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RACING HISTORY

 

YEAR: 1919

FEATURE RACE COMMENT

Trix Pointer & Free Holmes in the winner's circle
1919 NEW ZEALAND TROTTING CUP

Trix Pointer, selected and imported from America in 1915 by legendary horseman Free Holmes along with Bonilene and Logan Pointer, furthered the fine record of mares when she outstayed the pacemaking Moneymaker.

Not very big and not particularly pretty either, Trix Pointer is the only mare to win the Cup and leave a Cup winner (Wrackler,1930), and in fact established one of the best families in the Stud Book. She was a grandaughter of Charles Derby, the sire of Norice.

It completed a unique double for Holmes, who had ridden Manton to win the Cup at Riccarton in 1888, and who established a famous family all of his own.

**Credit: NZ HRWeekly 1Oct2003**

On a beautiful day and before a record crowd, the small six-year-old American-bred mare Trix Pointer, in the hands of Free Holmes, won the 1919 Cup in convincing style, by three lengths from Moneymaker (Andy Pringle), with four lengths back to Matchlight (James Bryce). Then followed Sherwood, Erin's Queen and Mintson. The winner, who was fifth favourite, paced 4:30 for the two miles.

Holmes bought Trix Pointer from her Californian breeder for a client of his Upper Riccarton stable, W H Norton, during one of his trips to the United States, and she proved to be a most consistent mare. With her Cup victory, Trix Pointer advanced her New Zealand earnings to 4399 15s from 11 wins, 11 seconds and seven thirds.

Trix Pointer was by Demonio from Bally Pointer. Demonio was by Charles Derby, the sire of Norice, who ran second to Monte Carlo in the inaugural NZ Cup.

After he retired from race driving in 1944, Free Holmes named Trix Pointer the best horse he trained and drove. After her racing days, Trix Pointer made a unique contribution at stud. To the imported Wrack she produced Wrackler, who won the 1930 NZ Cup and the 1932 Dominion Handicap. Of all the fine mares who have won Addington's big race, Trix Pointer is the only one to have later produced a Cup winner. Among the stallions, only Cathedral Chimes (Ahuriri and Kohara), Johnny Globe (Lordship, Spry and Globe Bay) and Lordship (Lord Module and Inky Lord) have produced Cup-winning offspring.

Holmes had Trix Pointer, off her handicap of six seconds, in fourth place from the start and never far away from the tearaway pacemaker Moneymaker, who started from nine seconds. Moneymaker and Erin's Queen were first into the straight followed by Trix Pointer, and under the whip she quickly gathered in the leaders.

Andy Pringle had Moneymaker in front by six lengths passing the stands for the first time and still had that advantage starting the last lap. However, as in so many of his distance races at Addington, Moneymaker failed at the business end. Matchlight, from two seconds, ran the best of the back contingent, finishing well for third. Sherwood ran a solid race for fourth, while Erin's Queen, always well up, ruined her chance for a place by losing her stride at the furlong post.

The disappointment of the race was the favourite, Author Dillon, who finished well back. In a field of 11, Author Dillon was asked to give a nine-second start to those in front. He did not get away well and was never near the leaders. In the back straight the last time he momentarily left his feet as he tried to improve. Before the race his trackwork had been excellent and, in September, when the club held a meeting to honour the visit of Viscount Jellicoe, he paced a record 2:41.4 for the mile-and-a-quarter.

Author Dillon made amends for his weak Cup performance by winning the Free-For-All on the second day. After two false starts in the race, Albert Cling, who failed to get up to the mark, was left when Author Dillon and the only two other starters, Cathedral Chimes and Admiral Wood, moved away from their flying start. Author Dillon, always in front, won by a length from Cathedral Chimes, with the other two coming in at 12-length intervals.

Trix Pointer was the season's top earner with 2635 and her owner, Bill Norton, was the season's leading owner, with 3135. Free Holmes finished the season with 16 winning drives and in fifth place. He had 22 training successes to be runner-up behind James Bryce. Only once in his long career did Free Holmes finish on top of these lists, when he trained 19 winners during the 1922-23 season.

His victory with Trix Pointer created a unique record for Holmes. In 1888, as a successful jockey, he had ridden Manton to victory in the New Zealand Galloping Cup at Riccarton. Before becoming interested in trotting, Holmes had been first a jockey, and then a trainer of thoroughbreds, and he was without doubt one of the great personalities of the racing scene in the last decades of the 19th century and the early decades of the 20th century. His other successes as a jockey included the Canterbury Cup, Grand National Hurdles and Great Northern Steeplechase. As a trainer, his successes included the New Zealand St Leger and Auckland Cup. Holmes' achievement of winning both New Zealand Cups was later equalled by Roy Berry, who rode Sinapis to victory in the 1913 New Zealand Cup at Riccarton, then trained and drove double winner Lucky Jack (1937 and 1939) and trained Bronze Eagle (1944) to NZ Cup victories.

In 1915 Holmes made his first trip to the United States, seeking new strains of blood, and bought Logan Pointer, Bonilene and Trix Pointer. In 1922 he made another trip and bought Rey de Oro, and in 1930 he returned with Grattan Loyal and Frank Worthy. The impact on these imports on the New Zealand breeding scene has been immeasurable.

Holmes had few peers as a trainer, owner and studmaster. His ability and expertise was obviously passed down to his three sons - F G, Allan and Maurice - all of whom were associated with NZ Cup victories. The family enjoyed seven Cup victories, with Trix Pointer(1919), Wrackler(1930), Harold Logan(1932), Gold Bar(1945), Chamfer(1950), Adorian(1953) and Lookaway(1957). Quite an achievement.

The Metropolitan Club offered record stakes of 11,000 sovereigns for the 1919 meeting. The big crowd on Cup Day wagered a record 76,291, and the amount invested on the Cup race itself, of 16,147 was a record amount for either a harness or galloping race in New Zealand. The 1919 meeting was a staggering success, with Show Day betting reaching 83,684 10s and an unsurpassed 218,723 for the three days.

The meeting had other highlights, with slow class pacer Cappricio and Cello Sydney Wilkes winning half the second-day programme between them. Cappricio won the Metropolitan Handicap over one-mile-and-five-furlongs in harness, and then later in the day won the Railway Handicap in saddle. Eugene McDermott handled him both times.

Cello Sydney Wilkes won the main event, the Courtenay Handicap, and then the Royal Handicap. On the first day he had also won, and on each occasion the Harold Dillon stallion paid generous dividends. When he won the Christchurch Handicap on the third day, Cello Sydney Wilkes and his trainer-driver John McLennan carved their place in Addington's history, the horse becoming the first of only five to win four races at the November carnival. The feat has been equalled since by Red Shadow(1933), Cardigan Bay(1963), trotter Tutira(1969) and Gentle George(1978). John McLennan had an outstanding meeting, driving six winners.

**Credit: Bernie Wood writing in The Cup 2003**

Credit: NZ HRWeekly 1Oct03



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