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Ninety years ago in the London Horse and Hound, the revered turf scribe writing under the name of Audax noted that August Belmont had sold his St Leger winner Tracery (by Belmont’s stallion Rock Sand and better known to posterity as the broodmare sire of Man o’ War).

The writer reported that the stallion had sold to Senor Unzue from the Argentine for the price of 50,000 pounds sterling. Audax further noted that “I never saw the Doncaster race won so easily as by Rock Sand’s son.”

Then the writer went on to describe the colt’s race for the Ascot Gold Cup, which Audax thought Tracery should have won “but for an unforeseen accident.”

In his account of the race, Audax said that “Jackdaw led the field a good gallop until approaching the bend for home, when Whalley, who had been handling Tracery with admirable judgment, sent the son of Rock Sand to the head of affairs. Suddenly a half-daft man appeared on the course with two flags and a pistol, pointing the latter at Tracery, who charged into him and turned a complete somersault.”

Sheer idiocy is not a modern invention.

After his purchase and transfer to Argentina, Tracery founded a lasting male line in South America that enriched their breeding for generations.