Years ago, when the sports gallery at the museum was being created, Louise (collections manager) wanted to know a bit more about Mary Smith, so I found this article by Irene Schaffer.
Mary is another widow who continued on managing her property after her husband died, but of more interest, she trained and raced horses at a time when it was very much a gentlemen-only club.
As the owner of a racehorse, her names comes up in the news a lot, but I pulled out some of the articles with a bit more depth than a list of names. Although I did include one write up of a race meeting, just to show what they’re like 🙂
RACE.-A match came off on Monday between Mr. Gee’s Jerry Sneak and Mrs. Smith’s Grimaldi, for £20 a-side. Jerry Sneak took the first heat–bolted the second between tho distance and winning post, when the race was all his own–and won the third by a couple of lengths.
(Colonial Times, 21 January 1846)
As we noticed in Wednesday’s Chronicle, the attendance on the Course, was thinner than was expected, owing to the unsettled state of the weather. The preparations made for the general accommodation of visitors would not have disgraced Epsom, Ascot, or Newmarket. The police authorities had also taken the usual precautions for perserving order and the peace, but their labor, (like love’s in some cases) was lost, and their gains were nil. The late period at which we received the lists of horses, precludes the possibility of giving more than a cursory notice of the sports.
First Day — Tuesday.
Evandale Sweepstakes of £60.
Wm. Peck’s Independence (Egremont) ; G. C. Lette’s Maid of Morven, a Snoozer ; H. Gee’s roan filly, by Jersey; and Mrs. Mary Smith’s Match’em, (Jersey) were placed. Match’em kept the lead, followed by Independence very closely, and won by a couple of lengths.
Publican’s Purse of £25
Blind Billy, Yeoman, Lady Jane, Poppet, and Mr. Gibson’s Billy, were entered, but Mr. Gibson was disqualified by mounting before weighed and Blind Billy walked over, the rest being drawn.
Mr Gee’s Atlanta, won against Blue Bonnet, and Mrs. Smith’s Turpin.
Second Day — Wednesday
Maiden Plate of £25
Heats— won by G. C. Lette’s Birmingham (Lucifer), against Gee’s Lady Lydia (Beeborough) and Mrs. Smith’s Buzzard (Jersey). The three horses were well matched, and a good race — Richardson the rider of Birmingham deserved credit for his jockeyship.
Evandale Plate, of £40
Won by the Widow’s Pet, who cantered over for the third heat; Beeborough and Blind Billy becoming lame just at the winning post.
Farmers’ Cup, of £25
Won by Mr. J. Field’s Driver, with ease, Mr. Gee’s Yeoman a good second.
Third day — Thursday.
Steeple Chase, of £30,
Won by Driver, Mr. G. Gibson’s Mountain Maid an excellent second. The ground was well marked off, and there was excellent sport, the second being very well ridden- Much money changed hands-on this race.
Consolation of £20
Mrs. Smith’s colt Buzzard cantered round.
C Field’s Deception won against Capt. Eyton’s Sailor (2) and J. Field’s Ducroz.
(Cornwall Chronicle, 30 December 1848)
An Accident occurred on the race-course on Thursday morning to one of Mrs Smith’s racers ; while galloping round he broke down, and has become totally disabled. This is to be regretted, as every horse withdrawn from the ensuing meeting must make a material difference in the sports. We hope Mrs. Smith will not allow this accident to keep her from entering other horses for the races. The horse above referred to, is Birmingham. (Cornwall Chronicle, 24 February 1849)
Sale of Blood Horses.-The sale, by Messrs. Francis & Pyle, of Mrs. Smith’s horses, took place at the Launceston Hotel. “Match’em” realised £75. Mr. Charles Field being the purchaser; “Turpin” was purchased by Mr. Edward Dease for £14 14s. The “Widow’s Pet” was not sold.
(Colonial Times, 2 March 1849)
[Just to finish off, Match’em was exported to India, and sold there.]
Lot 10. Match’em, a black entire race colt years old, 15 hands 2 inches high, bred by Mrs. Mary Smith, of Longford, and foaled 16th October, 1846, sire the high-bred imported horse, Jersey, dam Creeping Jane by Buffalo, grand dam Matilda by Bolivar, great granddam Agnes, an imported mare Match’em ran for the Launceston St. Leger, Match, 1850, was beaten by a head by Bay Middleton over a heavy course, one and a half mile, time 2m.50 sees., carrying 8st 6lbs; he is perfectly quiet and sound, and is considered by judges to be one of the best horses in the colony. Match’em is well known to Capt. Mayne, Col. Cumberland, and the officers of H.M. 96th regiment. Creeping Jane, his dam, was dam to Little John, Gift, Princess, and other celebrated race horses— 2,900 rupees. (Cornwall Chronicle, 15 March 1851)