Beginning of Second World War. NZ, together with Australia, France and India, immediately follows Britian in declaring war on Germany, and recruitment begins for the Second New Zealand Division under Major-General Bernard Ferguson.
The Germans fly the first jet-powered aircraft.
The Centennial Exhibition opens in Wellington.
Millers opens in Tuam Street with the South Island's first escalator. The building now house the Christchurch City Council offices.
The Council inaugurates NZ's first local-body pensioner housing.
TASMANIA - SPRINGFIELD GLOBE
Brothers Springfeld Globe and Our Globe starred in drastically different roles in 1939. Springfield Globe won the £2000, 12 furlongs Final in 3.21.6 a mile rate of 2.12.8. But older brother Our Globe, was disqualified from racing for six months for failing on the third day after bolting away with his heats on the first two days.
NYALLO SCOTT - Enigma
For much of his career Nyallo Scott was regarded around Roydon Lodge as a rogue. In the Roydon Lodge history penned by Sir Roy McKenzie he doesn't even earn a mention. But in the mid 1940's he was, for a time, the best known horse in the country.
The secret was Sir John McKenzie handing him to Leo Berkett to train on a lease arrangement at his Hope farm near Nelson. Leo regularly worked his horses between the shafts of a plough. Nyallo Scott was six and a lost cause to anyone but Leo when he went to a Nelson meeting in June and won three races with him in four starts. Two of those races were in succession. He won the first and was second in the other, a rare feat indeed though it wasn't the only time Berkett had tried it. With another rising star among his team called Highland Fling , Berkett transferred permanently to Templeton with Nyallo Scott.
Once he had the horse in shape Berkett didn't give a "thinker" the chance to reflect. As a 7yo he had 38 starts, yes 38, but the good news was that he won 11 of them. No horse had ever done that before. He went from a low class race at New Brighton in September to running against the Cup horses at Ashburton in June, winning the rich Dunedin Cup along the way. Two months later he beat stars like subsequent InterDominion winner Emulous in the August Free-For-All.
Then, as if to prove that you can't keep a bad horse up, it was over. Berkett drove him instead of the superior Highland Fling in the 1947 Cup because nobody else could but he broke early and lost any real chance. After some more erratic disappointments Berkett returned him to Roydon Lodge. He started in the Cup in 1948 but was pulled up after another wayward performance and he never won another race. But 38 for 11 in one season now there's a stat!
Credit: David McCarthy writing in Harnessed July 2016
When older breeders study the claims made for some recent imported sires and how well they are bred they can be forgiven a weary smile. To here some tell it, it is only in the last few years that NZ studmasters imported top-bred stallions, the inference being that sires of the past were practically given away by their American owners because no stud in that country would look at them.
This is, with respect, a load of rubbish. One example was Guy Parrish imported in the 1920s who was a full brother to the champion American pacer Arion Guy, and an even better one was Dillon Hall, five times leading sire and, if you probe below the surface, a good bet as the finest sire we have had. I would suggest to stud advertisement compilers who browbeat breeders with long lines of statistics and how impressive second and third placings were, that they have yet to be asked to design an advertisement for a better bred stallion than Dillon Hall, who was imported to this country by George Youngson and his wife in 1939, complete with a two-minute record, which was not all that easy to get in those days.
Dillon Hall, who took his two-minute mark at four years was by the Peter The Great horse The Laurel Hall, sire of two-minute performers and a success in the United States before being exported to Italy where he was very popular, his world record holding son Prince Hall, sire of Medoro, also being bought by the Italians. His dam, Margaret Dillon, was the champion pacing mare from 1922 when she recorded 1:58.2 - sensational going then - her record not being beaten for 16 years. She is rated as one of the three greatest pacing mares of all time. Her dam, Margaret Primo, was by Peter The Great, making Dillon Hall line bred to that great progenitor, and was a daughter of another champion racemare in Margaret O. The latter's dam was a full sister to the legendary sire Axworthy making Dillon Hall richly bred to the two greatest sires of this century. It is difficult to think of a better female line among sires imported here.
Dillon Hall sired 397 winners in this country and his cause was helped by his getting the great mudlark Acropolis in his first crop. Acropolis won 11 races and $25,000 but was not his sire's finest offspring despite the good start he gave him. Chamfer won 14 races including the NZ Cup and was a leading sire in Australia. Maori Home won 17 races and $37,000 and Parawa Derby was not far behind winning $32,000 from 15 victories. Blue Mist was a great Dillon Hall mare winning 14 races in NZ and setting a world record over 1½ miles in Australia of 3:03.2. Our Roger also won the Cup and 14 other races for $30,000 odd and Dragoman won 12. Lady Averill was a top performer and Maida Dillon won 13 races for nearly $20,000.
Perhaps one of Dillon Hall's finest sons was First Lord, who had a career interrupted by injury after winning 10 races. He was noted for his acceleration and did fairly well as a sire. Snowflake was another fine Dillon Hall mare, holding the 3-year-old two mile record for many years and winning six races including the Great Northern Derby. Heather Dillon won 12 and Belmont Hall numbered the Champion Stakes among his wins. Centennial Hall, Duncraig (9 wins), Aberhall (11) and Prince Hall (10) were other good winners, and one of his best trotting sons was Swannee River, who won ten races in all. It was surprising that Dillon Hall did not leave more good trotters for his sire was successful in producing horses of that gait in Italy.
These were the cream of his crops but he left a great number of 'bread and butter' horses who were sturdy and long lasting and who liked racing on any tracks, being particularly adept in heavy going. If Dillon Hall had made an indelible impression as a sire his mares were in great demand and today any Dillon Hall blood in the veins of a broodmare in considered highly desirable. And no wonder. Offspring of his mares have left more than 550 winners. To look at the tops there was Orbiter, winner of nearly $400,000, Robin Dundee, winner of 25 races in NZ alone and altogether winner of nearly a quarter of a million dollars. There was Inter-Dominion winner Free Hall, Student Prince, top pacer Don Hall and the brilliant Sun Chief, winner of 12 including the NSW Derby. Moss Hall and King Hal both won 11, Samantha won 15 including a Wellington Cup and Doctor Dan, Gildirect, Seafield Lad, Denbry and Tobacco Road were all top horses. Another was Smokeaway who won 12 races.
We could go on for hours but should mention Tobias winner of 17 here, Bramble Hall winner of over $160,000, Bay Foyle now at stud here, Stewart Hanover who has won over $220,000, top Australian pacer Imatoff, Monsignor (1:59) winner of 10, Twinkle Hanover, Smoke Cloud and Miss Step. Then there was Roy Grattan, a half brother to Don Hall, and winner of nine and Global Hall, from the same family, who won 10 trotting including the Rowe Cup. Tutta Bella produced eight good winners of over 45 races, Gaiety Hall produced five winners and Van Brabant has produced four. Maida Dillon has founded a successful tribe including Maida Million winner of over $200,000. Dilly Dally produced top trotter Annual Report and four other winners including Nocatchem and Luck's Way, and Marionette was dam of Inter-Dominion trotting champion Poupette. Doctor Barry, from the Dillon Hall mare Weekender, won 100 including the NZ Derby.
Janet Hall left the top pacer Sleek Line and her sister Ellen Hall left four Australian winners. Laura Dillon won five and left Glene, the dam of Fronto Prontezza, and her sister Laura Hall has left five Australian winners. Medium Blue, Flying Blue and Blue Emperor winners of 28 races among them came from Dillon Hall mares. Lauder Hall, who won nine herself, produced seven winners, a number of them doing well in the US. Dillon Hall was five times leading broodmare sire.
The stallion's success brought tempting offers for his owners. In 1946 the company of Matson's Ltd offered the Youngsons $10,000 for the horse allowing them to keep the full book on the lists for that season. This was a big offer but it was declined.
In all, the stock of Dillon Hall won 1507 races in this country for nearly $1½ million in prize money. His record of having been in the top three of the sire lists for 13 successive seasons is unparalleled when the length of his stud career is considered. When he won his third sire title in 1950-1 he set a new record for money won with $143,285. In Australia he sired top horses in Collaborate and Bruce Hall, the former being a leading sire in Western Australia and the latter being a success in that field as well. Chamfer was leading Australian sire seven times and Gentry, a top class pacer here, was also a successful sire in Australia and NZ. The Dillon Hall male line is defunct in this country but survives across the Tasman. First Lord ultimately went to that country.
One of the finest aspects of Dillon Hall's stud career is apt to be overlooked. That is that while he sired almost as many winners as the great U Scott he had a much shorter stud career than that horse, and shorter also than Light Brigade's. Whereas U Scott was at stud for more than 20 seasons, as was Light Brigade, Dillon Hall had but 15 seasons to make his mark. To be in the top three sires for 13 in succession underlines what a great progenitor he was. His stock generally responded to plenty of galloping and walking with a minimum of hoppled work. Properly handled their hardiness and endurance coupled with the breeding potential of his daughters made the two minute import second to none among imported sires this century.
Credit: David McCarthy writing in NZ Trotguide 13Jul77
The ever-ready excuse book was well in evidence after the New Zealand Cup last week and it would seem that at least four horses should have ended up in Lucky Jack's position as the 1939 winner. Nevertheless, that horse achieved the distinction of winning his second Cup, and he had to overcome difficulties and prove himself a real horse to take that honour on the day.
Lucky Jack gave a really fine performance, running up handy to the leaders with half a mile to go and fighting on gamely in the run home. This was easily his best effort to date, and one which stamped him as being close to the champion that owner Bill Lowe claims he is.
To "Truth" Lucky Jack has always appeared to fall just short of championship class. Not that he is lacking in speed or stamina - he has those in abundance - but because his off days have been sufficiently numerous to suggest that he has to be caught in the humour to display his talents in full.
This trait was illustrated when he came out to contest the Free-For-All on Friday, his only other start at the meeting. On this occasion he failed to go off, and he only beat two horses home. He does not give the consistently solid and generous displays of "Truth's" idea of a true champion, but when he does set himself out to do his work in his best style, he impresses as having few superiors.
There is, by the way, an interesting sidelight to Lucky Jack's victory. Shortly after he won his first Cup there was a great outcry against the handicapping system because he was placed on a tight mark. It was claimed that as a racing proposition he was ruined, although only a five-year-old and his stake winnings stood close to the £2000 mark. Since then he has gone on to increase that total to almost £3000 and there is every reason to suppose that he will add considerably to that amount. The figures are an effective reply to those who attacked the handicapping system from that angle.
There is no more popular sportsman than owner Lowe, and his horse's victory was well received. He did everything asked of him and could not have won if he had not fought on gamely for the honour. Cantata and Blair Athol filled the second and third placings respectively, and both were unlucky. The former did not get the best of the running in the final quarter, and Blair Athol was giving most of his field a start with half a mile to go. There were only necks between the first three horses at the post and luck in the running made all the difference.
How Colonel Grattan would have fared but for losing his driver a little over four furlongs from home is a matter of conjecture. Whether or not he would have won can provide material for an unsatisfactory argument, but the manner in which he ran on after his accident suggested that he would at least have been in the money.
Plutus was a fair fourth, after being in the fight throughout, but Parisienne, Gallant Knight and Fine Art, the next to finish, were well out of sight of the judge. There was then a big gap to Lawn Derby, which broke soon after the start, Marsceres, Rocks Ahead and King's Play.
In "Truth's" opinion the really unlucky horse was Fine Art. He was never off the bit at any stage of the running, and he was handy turning for home, but the tiring Gallant King so far forgot his manners as to carry McTigue's gelding back through the field in the final quarter. Boxed in on the fence behind Gallant Knight, Fine Art was simply carried out the back door, and at no stage of the run home did he get an opportunity to show his worth, being a helpless victim of the backwash.
On Thursday he gave a taste of his ability by winning the Ollivier Handicap without any trouble, and it is the "Truth's" opinion that he would have treated the New Zealand Cup field in a similar manner with circumstances more in his favour.
TRAGEDY MARS CUP
One of the sport's keenest supporters, and one of thne most prominent and popular men connected with light-harness racing, Eugene McDermott died, with tragic suddenness, during the running of the New Zealand Cup, in which he drove Colonel Grattan.
With a little over half a mile to go, and while leading the field, Mac was seen to collapse and fall from the sulky, and he expired before the ambulance could get him back to the birdcage.
Eugene made his entry into the sport over 25 years ago, quickly coming to the fore as an amateur rider and driver, and he later took out a professional licence as a trainer and driver.
During his connection with the game he handled many good horses, and made a name for himself as a clever reinsman and a sportsman of the highest calibre. His good qualities earned for him the respect and admiration of all, and the sport is considerably poorer for his passing.
He will be missed, but remembered for many years to come.
Credit: NZ TRUTH 13 Nov 1939