May 8 - V.E. (Victory in Europe) day celebrations.
August 6 - The first atomic bomb is dropped on Hiroshima then three days later a second bomb was dropped on Nagisaki. Estimates of the death toll range from 200-250,000.
August 15 - V.J. Victory over Japan) day celebrations.
World War II ends.
October 24 - The United Nations is formed.
The Arab league is formed.
May 11 - Upham presented with VC. New Zealand's most decorated soldier was recognised for outstanding gallantry and leadership in Crete in 1941 and Egypt in 1942. He remains the only combat soldier to win a Bar to his VC.
May 19 - Severe flooding throughout city.
June 13 - Severe gales with gusts up to 145km/h were recorded followed by a record 280mm snowfall over the city on July 14
December 15 - Railway line to Picton completed
The Government sets up National Airways as the domestic airline.
The Bank of New Zealand is nationalised.
Credit: Ch-Ch City Libraries
1945. With the end of the Second World War, the Cup Meeting reverted to a three day format and the stake of the Cup was increased from £5,000 when Bronze Eagle won the 1944 contest, to £7,500. According to “Ribbonwood” writing in the NZ Trotting Calendar at the time this stake made it not only the richest horse race in NZ, but “the largest prize for a straight-out light-harness contest in the world”.
Although Gold Bar was not among the punter’s favourites (he started 5/7 in the betting) he was certainly the one of the crowds favourites. Gold Bar had started in the previous four Cups and, as was his racing style, had lead the fields along “at break-neck speed” only to be overtaken in the final sprint to the line. This attitude endeared both the horse and his Owner-Trainer-Driver Allan (A B) Holmes to the racing public. In 1945 however only Integrity got within 3 lengths at the finish, with 10 lengths to Shadow Maid which was third. Gold Bar returned to a scene of unrestrained enthusiasm and in the presentation Mr C S Thomas, then President of the Club, referred to the race “as probably the greatest light harness contest ever staged in the Dominion.
The last word should be left to a rather contrite “Ribbonwood” who after writing off Gold Bar’s chances in the previous issue of the Trotting Calendar commented “…so you will just have to put up with the vapourings of the scribe who told you in all seriousness last week that Gold Bar had about as much chance of winning the Cup as Hirohito has of becoming President of the United States”.
Credit: Colin Steele
Trotting is truly the 'peoples sport.' Of the record crowd of 32,000 who packed themselves into the Addington grounds on Saturday, 82.8% made their investments with 10/- tickets, 15% with £1 tickets and only 2.2% in £5 tickets.
All South Island betting records were smashed but the totalisator staff were well prepared for this great volume of betting, and the machines were balanced for the last race only a few minutes after the scheduled time. It was a very creditable performance indeed.
More was invested on the NZ Trotting Cup than on eight races on Cup day in 1931. The betting on the opening race was only £52 below the investments on the Cup race itself in 1941, and the days wagering was only £5000 short of the total sum invested for three days during Carnival Week of 1938. Even in 1940, when racegoing was in the boom, the attendance at Addington on Cup Day was only between 19,000 and 20,000. In 1944 the attendance reached a record of 29,000, but an additional 3000 attended on Saturday.
From before 10am the crowds flocked to Addington and long before the first race accommodation was taxed. Long queues formed to invest on the first race, and by the time the third race was run hundreds had decided to take up early positions outside the selling windows to back their Cup fancies. They missed seeing a race, but they saved themselves a hectic rush from the stands and the lawns and a long wait in the queues. Before the tote opened on the Cup race the queues were 45 yards long, and with only about 15 minutes before the machine closed they extended for 75 yards, the lines on the annexe on the lawn linking with those from the main totalisator.
The betting on the Cup was £34,943, against £31,758 last year, £16,108 in 1941, and £16,370 in 1940. The extent to which Cup Day betting has increased in recent years at Addington is shown by the following table of investments for the day:-
Credit: NZ Trotting Calendar 7Nov45
Mr John Highsted who had been caretaker of the Addington trotting track since 1928, died suddenly in Christchurch last week. Before taking over control of the big property at Addington he was employed with the Reserves Department of the Christchurch City Council and later the Domains Board.
The race track at Addington is possibly the fastest in NZ, and the only one in the Southern Hemisphere on which a horse has done a mile in better than two minutes. On tracks prepared by Mr Highsted, Lawn Derby (1:59 2/5), Gold Bar and Haughty (1:59 3/5) have ever reached the coverted figures, and the records for practically all distances have been made at Addington.
Under the direction of Mr Highsted the track, which had proved very bad in wet weather, and uneven at any time, was rebuilt and in recent years had been the best wet-weather dirt track in NZ.
Mr Highsted was a keen horticulturist, and the flower beds and general lay-out of the enclosures at Addington remain as an example to his outstanding ability.
Credit: NZ Trotting Calendar 3Jan45
The death has occurred of Mr R Grant, who some years ago raced Harold Thorpe, Mate o' Mine, Sarsaparilla, and other horses with a good deal of success, winning, among other races, the NZ Trotting Gold Cup at Wellington with Mate o' Mine in the 1928-29 season. In partnership with Mr H Winter, he raced Black Admiral, winner of the Dunedin Cup in the 1925-26 season. The horses raced by Mr Grant won just on £7000 in stake money and the partnership more than £4000.
Mr Grant farmed a well known property at Yaldhurst for many years, the home of the late R J Mason. Probably the last horse owned by Mr Grant to be returned a winner was Queen High, holder of the Westport race record of 2:12 3/5 for a mile.
Credit: NZ Trotting Calendar 15Aug45
GEORGE PAUL Jnr
The death has occurred in Auckland of Mr George Paul, jun, who was for many years handicapper to the NZ Trotting Conference.
Mr Paul received his first handicapping appointment from the Auckland Trotting Club in 1926, and later he became handicapper to the Thames, Hawera, Taranaki, Wanganui and Hawkes Bay Trotting Clubs. Mr Paul established his reputation in the North Island to such an extent that, on the death of Mr H Brinkman, he was appointed handicapper to the NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club, and eventually made his headquarters in Christchurch.
Mr Paul's ability as a reader of a race, as we say in newspaper parlance, was extraordinarily sound. He was one of the keenest judges of trotting form ever identified with the sport, and had what is known as 'horsesense' in a highly developed degree.
Mr Paul was one of the first handicappers to depart from the strict time basis in the framing of his handicaps, and for this he came in for strong criticism when he put some of his revolutionary ideas into operation, but the results of his work soon began to confound his critics. One of Mr Paul's principal contentions was that it was illogical to penalise a horse registering 2.10 in a 2.20 class, say 10sec, when the fourth and fifth horses, which might have finished within a fraction of a second of the placed horses, could not be brought into line. Mr Paul was rapidly evolving a system of his own, completely divorced from the time factor, and the more lenient view he insisted upon taking of horses putting up fast times on perfect tracks had a big bearing upon the scheme limiting handicapper's penalties, which was passed by Conference in 1929.
Confusion set in, however, as a number of handicappers showed little desire to co-operate with the scheme. In 1933, Mr H F Nicoll, in his presidential address to the NZ Trotting Conference, stated:"...We have had considerable experience at this stage of the vagaries of handicappers; some do not appear able to grasp the essence of the regulations and others do not keep proper records. It will be noted in the order paper that it is proposed to bring in new rules giving your executive power to appoint one or more handicappers and assistants..." At that time there were no fewer than 11 trotting handicappers in the Dominion, and after the 1933 Conference these were reduced to three, Mr G Paul secured the principal appointment.
Mr Paul was a returned soldier from the Great War, and four of his brothers and a son were on active service in World War II.
Credit: NZ Trotting Calendar 5Sep45
The death occurred in Christchurch on Sunday of Mr Morgan O'Brien, a well-known Christchurch businessman, a prominent owner of racehorses, and a member of the committee of the Canterbury Park Trotting Club.
Mr O'Brien was born in Limerick, Ireland, and at an early age came to NZ with his parents, who settled in North Otago and took up the business of horse dealing. As a boy Mr O'Brien followed the calling of his father, but later joined the Permanent Attillery at Lyttelton, where he was stationed for nine years. Later he became one of the best known men in the licensed trade.
Mr O'Brien was always interested in horses, especially trotters, and many years ago he trained and drove in many of their races All Gold, The Limit, Rostrevor, John Peel, Manreva, Rosie McKinney, Pete Peter, Succory and General Derby. Associated with a fine horseman in A Pringle he won many races. Other horses he owned were Monopole, trained by R W Franks, Worthy Bingen, White Satin, Young Blake, Western Voyage and Prince Pointer, all trained by W J Tomkinson. He also owned a number of gallopers, including the consistent but unlucky Dictate, Winsome Boy, Grecian Prince, Helen Gold and Rebellion.
Mr O'Brien also took a keen interest in trotting administration and for two years he was president of the Canterbury Park Trotting Club and for many years a steward of the club. He was also a member of the Metropolitan Trotting Club and the Canterbury Jockey Club. His wife died four years ago, and he is survived by his son Mr Morgan O'Brien, of Christchurch, and a daughter, Mrs W J Doyle, of Leeston.
Credit: NZ Trotting Calendar 5Dec45
Wrack came to NZ from the United States in 1924 with outstanding track and breeding credentials. He first stood at a fee of 40gns, the highest up to his time, and higher than any fee being charged today. Wrack reached the head of the sire's list for the first time in the 1932-3 season and remained there in 1933-4 and 1943-5. For the next eight seasons he was either second or third on the list. In 1943-4 he was fourth, and last season he was fifth.
A few of Wrack's early progeny were good, but some of them wavered, and so developed one of those strange 'sets' against the breed that beleaguers many a leading progenitor at some stage of its career. But Wrack survived all prejudices eventually to become the greatest sire of horses of both gaits yet imported to the Dominion. He is the sire of the winners of five NZ Trotting Cups, namely, Wrackler(1930), Indianapolis(1934,5&6) and Bronze Eagle (1944); and of three Dominion Handicap winners, namely Wrackler(1932), Sea Gift(1935) and Peggotty(1941).
Wrack was foaled in Pennsylvania in 1917, imported to NZ by Mr H F Nicoll, Ashburton in 1924. Wrack later went to Southland, and was sold to Tasmania in 1938. He died in New South Wales in 1939. He was by Peter The Great, 2.07¼, the most famous fountainhead of speed ever known. Peter The Great sired more than 600 standard performers, 161 of whom had records of from 1.58¼ (Miss Harris M) to 2.10. He also sired the dams of many hundreds of standard performers, including those of 278 pacers or trotters with records of 2.10 and better. Among the most famous out of Peter The Great mares were Margaret Dillon, 1.58¼, Tilly Brooke, 1.59, Mr McElwyn, 1.59¼, Spencer 1.59¾ and Zombro Hanover 2.00.
Wrack's dam was The Colorado Belle, 2.07½, by Colorado E, 2.04¾, a champion at three years. The Colorado Belle was out of The American Belle, by Rex Americus from Beautiful Chimes, a celebrated brood mare by Chimes, who topped the list of American sires on one occasion. Beautiful Chimes was out of Maid of Honour, by Mambrino King-Betty Mac, etc. Wrack's official record was 2.02¾, but he was credited with running second in a heat in 2.01½, the last half in 58½secs. Wrack raced for three years on the Grand Circuit, and never wore a hopple.
To date Wrack has sired 169 individual winners, but the end is not yet, as he still has a few novices racing who may enter the winning list. Wrack's first winner in the Dominion came to light at Westport in sensational circumstances. This was Bonnie Wrack, a 2-year-old pacer who won an event over eight furlongs and a half at the mid-summer meeting, 1927; but as it was discovered after her fine performance that it is against the rules to race a 2-year-old over more than eight furlongs so early in the season, Bonnie Wrack looked like being deprived of the fruits of her precocity. However, someone stretched a point sonewhere, and she was allowed to go down in the records as the rightful winner of the race. Bonnie Wrack, it is scarcely nesessary to add, was one of Wrack's first season foals, and others foaled in the same year were Wrackler and First Wrack.
Wrackler still ranks as the greatest double-gaited horse bred in the Dominion; for that matter one of the greatest in the world. After finishing third in the Sapling Stakes when a sick 2-year-old, he soon recuperated and scored comfortably in the NZ Derby and Great Northern Derby. Like his sire, Wrackler well earned the title of 'iron horse.' Many of the leading pacing events on the calendar fell to him, culminating in his heat and final victories in the 1930 series for the NZ Trotting Cup. In the final he ran right away from the opposition in the straight for one of the most convincing wins ever seen in the premier event. After finishing fourth in the NZ Cup the following year, Wrackler was changed over to the trotting gait, and with very little race experience he beat a high-class field of pacers in a two-mile event at Addington. He went on to win the Dominion Handicap and other important trotting races, and at one time he held the mile and a half record for a trotter, 3.15 4/5, as well as taking a two-mile record of 4.23 2/5. Only now, nearly 13 years afterwards are Wrackler's great double-gaited feats placed in true perspective. His like may never be seen again.
Wrackler's full-sister, Arethusa, was a great little filly. She was 'ugly as sin,' but what a heart she had! She won the Sapling Stakes and NZ Derby, and at three years she won over two miles in seasoned company and finished up with a two-mile record of 4.24, which stood as a 3-year-old record for some years. She carried on to win many other important races, and was one of the gamest and best of her inches seen up to her time.
Soon after the retirement of Arethusa, the 'set' against the Wrack breed was at its height. This unwarranted prejudice became so strong, and the depression years so accentuated it, that the Wracks could scarcely be given away. That is probably the main reason why Tattersalls saw a lot of them go under the hammer for a mere 'song'. There was Sea Gift at 6gns; Nicoya at 4½gns; Peggotty at 4gns, just to mention three of the greatest sale-ring bargains the world over. As is well known to the majority of trotting followers, these three cast-offs developed into trotters of the highest class and won thousands for their lucky purchasers. With the coming of Sea Gift and Nicoya coincided the high-class pacing performances of Cloudy Range, Tempest, Ironside and Reporter, and there also followed a regular stream of high-class juvenile as well as aged trotters. For instance, White Satin and Gerfalcon, both of whom were 3-year-old trotting record holders in their day.
Most of these were in the top class by the time a rangy, overgrown-looking colt named Indianapolis set tongues wagging the day he ran rings round a field of novices of all ages in his very first race as a 2-year-old. He was narrowly beaten by Taxpayer in the Sapling Stakes and the Derby, but after that he rapidly climbed to champion class, winning the NZ Cup three years in succession and taking a mile record of 2.00 2/5 against time. Many trotting men still regard Indianapolis as the greatest pacer foaled in the Dominion. It is certain he would have broken two minutes if he had been specially trained for the purpose, and his best time of 4.15 4/5 for two miles was probably seconds slower than what he would have done if he had not struck wet tracks for his second and third NZ Cup victories.
One could go on for pages and pages writing about this versatile family by Wrack. Members of it, beside all the rich races mentioned above, have won five NZ Derbys(Wrackler, Arethusa, Ciro, Aldershot and Imperial Jade), and Wrackler is not the only trotter of the breed to win against high-class pacers: Sea Gift gained similar distinction, and this great mare's two-mile trotting record of 4.21 2/5, established eight years ago, still stands.
This saga of the Wrack family would by no means be complete without special reference to the somewhat belated greatness of Bronze Eagle. Enough has already been written in these columns about that aspect of his chequered career. Now he ranks as the Dominion's leading stayer, and is sure to be one of the favourites for the NZ Trotting Cup, a race he won last year by sheer grit and superb racing qualities.
Very few of the Wracks were left entire; the greatest of them, Indianapolis, is the sire of Indian Lad, a winner as a 3-year-old last season; Casanova is the sire of Casabianca, a very fine trotter who defeated Fantom, Desmond's Pride and Blue Horizon in the Addington Trotting Stakes as a 4-year-old.
Wrack mares are proving good producers, among the winners out of them being the present champion trotter Sea Max, one of Auckland's crack pacers Medical Student, Canterbury's leading 4-year-old Jack's Son, and other winners in Larissa, Margaret Hall, Poppotunoa, Punctual, Manpower, Maalesh, Ordinance, Turco, Moana Tama(Sapling Stakes), Night Porter, Tara's Hall, Windermere, Mistydale, Calumella, Betty Maxegin, Oregan, Chinook, Jervis Bay, Fire Water, Forecast, Jill, Radiant Scott, Durability and Frank Scott.
Credit: 'Ribbonwood' writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 3Oct1945
1944/45 Season (3 Year Old)
Sat Dec 30 Winton – Novice Hcp (Second Division)
3rd behind Turi Queen
Sat Jan 20 Forbury Park – Navy Hcp
Unplaced behind Radiant Scott
Extract from NZ Trotting Calendar 31 January 1945
“Aberhall is a novice above the average. He failed to show up on the first day at Forbury after being slow away, but the Dillon Hall three-year-old finished a good third at Winton during the holidays. A good opinion is held of him and he may justify it this week.”
Sat Feb 3 Winton JC – Otapiri Trot Hcp (First Division)
2nd by ½ length to Grattan Wave. Trained & driven by L L Abernethy
Extract from NZ Trotting Calendar 7 February 1945
“Aberhall confirmed the opinion that he is a three-year-old above the average when he fought on very gamely in endeavouring to overhall Grattan Wave at the finish of a division of the Otapiri Trot at Winton. The Dillon Hall gelding was in the firing line all the way, and he should not be long in graduating from the novice ranks.”
Sat Feb 24 Invercargill – Novice Handicap (Saddle)
Won by 5 lengths from Lauder Girl & Haste. Ridden by D M Kerr
Extract from NZ Trotting Calendar 28 February 1945
“Aberhall was having his fourth start when he won the Novice Handicap on Saturday, having been placed in two of his three previous outings. The Dillon Hall three-year-old is a pacer of promise, as not only did he win in hollow style on Saturday but he is a level-headed customer and a good pacer to boot.
Aberhall is a member of a rather interesting family. His dam, Moradine, did not go far in the handicaps, but she took a mile and a half record of 3.29 1-5. She was got by Adioo Guy from Myola, an OYM mare who left others in Desert Star (2.13 3-5). Myola was out of Fitzella, by Fitzjimmy from Miss Sherwood. OYM the sire of Myola, was a son of Owyhee (grand-sire of Globe Derby). OYM is probably better known as the sire of Our Thorpe, Agathos ( a Trotting Cup winner), Desdemona, First Alarm, OIC, Gipsy King and others.”
Mon Apr 2 Beaumont R C – Freybery Hcp Trot (Saddle)
3rd off 36yds behind Saskatoon & Jolly Biddy (both off Scr)
Ridden by D M Kerr. Margins Neck, 6 lengths
Sat Apr 14 Southland RC – Otatara Harness Trot
Unplaced behind Fashion Clue, Lou Hall & Trevathan
Extract from NZ Trotting Calendar 18 April 1945
“Aberhall has furnished into a fine type of three-year-old. He was confidently expected to show up at the Southland meeting, but was standing the wrong way round when the field was despatched.”
Sat Sept 29 Otago Hunt – Wingatui Trotting Hcp
3rd Trained & Driven by L L Abernethy
Sat Oct 13 Forbury Park – Hurricane Hcp
Won from Plunder Bar & Radiant Scott. Driven by D M Kerr
Extract from NZ Trotting Calendar 17 October 45
“For some time Aberhall has been regarded as one of the most likely improvers racing in Southland, and his winning performance in the Hurricane Handicap at Forbury Park on Saturday confirmed this contention. The Dillon Hall gelding displayed outstanding form as a three-year-old last season when he was a winner in an open novice race, but unfortunately he was not engaged in the Southland juvenile classics. He has furnished into a grand type of four-year-old, and no success at Forbury was as convincing as that achieved by the Gore pacer.
Being by Dillon Hall from an Adioo Guy mare, he is a representative of a cross which has been bred from rather extensively in Southland in recent seasons, and there is good reason to believe that Adioo Guy mares will breed with some success. Moradine, the dam of Aberhall, raced with moderate success and took a mile and ½ record of 3.29 1-5. She was out of Myola, an OYM mare.”
Sat Oct 27 Invercargill – Thomson Hcp
Won from Understudy & Lou Hall. Driven by D M Kerr
Extract from NZ Trotting Calendar 31 October 1945
“If there was an occasion to name the likely favourite for this year’s Gore Cup, to be run on Boxing Day, there would be no hesitation in selecting Aberhall. There has been some style about the manner in which he has won at his last two starts, and at Invercargill on Saturday the Dillon Hall gelding accounted for a field of improvers in convincing fashion.
As a three-year-old last season Aberhall was not the most reliable at the start of his races but in his latest appearances he has not made any mistakes, and his winning efforts have been achieved with something in hand.
On Saturday he was one of the leaders immediately the field had settled down, and he was a winner a long way from home. He has furnished into a grand type of four-year-old and there does not appear to be any doubt about his winning over further ground.”
Sat Nov 17 Southland Racing – New River Harness Trot
Unplaced behind Happy King
Extract from NZ Trotting Calendar 28 November 1945
“Aberhall’s failure over two miles at Invercargill was a nasty pill to swallow. He had won up to a mile and a half in great style, and if ever a horse appears fitted to run out two miles it is the Dillon Hall gelding. There was no room to make excuses for his Invercargill failure; he was simply not good enough on the day.”
Wed Dec26 Gore – Gore Trotting Club Hcp
Unplaced behind Monagh Leagh
same day F Walls Memorial Hcp
Won from Windermere & Scatterbrain. Driven by D M Kerr
Extract from NZ Trotting Calendar 3 February 1946
“Aberhall won well over a mile and a quarter at Gore after failing to begin correctly over two miles earlier in the day. Aberhall’s effort in one of the best class fields he has yet met indicates that he is not far short of some of the early opinions expressed of the Dillon Hall gelding, although he has yet to prove his staying qualities.”
Wed Jan2 Southland Racing – Oreti Harness Trot
3rd to Lou Hall & Grelba. Driven by D M Kerr
Sat Jan 6 Southland Racing - Rosedale Harness Hcp
Unplaced behind Battle On
Sat Jan 19 Forbury Park – Flying Hcp
3rd behind Dillondale &Elvo’s Pride
Extract from NZ Trotting Calendar 230January 1946
“Aberhall was far from disgraced in the Flying Handicap, and his third placing was one to enthuse over. At the end of a furlong he was well back in the running, and even with half a mile to go he only had three runners behind him. Aberhall had not made up much ground by the time the home turn was reached, but in the straight he finished very strongly. There is good reason to respect Aberhall’s worth as a sprinter.”
Sat Jan 26 Forbury Park – Au Revoir Hcp
Won from Margaret Hall & Technique
Sat Feb 9 Canterbury Park – Wigram Hcp
4th behind Plunder Bar, Princess Maritza & Red Setter
Sat Feb 16 New Brighton – Eclipse Hcp
2nd behind Dillondale. Driven by J Walsh
Extract from NZ Trotting Calendar 27 February 1946
“Aberhall was asked the question of a super horse to win the Eclipse Handicap at the New Brighton meeting and he had to be at least above the average to hold off all but Dillondale, who had a much better passage.”
Sat Apr 6 NZ Metropolitan – Craven Hcp
Unplaced behind Scotch Music. (Light Brigade was 4th)
Sat Apr 13 NZ Metro – Wilkin Hcp
Won from Princess Maritza & Radical
Extract from NZ Trotting Calendar 17 April 1946
“Moradine, dam of Aberhall, was a winner, but she did not go very far. She is one of many Adioo Guy mares producing winners. Her dam was Myola, the dam of Desert Star, was probably the best stayer in Southland in his day. Myola was by OYM, sire of Our Thorpe, a champion stayer in his day, winning the Free-For-All, finishing second in the NZ Cup, and holding the mile record for a number of years.
Aberhall, like others by Dillon Hall, shapes like a stayer. In the Wilkin Handicap on Saturday Aberhall had only two horses behind him with half a mile to go, and even when he improved to fifth position at the home turn he did not appear to be travelling well enough to be a winning possibility. But from that stage he cut down the leaders in great style and won going away from Princess Maritza and Radical.
Aberhall, only a four-year-old, is trained at Gore by his owner, L L Abernethy. He was driven on Saturday by J Walsh. Aberhall has won five races this season. Altogether he has won six times and been in the minor money seven times for £2275 in stakes.”
Sat Apr 20 NZ Metro – Autumn Stks
4th behind Great Belwin, Navigate & County Clare
Sat Aug 24 NZ Metro – Speedway Hcp
2nd behind Catalpa (2 lengths). Driven by R Stevens
Extract from NZ Trotting Calendar 28 August 1946
“Aberhall was staying on better than Dunmore in the Speedway Hcp and is a young stayer of above average ability, no matter what the state of the track. Aberhall’s reputation with Addington patrons goes on improving.”
Sat Aug 31 NZ Metro – Advance Hcp
Won off 12 yards from Pre-Eminence. Driven by R Stevens.
Extract fro NZ Trotting Calendar 4 Sept 1946
“Aberhall decisively outstayed a strong field in the Advance Hcp, after being badly placed in a rear position for a mile and ¾, he was still pocketed, with 8 horses in front of him, as the field rounded the home turn, and his progress under difficulties from that stage stamped him as a very fine young stayer. Only a 5-year-old, his latest assessment is 4:26 for 2 miles.”
Sat Sep 7 New Brighton – Electric Hcp
Unplaced behind Sir Michael (1945 NZ Derby winner)
Sat Nov 2 NZ Metro (Cup Day) – Final Hcp
Won by a neck from Great Belwin & Dillondale. Trained & Driven by G S Smith.
Extract from NZ Trotting Calendar 13 November 1946
“Aberhall is an interesting experiment in breeding, as he is got by artificial insemination, a form of breeding widely used in America and England, especially in the breeding of cattle and sheep.”
Fri Nov 15 NZ Metro (3rd day Cup Mtgn, Postponed from 9/11) –
William Hayward Hcp – Won by a length from Plunder Bar, Acropolis and War Form.
Extract from NZ Trotting Calendar 18 December 1946
“Aberhall. a staunch favourite for the Auckland Cup, which this year carries a record stake of £3500, took the highest honours in his class at the New Zealand Cup Meeting by inflicting the only defeats registered against two of the best pacers at the carnival – Plunder Bar, winner of a treble over the four days, and Great Belwin, winner of two races.
Only now five years old, Aberhall is a genuine stayer and also a sprinter of very high calibre. He was successful in his only two appearances at the Metropolitan Cup meeting, and the manner in which he outsprinted Great Belwin and outstayed Plunder Bar after giving them both a start at the top of the straight sent him right to the top in Auckland Cup discussions. He is likely to remain there.
Aberhall, winner of nine races and £4880 in stakes since he made his first appearance in a race less than two years ago, is a fool-proof racehorse; he has a job to do and goes out and does it with a minimum of fuss and a maximum of efficiency. He has arrived at his present high estate in a much shorter period than most horses who eventually reach New Zealand Cup class, and his elevation to that circle appears to be only a matter of time.”
Fri Dec 27 Auckland – Auckland Trotting Cup
3rd behind Loyal Nurse & Great Belwin. Driven by G S Smith.
Extract from NZ Trotting Calendar 1 Jan 1947
“The firm win fancy Aberhall was never going comfortably and when he failed to jump away cleanly soon got into a difficult position. When he got into the clear along the back he moved forward, but lagged badly crossing the top and into the straight, which gave him no chance of getting near the two ahead of him.
G S Smith expressed the opinion afterwards that the right handed track was not to Aberhall’s liking. The Dillon Hall pacer is not the first Cup favourite by any means to be tricked by the reverse method, when running like champions in the south.”
Sat Dec 28 Auckland – Champion Hcp
Unplaced behind Loyal Nurse & Great Belwin.
Tue Dec 31 Auckland – President’s Hcp
4th behind Great Belwin, Knave Of Diamonds & Acropolis. Driven by G S Smith.
Sat Mar 22 NZ Metro – Speedway Hcp
Unplaced behind Nyallo Scott
Sat Apr 5 NZ Metro – Au Revoir Hcp
4th behind Dundee Sandy, Great Belwin & Navigate. Driven by G S Smith.
Extract from NZ Trotting Calendar 23 April 1947
“Aberhall, conqueror at the Metropolitan November carnival of Plunder Bar over two miles, and Great Belwin over a mile and a quarter, failed later as a strongly-fancied candidate for the Auckland Cup, but he made a fine showing to finish a close fourth in a sprint race at Easter. That was a performance that should bring him into favour for the Ritchie Memorial.”
Sat Apr 26 Forbury Park – Ritchie Memorial Hcp
Unplaced behind Highland Fling, Gold Peg & Lucky Loyal
Sat May 3 Forbury Park – James Memorial Hcp
Unplaced behind Gold Peg, Jack’s Son & Highland Fling
Sat Aug 23 NZ Metro – Winter Hcp
Unplaced off Scr behind Highland Fling
Sat Aug 30 NZ Metro – National Hcp
2nd (2 lengths) behind Plunder Bar. Driven by L Frost
Sat Sep 6 New Brighton – Electric Hcp
3rd (Nose, 11/2 Lengths) behind Bellhall & Plunder Bar. Driven by L Frost.
Sat Oct 11 Forbury Park – Flying Hcp
Unplaced off 12 yards to Loyal Peter
Extract from NZ Trotting Calendar 15 October 1947
“There was no excuse for Aberhall against the sprinters on Saturday, as he had every chance in the running. The race would probably do him good.”
Sat Oct 18 Forbury Park – Farewell Hcp
Won off 12 yards by 3 lengths from Jack’s Son. Driven by L Frost
Trained by L L Abernethy
Extract from NZ Trotting Calendar 22 October 1947
“Aberhall, who made a poor showing against the sprinters on a fast track the first day, was a much different proposition when the going was at its worst in the Farewell Hcp on Saturday. Over the last half-mile he had the result in safe keeping, and it was an effort which showed the Dillon Hall gelding in his true colours.”
Sat Oct 24 Oamaru – Hannon Memorial
Dead-heated for 3rd with Battle Colours. Race won by Knave Of Diamonds from Integrity. Aberhall driven by L Frost.
Extract from NZ Trotting Calendar 29 October 1947
“Aberhall, continues to race consistently. He was responsible for a solid effort in the Hannon Memorial Hcp at Oamaru.”
Sat Nov 1 NZ Metro (Cup Day) – Empire Hcp
Won off 24 yards by a length from War Form. Driven by L Frost
Trained by L L Abernethy
Extract from NZ Trotting Calendar 5 November 1947
“Aberhall, under this year’s conditions has qualified for the NZ Cup. He reached the 4.22 mark by a convincing win in the Empire Hcp. He has won £7370 in stakes, and is a genuine all-rounder.”
Sat Nov 8 NZ Metro (Cup Meeting) – Ollivier Hcp
2nd by a nose to Navigate finishing ahead of Plunder Bar, Loyal Realm, Turco, Highland Fling, Shadow Maid, Loyal Nurse, Knave Of Diamonds.
Extract from NZ Trotting Calendar 12 Nov 1947
“Aberhall finished so fast down on the fence in the Ollivier Handicap that in another stride he must have won. He is a model of consistency, having won twice, finished second twice, and third once in his last six starts. His stakes winnings to date are £7870.”
Sat Nov 15 NZ Metro (4th Day Cup Mtgn) – NZ Pacing Free-For-All
Unplaced behind Integrity, In The Mood, Turco & Highland Fling.
Sat Feb 7 Auckland (Inter Dominion Champs) – Qualifying Heat
Unplaced off 12 yards behind Loyal Peter, Globe Direct & Knave Of Diamonds
Sat Feb 14 Auckland (Inter Dominion Champs) – Qualifying Heat
Unplaced off 12 yards behind Knave Of Diamonds, Emulous & Globe Direct
Sat Feb 21 Auckland (Inter Dominion Champs) – Consolation
Unplaced off 12 yards behind Turco, Double Peter & Doctor Ted
Sat Mar 13 NZ Metro – A I Rattray Hcp
4th behind Highland Fling, Plunder Bar & Emulous
Sat Mar 27 NZ Metro – Easter Stakes
Unplaced behind Highland Fling & Emulous
Sat Apr 24 Forbury Park – Dunedin Centennial Cup Hcp
Unplaced behind Acropolis, Highland Fling, Dundee Sandy & Plunder Bar.
Sat Oct 9 Forbury Park – Flying Hcp
3rd off 24 yards behind Emulous(60 yds) . Driven by L Frost
Extract from NZ Trotting Calendar 13 October 1948
“...Aberhall, too, must be rated as a first-class prospect. He finished late from a pocket in the Flying Handicap last week.”
“Aberhall made a promising reappearance when he finished with a late run to get up for third behind Emulous and Henry Of Navarre. The Gore pacer has rarely stripped in better order and the race should tune him for immediate engagements.”
Sat Oct 16 Forbury Park – Farewell Hcp
Unplaced off 24 yards behind Minoru
Sat Oct 25 Oamaru – Hannon Memorial
2nd by ½ Length off Scr to Navigate. Highland Fling & Emulous unplaced
Extract from NZ Trotting Calendar 27 Oct 1948
“...Aberhall was not disgraced in being beaten into second place after being responsible for the pace. His was the effort of a game racehorse...”
Sat Oct 30 NZ Metro – NZ Cup
12th to Highland Fling. Driven by L C Frost
Sat Nov 6 NZ Metro – Ollivier Hcp
Unplaced of 12 yards to Single Direct
Extract from NZ Trotting Calendar 10 November 1948
“The unlucky horse in the Ollivier Hcp was Plunder Bar, who was completely eliminated when Aberhall swung across and stopped him at barrier rise. Aberhall also behaved badly in the New Zealand Cup and is fast earning a reputation as a problem at the start of his races.”
Sat Jan 1 Canterbury Park – Canterbury Hcp
Unplaced behind Monagh Leagh, Plunder Bar, Highland Fling & Dundee Sandy.
Mon Jan 3 Canterbury Park – Mason Hcp
3rd (Length & ½ Length) off 24 yards to Plunder Bar(24 yds) and Highland Fling(96 yds). Driven by R Stevens
Sat Jan 22 Forbury Park – Flying Hcp
Unplaced off 24 yards behind Attack
Sat Jan 29 Forbury Park – Au Revoir Hcp
Unplaced off 24 yards behind Captain Sandy
Sat Oct 8 Forbury Park – Flying Hcp
Unplaced off 24 yards to Victoy Globe
Extract from NZ Trotting Calendar 19 Oct 1949
“Aberhall, a New Zealand Cup candidate, was the outsider of the sprint field and he was the last to finish.”
Sat Oct 15 Forbury Park – Farewell Hcp
Unplaced off 24 yards to Baby Grand
Tue Dec 31 Canterbury Park – Canterbury Hcp
Unplaced off 12 yards to Attack
Thu Jan 2 Canterbury Park – Mason Hcp
Unplaced off 12 yards to Checkmate
Sat Jan 21 Forbury Park – Dunedin Cup
Unplaced off 24 yards to Gantree
Sat Jan 28 Forbury Park – Champion Free-For-All
Unplaced to Integrity
For several seasons around the World War Two era, Clockwork knocked about the best classes. He was second in an Auckland Cup and placed in other good races but never made the breakthrough to the headlines in spite of all the efforts of trainer Cecil Donald. The spring of 1945 looked like the same old, same old. Clockwork had been off the winning list for a year and while third in the Hannon Memorial in October he had been a long way from the winner.
So far in fact that the New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club hardly raised a murmur when it eliminated Clockwork from the New Zealand Cup. That Cup was a spectacular race, won at last by eternal crowd hero Gold Bar.
However, a few days later in the New Zealand Pacing Free-For-All, Ron Donald hunted the despised Clockwork out of the barrier and drove him hard to ensure Gold Bar would not put his usual big break on the field. The plan worked. Gold Bar was never more than a length in front of Clockwork and the veteran ran him down. That was sensational enough because Clockwork was at 35/1. But more was to come.
Clockwork had pushed Gold Bar so hard they had run a new national record for the 2400m of a mile & a half which stood for some years before being equalled but never beaten by the champion Highland Fling. As for Clockwork? Well, he never pushed the watches anywhere near any record times ever again.
Credit: David McCarthy writing in Harnessed Feb 2016
Dan Glanville went to Akaroa to play tennis and came home the owner of Great Bingen. He had never owned a horse in his life before. In fact, he was not at all keen to embark on a racing career; but J N Clarke and the late E X Le Lievre, between them, made up his mind for him, and parted him from £400 in cash for what the late Etienne Le Lievre was justified in describing as "the best-bred colt in NZ." Mr Glanville later sold a half share in the colt to Mr J R McKenzie.
Great Bingen was not named then. No one could so much as suspect his race-track eminence, because he had not even been tried when Mr Glanville bought him. But he was a grand-looking 18-months-old colt, built to order for the most exacting connoisseur of blood stock, and he had character written all over him. That character, inherent in Great Bingen from the day he was nothing but a twinkle in his mother's eye, manifested itself throughout a dazzling career, a career that will always live as one of the most stirring in light-harness history.
He was a personality horse - plus. We have not had many personality horses. Of all the great ones I have seen I would put only Great Bingen and Harold Logan in that category. Great Bingen's personality began to find expression from the very day he left Akaroa on his long trek over the hills to Little River. There were no horse-floats in those days, not in Akaroa, anyhow, and Mr Le Lievre, then an active man of about 67 years of age (he lived till he was nearly 90) rode a hack and led Great Bingen on the steep arduous walk. Everything was going as merrily as a wedding bell when suddenly, right in the middle of the township of Little River, Mr Le Lievre's hack fell from under him, and Mr Le Lievre broke a leg. Great Bingen was free, but did he panic? Not he. He merely cropped the grass on the side of the road and finished up licking Mr Le Lievre's face as he lay on the ground. Help was not long in arriving, and, to cut a long story short, this unsung, unnamed, untried colt, later to bring thousands to their feet as a race-course idol, was safely entrained for Christchurch.
Of all the sidelights of Great Bingen's career, his unrehearsed swim in the Swan River, West Australia, followed by an unbridled gallop through the heart of Perth, is perhaps the best. It is certainly the funniest, the way Mr Glanville related it to me.
Great Bingen, as a 6-year-old, was taken to Perth for a series of championship races. He was accompanied by Mr Glanville, Mr McKenzie and James Bryce, who was his trainer and driver on the trip. Great Bingen won his first two races of the series very easily, but then followed a poor showing, and stories of doping fairly screamed from the Perth papers. "Somebody has got at him," was the general cry. The horse was certainly listless. He had lost his fire. So Bryce decided that a swim in the Swan River was what the doctor would order. In they went, Bryce rowing the boat, and an attendant holding Great Bingen on a tow-rope. Soon they were out to swimming depth. After a few preliminary plunges and snorts, Great Bingen settled down to a regular Olympic stroke. So well did he master the water at this, his first acquaintance with aquatics, that he was soon outstripping the boat, Bryce and all in it.
Mr Glanville and Mr McKenzie looked on with mixed feelings from the bank. Soon these feelings developed into misgivings as Great Bingen put his head over the side of the boat and nearly upset it. "There are sharks in these waters," murmured one of them. All of a sudden the attendant with Great Bingen on the lead was forced to let go his hold. Things had reached a climax. Bryce was thinking about the sharks, Mr McKenzie and Mr Glanville were thinking about the horse, the horse was probably thinking about his dinner and enjoying his newly-won freedom.
The Swan river is nearly a mile wide where this little drama was being enacted, and for one horrible moment the men on the bank thought their noble steed was about to strike out for the opposite bank. He was swimming like a born Weismuller, and was nearly in the middle of the stream when, quite suddenly, he turned round and headed homewards. Thank heaven!
By now Bryce and his boat had returned to terra firma. All that remained to be done was for the horse to be caught when he made dry land. That's what they thought! But they reckoned without one thing - the horse's co-operation. And you can imagine their dismay when the chief actor in this mounting drama, now landed safely, shook himself disdainfully and took of for goodness knows where. The last his owners ever expected to see of their pride and joy was a wild, galloping Great Bingen, hurdling a hefty obstacle in his stride and disappearing into the heart of the city of Perth.
When this breath-taking turn of events had subsided, the three gentlemen left on the banks of the river Swan proceeded to take stock of one another. "Who's idea was it anyway?" "Mon, who'd have dreamt yon horse would ha done a thing like that." "What did you let him go for?" "Dinna ye ken aboot the sharks?" "He's done for now, anyhow." And a lot more in the same vein - but stronger. Disconsolately, the three pig-islanders groped their way back home, back to the stables which had only recently sheltered their champion. What sort of muts would the Aussies think they were? Mortification, tribulation and humiliation entered the stable-yards hand in hand. "Wonder if he ended up in a ditch or ran head on into a tramcar?" one of his owners asked himself.
But by some miracle, or tremendous good luck, Great Bingen had done neither. He had 'seen Perth first,' or a large part of it, anyway, and with the instinct of a homing pigeon, had come back to his boots and manger. Yes, there he was, with a casual whinny for his dishevelled countrymen as they sidled into his stall.
The escapade could have done him little harm, because he won his next two races at the championships, both over two miles, and finished a close second to Taraire in the final. Great Bingen had many drivers in his lengthy career. All of them will testify to his indomitable courage, his almost uncanny intelligence in difficult situations or tight corners, his robust health and physique.
The late W J Tomkinson never had anything to do with Great Bingen, except to see him, more often than not, streaking past him in races. But Tomkinson had a very high regard for him. He used to say: "He's no better than he looks!" That was a round about way of paying the brown stallion a high compliment, because, in racing condition, he looked fit to race for a Kingdom.
Great Bingen won £13,320 in stakes in the Dominion, which still stands as a record. To this has to be added £800 which he won in Australia. Great Bingen was a famous free-for-all pacer, winning six events of this kind. He was the first pacer in NZ or Australia to better 4.20 for two miles, and he won against good horses from long marks, such as his victory in the York Handicap from 108 yards.
Credit: 'Ribbonwood' writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 30May45
1945 THE GREATEST CUP OF ALL
The mastery of Cardigan Bay? The stoutness of False Step? The brilliance of Johnny Globe? The personality of Robalan? Was one of these Cups hailed as the finest ever run: or was it perhaps the third win of Indianapolis, the second by Haughty or even the great run by old Monte Carloin 1904?
Well strangely enough those who have seen a lot of Cups always come back to one sooner or later which gave them a special thrill. And that Cup was Gold Bar's winning run in 1945 when the Grattan Loyal bay finally lasted the distance and defeated a high-class field.
The middle and late forties were the peak of trotting's popularity and the 1945 NZ Cup was the richest horse race ever run in this country and it was also billed as the richest trotting handicap in the world which, when you think about it, doesn't mean much. But during the war years huge crowds always attended the Cup and ever since 1941 when Gold Bar first started in the event they had watched him burn off his rivals in the middle stages only to get run down near the end. In 1945 they finally saw what they had waited years to see - the brillant bay getting too far in front for the others to catch him.
Gold Bar had unique appeal for his racing style has never been seen before or since in big races in this country. There was none of this business of tucking in on the rails in the big staying races and waiting for the last run. Gold Bar went flat stick from the start no matter how far the race and it was up to the others to catch him. In 1945 for example he went his first quarter in 31.4, first half in 62.8 and the first mile in 2:06.8 by which time he was firteen lengths clear of the field.
Thirty-two thousand spectators watched in amazement as the flying stallion and owner-trainer Alan Holmes made an almost lonely sight nearly half a furlong clear of the Cup field. "Of course he'll stop," they were saying. "He always does." But deep down they were hoping that today it just might be different. And it was. Going past the old five furlong pole (1000m) Gold Bar still had a big lead and back in the field the other drivers were putting off the decision which would cost them the race. No mug field either. Included in it were Integrity who would win the following year, Haughty already the winner of two Cups and the first two-minute mare in the Southern Hemisphere, Bronze Eagle who had won the previous year, Countless, Shadow Maid and Indian Clipper a free-for-all winner.
The drivers back in the field were remembering one important thing. Almost inevitably in previous years the horse which had first bridged the gap to Gold Bar when he set up his long leads found that the effort exhausted him and he was no longer a challenger. The previous year none less than Springfield Globe had spent his resources trying to catch Gold Bar. This memory made the drivers hesitate and the hesitation gave Gold Bar the race. Finally Maurice Holmes driving the little chestnut Integrity decided to lead the chase. The gap between the tiring Gold Bar and the challenging Integity narrowed and it seemed once more that Gold Bar would falter.
Approaching the home turn Integrity had drawn up to the leader and it looked a formality for him to pass. History repeated itself however and the effort of the chase had tired Integrity. Gold Bar managed to hold on in surely the slowest quarter in recent Cup history as the two exhausted pacers struggled to the finish. Much further back was Shadow Maid in the hands of a youthful Cecil Devine who would later write his own Cup history and Countless driven by Jack McLennan. Gold Bar who had paced his opening 1¼ miles in 2:39 and the 1½ in 3:10.4 came his last half in 65.6, the last quarter taking about 34 seconds.
Integrity may have been a shade unlucky as he had been slow away but it was definitely Gold Bar's day. His reception was fantastic. Before he could return to the birdcage hundreds of well-wishers had jumped the rails and surrounded Alan Holmes and his champion heaping congratulations on them. It wasn't as if they had all backed him either because he was fifth win favourite, Integrity and Bronze Eagle sharing the favouritism. People who had probably not even seen much of the race because of the crush cheered him to the echo on his return to scale.
The impossible, it seemed, had happened. One reporter began his story the next day 'Never in the history of trotting...' and the excitment took several hours to die down. There were critics. Some said that Gold Bar's tactics were ruining the NZ Cups as true tests of staying ability. Others said that had Haughty not been checked at the turn she would have won her third Cup. There are always critics. They were golden days in trotting about that time. Totalisator records the day Gold Bar won the Cup were smashed and the day's turnover was only $10,000 less than the turnover for the entire meeting five years previously. A quarter of an hour before the Cup the queues at the tote were over 60m long and many people had to miss races in order to bet on the Cup. More money was invested on the big race itself than had been spent on all eight races a decade before.
Gold Bar was a personality horse of the first water and many will tell you he was the most brilliant horse they have seen. He was the first NZ-bred to break two-minutes and he scored a number of spectacular victories one in the Ashburton Cup being even more thrilling than his NZ Cup win. He started in two further Cups adopting the same tactics but didn't win another one before being retired to stud in 1947. He was quite successful siring over 80 winners, the brilliant Brahman probably being the best and a number of his daughters bred on well.
He was owned throughout his career by Alan Holmes who purchased his dam from her breeder Mr J Cooper of Cheviot. In all Gold Bar won 22 races over nine seasons earning nearly $26,000. There have been no Gold Bar's since his time. Big races since then have been won by more orthodox means. Perhaps one day another will come along so that a younger generation can see the excitement that such a run can engender. I don't know about staying techniques but Gold Bar's 1945 Cup run must have been a wonderful spectacle. No wonder some say it was the greatest Cup of all.
Credit: David McCarthy writing in NZ Troguide 4Nov76
Nothing looks quite so pathetic as to-day's Form at a Glance the night following the races: unless it is last week's Cup story. As a rule, caution and sporting writers are first cousins. A sort of animal cunning comes to the aid of most people who follow horses with a pair of binoculars and a pencil, but for once in a while it deserted the press gallery at Addington on Saturday.
Free Holmes, sage of the light-harness world, once delivered a homily from a sulky seat to the effect that "it is time enough to count any horse out of any race when it is dead." Free was dead right. Just how many times he has been right since he became trotting's philosopher No.1 we have lost count of. How the old general must have chuckled to himself when Gold Bar's Cup victory on Saturday came home as a crushing rebuke to all scribes and form experts(?) who rushed into print with such high-sounding phrases as "his stamina must be on the wane," "he is not likely at this late stage of his career to finish any closer than fourth," "his function is not to win Cups but to carry the field along at break neck speed"; and so on.
Free, by the way, is "next of kin," to the owner, the trainer, the driver and the winner of this year's Cup. He is, as everyone knows, Allan Holmes's father; and Gold Bar's sire, grandsire and great-grandsire were all imported from America by Free. Gold Bar is by Grattan Loyal, who came from Ontario, Canada, in 1930. Gold Bar's dam Imperial Gold, is by Rey de Oro, who left Los Angeles, USA, for this country in 1922; and Imperial Gold's dam was Imperial Pointer, who came from California to the Dominion in 1915.
What a trotting saga! Nat Gould would have revelled in it. But Nat Gould is dead, so you will just have to put up with the vapourings of the scribe who told you in all seriousness last week that Gold Bar had about as much chance of winning the Cup as Hirohito has of becoming President of the United States. The influence of Free Holmes's importations on the Cup field did not end with Gold Bar, because Integrity, the second horse, is by Trevor de Oro (by Rey de Oro-Logan Maid, by Logan Pointer) and Integrity's dam, Cheetah, is by Grattan Loyal. Furthermore, the fourth horse, Countless, is out of Purple Patch, by Rey de Oro.
The unrestrained enthusiasm that greeted Gold Bar and Allan Holmes when they returned to the birdcage was a richly earned tribute to a horse and a driver who have been leading actors in the principal events of the Dominion for five years or more. Most people will agree that Gold Bar has 'made' the Cup race ever since he joined the select circle. It would be difficult to name his parallel in light-harness history. Vesuvius is the nearest approach to him most can remember; horses that stand out as individualists, pacemakers whose acceleration to top speed from barrier rise led to the survival of only the fittest in each and every race they made, or disorganised, whichever you will.
It was in an atmosphere charged with enthusiasm, and pervaded with a glamour Addington has never known before, that the official party, led by the president, Mr C S Thomas, foregathered in the birdcage after the race for the presentation to A Holmes of the Gold Cup. Thousands of wildly-excited people literally broke all barriers and crowded round the enclosure. Mr Thomas paid a richly earned tribute to Holmes and Gold Bar for the part they played in the Cup race for the last five years. He referred to Saturday's race as "probably the greatest light-harness contest ever staged in the Dominion" and to Gold Bar and Holmes as a champion combination that had consistently provided thrills for the trotting public. Mrs Thomas decorated Gold Bar with a garland of flowers and deafening cheers attended the ceremony.
Gold Bar, who is nine years old, has now won 21 races and £12,078/10/- in stakes and trophies, which places him second to Great Bingen as a money-winner. Of Great Bingen's total of £14,120, £13,320 was earned in the Dominion, and £800 in Australia. If Gold Bar should win Friday's Free-For-All he will have topped Great Bingen's Dominion total, and he now looks likely to become the biggest light-harness stake-winner of the Dominion and Australia. A bloodstock agent made an offer of £5000 for Gold Bar towards the close of last season. The offer came ostensibly with a view to Gold Bar's stud value, but, as Holmes remarked at the time, Gold Bar, apart altogether from his racing career, was worth "a thousand a year at the stud." The thousand a year is now safe as long as Gold Bar lives, and since the offer was made he has earned an additional £5525 in stakes. So it would have been a bad sale, after all.
Gold Bar, after fighting off his only serious challenger, Integrity, won the 1945 NZ Cup by three lengths from Integrity, with Shadow Maid ten lengths away third and Countless a poor fourth. At the start Integrity broke and lost about 30yds, and Indian Clipper would not settle down, being soon out of the contest. Gold Bar went to the front practically from barrier rise and at the end of half a mile had opened up a break of ten lengths on Double Peter, who was followed by Dusky Sound, Shadow Maid and War Guard. Gold Bar increased his lead to 15 lengths with six furlongs covered, and reached the mile in 2:07 and the mile and a half in 3:10. There was still no sign of his weakening. Integrity went after Gold Bar with three furlongs to go, and he reduced the gap to five lengths by the time the home turn was reached, but from that stage Gold Bar fought on too well, and Integrity was not gaining on him at the finish. Happy Man, who led the attack on Gold Bar in the middle stages, tired and came back on Haughty three and a half furlongs from home. Haughty made several futile attempts to get through on the inside of Happy Man, but he eventually came over on her and she put a foot through his sulky wheel. This eliminated both horses just before they reached the quarter post. The mishap probably robbed the race of a good deal of interest, as Haughty appeared to be full of running at the time. Bronze Eagle and all the others had every chance. Bronze Eagle reached third place just after entering upon the final quarter, but he broke in the straight. The fifth horse was Dusky Sound, followed by War Guard, Loyal Friend, Double Peter and Bronze Eagle. The last mile occupied 2:09 1-5, and the last half-mile 1:06 1-5, indicating that Gold Bar's speed again became progressively slower.
Investments on the race were £34,955 and on the day £182,086/10/-
1st: A Holmes's GOLD BAR. Trained and driven by the owner at Riccarton, started off scratch.
2nd: V Leeming's INTEGRITY. Driven by M Holmes, started off scratch.
3rd: G Chemar's SHADOW MAID. Driven by C C Devine, started off scratch.
4th: P A Watson's COUNTLESS. Driven by J McLennan Tnr, started off 24yds.
The winner won by three lengths, with 10 lengths to third and 10 lengths to fourth.
Times: 4:16 1-5, 4:16 3-5, 4:19 1-5, 4:19 3-5.
Also started: Double Peter scr, Dusky Sound scr, Happy Man scr, Indian Clipper scr, War Guard scr, Loyal Friend 12, Bronze Eagle 36, Haughty 48.
Credit: 'Ribbonwood' writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 7Nov45
1945 DOMINION TROTTING HANDICAP
For a trotter of his age - he is only six - Fantom has performed marvellously well. It is doubtful if in the history of trotting in the Dominion any horse of the same age has been a dual Rowe Cup winner, a Dominion Handicap winner, and a Free-For-All winner in record time.
As a lover of the true-gaited horse, Mr J R McKenzie has probably derived more satisfaction from the performances of Fantom than from the track deeds of any of his pacers. Fantom was fashioned in classic mould from the time he was switched over from the pacing to the trotting gait as an early three-year-old.
His imposing list of successes after he beat a field of trotters of all ages as a three-year-old at Wellington includes the NZ Trotting Stakes, the National Four-year-old Trotting Stakes, the Rowe Memorial Handicap at Auckland two years running, as a four-year-old and a five-year-old, and now his outstanding exploits at Addington this month.
He was trained for his first two successes by R B Berry. On the death of his owner-breeder, the late S W Kelly, he was bought at auction by Mr J R McKenzie for £750 and, trained by G B Noble, he has won £3710 in stakes. His grand total in just over three years is £4225.
1st: J R McKenzie's FANTOM. Trained & Driven by G B Noble of Yaldhurst, started off 36yds.
2nd: F A Bridgen's FOREWARNED. Driven by F J Smith, started off 48yds.
3rd: J Wilson's ORDNANCE. Driven by the owner, started off 60yds.
4th: J Shelly's WILLIE WINKIE. Driven by R Stevens, started off scratch.
The winner won by four lengths, with four lengths back to third.
Also started: Castigate scr, Fire Water scr, Mae Wynne scr, Punctual scr, Sea Gem scr, Teddy Greg scr, Echoist 12, Modest Maid 12, Gentleman Joe 12, Steel King 48 and Range Finder 108 bracketed, Sure Lady 60, Will Cary 108, Sea Max 120,
Credit: NZ Trotting Calendar 7Nov45
1945 NEW ZEALAND DERBY STAKES
An explanation of Sir Michael's complete reversal of form was sought by the stewards after his polished Derby success. He had faded out badly in the Metropolitan Challenge Stakes the week before. The explanation of the owner-trainer, C Tasker and driver, R Young, was accepted.
Sir Michael was rid of his most dangerous opponent when Globe Direct broke and lost ground early. Globe Direct was in constant difficulties afterwards. For all that, Sir Michael is a high-class colt, probably as fine a specimen of the standard breed as any to take the blue riband event. He gave a flawless performance, beginning well and holding a leading position throughout. He gathered in Sprayman at the distance and was holding on resolutely with half a length to spare over Sprayman at the finish.
1st: C Tasker's SIR MICHAEL. Trained by the owner-breeder at Spreydon and driven by R Young.
2nd: N C Price's SPRAYMAN. Driven by C King.
3rd: R B Berry's FIRST GLOBE. Driven by D C Watts.
4th: T B Smalley's CAPTAIN GAILLARD. Driven by G T Mitchell.
The winner won by half a length with a neck back to third.
Also started: Dandy Grattan, Globe Direct bracketed with First Globe, Good Review, Hazard Queen, Highland Fling, Local Gold, Loyal Guest, Right Royal, Rose Volo, Special Merit, Town Talk & True Comrade.
Credit: 'Ribbonwood'writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 14Nov45
1945 NEW ZEALAND PREMIER SPRINT CHAMPIONSHIP
Gold Bar made another of his gallant attempts to slip the field in the NZ Premier Sprint Championship on Saturday, but to the surprise of the majority Happy Man caught him in the straight and beat him narrowly. It was the fastest-run race of the three days. Gold Bar ran the first mile in 2:03 3-5, but he took 33secs for the final quarter.
1st: J C South's HAPPY MAN. Trained by C H Watson, Hornby and driven by C King.
2nd: A Holmes's GOLD BAR. Driven by the owner.
3rd: B Grice's HAUGHTY. Driven by O E Hooper.
4th: G Chesmar's SHADOW MAID. Driven by C C Devine.
The winner won by half a length with six lengths to third.
Also started: Burt Scott, Clockwork, Countless, Double Peter, Indian Clipper, Loyal Friend & Ronald Logan.
Credit: 'Ribbonwood' writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 14Nov45