Comparisons Are Odious: Newmarket?
Featured Image: Newmarket Official Guide Front Cover
I’m not the first. The earliest recorded use of this phrase appears to be by John Lydgate in his Debate between the horse, goose, and sheep, circa 1440:
“Odyous of olde been comparisonis, And of comparisonis engendyrd is haterede.”
It was used by several authors later, notably Cervantes, Christopher Marlowe and John Donne.
In ‘Much Ado About Nothing’, Shakespeare gave Dogberry the line ‘comparisons are odorous’. It seems that he was using this ironically; knowing it to be a misuse of what would have been a well-known phrase by 1599 when the play was written.
I’m also guilty as charged. I facilitated a meeting at the Australian Stock Horse Society on Thursday 12th March 2009. It was entitled ‘Australian Horse Centre for Scone’ and the expert commentators were Schreiber Hamilton Architects Kevin Schreiber and Justin Hamilton. I was then an extremely ‘fired up’ recently inducted Upper Hunter Shire Councillor. I very quickly mellowed! At the meeting I was perhaps over-enthusiastic in drawing comparison between Newmarket, Suffolk, England and Lexington, Kentucky USA. What we do have in common is/are the large scale production of thoroughbred horses in and on world class Thoroughbred Horse Studs. There the similarities (‘comparisons’) end?
Newmarket is a unique and historic Market Town. It traces back to Anglo-Saxon times and has enjoyed Royal Patronage since James I, Charles I and Charles II. Newmarket is known as the headquarters of racing and thoroughbred breeding. Newmarket Heath stretches for 2,800 acres around the town providing training grounds for over 3000 horses. Many of England’s Champion Trainers have been based in Newmarket over the centuries. It also provides the home for two distinct and remarkable racecourses; the Rowley Mile and July Courses. The National Stud, National Horse Racing Museum and the exclusive ‘The Jockey Club’ are located in the town. The latter owns 4,800 acres of which 2,800 acres are set aside for training. A bronze statue of Derby Winner ‘Hyperion’ stand sentinel outside the Jockey Club building in High Street. Tattersalls Park Paddocks is the headquarters of the world’s most famous bloodstock auctioneers. It was founded in the 18th century by Richard Tattersall; originally in London at Hyde Park Corner.
Lexington KY is another dimension and worthy of separate analysis. The only point I wish to make is that many times over the last 10 years ‘my odious comparison’ has come back to haunt me! I’m culpable. We should be celebrating the differences.