigns each with one-hundred sovereigns added by the Jockey Club, it attracted about the best field of two-year-olds, both as to number and quality, as ever came to the post in the colony, or at least so thought the correspondent for Bell’s Life. Exeter, owned by Mr T. J. Roberts and trained by Etienne de Mestre, was made favourite in the race of nine, partly from the enthusiasm of his backers and partly from the prestige derived from the earlier victories of his stablemates, Archer and Moss Rose. In the end, Andrew Loder’s filly, The Nun, won the race in receipt of 3lb from Kyogle, who ran home nicely for second ahead of Exeter in the minor placing.
Kyogle’s only other appearance at the meeting and for the season came on the third day, Saturday when he started for the Champagne Stakes, a sweepstake of three sovereigns each with seventy-five sovereigns added. It was over five furlongs for two-year-olds with colts carrying 8 st. 7lb and fillies and geldings 3lb less. Again, Kyogle ran second, by a margin of two lengths, although this time behind Exeter, with The Nun, relegated to the minor placing. Many sportsmen at the meeting didn’t believe that Kyogle was in really fit racing trim, something that was attributed both to the state of the training grounds and the inclement weather that had preceded the A.J.C. Autumn Meeting. Kyogle, like so many of the progeny of William Tell, was a gross colt of tremendous bone and substance that required plenty of work.
While Alexander Mackellar raced horses on a reasonable scale, as a canny Scotsman, he wasn’t reluctant to sell when the price seemed right. Before the month was out, Kyogle, together with his stablemate, Heather Bell, a granddaughter of Cassandra, had been offered for private sale through the firm of S. C. Burt and Company and had changed hands for a combined sum of 500 guineas. The purchaser was the colourful Colonel William Robbins. Born in the West of England in 1812, Robbins had gone to India as a cadet with a commission in the 15th Native Bengal Infantry. He had seen action in the Sikh Wars of the 1840s in Punjab and had only just escaped with his life during the 1857 Indian Mutiny when the mutineers effectively destroyed his racing stud.
In 1858 Robbins was promoted from his majority to the rank of Lieut.-Colonel and shortly after that was despatched to Australia by the Indian Government to purchase cavalry horses for the Indian army. Robbins attended the first sale of the Woodlands’ yearlings in 1858 and subsequently became the owner of Flying Jib and Banjo. While he bought and sold racehorses with considerable frequency, other horses that carried his colours with success, particularly in Melbourne, included Lord of Clyde, Blink Bonny and Wild Irish Girl. However, it was his purchase of Kyogle that catapults him into our chronicle. Accordingly, Kyogle and Heather Bell left Sam Holmes’s quarters and entered the stables of Samuel Jenner to be rested and then prepared for a springtime campaign.
In those early days, much of the training of horses occurred in the open countryside surrounding Randwick rather than on the racecourse itself. Indeed, it was only at a general meeting of the Australian Jockey Club held at the club room, Tattersall’s Hotel, that a new set of club rules were adopted. The club adopted a motion that the training ground at Randwick would at once be made available to competitors on payment of £1 for each horse and that each horse having been paid up for such fee would be allowed two gallops per week commencing from the 12th August over the outer portion of the course. Samuel Jenner paid his money and slowly brought Kyogle to fitness.
The 1861 Randwick Spring Meeting opened on a Thursday to brilliant weather but a rather subdued crowd and below-average horse entrances. The Governor of New South Wales, Sir John Young, and his suite arrived early on the ground and remained until 4 o’clock before their carriage ride back to Government House. Also in attendance in the grandstand were the President of the Legislative Council, W. C. Wentworth, the Colonial Treasurer, the Secretary for Lands, the Minister for Public Works, as well as several M.L.A.s and numerous influential citizens. This, of course, was to be the pattern of patronage for years to come as horse racing became the dominant public sport and recreation in the colonies. The 1861 Randwick Derby field and race conditions appear in the table below:
The Derby was the third race on a five-race card on the opening day of the meeting, and the betting was Kyogle at even money against the field. The colt when stripped for action looked in fine fettle and was a credit to Samuel Jenner’s training regimen. The only other two horses to accept for the race were The Babe and Potentate in the respective nominations of James Ryan and Thomas Lamond. At Tattersall’s during the previous evening, The Babe had been backed with a good deal of spirit by his party. Many believed that the paucity of the stakes explained the paucity of the field. It was argued that rather than an entry fee of five sovereigns each, it should be ten sovereigns at least and arguably twenty, half-forfeit. Moreover, the nominations should have been made months before the race instead of on the night of general entry.
Still, such improvements were for the future. The story of the race is soon told. On the fall of the flag, Johnny Cutts on Potentate jumped off first and took the inside running at his best pace. Kyogle was striding along in third place, three or four lengths in the rear. The Babe denied the chestnut his lead upon rounding the turn and attempted to force the pace to the hill where Driscoll took the big colt up to the leader’s head. Nearing the turn into the straight, Willis was seen to be hard upon The Babe, while Kyogle was indulged with the lead, which he maintained without difficulty for the rest of the journey. However, Driscoll only placed his nag the winner of a very cleverly ridden race by less than a length with Potentate beaten off, finishing some five or six lengths behind The Babe.
Kyogle wasn’t engaged on the second day of the meeting, Black Friday the thirteenth. However, the minor place-getters in the Derby Stakes were. Both Potentate and The Babe accepted for the Randwick Plate, a race open to three and four-year-olds at set weights over a trip intriguingly defined as once around the course and a distance. It was hardly an endorsement of Derby class when both three-year-olds fell well behind after going no more than a quarter of a mile. Kyogle stepped out again on Saturday, the third and last day of the meeting, in the Metropolitan Maiden Plate run at weight-for-age. Kyogle only faced one opponent, the five-year-old mare Eugenie, and sent off the 1/5 favourite, the Derby hero won as he liked. Indeed, carrying only 6 st. 11lb, his little jockey, Moore, had difficulty restraining the colt to within a reasonable distance of the mare. Handicapped on 7 st. 3lb for the Forced Handicap, the sixth and last race on the card, Kyogle was withdrawn.
Altogether, it was a highly successful meeting on the new course and augured well for the Australian Jockey Club in the years to come. Both the 1861 A.J.C. Autumn and Spring Meetings had also consolidated the association of visiting country and interstate sportsmen with W. J. O’Brien’s Tattersall’s Hotel in Pitt-street as the hangout for the racing cognoscenti. Tattersall’s recent three-storey addition comprising of the family hotel, seven commercial, dining and reception Rooms, forty-seven bedrooms, two billiard rooms, bathrooms, and the complete library in which could be found the Sporting Calendar, Stud and Herd Books of Great Britain and Ireland from 1764 to 1860, Stud Books of NSW and Victoria and of India. Not to mention the A.J.C. rooms, cricket club rooms, betting parlours, private parlours, suites of bed, dining and sitting rooms and the impressive Jockey Club parlour, and a café capable of accommodating three hundred people at one sitting. On the walls of the establishment could be seen upwards of 200 paintings and engravings by the best masters, including portraits of all the famous racehorses and sporting men of England. Was it any wonder that the sporting man felt at home there?
It was therefore entirely appropriate that the race prizes were paid over on that same Saturday evening in the Long Room of that very establishment when about sixty sporting gentlemen were present including many distinguished visitors. The annual dinner in celebration of the metropolitan meeting took place afterwards in the same Long Room beginning a tradition that would last for years. The office of chairman was discharged by Mr W. G. Henfrey and that of vice-chairman by Mr Ryan M.L.A. After the obligatory toasts to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert (who had less than three months to live), there was a toast to Sir John Young, who had attended two of the three days of the recent meeting. The vice-chairman proposed the toast to “our Melbourne visitors” to which Richard Goldsbrough responded with thanks.
Kyogle’s victory drew the sporting public’s belated attention to his deceased sire, William Tell (1843), who had been bred by Lord Stanley in England. A son of the great Touchstone and out of Miss Bowe, he hailed from a distinguished family. Apart from William Tell, Miss Bowe was to drop Strongbow, winner of the Liverpool Cup; and Longbow by Ithuriel, a noted winner on English tracks. Miss Bowe’s greatest claim to fame, however, lay in the future after William Tell came to these shores, for in 1848 she foaled Iris, who, with odds against her and Frank Butler in the saddle, would win the 1851 English Oaks. Later on, Miss Bowe foaled Boiardo by Orlando and apart from winning races at Goodwood and Ascot that horse in due course would make his mark as a stallion in Australia. William Tell was put into training as a two-year-old in England with the Wizard of the North, John Scott. However, he met with an accident and was taken out of training and put to the stud, and was soon after sent to this colony. William Tell attracted considerable attention after landing in Sydney aboard the Soubahdar from London in February 1847.
Put up for auction the following month by Messrs Cooper and Holt at Mr T. E. Jones’s Repository on the corner of Hunter and Bligh streets, he was sold and stood his first five seasons at five guineas a mare at Mr P. Goulding’s station, Lee Mount, Braidwood. In August 1852 he was sold and went to Mr Simons’s Chequers Inn at Goulburn and thence into the hands of Andrew Badgery and Messrs Hassall and Roberts of Exeter Farm. While Seducer and Our Nell, who respectively won the Maiden Plate at Homebush in 1853 and 1854, along with Wild Irish Girl, were some of his early winners, he got his best progeny when domiciled at Exeter Farm – most notably in the dual Melbourne Cup winner, Archer, and Our Nell.
By 1857 William Tell was standing at Edensor Park, near Liverpool, being managed by George Rowe when he got Cassandra in foal with the future Kyogle. James and William Macarthur patronised William Tell heavily that season – their last breeding thoroughbreds on a large scale – and sent no fewer than ten mares to the son of Touchstone including such celebrities as Cressida, Geraldine and Alice Grey. William Tell died in 1859, and his stallion reputation was forged posthumously. He was certainly in the news during that spring of 1861 for not only did Kyogle win the Randwick Derby but his greatest son, Archer, won the first of his two Melbourne Cups.
Samuel Jenner, the man who brought Kyogle to the post for the initial Randwick Derby Stakes, had enjoyed a long and distinguished career with bloodstock. A colonist of more than 30 years standing, his long and intimate connection with the Turf covered every aspect of it. Not only was he a successful breeder, owner and trainer of racehorses but garnered considerable fame as the importer of some excellent blood sires. Samuel Jenner first comes to our attention on the Colonial Turf in 1841 while living in Morpeth and West Maitland and racing his horse Doncaster at the Homebush Spring Meeting. As befitted a horse dealer in those wild and woolly times, Jenner seemed to be in and out of the Insolvency Court on a regular basis during the 1840s, his first petition coming in March 1842, the second in November 1843, and the third in October 1947. The last insolvency proceedings coincided with his activities as a committeeman of the newly re-constituted Cumberland Turf Club and the development of the Parramatta racecourse, located essentially where Parramatta Stadium exists today.
Following the birth of a daughter and the death of another aged two-and-a-half of scarlet fever in October 1850, Samuel Jenner and his family moved to Bathurst, and, following in the footsteps of John Tait, became the proprietor of the Black Bull Inn in Howick-street. Jenner’s move to Bathurst coincided with the Gold Rush and, never backwards in seeking opportunity, he initiated a Bathurst to Turon mail run, ostensibly because of the number of letters and papers directed to parties on the Diggings but accumulated on Jenner’s hands at the Black Bull Inn. By 1852 Jenner’s mail service had won the tender from the Colonial Secretary and spread from Bathurst to Orange, Molong and Wellington. Later that same year Jenner took over the old established Livery and Commission Stables in York-street in Sydney of the late Mr J. B. Jones. Horses were bought and sold on commission; and gigs, tandems and saddle horses were let by the day, week and month. Livery at the establishment was 5/- a night.
In 1856-57 in conjunction with John Tait, who was then travelling in England and inspecting bloodstock, Jenner was instrumental in bringing out the stallions, Warwick, Magus, Sleight of Hand Junior, and New Warrior – all of which left significant progeny in Australia and New Zealand. New Warrior, as we shall see, was to be a prolific sire in the colony. It was during this same period that Samuel Jenner was active in the Cumberland Agricultural Society and the Liverpool Turf Club, acting as the Clerk of the Course at race meetings. Within a month of winning the Derby with Kyogle, Jenner had become a partner with Sydney C. Burt in the well-established business of the Horse Bazaar, Pitt and Castlereagh streets. Indeed, in the closing years of Jenner’s life there hardly seemed a sporting pie in which he didn’t have his finger. He was instrumental in establishing the Homebush racecourse; a committeeman on the New South Wales Agricultural Society and the Acclimatisation Society; and the Treasurer of Tattersall’s Club. Kyogle was perhaps the last good horse with which he was associated. Samuel Jenner died at his residence, Petworth, at Baulkham Hills, in August 1867 at the age of fifty-six.
In the personal dealings between John Tait and Samuel Jenner, it is difficult to distinguish when the friendship ends, and business begins. Their relationship went back quite a few years. In the wake of Kyogle’s triumphs at the A.J.C. Spring Meeting, it was decided that John Tait would take Kyogle in hand and together with Talleyrand, ship the two horses across the Bass Strait by the vessel City of Hobart to contest the Tasmanian Champion Race, the fourth in the series, in early December. Tait had bought Talleyrand for 500 guineas – a high sum for a gelding – only a few weeks before. Jenner had taken the precaution of entering Kyogle for the Champion Race only a couple of days before the Derby at Randwick. It proved a fruitless journey given that heavy rain saw the race postponed and Kyogle scratched on account of the state of the ground and some soreness in his heels. In the end, just ten horses faced the starter for the Champion Race, which that year went to Mormon. One man who wasn’t present to witness the race was Kyogle’s owner, Colonel Robbins. Soon after his return from Sydney and the 1861 A.J.C. Spring Meeting, he began to ail in his St Kilda residence and by the time of the Champion Race was forbidden to leave his room. He continued to decline and died in mid-February 1862 from a disease of the liver.
Kyogle’s subsequently disappointing career on the racecourse can be quickly sketched although, as we shall see, one incident, in particular, bears scrutiny. The son of William Tell returned to Randwick for the 1862 A.J.C. Autumn Meeting and with 6 st. 13lb in the saddle ran fourth in the Randwick Grand Handicap; second to his nemesis, Exeter, in the New South Wales Biennial over the Derby course; and third in the 3-mile Queen’s Plate won by Archer. It was notable that Kyogle was scratched from the St. Leger, thus conceding the race to Exeter. Two days after the Queen’s Plate and following the death in February of his owner, Colonel Robbins, Kyogle was once again sold through the offices of S. C. Burt and Co realising a bid of 295 guineas from Richard Dines.
Baptised in 1812 in Hertfordshire, England, Richard Dines came to New South Wales as a free settler when a young man. In 1841 we find him superintending Messrs Dight and Rowe’s station on the McIntyre near Singleton when he inadvertently shoots and kills a servant mistaking him for a bushranger. Dines had only employed the man that very day. From managing Dight and Rowe’s station, Dines would prosper to enjoy extensive landholdings around the McIntyre in a few years and had begun racing horses at the local meetings in the Maitland and Morpeth region. However, when Dines purchased Kyogle, it was more with his breeding than racing prospects in mind. Kyogle wasn’t entered for any events at the 1862 A.J.C. Spring Meeting, although in his absence a horse named Traveller had won the Randwick Plate in a walkover and the Innkeepers’ Purse as well.
A discussion ensued as to the respective merits of Traveller and Kyogle. It was as a consequence of such speculation that there occurred the incident for which Kyogle’s name will forever be remembered. It became something of a cause celebre and helped clarify the interpretation of the law in its application to matters coming within the purview of the Australian Jockey Club. For it was in the last week of October that a match of £500 aside was made between Mr Dines’s Kyogle and Mr F. Doyle’s Traveller to run three miles at weight-for-age over Randwick a fortnight before the Autumn Metropolitan Meeting of 1863. In good faith £100 aside had been deposited and in making the match, Mr Doyle was acting with the consent of Mr J.T. Ryan, the owner of Traveller.
The match race, promoted through the columns of Bell’s Life and other newspapers of the period, captured the sporting public’s imagination. To supplement the action, Tattersall’s Club provided two further races: A Hack Stakes and a Free Handicap and these served to constitute a very good programme. The Sydney Morning Herald reported on April 17 that “an immense assemblage of persons visited the metropolitan racecourse at Randwick yesterday afternoon, for the purpose of the issue of witnessing a match made some months back for £500 aside, between the celebrated horse Traveller and Kyogle. The attendance included, in addition to all the racing folk of the city, a large number of gentlemen from the country, and judging from the interest displayed, the event appears to have been regarded as one of unusual importance, more especially to studmasters and racing men.”
Although the race was conducted under the superintendence of the Jockey Club, that wasn’t the end of the story, and the match would be subject to legal challenges that would drag on for some years and go all the way to the Privy Council in London. The terms of the match had been subject to writing and were themselves never disputed. The legal contest turned on what took place afterwards. It was stipulated that the race was to be run under the auspices and rules of the Australian Jockey Club. When the horses and their owners appeared that day at Randwick, an objection then was raised, or some observation made by the stewards as to the stakes having been (contrary it would seem to the usage of the club) deposited with a stranger. A doubt then arose – from that circumstance apparently – whether the parties would in case of any dispute abide by the stewards’ decision thereon. While a dispute there and then, might not have arisen, the circumstances showed that one was contemplated and it all had to do with Traveller’s alleged age.
Initially, the stewards declined to allow the horses to start, given that Richard Dines refused to pledge himself to abide by the stewards’ decision in any way on the matter of resolving a dispute. The fact was, that on some previous occasion, a question had been raised as to Traveller’s age and that the then stewards, upon a certificate signed by three veterinary surgeons, had decided in his owner’s favour. Richard Dines, knowing this and the fact that Traveller had the mouth of a five-year-old; and anticipating a similar discussion in case of his own horse’s defeat, repudiated the jurisdiction of the A.J.C. He maintained that he was bound therefore neither by its rules nor by any decisions afterwards arrived at under them. The stewards eventually withdrew their objection, and the race was run, and by the time of flagfall, the price about Traveller was 2/1 on!
The story of the race itself is soon told. Bishop, following instructions on Kyogle, rode a waiting race until the second rounding, when he made a play. However, he was unable to pass the chestnut and in a fine contest running up the straight, Traveller, carrying the weight appropriate to a four-year-old horse, prevailed by a length-and-a-half in a time of 6 minutes 30 seconds for the 3 miles. It was admitted by all parties, however, that, according to the rules of the club, the victory would not only not entitle Doyle to the stakes if his horse was older than the stated age, but that they would in that event belong to the owner of Kyogle. On this ground Dines claimed the money – and not merely the return of his own deposit, but the payment of the entire thousand pounds. Along with his protest to the stewards after the race, Richard Dines paid them or the secretary of the club a deposit to meet the expenses of the contemplated investigation.
In the course of that inquiry, however, which terminated on the seventh day succeeding the race, it seems that Dines asked for a postponement to adduce additional evidence; he alleging that a receipt was procurable, in which the horse’s true age had been specified. However, the stewards after adjourning to consider this application decided on refusing it. Instead, on the evidence of statements already before them, they adhered to their former conclusion that Traveller was a four-year-old only. On April 23 the following unequivocal statement was issued: “In the case of Mr Dines’s protest against Traveller in the match with Kyogle, run on Randwick Course on the 16th April 1863, the Stewards declare Traveller to be the winner. BUCHAN THOMSON Hon. Sec. the A.J.C.” A Mr Wolfe, who was the stakeholder of £500 per side, then paid over the stakes to Mr Doyle. The following evening in the Subscriptions Room of Tattersall’s before a large gathering a motion was passed formally endorsing the decisions of the Stewards in the Kyogle case and that it should be held to govern all betting that may have taken place on the event. A further resolution that on all future occasions, the same principle should prevail was likewise assented to, the object being to render the race committee of the Jockey Club, the final arbitrators in all disputed racing matters.
Richard Dines was having none of it and immediately began civil proceedings seeking the full £1000. At the first public trial at the Circuit Court, East Maitland, occupying five days in September 1863, Richard Dines called several witnesses to establish the fact that Traveller was actually a five-year-old. The jury found that Dines was entitled to have his own stake returned, i.e. £500 only. In other words, the testimony adduced by Dines and his witnesses was regarded by the jury as conclusive and subversive of the opinions of the veterinary surgeons who had previously examined Traveller in Sydney. Whatever the age of Traveller, that Maitland jury believed the horse to be a five-year-old.
The time-honoured adage that “half a loaf is better than none” comes to mind here, but it was now Doyle’s turn to play the legal card, and he applied to the Supreme Court of New South Wales for a new trial. While still insisting on the truthfulness of his own representation, Doyle’s main line of attack was that the race had been agreed to be run and that it was run solely under the rules of the Australian Jockey Club. By those rules, Dines had protested against the alleged underweighting of Traveller, immediately after the race, and had thereupon submitted the question to the stewards of the club. Those gentlemen, acting on such evidence or information as was then accessible, or as they thought material or proper, had in all honesty and good faith decided the question in Doyle’s favour.
In March 1864 the Supreme Court sitting in full, ruled on the case and set aside the verdict of the Circuit Court and allowed for a new trial thereby depriving Dines of his £500. The words of the Chief Justice upon the main point – as to the finality of the decision alluded to – were in the following terms: “If this race was run under the rules of the A. J. Club, the decision by the stewards is fatal to this action. There is nothing whatever to justify the imputation that that adjudication was fraudulent, or induced by any improper feeling or motive; and in the absence of evidence to sustain such a conclusion, the decision, however erroneous in itself, or irregular in the mode by which it was arrived at, was final, and cannot be reversed or reviewed in a Court of Law. It may be, that, had time permitted the evidence (so to call it) which was alluded to by the plaintiff, might have been forthcoming, and a different conclusion been arrived at. But, assuming this, and that the jury was right in the opinion, that so there was not a full and fair investigation, the parties are nevertheless bound by the actual Decision. Referring the case to persons of their own selection they place themselves in the latter’s hands; and, if the Referees intended to decide the question rightly, – if, in other words, their decision was an honest though a wrong one, the action cannot be maintained.”
Collectively, the Justices further stated: “We were of the opinion, that the race in controversy was clearly run under the rules of the Jockey Club; of which fact, the starting of the horses by the stewards, the provision in the agreement that it should be so run, and the utter absence of any other agreement between the parties, as well as the plaintiff’s protest and reference to the stewards after the race, notwithstanding his previous conduct and observations, afford (we think) abundant proof. But, it having been contracted that the race should be so run, and the race really having (sic) been so run, the plaintiff was bound in all respects by those rules; and, having agreed – as both parties must be taken to have done – that any dispute arising between them, as to that race, should be decided finally by the stewards of the club, he cannot be permitted to complain in a court of law, that their decision if itself an honest one has been mistaken.”
Richard Dines then applied for leave to appeal to the Privy Council. Now the wheels of the law turn slowly but grind exceedingly fine – something Richard Dines was about to discover. It wasn’t until the 18th of February 1869 – almost six years after the race itself – that the appeal came before the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. The rules of the Australian Jockey Club were put in evidence. Their lordships consulted. Lord Chelmsford afterwards delivered the opinion of their lordships and commented on the facts of the case. The committee was of the belief that there were no grounds for the appeal and decreed its dismissal with costs against Kyogle’s owner. Most true sportsmen were relieved by the dismissal, believing that there should be no law other than Jockey Club law to rule on racing matters. Any recourse to the courts to resolve purely racing issues was, and is, fraught with danger to the sport.
I have laboured long in presenting the facts of the Dines Vs Wolfe case and its interminable course through the courts. However, it was significant in some ways. It served to buttress the authority of the Australian Jockey Club and the application of its rules; it brought the Jockey Club and Tattersall’s Club into greater harmony and cooperation; and it hastened the development of the Australian Stud Book, properly constructed and ultimately maintained by the Jockey Club. Not a bad legacy for a flawed match race! As for the principals involved in the affair, little credit redounds upon them. More than a suspicion remained that Traveller was a five-year-old and that Doyle was aware of the fact. As for Dines, what does it say about a man who enters a sporting contest knowing full well he has no intention of abiding by the umpire’s decision if that decision goes against him?
Against this backdrop of protracted legal proceedings, Kyogle continued both to race and to serve mares at his owner’s property, although the two activities weren’t a natural fit. Now, it was said of the great Italian conductor, Toscanini, that he both smoked a cigar and made love to a girl for the very first time on precisely the same day. Afterwards, he never smoked again. Something of the same capricious temperament and attraction to sex soured the single-minded Kyogle from giving his best on the racecourse. Although he continued to race until the autumn of his six-year-old season, it was with decidedly mixed results. Kyogle did manage to win both the A.J.C. City Handicap and the A.J.C. Waverley Handicap at the 1864 Metropolitan Autumn Meeting. However, he could only run second to Tarragon in the rich Randwick Grand Handicap when in receipt of almost two stone from his fellow five-year-old, albeit in one of the best finishes seen at Randwick up to that time.
In the Sydney Handicap at the 1864 Metropolitan Spring Meeting, he refused to pass the fence that lined the run-in. Sam Holmes was still training Kyogle but couldn’t persuade him to do his best. Kyogle’s final start in a race came over the mile at Randwick in the All-Aged Stakes at the 1865 Metropolitan Autumn Meeting. The horse was nominated that day in the name of Andrew Town and not only could he not be induced to start, but it was only with considerable difficulty that his jockey could even get him back to the saddling paddock. While still in racing trim, during the spring of 1863, Kyogle stood service at his owner Richard Dines’s Hamilton Hill station near Singleton at five guineas a mare including grooming. The name of the station was changed to Hambleton Hill in 1866 after Dines completed the construction of the homestead.
In the 1865 and 1866 seasons, Kyogle went to William and Andrew Town’s Richmond stud while Hambleton was being developed, but came back to Dines for the 1867 season and beyond, Town replacing him with the imported Lord of the Hills, another Richard Dines-owned stallion. Despite the quality of his bloodlines and some good mares in his harem, Kyogle was a relative failure at stud, although he did eventually produce some useful bloodstock in Queensland. While he was at Singleton, Alexander Bowman used him for a time at his Oaklands station. In August 1873 Kyogle was sold to Mr H. McCarthy for 160 guineas to stand at his Summerhill property, near Tamworth, at 5 guineas a mare. However, by then Kyogle was regarded more as a sire of light harness horses than one likely to get top-class racing stock. Indeed, he won the silver medal at the Singleton Show that year in the category of “best hackney and coaching stallion”.
And what became of the two men who were responsible for launching Kyogle onto the Colonial Turf? I refer to Alexander Mackellar and Charles Tindal. Each man left the Richmond and Clarence Rivers for the wider world and each within a few years of the other. Alexander Mackellar eventually sold his Kyogle station to Barnes and Smith of Dyrabba for £20,000 cash in March 1872. Today the town of Kyogle stands on that very same property. It was to be a tumultuous period in Mackellar’s life. Four months after agreeing to the terms of the sale, Mackellar’s second wife, Mary, gave birth to a son, Mortimer, and then just seven months later, Mary, died at the age of twenty-nine. In the wake of the tragedy, Mackellar briefly went back to England and Scotland. Upon his return to New South Wales, he took out a lease on Bishopthorpe at Goulburn and subsequently became a long-term resident of the district, serving on the Licensing Court and as a magistrate on the Police Court. Mackellar’s links with the Australian Jockey Club went back to 1858. Upon his return to Sydney and Goulburn, he served for some years on the A.J.C. committee and for the period from August 1893 until his resignation in November 1895, he was chairman. The vacancy created upon his departure from the committee was filled by Adrian Knox while H. C. Dangar succeeded him in the chairmanship.
Alexander Mackellar died at the age of eighty-five in August 1904 at the Union Club in Sydney where he had been a resident during the closing years of his life. All the members there took considerable interest in this fine old sportsman, and each evening he held a ‘levee’ in the library of the club because so many of the younger members liked to talk to him about his early days on the Colonial Turf. Mackellar was the last of that original group of members who contributed £50 each for the development of the ‘Sandy course’. Curiously enough, Rowland Hassall, that famous Braidwood identity and another of those £50 contributors that resuscitated Randwick as a racecourse back in 1859, died earlier in that same month of August 1904. Mackellar left a daughter and three sons from his second marriage and one of them, Harry, will appear later in this chronicle for not only would he manage the Kirkham stables for a time until it was disbanded, but he would also serve as the A.J.C. Starter, in the early years of the century.
And what of the Ramornie Station and the man who was responsible for breeding Kyogle? As we shall see in our forthcoming chapters, the remarkable broodmare, Cassandra, would foal, not one, but no less than three winners of the A.J.C. Derby and Charles Grant Tindal would breed them all, the others being Ramornie in 1863 and the great Yattendon in 1864. However, by the time of those last two Derby victories, Tindal had removed himself to England. In 1862 he took his family back to Old Blighty, eventually settling down in the late 1860s at the distinguished Fir Grove House, Eversley, in Hampshire.
In 1865 Charles Tindal started the Australian Meat Company in Houndsditch, London, with a capital of £100,000 and he was both its major shareholder and general manager. A factory was built on the Orara River in New South Wales near its junction with the Clarence and production began in September 1866 with meat supplied from Ramornie’s own herds. Within a few years, Ramornie-brand canned meats were well-established in the English market. By 1871 Ramornie was employing some 150 men from slaughterers through to tinsmiths and packers. However, in 1880 with the first consignment of frozen meat from Australia arriving in London, the Australian Meat Company gradually went into decline and was eventually sold to the Kensington Meat Preserving Company in 1915. Charles Grant Tindal died of senile decay in his ninetieth year at Fir Grove House in January 1914 with two sons and five daughters surviving him. While his English estate was sworn for probate at £224,965, perhaps his greatest legacy was the improvement in Australian bloodstock to which his various early and expensive thoroughbred importations from England had contributed hugely.
Hi, The racecard for that day shows that Kyogle’s colours were – blue jacket and yellow cap.
Hi Robert, Thanks! I realised after your first comment that you really knew your stuff.
I’ve done a lot of research in recent years for a couple of blogs that I have. If you’d like a copy of the 1861 Derby racecard for this article, let me know and I’ll email it to you.
Hi Robert, Thanks for the offer. If it is not too much trouble, I would appreciate a copy. Just let me know how to acknowledge it in the caption.