YEAR: 1947



In one of the roughest classic races seen at Addington for some considerable time, in which interference leading to protracted judicial inquiry was rife in the concluding half-mile, Congo Song won the NZ Derby Stakes at Addington on Saturday after a great duel with Beckleigh.

Congo Song who was bred by A Holmes and P Symes, and is trained by A Holmes, was driven by Holmes's brother, M Holmes, who has a proud record in the Derby. Congo Song gave him his eighth success in the race. He won with Wrackler in 1928, Arethusa in 1930, Ciro in 1931, Aldershot in 1938, Imperial Jade in 1939, Scottish Lady in 1942, Free Fight in 1946 and Congo Song this year.

Congo Song, who finished second in the Canterbury Park Juvenile Handicap and the NZ Sapling Stakes as a two-year-old, continued this promise by filling second place to Gay Knight in the Canterbury Three-year-old Stakes at the Metropolitan August meeting. In this race he looked very unlucky to be beaten, and on the strength of this showing he was made a short-priced favourite for the Riccarton Stakes, which he won decisively, though narrowly from Belmont Hall.

Congo Song is one of the finest types of three-year-olds ever to win the blue ribbon event. He boasts plenty of size and quality, is a magnificent pacer, and in all his races he has displayed gameness that would do credit to any seasoned performer. His barrier manners are above reproach, and altogether he is everything a classic winner, especially an entire with the budding qualifications of a future stud horse, should be.

Congo Song is by Gold Bar, 1:59 3-5, from Flying Helen, by Flying Prince, whose name appears very rarely in pedigrees, because he died young. He was above the average as a two-year-old, finishing fourth in the NZ Sapling Stakes, but he did not win a race, and if memory is not at fault his death was reported when he was a late three-year-old. He was by Wrack (imp) from Queen Cole, by King Cole from Norice (imp), so his breeding was impeccable. Flying Helen is out of Helen, by Brent Locanda (imp), who reached prominence on the sires' list, among his best known performers being Black Admiral, Locanda Mac, Locanda Dillon, Somerby, Vilo, Brentloc, Locanda Boy, Dundas Boy, Trenand, Peter Locanda, Dalmeny, Dalnahine and Epigram. Helen was out of Tui Russell, by Russell Patch (imp), who was a son of famous Dan Patch, a world's champion in his day, and whose record of 1:55 behind a windshield, although subsequently disallowed by the American authorities, stood as the official world's record for some time. Tui Russell's dam was Elie de Beaumont, a daughter of Prince Imperial, whose name continues to crop up in the pedigrees of high class pacers and trotters. The Elie de Beaumont family has produced many winners, though nothing in the top flight as yet. Congo Song may repair that deficiency. Congo Song's time of 3:17 3-5 in the Derby has been beaten only once previously, by War Buoy, who put up the race record of 3:16 1-5 in 1933.

Beckleigh, runner-up in the Derby, is a rapidly-improving bay colt by Dillon Hall from Maeve, by Grattan Loyal from Olwyn, by Four Chimes from Taruna Mary, the dam of the great stayer in Lindbergh, who won a heat of the NZ Trotting Cup when the premier race was run in two divisions and a final. Fortuna, who ran a creditable third after getting almost on terms with the winner at the distance, is a bay filly of very nice quality by Springfield Globe from Betty Wrack, who goes back to the same source of winners as the greatest of out Colonial-bred brood-mares, Thelma. Fortuna is a full sister to Super Globe, a young pacer of real possibilities.

Credit: 'Ribbonwood' writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 12Nov47

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