1854 : Casterton Races, December 26th, 1854

"Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser" (Vic.) Monday, 8th January 1855.

CASTERTON RACES. December 26th, 1854.

Stewards - George Carmichael, Esq., Wm Leven, Esq.

First Race - For the "Publican's Purse" of Twenty Sovereigns, entrance added of two sovereigns each horse. Five started

  • Mr. McLellan's Mosquito 1st.
  • Mr. Leonard's Dora 2nd
Second Race - for Twelve Sovereigns, entrance added of one pound ten shillings each horse. Five started
  • Mr. McPhee's Grey Horse 1st.
  • Mr. Dougheny's Bay Mare 2nd.
Third Race - For Eight Sovereigns, entrance added of one pound each horse. Four started.
  • James King's Black Horse lst.
  • Charles Mitchell's Bay Horse 2nd.
Fourth Race - For Saddle and Bridle Five started.
  • Mr Leonard's Black Mare 1st.
  • Master Learmonth's Grey Pony 2nd.
  • This was a most exciting race, both heats were hotly contested for.
Fifth Race - A Hurry Scurry, stakes. Twelve started.
  • Mr. J. Kirby's bay horse Tross 1st.
  • Messrs. McEachern's grey Mare 2nd
The Sports of the day passed off most agreeably, and perfect harmony, prevailed.

1857 : Casterton Winter Races, 9th June 1857

"Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser" (Vic.) Friday, 19th June 1857.

The sporting conmmunity of this township and its vicinity again assembled on the racecourse on the 9th inst, to try the merits of their respective horses, and altho' a wet morning a goodly number of the fairer sex graced the ground with their presence.
The first race which every one expected to be very exciting was, owing to the bolting of Active, a very hollow affair. Sir Robert a bad tempered horse, well ridden by Day having it all his own way.
The second race resulted in another disappointment, to Mr. T. Henty, his mare bolting across the other horses immediately after starting. The third event was well contested, ultimately falling to the lot of Mr Henty's Raleigh. Woodbine well ridden by Mr. Featherstonhaugh won the hurdle race cleverly.

CASTERTON CUP.-A sweepstakes of 2 2s. each with 25 added. Weight for age. 2 miles.

  • Mr Bell's Sir Robert (Day) ......... 1
  • Mr T. Henty's Active (Walsh) .. 2
Sir Robert took a commanding lead, which he kept all round, and won easily. Active having bolted.

GLENELG STAKES.-A sweepstakes of 2 with 20 added, for all horses that never won twenty pounds advertised money. One mile and a half. one event. Weight 10 stone.

  • Mr Curtis' Bonnie Dundee (Chaffey)... 1
  • Mr Leonard's Pretty Cockey (Owner) .. 2
  • Mr Bell's Charcoal (Day)........................ 3
  • Mr Henty's Dairymaid (Harcoan) ........ 4
At starting, Dairymaid went away with Charcoal in close atttendance, Bonnie Dundee third, and Pretty Cockey (getting a bad start) last, which positions they maintained until they came into the straight running, when Bonnie Dundee passed Charcoal, and inside the distance post, collared and passed Dairymaid, who however managed to get her nose in front when within a few yards of the winning post, and won by half a neck. A protest was entered against Dairymaid by the rider of Bonnie Dundee and proved, consequently the race was given to the horse.

SUBSCRIBERS PURSE.-A sweepstakes of 1 10s. with 15 added, for all horses that never started for advertised money, one mile and a quarter heats, weight 10 stone.

  • Mr. Bell's Conde (Fitzgerald) ......... 1 0 0 1
  • Mr. Henty's Raleigh (Harcoan) ...... 2 2 1 2
  • Mr. Leonard's Matilda (Day).......... 3 1 2 0
  • Mr. Carmichaels Lovat (Chaffey) ... 0 0 3 0
  • Mr. Ralston's Sheperdess (Gray) ... 0 0 0 0
  • Mr. Botterill's Colonel (Edwards) ... 0 0 0 0
In this race Conde was objected to in consequence of a cross, and the stakes given to Raleigh.

HURDLE RACE.-A sweepstakes of 5 sovs., with 20 sovs., added. About 2 miles. Weight for age.

  • Mr. Henty's Woodbine (Featherstonhaugh .. 1
  • Mr. Carmichael's Mocking Bird (Harcoan) .. 2
  • Mr. Bell's Don (Bell) .................... 3
  • Mr. Leonard's Roney (Wilson) ......... 4
  • Mr. Ralston's Mazeppa (Grickmore)... 0
Woodbine took a strong lead, the others following in a cluster. At the fourth fence Mazeppa fell, and was out of the race. After jumping the last fence, Mocking Bird gradually drew upon Woodbine, but never quite got up. Woodbine winning.

Match for 20 each, over the Hurdle race course.

  • Mr. Carmichael's Mocking Bird (Harcoan) .. 1
  • Mr. Ralston's Mazeppa (Wilson) .............. 2
They ran in close company to the fourth fence, when Mocking Bird fell, and Harcoan lost a stirrup, and by the time he was in the saddle and going again, Mazeppa had nearly reached the next fence, but Harcoan persevered, riding very steadily, and ultimately caught Mazeppa close to home, and beat him by two lengths.

A sweepstake of 1 each, won by Mr. Leonard's Pretty Cocky (Day) beating seven others.

Match for 10 each. Half a mile.

  • Mr. Gray's Maid of the Mill (Gray)... 1
  • Mr. Ralston's Harkaway (Chaffey) ... 2
Maid of the Mill led all the way, and won by four lengths.

A sweepstake of 10 each. 1 miles. Weight for age.

  • Mr. Carmichael's Mocking Bird (Harcoan) .. 1
  • Mr. Gray's Maid of the Mill (Day) ............. 2
  • Mr. Courtis' Bonnie Dundee (Chaffey) ........ 3
Maid of the Mill went away at a great pace, the two others close together a long way behind. The Maid kept the lead until near home, when Mocking Bird came up and beat her cleverly by half a length.

1857 : Casterton Racing

"Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser" (Vic.) Monday, 13th July 1857.

CASTERTON.-Casterton bids fair to become the Derby of Victoria, and its little sister Sandford will probably take the place of Doncaster, under the able racing stewardship of Mr. Middleton and Jack the Pointer, the latter being a most enthusiastic patron of the turf. We have all heard of "Sandford and Merton," and Sandford and Middleton will be soon as popular. Mr. Chaffey seems to be the ruling spirit at Casterton, and the manner in which the races are got up there reflects the highest credit on the committee, the only slight drawback being a discrepancy in thie quality of the bets, "thirty shillings a side with fifty pounds added" being calculated to remind one of Sir John Falstaff's pennyworth of bread to a most incredible quantity of sack. It shows considerable spirit on the part of the members of the Casterton committee to get up these things so well, and we wish them every success, and hope Mr. Featherstonhaugh will win all his steeple chases cleverly. The great champion of the course "Wando Vale" has not yet sent any of his stud to win laurels on our picaniny Derby ; but next season he may perhaps patronise our band of brothers, nor leave it any longer a matter of regret that Illions children find no Hector.-Communicated.

1859 : The Casterton Races, 15th & 17th February, 1859

"South Australian Register" (Adelaide, SA) Wednesday, 2nd March 1859

CASTERTON RACES [From our Border Correspondent.]
Stewards- Messrs. E. Kirby, Thomas Henty, John S. Pearson, William Leonard, and Thomas Kirby.

This annual border meet came off on Tuesday and Wednesday, the 15th and 16th February. There were as usual many South Australians present, among whom were Mr. Seymour, J.P., and Mr. G. C. Hawker, M.P. but the attendance was not equal to that at Penola. There were three publicans' booths on the course, and the company was enlivened by the drolleries of the clever West and his band of serenaders. Much credit is due to Mr. George Chaffey, the proprietor of the Glenelg Inn for the very superior accommodation afforded to the public. There were edibles of every description. The parlour of Host Chaffey, in which the magistrates hold their sittings, is furnished in a style very much superior to those of most bush houses. The enterprising Bowden attended with the Penola stud, and Carmichael's "Nancy" won the St. Leger. Much dissatifaction was caused by the introduction of an old pair of weighing scales in the yard, and there were other grounds of complaint which tended in some degree to lessen the harmony of the meeting. However, West, and the serenaders, by their wit and fun, succeeded in restoring good humour. The loafing society and light-fingered gentry mustered in strong numbers, and made a raid the second night on the unsuspecting slumberers at the Glenelg Inn, depriving, it is said, the worthy Chaffey of a valuable gold watch. That well-known and celebrated jockey, Billy Trainor, when in the arms of Morpheus, was eased of 15 and his betting book, which was found in the stable yard next morning, minus the three 5 notes. A large number of decent, respectable people also complained of being robbed. Among other petty minor acts, someone walked off with "your own's" poncho. One fellow was detected at table with his hand in the pocket of one of Mr. Bowden's youthful grooms. Two were taken into custody, but the rest of the gang escaped.

The sports of the first day were as follows :-

  • FIRST RACE.- Maiden Plate, a sweepstakes of 6 sovs., with 50 sovs. added, for all horses that have never won an advertised prize. One mile and a half. Weight for age. Won by Mr. Brewer's "Bushman" (Edwards).
  • SECOND RACE.- Sweapstakes, of 10 sovs., with 40 sovs. added, for all horses. Three miles ; one event. Weight for age. Won by Mr. Mullaly's "Bonnie Dundee" (Owner).
  • THIRD RACE.- Free Handicap of 60 sovs., for all horses. One mile and three quarters ; one event. Entrance, 6 sovs., half forfeit. Won by Mr. Featherstone's "Tramp" (Edwards).
  • FOURTH RACE.- Hack Race, a sweepstakes of 2 sovs., with 20 sovs. added. Once round the course. Heats. Weight for age. The winner to be sold by auction, on the ground, for 40 ; any surplus to go to the Race Fund. Won by Mr. Harwin's "Dauntless."
On the second day :-
  • FIRST RACE - St. Leger, a sweepstakes of 5 sovs., with 60 sovs., added, for all three-year-old colts and fillies. One mile and a half ; one event. Weight, 8 st. 7 lbs. Won by Mr. Carmichael's "Nancy" (Edwards).
  • SECOND RACE. - Open Handicap of 100 sovs., for all horses. Two miles and a half ; one event. Entrance, 10 sovs., half forfeit. Won by Mr. Chaffey's "Mystery" (Trainor).
  • THIRD RACE.- Welter Stakes, a sweepstakes of 5 sovs., with 50 sovs. added. Two miles. Welter weights. Gentlemen riders. Won by Mr. Mullaly's "Bonnie Dundee" (Owner).
  • FOURTH RACE.- Handicap Steeplchase, a sweepstakes of 10 sovs., half forfeit, with 60 sovs. added. About two miles and a half, over eight four-feet fences. Won by Mr. Pearson's "Topthorn" (Owner).

On Thursday an important private match was run for between "Bonnie Dundee" and "Tramp" for 100 a side, when "Bonnie," rode by William Trainor, won cleverly by about a length amidst the cheers of the spectators.

Two Hurdle Races concluded the sports, which were won by a horse belonging to Mr. Pearson, beating several others.

1859 : Portland Court Case as a follow-up to Casterton Races in February

"Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser" (Vic.) Friday, 15th July 1859.

The General Sessions were opened on Thursday, the 14th, at ten o'clock, by His Honor Judge Forbes. The Judge having taken his seat. The following jury were empanelled : T. Cameron, J. Hardy, C. Webber, G. Day, G. Bush, T. Watt, D. Kay, T. Watson, G. Hinkley, J. Henty, J. Tooke, W. Holmes T. Cameron foreman.
James Rushby, charged with stealing a gold watch belonging to R. G. MacPherson, and also with receiving the same, knowing it to be stolen.
Mr. Aitkin appeared for the prosecution.
John Price sworn : I am a constable. On the 29th April I arrested prisoner on the charge of stealing a watch, and of having a stolen watch in his possession. I shewed him the watch at the lock up, and he said he had possessed the watch four years. He afterwards told me that he saw a man pick up the watch at Casterton, and that he bought it from him for 10.
R. G. MacPherson said : I live at Muntham. I manage the sheep department at Mr. E. Henty's station. The watch produced is mine. I lost it about 18th Feb. at the Glenelg Inn, Casterton. I was sleeping there, and I put the watch on the table. A person I knew slept in the same room. In the morning my watch was gone. I said nothing to the person who had slept in the room. There were two persons besides myself sleeping in the room. The races were going on at Casterton at the time.
By His Honor : I had the watch 7 years.
Clement Owen. I am a watchmaker at Sandford. The watch produced belongs to Mr. McPherson. It was brought by T. Horne to have a key put to it. I did not know it was McPherson's at the time. On the 29th April prisoner brought me the watch to have the hands fastened. I offered him 15 for it. He said he would not sell it, as it belonged to his daughter. I gave information to the police.
By a juror : when prisoner brought the watch to me I knew it was a stolen watch. Mr. McPherson gave me information about the watch.
Thomas Horne, carrier, was sworn, but could not identify the watch.
Michael Henry Pendegast, a constable at Casterton, sworn to having seen the prisoner at the Glenelg Inn, Casterton, during the races.
His Honor having summed up the jury retired and after three-quarters of an hour returned a verdict of Not Guilty.

Compiled by Daryl Povey
Casterton & District Historical Society.