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robbed of a gold watch, and a purse containing 30 guineas, at Epsom races, on Thursday last. Many other persons shared a similar fate, both on the same evening, and Friday. Upwards of 30 carriages were robbed, coming from the races."

8th Sep. 1797. "Never, since racing was patronised by the Merry Monarch, has the Turf been so much on the decline as at this period. His Grace of Bedford is the only person who retains a considerable stud. Lord Grosvenor has disposed of nearly the whole of his, with the reserve of two, or three, capital horses, and some few brood mares."


Match between Mrs Thornton and Mr Flint-Its sequel-Daniel Dawson poisons horses-Origin of Bookmaking--Turf frauds-The "Ludlow" scandal— The "Plenipo" fraud-Reports of Select Committee on Gaming, 1844.

THE singular contest which took place between Mrs Thornton and Mr Flint in 1804 was the talk of its time. An intimacy existed between the families of Col. Thornton and Mr Flint, the two ladies being sisters. In the course of one of their rides in Thornville Park, the lady of Colonel Thornton and Mr Flint were conversing on the qualities of their respective horses; the difference of opinion was great, and the horses were occasionally put at full speed for the purpose of ascertaining the point in question; old Vingarillo, on whom the lady rode, distancing his antagonist every time. Which so discomforted Mr Flint, that he was induced to challenge the lady to ride on a future day. The challenge was readily accepted, and it was agreed that the race should take place on the last day of the York August meeting 1804. This curious match was announced in the following

manner :

"A match for 500 gs., and 1000 gs. bye-four miles— between Colonel Thornton's Vingarillo and Mr Flint's br. h. Thornville by Volunteer-Mrs Thornton to ride her weight against Mr Flint's."

On Sunday, August the 25th, this race took place, and the following description of it appeared in the York Herald:

"Never did we witness such an assemblage of people as were drawn together on the above occasion-100,000, at

1 A Miss Alicia Meynell, daughter of a respectable watchmaker of Norwich, aged 22-but not married to Col. Thornton.

least. Nearly ten times the number appeared on Knavesmire than did on the day when Bay Malton ran, or when Eclipse went over the course, leaving the two best horses of the day a mile and a half behind. Indeed, expectation was raised to the highest pitch, from the novelty of the match. Thousands from every part of the surrounding country thronged to the ground. In order to keep the course as clear as possible, several additional people were employed; and, much to the credit of the 6th Light Dragoons, a party of them, also, were on the ground on horseback, for the purpose, and which, unquestionably, was the cause of many lives being saved.

"About four o'clock, Mrs Thornton appeared on the ground, full of spirit, her horse led by Colonel Thornton, and followed by two gentlemen; afterwards appeared Mr Flint. They started a little past four o'clock. The lady took the lead for upwards of three miles, in most capital style her horse, however, had much the shorter stroke of the two. When within a mile of being home, Mr Flint pushed forward, and got the lead, which he kept. Mrs Thornton used every exertion; but, finding it impossible to win the race, she drew up, in a sportsmanlike style, when within about two distances.

"At the commencement of the running, bets were 5 and 6 to 4 on the lady; in running the first three miles 7 to 4 and 2 to 1 in her favour. Indeed, the oldest sportsman on the stand thought she must have won. In running the last mile the odds were in favour of Mr Flint. Never, surely, did a woman ride in better style. It was difficult to say whether her horsemanship, her dress, or her beauty, were most admired-the tout ensemble was unique. Her dress was a leopard-coloured body, with blue sleeves, the rest buff and blue cap. Mr Flint rode in white. The race was run in nine minutes and fifty-nine seconds.

"Thus ended the most interesting race ever ran upon Knavesmire. No words could express the disappointment felt at the defeat of Mrs Thornton. The spirit she dis

played, and the good humour with which she bore her loss, greatly diminished the joy, even of the winners."

This exhibition of herself seems to have fired her ambition, for we read in the Morning Post, Aug. 20, 1805:

"Mrs Thornton is to ride 9 st. against Mr Bromford, who is to ride 13 st. over the York Course, four miles; to run the last race on Saturday in the next August meeting, for four hogsheads of Coti Roti p.p. and 2000 guineas h. ft.; and Mrs T. bets Mr B. 700 gs. to 600 gs. p.p.; the 2000 gs. h. ft. provided it is declared to the Stewards four days before starting, Mrs T. to have the choice of four horses.

"Mr B. to ride Allegro, sister to Allegranti.

"N.B., Colonel T., or any gentleman he may name, to be permitted to follow the lady over the course, to assist her in case of any accident."

But, on the eventful 24th Aug., for some reason or other, Mr Bromford declined the race, paid forfeit, and the lady cantered over the course. Later in the day she really had a race, which is thus described in the Annual Register :

"Afterwards commenced a match, in which the above lady was to ride two miles against Mr Buckle, the jockey, well known at Newmarket, and other places of sport, as a rider of the first celebrity. Mrs Thornton appeared dressed for the contest in a purple cap and waistcoat, nankeen coloured skirts, purple shoes and embroidered stockings; she was in high health and spirits, and seemed eager for the decision of the match. Mr Buckle was dressed in a blue cap, with a blue bodied jacket, and white sleeves. Mrs Thornton carried 9 st. 6 lb., Mr Buckle 13 st. 6 lbs. At half-past three they started. Mrs Thornton took the lead, which she kept for some time; Mr Buckle then put in trial his jockeyship, and passed the lady, which he kept for only a few lengths, when Mrs Thornton, by the most excellent horsemanship, pushed forward, and came in, in a style far superior to anything of the kind we ever witnessed, gaining her race by half a neck; and, on her winning, she was hailed with the most reiterated shouts of congratulation.

"A sad disturbance took place, in the stand, in the afternoon, in consequence of a dispute between Mr Flint (who rode against Mrs Thornton last year) and Colonel Thornton, respecting £1000. Mr Flint had posted the Colonel on Thursday, and the Colonel recriminated on Friday. This day, Mr Flint came to the stand with a new horse whip, which he applied to the Colonel's shoulders with great activity, in the presence of a crowd of ladies. All the gentlemen in the place, indignant at this gross and violent outrage, hissed and hooted him. He was arrested by order of the Lord Mayor and several magistrates, who were present, and given into custody of the City runners, until he can find bail, himself in £1000, and two sureties in £500 each. Colonel Thornton is also bound over to prosecute the party for the assault."

The sequel to this story is told in the same Magazine, 5th Feb. 1806. "In the Court of King's Bench, an application was made on behalf of Colonel Thornton, for leave to file a criminal information against Mr Flint, for challenging him to fight a duel, and horse-whipping him on the race ground at York last summer, &c. The quarrel arose out of a bet of 1 500 guineas which Mr Flint claims to have won of Colonel Thornton by the race he rode against Mrs Thornton, whose bets were adopted by her husband. Whereas Colonel Thornton maintains that, of the bet alluded to, £1000 was a mere nominal thing, intended to attract company to the race, and that nothing more than 500 guineas were seriously intended by the parties. After a full hearing of the whole case, Lord Ellenborough was of opinion, that the case before the Court was one in which their Lordships ought not to interpose with its extraordinary power. On the contrary, he conceived it would be degrading its process to interfere in favour of such parties in such a cause. Colonel Thornton had chosen to appeal to the Jockey Club, and should have abided by their decision. He had, however, not found them exactly fitting his notion of justice; and, therefore, for every thing that had happened since, he must have recourse to the

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