Jardines’ Tartan vs Dents’ Scarlet



Shivery Chivalry; Rivalry Cavalry





Tartan is a pattern consisting of criss-crossed horizontal and vertical bands in multiple colors. Tartans originated in woven wool, but now they are made in many other materials.
Tartan is particularly associated with Scotland. Scottish kilts almost always have tartan patterns.
Until the middle of the nineteenth century, the highland tartans were only associated with either regions or districts, rather than any specific clan.
Until the mid-nineteenth century that many patterns were created and artificially associated with Scottish clans, families, or institutions who were associated in some way with a Scottish heritage.
The national flag of Scotland, the Saltire or St. Andrew’s Cross, dates (at least in legend) from the 9th century, and is thus the oldest national flag still in use.
The Saltire now also forms part of the design of the Union Flag.


(1784-02-24 — 1843-02-27) William Jardine was born on a small farm near Lochmaben, Dumfriesshire, Scotland.
(1796-10-17 — 1878-12-31) Sir James Nicolas Sutherland Matheson, 1st Baronet was born in Shiness, Lairg, Sutherland, Scotland.
1832-07-01, Jardine, Matheson & Company, a partnership between William Jardine, James Matheson as opium traders was formed in China.
Scotland and Scottish culture have been attached as culture of their firm thereafter, as the colors and patterns shown in their corporate flag.


Scarlet is a type of fine and expensive woollen cloth common in Medieval England.
The name derives from the Latin scarlata, from the Arabic siqillat “fine cloth” and that again from the Persian saqirlat.
The weaving technique also had its origin in Central Asia, and made the cloth elastic by twisting the yarn.
Scarlet cloth was produced in red, white, blue, green, and brown colors, among others.
The most common color was carmine red, though, which resulted in the double meaning of the word as a color designation.
Lowther Castle is a country house in the historic county of Westmorland, the walls hung with scarlet cloth and gold enrichments.


Dent family (per. c.1820–1927), also far East opium merchants, came to prominence with the brothers and relatives.
The most famous members were the sons and nephew of William and Jane Dent.
Prominent members were Thomas, Lancelot, Wilkinson and John Dent.
Dents came from Trainlands, Crosby Ravensworth, Westmorland, North England.
English and English culture have been attached as culture of their firm thereafter, as the colors and patterns shown in their racing silk.





The largest country firm was Magniac & Co., and at the race-meeting in Macau their personnel were conspicuous by the absence of Jardines.
Then the Magniacs left China, while the senior partner in the firm being Dr William Jardine, with James Matheson as junior partner.
The two of them well on the way to creating what was to become the colossus of the China trade.
Lancelot Dent was present at the race-meeting, prominently so.
Dent & Co. was a firm rivalling Magniac’s in the opium trade.
Between Lancelot Dent and Dr William Jardine lay a deep and implacable antipathy.
The reasons for which will probably never be known.
It might be due to Jardines and Dents had long period of hostile relationship in Opium business.


The racing rivalry between the Jardine and the Dent stables for the most valuable stakes and best Cups began in Northern China, Macau and Hong Kong .
The stables were not organized by the actual firms, but by individuals within the firms, racing under various names.


The Jardines‘ taipans and senior members had racing names such as:
‘Mr Johnstone’: Dark-blue, Silver Braid and Buttons, Cerise Cap
‘Mr John Peel’: Dark-blue, Silver Braid
“Mr. Higson”, ‘Mr Beresford’: Blue and Silver
‘St. Leger’, ‘Mr Percey’, ‘Mr Beresford’: Blue and White


The Dents’ camp had racing names such as:
‘Captain King’: Scarlet and White Hoop, Scarlet Cap
‘Mr. Rarey’, ‘Mr. Fitz James’: Tartan and Black Cap


The Jardinessilk basic color: Blue and White or Blue and Silver.
The Dents’ silk basic color: Scarlet and White.


In Shanghai, to which the rivalry spread, the two stables were known respectively as the Tartan and the Scarlet.
The latter sometimes referred to as ‘the other stable’, which the Dents would not have relished much, though with the public they were the more popular.





There were very few stables in Shanghai with racehorses.
Fields of three were not uncommon, and as early by that year.
There were rumors that in some races all the horses were from the same stable.
The years of the racehorse in Shanghai were artificially prolonged by the strange and peculiarly intense rivalry between the Jardine and the Dent families.
It will be remembered that between Lancelot Dent and Dr William Jardine there lay an implacable antipathy.
These being family firms, a grain of this was perpetuated in the next generation, and surfaced unexpectedly in racing.
John and Wilkinson Dent succeeded Lancelot and became major figures in Hongkong racing.
On the Jardine side there was a regular clutch. Dr William Jardine’s elder brother had six sons, all of them connected with the firm, and all of them ‘horsey’.
The youngest, Sir Robert Jardine, became a famous name in the English sporting world.


In Shanghai, Dent’s was Dent, Beale & Co., and Thomas Chay Beale was much respected as one of the founders and first organizers of Shanghai racing.
Beale was a descendant of Thomas Beale, who in Napoleonic times was head of Beale and Magniac, the firm which after several changes of name became Jardine, Matheson & Co.
When Beale was a ruined man in Macao, Dr William Jardine could have helped him, but would have nothing to do with him.
Old Beale eventually committed suicide. Chay Beale at one time worked with Jardine and Matheson, but left them to join the Dents.
When Thomas Chay Beale died, aged 46, a few days before the November meeting of 1857, the meeting was postponed for a week out of respect.


The Jardine brothers gave unfailing support in the matter of Cups, as did the Dents.
Sir Robert Jardine gave a gold Cup. The Dent reaction is not of record, however.
1858 to 1867, Dent was also appointed consul for the Kingdom of Sardinia and later the Kingdom of Italy in Hong Kong.
John Dent was noted for his luxurious lifestyle which he was reported to have spent £10,000 on a racehorse to win the Hong Kong cup.


What the Dent fraternity were doing is not recorded, but from that day forth, quietly the rivalry intensified between Dents and Jardines.
The Tartan had a sure winner, SPIDER; while the Scarlet had a smaller horse of equal merit, PONS ASINORUM.
Both Jardines and Dents were taking no chances, however.
One of the Dents organized the purchase in England of a valuable English horse fit to be an indisputable champion on the China coast.
There being no doubt of his quality, he was raced as GODOLPHIN.


When the Dents’ GODOLPHIN, making his first appearance, won the Oriental Cup, his rider received an ovation.
The truth is people preferred the Dents to the Jardines.
None of the Hongkong ‘favourites’ showed up for the rest of the day.
GODOLPHIN, at the Shanghai Spring Meeting lived up to his celebrated name, carrying all away.
The Jardine side next purchased SIR WILLIAM.
When he showed unmistakable signs of winning the Hongkong Challenge Cup race twice, the Dents bought EXETER , a splendid Australian horse who was to have a fine career in the China races.
EXETER outran SIR WILLIAM, whereupon someone in the Jardine fraternity bought HADDINGTON, who beat EXETER.
The Tartan and Scarlet horses simply dominated the Shanghai races, amid tremendous popular excitement —
‘frenzy’ was the word used 15 years later. Each side had its enthusiastic supporters.
Shanghai was experiencing a stupendous boom. Wagers and bets were reportedly enormous.


The Jardine side resorted to the same tactics, each side veiling their moves in the deepest secrecy, each determined that the other would not win the Hongkong Challenge Cup.
The trophy incidentally a Shanghailander, possibly jaundiced, described as ‘probably the ugliest piece of plate which was ever run for on a racecourse.’
The outcome was that each year one or other side purchased at high price a valuable English or Australian horse.
These raced first at the February meeting in Hongkong, and were then brought up for the May meeting in Shanghai.
When the Tartan’s ESKDALE beat PONS ASINORUM, the Scarlet stable bought NIGER.
Shanghai had its own Challenge Cup by this time, with the same value and conditions, and the Scarlet stable carried it away, NIGER winning twice in succession.


When racing started in Tientsin, the inveterate struggle spread there too.
‘This friendly rivalry’, it was dramatically called. It may have been.
The word ‘friendly’, though, occurs too frequently to inspire confidence.
Certainly in origin the rivalry was far from friendly.
At any rate, the public enjoyed it vastly, and Shanghai in particular had some terrifically exciting racing with superb horses.
But it could not possibly last. No one in Shanghai had racehorses which could compare with these,
and no one in their right mind was going to enter into so expensive a competition as this, particularly when the boom was over.


Worse than this, the Shanghai Race Club was controlled by a clique of the principal owners, who were using the Club’s money to allot high prizes for events in which their own horses were to be entered, prizes paid for out of the entry fees paid by pony owners.
Throughout, in fact, the principal owners were simply making their own private arrangements.
As an example, SIR WILLIAM was allowed a walk-over for the Bachelors’ Cup because a sufficiently lightweight rider ‘could not be found’ for EXETER. In the Champagne Cup, when LAWYER won over ROCHESTER, the latter being visibly held back,
LAWYER’s jockey was booed and hissed at the winning post, and on entering the enclosure lashed out with his whip at those nearest him. An unpleasant scene followed.
It bore all signs of being a nadir. In fact, it came to an end that very year.


When SIR WILLIAM and EXETER were entered for the Home Cup in Shanghai — 100 guineas — it became a match race.
Other owners wisely held back.
1866-05-11 ‘Black Friday’ the panic initiated by the collapse of Overend, Gurney, and Company (the Bank of the Bankers) bankrupted and bankrupted Dent & Co.
the collapse of Overend, Gurney and Company, a discount house in Lombard Street, London rocked the financial world.
This failure caused a run on many banks which in turn brought down many other businesses and forced Dent‘s to shut its Hong Kong office in the wake of the affair.
Jardine Matheson & Co averted disaster by learning the news sooner
– its mail steamer carrying news from Calcutta arrived one hour earlier than others
– and emptied its balances at a failing bank before anyone else had heard of the news in Hong Kong.
Dent building also known as Dent & Co’s Hong, in Central waterfront, was sold to other land owners afterwards.


1867-02-20 Wednesday, one of the great races in the annals of the Hongkong turf, the Challenge Cup.
By a racing name as Mr. Rarey, his EXETER won for the Dents.
Wilkinson Dent carried off the with ‘ugly’ design but ‘badly’ desired Cup. They had won, beating the Jardine brigade at last.
That was in February. By October, Dent’s legend faded out and was no more.




None of the Dent‘s name had appeared in the minutes of the Jockey Club.
In the absence of records it has been difficult to discover what part they played in the management of the old Race Fund,
Anyway, they were keen racing men, owned some fine horses, and were generous donors of trophies.


Gradually, even in Shanghai, when in circumstances which were never made clear, and with mysterious suddenness, Dent & Co. collapsed and went out of business.
The raison d’etre for the great struggle no longer existed.
The Shanghai races returned to their core element, the China ponies.


Dents had a business partnership which played a major role in the expansion of British trade in the Far East.
Their family provided an outstanding example of economic imperialism at work.
At its height the firm rivaled the now better-known Jardine Matheson partnership for supremacy of the old China trade.
Without the presumed loss of the Dents’ business records, which has radically distorted historical accounts of the opening of trade with China.
Obviously, historical facts shown that it had been eventually in favor of the Jardines.





Exeter (Listeni/ˈɛksɨtə/ or /ˈɛksɨtər/) is a historic city in Devon, England. It was the most south-westerly Roman fortified settlement in Britain, with the longest functioning city council.


Elphin small and charmingly spritely, merry, or mischievous of or like an elf.


Erin go Bragh /ˌɛrɪn ɡə ˈbrɑː/, sometimes Erin go Braugh, is the anglicisation of an Irish language phrase, Éirinn go Brách, and is used to express allegiance to Ireland. It is most often translated as “Ireland Forever”.


Faugh a Ballagh (/ˌfɔːɡ ə ˈbæləx/ FAWKH ə BAL-əkh; also written Faugh an Beallach) is a battle cry of Irish origin, meaning “clear the way”.


“Little Bo Peep” or “Little Bo Peep has lost her sheep” is a popular English language nursery rhyme, published c. 1805


Tartar, a member of any one of numerous tribes, chiefly Moslem, of Turkish origin, inhabiting the Russian Europe


Redgauntlet (1824) is a historical novel by Sir Walter Scott, set in Dumfries, Scotland in 1765, and described by Magnus Magnusson (a point first made by Andrew Lang) as “in a sense, the most autobiographical of Scott’s novels.”


Pons asinorum (Latin for “bridge of donkeys”) is the name given to Euclid’s fifth proposition in Book 1 of his Elements of geometry, also known as the theorem on isosceles triangles.


Frequently misidentified as derived from the Latin niger (“black”), Niger is derived from a series of mistranslations and geographic misplacements by Greek, Roman and Arab geographers, likely originally from Ptolomey’s descriptions of the valley Gir (a wadi in modern Algeria), and the “Lower Gir” (or “Ni-Gir”) to the south. In one local Berber language, “gher” means “watercourse”, and thus may have been derived from Berber tales of large river south of the Sahara desert.


Dead lame means the horse basically can’t move, usually after leading all too long. It can also mean ‘three legged lame’ where three of the horses legs are lame.


John Rarey technique is a method of calming horses that have become vicious and fearful of humans due to abusive handling or other traumatic events.





Jardines – 《RacingMemories.HK》
Dents – 《RacingMemories.HK》
1867-02-20 Challenge Cup – 《RacingMemories.HK》



Acknowledgement to HKJC Racing Registry for offering record data.





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