An inductee to the Addington Harness Hall of Fame in 2014, Lyell Creek was a champion racehorse, the greatest trotter produced to date in Australasia.Lyell Creek deservedly earnt his nickname of “Creek the Freak”.
Pacing bred being by one of our leading pacers of the mid 1980’s Roydon Glen out of the Noodlum (star juvenile of the 1970’s) mare Kahlum, Lyell Creeks breeder was P. (Peter) H. Smith. Lyell Creek is from the NZ family of Mavis Logan, one of our lesser known families. In more recent years however it has provided Kahdon, Shezoneoftheboyz, King Charlie, Lough Neagh, Lough Beg, Le Duc, By The Way, Del Miller, Black Miller in the trotting ranks. Harnetts Creek, Cullens Creek, Stoney Creek, Swan Creek, All Most, Lord Vance in the pacing ranks. The majority of the families better progeny descended from the mare Kahu.
Well travelled, Lyell Creek raced in seven different countries over a period of eight seasons (1998 - 2005). His 113 starts resulted in a 50% wins to starts ratio and dependent on how you interpret exchange rates, he was essentially the first standardbred horse in Australasia to achieve $3m in earnings. His full career stats appear below :
Best mile rates of :
USA - T1:52.2US recorded at Meadowlands in 2002 (second fastest Kiwi trotter - Mighty Dragon T1:52.0US, 2003 Meadowlands)
Canada - T1:53.2
New Zealand T1:55.6 at Ashburton (23 October 2000)
Australia T1:58 at Moonee Valley (12 February 2000)
No times for Denmark or Norway.
Taking a look at Lyell Creeks significant race wins shows :
Group 1 victories (15) :
Dominion Hcp (3)
NZ Trotting FFA
Alexandra Park -
Rowe Cup (3)
Moonee Valley -
ID Trotting Final
Dullard Cup (2)
Australian Trotting C/S final (2)
Bill Collins Mile
VIC Millennium Mile
Group 2 victories (10) :
Canterbury Park Trotting Cup
Alexandra Park -
NZ Challenge Stakes (2)
National Trot (upgraded following year to Group 1)
City of Sails FFA (2)
Trotters Flying Mile (2)
Meadowlands, USA -
Su Mac Lad
Group 3 victories (1) :
Moonee Valley -
Australian Trotting C/S heat
Other notable victories :
Banks Peninsula Trotting Cup (2), Ordeal Cup, Cambridge Flying Stakes, FFA at Moonee Valley.
Lyell Creek’s overall record at Addington was 16 starts for 10 wins (4 Group 1, 1 at Group 2), 1 second and two thirds. Between 14 February 1999 (C0/C2 trot off 20m) at Trentham (grass) and 23 October 2000 in the Ashburton Trotters Mile where he established his best NZ mile rate of T1:55.6, Lyell Creek won 20 races in succession (including 4 wins in Australia), a record for a trotter.
He achieved a number of multiple major race wins especially in our two feature Group Ones, Dominion Hcp and Rowe Cup - two of each before he ventured to the Northern Hemisphere and one each on his return as a 10/11yo. He raced competitively against the top free for all trotters in North America at venues such as Meadowlands.
Awards won by Lyell Creek included :
- ANZ Grand Circuit Trotting Champion (three times)
- NZ Trotter of Year (twice)
- NZ Aged (5yo+) H&G Trotter of Year (three times)
- NZ Harness Horse of Year
- Australian Trotter of Year (twice)
- NZ and Australian stake earning Trotter of Year (twice)
- Inducted into NZ Trotting Hall of Fame
and he has a lounge named after him at Alexandra Park - Lyell Creek Lounge.
Throughout his career, Lyell Creek had a number of owners although Graham Bruton was the major constant in this regard. Purchased by Bruton after his first win in a $2,000 novice trot at Nelson on 4 January 1999, Lyell Creek raced solely in Bruton’s ownership until September 2000 when joined by Anthony Butt as a part owner. This ownership arrangement continued until March 2001 when the Creek Syndicate joined the other two partners. Following Lyell Creek’s return from the Northern Hemisphere in April 2004, Karen Butt took over Anthony’s share in Lyell Creek joining with Graeme Bruton and the Creek Syndicate in his ownership.
Apart from his first two starts when trained initially by his owner/breeder Peter. Smith (Kaikoura, November 1997) and at his second start and first win by Mark Smith (January 1999), all of Lyell’s remaining Australasian starts trained by Tim Butt. In the driving stakes, Anthony Butt drove him in every Australasian start (51 of 54) except when Andrew McPherson drove him to win a C1 & faster Junior Drivers trot at Addington, Gene Robb had the drive in a NZ Junior Drivers C/S trot at Addington (pulled up) and Mark Jones drove him into third in the Ordeal Cup at Addington.
In every possible way, “Creek the Freak” proved to be the greatest trotter seen on the tracks of Australasia.
Compiled as at 1 October 2014.