Dynasty West to East; Empire Ups and Downs
Jardine, the surname, may be derived from the French “jardin” meaning “garden” or “orchard”.
Researchers have confirmed the documented history of the name in Lowland Scotland and northern England.
William Jardine (1784-02-24 — 1843-02-27) was a Scottish physician and merchant who co-founded the Hong Kong based conglomerate Jardine, Matheson and Company.
Being one of five children of Andrew Jardine, he was born on a small farm near Lochmaben, Dumfriesshire, Scotland.
1832-07-01 Jardine, Matheson & Company, a partnership between William Jardine, James Matheson as senior partner, was formed in China.
It became one of the most powerful, resourceful and influential corporations in the East.
William’s eldest brother, David, had five children.
All four of David’s sons left home and worked with Jardine, Matheson & Co. in Hong Kong and South China.
They were starting as clerks and eventually becoming partners or managing partners or Taipans in the firm.
From the first period of Hong Kong racing, Jardine, Matheson & Co. provided a continuous succession of competent gentlemen jockeys.
Of the three brothers, David, Joseph and Robert Jardine, the last-named (afterwards Sir Robert) was apparently the best.
(1818 – 1856) David Jardine was a Scottish merchant in China and Hong Kong and the member of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong
(1822 – 1861) Joseph Jardine was a taipan of the Jardine Matheson & Co. and member of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong
(1825 – 1905) Robert Jardine, 1st Baronet and Member of parliament.
Jardines, as the firm, built the first substantial house and established their head office on the recently acquired island of Hong Kong.
This began an era of increased prosperity and expansion.
Of the comparative sizes of the racing “stables” of early years there are no data whereon to base a precedence list.
Unquestionably, however, among the very earliest, largest and most successful were those of the Jardine, Matheson taipans.
It was possibly a member of the Princely House who prompted the first race Meeting in Macao, about the year Hong Kong was colonized.
In November, David Jardine in Canton wrote to his brother Andrew in Scotland:
“There are great preparations making at Hongkong for a race meeting to come off in the beginning of next month. Sir J. Davis has given a cup of $200!!! for which Joseph & I have decided to start SAINT ANDREW, as we think it would be a pity that he should leave China without one trial for the object for which he was more immediately sent on. Joseph says he has got him into splendid order. Joseph is jockey; we shall send him home to you in January or February by the first good ship & Captain that offers.”
The Plenipotentiary’s Cup, first presented by Sir John Davis, became the principal race at all the early Hong Kong meetings.
Whether Joseph Jardine on ST. ANDREW won it is doubtful.
ST. ANDREW was not, in the event, sent to England, but stayed in Hong Kong, where he raced for several years, always good for a place, only occasionally a winner.
Annual Race Meeting had 3 days:
1850-02-04 in Sir Henry’s report of the 1850 Meeting appears an account of an early accident. Mr Robert Jardine (later Sir Robert), riding his own or his brother’s horse, MOSS TROOPER.
The trophy race was the Celestial Cup, Robert Jardine collided with the bamboo rails and broke his leg.
A Cup presented by the Canton Community for Arab horses only (9 st. 10 lb.), from the Garden turn once round and in, was won by Mr. Jardine’s ST. ANDREW (Mr. Armstrong, 95th Regiment)
The Valley Stakes was won by Mr. R. Jardine’s THE SHEIK (Arab) (Mr. Clarke, 59th Regiment), carrying 10 stone.
The Victoria Plate and Ladies’ Purse were won by Mr. R. Jardine on his Arab pony The Sheik.
The Hastings Cup, presented by Rear Admiral Austen and the Officers H.M.S. Hastings — for all horses was won by Mr. Jardine’s English mare MAGGIE LAUDER (Mr. R. Jardine),
The Wongneichong Stakes was won by Mr. Jardine’s Manila pony PRINCE (Mr. Goddard).
Mr. Fletcher’s Sydney horse TARTAR walked over for the Celestial Cup, presented by Mr. Joseph Jardine.
The Ladies’ Purse was won by Mr. Jardine’s THE SLIEIK (Mr. Magniac). Mr. Magniac was a member of the firm of Messrs. Jardine, Matheson & Co.
The Plenipotentiary’s Cup was won by Mr. Jardine’s Arab GREY FRIAR (9 st. 10 lb.) (Mr. Magniac).
The Ladies’ Purse a 1 mile Handicap for all ponies was won by Mr. Jardine’s THE SHEIK (Mr. Magniac), carrying top weight of 11 st.
There were thirteen entries but only four runners. A China pony—Mr. Jardine’s TOBY (10 st. 4 lb.)—ran third.
This is the first record of a China pony running into a place in a race for mixed ponies.
The Fakei Cup presented by the American Community for all horses was won by Mr. Jardine’s GREY FRIAR (9 st.) (Mr. Magniac).
The Argyll Cup presented by Mr. A. Fletcher, brought out a field of five, and was won by Mr. Jardine’s newly imported Sydney horse IVANHOE later WAVERLEY (10 st. 4 lb.) (Mr. Magniac).
St. George’s Cup, Mr. Jardine’s IVANHOE (11 st. 4 lb.) (Capt. Clarke, 59th Regiment) won the inaugural, beating a hot favorite in Mr. Fletcher’s YELLOW JACK (11 st.) (Mr. Stuart, R.E.) who was third. Distance 2 miles. Time 4 m. 10 sec.
The cup inscription was “St. George’s Cup, presented by one of the Stewards, 1857. Won by Mr R. Jardine’s IVANHOE. Hong Kong 1857.”
Mr. Jardine’s pony THE SHEIK (Mr. Magniac) won the Ladies’ Purse for the third time in succession.
The Parsee Cup, Mr. Jardine’s IVANHOE (Mr. Magniac) won the inaugural, from OMER PASHA (Captain Barcham) and HABEAS CORPUS (Captain Clarke), dead heat for second place.
The Canton Cup was won by Mr. Chomley’s SIR MICHAEL (later EUGENE ARAM) (Capt. Cox, 38th M.N.I.). Mr. R. Jardine’s MERRY MONK (Mr. Magniac) was second.
Mr. Mackenzie’s Sydney horse CANROBERT (11 st.), owner up, won the Border Cup (gold) presented by Mr. R. Jardine for all horses. Distance 2 miles.
With the same horse Mr. Mackenzie scored another success in the Fakei Cup, IVANHOE ridden by Mr. R. Jardine himself being second.
The Admiral’s Cup presented by Sir Michael Seymour was won by Mr. Muirhouse’s English horse SNOWDON 11 st. 2 lb. (Mr. R. Jardine).
In the Retiring Cup, a handicap, Mr. Jardine’s English mare ROWENA, (Mr. W. Mackenzie) beat the English mare SUNRISE.
Thereafter, racing records had not substantiated much active involvement of direct family members of Jardine.
Later in the century, Jardine partners used the racing name “John Peel”.
The Jardine legacy was successfully succeeded.
William Jardine, a bachelor, willed his estate to his siblings and his nephews.
His nephews David, Joseph, Robert and Andrew Jardine, all sons of William’s eldest brother David, continued to assist James Matheson in running the Jardines Empire.
1865 Robert Jardine became head of Jardine, Matheson and Co.
He was elected as Member of parliament (MP) for Ashburton in Devon where his uncle William Jardine had been an earlier MP.
1890, Sir Henry May writes afterwards:
“Of stables, none has been such a consistent supporter of the Hong Kong Turf as that which was started almost at the commencement of racing in Hong Kong by Messrs David and Joseph Jardine, brothers of the late Sir Robert Jardine, whose name appears in the records for 1850 and some subsequent years as a successful rider and owner. Successive partners in the firm have continued the sportsmanlike encouragement of racing in Hong Kong year by year, almost without a single interruption.”
“Maggie Lauder,” a Scotish song which was popular with soldiers in the Continental Army in the American Revolution, hence the colloquial U.S. use for “talkative fellow, foolish talk”
Grey Friar is a fell in the English Lake District, it is one of the Coniston Fells and is situated 13 kilometres west-south-west of Ambleside.
OMER PASHA (1806–1871) was an Ottoman general and governor.
As the owner of the major trading houses and warehouses in Causeway Bay, Jardine’s name has been immortalized by so many items.
Streets that bear his name:
– Jardine’s Bazaar (an actual street instead of Bazaar),
– Jardine’s Crescent (also a street)
– Yee Wo Street (the name for Jardine Matheson in Cantonese).
Acknowledgement to HKJC Racing Registry for offering record data.