Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing climb Mt Everest, they reached the summit on 29 May.
Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II
The structure of DNA is discovered by Francis Crick and James Watson.
October 10 - The "last great air race" from London to Ch-Ch was won by an RAF Canberra bomber.
December 24 - 151 died in the Tangiwai railway disaster when a lahar swells th Whangaehu River which arrived at the Tangiwai rail bridge just as the over-night express from Wellington to Auckland was crossing the bridge.
Aviation poineer Richard Pearce dies.
Credit: Ch-Ch City Libraries
MR FRANK A GRAHAM
The death has occurred of Mr Frank E Graham, an original member of the Christchurch Stock Exchange and its chairman for nearly 40 years. He was 78. He was the only member of the original exchange still operating. When the exchange had its first call on April 23, 1900, the first reported sale was made by Mr Graham, and this began an association with the exchange that continued for 53 years.
He was appointed chairman of the exchange in 1910 and remained in office until 1923 and was again chairman from 1939 to 1946. Mr Graham also took a leading part in the formation of the Stock Exchange of NZ and was a past president of that body.
Mr Graham's interest in sport was widespread, and he took an active part in the administration of trotting, racing, golf and boxing in Christchurch. For many years he raced trotters in partnership with the late Mr J C Clarkson and later on his own account. His horses were trained by W J Doyle, and he enjoyed considerable success with a number of them, the best known being Lament, a champion and winner of several free-for-alls.
Mr Graham gave long service to the NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club which he joined in 1908. For many years he was a member of the committee and a steward, and he was later appointed treasurer. He was vice-president from 1935 to 1940, and in that year he was elected a life member. He was also a life-member of the Canterbury Jockey Club.
Credit: NZ Trotting Calendar 28Oct53
J D SMITH
Mr J D Smith, who died in Christchurch, was one of New Brighton's best-known trainers for more than 30 years. He bred, owned and trained many good performers, including Pot Luck, whom he sold as a young horse to Mr H Stafford. Pot Luck reached NZ Cup class and won the Grand Final of the 1938 Inter-Dominion Championship, held at Addington.
Other good winners bred and raced by Mr Smith were Eureka Boy, Mac Dillon, Dark Girl and Bexley Girl. Mr Smith was a member of the Canterbury Owners'and Breeders' Association for many years.
Credit: NZ Trotting Calendar 24Jun53
Captain Sandy and his South Australian owner, Mr D J Nolan, who purchased the veteran New Zealand pacer last June. No one guessed that the son of Sandydale had not yet given of his best when he won the 1949 Auckland Cup.
By his win at Perth Captain Sandy made history. He became the first horse ever to have gained Inter-Dominion honours twice and he also became the greatest stake-earner of all time in Australasia. His total winnings of more than £35,000 eclipsed the previous record of £32,920 held by Highland Fling.
Oamaru trainer Jock Bain, who raced Captain Sandy on lease for all of his New Zealand wins, advised Mr Nolan on how best to train the horse. His methods paid a handsome dividend.
Thriving under Mr Nolan's supervision, Captain Sandy has raced in every State in Australia where there is night trotting, and has retained his form in spite of the exertions of long and arduous travel. Mr Nolan reports that since being under his charge the horse has not had one day off.
From a monetary viewpoint, too, Captain Sandy must have surpassed the rosiest of his new owner's expectations. For, during his brief career in Australia, he has amassed close on £9,000 in stakes. The Grand Final at Perth alone was worth £7,450(including a trophy valued at £300), and he has won in Melbourne and been placed on several occasions.
There was no fluke about Captain Sandy's win in Perth. He began brilliantly from 24 yards, took command 75 yards short of the post, and beat the crack Sydney pacer Ribands by half a length. He covered the mile and five furlongs in 3.24 1/2 - a 2.05 3/5 rate. This was a Perth track record and warranted a rating in world class on a track measuring 88 yards short of a half mile.
Two nights later Captain Sandy paced a mile against time on the same track, returning the sensational figures of 1.59. The greatness of this feat can be appreciated when it is realised that the world's pacing record on a half-mile track is held by the American horse Sampson Hanover, who went 1.59 3/5 in 1951. The trotting record on a half-mile track is Greyhound's
1.59 3/4 established in 1937. Captain Sandy's performance is thus virtually a world record for half-mile tracks or smaller.
For an old-stager, the son of Sandydale and Waikaura certainly has a lot of life left in him.
Credit: NZ Hoof Beats Vol 3 No.8
DOUNREAY - Mystery Mare
There was quite a kerfuffle when a horse called Angelo Dundee arrived on the scene in the late 1970s bred by Brian Saunders brother, Gavin, and the first top winner for trainer Brian. He went to the edge of Cup class before being sold to the US.
The talk was all around his dam, Dounreay, who was by a thoroughbred stallion, registered as Dean but officially of unknown breeding. Thoroughbred blood was accepted in pedigrees in earlier eras but was a real novelty in the late 1970s.
Angelo Dundee, a big strapping sort by the smart My Chief horse Indecision, did not race until he was five but then set about making his mark. Back in his maternal family was a half-sister to Johnny Globe's dam Sandfast who left the smart trotter Widower Scott. But a top intermediate pacer by a disappointing stallion from a failed broodmare sired by a galloper. What were the odds?
Dounreay, apparently an only foal, spent quite a few years going to Janice Orr's stallion Lighterman Tom(who lived to be 41 but was not noted for much else) so while Gavin Saunders seemed to have the right recipe, no dish of the same quality subsequently appeared.
Credit: David McCarthy writing in Harnessed June 2016
Parawa Derby, one of the best pacers raced in the Dominion in recent years - his Australasian mile and a half record of 3.07 2/5 has now stood for two years - was recently retired from racing. In a career extending over six seasons, he started 75 times for 15 wins, 10 seconds, 9 thirds and 5 fourths. Raced by his breeder, Mr L T Padget, of Invercargill, he won £16,313 in stakes, of which he won £10,120 in the 1950-1 season, when he was second on the leading stakes winners' list to Vedette.
Consistency was for a long time a feature of his racing. In one period of his career he contested 35 races for 12 wins and 19 placings - a wonderful record considering he was racing against one of the best collections of light-harness horses raced in the Dominion at one time.
At the beginning of his career a bad habit of boring threatened to prejudice his career, but he overcame this fault with racing. Parawa Derby began racing as a 4-year-old in the 1947-48 season, and in five starts from J T Looney's Winton stable he recorded two wins and one second placing. He failed to show the same form the next season and recorded only three minor placings in 14 starts.
Parawa Derby was transferred to J B Pringle's Hornby stable at the beginning of the 1949-50 season. Under Pringle's guidance he fashioned an outstanding record, gaining 6 wins and nine placings in 21 starts. He was only once further back than fourth in his last 14 starts for the season. His best efforts were in the Eclipse Handicap (1 1/2m) at New Brighton, when he gave Vedette 24 yards and a beating, running the distance in 3.13 4/5 and in the Winter Handicap (1m 5f) at Addington in May, which he won by five lengths in the fast time of 3.26 4/5.
Parawa Derby again raced with great consistency in the strongest classes the next season and gained six wins and nine placings in 17 starts only twice out of the money. It was at the NZ Cup meeting that he revealed his true greatness. After winning comfortably the Empire Handicap on the opening day of the meeting, he took on the best pacers in the Dominion in the NZ Free-For-All on the second day and put up an outstanding performance to beat Congo Song and Gay Knight in a thrilling finish.
Then came the Inter-Dominion Championships. On the opening day Parawa Derby put up a brilliant performance to run second to Blue Mist (to whom he conceded 12 yards) in his mile and a half heat, running the distance in 3.07 2/5, which smashed Globe Direct's NZ record by two seconds. He scored an easy win over Captain Sandy and Young Charles in his two-mile heat. Parawa Derby was widely considered the unlucky runner in the Grand Final, in which he finished third to Vedette and Soangetaha after receiving a poor run in the straight. His time for the mile and five furlongs was 3.23. This was his last race for the season, during which he won £10,120.
Parawa Derby again showed high-class form at the start of the last season, and after being placed at his first two starts he scored a good win over the dead-heaters, Chamfer and Soangetaha, in the Metropolitan Free-for-all at Hutt Park. On this form he looked as though he would take a power of beating in the NZ Cup, but suffered from an attack of influenza and could not start. That set-back must have affected him permanently, because he showed only one flash of form afterwards, and in 13 subsequent starts he gained only one fourth.
A brown gelding, he is one of the best winners sired by Dillon Hall. His dam, War Betty, a useful mare when raced in Southland was by Man o' War from Betty Martin, by Prince Imperial from Peri, by Imperious from Fairy, a mare who was sired by a thoroughbred. War Betty is the dam also of another winner in Lahore (by Indianapolis).
Credit: NZ Trotting Calendar 4Mar53
The death is reported of Fantom, a champion trotter a few years ago. Fantom, on his retirement, was given by Sir John McKenzie to Mr T Goodyer, of Otago, where the old horse had a good home.
Fantom, who was bred by the late S W Kelly, was bought at auction by Sir John for 750gns and he won £12,645 in stakes. Among his 13 wins were the NZ Trotting Stakes, for 3-years-olds, Dominion Handicap, Avon Free-For-All, Rowe Memorial Cup (twice), Ashburton Cup, a Qualifying Heat of the Inter-Dominion Championships, Metropolitan High-Class Trotting Stakes (free-for-all), and the Steward's Trotting Stakes (free-for-all). Fantom also won over two miles against good class pacers at Auckland.
For his early races Fantom was trained by the late R B Berry and he later developed champion form under G B Noble. Fantom held the two mile trotting record at 4:16 for some years. He was by U Scott (imp) from Fantine (imp), both his sire and dam coming from America.
G B Noble, private trainer to Sir John McKenzie, in a note to the Calendar on Fantom states: "The old fellow had wintered well but took ill last week, and though a vet and medical aid were sought, he went the way of all horses, good and bad. Apart from being a great trotter, I shall always remember him for his remarkable courage."
Credit: NZ Trotting Calendar 26Aug53
World class for a Dominion 2-year-old was entered when Brahman paced a mile against time at Addington on Saturday 13 June in 2.02 1/5. Incredulity was plainly written on the faces of seasoned racegoers all over the course when they stopped their watches at this sensational figure. Before the trial Brahman's connections were quietly confident the colt would go between 2.04 and 2.05 and even the owner, Mr B Grice, and the driver, F G Holmes, must have been astonished and elated at the big slice Brahman carved off Convivial's previous Australasian record of 2.08 4/5, put up at Harold Park, Sydney, in 1951.
Brahman's performance was epoch-making not only because he completely annihilated all previous NZ and Australian 2-year-old records, but also because his figures compare favourably with anything done in the acknowledged leading light-harness country in the world, the United States.
Brahman made his record on a six-furlong track - certainly one of the fastest and best conditioned in the world - but cognisance must be taken of the fact that the American authorities compute that the mile track is the perfect sized track and by far the fastest for record-breaking purposes. They say emphatically - and their overwhelming number of world's records fully substantiates their conclusions - that their leading mile tracks are between four and five seconds to the mile faster than their best half-mile tracks. For example: Greyhound trotted his world's record mile of 1.55¼ on a mile track and the best he could do on a half-mile track was 1.59¾; Billy Direct's 1.55 was done on a mile track, and the best pacing performance on a half-mile track is Sampson Hanover's 1.59 3/5.
It does not strictly follow that the difference in speed between a six-furlong track like Addington and a mile track of similar composition would be, say, two seconds by the American way of reckoning, but it would not be far off the mark, and that brings Brahman's potential speed on a mile track - with its wider and more gradual bends - down to the two-minute mark. It may sound fantastic, it may be dismissed by many people as a rather dubiuos method of working things out; but that is the extent the Americans have found, by long years of experience, speed is reduced or increased according to the sizes of tracks, and they ought to know.
Brahman is also entitled to this: although the track was in perfect order and only a slight breeze was blowing, the atmosphere was a bit damp and certainly cold when he made his attempt, and winter can scarcely be the most favourable time of year for record-making. On the contra account, of course, Brahman had gained valuable months in age and seasoned condition by delaying his trial until June instead of taking it on in the height of summer - or the autumn.
Notwithstanding all this supposition, it was a world run by any standards and puts Brahman in the same champion mould as Titan Hanover, 2.00, a trotter, and Knight Dream, 2.00 2/5, a pacer. Titan Hanover is the only harness horse, trotter or pacer, to enter the 2.00 list at two years, and Knight Dream, a pacer, is the fastest 2-year-old of that gait.
Brahman, driven by F G Holmes in the familar colours - cardinal, cream sash, cardinal cap - of his breeder-owner-trainer, Mr B Grice, and with Morano, driven by A Holmes in his well known jacket - purple, red band and cap - as galloping companion (pacemaker has become a misnomer because the rules long since required the accompanying horse never to head the one making the attempt at any part of the trial), Brahman was not long about warming up and at the first time of asking he hit the mile starting peg at top speed. Pacing like a machine - he is smooth and effortless in style - he reached the quarter in a tick better than 31secs and the half-mile in 60 2/5secs.
Experienced trotting trainers and others in the stands this looked at each other in consternation. "He can't keep this up," said one. "He'll stop to a walk in the straight," declared another. A third registered blank astonishment by shaking his watch in his ear to make sure it hadn't seized up! And Brahman sizzled on towards the three-quarter mark. There was still no sign of a slackening of speed - six furlongs in 1.31 1/5! "He must feel the strain soon," muttered a bewildered newspaper reporter, who was still dazed by the performance a couple of hours after Brahman had felt no such thing. At the furlong Brahman certainly had nothing in reserve, but when F G shook the whip at him he showed he had grit as well as all this phenomenal speed by finishing without a flicker and tramping the final quarter in 31secs flat, only a fifth slower than his opening quarter and making his full time 2.02 1/5.
"It should stand for some time." This was the triumph of understatment drawn out of Ben Grice when this notoriously 'mike-shy' sportsman was coaxed to say something about his champion during one of those extremely friendly gatherings in the birdcage which have become a pleasant aftermath of special events at Metropolitan meetings. The president, Mr C E Hoy, drew applause when he disclosed that Mr Grice had needed no inducement to send Brahman against the record. He assured the crowd, however, that the club would present Mr Grice with a momento to commemorate the occasion. Brahman had brought lustre to Dominion trotting by his superb performance. It was hard to credit what he had done, and he was confident it was only the forerunner of many more records on the part of Brahman. In his reply Mr Grice said he thought before the attempt that Brahman would go 2.04 or 2.05. He was naturally thrilled with the outcome. "He had a good driver and a good track," he said.
F G Holmes, who has always been on the top deck among NZ reinsmen, had Brahman under perfect control throughout the trial. He had worked him many times and got to know Brahman right down to the nails in his shoes! A few days before the official trial he had driven the colt a "pretty stiff mile." In a telephone conversation with the editor of the Calendar, A Holmes, who was naturally a keenly interested party in the trial, said: "He went the last half in a tick better than a minute. We think he'll go at least 2.06 on Saturday."
F G Holmes gave Mr Grice and A Holmes all the help and encouragement he possibly could. He made Morano available as galloping aid to Brahman and told his brother to "make his own arrangements" about the details of the attack on the record. These side issues may seem of small moment to some of our readers, but they are mentioned to stress the fine sportmanship that inspired the whole show, one of the most exhilarating things that has happened to our sport in all it's existence. In fact, the writer must confess that no previous light-harness performance in the last 30 years has stirred him to the same depths as did Brahman's prodigious run on Saturday morning.
Special significance attaches to Brahman's figures because they are only 1 4/5secs slower than the world's 2-year-old pacing record of Knight Dream, and 2 1/5 behind the world's 2-year-old record of the trotter Titan Hanover (the only 2-year-old of either gait in the two-minute list). Compare this with the difference between the times of our older champions: Highland Fling's 1.57 4/5 is 2 4/5secs slower than Billy Direct's world's pacing record of 1.55 and about 2 3/5secs slower than Greyhound's trotting record of 1.55¼. This is not meant as any disparagement of the peerless 'Fling'; it is mentioned merely to emphasise that Brahman would probably prove at least the equal of the best 2-year-olds in America today.
A Holmes drove the galloping companion, Morano, with discernment - the mission had obviously been thoroughly planned and rehearsed, and Morano was kept a 'daylight' margin behind Brahman (the fact that Brahman could hear his hoof-beats was sufficient) until the final quarter, when Morano was moved up to finish with his head on the record-breakers quarters, as our picture shows.
There was another member of the Holmes family at Addington on Saturday who must hav derived great pleasure and satisfaction from the performances of all the participants. That was 82-year-old Freeman Holmes, father of F (Freeman) G and Allan Holmes. Freeman Holmes, an importer of numerous sires and mares, brought from Canada the pacing stallion Grattan Loyal, a big stud success and sire of Gold Bar, the sire of Brahman. Freeman Holmes also imported, from America, Rey de Oro, sire of Gold Bar's dam, Imperial Gold, and Logan Pointer, sire of Gold Bar's grandam, Imperial Pointer. Rey de Oro and Logan Pointer were both outstanding stud successes, and Logan Pointer also figures as the sire of Logan Princess, the grandam of Haughty, who produced Brahman. It is a chain of breeding events, culminating in a phenomenon like Brahman, any breeder would be mighty proud to own.
Gold Bar was bred by A Holmes and developed into a champion by him. He held a number of records on his retirement in 1946, and one of these, his mile and a quarter in 2.35, still stands. Of interest, too, is that Haughty's 3.35 2/5 for the same distance has also stood as the mare's record for a similar period to Gold Bar's and that both sire and dam of Brahman have identical mile records, 1.59 3/5.
Mr B Grice's son, Mr D P Grice, who owns Wayfarer, a full-brother to Haughty and sire of Buccaneer, told the writer recently that Nelson Derby, sire of Haughty and many other good ones, had never done a big stud season. A dozen mares was about the limit of the patronage he received each season, yet he sired a remarkable percentage of winners and must rank as one of the most successful Colonial-bred sires of all time - he got over 100 individual winners and lived to the ripe old age of 31.
Regal Voyage, dam of Haughty, was bought at auction by Mr B Grice for stud purposes. She was a beautiful looking mare, in contrast to most of her progeny, who were on the plain side - neither Haughty or her son Brahman would get a prize for looks but they were certainly fashioned to go fast. That Prince Imperial strain again: Gold Bar has it through his third dam, Imperial Polly, and Haughty gets it through her third dam, an unnamed Prince Imperial mare, so Brahman has a double dose of this prepotent strain, a strain that courses through the veins of some of the greatest horses of both gaits over nearly half a century.
Credit: 'Ribbonwood' writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 17Jun53
In winning the Easter Handicap, Burns Night covered the mile and five furlongs in 3.22, a world race record. He won going away from Lady Rowan and Soangetaha.
After he won that race there was one of the worst demonstrations yet seen at Addington. Failing dismally on the first day, Burns Night started ninth favourite in a field of twelve. But when he created his second record of the day in the Au Revoir Handicap the cheers were deafening.
Burns Night covered the 'flying mile' in the world record time of 2.02 3/5 from a standing start. Vedette was second ahead of Petite Yvonne.
Credit: NZ Hoof Beats Vol 3 No.8
Gold Horizon(W J Doyle) middle just shades Dictation(J Wilson) inner with Single Task(R Young), partly obscured on the outer, half a length away. Bulls Eye was fourth ahead of Highland Kilt(outside)
Credit: NZ Hoof Beats Vol 3 No 1
The Light Brigade three-year-old Battle Cry photographed after his Trotting Stakes 'walkover' with his owner, Mr O E Baxter, and trainer-driver C R Berkett. By absolutely outclassing the New Zealand Trotting Stakes field on the second day of Addington's Easter carnival, Battle Cry showed his supremacy over the season's three-year-olds. He coasted home seven lengths clear of Flammula.
This marked Battle Cry's sixth win in nine starts. Besides this he has gained two placings - a wonderful record. He is notable in that he can handle any going - the hallmark of a real champion.
Credit: NZ Hoof Beats Vol 3 No.8
1953 NZ FREE-FOR-ALL
In time only two-fifths of a second outside Gold Bar's mile and a quarter Australasian record of 2:35, Johnny Globe spreadeagled the field in the New Zealand Free-For-All at Addington on Friday. He was actually easing up at the finish, otherwise he must have at least equalled the record.
From No.1 position at the barrier Johnny Globe began very fast and he led all the way. Rounding the top turn for the run home he left the opposition standing, and Adorian, his Cup victor, never looked like getting near him.
D G Nyhan received a warm and well-earned ovation on returning to the birdcage with his champion. Johnny Globe's time is a 2:04 1-5 mile rate, and it is obvious he would have gone well inside the record if anything had been capable of making him race.
Johnny Globe's winnings have now reached £21,865. He has won 21 races, including seven free-for-alls, which is one more than the previous record totals shared by Johnny Globe with Gold Bar and Great Bingen, each of whom won six of these races; Highland Fling's score was five.
Credit: 'Ribbonwood' writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 18Nov53
1953 DOMINION HANDICAP
Vodka's characteristic slowness in the opening stages of the Dominion Handicap soon gave way to brilliant acceleration, culminating in a dogged finish that gave champion Gold Horizon no earthly chance of conceding him a start of about half a dozen lengths from the home turn.
Although driving tactics on this occasion were not in Gold Horizon's favour, the backmarker was almost on terms with Vodka at the end of two furlongs, and was actually right up beside him with six furlongs to go. The 'drop' Vodka had on Gold Horizon was the result of having the inside running (Vodka was two out and Gold Horizon three out) at this latter stage, contributed largely to Vodka's victory - a decisive one in every way and richly deserved as well.
Vodka, who had run meritorious seconds in both his appearances on the first day, came up a much steadier horse for the Dominion Handicap, in which he trotted solidly and generously throughout.
The result was a vindication of the 6yds barrier, for both Vodka and Gold Horizon started from split marks. J S Shaw stated after the race that his horse was not cramped for room in any way - he was able to stand a yard back from the barrier and had plenty of clearance behind - and made one of his best beginnings, probably the fastest of his career.
Seldom have positions changed so quickly in a big trotters' race as they did in the Dominion Handicap. Fair Isle, the leader out from the start, was supplanted by Swanee River at the end of two furlongs. In the straight the first time Swanee River attempted to slow up the pace, but he was soon surrounded, and Correction was the leader a little further on. Then Highland Kilt took over with about five furlongs covered, and he was run down by Dictation with a little more than a mile to go.
The pace had slackened in the middle stages - the mile showing 2:15. Dictation was challenged by Vodka at the home turn, with a gap to Gold Horizon and Precaution, and Correction and Fair Isle next. Vodka had no sooner disposed of Dictation than Precaution challenged him, but Precaution went into a break under pressure and Vodka carried on to win by five lengths from Gold Horizon, who came home well. Fair Isle was half a length away third with Precaution (who was disqualified for galloping), and correction next.
Mr C E Hoy, in presenting the trophy to Shaw, said the Dominion Handicap had always been a very favoured race with the trotting public. Year after year the trotters had staged wonderful contests. The Dominiom Handicap had been responsible for two Australasian records, Dictation's winning record of 4:16 2-5 in 1950, and the same horse's outright record of 4:15 4-5 in running fourth last year. The owner-driver of Vodka, J S Shaw, was one of the best-known men in trotting; he had spent a lifetime in the sport, and it was no doubt a source of great satisfaction that he drove the winner himself. In reply, Shaw said he wished to thank the club for the handsome stake as well as the trophy. He also thanked the trainer of Vodka, N K MacKenzie, for the perfect way he had produced the horse.
Although this was J S Shaw's first win in the Dominion Handicap, he played a big part in the victory of Whispering Willie in the 1918 race. He trained the horse until two weeks before the race and then had to go into Camp. Whispering Willie was taken over by G H Murfitt, who drove him to win the race. Shaw still has a very warm spot for Whispering Willie. "He was only a pony," he said, "and his dam died soon after he was foaled and Mrs Allington reared him on the bottle. Whispering Willie, in Shaw's opinion, would be a great trotter even by modern standards. His trial before the Dominion Handicap was 4:28 for two miles, pulling an 80lb speed cart - today's (1953) carts weigh only 36lbs. Whispering Willie went through several stables and won for all of them. He was educated by J Bryce. His next trainer was J H Wilson, then Shaw, G H Murfitt and R Mills. For Shaw Whispering Willie won numerous races, including the Summer Cup at Auckland against some of the best pacers in the land. Whispering Willie beat the pacers on a number of occasions and was one of the racecourse idols of his time.
Vodka has taken time to get over his tardiness at the start of his races, but patient training and driving have brought their harvest. Vodka has now won 11 races and £6045 in stakes and a trophy.
Credit: 'Ribbonwood' writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 18Nov53
1953 NEW ZEALAND OAKS
For the second year in succession there was a surprise result in the New Zealand Oaks, an outsider, Bonnie Castle, wearing down the favourite, Santa Amada, in the final furlong to beat her by half a length. Last year's winner was the 12-12 favourite Swallow.
Bonnie Castle was running fourth at the end of half a mile and, when Santa Amada took charge with three furlongs to go, Bonnie Castle came on the outer at the home turn to wear her down. Highland Flirt, who paced unevenly most of the way, finished strongly for third, with Spring Walk fourth and Night Wind fifth. The rest were beaten off.
Bonnie Castle, who was bred at Invercargill by the late T A Agnew, races in the interests of Mr E R Winter and is trained at Springston by his brother, J H Winter. The combination suffered nothing through the driving of J Bryce, Jun. Bonnie Castle is a brown filly by the young Dillon Hall sire Stirling Castle, and her dam is Peace Peal, by Black Globe from Gay Chimes, by Worthy Bond(imp) from Moor Chimes, a good stayer of some 30 years ago. She was by Four Chimes, sire of some of the greatest stayers of the past notably Cathedral Chimes, Taraire and Matchlight.
Santa Amada is a black filly by U Scott from Santa Anita, by Jack Potts from Wee Truman, a half-sister to a good winner in Wee Potts. Highland Flirt, also a black is by Highland Fling from Golden Path, a Dillon Hall mare belonging to the Misfortune family. Spring Walk, a brown, is by Light Brigade from Craigneuk, a Man o' War mare who left Imperial Grattan, 2:10 3-5, Ben Ledi, 4:28 and Our Flicka, 2:48 1-5. The fifth place-filler, Night Wind, is a brown, and is by U Scott from Roydon Star, by Light Brigade from Great Burton, the dam of the free-for-all winner in Burt Scott.
Credit: 'Ribbonwood' writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 9Dec53
Bridging a gap of 32 years since he drove Sherwood first past the post in the New Zealand Trotting Cup of 1921, F G Holmes won this year's race with Adorian after being no further back than third at any part of the running. Sherwood, on a protest for crossing Reta Peter, was placed second in the 1921 race, so it was F G Holmes's first Cup success.
Once again it was a newcomer's year. Adorian, who qualified for the race by winning the two principal events at the last Metropolitan August Meeting, followed in the footsteps of last year's Cup winner, Mobile Globe, who won the same August double three months before his victory in the premier event. Adorian proved himself every inch a stayer on Tuesday. His 4:13 4-5, while wide of the race record - and world's record - of 4:10 2-5 established by Highland Fling in 1948, was real stamina by any standards, particularly when it is known that he ran the last mile in 2:04 2-5 and the last half mile in better than a minute.
This brilliant climax to a spectacular race on a perfect track and in ideal weather proved to great an ordeal for the gallant favourite, Johnny Globe, who probably lost the race when he cannoned into the breaking Tactics soon after the start, thereby losing his balance and all of 60 yards before he got down to work again. This unfortunate incident drew audible sympathy from the public, who left no doubts by their investments that they had extreme confidence in the glamour horse of today.
Billy Boy, the leader out from the start, was closely attended by Adorian and Pleasant Smile. Meanwhile Tactics, drawn number 1 at the barrier (a position from which, it is claimed, she has never begun correctly yet), broke badly. Lady Rowan also broke, and Tactician set off on a bobble and went scratchily throughout. With just over three furlongs covered, Pleasant Smile ran into a clear lead from Billy Boy and Adorian (on the outer), and then came Thelma Globe, Soangetaha, Burns Night, Tactician, Vedette, Maori Home and Van Dieman, with Johnny Globe making up ground rapidly. There were few changes of any importance in the next six furlongs, but the race brightened up when Johnny Globe moved round the field with three and a half furlongs to go.
Adorian strode confidently to the lead with three furlongs to go and he was clear of Johnny Globe at the home turn. Soangetaha momentarily looked dangerous when he issued a challenge on the inside at the distance, but actually it was a two-horse race over the final furlong and Adorian always held the upper hand. The fourth horse, Burns Night, had every chance. He was two lengths behind Soangetaha. Vedette, who never looked like the champion of old at any stage, was a fair fifth, and then arrived Billy Boy, Maori Home, Van Dieman, Lady Rowan, Pleasant Smile, Tactician and Thelma Globe, with Tactics last. It was stated before the race that Tactics was suffering from seasonal trouble.
For the second year in succession the Australian-bred Springfield Globe sired the winner. It is interesting to speculate on what heights the Globe Derby sallion might have attained as a sire if he had remained in the Dominion instead of returning to Australia some six years ago.
Coquette, the dam of Adorian, who reached Cup class herself, has a 100% record as a producer of winners - her only four foals before her premature death (in 1949) were Vigilant, winner of £2327 in stakes in the Dominion (he has also won races in Australia); Morano, £9025; Forward, £4560; and Adorian, winner of twelve races and £17,217 10s in stakes and trophy - the New Zealand Gold Cup is valued at £250. Coquette's four offspring, therefore have won the grand total of £33,129 10s. Adorian and all the rest of Coquette's progeny were bred by Miss P Norton and F G Holmes, and Coquette was bred by F Holmes (venerable father of F G), and Miss Norton. Coquette was by Grattan Loyal from Bonny Logan, by Logan Pointer from Bonilene, and Grattan Loyal, Logan Pointer and Bonilene were all imported to this country by F Holmes. Springfield Globe, sire of Adorian, was out of a Logan Pointer mare, so Adorian has two close-up strains of this famous blood.
Although this was F G Holmes's first outright win in the New Zealand Cup - he owns and trains Adorian as well - he has been one of the Dominion's most capable trainers and horsemen for close on 40 years, he began driving at a very early age. "It was unjust," he declared when referring during the Cup presentation to the fate of Sherwood in 1921. He also made passing reference to some bad luck he had in one or two previous Cups, and said one of his ambitions, now that he was "not getting any younger," was to make a trip to America. He paid tribute to D McKendry, who looks after Adorian and who played a big part in turning the horse out so fit.
Mr C E Hoy, who congratulated Holmes on his skilful driving and the excellent performance and condition of Adorian, then called for cheers all round and Mrs Hoy decorated the winner with a garland of flowers. The Holmes family have a good record in the New Zealand Cup. Free Holmes, father of F G, Maurice and Allan, trained and drove Trix Pointer in 1919, Maurice drove Wrackler in 1930 and trained and drove Chamfer in 1950, and Allan Holmes drove Harold Logan in 1932 and owned and trained and drove the flying 1945 winner, Gold Bar.
Not at any stage of his career has Adorian been responsible for anything of a dazzling nature. He has been a 'late ripener' with a vengeance, coming to his full powers in easy stages until he has reached his zenith as a six-year-old; a powerful, quality horse of fine balance, a rich bay with little white about him, and no vices. He is a treat to train and drive and have around the place, according to the people who look after him, and he is as reliable and genuine as they come. Quite a reputation for a mere horse, but well earned by Adorian, a 'gentleman' in or out of harness.
Probably due to the fact that, for the first time since double betting was resumed, the first leg was run on the New Zealand Cup, there was a decided fall off in win-and-place betting on the big race. This year's on-course total was £28,331, compared with £38,336 last year; the off-course figures were £29,815 10s, against £33,943 10s last year. The record total on a New Zealand Cup is the £40,907 10s (on-course only) invested in 1951. This year's on-course total was £179,170 15s, compared with £190,930 15s last year, when the off-course figures were £86,475 15s; this year the off-course total soared to £139,707, including £49,031 on the double. The on-course double figures this year were £14,592 5s. The crowd was not as large as in some previous years.
Credit: 'Ribbonwood' writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 11Nov53
1953 NZ DERBY STAKES
Caduceus caught Santa Amada inside the final furlong of the New Zealand Derby stakes and outstayed her by a length. Caduceus who started from the second row, threaded his way through to be sixth at the end of a quarter, and he was always well placed and travelling confidently after that.
Caduceus is not a big colt, but he is well built and shows plenty of quality. He is by U Scott from Little Ada and is therefore a full-brother in blood to Highland Fling and Highland Kilt. Queen Ayesha, the dam of these two great horses, is by Frank Worthy from Royal Empress, and Little Ada is a full-sister to Queen Ayesha. Caduceus was bred by his owners Messrs Moore Bros., of Wellington, who bought the dam , Little Ada, at the 1949 National Sales at Addington for 260gns.
Santa Amada excelled herself in hanging on for a close second after being in front for more than a mile and three furlongs. Bounden Duty, always one of the first three or four, was right up third, just shading the unlucky favourite, Scottish Brigade. Scottish Brigade was in difficulties throughout. He put in a slight break at the start, and he narrowly averted disaster when Sure King broke with little more than half a mile to go and brought down Notary. Scottish Brigade at that stage was fully eight lengths behind the leader. He made up half of this leeway with a quarter to go and looked like getting a clear run on the outer entering the straight. His driver, however, elected to try for an opening on the inner, and this sealed his doom. He finished full of running without ever finding an opening.
Brahman again took no part, and Buccaneer broke at the start. Buccaneer showed fine speed to reach fourth position with a round to go, but he was forced wide out and was a tired horse in fifth place at the finish. Bobby Brigade drifted in the first quarter. He finished sixth.
Caduceus put up the fast time of 3:13 2-5, which has been bettered only once in the Derby - by Fallacy, who put up the three-year-old Dominion record of 3:12 1-5 in winning in 1951. Like Fallacy, Caduceus is trained and driven by J D Litten, of West Melton. Litten turned Caduceus out in great order and his handling of the colt was masterful.
Credit: 'Ribbonwood'writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 25N0v53
The last race was late and the fire was first noticed about 15 minutes after the race when hundreds were still at the payout windows. Smoke was seen in the grandstand and the Christchurch Fire Brigade was called at 6:09pm but before the units arrived flames were breaking through the roof. The seat of the fire appeared to be in the cafeteria in the middle of the building. The roof of the grandstand was of semi-cantilevered construction with few pillars and it made a huge scoop to receive the full force of the Nor’ West wind sweeping across the course. By 6:25pm the building was engulfed with flames so hot that no one could approach within fifty yards. The roof fell in at 6:37pm and thereon the remaining super structures continued to fall within the shell formed by the reinforced concrete base. Debris outside the stand area was almost entirely confined to shattered glass. Behind the grandstand the small canteen from which pies, soft drinks and other goods were sold was badly scorched. The women’s cloakroom, constructed of concrete and backing onto the Showgrounds loose boxes, escaped damage. The Christchurch Fire Brigade had been called earlier in the day to a fire in the Leger Stand believed to have been started from a cigarette butt on the flooring but this was extinguished by grounds staff and the police. Another call was received at 3:45pm but again there was no damage. When the alarm for the big fire was given at 6:09pm one unit each from Headquarters and Sydenham Stations was dispatched. A radio message for assistance was sent at 6:20pm to which another Headquarters engine and the new Land Rover unit responded.
At a joint meeting of the of the Committee of the Club and the Directors of Addington Trotting Course Limited, owners of the property, held on Saturday 14th November 1953 it was reported that the extra cost replacement value of the stand was £65,400 while the indemnity cover was £25,000, the replacement value £47,025, Architects fees £3,750 and demolition £3,000. It was decided to claim for the full amount of the extra cost replacement cover forthwith. At the meeting the provision of temporary accommodation was considered in view of the Royal Meeting to be conducted by the Club on 21st January 1954 when H M Queen Elizabeth and H R H The Duke of Edinburgh would be in attendance. Although no definite decision about rebuilding the grandstand was reached it was stated that the intention was to erect an up-to-date concrete stand in the outside enclosure as soon as possible and that there would be no temporary stand before building operations started.
The grandstand destroyed was about 20 years old and was designed by Mr J S Guthrie. During the fire, the Nor’ West wind gusted to fifty three miles an hour. Hundreds of trotting patrons were still on the ground with many waiting at the payout windows of the totalisator. Jumping events at the show also had not long finished and there were still hundreds at the Showgrounds. The Canterbury A&P Association’s loss resulting from the fire was estimated at £1,000.
The Superintendent of the Fire Brigade, Mr L R Osmond, in reporting to the Directors stated that the water supply at the course was inadequate and it would have been necessary to have hydrants within 200 feet of the fire to be effective. He suggested a ring main should be installed and further investigations made for improvements in the system to fight any future fires. In December arrangements were made for Mr W J Taylor, the Fire Boards Inspecting Officer, to take charge of fire patrols at all the Club’s Meetings.
Credit: NZMTC: Historical Notes compiled by D C Parker