Mexborough & Swinton Times – Saturday 25 June 1921
Pit Pony Races.
Excellent Sport at Netherwood.
Mitchell Main Company Helps the Wombwell Relief Fund.
The old polo field et Netherwood has never held a more animated crowd then was the case un Monday, when 3,000 people witnessed pit pony races there under excellent conditions. The venue chosen was a very suitable one. Indeed no better site could possibly be conceived than this one inasmuch it was possible to arrange a straight stretch of some three furlongs with out the slightest deviation and over perfectly flat surface on excellent turf. The only disadvantage was that it is not quite as central as Wombwell Hall grounds, on which a larger crowd assembled a fortnight previously.
The event was arranged solely by the Mitchell Main Colliery Company, whose goodwill towards their employees and the township of Wombwell generally is thus interpreted. The Company had voluntary gone to the expense of erecting barriers and all other necessary equipment, and no pains had been spared to ensure that there was nothing lacking that could possibly contribute to the success of the enterprise.
The officials of the colliery, from Mr W Dallas, General Manager, downwards, were present, and employees and employers rubbed with each other on the best of good terms.
One of the most interested spectators and keenest sports in the crowd was Miss Mitchell, who had come to witness the races with a few personal friends. Miss Mitchell is a jealous concern in the exploits of the Mitchell ponies belonging to the Mitchell Main Company, and subsequently threw out a sporting offer to find a pony to defeat Doctor, the Dearne Valley “crack.”
“Bookies” were present in swarms, and a roaring business was done with the familiar “Crown and Anchor.”
On the whole punters and a fairly good chance was the “bookies” eventually packed up their rate traps with an air of smug satisfaction. The weather was somewhat boisterous but otherwise fine and clear.
Ponies from all the local collieries competed and a good deal of interest was centred in the prospects of the Dearne Valley pony, Doctor, the hero of the Doncaster Pit Pony Saint Leger and subsequent winner of many races locally. The ponies all round were handsomely groomed, their glossy coats and sleek condition reflecting the greatest credit upon the trainers, Mr E White (Darfield Main), Mr C Wraith (Mitchell Main), Mr Ball (Cottonwood) Mr Wigglesworth (Wombwell Main) and Mr Savlile.
The jockeys – all genuine pit pony drivers by instinct and calling – had a great day, though there zeal was somewhat curbed by the condition that neither spurs nor whips were to be carried. Saddles too were disallowed, and it could only have been by dint and consummate skill and horsemanship that jockey and mount were able to maintain contact at the almost incredible speed at which the pony’s travelled.
On the whole the races were keenly contested as between one colliery and another, the Mitchell Main and Darfield May Collieries only scoring the greater number of successes because they had a higher proportion of horses in the running.
Doctor, the Dearne Valley pony, won his race, but would certainly have been given a very close fight by Spanker, who ran like a stag, in the event of the day, (the Derby), from which Doctor had been excluded for the sake of sport. Doctor is a really handsome creature, and there is certainly some ground for the suspicion that he has other than pit pony blood in his veins.