YEAR: 1910



The race of 1910 will be long remembered for the series of mishaps associated with it. Just after the field had been sent on its two mile journey Walnut swerved across the track and collided with Manderene, both horses losing their drivers. Then King Cole ran into El Franz, whose driver was thrown out of the sulky. In the meantime, Manderene had practically taken charge of the track. Careering around at a mad gallop he forced the other competitors to get out of the way as best they could. One of the few to escape trouble was the previous year's winner, Wildwood Junior. Cleverly driven by his owner-trainer, William Kerr, the handsome son of Wildwood got an almost uninterrupted passage and had no difficulty in defeating Bright and Ribbons.

Of all those early winners, Wildwood Junior stood out in a class by himself. Either he or another of Wildwood's progeny in the sensational Ribbonwood, would have equalled the performances of some subsequent winners had the track conditions and training methods under which they raced been equal to what they are nowdays.


NZ Trotting Calendar 31 October 1945

In 1909 and the following year Wildwood Junior won the NZ Cup. Many experienced horsemen who sa Wildwood Junior's performances, and every Cup winner since, are still of the opinion that Wildwood Junior ranks with the greatest winners of the race. His dam was the Kentucky mare Thelma. Thelma is one of the gems of the Stud Book. Not a great deal is known about her ancestry, as the Stud Book states she was from the thoroughbred mare Pride Of Lincoln, by Touchstone, second dam Sally (imp), but if anything can be written regarding her progeny it must be acknowledged that, despite the fact of inability to prove many tabulated ancestors, her breeding could hardly have been anything but aristocratic. To further enlarge on the influence of Thelma's progeny, it need only be mentioned that her daughter Authoress was the dam of Author Dillon, who won the Cup in 1918, and he in turn was the sire of Auditress, who was the dam of Marlene, the 1940 Cup winner; further, Wildwood Junior was the sire of the dam of Lucky Jack, also a dual Cup winner.


Bernie Wood writing in The Cup

Wildwood Junior set an Australasian record for two miles when he easily won his second NZ Cup. His time of 4.33 beat the record set by Ribbonwood seven years earlier. The Cup was again the only race Wildwood Junior contested during season. If he had stayed sound he might have been the country's second champion pacer, after Ribbonwood. The free-going son of Wildwood received a great ovation from the large crowd when he and owner-trainer-driver Bill Kerr returned to the enclosure.

His record run was remarkable because he had had to race through a disorganised field of 15, with a strong easterly wind and dust frm the front-runners hampering his progress. The stake for the Cup reached four figures for the first time and the club offered 6000 sovereigns over the three days. The time limit for the Cup was tightened to 4:44, and a capacity field of 16 made that mark, most of them pacers, though a few trotters were still able to make the top field.

Wildwood Junior was handicapped eight seconds behind the front line. Trackwork before the race suggested that Wildwood Junior, Al Franz, Manderene, Walnut (an Otago representative who came north with a big reputation), Ribbons and Aberfeldy would dispute the finish. The three-horse bracket of Manderene, Dick Fly and Albertorious, from the stable of Manny Edwards, were the favourites, with Albertorious the least popular of the three. Wildwood Junior, Walnut and Al Franz were the next-best supported.

Unfortunately, the race was a poor spectacle, spoiled by a series of mishaps. At the start Walnut swerved across the track and collided with Manderene, both horses losing their drivers, Robert Logan and Manny Edwards respectively. King Cole played up and ran into Al Franz, who dumped Charles Kerr on the track. Several others suffered interference, while Durbar refused to leave the mark. It was the second year in succession that King Cole and Durbar had failed to start.

Verax went to the front for Claude Piper and led from Bright, Fusee and Ribbons. For much of the race the driverless Manderene hampered the leaders. At the halfway stage Wildwood Junior got near and, passing the stands for the last time, Bill Kerr worked him in behind the leader, Verax. Once into the back straight Wildwood Junior went to the front and won by four lengths from the pony Bright, who ran an exceptional race for Tom Frost. Bright paid 21 15s for secod, a place dividend that has not been exceeded in the Cup's history. Ribbons (Free Holmes) was third 10 lengths back, then at considerable intervals came Aberfeldy, Terra Nova and Lady Clare.

A total of 29 bookmakers operated on Cup Day and brought the club 560 in fees. Totalisator investments were 17,036, of which the Cup attracted 4205. The three-day turnover reached a record 50,889. A new grandstand, with a seting capacity of 2500 and reported to be the finest in New Zealand, was in use for the first time. The outside patrons were given the use of the old grandstand, so altogether 6000 could be seated at Addington. After the second race the New Zealand Trotting Conference president, Phineas Selig, officially opened the new stand.

The weather on the second day was again perfect. Of great significance was the appearance on the programme of the Dominion Handicap, later to become major race for trotters. However, in 1910 the race was open to maiden performers assessed at 5:10 or faster. Two Australian records were broken on the third day. Redchild recorded 4:40 for two miles, the fastest ever in saddle; and Dillon Bell, a three-year-old, ran 4:41.4, a time never previously recorded by one of his age, when he beat Terra Nova, Aberfeldy and the other top-class horses in the Christchurch Handicap.

Credit: 'Veteran' writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 13Nov63

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