February 13 - Waterfront strike begins, with all NZ ports idle by February 19. This very violent and confrontational strike ended on July 11.A state of emergency is declared by the government and servicemen are used to work the wharves.
August 15 - Carrying New Zealand troops to the Korean War, the 38-year-old Lyttelton–Wellington ferry Wahine ran aground in the Arafura Sea. There were no casualties but the ship became a total loss.
ANZUS Pact established between NZ, Australia and the US.
Credit: Ch-Ch City Libraries
The findings of a Royal Commission and a large majority of opinion in a referendum supported the establishment of off-course totalisator agencies. On March 28, 1951 the first Totalisator Agency Board branches were opened in Dannevike and Feilding - both towns with a population of about 5,000, the minimum it was thought necessary to maintain the scheme.
By the end of the financial year, three days later, the TAB had proved its popularity - £118,025 ($236,050) had been invested. In its first full year of operation, 21 branches had opened and the turnover was £2,661,923 ($5,323,846).
R O DUNCAN
Mr R O Duncan, a prominent sportsman and racehorse owner, formerly of Christchurch, has died at Caulfield, Victoria, aged 76.
Mr Duncan had a long association with trotting in NZ, being a steward of the NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club in its early years. He was an honorary judge from 1903 to 1912, and he was auditor for the New Brighton Trotting Club. He was also a stipendary steward and a member of the board of the NZ Trotting Association.
Mr Duncan raced several horses, the best of these being King Cole, who covered a mile in 2.08 3/5 against time to break Ribbonwood's long-standing record of 2.09.
Mr Duncan practised as an accountant in Christchurch. For some years he owned the homestead block of the Glenmark estate. He was a managing-director of A J White Ltd. He later went to England, and after a period of business there settled in Melbourne. He was agent for the Bell Punch Totalisator Company of England.
Credit: NZ Trotting Calendar 23Jan51
When you start following a hobby there's no telling where it will lead you. Sir John McKenzie started breeding and training horses as a hobby; to-day he is the owner of one of the largest and most successful stud and racing establishments in Australasia.
Roydon Lodge, his 190-acre property at Yaldhurst, Christchurch, is a byword among members of the New Zealand trotting and pacing fraternity. Sir John himself is a well-known figure in light harness racing on both sides of the Tasman. Sir John's devotion to his hobby has never flagged, and his untiring personal interest is one of the biggest factors in the Lodge's continuing success. Surprisingly active for his age, Sir John is able to indulge his affection for horses in a practical way: he breaks in and gaits most of the yearlings himself. It is a tribute to his patience and thoroughness that there is rarely any trouble when he is on the job.
Established in 1927, Roydon Lodge laid the foundation for the breeding of such horses as (to mention a few): Certissimus, Commander Scott, Scottish Emperor, Arial Scott, Real Scott and In The Mood.
Training at Roydon Lodge is in the capable hands of George Noble, who came to New Zealand from Sydney in 1940. To his qualifications as a leading trotting trainer, George can add an expert knowledge of shoeing. He has designed special shoes for a number of well-known performers, including the celebrated Fantom, whose victories, it is said, would never have been possible without his expert attention. When he left Sydney for Roydon Lodge, George brought with him the mare White Globe (Globe Derby-Lee White), who just prior to the Tasman crossing, had taken an Australasian mile trotting record of 2.08 at Harold Park, Sydney. A daughter of White Globe by U Scott later raced as Roydon Derby, showing exceptional promise by winning twice in her first three starts, but being forced to retire because of soreness.
Farm management at Roydon Lodge is the responsibility of Mr Jack Clarke, better known as NZ marathon champion and third place-getter in the recent Empire Games. Some idea of the big job Jack has to do can be gained from the fact that in one year the 190 acres of Roydon Lodge have to support between 200 and 300 mares. It takes something like 1800 bags of chaff, 1450 bales of hay, 600 sacks of oats and 500 bales of straw to provide the yearly requirements of all the mares, racing horses, stud horses, foals and yearlings.
Besides the routine farm work of tending pastures and crops, repairing fences, etc., Jack Clarke shares with George Noble the task of keeping the training track in good order and repair. This is an important job, and, in the summer time, an exacting one. Hot weather brings the notorious Canterbury 'nor'-wester,' which scoops up loose soil surfaces, and to stop parts of the track being spirited away it must be watered every night. The Lodge has its own water supply for this job, and spraying is carried out by a mobile sprinkler tank towed behind a tractor. In addition, the track must be harrowed every morning.
The inner needs of the men at the Lodge are capably catered for by Mrs Clarke, whose prowess at the stove is highly thought of by her seven charges. They descibe her as the perfect 'mother,' to whom nothing is a bother.
The day's work around the stables begins at 5.45am. The horses are fed and all gear made ready before breakfast, and the remainder of the morning is taken up with the working of 16 or 17 horses. After the midday meal the horses are put out in the paddocks and the cleaning of gear and carts is attended to, then, at four o'clock the horses are brought in again for dressing and feeding. The stable day concludes at about 7pm, when the horses are given their hay.
On the stud side of the business, the day commences at the same time, feeding, etc being carried out before breakfast. After breakfast, Sandy Stewart takes Light Brigade for a jog and stud assistant Stan Tunstall attends to the turning out of the stallions. The rest of the day is employed in the yearlings that are being broken in or handled under Sir John's guidence. At four o'clock the stallions are brought in and dressed and fed, and with the distribution of hay at seven o'clock the day is completed.
A commendable feature of the work at Roydon Lodge is the encouragement given to youthful drivers by both Sir John McKenzie and Gearge Noble. On the Lodge's well-kept track the young men are given every opportunity to absorb and put into practice those finer points of driving that are essential to a successful career in light harness racing. This far-sighted policy has already borne fruit in the achievements of the two youngsters, Jack Crofts (head lad and the Lodge's second driver) and 19-year-old Murray Andrews (who was formerly with Mr J S Shaw, of Beaumaris fame). Jack Crofts has run up quite an impressive list of victories and minor placings, and Murray Andrews scored with his very first drive - Spring Fancy, at Blenheim in January. To show it was no fluke, Murray secured a second placing at his third drive, and a quiet tip from Roydon Lodge is that much bigger things are expected of the young Mr Andrews.
Roydon Lodge is well known in Christchurch as the venue of trotting matinees staged by Sir John McKenzie for the benefit of charity. For these events a proper race book is issued, and the programme follows a pattern something like this: 2.15pm Parade of Yearlings; 2.30 Parade of Broodmares with Foals; 2.45 Three and Four Year Old Handicap Pace(1 1/4 miles); 3.00 Parade of Stallions; 3.30 Afternoon Tea; 3.45 Novelty Event; 4.00 High Class Pacers' Handicap(1 1/2 miles); 4.15 Novelty Event. The first matinee meeting was held in October, 1946, when Royal Worthy, driven by Free Holmes(snr) trotted the mile in 2.10. It is interesting to note that Johnny Globe, this year's champion three-year-old, had his first win at one of these matinee meetings, as a two-year-old.
Stallions imported by Roydon Lodge include: Llewellyn, Peter Chenault, Silk Tread, Arion Airworthy, Gallant Knight, Winthrop, Spencer Volo, Worthy Bingen, U Scott and Light Brigade. Imported mares include: Loretta Napoleon, Addie Guy, Belle Keller, Dolores, Flora Volo, Miss Worth, Nulgeria, Real The Great, Stepfast, Lady Worth, Air Flow, Taka Chance, Widow Volo, Esprit, New Fancy and Splangled Maiden.
U Scott is by Scotland(1.59¼), who sired Rosalind, world champion trotting mare(1.56¾). Rosalind's earnings reached $67,000. Scotland was also the sire of Spencer Scott(1.57¼) one-time world champion trotting stallion.
Light Brigade is by Volomite, world's leading light harness sire, out of Spinster, close relation to Hoot Mon, 1947 Hambletonian Stakes winner, and Miss Tully(2.01 2/5), also Hambletonian Stakes winner. Light Brigade has sired Vedette, Soangetaha, Red Emperor, Two Step and many others.
Spangled Maiden (Volomite-Margaret Spangler) is a sister to four champions: Chief Counsel(1.57¾), King's Counsel (1.58), Blackstone(1.59½) and Attorney(2.03). A young full brother to Spangled Maiden was sold as a yearling for $35,000.
Air Flow is by Guy Day(2.04¼), who stands at Walnut Hall Farm, the same stud as Scotland and Volomite. Air Flow is the dam of Aerial Scott, NZ champion trotting money-winner, Red Emperor, Flight Commander, Scottish Air and Risingholme.
Widow Volo(2.06¾), by Peter Volo, is the dam of Noble Scott, now in Australia. (U Scott was the sire). Noble Scott sired one of NZ's leading horses - Real Scott.
With such impressive stock as this, Roydon Lodge has been able to write some notable chapters into NZ trotting and pacing history. Under the wise guidance of its founder, Sir John McKenzie, the Lodge will no doubt add much more to what has already been written.
Credit: N Z Hoof Beats Vol 2 No.4
The death occurred last week of Mr Wm. Kerr, famous in earlier days of trotting as a trainer and studmaster at 'Wildwood Farm,' New Brighton.
Wildwood Junior, winner of the NZ Cup in 1909 and 1910, Admiral Wood, Thelma, Calm, President Wilson, Goldie and others won numerous races for Wm. Kerr and his brother, C Kerr. At one time Wm. Kerr was the outstanding trainer in Canterbury.
'Wildwood Farm' was named after the great imported trotter Wildwood, who was brought from America as a 2-year-old by Mr H Richardson in 1894 and was subsequently purchased by Wm. and C Kerr. Wildwood proved a great trotter in a limited racing career in this country and during his 10 or 11 seasons at the stud he sired some great horses, notably the champions Ribbonwood and Wildwood Junior.
Writing of 'Wildwood Farm' many years ago, Mr F C Thomas, now living in retirement at Riccarton had the following comments: "The writer well remembers his first introduction to Wildwood, soon after the black son of Good Gift arrived in Chistchurch. Though still showing traces of his journey from San Francisco to Christchurch, he filled the eye as quite the best looking young horse ever brought to these shores. He was then rising three, and after a few week's spell was put into light work at Kerr's track. It was two seasons later, however, that he first faced a racecourse crowd, and though of practically unknown quality, he was backed for the Record Reign Handicap at the Showgrounds as if the race was all over bar shouting. Despite his opponents including much better-performed horses such as General Tracey, Albert Victor, Little Willie, Sam Slick and Viking, he was required to give them starts ranging from 4 to 10 secs in two miles. In the field also was a little fancied candidate hailing from Ashburton, Prince Imperial, owned by Mr A G Holmes, and driven by Newton Price. After going a fine race Wildwood just failed to concede Prince Imperial the required 4sec start, though he managed to account for all the others.
"It was this race that led up to the famous match between Wildwood and Prince Imperial at New Brighton, over which big sums of money changed hands. Dave Price drove Prince Imperial, and Willie Kerr, through the indisposition of his brother, held the reins over the black trotter. Wildwood won in two straight heats. Subsequently he showed his worth in races at the Showgrounds, New Brighton and Plumpton Park.
"On retiring to the stud Wildwood was not long in establishing his speed-begetting ability, as a sire of both pacers and trotters. On of the earliest to bring him fame was Ribbonwood, who defeated the Australian champion Fritz in the greatest match ever held in NZ. Another of Wildwood's sons, Wildwood Junior, must take rank as among the greatest racehorses of modern times. In their home trials there was little to choose between Wildwood Junior and his son Admiral Wood. Whereas the latter gained Blue Ribbon distinction, the 'black demon,' who did his racing before Derbies were instituted, won the NZ Trotting Cup in 1909 and 1910.
"Before both these Cups Wildwood Junior had done everything asked of him at his home track, one of his trials being two miles in 4.31, coming home the last mile in 2.10½. He was also a success at stud, tieing for first place on the sires' list for the number of races won, with Logan Pointer, in the 1921-22 season."
Wildwood Junior mares and their innumerable descendants also made their mark, and his blood courses through the veins of such great horses as Highland Fling, Lucky Jack and a host of others. From Wildwood Junior's dam Thelma, Wm. Kerr bred a great line of additional winners, successful sires and producing mares, and this great foundation mare has become the most famous of all Colonial-bred matrons. Winners in NZ and Australia descended from her in the direct maternal line are now close to the century mark.
F C Thomas & 'Ribbonwood' writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 21Feb51
Long before light-harness racing had been established on recognised courses in the Dominion, meetings were held by a few enthusiasts on the New Brighton beach. They were rough-and-ready affairs. Few of the competitors had had any training outside their daily routine between the shafts of tradesmen's carts. Most of the races had small sweepstakes attached to them, while the prizes were frequently of the utility order, such as a set of harness, a saddle or even a whip.
At one of the early meetings William Kerr made his first public appearance, and the finished manner in which he handled Queen B and Maud S was an augury of his later development into one of the greatest reinsmen ever associated with trotting in the Dominion. Some years later he and his brother Charles set up a training establishment at Wainoni, about half-way to New Brighton, which, in the course of time, became famous for the number of winners it turned out, besides being the foaling place of several champions. The establishment is still there, its homestead and tall macrocarpa hedges being a reminder of it's past glory.
When William and Charles Kerr set up as public trainers at Wainoni their abilty soon became recognised, and their stable was generally full. At every meeting, whether at New Brighton, Plumpton Park or Lower Heathcote, their colours were always to the fore, and frequently half the days programme came their way. When Lancaster Park Amateur Trotting Club was formed, much better stakes than usual were given on the opening day, and William Kerr won a £400 race with Blue Mountain. Up to this time the majority of horses passing through the Kerr Bros' hands were of the utility order. Those that showed more than average merit were gone on with, but the majority returned to their original sphere of usefulness.
As related in last week's issue, in 1894 Mr H S Richardson, of New Plymouth, imported two sires, Wildwood and Ha Ha; also two broodmares - Alice Azmoor and Norbell; a quartet that played a very important part in helping to build up the Dominion's light-harness industry. Mr Richardson had intended his collection as the nucleus of a North Island stud, but through the agency of the late Mr Joseph Chadwick, a well-known sporting journalist of his time, it was agreed to sell the lot to the brothers Kerr.
Wildwood was a handsome black son of Good Gift, by Electioneer, from Amlet, by Fallis (son of Electioneer; second dam Almeda, by Langford (thoroughbred); third dam Lady Bell by Williamson's Belmont; fourth dam Puss, by American Eclipse. It was an unusual pedigree, for Wildwood was a grandson of Electioneer on the sire's side, while his dam was a great grand-daughter of the same horse. Another feature of the pedigree was the unusally strong infusion of thoroughbred strains. There was four of these in Good Gift's veins, and a like number in those of Amlet.
Wildwood, as a 4-year-old, was put into work by William Kerr and soon showed form of an outstanding order. A number of races came his way, and his appearance at any meeting was an attraction, for most of the local 'sports' had as yet not seen a Yankee trotter in action. About this time Dave Price had in his stable a 4-year-old pacer known as Prince Imperial, a son of Hambletonian Bell Boy and his old favourite Princess, a champion pacing mare - a real sensation of her day. From his first appearance on the tracks Prince Imperial was hailed as a coming champion as he had carried all before him in his public trials. Discussion as to the merits of the two horses became general, the outcome being a match of £500 a side, best two of three one-mile heats.
Excitment reached fever heat when the two champions took the track at New Brighton. But, like so many contests of a similar nature, the match failed to live up to expectations. In the first heat Wildwood quickly raced past his opponent, and from this out the issue was never in doubt. Nor did Prince Imperial fare any better in the second heat. Again the American horse soon drew clear, and though Prince Imperial struggled on gamely, it was soon evident that he was outclassed. Wildwood soon afterwards was retired to the stud. He found a ready affinity with Thelma, who subsequently made good her claim to rank as the greatest producer and foundation mare of all Dominion-bred matrons.
Hearing that Mr John Todd, of Lincoln, had a useful sort of gelding for sale on his farm, William Kerr took a run out to inspect the juvenile. It did not come up to the would-be purchaser's expectations, but he was greatly taken with Thelma, who became his for the sum of £30. And what a great investment it turned out to be!
Thelma, who won several races, including the Champion's Plate, was seven when she retired. She produced 16 foals from 1902 to 1917 and died in 1922. He first foal was Willowwood (by Wildwood), who retired with an unbeaten record: he started only three times, once each season in 1907-08, 1908-09 and 1909-10 and led the field home on each occasion. He must have been a horse of some class, because in one case his winning margin was 10 lengths in a mile and a half race and in another it was 12 lengths in a mile race. His best time was 2.24.
Full relatives to Willowwood were Thelma's foals for the next three years - Wildwood Junior, 4.33, Marie Corelli, 2.17, and Authoress. Wildwood Junior was a champion stayer but unsound. Proof of his calibre is given by the fact that his two NZ Cup victories, in 1909 and 1910, were his only races during those seasons. Wildwood Junior became a very successful sire, and tied with Logan Pointer for first place for the number of races won in the 1921-22 season. Wildwood Junior sired more than 100 individual winners and his daughters bred on very successfully their progeny including Lucky Jack (dual NZ Cup winner), Olive Nelson (one of the best trotters of her day), Zincali (one-time mile and a half record holder), Bingen Palm, Zingarrie, Ronald Logan, Mute, Sure, Wild Guy, Midshipmaid, Probationer, Trenand, Belle Lorimer, Ambition, Real Girl and Dundas Boy. All told, Wildwood Junior mares produced more than 140 individual winners. Wildwood Junior also basked in great reflected glory when the claim was authenticated that the fourth dam of Highland Fling, 1.57 4/5, was an un-named mare by the Wildwood - Thelma horse.
Adonis, by Harold Dillon, as his name implies, was a handsome little chap. He was also a fine racehorse, winning in saddle and harness and was good on top of the ground or in the mud. He made a specialty of two-mile saddle races, and his numerous winning performances in harness included the Metropolitan Courtenay Handicap, Forbury Handicap, Metropolitan Parliamentary Handicap, Forbury Park Kitchener Handicap, all two-mile races, and the Metropolitan International Handicap, a leading mile and a quarter event in those days. Adonis also twice finished second in the National Cup. He had not been long at the stud in NZ when he was sold to the New South Wales studmaster Mr A R Tewksbury and became a very successful sire at the Delavan Stud. Adonis sired in the Dominion Queen's Own and Away, both Cup horses.
Waverley, by Galindo, was a good racehorse from three years of age. That season he won a mile harness event in his only start. At four years he made only two appearances and won over two miles in one of these by a wide margin. At five years he was again a decisive winner over two miles at Otahuhu. As a 6-year-old he finished second to Steel Bell in the Auckland Cup and won the President's Handicap, two miles, at the same meeting. At seven years he won a mile harness race in heavy going and the Australasian Handicap, two miles, in 4.35, both at Auckland. Waverley did most of his stud duty at the 'Willowbank' Stud, Southland, and got many winners, including Willow Wave (Auckland Cup), Master Roy, Lynwood, Play Wave, and Jolly Drive.
Of the other sons of Thelma, Neil Denis and The Pointer were the best racehorses. Neil Denis won three races and The Pointer six races. Azelzion also won races, and he and Neil Denis sired an odd winner or two. Aristos, another son of Thelma, did not race. The Pointer was gelded.
Daughters of Thelma who were excellent racehorses were Marie Corelli, 2.17, by Wildwood, Lady Sybil, 2.18 2/5, by Rothschild, and Cameos, 2.15 1/5, by Galindo. Lady Sybil as a 3-year-old was a winner over two miles in harness; at four she won three races, in saddle and harness; and at five she won twice, taking her best record of 2.18 3/5, a good effort in her day. In a restricted career Marie Corelli won two races and took a record of 2.17. She possessed great speed. Cameos, in her only start as a 3-year-old, won the Stewards Handicap, a mile and a half harness event at Forbury Park by half a dozen lengths. At four she won three races, including one over two miles in saddle by a dozen lengths. She won two more races the following season and also divided two great mares in Adelaide Direct and Emmeline in an important sprint at Forbury Park. Authoress did not race.
After Wildwood Junior, the next member of the tribe to carve a niche for himself on the rock of ages was a grandson of Thelma, Author Dillon, winner of the NZ Derby, NZ Cup - and the November Free-For-All three years in succession.
Onyx, who for some years held the NZ mile and a half record of 3.13 against time, and won numerous races before finally finishing second in the NZ Cup, was a famous grand-daughter of Thelma. She won £10,747 in stakes at a time when prize-money was less than half of what it is today. Onyx did not live long at the stud and her only foals were Princess Onyx, whose 3.39 1/5 for a mile and a half still stands as the 2-year-old trotting record, and Baron Chenault.
Free Advice, a great-grand-daughter of Thelma, was a splendid all-rounder who at one time held the mile and a quarter record for a mare. Her crowning achievement in an era of giants - Harold Logan, Wrackler, Kingcraft, Roi l'Or, Logan Park, Logan Chief, Peter Bingen and Lindbergh were among her contemporaries - was to win the second qualifying division of the 1931 NZ Cup from Wrackler, Kingcraft and Harold Logan and finish third to Harold Logan and Kingcraft in the final. A celebrity of the trotting gait who came through the Lady Sybil branch of the Thelma family was Pilot Peter, winner of the Dominion Handicap, 1938.
Classic winners of more recent years tracing to Thelma are Moana Tama (NZ Sapling Stakes); Nelson Eddy (NZ Champion Stakes); Horsepower (Great Northern Stakes, NZ Champion Stakes, NZ Futurity Stakes and Great Northern Derby); Pacing Power (Timaru Nursery Stakes, NZ Sapling Stakes, Oamaru Juvenile Stakes, NZ Derby and NZ Futurity Stakes); Free Again (Great Northern Stakes), and Perpetua (NZ Sapling Stakes and New Brighton Oaks).
Another mare that proved very prolific to the Wildwood strain was Gertie, a daughter of Knight Errant. She was imported from America to Sydney in 1890 by Messrs Trestrail and Burns, who subsequently passed her on to William Kerr. At the Wainoni establishment her first foal by Wildwood was the speedy Storm, followed by Stormlet and Stormless. In 1907 she was mated with Wildwood Junior, and the result was a bay colt called Calm, who did his breeder good service on the tracks. On one occasion Calm ran third in the NZ Trotting Cup, a race that Kerr always maintained should have been his. In his trials, Calm was the equal of Wildwood Junior, but was not nearly as genuine. Gertie's later foals, all by Wildwood Junior, were Gertiewood, Breeze, Calmly, Peaceful, Leewood and Taunekaha; a truly notable collection.
No mention of Wildwood would be complete without reference to his greatest son, the sensational Ribbonwood. This speed merchant was bred by Mr G H McHaffie, of New Brighton. Though he never had his name inscribed on the list of NZ Cup winners, he won many important events and made history by his easy defeat of Fritz in the never-to-be-forgotten match at Addington. Ribbonwood was phenominal for his day, he was the first horse in the Southern Hemisphere to break 2.10 for a mile.
Credit: NZ Trotting Calendar 14Feb51
A trainer and owner who helped to establish trotting in NZ, Mr Thomas Frost, died at New Brighton last week at the age of 88.
Mr Frost, who came to NZ from Yorkshire at the age of 12, was interested in trotting before most of the present day trainers and drivers were born, and raced his horses when tracks were on the New Brighton beach, at Heathcote, Lancaster Park, and the present Showgrounds.
Milroy, who won many races, was one of the first horses owned by Mr Frost, who was later associated with Mr Harry Mace. Mr Mace did much to establish trotting in Canterbury, and was responsible for the establishment of the New Brighton track. Jessie Palm was a champion mare owned by Mr Mace while Mr Frost was associated with him.
A famous grey horse, Stonewall Jackson, was trained, driven and ridden by Mr Frost. Bright, one of the best horses of his time racing in NZ, Troubadour, and Charles Dale were other good horses trained at New Brighton by Mr Frost before he handed over to his son, Harry, in 1917.
Harry Frost won many races, two of his best performers being Talent and William The Great. Another son, Leicester, is still prominent in trotting in NZ, and last season her won five races with Maida Dillon, who returned a record double with Red Emperor of £7948/9/- at the 1950 NZ Cup meeting.
Credit: NZ Trotting Calendar 21Nov51
D Teahen, whose death occurred last week, was one of the best-known trainers in the Pleasant Point, South Canterbury, district over a long period. He owned and trained many good winners of both gaits, but his heart was in the trotter, and when he bred that great colt Certissimus, he felt that his crowning achievement as a breeder had arrived.
Certissimus was the greatest juvenile trotter ever bred in the Dominion. His tragic death as a 4-year-old early in 1942 cast a gloom over horse-lovers in every part of the country. He fell heavily while jogging along a road at Pleasant Point and sustained injuries from which he died a few days later. Certissimus was a peerless exponent of the square gait. He was also an Apollo among horseflesh and a 'gentleman' to boot. With ordinary development he looked to have the makings of the greatest of his gait ever to be bred in this country. His 3-year-old record for a mile and a half, 3.18, established from the 72yd mark with a lot in hand at Addington in 1941, has yet to be approached; it is still seconds better than the next best. In his camparatively short career of 19 months on the racetrack he won 13 races and finished second twice in 20 starts. Seven of his wins were gained as a 3-year-old.
One of the first horses Teahan ever raced, back in the middle 1920s, was Lazarus, a trotter with whom he won several races. He trained and drove John Jinks to win the 1929 NZ Sapling Stakes. Gunfire and Sabu were among the other good pacers he trained and drove.
Teahan achieved a high reputation in breeding trotters, and among the winners he bred were Sure Gift (NZ Trotting Stakes): Mamanuas, Conceit, Dalcassian, Stray Shot, Sandy Duval (Addington Trotting Stakes); Max Baer, Lochinvar, Desmond's Pride, King's Brigade (NZ Trotting Stakes), and Desworthy (Ashburton Cup).
Credit: NZ Trotting Calendar 13Jun51
Vedette's magnificent victory in the £10,000 Pacing Grand Final gave the crowds at Addington the thrill of a lifetime. Masterful driving by M Holmes helped to create a new Australasian record for the mile and five furlongs of 3.22 3-5, better than a 2.05 mile rate.
Vedette is a finely built bay gelding by Light Brigade from Queen Wrack. His record is one of the most consistent of any horse who has reached Cup class in this or any other year. Only a five-year-old, he has started 30 times for 14 wins, 8 seconds, 4 thirds and 1 fourth, his stakes winnings have reached £19,175 in the space of less than two years.
Vedette took the pacing honours, annexing the Grand Final to make a mile and five furlongs record of 3.22 3/5. The previous winning record of 3.24 stood to the credit of Single Direct, while Nyallo Scott held a place record of 3.23.
Vedette raced most consistently. On the first day he was narrowly beaten by Commander Scott in the mile and a half qualifying heat, after going 3.10 1/5. On the second day Soangetaha downed Vedette over a mile and a quarter, the latter registered 2.38. The two miles on the third day was easy for Vedette in 4.14 4/5, and reaching the peak of his form on the final day he was too brilliant for the opposition.
Credit is due to M Holmes for the splendid condition in which he turned out his pacer and also for great generalship in handling his charge. Vedette made rare figures to win the Grand Final, but in spite of this it is open to doubt as to whether he can be rated the equal of some past pacing giants, especially Highland Fling, Emulous, Loyal Nurse, contestants at the 1948 Championships at Epsom, or Harold Logan, Roi L'Or and Indianapolis of an earlier period. However, as a result of the latest success, he ranks as the champion pacer of the present season.
PHOTO - The prince of pacers at his big moment. He has squeezed out of the bunch and has streaked forward to seal victory 80 yards short of the post. Behind him on the rails is the second horse Soangetaha. Outside Soangetaha is the third horse, Parawa Derby. The others are (from the rails): Dragoman (4th), Blue Mist (6th), and Ada Scott (5th). In the background are Captain Sandy, Dundee Sandy, On Approval and Commander Scott.
Credit: NZ Hoof Beats Vol 2 No.4
Soangetaha showed himself to be among the top flight of pacers in New Zealand by his convincing defeat of Vedette in the second heat of the Second Qualifying Race of the Inter-Dominion Pacing Championships.
It was a brilliant win. At the entrance to the straight, Soangetaha appeared to be dangerously hemmed in but he managed to get clear in the run home. At this stage Vedette was three lengths in front but Soangetaha responded bravely to a hard drive by D G Jones to finish powerfully and take a head decision. He paced his final four furlongs in a fraction over 60 seconds. In the final of the Pacing Championship, Soangetaha was unlucky to be beaten by Vedette. He has already been hailed as the next New Zealand pacing star.
Bred at Akaroa by J X Ferguson, Soangetaha was purchased as a yearling by the late Mr A G Ryland, of Auckland for 410 guineas. He was placed in Mr J Gee's Mangere stables, from where he had three starts as a two-year-old. At his first appearance he finished third to Gay Heritage and Our Ida in a division of the Great Northern Trotting Stakes. He is now raced by Mrs M A Ryland, and trained by W J Coates, Templeton.
A grand type of colt, the four-year-old Soangetaha has been sparingly raced. Out of 22 starts, he has had six wins and ten placings, for a total of £4485 in stakes.
Without in any way detracting from the full merit of the sterling performance of Vedette, great praise must be showered on the brave efforts of Soangetaha, who, in accordance with regular handicaps, was giving away a tremendous amount of time. The two miles assessment of Soangetaha when the carnival was opened was 4.34, whereas Vedette had reached the tight mark of 4.20. over each distance of the championship races, Vedette was only conceding his younger rival 12 yards start, and it stands to his credit that Soangetaha beat the ultimate champion in the second qualifying heat.
Soangetaha also succeeded in his mile and a half heat, defeating On Approval decisively in 3.13 1/5. D G Jones, who drove the youthful pacer with excellent judgement, and W J Coates, the trainer who put a good polish on the four-year-old, wisely decided not to race Soangetaha in the two miles on the third day and he came up fresh for the final.
He ran true to label, and at one stage, while Vedette was seeking an opening, it really looked as if Mrs Ryland's brown horse would succeed. Soangetaha was unable to hold off the brilliant final dash of Vedette when he got clear, but the Auckland owned pacer was gallant in defeat and made a four-year-old record of 3.23 4/5.
Credit: NZ Hoof Beats Vol 2 No.4
Gay Belwin's success in the Inter-Dominion Trotting Grand Final was an achievement in more ways than one. It gave trainer J Young and driver R Young the distinction of having secured the only two trotting championships at the three Inter-Dominion meetings so far held in New Zealand.
For owner, Mrs E A Berryman, it was a triumph richly earned and universally popular. Mrs Berryman has been a loyal supporter of the square-gaited horse for more than a quarter of a century, and Gay Belwin is only one of the high-class trotters owned by her. Purchased last season from M Paul, of Auckland, for £2500, he has won 10 races and £8515 in stakes.
Trotters, particularly, were impressive, and the only regrettable incident was the mix-up of unhoppled horses in the Grand Final. Through this mix-up, caused when Highland Kilt broke, two of the prominently backed candidates, Ripcord and Swanee River, had their chances extinguished. The winner, Gay Belwin, an ex-Mangere trotter, was lucky to escape, and it was mainly due to expert handling by his driver, R Young.
Highland Kilt, Barrier Reef, Ripcord, Swanee River and Gay Belwin were heat winners, securing their places in the Grand Final. Billy McElwyn, Two Step, Single Task, Jimmy Dillon and Dictation also made the grade as place-getters. As it was arranged to have 12 runners in the final, the committee invited two others, Signal Light and Tatsydale, both of whom had been closeto the placed horses in some heats, to join the field. On the great day the publis elected the Gay Belwin-Single Task bracket as favourite, then Ripcord, Swanee River, Dictation and Highland Kilt.
As already stated, the final event was to some extent marred. Highland Kilt, the youthful trotter of the section, after an outstanding performance on the first day, broke at the start of his next two heats and settled his chances. He did better in the early part of the final, but after about a mile broke and came back quickly on Swanee River and Ripcord, to spoil their prospects as well as his own.
At the time, Barrier Reef, Signal Light, Dictation and Gay Belwin - the latter cleverly avoiding trouble - were left clear, and they filled the places, Gay Belwin scoring from Signal Light by a neck, with Dictation shading Barrier Reef for third berth. Dictation, from 36 yards behind, recorded fastest time 3.27, for a mile and five furlongs, a new trotting record.
PHOTO - Gay Belwin scores from Signal Light by a neck, with Dictation shading Barrier Reef for third. In fifth place is Highland Kilt, and just entering the picture is Two Step. Gay Belwin's time was 3.29 3-5, and Signal Light's was 3.29 4-5. The race was marred by the unfortunate incident caused by Highland Kilt breaking and spoiling the prospects of Swanee River and Ripcord as well as his own.
Credit: N Z Hoof Beats Vol 2 No.4
Plunder Bar, winner of £16,554 in stakes, and twice runner-up in the NZ Cup, has been retired by his owner-trainer, M C McTigue. Foaled in 1940, Plunder Bar has compiled an excellent record and he is one of the best stake-winners of recent years. He raced for nine seasons.
Plunder Bar commenced racing as a 2-year-old in the 1942-3 season and after four unplaced performances he ran second in the NZ Sapling Stakes, going under by a neck to Acropolis. The following term he started five times, running third in the Wellington Stakes, second in the Riccarton Stakes and fourth in the NZ Derby, won that year by Bonny Bridge. Plunder Bar throughout his career as a 4-year-old started 13 times for seven minor placings, including three seconds, and in his first six outings during the 1945-6 season he was four times second and once third. Plunder Bar was not destined to win a maiden race, his first success being registered in the Forbury Handicap, a 3.33 class race of one mile and a half, at Dunedin, when he won from 24yds behind in a big field. He continued to show to marked advantage and he completed the 1945-6 season with four wins and seven placings in 14 starts.
In the following term Plunder Bar maintained his progress towards the best classes, winning four races and running unplaced six times in 15 outings. His most important win to this stage was in the Smithson Handicap, of two miles, at Addington, in which Dundee Sandy and In The Mood finished second and third respectively from a strong field.
Plunder Bar won his way to NZ Cup company in August of 1947 when he won the National Handicap of two miles. He started from 24yds behind and covered the distance in 4.17 4/5 to beat Aberhall and Cameronian. However, sent out 2/2 in the betting, he failed badly in the NZ Cup, won that year for the first time by Highland Fling. Plunder Bar's only other win in that season came to him in the Final Handicap at New Brighton, but he also gained five minor placings during that period.
In 1948, after a third placing in the Louisson Handicap, won by Sprayman from Ingle Belmer, Plunder Bar made a second attempt on NZ Cup honours, and on this occasion he registered a notable contribution to light-harness history by carrying the field along at a solid pace, forcing the brilliant Highland Fling to return 4.10 3/5 - a world's pacing record for two miles - to beat him home. At a later meeting the same season Highland Fling again beat Plunder Bar at Addington, in the Canterbury Handicap, but Plunder Bar turned the tables on Highland Fling when on a heavy track he won the Mason Handicap, of one mile and five furlongs. At the same meeting, Canterbury Park, Plunder Bar also won the principal sprint event, the Farewell Handicap, from Checkmate and Globe Direct.
Last season, Plunder Bar started nine times, including an unplaced performance in the NZ Cup, and his only placings at that period came in the Au Revoir Handicap, in which he was second, and in the Auckland Cup when he finished third behind Captain Sandy and Dundee Sandy. This season Plunder Bar has been in action on 10 occasions. He has not been a winner, but he was again second in the NZ Cup. In this event he was prominent early and he took over the role of pacemaker with little more than a mile still to go. However, he found Chamfer his master and he was beaten by three lengths, Single Direct and Lady Averil being third and fourth.
Throughout a career extending over nine seasons, Plunder Bar started in 95 races, winning 12 and being placed on 37 occasions, to work his way to marks of 2.08, 2.42, 3.12, 3.29 and 4.19 over the various distances. His best times were 4.15 4/5 for two miles, 3.28 for one mile and five furlongs, and 2.39 for one mile and a quarter.
Plunder Bar, bred by his owner, is by Jack Potts from Waress, by Man o' War from Ivy Mac, by General Mac from Manuka, a full-sister to the famous Ribbonwood. This family has produced a number of winners, and Waress is also the dam of Vimy Ridge, Indigo, and West Point, all winning Jack Potts progeny, but Plunder Bar is easily the best of this line.
Credit: NZ Trotting Calendar 20Jun51
MALABELLA - Classic Winner Producing Mare
MALABELLA (1951 Dorals Derby- Mala), NZ family of Krinas dam; 2:07.8, $6,840; 5 wins; 7 foals, five were winners. Breeder of Malabella and all her foals: Nick Matyasevic, Chistchurch.
Sire Dorals Derby left 63 winners standing in Victoria/ South Australia with only Malabella of note. His broodmare credits are shown below and also include Tail Light (VIC Oaks).
Non-winning dam Mala (placed at two) by NZ Cup winner Red Shadow left Princess Grace (Malabella's half sister), dam of open class pacer Vanadium (1:59.3US, Easter Cup, New Brighton Cup twice, Ashburton Flying Stakes, 2 ID heats). Princess Grace was granddam of Sun Seeker (Champion Stakes, Kaikoura Cup, National Hcp).
From the NZ family of Krinas dam (Grey Trap mare), an unnamed Rothschild mare, Krina, was a smart saddle mare (2:10.8, Addington; Nelson Cup) who produced eight winners: Mala, Rerekohua, Ngarimu, Air Spray, Lady Spray, Noel Simpson's Sprayman (Welcome & Sapling Stakes, ID heat), Son's Gift and Stronghold. This family has bred on without leaving any champions aside from Malabella's descendants.
Unplaced as a 2yo Malabella's 2 wins as a 3yo in the Riccarton Stakes and at FPTC with seconds in NZ Oaks, Champion & Cross Stakes and thirds in NZ Derby and NZPacing Stakes. She proved herself a top class 3yo age group pacer. Her one win as a 4yo came at New Brighton and as a 5yo 2 wins at New Brighton and CPTC Islington Hcp. After 5 wins over three seasons, she began her broodmare career.
Malabella's Fillies included:
1. Bellajily, the winner of nine NZ races before being exported to USA (6 wins) and then returned to NZ (served by Most Happy Fella) for breeding purposes by Jim Dalgety. At two, she won her first start at Geraldine, followed by third in the Welcome Stakes and fourth in the Sapling Stakes. Bellajily's only win at three was significant - NZ Derby against the boys on the first night of racing under lights at Addington (20 November 1963). She finished second in the NZ Oaks and third in NZ Pacing Stakes in the same year. Five wins as a 4yo included two wins at Addington and South Canterbury Hcp at Timaru. Bellajily's two 5yo wins were at Forbury Park (DN Festival Cup consolation). A fourth in the Louisson Hcp at six resulted before venturing to North America (2:03.3US). On her return to NZ, she became the dam of:
. Jovial Jeanie (Most Happy Fella), born with a dropped hip which meant she could race right legged and the reason she was sent north to Roy & Barry Purdon to train. The winner of nine (first four on end, placed and then won the next four in succession) including the Franklin Cup, Patron FFA (all nine wins in one season: 14 starts, 9 wins, 1 placing, $21,685); dam of Happy Hazel (Ladyship Stakes-3f, GN Oaks, Nevele R fillies, 3f Pacer of the Year; dam of Imagine That, NZSS-3/3f< GN Breeders, Queen of Hearts, Rangiora Classic, Kaikoura Cup, Renwick FFA, 4m Pacer of the Year); 4th dam of Heza Thrill (1:51.7, Menangle Country Series), Rathmore Lady(1:52.6).
. Krina Bella, 4 wina at two, Thames Debutante-2f, 2f Pacer of the Year; dam of Keep It Up (SA/ Gawler Derbies, SA St Leger, Italian & West End Cups); The Chevalier (VIC Gammalite Marathon); 3rd dam of Apatchee (Nelson/Nelson Winter Cups), Code Red (Inangahua Grey Valley Cup, WA Marathon Hcp), Ohokas Bondy (WA Golden Slipper-2, Caduceus Club Classic-3, Western Gateway-3, Nights of Thunder, 4/5yo C/S), Dancing Diamonds (American Ideal Leonard Memorial-2, NZ Yearling Sales-2/3f).
. Van Glory, like Bellajily by Van Dieman, won 11 races starting with 3 wins as a 2yo (Addington; Hosking & Roydon Stakes at Hutt Park). Her most productive season was as a 3yo recording 5 wins (Otaki Cup, NZ Metropolitan C/S-3, GN Oaks) as well as placings in NZ Derby (second) and thirds in GN Derby & NZ Oaks. Two placings at the NZ Cup carnival and a fourth in a Messenger heat were Van Glory's only rewards at four. As a 5yo, wins came at Alexandra Park (ARC Centennial Hcp-Invitational) and in the second running of the NZ Breeders Stakes where Van Glory paced her quickest mile (1:59.6, Pacing mares mile record, among first 100 2:00 NZ pacers/ NZ bred). Van Glory placed second in the New Brighton Cup and third in the Adams Memorial. Her solitary win as a 6yo was a heat of the Easter Cup(second in another heat, fourth in the final). Third placings were recorded in Hutchinson FFA, Allan Matson Stakes, National Flying Pace and NZ Breeders Stakes. Unplaced at seven, Van Glory retired to be bred from. She was the dam of:
1 Broncroft Castle, dam of Mon Poppy Day (WA & TAS Derbies, WA Golden Nugget, Christmas Gift, Mount Eden Sprint), Parthenon (WA Sales Classic-2f, WA Oaks); granddam of Amongst Royalty ($½m, APG-2f, Bathurst Gold Tiara-2f, WA Sales Classic-2f, WA Golden Girls Mile twice, Aust Pacing C/S Consolation, Aust 2f Pacer of Year); 3rd dam of Straittothehilton (WA Westbred Classic-2f)
2 Vain Franco, NZSBA Broodmare Excellence Award, dam of Under Cover Lover ($864,923, 1:51.4US, 2F: NZSS, Delightful Lady Classic, 3f; Ladyship Stakes, Nevele R Fillies, NZSS, GN, NZ & NSW Oaks, Queen of Hearts, 2 & 3 filly and 4m Pacer of Year; granddam of Bettor Cover Lover (millionaire, NZSS-2f, Jewels-2f, VIC Oaks, Queen of Hearts twice, NZ Breeders Stakes), Exotic Lover (NZYSS-2f); 3rd dam of Chachingchaching (NI Cales Graduate-2)
3 Vanessa Franco, granddam of All In Baby (WA Empress Stakes), Sir Mick Sloy (WA Caduceus Club Classic-3)
4 Vonnie Franco, dam of Wirrpunda (WA Champagne Classic-2, WA Sales Classic 2/3c)
5 Traplanda, a non winning mare, dam of Imperial Grant (Gold Coast Derby).
Malabella's Male Progeny Included:
1 Chief Eagle, recorded 2 Addington wins as a two- and three-year-old before departing for Australia where he won the Redcliffe Derby. A further four wins at four including Celebrity Stakes, 1 of 2 wins at Harold Park (2 02.7), again successful in 4 races as a 5yo (Harold Park(2), Moonee Valley), his final season saw him placed.
2 Lord Garry, a three-win horse with his first 2 wins at Cambridge as a 3yo. His 4yo win was at Alexandra Park (Grey Lynn Hcp).
3 Wee Mike, recorded 2 wins at Timaru and in the Rangiora Challenge Stakes.
4 Michaelae had 3wins as a 5yo (Ashburton, Oamaru, Reefton)
Credit: Peter Craig writing in Harnessed June 2015
Wrackler, the only horse to win the NZ Trotting Cup and the Dominion Handicap, the principal events for pacers and trotters in NZ and one of the greatest double-gaited performers the world over, had to be destroyed at Ashburton last week because of a injury. He was 27-years-old.
The champion double-gaited horse of all time in the Dominion, Wrackler recorded many outstanding performances which made him a firm favourite with racegoers 20 years ago. He showed early signs of his ability, and as a 2-year-old in the 1927-8 season he raced twice, finishing third in open novice company and third in the NZ Sapling Stakes, in which he was not as his best.
Wrackler soon opened his winning record as a 3-year-old. In that season he won the Great Northern Derby and the NZ Derby. He won the NZ Trotting Gold Cup at Hutt Park as a 4-year-old, and in 1930 he won the NZ Trotting Cup. Wrackler started from 12yds in the second division and won by two lengths from Jewel Pointer, with Logan Chief third. He won the final more easily, finishing four lengths ahead of Arthur Jinks. Wrackler's owner, Mr H F Nicoll, had another notable success that day, Arethusa, the Cup winner's sister, winning the Derby.
In 1931 Wrackler ran third to Harold Logan (48yds) and Kingcraft (scr) in the final of the NZ Trotting Cup after finishing second to Free Advice in the second division. He started from 36yds. Soon afterwards he was converted to the trotting gait.
Wrackler won the Dominion Handicap from 60yds in 1932, and at that same meeting he recorded 4.23 2/5 for two miles when he started off 120yds and finished second to Todd Lonzia (36yds) in the Sockburn Handicap. It was madnificent trotting. Another of his notable achievements as a trotter was to beat a strong field of pacers over two miles in the Owners' and Breeders' Handicap at Addington in 1932. The runner-up was Sir Guy, one of the best pacers of his time. Though he trotted a mile and a half in the splendid time of 3.15 4/5 (an Australasian record at the time), he was unable to win the Middleton Handicap from 84yds, Arcotis (12yds) keeping clear of his challenge.
Later in the season Wrackler won the Champion Trotters' Match Race, over a mile and a half, from a flying start, at Addington. He was followed home by Olive Nelson and Todd Lonzia. Until he reached marks from which his tasks were hopeless, Wrackler continued to be an outstanding performer at trotting meetings in those days. At Addington one day he won as a trotter and then reappeared to fill a place as a pacer. Performances such as those at the centre of NZ trotting firmly established the Wrack gelding as the greatest double-gaiter NZ has seen.
The dam of Wrackler was Trix Pointer, the NZ Trotting Cup winner of 1919. D Warren was Wrackler's first trainer. Later J L Behrns and still later, L A Maidens, trained him. In most races M Holmes drove. Wrackler was well cared for by Mr Nicoll in his retirement. He was hacked about a little on the farm, and at times took the children to school, but his was a life of ease in recent years.
Credit: NZ Trotting Calendar 12Dec51
Pearldchild was one of the greatest producers in the stud book. 10 of her 12 foals being winners, viz, Childe Pointer, Verey Light, Sea Pearl, Nantwich, Cornelian, First Wrack, Flying Cloud, Ciro, Vanity Fair and Casanova.
Pearlchild, foaled in 1908, was by Rothschild from the Vancleve mare Verity, who came from New South Wales. Pearlchild was a high-class pacer in the colours of Mr H F Nicoll, for whom she was trained by A Pringle. She won her only two starts as a 3-year-old, and in later seasons won the Metropolitan August Handicap and National Cup.
At the stud she was an immediate success. Her first foal, Childe Pointer, by Logan Pointer, won the NZ Sapling Stakes and NZ Derby Stakes and trained on to win important handicap races. Pearlchild's fourth foal Sea Pearl (by Nelson Bingen)also went through to good handicap class. Nantwich, full-sister to Sea Pearl, won the NZ Sapling Stakes, Great Northern Derby and other races.
Pearlchild's eighth foal was First Wrack, a champion 2-year-old trotting filly. She finished third in a maiden race at Ashburton at that tender age and although beaten by Koro Peter, another great 2-year-old trotter, in a special match race at Auckland, she acquitted herself well. J S Shaw, who drove Koro Peter in that match race, which created Dominion-wide interest, held a very high opinion of First Wrack. In speaking of the match race between these good youngsters he said: "These 2-year-olds were the only troters of their age to have shown any form for many years. In fact, it is the exception rather than the rule, even up to the present day, for a 2-year-old trotter to race, let alone perform with any degree of success."
The match race, run over a mile and a quarter, took place in June, 1928. Shaw relates: "It was a terrible day. The going was fetlock deep in slush, and the two horses had to frighten thousands of seagulls off the track as they went along. These birds frightened First Wrack more than they did Koro Peter, and Koro Peter managed to win after a great struggle all the way up the straight. After the match Koro Peter was sold to Mr G McMillan for £1000 and entered R B Berry's stable, from which he had a lot of success. First Wrack also reached the top flight of trotters."
Ciro, a full-brother to First Wrack, was a NZ Derby winner, and Casanova, a brilliant though erratic pacer, ranking as a full-brother to First Wrack, has sired a number of winners, including the top-class trotter in Casabianca.
Nicoya, a son of Wrack and the unraced Pearl Pointer (Logan Pointer-Pearlchild), was one of the greatest bargains in the history of the sport. An un-gainly youngster, he was described by a trainer at the ringside as a big, soft-legged, carty type who "might be useful in the harrows." The great majority who saw him sold evidently subscribed to this opinion, because Nicoya was knocked down to a West Coast sportsman at 4½gns. When he eventually came into the ownership of Mr J Manera, and was handed over to L F Berkett to train, Nocoya became a star among our best handicap trotters, and finished up by beating Huon Voyage in the Champion Handicap, one mile and a half. The 4½ quinea cast-off was one of the greatest trotters produced in this country. It is certain that the best of him was never seen.
Kempton, who was by Nelson Bingen from Pearl Pointer, was one of the best trotters of his day. Owned by Mrs E A Berryman and trained by C S Donald, he won in the best trotting company, his successes include the Rowe Cup and Metropolitan Stewards' Handicap.
White Satin, a full-sister to Nicoya, was trained by the late R B Berry to become the champion 3-year-old trotting filly of her day, and her mile and a half record stood for some years. She also reached the top flight of trotters, in the comparatively short span of two seasons, as she was retired as a 5-year-old, being a winner at her last start. She went to Australia where she has been a big success at the stud.
Credit: 'Ribbonwood' writing in NZ Trotting Calendar16May51
1951 NEW ZEALAND FREE-FOR-ALL
Maori Home was responsible for a big upset in the New Zealand Free-For-All, in which the win favourite, Van Dieman, failed signally through going into a bad break at the start.
All the champions raced well below par - Vedette faded to fourth after attempting to lead all the way, and Soangetaha had to accept a moderate third. He appeared to leave his run far too late, otherwise the result might have been a lot different.
Maida Dillon and Dragoman lost a big stretch of ground at the start, and Maida Dillon showed all her old brilliance to reach second place at the finish. Young Charles, who was also slow to begin, made a move commencing the last half-mile, but he was not impressive.
Maori Home is the seventh different free-for-all winner in that many such contests this season. Van Dieman won the Lightning Free-For-All and Fortuna the Farewell Free-For-All at the Metropolitan August Meeting, Chamfer the Challenge Free-For-All and Parawa Derby the Metropolitan Free-For-All at the Wellington September Meeting, and Vedette the Hutt Park Free-For-All and Soangetaha the Wellington Free-For-All at the Wellington Spring Meeting.
Maori Home, foaled in 1942, is now one of the veterans of the best company. He ran fourth in the NZ Cup on the opening day of the Carnival. His stake-winnings have reached £12,060 and he has won 13 races. He was driven on Friday, and very confidently, by the youthful horseman W P Ireland, who is attached to the stables of V Alborn, Maori Home's trainer.
Credit: 'Ribbonwood' writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 14Nov51
A pulsating finish in which Van Dieman, Johnny Globe and Young Charles charged across the line at neck intervals fully compensated Tuesday's dense crowd at Addington for the maudlin pace at which the first mile and a half of the NZ Cup was run.
As a staying test the 1951 contest was completely negated by the jogging tactics of the pacemakers for the first mile, run in 2:16 - the pity of this 'furious loitering' is that it probably made no difference to the result; Van Dieman's lightning run from the half-mile post to the finish in 58 3-5secs, and the high degree of courage he had to show to give Johnny Globe upwards of four lengths start over the final quarter gained him the fullest honours and the full-throated approval of the Addington public.
From whatever angle the race is viewed, Van Dieman deserved to win. On this occasion he did everything right from barrier rise, and even after making liberal allowances for some bad luck encountered by Young Charles, and a faulty beginning by Vedette, neither of them left the impression that they would have beaten Van Dieman on the day.
Vedette lost about 36 yards through tangling at the start, which increased his handicap to 72yds in the first furlong, and although the snails pace early enabled him to make up his loss without taking a great deal out of himself, he was a spent force a furlong from the post after making a fast run on the outer from the five furlongs - he finished sixth, several lengths from the winner. Young Charles would be regarded by many of his supporters as the hard-luck horse of the race. He put in a slight tangle at the start, losing about four lengths, and he was in a rear position practically all the way. Even coming round the home turn he only had three horses behind him, and his task looked hopeless at the distance, where Van Dieman was 'flat' in pursuit of Johnny Globe. At that stage Young Charles must have been standing up Van Dieman several lengths, and his effort to reduce this margin to less than a length was, to many, the outstanding feature of the race.
Real Scott took up the running from the start from Maori Home, Congo Song and Worthy Gold, but before the field had gone three furlongs Johnny Globe dashed up to the leaders and settled down beside Real Scott with half a mile covered. Van Dieman was sixth at this stage. Nothing showed any enthusiasm for the role of pacemaker and Real Scott was permitted to stroll along to the mile in 2:16, the mile an a quarter in 2:47, and the mile and a half in 3:20 3-5. The pace had certainly brightened up a bit between the mile and mile and a half - that section was disposed of in 1:04 3-5 - but it was still positively painful for Cup horses. That was the last of the go-slow policy, however, because the rest of the race was run well inside two-minute speed: Van Dieman's last half (timed seperately) works out at 1:57 1-5 to the mile - his last quarter was only slightly slower than his second-last quarter.
To take up the running again: Real Scott carried on in the lead on sufferance until Johnny Globe was pressed for some initiative by D G Nyhan between the three furlongs and two furlongs posts, and he sprang into action with all the alacrity for which he has become noted. He quickly put a gap of three to four lengths on Real Scott and Maori Home, and by the time the straight was reached he appeared to be increasing his advantage. But with one of his characteristic thrusts Van Dieman was instantly reducing Johnny Globe's lead, and they came to grips 150 yards out. Van Dieman actually gained the best part of a length on Johnny Globe, only to have to be tickled up with 50yds to go when Johnny Globe came again. A photo decision went to Van Dieman, and Young Charles was travelling faster than anything in third place, followed several lengths away by Maori Home, then Worthy Gold, Vedette, Good Review, Real Scott, Victory Globe, Congo Song, Dragoman,and Chamfer in that order, and Indigo last.
The wagering was a record for a trotting race in the Dominion. The total was £40,907 10s (win £20574 10s; place £20,333), compared with £40,717 10s in 1949 (the previous record) and £40,203 10s last year. The total for the Grand Final of the Inter-Dominion Championship last February was £36,622 10s. The total investments on the totalisator at Addington on Tuesday (including £4061 15s in off-course betting), was £217,121 5s, a record for a trotting meeting in the Dominion. The previous record was £214,424 put through on Grand Final day of the Inter-Dominion Championships last February. The previous best of the £211,977 handled on Cup day last year.
Van Dieman's share of the NZ Cup stake was £5125 (including the gold cup valued at £250) and brought his winnings to £14,530. Van Dieman, a handsome five-year-old black horse by U Scott from the Jack Potts mare Reno (2:10 3-5), was bred by Mr B Forrest, of Kaiapoi, and has been trained and driven throughout his career by his owner, C C Devine of Prebbleton. Devine held him on lease until last season, when he exercised a purchasing clause. Van Dieman came to his greatness by easy stages - he was far from being a champion born and bred. In fact, as a two-year-old and three-year-old he was just one of the mob, by no means to be compared with Young Charles, Farlena or Burns Night as a two-year-old, and scarcely of the same ken as Young Charles when that horse was in his top three-year-old form. Development in Van Dieman became more and more apparent, however, and at three years he won the Charles Cross Stakes from Burns Night and Te Maru, the NZ Pacing Stakes from Preston, Morano and Te Maru, and the two-miles Peninsula Handicap at Addington from Piccolo and Morano.
Last season as a four-year-old, Van Dieman made great progress and, by a few pounds over another high-class four-year-old in Soangetaha, he became the leading Dominion stake-winner of his age. Van Dieman's wins included the Charles Cross Stakes a second time, the New Brighton Cup, the Forbury Park Ritchie Memorial, Flying and James Memorial Handicaps. This season he won the Louisson Handicap and Lightning Free-For-All in August before failing in the Farewell Free-For-All.
The man behind the Cup winner in a double sense, Devine has risen to the top of the training profession by his patience, his grit and determination, and the acquirement of a high degree of skill and ability in a much shorter space of time than many of his fellows. A Tasmanian, Devine came to New Zealand as a stropper to a good pacer in Evicus about 15 years ago. He first came into prominence as owner and trainer of a useful trotter in Teddy Gregg. He later trained a colt called Viceroy, who died young after a promising start. He also had some driving success behind the trotter Flying Scott.
In the 1949-50 season Devine trained and drove the sensational filly Vivanti, winner of the NZ Sapling Stakes, NZ Welcome Stakes, Oamaru Juvenile Stakes, and Canterbury Park Juvenile Handicap - all two-year-old races, and her 2:41 1-5 still stands as the Australasian mile and a quarter record for a two-year-old. She also won the NZ Oaks the following season.
Credit: 'Ribbonwood' writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 7Nov51
1951 DOMINION HANDICAP
It is doubtful if trotting - or racing of either gait for that matter - has ever reached a higher level than that provided by the field for the Dominion Handicap at Addington on Friday.
With the exception of a few defaulters at the start, Precaution, Belmoral and Bulls Eye included, and Tatsydale's break with less than a furlong covered, there were few mistakes on the part of the well-matched field, and from start to finish they trotted themselves to a virtual standstill. The only one who had anything left at the finish was the winner, Barrier Reef, who gathered in the tiring duellists, Gold Horizon and Highland Kilt, over the final furlong. The cut-throat tactics of Gold Horizon and Highland Kilt round the home turn helped to make the race, although depriving both of victory.
It was real racing, with a closely-packed field providing an exhilarating spectacle, particularly when the backmarker Tactician, racing four out, drew up to the leaders with three furlongs to go, only to be left standing when Highland Kilt and Gold Horizon got down to serious business and threatened to slip away from the field at the two furlongs. It was here that Barrier Reef came into action, and just when Gold Horizon had taken Highland Kilt's measure, Barrier Reef issued an undeniable challenge and won by two lengths.
To emphasise the extent to which the whole field stopped, Barrier Reef's last quarter took 32 3-5sec slow for the final section of any race, and Dictation, who had to give ground a long way from the finish and was only sixth, was privately timed from post to post in 4:15 1-5. The first half was reached by Highland Kilt in 68 4-5, mile in 2:13, mile and a quarter in 2:45, mile and a half 3:19, mile and three-quarters 3:48.
Barrier Reef has had only three races from W J Coates's stable for a fourth in the Wishful Handicap at Oamaru, and wins in the Worthy Queen Handicap on the opening day of the Cup Carnival, and the Dominion Handicap on Friday. Barrier Reef was previously trained by H J Smith, who gave up training two months ago. Smith trained Barrier Reef for several good wins, including a heat of the last Inter-Dominion Championships. Previously noted more for his speed than stamina, Barrier Reef proved himself a grand stayer in the Dominion Handicap. As the sectional times will show, it was a very truly run race, and Barrier Reef won most resolutely at the right end. He has now won ten races and his winnings have reached £7465.
Foaled in 1943, Barrier Reef is a brown gelding by U Scott from Rocks Ahead, a high-class pacing daughter of Happy Voyage and First Water, who established one of the Dominion's best winning families. Rocks Ahead is also the dam of the pacer Navigate, winner of more than £10,000 in stakes ,and other winners in Master Mariner, Rendezvous and Global Village, the last-named a trotter with a reputation for speed at least equal to that of Barrier Reef, but who is far from solid. Barrier Reef is owned by Mrs M Rice, a daughter of the late F McGill, of Wyndham, who bred Barrier Reef. The winner's sire, U Scott, was represented by previous winners of the race in Lady Scott, who dead-heated with Will Cary in 1944, and Fantom, 1945.
It was a big betting race, the total investments reaching £26,713 10s. (win, £11,269 10s; place, £15,444).
For two years running the time for the Dominion Handicap has been faster than the NZ Cup. Last year Chamfer won the Cup in 4:17 1-5 and Dictation the Dominion Handicap in 4:16 2-5. This year Van Dieman's time in the Cup was 4:19 4-5 and Barrier Reef registered 4:18 2-5 in the Dominion Handicap.
Credit: 'Ribbonwood' writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 14Nov51
1951 NEW ZEALAND DERBY STAKES
Three-year-old records for a mile and a half were shattered by Fallacy when he won the NZ Derby Stakes in 3:12 1-5 - the previous records for the age and distance were held by Novelda, who was placed 3:14 1-5 at Forbury Park in 1947, and Farlena, who won in 3:14 3-5 at Ashburton in 1950.
Fallacy not only won: he nearly distanced his field. The official margin was 12 lengths and he was timed to run his last mile in 2:03 1-5 and his last quarter in 29 3-5sec, phenomenal speed for a three-year-old. Forward's loss of about 24yds at the start cost him second place, but that was all. Black Wings outstayed him for that placing after Forward had had to give up his hopeless chase of Fallacy round the home turn.
Fallacy's was one of the easiest wins of all time, in a classic race, or any other type of race. He is certainly an outstanding colt towering above all previous classic winners of his age. His facility of gait and freedom of action are deceptive. Fallacy did not race as a two-year-old, and he had not contested a classic until the Derby. He took what is generally regarded by experienced horsemen as a big step - from handicap company to classic company - in his stride and without turning a hair. Fallacy, by a narrow margin, was favourite over Forward. Fallacy carried £2196/10/- and Forward £2116/10/-. On the place, Fallacy had £1395 and Forward £1361. Third favourite was Black Wings, a long way off in public favour with £638 and £1148/10/-.
The Derby field was a credit to every trainer and driver concerned. Mr C S Thomas, president of the NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club, expressed his appreciation of the excellent condition of the field, and the meticulous manner in which horses and drivers were turned out. It was obvious, he said, that trainers and drivers took a great pride in their candidates, and he wanted them to know just how much their zeal and hard work was appreciated by the Club.
Fallacy very nearly slipped through J D Litten's hands. He was for sale in February, but Litten, who owns, trains, and drives Fallacy impressed by his ability in early training, decided to keep him. Litten mentioned to the Addington trainer V Alborn, when at the Nelson Trotting Club's meeting nine months ago, that Fallacy was for sale, and Alborn said he would go out to Litten's stables at West Melton to inspect the Light Brigade colt. On returning from Nelson, Alborn went out to Litten's stables, but Litten did not return for two days, and Alborn decided to let the matter rest for a few days. Alborn was then called away on business to the West Coast. When Litten returned home he carried on working Fallacy. Fallacy began to show ability in his training, and Litten decided against selling him. It was a most fortunate decision, for from seven starts Fallacy has won five starts and £2440 in stakes.
Fallacy's dam, Diversion, was bred by the late W J Morland, of Riccarton, who sold her on to the late Mr A Johnson, of Wellington. Mr Johnson, a businessman, had been in ill-health, and his doctor suggested he buy and race a horse as a diversion. That is how the mare got her name. Diversion raced reasonably well for Mr Johnson, winning one race and gaining several placings. Litten bought her in 1939 with the intention of breeding from her. He raced her in the early part of the 1939-40 season, and she won a race and gained three placings. Mr C L Rhodes made an offer for Diversion during that season, and Litten sold her on condition that Mr Rhodes returned her when her racing career was over, for stud purposes.
Mr Rhodes raced Diversion without much success, and when he returned her, Litten told him he would give him the alternate foals. Her first foal was a brown filly by Grattan Layal, which was named Sapience. Mr Rhodes sold Sapience to an Australian buyer. Diversion's next foal was by Josedale Dictator, and unfortunately for Litten, it died as a two-year-old. Mated with Light Brigade, Diversion left His Majesty, who although still in maiden class has shown much ability. His Majesty is raced by Mr Rhodes. Diversion's fourth foal was Fallacy. Her next foal was by Andy Derby. It is a two-year-old now, and also shows ability. Litten again suffered bad luck when Diversion's next foal, a colt by Grattan Loyal, died when only three weeks old, and a series of misfortunes reached a climax when Diversion died about two weeks ago foaling a colt to Light Brigade; the foal also died.
Diversion was by Rey de Oro from Escapade, who left a long line of winners, both pacers and trotters, who will be remembered by many racegoers. They were Tall Timber, Tam o'Shanter, Flying Scott, Milestone, Intrigue, Levity, Super Scotch and Daredevil. Escapade, champion trotting mare of her day, holds the distinction of being one of the few trotters to qualify for and compete in the NZ Cup. She started in the 1927 race, won by Kohara from Cardinal Logan, Man o' War and Great Bingen, so it will be gathered she was a champion trotter in every sense of the term.
As a youth Litten was associated with Miss Bella Button, whose parents owned the New Brighton racecourse. The Buttons owned harness horses, show horses and ponies. With the experience he gained helping with those horses, Litten has carried on to be a successful trainer, and a master with young horses. Litten was responsible for the early training of Congo Song, the best three-year-old of his year, and Vedette, winner of the 1951 Inter-Dominion Pacers Championship Final.
Credit: 'Ribbonwood' writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 12Nov51
1951 NEW ZEALAND OAKS
Powerful Lady ran right up to her North Island form in the NZ Oaks. The Pacing Power-Rosalind Maid filly had matters all her own way from barrier rise and although she was inclined to hang out slightly she was untroubled in the run home. A big, bold pacer, she bears a resemblance in conformation and action to her dam and two high-class members of the same family in Commander Scott and Impromptu.
Regalia showed a useful turn of speed to get up for second place, and the full sister to Goldina promises to develop good form later on. Marionette, who filled third place, is a well-developed filly by Dillon Hall from Vorena. She is a grand pacer and it would cause no surprise to see her train on to good class form. Starlet, who was making her first appearance in a race, has a useful turn of speed, and racing and experience should work wonders with the half-sister by Dillon Hall to Petro Star and Riviera. She is certainly well connected.
Safe Deposit was well placed most of the way but weakened over the last half-mile to finish well back. False Gift ran a useful race to finish fifth. A bay filly by Bonny Bridge, she is out of Northern Star, a Brilliant Globe mare who ranks as a half-sister to Young Charles. The rest of the field, including Camille, Merry Gold and High Fashion, were beaten off and were far from impressive.
Credit: 'Irvington' writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 5Dec51
In the early 'eighties, coursing was a very popular sport in Canterbury, and for some time it flourished at the old Plumpton grounds, situated near Hornby. Subsequently, race meetings were held on the same property, but they never took on with the public. This led to a change of venue to Sockburn, where a body known as the Plumpton Park Racing and Trotting Club carried on for some years, with varying success. After some years the racing element dropped out, and then was formed the Plumpton Park Trotting Club, now known as the Canterbury Park Trotting Club.
Though its history is only a short one, no body in the Dominion did more to bring light-harness racing up to its present high standard than the Canterbury Trotting Club. In the year of its inception, 1888, meetings were held at Lancaster Park, Lower Heathcote, New Brighton and Plumpton Park. At that period totalisator permits could be had almost for the asking, and, indeed, there were more meetings then than there are at the present time. All these convincing-grounds, with the exception of Lancaster Park, were some distance from the city and not easy to access. Present-day racegoers who complain of the tedious transport to meetings do not know how well provided for they are. In the 'eighties the only public vehicles plying to the New Brighton course, for example, were drags, buses and carriers' carts most of which had seen better days. Packed in like sardines, the good-natured sportsmen made light of their troubles, even though these frequently included a breakdown in the treacherous bit of road leading from the Bower Hotel to the trotting ground.
To bring the sport nearer home a number of enthusiasts got together early in 1888 and resolved to utilise the Addington Showgrounds as a racing headquarters. That area was particularly well adapted for the purpose, as a small grandstand was available, and little trouble was experienced in laying out a half-mile track. So the Canterbury Trotting Club came into existence, and held its inaugural meeting on April 9, 1888.
A glance through the names of its officials should be instructive to those who retain the old idea that trotting had little standing in those times. That genuine sportsman Mr W Boag figured as president, with Mr J Deans and Mr J C H Grigg as vice-presidents. Prominent among the stewards were such well known men as Hon J T Peacock, Messrs George King, H Chatteris, A W Money, J T Ford, S Garforth, J Fergusson, and W Henderson. Most of these gentlemen were keenly interested in the welfare of the Canterbury Agricultural and Pastoral Association, which owned the grounds. At that first meeting Mr George King acted as judge, and Mr F W Delamain as starter, and the handicapping was entrusted to Messrs A I Rattray and H Piper. Seven event constituted the day's bill-of-fare, and stakes of from £20 to £35, the total reaching only £160. What a difference the intervening years have made in prize money.
An auspicious start was made, for in the very first event the two handicappers had the satisfaction of seeing a dead-heat between J Baxter's Dexter and G Burke's Jane. As was customary, the dead-heat was run off later in the afternoon and Dexter made no race of it. The Akaroa-owned stallion Victor, driven by his owner, J Rodriques, scored an easy win in the three-mile saddle trot, from Oliff's Bluegown and W and C Kerr's Gipsy. The corresponding harness event, also run over three miles, went to E Young's The Rogue, who was followed home by W and C Kerr's Wait-a-While. It is estimated that over a thousand people were present at the gathering. Messrs Hobb's and Goodwin's totalisator handled £1484.
Bad weather mitigated against the Club's second venture, held a few months later, and as a result only about 400 patrons turned out, and £889 was the totalisator 'main.' Within the first year of its existence the new club held four meetings, which did much to establish it in popular favour. Its progressive officials were soon enabled to increase the stakes considerably, and eventually races confined to stallions and juveniles were instituted. So mixed were the competitors that enormous starts were necessary to bring the fields together. On one occasion Mr D Barnes's Richmond won the Association Grounds Cup from the 115sec mark, and such flyers as Victor and Young Irvington frequently were asked to concede up to 30sec in mile events.
The introduction of races for stallions in the early 'eighties did much to popularise the club's winter meetings. These brought out such well-known stallions as Specification, Brooklyn, Viking, Imperious, Electioneer, Kentucky, Wilkin, Berlin Abdallah, General Tracey and Emerson. Some years later the executive made another progressive movement by instituting a race for 2-year-olds, known as the Juvenile Stakes, with £200 attached to it. This was the first effort made by any club to introduce early speed, but results showed that it was a little in advance of the times. The first two of these races was won by Mr J A Buckland, with Valiant and The Heir, but it was quite apparent that few Canterbury trainers had sufficient knowledge to get their juveniles ready for 2-year-old racing.
After being in existence for 12 years the career of the Canterbury Trotting Club was brought to a conclusion in dramatic circumstances. Just before the present century opened, Lancaster Park Amateur Trotting Club decided to purchase a course at Addington, next door to the Showgrounds, and reconstituted itself as the NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club. When it was pointed out to the Minister of Internal Affairs that the two clubs intended to race with only an iron fence between them, he stepped in and insisted on an amalgamation. The wisdom of this action, though it was resented by many at the time, has since become most apparent. Several of the Canterbury Trotting Club's officials were elected to similar positions with the new body, and any resentment originally engendered soon wore off. That the amalgamation was fully justified is evidenced by the phenomenal success that has attended the efforts of the NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club. Its present headquarters are easily the best appointed in the Southern Hemisphere, and on its track most of the Dominion's time records have been established. Some years ago the course had another change of ownership, as a result of a deal between the NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club and the Canterbury Park Trotting Club. Both these clubs now race on it, and are likely to do so for many a year.
Undoubtedly the biggest lift ever given trotting was the elimination of proprietary interests. Many of those who had the management of courses in the early days were thorough sportsmen, whose chief aim was the betterment of the sport. Unfortunately, others were not quite as scrupulous, and this, to some extent, may account for the decline of such clubs as those that raced originally at Plumpton Park, New Brighton and Lower Heathcote. Under proprietary conditions, stakes seldom amounted to much over a century, while it was not uncommon to find horses racing for £25 stakes. Naturally, this did not make for the cleanest racing, and many owners depended more on what could be made out of the totalisator than on the stake money. This unsatisfactory state of affairs gradually disappeared as a result of judicious legislation by the NZ Trotting Conference and the NZ Trotting Association, two bodies that must be given every credit for bringing the conduct of trotting up to its present high standard. In club management there has been a corresponding improvement, which is reflected in the conduct of all present-day meetings. Nowhere in the world has trotting made such swift advancement as in NZ during the past quarter of a century.
Credit: F C Thomas writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 28Mar51
At a meeting of the Grounds Committee in December 1951 the Superintendent of the Fire Brigade stated in a letter that nine small fires had occurred on the stands on the third day of the Cup Meeting and he raised the question of the installation of a sprinkler system. This was referred to the Committees of the two Clubs.
Credit: NZMTC: Historical Notes compiled by D C Parker