YEAR: 1944


The first national sales of pacing and trotting-bred yearlings will be held on the Addington trotting course on Friday, November 3.

All horses sent by rail must be consigned to the Addington show grounds siding and accommodation has been arranged there prior to the sale if it is the owner's wish for entries to arrive several days before the sale.

Yearlings to be offered will be boxed in the trotting grounds on the morning of the sale in order that they are drawn for realisation. Immediately after the auction, horses will be transferred to the show grounds and railed from the show grounds siding if purchasers do not take delivery otherwise.

It is the earnest hope of the promoters that owners and breeders will support this realisation, which should develop into an annual sale similar to that conducted in Wellington on behalf of thoroughbred breeders.


NZ Trotting Calendar 8Nov44


The first annual national sales of pacing and trotting-bred yearlings was held at the Addington Trotting course on friday, November 3, 1944, by the joint auctioneers, Wright, Stephenson and Co Ltd and H Matson and Co.

Because of heavy rain in the morning, the start of the sale was delayed until the afternoon, when conditions, although slightly improved, remained wet and unpleasant. Notwithstanding the unfavourable weather, and the consequent unattractive appearance of the youngsters in the ring, the sale had to be considered highly satisfactory. Buyers were present from all parts of NZ, and several young horses were purchased by local agents acting for buyers from various centres. Bidding for the best-bred youngsters was at times animated, but generally the market was somewhat dragging, the weather no doubt being a contributing factor.

The catalogue contained 29 yearlings, 12 2-year-olds and 9 older mares and geldings. A few lots failed to parade, and there were several passings, but 28 lots were sold for a total of 2505 guineas, representing an average of approximately 90gns. The highest price of the sale was 250gns for a 2-year-old bay filly by Jack Potts from Lu Parrish. She was purchased by Mr S T Webster of Tinwald, owner of Casabianca. The filly was bred by Mr A E Williams of Port Levy, who also secured equal top price in the yearling section. This was 200gns for a bay colt by Josedale Dictator from Bonnie Rere, dam of Bomber and Rerewaka. That figure was obtained by Messrs Collins and Fairbairn, of Christchurch, for a bay colt by Quite Sure from Lottie Guy, dam of Jackie Guy. Mr R A Hamilton, of Cashmere, also secured 200gns for a bay filly by Springfield Globe from Lily Bingen, by Nelson Bingen from Lilly F, by Franz.

The passings included a colt by Grattan Loyal from Imperial Gold, thus a brother to Gold Bar, at 375gns, a bay gelding by Gattan Loyal from Refined, by Rey de Oro, who was passed at 275gns, and a bay filly by Gold Bar from Lottie Location, by Jack Potts, passed in at 350gns.

Credit: 'Ribbonwood' writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 20Sep44


YEAR: 1944


Large prizes are the headlights of progress. They are the rewards which await those who own the fastest and stoutest racehorses. They increase values, and place the acid stamp of merit on the names of winners which, in time, become the basis of comparison with those which preceeded and those which follow them.

No owner of racehorses has ever complained that the stakes are too large, but it is a common lament on the part of sale-ring frequenters that 'they could have had for such and such a bargain price' a horse that surmounted its humble origin to flourish into one of the best compaigners of its time. The sale-ring bargains are numerous. Many of them changed hands at prices that must have been a considerable loss to their breeders, and, in the right hands, numerous cast-offs have richly rewarded the speculators with a keen eye for a passable bit of horseflesh.

Buying horses is a gamble and always will be. There are more bad ones than good ones sold or practically given away. On the same day that 400gns was paid for a good-looking filly, which turned out to be a duffer, Nicoya, a gelding by Wrack, was knocked down for 4½gns.

Here we digress for a moment. The Wracks became one of the greatest breeds we have had in this country, but their early stocks were low indeed. In spite of Wrackler and First Wrack coming from Wrack's first season, shrewd judges got the idea that the bulk of the breed were 'wasters.' So strong did the prejudice become that some owners did not so much as bother trying their young horses by Wrack. One well-known breeder even resorted to the desperate expedient of going on a shooting expedition among a paddock full of Wracks! This unwarranted prejudice was no doubt the reason why three of the greatest trotters of the breed, or any breed for that matter, were picked up at auction by lucky ringsiders for a few pounds each.

I have in front of me as I write a sale catalogue of H Matson & Co dated Easter Monday, 1931, in which a bay yearling filly by Wrack from a Paul Huon mare was sold on behalf of Mr H F Nicoll for 6gns to D Neill. That filly was none other than Sea Gift, who late found her way to J Bryce's stable, eventually to end up in the ownership of Mr C M Archer. Trained by E J Smith, Sea Gift won thousands, became the champion 2-year-old trotter - her record of 4.21 2/5 still stands - and beat good pacers after outclassing herself among her own gait.

Lot 13 turned up trumps for Mr R H Butterick, who went to Tattersalls Horse Bazaar on Wednesday, August 14, 1935, and paid no heed to superstition or anything else by bidding 4gns for the aforsaid lot, a bay mare, seven years, by Wrack from a Nelson Bingen mare. This mare was about the most unprepossessing piece of horseflesh imaginable, and it took Allan Matson all his time to 'give her away.' The mare, intended for a humble farm animal, by mere chance was tried for speed and became Peggoty, who won seven races on end, had a foal, and returned from the brood mares paddock to win the Dominion Handicap.

In another catologue I find that Nicoya was sold by the same firm, and on behalf of the same vendor, for 4½gns. Nicoya was described by a well-known trainer at the sale as "a big, soft-legged, carty gelding who might be useful in the harrows." The great majority who saw him sold evidenly sudscribed to this opinion, because Nicoya was knocked down to a West Coast sportsman for 4½gns. When he eventually came into the ownership of Mr J Manera, and was handed over to L F Berkett to train, Nicoya 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 4½gns cast-off was one of the greatest trotters produced in this country. It is certain that the best of him was never seen.

A 'Tasmanian buyer' secured a veritable goldmine when a NZ agent bid 37½gns, on his behalf for Ayr, who was sold at Tattersalls on behalf of Mr H F Nicoll on March 24, 1932. The 'Tasmanian buyer' was Mr E Tatlow, who bred from her Springfield Globe, Our Globe, Ayress, Van Ayr, Ayr Derby, and three younger ones all by Raider, the last of which, a colt, arrived in 1943. In view of the great track performances of Springfield Globe and Our Globe, it is reasonable to assume that any foal from Ayr today must be worth a tidy sum.

Karangi was bought at one of Mr J R McKenzie's dispersal sales for £10; Roydon's Pride (dam of Certissimus and Desmond's Pride) went under the hammer at Tattersalls for 27½gns, and Slapfast (dam of Gold Flight) for 12gns.

When 'money is scarce and hard to get' you should search round and try to happen upon something like Garner. But you would require a lot of luck as well as an eye for a likely sort to pick up such a rare bargain as Garner turned out to be for the late E C McDermott. This daughter of Sonoma Harvester and Pat Dillon was bought by McDermott for 16gns. She was a born trotter who showed unusual ability when only 2-years-old. As a 3-year-old she was the best trotter of her age that season, winning a double at Cheviot. At 4 years she put up a remarkable performance by winning the three principal trotting events at the Auckland Cup Carnival. Later she beat most of the best trotters in commission at Addington and took the two-mile record of 4.28 2/5. In her track work Garner trotted a mile in 2.09, and the last half mile in 62 4/5.

Thelma Wrack, when carring the Sapling Stakes winner, Moana Tama was sold for £2/10/- and the mare and foal were later passed on to Mrs G Bills for £10. It is related that Thelma Wrack was a hard mare to handle and that she could never be raced. At one time, I am informed, she was ordered to be shot, but she eluded all attempts to catch her. The frustration of those who had designs on her life is one of the fads of Fate, not new by any means.

Madam Templeton, in foal to Jingle, was knocked down at Tattersalls for £3/10/-. A colt foal duly appeared, to be named Rollo. He was raced for a time by Mr D R Revell, who sold him to Mr H M Allen, for whom he won thousands.

Mr E F C Hinds bought the then crippled Harold Logan for 100gns and won more than £11,000 with him. At Mr H W Aker's dispersal sale he had Tactless knocked down to him at 60gns, and developed him into a tidy stake- winner. Llewellyn's Pet, whom he secured for 14gns won several races.

Quality, one of the best staying mares of her time, was sold in 1927 on account of Mr A Bright, Ashburton, to Mr J O'Grady (her breeder and original owner, by the way), for 45gns. Quality won a considerable sum in stakes and qualified for the NZ Cup. She was one of the best investments that C S Donald ever had in his stable.

Billy Sea, when his sun was setting, as most people thought, was sold by Mr J A Mitchell, of Palmerston North, in 1927, to L Stobart, of New Brighton for 38gns. Stobart won the big race at New Brighton the following year with his purchase, and paid a huge dividend. Then N C Price trained Billy Sea to win a saddle race at Addington. Returned to Stobart, Billy Sea started in the Ashburton Cup, which he won at another large dividend. He was a hard wearing veteran, and it was remarkable the number of times his ability was under-estimated.

Kean John, sold by Mr M O'Brien to Messrs Barton and Trengrove in 1932 for 100gns won £1337 for those owners, while The Rook, sold in 1922 by A Hendriksen to A E Messervey for 27gns afterwards collected close to £1000 in prize money. Albert Logan, who was sold for 62gns by Mr A P Tutton to J W Thomas in 1923, won nearly £600. Tumatukuru, bought by a patron of W J Tomkinson's stable for 35gns, showed a handsome profit, as did Whakaku who was sold by Mr M O'Brien to a Perth sportsman for 75gns in 1926, and won distinction in the West. Lady Barrister, a well-bred mare in foal to Guy Parrish was sold in 1928 by Mr E Cambridge to Mrs W Balloch, of Melbourne, for 70gns. Her foal was Guy Parrister, a good winner, and she was raced again after rearing the foal, with good results.

Glenrossie, who was sold by Mr R M Morten to Mr J McDonald, for 80gns, won his way to the best company, crediting the Wellington sportsman with several thousands in stakes, and at times returning good dividends when his form should have pointed otherwise. Logan Park, another winner of thousands, was purchased by Messrs Armstrong and Johnston for 125gns, and Cannonball proved a bargain at the 105gns paid for him as a young horse.

Carmel, winner of thousands, changed hands as a youngster at 14gns. Mountain Dell, another big stake-winner, was sold as a juvenile for £10, and Impromptu, a great pacer, was sold as a 3-year-old for £45. Moneyspider was another that was passed on very cheap, and last, but not least, Monte Carlo, winner of the first NZ Trotting Cup, who once changed hands for £25.

Credit: 'Ribbonwood' writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 20Sep44


YEAR: 1944


Speedy-cutters and knee-knockers mean nothing to you, dear reader, but to Fred Johnston they were a nightmare.

On the left is a "Memphis" shoe, specially designed for Sagamore, one of the worst speedy-cutters Johnston ever had to deal with. Sagamore won a race at Methven in this type of shoe.

On the right is a shoe for a knee-knocker, not an extinct race by any means, but, happily, a decreasing one.

Credit: NZ Trotting Calendar 11 Oct 1944


YEAR: 1943

MATCH RACE 27 March 1943

The match race between Haughty and Gold Bar at Addington on March 27 is acknowledged by veteran sportsmen who have seen all the big match races between two horses, to have been the best of all these contests.
Not because a new match race of 2.00 2/5 was made by the winner Haughty, and not because of the interest it created.

The Ribbonwood-Fritz match brought a record crowd from all parts of the Dominion and the Native Chief-Great Bingen was another highly-publicised event that drew many thousands from Auckland to the Bluff. But the Haughty-Gold Bar match was a "last-minute" arrangement, and there was no large purse to act as a spur to record-breaking. And so the majority of the public were expecting little and came away highly delighted at being treated to such a magnificent duel.

The general idea before the race seemed to be that a mile in around 2.04, with a last half in about a minute, would be all that would be asked of the champions, and the fact that the speed was on all the way and the first half was run in 59 1/5 secs was a pleasant surprise for the thousands of lovers of a good horse who were present. They accepted it as a nice compliment on the part of the owners and drivers to their interest in the sport, and it is safe to say that all connected to the two horses have gone up considerably in the estimation of all sporting folk.

Mr Ben Grice was as pleased at winnnig this match race as he was at winning the NZ Cup, and so was the driver, O E Hooper. Free Holmes, who drove Gold Bar, was a real factor in the success of the contest because of the manner in which he got Gold Bar away on terms with Haughty at the first time of asking. There was no suggestion of 'sparring.' In fact, the co-ordination between starter A J Hastings, the drivers and the horses was clockwork in its precision. And it was certainly a great day for the Grices.

Credit: 'Ribbonwood' writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 7Apr1943


YEAR: 1935


At the Canterbury Owners and Breeder's Cup Trials at Addington last week, Mr E T McDermott recalled that at the Burlesque Race Meeting at Addington in 1935, the late Mr Allan Matson had driven a huge bullock, hitched to an old-fashioned four-wheeled buggy, down the straight.

The bullock was a very quiet one who, at that time, was a common sight at several agricultural and pastrol shows around Canterbury.

Credit: NZ Trotting Calendar 13Nov68


YEAR: 1934


800 sovs: 4min 27sec class: Two Miles

One of the most thrilling performances in light-harness history was Indianapolis's victory with a broken hopple in the Christchurch Handicap at Addington in 1934.

The gear came adrift soon after the start and the horse went in danger of tripping on the broken hopple all through the race.

This incident will always be related with bated breath by those who saw the late E C McDermott take the risk and bring the champion home at the head of the field. Glenrossie was second.


THE PRESS 10 Nov 1934

The Christchurch Handicap produced one of the most remarkable performances ever registered on a New Zealand racecourse and established once and for all the greatness of Indianapolis.

At the end of a furlong he broke one of his hopples and from then on he was hoppled on one side and free-legged on the other. As he went past the stand the first time he was well back in the field and with the straps swinging round his legs it was thought he would be pulled up.

His driver E C McDermott, however, elected to go on with the race and the horse showed great speed to bury the rest over the last three furlongs. It was a magnificent display of pacing, and it not only showed Indianapolis to be a speedster and a great stayer, but it also proved him to have the right racing temperment. Few other horses racing would have carried on under such conditions.

From the start Ayrmont Chimes and Kingcraft raced away to the front but Blue Mountain, who had started smartly, at once raced up to the leaders and took command before half a mile had been covered. He was the leader all through, followed by Kingcraft, Ayrmont Chimes, Silver de Oro, Sunny Morn, Impromptu, Sir Guy, and Rollo, while Roi l'Or and Indianapolis were well back. As the field passed the three furlongs post Indianapolis put in a great run and was handy to Blue Mountain as the home stretch was reached.

Indianapolis had the race well in hand once the straight was reached, and though Glenrossie put in a strong late run he had no chance with the leader, who won in very impressive style. There was no sign of unsoundness on this occasion.

Glenrossie went his best race of the meeting to register 4min 16 4/5sec, and Roi l'Or's time of 4min 15 1/5sec represented a great performance, especially as he came the last two furlongs with a flat sulky tyre. Silver de Oro had every chance on this occasion, for she was nicely tucked in behind the leaders all through the race and failed to produce the great burst of speed which has won her more than one race. Impromptu had every chance and at the top of the straight looked like taking a hand in the finish. He faded out in the straight as did Sir Guy, Kingcraft, and Ayrmont Chimes. Lindbergh was never dangerous.

Credit: NZ Trotting Calendar 22Jun49


YEAR: 1934


The estimates of the largest crowd ever to attend the Addington course range between 27,000 and 32,000 - the latter figure is unofficial; it is believed to have occurred at the 1934 Metropolitan Easter Meeting when the Australian champion Walla Walla competed in Invitation Matches against the top New Zealand pacers Harold Logan, Red Shadow, Jewel Pointer, Roi l'Or and Lindberg.

Credit: 'Ribbonwood' writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 23/10/63


YEAR: 1931

Harold Logan & Roy Berry starting the 1933 Cup off 72yds

If the connections of Borana and Camelot think it's going to be tough to win a second Cup off 10m this year, they should spare a thought for this fellow. Half a century ago, Harold Logan was the champion pacer of the day and made a habit of attempting the NZ Cup from seemingly insurmountable handicaps.

The handsome gelding began racing as a 5-year-old and in his first attempt at the Cup, as a 9-year-old, won from 48yds over Kingcraft (fr) and Free Advice (12yds). That was his 15th win in just 33 starts, but these were the days when handicaps were made to cripple. Harold Logan scored an astonishing win in the big event the next season from 60yds, downing Glenrossie (12), Roi l'Or (24) and Red Shadow (12) in 4:16.4, but the following season the 11-year-old was unplaced from 72yds.

By now Harold Logan was a household word, but it was only the beginning. He returned as a 12-year-old to almost win the NZ Cup trial from 84yds, going down by a whisker to scratch starter Blue Mountain. In the Cup he finished third to Indianapolis (24) and Blue Mountain (front) fron 72yds, creating a two-mile world record of 4:12.4. Harold Logan easily won two free-for-alls on the latter days of the meeting and wound up the season racing unsuccessfully at a Manawatu Trotting Club's meeting from 214 yards.

As a 13-year-old he won the Cup trial at Hutt Park from 60yds but did not start in the big race. But the old warrior was back for more in 1936, finishing fourth to Indianapolis (48), Red Shadow (24) and War Bouy (front) from 48 yards.

Harold Logan did not race in the 1937-38 season, but this was not retirement. He was back in training as a 16-year-old and managed a couple more placings from long handicaps before finally winding up his colourful career. He had raced 108 times for 29 wins and 29 placings.

Credit: HRWeekly 6Nov86


YEAR: 1924


Someone who has just backed a loser in a capacity field during the course of the Cup carnival at Addington is bound to lament that 15 starters is too many.

That may well be; but spare a thought for the punters who had to sort out their selections for the race in the accompanying photo, run at Addington in 1924, with 33 starters.

Run on the opening day of the Metropolitan club's August meeting, this event, the two-mile Trial Handicap, was won off 36yd behind by G Rutherford's Colchester, driven by Drum Withers. A son of dual NZ Cup winner Wildwood Junior, Colchester was 17th in the order of betting, which, in those days, with brackets went up to 25 in the 75%/25% win/place pool.

In beating favourite Prince Swithin (owned and driven by Lester Maidens) by a half length, Colchester covered the two miles in 4:42 4/5. Third after starting from 60yds, was Dalnahine, driven by Dil Edwards. The others in the race were Stunt Artist, Albert Logan, Quiver, Talaro, Bessie Logan, Dandy Rose, Kate Thorpe, Bruce, Holly Boy, Golden Gun, Transport, Harewood, Tarzan, Becky Logan, Away, Vera Logan, Percy Dillon, Harold Burwood, Hackthorne, Menember, Ivy Audubon, Jack Potts, Thixendale, The Rook, Bell Harold, Latona, Pinevale, Audacious, Lady Embrace and Prince Pointer.

There is a photo in the Auckland based NZ Trotting Hall of Fame of the official result of a race at the Cambridge Trotting Club's Summer meeting of January 7, 1950, contested by 35 starters.

But it appears the largest field ever to face the starter in NZ was that which lined up for the Harvest Handicap at the Ashburton Trotting Club's winter meeing on June 5,1948. Believe it or not, 41 horses went to the post that day, and the favourite won. The winner, coming off 12yds, over a mile and a half in 3:18 2/5, was Attack, then trained at Springston by N W Dickie for J N (Nick) Scott and O G (Ollie) Oakley, and driven by Dickie's son, the late Ivan Dickie.

Credit: Ron Bisman writing in HRWeekly 8Nov90


YEAR: 1918


In the NZ REFEREE of 23rd January 1918 it was reported:

“At eleven o’clock last Thursday morning when the NZ Metropolitan track was practically deserted by trainers an unexpected visit was paid to the grounds by Mr C M Hill the well-known aviator of Sockburn who, owing to engine trouble at an altitude of 2000 feet, found it necessary to descend to the Grounds. As the trouble could not be repaired on the spot the machine was later taken to Sockburn by lorry to receive attention.”

Credit: NZMTC: Historical Notes compiled by D C Parker

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