Race horse trainer runs up massive debt

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Today at the Scarborough Bankruptcy Court, before the Registrar (Mr F Bedwell) Harry Thomas Smith, trainer, 91, Commercial Street, and Council Buildings, Norton, Malton, returned liabilities £294 5s 3d, assets £36 12s 1d, less preferential creditors £20 17s, the deficiency being £278 10s 2d.

In reply to the official Receiver (Mr DS Mackay). Debtor said he had lived at the Railway Hotel for about two years, and before that at 91, Commercial Street. Since about that time he had been separated from his wife. He was now 41, and had been connected with race horses all his life. He began in May 1891 as a trainer, with a capital of about £20. He had trained for a person named at the outset, and had trained up to seven or eight horses at a time. The average would be three or four. He received £2 a week for each, and the cost of keeping a race horse was about £1. There were, however, other expenses, he having men to pay. When the men and other expenses were paid the profits were only something like 7s a horse. The stables were at Commercial Street. He had two horses at the stables at the time he filed belonging to Mr T Hall, Church Street, Whitby. Debtor bought them for Mr Hall, one being bought at Tattersall’s. Another, Evening Star, was also bought by debtor for Mr Hall, at Tattersall’s. Debtor had owned two animals, a cob and a pony. For the former he got £13, and had expended it in payments. The pony he had had to sell for £3. During his business career he had not made money. The household expenses of himself and five children during the past year were about £100. He had contributed to the children, although debtor had not been living at home. Three children were with the mother, and two with the grandmother. Debtor had paid the grandmother what he could afford – £10 or £15. He had to pay alimony to his wife; it came to 17s 6d a week. He had usually paid that, although he might have missed once or twice. He had clothed the children, too , and had paid 11s a week at the hotel for his lodgings. He was away a good deal he was not owing £17 10s at the hotel for lodgings when he left – about £6 of it was the money borrowed.

The Official Receiver: You state you have lost £100 by betting? Yes.

Proceeding he said he had given a statement as to how that money went, but it was, more or less, in the nature of guessing, although he could remember some of the amounts. On one horse he had £20.

The Official Receiver: There are 15 items of losses and 6 of wins?

Debtor: Six wins, really.

The Official Receiver: They are race meetings really? Yes.

Do you mean to say you have only betted at 21 meetings? Yes.

In reply to other questions, debtor said he had put some expenses down as law costs paid on account of divorce proceedings. He instituted the proceedings, but they had become extinct now, he hadn’t money to go on with it. He had to pay money and costs amounting to £38 in respect of a trespass at Langton Wold. Previously, he had had the privilege of going there. There was also an item of £1 magisterial fine for assaulting his wife.

The Official Receiver: So that somewhat discreditable list is how you account for your deficiency? Yes.

He stated, in reply to further questions, that £30 was all he had won by betting. Two years ago he did very well. He had known he had been insolvent since about last Christmas, but had incurred debts since then.

The Official Receiver named one person who, he suggested, could not afford to lose £25.

Debtor said that the man did not grumble.

Some of the furniture, said debtor, belonged to his wife.

The examination was closed.