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THERE is no better known figure in the Irish racing world than Mr. James Dunne, who enjoys the distinction of being the oldest member of the training fraternity in that country. Indeed, he can claim to an active participation for a period of no less than sixty years, for it was as far back as 1854 that he was initiated into the toils and troubles and turmoils incidental to racing. He was apprenticed inthat year to the late Air. Joseph Osborne, one time editor of “Bell’s Life,” and author of the Horse-breeders’ Handbook,” in the compilation of the second edi tion oi which invaluable work “Beacon” was assisted by his erstwhile apprentice. As a matter of fact, Air. Dunne had made his name as a trainer long before the majority of those now in the busi ness at the Curragh were born, and perhaps the only one living there at present who can boast anything like as long an associa tion with the practical side of racing is Air. .Michael Dennehy. That respected ex-trainer, how ever, has retired from the profes sion, but remains true to the old spot, and his residence, French Dottage, is not far from Air. Dunne’s place. The two veterans are life-long friends, and theywear tneir years wonderfully well, both being 111 the enjoyment of robust health, and still very much on the active list. When James Dunne began with Air. Osborne, that gentleman had his horses at Rathbride Cottage, which is now an annexe to Rathbride Alanor, belonging to Air. AI. Dawson the subject of an article in a previous issue of the Sporting and Dkahatt pn-s -m,lhaving gone through the mill there and ridden his share of winners, he migrated to the other side of the Curragh and had charge of Air. Thompson Harrison’s string for a spell. This was only the prelude to a much more important engagement that with Air. C. J. Blake, one of the pillars of the Irish Turf, who started a breeding and racing stud in far-off Co. Mayo shortly after he left the University, and in 1864 installed Dunne there to look after the racing side of the establishment. Thus began an association which on both sides proved eminently satisfactory, and continued for the long term of twenty- six years, during which time Air. Blake’s colours had a nice run of luck, and several important events in England and all the big prizes in Ireland were gathered in. When Air. Blake in 1880 removed from Mayo to the Heath, Alaryborough, he brought Dunne with him, and even greater success attended him here. Air. Blake and the late Captain Alachell owned several horses in partnership at thisperiod, one of them being Kilwarlin, by Arbitrator, which they purchased as a yearling for 1,000 guineas, and sold subsequently for exactly seven times that amount to Lord Rodney, for whom the colt won the St. Leger of 1887. During his service with Air. Blake,” “Jimmy” Dunne got ready for their engagements many high class horses for that gentleman and his friends, amongst them being True Heart and her stout son, Arbitrator, Waterwitch, Conservator, Sybil. King Alilan, Rosamene, Kilcreenc, Punctilio, Sir Hugh, Draco, Killowen, Sylph, Pericles!oi. jYtJvin, ana ol. jYieiiian. ui these, Arbitrator, after a distinguished career on the Turf, proved a marked suc cess at the stud, and he did much to up hold and maintain the prestige of Irish blood Waterwitch did splendid service for the stable on the fiat and over the “sticks,” the big Croydon Hurdle Handicap being one of the plums secured by her, and Dunne also won this latter race with the sturdy little Conservator, who scored again in an important timber topping event at Sandown Park, previously to which he had accounted for the National Produce Stakes at the Curragh. The good-looking Kil- creene brought grist to the mill on both sides of the Channel, a Liverpool Cup fall ing to his share in addition to several other valuable races. After a year’s sojourn at Lewes, where Mr. Blake had taken a stabling, Dunne decided on returning to Ireland, and began as a public trainer, making a start on his own account at the Stand House Hotel stables at the Curragh, which he tenantedfor four years, and then moved into Curragh View. As might only be expected, having regard to the re putation he had earned, he was not long in securing sufficient horses to fill all the boxes in the yard, and his patrons had every reason to be pleased with the results. The best animals sent to him there were Easter Gift, who won the Alidland Counties’ Handicap at Warwick and the Lancashire Handicap at Manchester; Count Schomberg, which he trained as a two-year-old, Martello, Bird on the Wing, and Stormy Hill. Having spent seven successful years at Curragh View he resolved to build a place of his own, and pitched upon a very desirable site on the Rathbride side of the Curragh, not far from the fox- covert, where he in due course erected his present commodious re sidence and a fine range of stabling. At the suggestion of and out of compliment to his first master, for whom Mr. Dunne enter tained the greatest regard, he named his new quarters Osborne Lodge, and from the moment he went into occupation the establish ment has prospered exceedingly. The boxes are all they should be, of good size, well drained, lighted, and ventilated, whilst the extensive yard is neatness itself, and every thing connected with the house and stables are in every particular up to date, for though a veteran at the business he fullv annreciatesthe wisdom of moving with the times, and not sticking in one groove as do some of the nlrlnv J-ionrle wrlir* r>l l n cr t.n nlfl-fashlOTlPf] lclGclS.His earlier patrons at Osborne Lodge included Captain E. B. Ashmore, the late Air. P. J. Dunne, Captain Sir Keith Eraser, Hon. A. J. Brabazon, and the late Air. S. E. Shirley, and for these gentlemen he scored many notable triumphs, winning amongst other’ races the Irish Derby of 1905 and the Liverpool Spring Cup with Air. P. J. Dunne’s Flax Park, and three years later he carried off the former event again, this time by the aid of Wild Bouquet, the property of Sir Ernest Coch rane, whose Reina captured the Irish Oaks twelve months previously. The subject of our sketch has at Osborne Lodge prepared the winners of most of the principal races in the Emerald Isle, and only last season accounted for the Phoenix Plate, the richest two-year-old event in the country, with Courier Belle, a race he also won ten years ago for Air. S. E. Shirley with Cape Soli taire. Pal o’ Aline and Kilbirnie were other smart juveniles turned out by him, and more recently Royal Weaver (now in Air. Persse’s team at Stockbridaei FlaxAleadow, Uncle Pat, Royal Hackle II., and Alay Edgar, all of whom are the property of Air. P. Cullinan, a son-in-law of Mr. P. J. Dunne, of Ascetic’s Silver fame, and who is now one of the chief patrons of the stable, have more than paid their way. Indeed, the record of the establishment has been one of steady progress, each succeeding season finding it bang up with the leaders in the table of winning trainers, and in the last nine years over two hundred races have fallen to horses hailing from the “Lodge.” All of which proves that Air. James Dunne’s hand haslost none of its cunning, and that he can hold his own with the younger genera tion. A master of his craft, the doyen of Irish trainers is universally liked, and many might envy him his vigorous health and cheery disposition. At the present time he has la nice string under his charge, including some two-year-olds which report has it are of exceptional promise, while of the matured division Courier Belle, Alay Edgar, and Royal Hackle II., who is as good as he is good-looking, should earn further laurels in the near future. No man is more assiduous in his attention to business, and being fortunate in having the assistance of a very capable head lad in “Dick” Bell, there is no reason to anticipate any break in the long-sustained run of suc cess which has attended his well- directed energies on behalf of those who send their horses to Osborne T,nrlo-p

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Issue 2135. - Vol 81

Aug, 15 1914

Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News