Friday, 24 May 2013

Melbourne Cup 1920

"As good a horse as Carbine"' was the claim made by his Sydney admirers for Poitrel, and that there was good justification for holding such a high opinion of him Poitrel demonstrated by his brilliant win in the Melbourne Cup yesterday under his heavy burden of 10 st. To many thousands of those present, Poitrel's success recalled memories of the Cup of 1890, when Carbine, with 10st. 5lb., beat a field of 38 horses. That was the record Cup field. In his Cup Carbine was always among the leading division, and, shooting ahead below the distance, he was not troubled in the run home, winning by two and a half lengths from Highborn, to whom he was conceding 53lb. Poitrel, on the contrary, was in in the rearguard of the field until approaching the home turn, where he moved up quickly. He had several horses ahead of him entering the straight. Poitrel finished with a characteristic resolute run but it was not until the last 50 yards that he caught his stable companion, Erasmus, who was in receipt of 42lb. The judges verdict was a win for Poitrel by half a length. It was a fitting finish to a fine race. The excitement was intense as Poitrel gradually overhauled the leaders and there was a thunderous outburst of cheering when he flashed past the post. No more popular win has been gained in the Cup since Carbine's memorable year, and the cheering lasted until after Bracken had weighed in correctly.  The time-3.25 ¾- was good. It equalled that recorded by Night Watch in 1918, but was a second and a quarter outside the record for the race registered by Artilleryman last year. Artilleryman carried 7st. 6 lb when he won, while Night Watch only had 6 st. 9 lb. Carbine took 3.28¼ in his Cup. Apart from Carbine and Poitrel the only other horse to win the Cup with 10st. or over was Archer, who carried 10st 2lb when he won his second Cup in 1862. Malua had 9st. 6lb. when he won in 1884.

Poitrel has been recognised during the last three seasons as the best horse in Australia, and his great performance yesterday set the seal on his reputation. He is not a big horse, but he is most compactly built, and his conformation, combined with his nice, easy stvle of galloping permits of him handling heavy weights with ease. How fortunate are his owners, Messrs. W and F.A. Moses, to still have   possession of him. Poitrel was bred by them and when submitted for sale as a yearling failed to reach the reserve of 300 guineas. Subsequently a Victorian sportsman, it is stated, negotiated for the colt   but a hitch occurred, and no business resulted. Messrs. Moses then decided to  race the colt themselves. He was only out three times as a two year-old, his first race being in December. His form at that age did not indicate that he would develop into the Australian champion, as he failed to run into a place. Throughout his career Poitrel has not been over-raced, one reason being that occasionally his feet have given him trouble. His first appearance as a three year old was in Sydney Tattersall's Novice Handicap in September when he ran unplaced with 7st. 5lb. In his next start he was third to Modesto and Tresag in the A.J.C Members' Handicap. He started in three other races as a three-year old, winning the A.J.C Holiday Handicap, the A.J.C Summer Cup, and Sydney Tattersall's Club Cup. In the Summer Cup, Poitrel (7st.) finished second, being beaten by a short head by the imported Chantermerle (8st. 12lb.) but the latter was disqualified for interference, and the race was awarded to Poitrel.

It was in the following season that Poitrel began his phenomenal career as a weight-for-age per    
former. His first start that season was in the Rosehill Auburn Handicap in August, when be missed a place. He was a starter in the Chelmsford Stakes at Randwick in which Gloaming made his sensational debut on the racecourse, but ran unplaced. In his next race he demonstrated his greatness by beating the New Zealand champion, Desert Gold, in the A.J.C Spring Stakes. Desert Gold was an odds-on favourite with Poitrel at 25 to 1 against. After a great race Poitrel wore Desert Gold down and beat her by a head in the then record tune of 2.31. K Bracken rode him in that race, and he has been associated with the horse's successes ever since. Two days later Poitrel started second favourite with 8st. 9lb. in The Metropolitan, won by Kennaquhair (8st 4lb), but could only finish tenth. He failed to run into a place in three other handicap races in the spring, but began the autumn season by winning the A.J.C Autumn Stakes, weight for age, beating amongst others, Kennaquhair and Lanius. It has been the misfortune of Kennaquhair to fill  the role of second to Poitrel on many occasions since. In the Sydney Cup won by Ian Or, Poitrel was eighth with 9st. 6lb. At the same meeting he won the Cumberland Stakes and A. J. C Plate. He commenced his career as a five year old by   running third in Sydney Tattersall's Spring Handicap, won by Prince Viridis. Then   followed his victory over another New Zealand champion in Gloaming in the A.J.C Autumn Stakes. Poitrel, as with   Desert Gold the year before, wore Gloaming down and beat him by a head. He added the Randwick Plate to his successes at that meeting, and in the autumn won the three weight-for-age races at the A .J.C Sydney Cup meeting. He was second in the Sydney Cup with 9st. 9lb. to to Kennaquhair (9st. 5lb.), and was generally considered unlucky to lose. The Australian record time of 3. 22¾ for two miles was re corded in that race.  

This season after running a dead heat in the A.J.C Spring Stakes with Kennaquhair, Poitrel suffered his second defeat in a weight-for-age race in the Craven Plate, Greenstead beating him. He won the Randwick Plate three days later, and was then brought to Victoria. His present visit is the first occasion on which Poitrel has raced in Victoria. Early in his career he came to Melbourne but becoming sore was taken home without racing. He sustained another defeat at weight-for-age in the Melbourne Stakes on Saturday, when Eurythmic and Greenstead   finished in front of him, but he atoned for this failure by his magnificent victory yesterday. In all Poitrel has won 15½ races in 35 starts. He has won £25,827/10/  in stakes, inclusive of £150, the value of the Melbourne Cup trophy. Carbine (£29,476) and Cetigne (£26,616) are the only horses who have won more stake money in Australia than Poitrel. Poitrel is by St Alwyne, sire of Night Watch, who won the Melbourne Cup two years ago. Lady Medallist (Caulfield Cup), Moorilla (Sydney Cup), and St Caewyne (The Metropolitan) are other good winners sired by St Alwyne. Last season St Alwyne was eighth on the list of winning sires with 12 winners of 28½ races, and   stakes amounting to £14,561. He was fourth in the 1918-1919 season with 14 winners of 28 races £15,909 in stakes.   

With the exception of Tasmania, every State in the Commonwealth was represented in the Cup. Poitrel, Kennaquhair, Salitros, Red Cardinal, Fervent, Erasmus, Ecarte, Wirraway and Malurys formed a formidable contingent from New South Wales; Eurythmic did duty for Western Australia, Tangalooma and Syce Knight represented Queensland and Clever Jim Wallash, and Paratoo were South Australian candidates. Victoria claimed the other eight starters.   The race was a triumph for the visitors, as Queen Comedv (third) was the only Victorian horse to finish in the first nine. While Acerington was being taken to the course he was run into by a drag and he   had his near hind leg cut. The injury did not prevent him taking his place in the field.

Unlike the Victoria Derby which was very rough, the Cup race was, according to some of the jockeys who rode in it, remarkably free from interference. There was very little delay at the post. When the horses jumped off Eurythmic appeared to get cut out but be did not lose much   ground. As the field passed the judge's box the first time Salitros, either by design   on the part of his rider or because the colt was eager to go, was making the pace from Malurys, Scabound, Syce Knight, and Erasmus. Eurythmic was about tenth going nicely while Poitrel and Kennaqu hair were at the tail of the field with Wallash. There was little change as they entered the river stretch, where Tangalooma started to move forward. At the mile post Seabound took command from Saltros with Syce Knight, Erasmus, and Double Bezque handy. Eurythmic was in the middle of the field, and Poitrel still a long way back. Rounding the far turn Tangalooma created some surprise by running to the front, and he quickly had an advantage of three lengths over Syce Knight, Erasmus, Queen Comedy and Sali tros, who was commencing to drop back. Daarewin, Red Cardinal, and Eurythmic could be seen at this stage improving their positions. Poitrel had also made up a good deal of ground. Eurythmic made a fast   run on the outside, and his victory was hailed by thousands as he came into the straight just behind Tangalooma, Erasmus, and Queen Comedy. Once heads were turned for home Erasmus shot to the front, as did Artilleryman a year ago, and at the   distance he had a lead of two lengths from Queen Comedy and Eurythmic. When Dempsey called on his mount Eurythmic responded well and momentarily he looked like winning, but he did not sustain his run. Then Poitrel could be seen making a grand run on the outside. Erasmus was going nicely, and at the half-distance he appeared   to have the race won, but Poitrel was not to be shaken off. Finishing most determindly, Poitrel got to Erasmus about 50 yards from the post and beat him home to the accompaniment of ringing cheers bv half a length. Queen Comedy, who ran a splendid race, was two lengths away third and then carme Eurythmic, who, though beaten, put up a good race. Kennaquhair ran well under his heavy weight and was fifth. Salitros was a disappointment, but he was at a disadvantage in trying to lead all the way. Escarte and Red Cardinal also ran below expectations. Eurythmic was galloped on during the race and cut about the legs.
Poitrel was a very bad horse for the ring. Those bookmakers are in a position to speak authoritatively describe this year's race as the heaviest betting Cup they have ever known. Poitrel figured at a fairly long price m the early lists, but some time be fore the A.J.C Spring Meeting he was heavily supported for the event, and as he has been a popular selection ever since he   will take a large amount of money out of the ring. As usual early backers received setbacks through the withdrawal of fancied candidates but there were fewer important scratchings than in former years. However the breakdown of Richmond Main won the bookmakers much money. There were some good winners over Poitrel's success. Overnight he figured at 10 to 1 but on the course as much as 12 to 1 was bet against him. He came into strong demand to wards the close, and 8 to 1 was not easy   to obtain at barrier rise. There were many fluctuations in the betting on the course.

Eurythmic ruled as favourite on Cup eve, but soon after wagering began before the first race yesterday Salitros deposed the   Caulfield Cup winner, and he held the position of favourite at the start. A set was made against Red Cardinal on the course early and from 6½ to 1 he receded to 12 to 1 but he firmed later to 8 to 1. Ecarte came in for strong backing yesterday and he hardened three points from his over night quote. Queen Comedy, Acerington, and Drumore were also well backed on the course .  

In winning the Melbourne Cup after running third in the Melbourne Stakes Poitrel repeated the performance of The Parisian, Piastre and Westcourt who each won the Cup after finishing third in the weight-for-age race. Eurythmic's failure added another to the long list of horses who have attempted the Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup double without succeeding. Poseidon in 1906 is the only horse who has so far won the two Cups.
(The Argus 3 November 1920 page 9)
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