Hardy Bros, the once peerless British rod and reel maker, has just been sold to an American company. Once, ownership of a Hardy fishing rod was as much a mark of a gentleman as a Rolls-Royce-Max Hastings’s father once remarked: ‘I’ve got three things I wanted most-a Churchill gun, a Hardy rod and a beautiful wife.’ Sadly, Hardy Bros failed to invest and innovate with the rest of the industry and has been in gentle decline for decades.
Rather more happily, the reverse is true at Glorious Goodwood, hugely popular in Edwardian times; it trod water for a few years before its revival under current owner, Lord March. With his attention to detail, Goodwood has gone from strength to strength. The elegance of the attire on Ladies’ Day was a compliment to the standards he has set on this most beautiful of racecourses.
However, for all Goodwood’s elegance, a few days earlier, the nearby Chiddingfold, Leconfield and Cowdray terrier racing offered a version of the sport where thuggery, if not exactly encouraged, was part and parcel of the proceedings. The canine warriors burst out of their starting boxes like fanged Exocets. Sometimes there was even a winner, but often proceedings got no further than a dust-up halfway down the track.
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