Race week was a big event, especially around Nairobi. All of society turned out, especially as many of them had horses in the race. This included Lord Delamere and Beryl Markham’s father, Mr. Clutterbuck, many of whose horses Beryl herself trained. So the races of the July meeting were eagerly watched with special celebration. His Lordship Sir E. Northey (the governor) and his wife Lady Northey had returned to the colony from a visit to England and, on their return, Governor Northey had officially declared that the British East African Protectorate was now The Kenya Colony.
The turf’s condition for these meets was declared to be “excellent” and the Kings African Rifle Band “rendered pleasant music” while people watched and mingled in the afternoon. The event was overseen by many officials. There was a “timekeeper” and a “clerk of the scales” and a “clerk of the course” as well as a handicapping committee since betting on the races was popular. Of course, a veterinary surgeon was also on hand as well as an auctioneer as many animals were sold before and after the races.
Horses with names such as Redwing, Joffre, Karego, Jimmy, Delphic, Miss Tucka, Chongo, Mbwe, Wiley Scot, and Refrigerator ran in the Divided Pony Handicaps, A Kenya Steeplechase, the Produce Stakes (whose prize was 100 pounds), the Jardin Lafitte Cup, and an Open Selling Handicap where the winner would be sold afterwards. This year, the winner of the Open Selling Handicap was a horse named “Joffre” owned and trained by C. B. Clutterbuck. The horse was “knocked down (purchased at auction by) to Mr. Greswolde Williams for 1,000 Rupees. After the races, “the whole of Mr. H. Tarlton’s stable” was sold with the exception of “Redwing” who placed third in the sixth race. All Jockeys were Englishmen.
Balls at The New Stanley finished up the festivities. By 1921, The Jockey Club replaced the long standing Turf Club.
NEXT WEEK: more Nairobi fun!
NOTE: These blogs are meant to give some insight into the life and times of my fictional character, Jade del Cameron. Jade’s mystery adventures take place in post WWI Africa. To date they are: Mark of the Lion, Stalking Ivory, and The Serpent’s Daughter, all available in trade paperback.. The fourth book The Leopard’s Prey, IS available in hardcover. For more information, visit the website: www.suzannearruda.com and follow short updates on http://twitter.com/SuzanneArruda
The cover of The Leopard’s Prey is also an online puzzle. Go to http://www.allstarpuzzles.com/picture/index.html, scroll down, and click on “It’s A Mystery” (if you are reading this as an archived article and the puzzle title doesn’t show, then it has been archived. Go to the bottom of that page and click on puzzle 2221)
Labels: 1920, Beryl Markham, British East Africa, Clutterbuck, East African Turf Club, Governor Northey., horses, Jade del Cameron, Kenya Colony, Lord Delamere, Nairobi, polo, Protectorate, racing