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15 Feb 19 23:48
Date Joined: 05 Apr 02
| Topic/replies: 25,876 | Blogger: themightymac's blog
Came across this wonderful article on Crisp and thought it was worth repeating here for other racing enthusiasts to enjoy.

1963 dkb/br g: Rose Argent (GB) – Wheat Germ (GB)
Owner: Sir Chester Manifold
Trainers: Australia – D. Judd     England - F. Winter 
Died: May 1984 aged 21     
Prize-money $38,560

Career Highlights
WON 24/01/68 Pakenham: Pakenham Hurdle-14f
WON 28/02/68 Mornington: Redditch Hurdle-14 ½f
WON 09/03/68 Flemington: Pines Hurdle-2miles
WON 05/10/68 Flemington: Bourke Hurdle-16f
WON 16/10/68 Caulfield: Oby Hurdle-16f & 65 yds
WON 19/07/69 Caulfield: Redleap Steeple-16f
WON 26/07/69 Moonee Valley: Hiskens Steeple-2 ½ miles
WON 04/11/69 Flemington: Cup Steeple-16 ½f
WON 27/06/70 Moonee Valley: Melrose Steeple-16f
WON 11/07/70 Flemington: Footscray Steeple-16 ½f
WON 25/07/70 Moonee Valley: Hiskens Steeple-2 ½ miles
WON 11/03/71 Wincanton: Broadstone Handicap Steeplechase-2 miles
WON 16/03/71 Cheltenham: National Hunt Champion Steeplechase-2 miles
WON 27/10/71 Ascot: Top Rank Club Steeplechase-2 miles
WON 16/11/71 Nottingham: Colwick Cup-2 miles 6f
WON 04/02/72 Sandown Park: Gainsborough Steeple-3 miles 118yds
WON 26/02/72 Kempton Park: Yellow Pages Coventry Pattern Chase-3 miles
WON 03/03/73 Newbury: Geoffrey Gilbey Steeple-2 ½ miles
WON 27/10/73 Newbury: Hermitage Chase-2 miles 4f
WON 10/11/73 Doncaster: Pattern Chase-3 ¼ miles

2nd 18/01/68 Kyneton: Kyneton Hurdle-14f
2nd 05/11/68 Flemington: Cup Hurdle-16f
2nd 16/11/68 Sandown: Highway Hurdle-16f
2nd 23/05/70 Caulfield: Gordon Steeple-16f
2nd 06/11/71 Sandown Park: Pattern Chase-2miles 18yds
2nd 14/02/73 Ascot: Whitbread Trial Hcp Steeple-3 miles
2nd 31/03/73 Aintree: Grand National Steeplechase-4 miles 3 ½f

3rd 13/03/73 Cheltenham: National Hunt Champion Steeplechase-2 miles
3rd 17/10/73 Worcester: Battenhall Hurdle-2 miles
3rd 04/01/75 Haydock: Great Lancashire Chase-3 miles

Crisp was bred by Sir Thomas Chester Manifold (1897-1979) at Talindert, his sprawling country estate at Camperdown in Victoria.
Sir Chester was a racing man through and through. He was a member of the V.R.C. committee from 1937 to 1962, serving the last nine years as chairman.

He was knighted in 1953 and was among the first inductees to be honoured in Australia’s Racing Hall Of Fame when it was established in 2001.

During his years on the V.R.C. committee, Sir Chester became increasingly concerned at the rise in illegal off-course wagering through SP bookmakers, and the negative effect it was having on the prosperity of the racing industry. In order to combat this threat, Sir Chester began lobbying for the legalisation of off-course betting agencies.

In 1958, the Victorian government passed legislation that allowed the operation of TAB agencies, but would not fund them, so, in his capacity as chairman of the V.R.C. and with a bank loan of £10,000, Sir Chester set-up the TAB himself. The first TAB outlets started operating in Victoria in March 1961 and through his efforts in establishing them, Sir Chester came to be known as the ‘Father of the TAB’ and served as its first chairman from 1962 to 1968.

When Sir Chester bred Crisp, he was hopeful the son of Rose Argent and Wheat Germ would develop into a top-class galloper, after all, Sir Chester was no stranger to owning top class horses. He won the 1953 Australian Cup with his classy stayer, Arbroath and three years later watched his wife and daughter lead-in their two year old colt, Misting, as winner of the Lightning Stakes. Leave and Dunsinane were also top class stakes winning gallopers who carried Sir Chester’s colours to victory.

As it turned out, Crisp gave Sir Chester very little to get excited about in the early years of his career. Crisp’s career began in country Victoria. He had two starts (Bacchus Marsh & Casterton) as a two year old where he was hopelessly outclassed on both occasions. He started his three year old season no better than he’d ended his two year old season, failing badly over a mile in a Newstead maiden. He turned his form around at his next start, winning over 1 ½ miles at Woodend before rounding off his three year old season with failures at Geelong and Moonee Valley.

Returning to racing in late ’67 as a four year old, Crisp had two starts at Caulfield, failing badly in both races. Crisp seemed too one-paced, he lacked that turn of foot needed to finish off a race.  Watching Crisp finish down the track on those four successive occasions, his trainer, Des Judd advised Sir Chester Manifold to call it quits with the black gelding and turn him out to Talindert, as he was too slow to persevere with. Rather than giving-up on Crisp, Sir Chester suggested they try Crisp over the jumps, after all, he didn’t seem to have any problem staying, so the jumps might suit him, Judd agreed, and Crisp’s jumping career began.

Crisp's third start as a four year old was at Kyneton, where, in his first attempt at the hurdles, he was beaten a head by Silmac. The performance was encouraging and confirmed to Sir Chester and Judd that the decision to try Crisp over the jumps was the right one, and they just might have a talented  jumper on their hands.

Complete Jumps Record
41 Starts - 20 Wins 7 Seconds 3 Thirds

Rematch with Red Rum
The presence of both Red Rum and Crisp scared off the opposition and turned the Pattern Chase into a match-race between last season’s Grand National winner and runner-up. With both horses carrying 11.10 it meant that Crisp was meeting Red Rum 23 lbs better than when they last met in the Grand National. Both horses had been in top form coming into the race. Crisp had kicked off the new season with a third at Worcester followed by a record breaking win at Newbury at his previous start while Red Rum was undefeated this season having won his last three. With the level weight advantage, punters rallied behind Crisp and sent him out an odds on favourite. The two great horses kept each other company for most of the race, then, with four fences to jump, Pitman released the brakes on Crisp and the big black gelding took his revenge on Red Rum, running home 8 lengths clear of the Grand National champion.     

Sir Chester and Fred Winter retired Crisp to the property of Winter’s good friend Capt. John Trotter at East Layton Hall, near Richmond in North Yorkshire. Crisp became a hunts horse and hunted with Capt. Trotter for the next eight years.
Crisp died in 1984 and was buried beside a small rock wall at East Layton where a rock headstone marks his final resting place.
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Report EVILROYSLADE February 16, 2019 7:36 AM GMT
Thanks for this Mac. One of racing's greats. That National performance has to be the best, even in " defeat".
Report driver2 February 16, 2019 7:45 AM GMT
There has to be a big chunk of this article missing!
Report stewarts rise February 16, 2019 8:29 AM GMT
CRISP= Comprehensive Racing Investment Service for the Public.
Report Ibrahima Sonko February 16, 2019 9:09 AM GMT
Report dunlaying February 16, 2019 11:55 AM GMT
How about riding to Hounds with Crisp underneath you? I bet that was the thrill of a lifetime .
Report Giddy February 16, 2019 12:07 PM GMT
Lovely memories and the fences were proper fences!
Report McCoy Carp February 16, 2019 12:19 PM GMT
My 1st memory of racing, Crisps defeat in the Grand National.
Report acey deucy February 16, 2019 12:35 PM GMT
Brilliant probably my second favourite Horse after Red Rum.
Report acey deucy February 16, 2019 12:36 PM GMT
Riding to Hounds ffs !!LaughLaughLaugh
Report themightymac February 16, 2019 11:42 PM GMT
Conceding Red Rum 23lbs in the Grand National and running him so close was one of the greatest efforts ever in the history of the race, if not the best. We will never again see such a tremendous performance again and that was when the fences and course proved a serious test of jumping and endurance.
Report saxon farm February 17, 2019 1:05 AM GMT
The 1973 Grand National    is my favourite race of all time.
Report sparrow February 17, 2019 8:20 AM GMT
Crisp's performance in the National that day was the best you will ever see in that race.
Report stewarts rise February 17, 2019 8:40 AM GMT
Think that this is the missing text from original post.

At his first attempt at the hurdles at Kyneton, he was beaten a head, enough to convince “Chessie” and Judd that their decision  was the right one - he had three more starts as a four-year-old, winning at Pakenham and Mornington before recording his first city success in the Pines Hurdle at Flemington.

After a spell and three conditioning runs on the flat, Crisp won his next two starts over hurdles ib Melbourne and then was runner-up in his next two runs.before suffering a leg infection.

With ever-increasing weights, Manifold and Judd decided to switch the horses training the following season towards the higher and tougher steeple-chasing  and Crisp's career really took off (pardon the pun).

His first start over steeples gave an indication of what was to come - Crisp was sent out an even-money favourite in the Redleap Steeple in July, 1919 and finished 30 lengths in front of the runner-up; followed next start by a win in the prestigious A. V. Hiskens Steeplechase at Moonee Valley by 20 lengths carrying 70 kg).

As a six-year old, Crisp won steeplechases carrying up to 77.5 kgs and repeated his 1968 achievement by again winning the Hiskens, this time by 12 lengths, carrying an unprecedented 76 kg. and taking 11 seconds off his own course record!

Sadly, this was the last Australian racegoers were to see of Crisp - weighted out of races locally (he was allocated 12st 13lb or 82kg when nominated for the Broadmeadows Steeplechase), his connections decided to send to him England where jumping events are more of an integral part of the racing scene.

"If I continue to race Crisp here with those sorts of weights he will eventually fall and probably kill himself.  "I don't intend to see such a great horse crucified because there aren't enough races with a 12.7 maximum" Sir Chester Manifold was quoted as saying.

As it turned out, it was not England that was first to see the Australian champion.

Before the English trip could be organised, Crisp, along with eight other foreign gallopers from five nations was invited to race in the inaugural running of the $US100,000 Colonial Cup, a steeplechase over 17 fences at Camden, South Carolina. It proved a disappointing venture, after being challenged for the lead throughout, Crisp faded to finish seventh - it was probably also a disappointing exercise for the South Carolina club with U.S. horses finishing in all three placings.

Manifold had planned to place Crisp in the English stables of the champion recently-retired Australian jockey, “Scobie” Breasley, but he only trained for flat racing and didn’t have the facilities to train a jumps horse; instead he suggested specialist jumps trainer, Fred Winter as the ideal candidate. An ex-champion jumps jockey, Winter was one of the top National Hunt trainers in the country with a large team of more than forty jumpers at his stables at Lambourn, in Berkshire. 

England didn't know what to expect as Australian horses racing overseas were then something of a rarity - the local handicapper took few chances and allotted Crisp 12 stone 7lb. Or 79.5 kg in his first race on British soil, the Broadstone Handicap Steeplechase at Wincanton - an event he won easily by 15 lengths at his first start for six months.

Crisp's next start and his first major race in the U.K. was the 1971 Cheltenham Festival (now the Queen Mother Champion Steeplechase) and another easy victory followed - if the English public were impressed with Crisp’s first win, they must have been in awe seeing him give his seven rivals a lesson in jumping with an effortless 25 length win (this was the only start that Crisp had in England where he wasn’t ridden by Richard Pitman who suffered a broken ankle in a fall the day after the Wincanton meeting).   

His connections decided to enter Crisp the following year in the Cheltenham Gold Cup over three-and-a-quarter mile but the champion two miler tired towards the end and finished fifth, raising some doubts at his ability to stay the nearly four-and-half miles of England's premier jumps race, the Grand National at Aintree.  (To bring the race into a local context, the distance of 7,140 metres is roughly two-and-a-quarter Melbourne Cups with 30 large obstacles and the famous Becher’s Brook to be negotiated twice).

Nevertheless, "the black Kangaroo" as English racegoers called Crisp was established as 9/1 equal-favourite with the up-and-coming English champion Red Rum in the 1973 event.


Crisp was allocated a massive 12 stone (76.5 kg), a weight that has now been banned for many years.

There is an old saying that the difference between genius and insanity is a wafer-thin line - the adage could never be better proven when, despite the lingering doubt over Crisp's ability at the distance, Crisp's rider Richard Pitman adopted daring tactics, taking the horse out at one stage to a lead of 33 lengths.

At the final jump, Crisp was still 15 lengths in of Red Rum (carrying 24 lbs. or 11 kg. less) but tiring noticeably on the 494-yard run-in, Red Rum made up considerable ground, and a few strides from the finishing post he grabbed Crisp by a mere three-quarters of a length to win his first of a record three Grand Nationals and title of England's greatest ever steeplechaser.

(Like that of many other Australian racegoers of the time, there was a tear or three on the pillow of the author as the drama unfolded in Australia at around 3.30 a.m.).

Despite his defeat, Crisp’s front-running resulted in an unbelievable 20 seconds off a National record that had stood for 40 years and was not bettered until 1997, by which time many of the fences had been reduced in size.

Pitman gallantly blamed himself for Crisp’s defeat - not because of the front-running tactics, but because when Crisp started to tire with around 400 metres to run, he moved away from the rails and Pitman, uncertain of what was behind him, straightened the horse up, causing Crisp to lose momentum for half a dozen strides, probably the difference between winning and losing.  Genius or insanity, love or hate?.


“Red Rum wins, but Crisp is immortal”

Although beaten, Crisp won the hearts of England that day - regular race-goers and those who perhaps watched two races a year on television - the Derby and Grand National - , and their sentiments were brilliantly summed up by the front-page headline in Britain’s Sunday Telegraph on the morning after the race - “Red Rum wins, but Crisp is immortal!”.

The following season, a set weight steeplechase was programmed at the Doncaster track, with both Crisp and Red Rum entered.  Faced with the prospect of competing with perhaps the two greatest 'çhasers of the latter 20th century and maybe of all time, all  the other runners were gradually withdrawn and the event became a match-race at level weights. Crisp won by 10 lengths, but in so doing was injured.

Perhaps it was a case of going to the well once too often - Crisp was brought back again as an eleven-year-old, but whether it was injury or just advancing old age, his six starts brought just one moderate third placing before he was sensibly retired after crashing through an obstacle in what proved his last race.

Sir Chester and Winter retired Crisp to the property of Winter’s good friend Captain John Trotter at East Layton Hall, near Richmond in North Yorkshire.  After allowing him time to recover, Trotter used Crisp as a hunts horse  for about eight years Crisp died in 1984 and was buried beside a small rock wall at East Layton where a rock headstone marks his final resting place.

Red Rum returned to Aintree in 1974 and won the National carrying the 12 stone carried by Crisp the previous year (a record since the Second World War), finished second in 1975 and 1976, and incredibly as a 12-year-old, took his record third Grand National triumph in what is regarded as one of the greatest moments in U.K. horse racing history.  Remarkably, he took out this race carrying six pounds less than in his 1974 win.

He was being prepared for a sixth attempt in 1978, but suffered a hairline fracture in training and was retired before the event.

An anecdote that testified as to Crisp's raw jumping ability was related to the author some ten years later from a retired jockey.

There was a particularly dangerous practice at the time called "half-lengthing"  - the idea being that a jockey coming to a hurdle or fence would try and position his horse a half-length in front of his nearest rival, the idea being that the trailing horse would instinctively jump at the same time as his own mount and crash into the obstacle.

The jockey confessed he had tried the tactic to upset Crisp early on his jumping career - the relatively inexperienced Crisp took the bait and leapt at the same time, but to the jockey's amazement sailed past him in mid-air and by the time all eight feet were on the ground was a length in front of him!

CRISP the computer system (not sure whether there was an alternative acronym) was implemented by Real-Time Systems in two phases, with Telephone Betting on 25 June, 1979 and Cash Outlets 24 November, 1980.

CRISP the racehorse was inducted in the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2013, joining his owner Sir Chester Manifold (1897-1979) who was one of the twelve inaugural inductees in 2001.   Carbine, along with Phar Lap and Kingston Town were the three horses nominated.
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