ROYAL VISIT FOR MASTER M'GRATH
The following, taken from 'The Bird of Freedom', will be of more than passing interest to many of our coursing readers who possess blood in their kennels of the strains of the illustrious Master M'Grath - In his early coursing days, previous to 1868; Lord Lurgan chiefly patronised the Irish meetings, none of which, however, ever attained the popularity of the one he established on his own property at Lurgan, where Master M'Grath commenced his unparalleled career by winning the Visitors' Cup in 1867. How he carried off the Waterloo Cup, in 1868, 69, and 71 after narrowly escaping drowning in one of the ice covered ditches into which he floundered when led and defeated by Lady of Lyons in the only course he ran for the cup of 1870, when it is supposed he was “got at” is matter of history. The only previous triple winner of the
"Blue Riband of the Leash" was Ceritd, before the Cup was increased from a thirty-two to a sixty-four dog stake, and, curiously enough, a year likewise intervened in her series of triumphs.
Lord Lurgan frequently ran greyhounds in Scotland as well as in England and was a leading patron of the Altcar Club meetings, at which he twice won the
Members Cup with Lady Alexandra and Lady Grafton, in addition to whom
Lady. Java, Lady Coote, Lady Beatrice, Lady Agnes, Lady Norah, Lady Mary, Lady Lonsdale, Master Burleigh, Master Nat, Master Frederick and Master Ivo, amongst others, more or less distinguished themselves over the Altcar plains and ditches. It was after his third Waterloo Cup victory that a Royal wish was expressed to Lord Lurgan in a letter, from Sir Thomas Biddulph that the Queen
would much like to see Master M'Grath. Accordingly the dog, who had returned to Ireland from Altcar was hurried back to England, and the curiosity and
excitement manifested by the large crowd which accompanied Lord Lurgan and Master M'Grath from the Great Western Station at Windsor, to the Castle. The spacious entrance hall was arranged for the presentation, and her Majesty, who was accompanied by the Princess Louise (Marchioness of Larne) and Prince Leopold (Duke of Albany), and attended by all the household, exhibited the warmest interest in the "Mighty Black." Inquiring from Lord Lurgan the origin of his name, his lordship explained to the Queen that he was called after the orphan boy by whom the dog was reared, in the employ of Mr. Galway (the breeder of Master M'Grath), who was a coursing confederate of his lordship and agent of Lord Dartrey in the county Waterford. After being patted and petted by all the Royal party, Master M'Grath and Spooner (his trainer) were conducted over the Castle, so that all the residents therein might see him, and before his departure her Majesty sent a handsome gold hunting watch to Spooner as a souvenir of his visit, On leaving the Castle the party returned through Eton, where the boys had turned out in expectation of seeing the “illustrious stranger;" and on a suggestion to 'give him a jolly' they cheered loud and long. Proceeding to Slough, Master M'Grath paid a visit to Dr. Hawtrey's large school, at which a son of Lord Lurgan's was a pupil, where he came in for another ovation.
Nor were his honours yet exhausted. On the following day Mastor M'Grath hold a numorous levee at his owner's residence in Eaton Square, which was attended by many of the country coursers who had never proviously seen him; and after attending morning receptions at Lady Waldograve's and Lady Dartroy's, which were held in his honour, he paid an afternoon visit to Marlborough House at the desire of the Prince of Wales, and finished up at Brooks' Club, of which Lord Lurgan was a member,