No. 1.1 - Description of the Stud Farms of the Tight Little Island

Otago Witness , Issue 1889, 3 February 1888, Page 24


In Mr C. S. Agnew, the squire of Waverley, will be found one of the leading sportsmen of Tasmania, a gentleman in the true sense of the word. On my arrival in Launceston I paid a visit to Mr P. Monaghan, "Merlin" of the Tasmanian and Examiner newspapers, and the handicapper of the principal race meetings, who kindly introduced the sporting representative of the Otago Witness to Mr Agnew.

On my arrival at Hobart, after a run of 133 miles on a railway of 3ft 6in gauge, I was taken in hand by some of the important gentlemen of the city. The acting mayor, Alderman Amotte, late mayor of Hotham, Melbourne ; Mr Rheubens, inspector of stock and abattoirs ; the superintendent of Hobart police ; Mr Quodling, the governor of the Hobart Gaol ; Dr Macfarland, the superintendent of the New Norfolk Asylum ; Dr J. Crampton, and others, who did their best to give me every information with regard to their respective establishments, which I will refer to in future articles.

On Saturday last "Warrior" left Hobart by the 8 a.m. train for Oatlands, which is about four miles distant from the Parattah main line station, some 60 miles from Hobart. The tourist, should he be of a religious turn of mind, will certainly have his fill when travelling through this portion of the island, for after leaving behind up Campania, we arrive at Lower Jerusalem and then Jerusalem and Jericho. Approaching Oatlands we come across Lake Tiberias, and further on the River Jordan and the Promised Land.

The main line from Hobart to Launceston, I must mention, belongs to an English company, and the train, or one horse waggon, from Parattah to Oatlands, is run by the Tasmanian Government at a great loss. On my arrival at Oatlands, Mr Agnew had a drag waiting, and I was at once conveyed to the Waverley estate, some five miles distant, where Warrior had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of Mr Alfred Page, one of the pillars of the turf in Tasmania, Mr Algernon Page, and Dr Crampton, assistant surgeon of the New Norfolk Asylum. In less than two hours we set sail for Lakes Sorell aud Crescent, through a bush track, to which I will refer at some future time. After spending a day and night at the lakes we returned homewards and commenced business in earnest.

The Waverley estate is the property of Mr C. S. Agnew's father, and comprises about 5000 acres, a large proportion of which is under cultivation, and the remainder of the land is taken up by cattle, sheep, and thoroughbred mares. Mr Agnew, when commencing business as a breeder of racehorses, had the good sense to build stables, &c, for the Waverley harem, nearly a mile from his private residence. Before driving over the estate, Mr Agnew showed me over his splendid residence, in the front room of which I found some valuable racing cups and presents, among them the Entally Cup, presented by the Hon. Thomas Reibey, 1880 ; Welter Cup, won by Pyrrhus in 1881, and ridden by the squire ; the Midland Jockey Club Trophy (solid silver), 1882 ; the Evandale Racing Club Morven Handicap Cup, 1884 and the Secretary's Cup of the Tasmanian Racing Club meeting.

During a conversation on our way to the farm, Mr Agnew informed me that on New Year's Day last, notwithstanding that he had only been nine years an owner of racehorses, he had won no less than 100 races, and that up to the present, he was a long way ahead of the bookmakers. Having gone through the usual preliminaries, Mr Clare, the trainer, walked out from his comfortable quarters the monarch of Waverley — The Assyrjan who, my readers will remember, won the Melbourne Cup, Hobart Cup (carrying 10st 7lb), the A.J.C. Autumn Stakes, 1 1/2 miles, when he defeated Commotion, Darebin, Plunger, Lord Lisgar, Sweet William, Cunnamulla, and Mistaken.

The Assyrian is at present the only stallion at Waverley. He stands nearly 16 hands high, and possesses a splendid dark brown coat. Of the sires I have seen in Australia and New Zealand "Warrior" likes none better than The Assyrian, who comes from a good family. His sire, Countryman, carried off a great many races in England, and on looking up records I find he is full brother to Rustic, the Duke of Beaufort purchasing him from Sir Richard Button for the sum of £5000. Rustic performed brilliantly on the English turf, winning the Prince of Wales' Stakes at Ascot, and running third to Lord Lyon in the English Derby. With the exception of a couple, The Assyrian has served the whole of the mares — fourteen — this season. Mr Agnew has kindly furnished me with a number of pedigrees, which I feel certain will prove interesting. On referring to the dam of The Assyrian, it will be found recorded that Tinfinder is by Tarragon, who ran a dead heat with Volunteer for the Champion Race of 1886, which he won in the run off by four lengths, Panic third, Lady Heron also starting.

The Assyrian Pedigree

The first dam, in close proximity to Anstey Barton, I came across was Blink Bonny, winner of the Caulfield Cup of 1884. Notwithstanding that she has thrown off her condition of a few years back. She still possesses the qualities of a sterling racehorse on close inspection. Blink Bonny foaled a beautiful colt to Napoleon last November, and there is every prospect of his becoming a regular "masher." This season the daughter of St. Albans was covered by The Assyrian.

Blink Bonny Pedigree

Elsinore, a really well-bred mare, by Horatio out of Queen of Clubs, by Ace of Clubs from Cleopatra, by Boiardo, took my fancy very much so did her colt foal by The Assyrian. Should Mr Agnew have any luck in the rearing of this colt, I should not be at all surprised to hear of him turning out the best three-year-old of his day in Tasmania.

Passing along the paddocks we come across Wild Wave and a foal at foot by The Assyrian. This mare, no doubt, in a couple of years will furnish a winner of an important race either in Victoria or New South Wales. She was bred in the north of the island by Mr T. W. Field, and was got by St. Albans, her dam, West Coast's dam, by Peter Wilkins from Dove, by Old English Gentleman from Farmer's Daughter, by Jersey from Pet, by Bolivar from Whizgig.

The Ruby filly foal by The Assyrian came in for a fair amount of attention. Among breeders in Tasmanian there is a difference of opinion as regards the sire of Ruby. The Turf Register and Stud Book of Tasmanian gives it as Mozart, Mr Agnew and others say Lord of Lynne, the sire of many first-class horses. Ruby's dam, Griselda, possesses blood enough, being by Old English Gentleman from Kathleen, by Snoozer from Antelope, by Sepoy from Gazelle. Ruby was served this season by Waverley.

A yearling colt from Erlani struck me very much by his resemblance to many of Fisherman's stock. He has better limbs than his full brother Bothwell, who is at present located in Charley Roberts stables, Randwick. Erlani, a bay mare, was bred by Mr Alfred Page in 1875, and went to the stud in 1878. Yorick, by Horatio, was her first foal. Unfortunately for her owner, she has missed three times, in 1882 to British Workman. Erlani's sire was Ringleader, and her dam Yin Ordinaire, by Ace of Clubs from Sour Grapes, by the imported sire Fisherman, the great-grandsire of the finest racehorse south of the line. Erlani's breeding should prove interesting to breeders and sportsmen of New Zealand.

Eriani Pedigree

Mizpah, a nine-year-old mare, bred by Mr John Field, was accompanied in her walks round the harem by a compact colt foal by Astronomer. Mizpah was served this season by The Assyrian. Some two miles away from the stud farm we came across poor old Pyrrhus grazing quietly with a three-year-old. Mr Agnew informed me that he had pensioned off the old horse who had done good service in Tasmania, having carried off the Brighton Plate on three different occasions, besides appropriating Welter Cup, Deloraine Handicap, and many other races.

(To be continued.)