Sporting Gossip by "CRANBROOK"
The subject of our illustration this week is one of the most popular and prominent sportsmen in Tasmania. In fact, he is so thoroughly identified with racing in the "tight little island" that his retirement from active participation in the sport would be a blow from which it would not recover for a long time. Sportsmen of his stamp are not as plentiful as the proverbial mulberry leaves. Mr. Agnew is the only surviving son of the Hon. Dr. Agnew, formerly Premier of Tasmania, and a member of a County Antrim family which has produced a lengthy list of disciples of Esculapius. On the mother's side Mr. G. S. Agnew is descended from one of those grand old Highland clans so interwoven with the history of Scotland, to say nothing of the remaining portions of the British Empire. She was a daughter of Major Fraser, of the 76th Highlanders, who, after he retired from the army, settled in Tasmania, where he held several very high official positions, and granddaughter of Colonel Fraser, who died fighting for his country in Java, and a member of a family which for generations had produced warriors who had worthily upheld the honor of their clan and country. Considering that the Hon. Dr. Agnew has always been such a prominent and liberal supporter of the Tasmanian Racing Club, and that Mr. C. F. Fraser, the present stipendiary steward of Victoria, had a great loving for the sport, it is but little wonder that their son and nephew, Mr. C. S. Agnew, early developed a fondness "for the favorite pastime of a free people." The first race horse he owned was West Coast, a son of the imported Cervus, and who was one of the best all-round performers Australia has seen. It was at Bothwell, in 1879, that Mr. Agnew won his first race with West Coast, and he piloted the son of Cervus himself. Pyrrhus, a horse once in Maurice Griffin's stable, did good service for the black and white spots; but Mr. Agnew's trump card was not played until after he made a trip to Europe. He returned just in time to see The Assyrian win the Melbourne Cup, and was so impressed with the performance that he purchased the horse at the conclusion of the meeting. Everybody said he was very foolish to give the price he did for a horse who was no wonder, and whose form was thoroughly exposed. The judgement of Mr. Agnew was triumphantly verified, as the after deeds of The Assyrian proved. There is no occasion to make more than passing reference to the brilliant performances of The Assyrian when carrying the Waverley white and black— winning the Hobart Cup with 10st 7lb, the Derwent Plate with 14st, and the A J.C. Autumn Stakes, when he defeated Darebin, The Plunger, Mistaken, Commotion, and other cracks. Mr. Agnew, since his initial victory at Bothwell, has won about 200 races, and for years past be has been at the head of winning owners in the island, and The Assyrian has also been by far and away the most successful sire. Mr. Agnew has won the Hobart Cup three times — once with The Assyrian, and twice with his sons, Chaldean and Macquarie; the T.R.C. Derby twice ; the Launceston Cup five times — with Hobart (who was the joint property of Mr. Agnew and his intimate friend, Mr. B. J. Mackenzie, of Launceston. and a sportsman in the truest acceptation of the term). The Knave, Chaldean, Macquarie, and Dundas; the Carrick Plate three times — with West Coast, The Knave, and Pocahontas; and, in fact, every race worth winning in the island. While, however, he has been almost invincible in his native land, and cannot complain of his luck the only time he raced in New South Wales, Mr. Agnew has been anything but fortunate in Victoria. He has raced many horses in this colony, but the most important race he has been able to net is the Railway Stakes, which Pocahontas won at the V.R.C. Spring meeting of 1876. A sportsman of the type of Mr. Agnew deserves better fortune, and we hope that the next time he invades Victoria his luck will change, and that the black and white spots will carry off a good race. Mr. Agnew resides on his estate of Waverley, about six thousand acres in extent, and four miles from the township of Oatlands. He has gone in for breeding horses as well as racing, and the Waverley Stud has turned out a good number of winners. The lords of the harem are The Assyrian and Mozart (well known in Victoria, and half-brother to Sheet Anchor), while there are a lot of mares which cannot be surpassed for blood throughout Australasia. 1