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‘Spot the Winner’: Some of the Horses in Ulysses

From: Dublin James Joyce Journal
Number 4, 2011
pp. 72-86 | 10.1353/djj.2011.0001

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Of the many sports mentioned in Ulysses, horse racing is the one that is the most prominent. Horses are referred to in ten of the episodes.1 Four of the horses named in Ulysses ran in the Gold Cup,2 the third event which was held at Ascot at 3.00 pm on 16 June 1904.

The Ascot Gold Cup race was first run in 1807 and in the British racing calendar it and the Epsom Derby were the two main annual events. The race for entire colts and fillies, aged between three and five years, was over two and a half miles and ‘had a value 1,000 sovereigns in specie in addition, out of which the second shall receive 700 sovereigns and the third 300 sovereigns added to sweepstake of 20 sovereigns each’.3

The runners in the Gold Cup mentioned in the text included Lord Howard de Walden’s Zinfandel, 4 yrs, 9 st. (M. Cannon), Mr W. Bass’s Sceptre, 5 yrs, 9 st. 1 lb (O. Madden), M.J. de Bremond’s Maximum 11, 5 years, 9 st. 4 lb (G. Stern), and Mr F. Alexander’s Throwaway. The betting was 5 to 4 on Zinfandel, 7 to 4 against Sceptre, 10 to 1 against Maximum 11, and 20 to 1 against Throwaway (off). Of the horses named in Ulysses, Throwaway, Sceptre, and Zinfandel are mentioned the most.4

Throwaway was born in 1899 and was by Rightaway out of Theale (Plate 5). He was bred by Mr F. Alexander at Everleigh.5 Between 1901 and 1905, Throwaway ran in races at Chester, Bath, Liverpool, Newcastle, Gosforth Park, Newmarket, Bibury (Salisbury), Manchester, Ascot, and Doncaster.

Trained by Mr Braime and ridden by William Lane (1883–1920), Throwaway, aged five years, 9 st. 4 lb, an outsider, won the Gold Cup race in 1904. Zinfandel came second, Sceptre third, and Maximum 11 finished fourth. A correspondent gives this description of the race:

The race was run in the old-fashioned way, the pace being a crawl for the first two miles, and it was not till rounding the bend for home that the jockeys allowed their horses to stride along. Throwaway had made the whole of the running up to that point, but when Sceptre challenged at this point, the mare, apparently without any exertion, drew level, and may even have headed the leader, but two furlongs from home the effort was spent, and practically the identical thing happened with Zinfandel, who was pulling his jockey’s arms out one moment, and was a beaten horse the next. In the meantime, Throwaway was struggling on with indomitable gameness, and forging clear once more held his own to the end, and won by a length; while Sceptre succumbed by three parts of a length to Zinfandel for second place.

A more astonishing result could scarcely be conceived, for had the race been a handicap, both Sceptre and Zinfandel would have been set to give the winner at least two stone, whereas here the boot was on the other leg, and Throwaway was actually giving weight to them. Except on the hypothesis that it was a false run race one cannot account for it. His owner, Mr F. Alexander, bred the winner. Braine, who took over Mr Alexander’s horses during the winter when, owing to the Kingsclere Stable being converted in a syndicate, they left. John Porter trained him. Throwaway was ridden by W. Lane.6

It was an upset that the top-weighted dark horse Throwaway beat Sceptre and Zinfandel.

An account of the race is also given in The Evening Telegraph.

Throwaway set a fair pace to Sceptre, with Maximum 11 last, till fairly in the line for home, when Sceptre slightly headed Throwaway, and Zinfandel took close order with him. Throwaway, however, stayed on, and won cleverly at the finish by a length; three parts of a length divided second and third. Time – 4 mins. 33 2–5 secs.7

Under the same ownership, Throwaway came third in the 1905 Gold Cup. The winner that year was Lord Howard de Walden’s Zinfandel, and M.J. de Bremond’s Maximum 11 was second...

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