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1953 NZ TROTTING CUP: Won by Adorian


Bridging a gap of 32 years since he drove Sherwood first past the post in the New Zealand Trotting Cup of 1921, F G Holmes won this year's race with Adorian after being no further back than third at any part of the running. Sherwood, on a protest for crossing Reta Peter, was placed second in the 1921 race, so it was F G Holmes's first Cup success.

Once again it was a newcomer's year. Adorian, who qualified for the race by winning the two principal events at the last Metropolitan August Meeting, followed in the footsteps of last year's Cup winner, Mobile Globe, who won the same August double three months before his victory in the premier event. Adorian proved himself every inch a stayer on Tuesday. His 4:13 4-5, while wide of the race record - and world's record - of 4:10 2-5 established by Highland Fling in 1948, was real stamina by any standards, particularly when it is known that he ran the last mile in 2:04 2-5 and the last half mile in better than a minute.

This brilliant climax to a spectacular race on a perfect track and in ideal weather proved to great an ordeal for the gallant favourite, Johnny Globe, who probably lost the race when he cannoned into the breaking Tactics soon after the start, thereby losing his balance and all of 60 yards before he got down to work again. This unfortunate incident drew audible sympathy from the public, who left no doubts by their investments that they had extreme confidence in the glamour horse of today.

Billy Boy, the leader out from the start, was closely attended by Adorian and Pleasant Smile. Meanwhile Tactics, drawn number 1 at the barrier (a position from which, it is claimed, she has never begun correctly yet), broke badly. Lady Rowan also broke, and Tactician set off on a bobble and went scratchily throughout. With just over three furlongs covered, Pleasant Smile ran into a clear lead from Billy Boy and Adorian (on the outer), and then came Thelma Globe, Soangetaha, Burns Night, Tactician, Vedette, Maori Home and Van Dieman, with Johnny Globe making up ground rapidly. There were few changes of any importance in the next six furlongs, but the race brightened up when Johnny Globe moved round the field with three and a half furlongs to go.

Adorian strode confidently to the lead with three furlongs to go and he was clear of Johnny Globe at the home turn. Soangetaha momentarily looked dangerous when he issued a challenge on the inside at the distance, but actually it was a two-horse race over the final furlong and Adorian always held the upper hand. The fourth horse, Burns Night, had every chance. He was two lengths behind Soangetaha. Vedette, who never looked like the champion of old at any stage, was a fair fifth, and then arrived Billy Boy, Maori Home, Van Dieman, Lady Rowan, Pleasant Smile, Tactician and Thelma Globe, with Tactics last. It was stated before the race that Tactics was suffering from seasonal trouble.

For the second year in succession the Australian-bred Springfield Globe sired the winner. It is interesting to speculate on what heights the Globe Derby sallion might have attained as a sire if he had remained in the Dominion instead of returning to Australia some six years ago.

Coquette, the dam of Adorian, who reached Cup class herself, has a 100% record as a producer of winners - her only four foals before her premature death (in 1949) were Vigilant, winner of £2327 in stakes in the Dominion (he has also won races in Australia); Morano, £9025; Forward, £4560; and Adorian, winner of twelve races and £17,217 10s in stakes and trophy - the New Zealand Gold Cup is valued at £250. Coquette's four offspring, therefore have won the grand total of £33,129 10s. Adorian and all the rest of Coquette's progeny were bred by Miss P Norton and F G Holmes, and Coquette was bred by F Holmes (venerable father of F G), and Miss Norton. Coquette was by Grattan Loyal from Bonny Logan, by Logan Pointer from Bonilene, and Grattan Loyal, Logan Pointer and Bonilene were all imported to this country by F Holmes. Springfield Globe, sire of Adorian, was out of a Logan Pointer mare, so Adorian has two close-up strains of this famous blood.

Although this was F G Holmes's first outright win in the New Zealand Cup - he owns and trains Adorian as well - he has been one of the Dominion's most capable trainers and horsemen for close on 40 years, he began driving at a very early age. "It was unjust," he declared when referring during the Cup presentation to the fate of Sherwood in 1921. He also made passing reference to some bad luck he had in one or two previous Cups, and said one of his ambitions, now that he was "not getting any younger," was to make a trip to America. He paid tribute to D McKendry, who looks after Adorian and who played a big part in turning the horse out so fit.

Mr C E Hoy, who congratulated Holmes on his skilful driving and the excellent performance and condition of Adorian, then called for cheers all round and Mrs Hoy decorated the winner with a garland of flowers. The Holmes family have a good record in the New Zealand Cup. Free Holmes, father of F G, Maurice and Allan, trained and drove Trix Pointer in 1919, Maurice drove Wrackler in 1930 and trained and drove Chamfer in 1950, and Allan Holmes drove Harold Logan in 1932 and owned and trained and drove the flying 1945 winner, Gold Bar.

Not at any stage of his career has Adorian been responsible for anything of a dazzling nature. He has been a 'late ripener' with a vengeance, coming to his full powers in easy stages until he has reached his zenith as a six-year-old; a powerful, quality horse of fine balance, a rich bay with little white about him, and no vices. He is a treat to train and drive and have around the place, according to the people who look after him, and he is as reliable and genuine as they come. Quite a reputation for a mere horse, but well earned by Adorian, a 'gentleman' in or out of harness.

Probably due to the fact that, for the first time since double betting was resumed, the first leg was run on the New Zealand Cup, there was a decided fall off in win-and-place betting on the big race. This year's on-course total was £28,331, compared with £38,336 last year; the off-course figures were £29,815 10s, against £33,943 10s last year. The record total on a New Zealand Cup is the £40,907 10s (on-course only) invested in 1951. This year's on-course total was £179,170 15s, compared with £190,930 15s last year, when the off-course figures were £86,475 15s; this year the off-course total soared to £139,707, including £49,031 on the double. The on-course double figures this year were £14,592 5s. The crowd was not as large as in some previous years.

Credit: 'Ribbonwood' writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 11Nov53

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