YEAR: 1974


1974 NZ OAKS

Hurrania, a daughter of 1959 NZ Oaks winner Arania and one of the first NZ crop of the American stallion Armbro Hurricane, gave Wellington owner Mr Roy McKenzie his second success in the fillies' classic.

Though Hurrania won too well to leave any excuses for the beaten runners, it was in many respects a disappointing race. This could be attributed in part to the New Brighton Trotting Club's decision to start 14 fillies in the $9,000 event. Four runners received bad checks after only 350 metres when Grouse Call broke free of interference and a smaller field may have provided a cleaner contest in such an important event.

Of the 14 runners, Hurrania received by far the best run in the hands of John Noble who had her beautifully placed one out and one back from the 1600 metres. Once in the straight, she finished too strongly for the second favourite Forta Cavalla, who was once again gallant in defeat. She had a reasonable run four places back on the outside and though not making any impression on Hurrania over the final 150 metres, easily beat Ryal Anne for second by four lengths.

She in turn was a length and a quarter clear of Treble Cross and these two were not among the best served in the running. Ryal Anne, one of two Southland fillies in the race, was pushed back on the rails in the first half of the race, then had to go three wide over the final round. Treble Cross, Gay Stephanie (two lengths, fifth), and Paraville (a length, sixth), were among those checked when Grouse Call broke soon after the start and their respective efforts were good ones.

The disappointment was the hot favourite Gentle Miss, the tightest assessed filly in the race. She skipped at the start, settled, then left her feet completely. Once settled, she sprinted up fast to be handy in the open from the 1600 metres and though she took the lead off Gay Tennessee momentarily on straightening up, she quickly gave way to Hurrania and finished seventh.

Credit: 'Lookout' writing in NZ Trotting

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