a bad third

vkhu

Senior Member
Vietnamese
The six horses were so close together that a carpet could have covered them, but half way up the yellow of the Mapleton stable showed to the front. Before they reached us, however, Desborough’s bolt was shot, and the Colonel’s horse, coming away with a rush, passed the post a good six lengths before its rival, the Duke of Balmoral’s Iris making a bad third.

“It’s my race, anyhow,” gasped the Colonel, passing his hand over his eyes.
Context: 6 horses were racing.

I don't get their finishing order. So of the 6 horses, Desborough first got the lead, but then it got tired and lagged behind (Desborough’s bolt was shot). Then the Colonel’s horse took the lead (coming away with a rush), followed closely by Iris (the rival). The Colonel’s horse finished right before Iris, and Iris got 3rd place.

That doesn't make any sense. If the Colonel’s horse finish just before Iris, shouldn't Iris be 2nd? If Iris truly finished 3rd, then wouldn't the Colonel’s horse have finished 2nd? Why does the Colonel himself make it sounds like he won the race? If the Colonel’s horse did finish 1st, and Iris 3rd, then how come it's described as the rival to the Colonel’s horse? SHouldn't it be the one that came 2nd?

Source: The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
 
  • lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    1st — the Colonel’s horse (Silver Blaze), by 6 lengths, having made a late dash to overtake…
    2nd — Desborough (of the Mapleton stable)
    3rd — Iris (came in a bad third, so was way behind the two front-runners)

    The rival referred to is Desborough.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Desborough’s bolt was shot, and the Colonel’s horse, coming away with a rush, passed the post a good six lengths before (in front of) its rival (Desborough), {and then the Duke of Balmoral’s Iris followed Desborough, and thus Iris made a bad third}
    ................................{......................................this clause is in parenthesis .................................................}
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    1st — the Colonel’s horse (Silver Blaze), by 6 lengths, having made a late dash to overtake…
    2nd — Desborough (of the Mapleton stable)
    3rd — Iris (came in a bad third, so was way behind the two front-runners)

    The rival referred to is Desborough.
    :thumbsup:

    Another way to say "a bad third" is "a distant third", which is clearer. The horse was in third place, but a long distance behind the horse in second place.
     
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