YEAR: 1944


Trainer Roy Berry, Owner W J Suttie and Driver George Noble

"Black Sheep" of the last trotting Cup field, and looked upon until he joined R B Berry's stable as a pacer who had missed his mission in life, Bronze Eagle showed his real worth on Saturday by as game a performance as any ever put up by a Cup winner. Trained to the minute by R B Berry, and driven with consumate judgement by G B Noble, Bronze Eagle proved that years and years of near misses and frustrated endeavour had not left him with any inferiority complex.

It takes the great to make history; it takes a horse like Bronze Eagle to bury a mediocre past, toss precedents to the wind, and shine forth as one of the greatest stayers of his time. Here was the horse that went dangerously close to being eliminated from the last Cup. This was the 'ghouri' that broke in that race, caused interference, and led the committee to sigh and express a heartfelt wish that they had included Bronze Eagle among those eliminated. And here also is the horse that has sent one of the writer's long-cherished precedents for a six right out of the paddock! We have been telling you for years that horses that fail signally in the Cup do not win in later attempts. Well, Bronze Eagle has put 'paid' to that pet theory with a vengeance; we promise you it will not rear its ugly head again.

We can only admire Bronze Eagle's delayed-action triumph. His redemption, which began when he won the principal event at a Patriotic Meeting in July, came late, but now that it has come, we are glad to concede this handsome chestnut stallion his rightful place among the champions of his decade; to acknowledge that, after all, he was no Sunday horse when he worked well enough in training years ago to win any race in the land. He was merely hiding his light under a bushel, and waiting for the day when a combination par excellence, such as the Bronze Eagle-Berry-Noble trinity, should eventually come to pass.

Bronze Eagle's share of the Cup stake is 3250, and in addition, his owner, Mr W J Suttie, receives the handsome gold cup valued at 100. Bronze Eagle's total winnings now exceed 8000. He was bred by Mrs M A Tasker, Christchurch, and is an eight-year-old chestnut stallion by Wrack 2:02, from Lady Bridget, by Guy Parrish (imp) from Bridget Galindo, a full sister to Michael Galindo, one of the best trotters of his day and winner of the Dominion Handicap. Bridget Galindo was by Galindo (imp) from Mavoureen, by Prince Imperial from Moino, by General Tracey. This is a stout pedigree, and should give Bronze Eagle a stud value later on. Wrack was the leading sire of the Dominion for three seasons and is still prominent on the list. Wrack has now sired the winners of five NZ Cups, namely Wrackler (1930), Indianapolis(1934-35-36) and Bronze Eagle. Guy Parrish sired some good winners and trotters, notably Wild Guy (National Cup), Great Parrish (Auckland Cup) and Biddy Parrish, 2:08 trotter. He was a full-brother to Arion Guy, 1:59, sire of the dam of Certissimus. Galindo sired some good horses of both gaits. Prince Imperial was one of the most potent breeding forces of his time, and his blood is prominent in the pedigrees of Haughty, Gold Bar and other great ones. General Tracey, by Berlin (imp) from Jeanie Tracey (imp) was one of the best-bred horses of the early days.

Phenomenal is the only way to describe Integrity's effort to run second after losing, at a conservative estimate, 84 yards at the start. He did not settle down until Haughty, the backmarker, was well clear of him, and he could actually be counted out with half a mile covered. He certainly made up most of his lost ground by the time the last quarter was entered upon, but with Haughty now in the lead, and Pacing Power, Bronze Eagle and Countless among the others also in front of him, few were prepared for his spectacular dash down the outside of the track which took him momentarily to the front. He had disposed of Haughty, Pacing Power and Countless, and for a split second he looked like the winner, but then Bronze Eagle flashed through on the inside, where the going was not so good, and he outstayed Integrity by a length and a half.

Bronze Eagle has found a warm spot in the hearts of horselovers who know all about his struggle to reach the top, and enthusiasm knew no bounds when the horses were returned to the birdcage. Thousands literally broke the barriers and crowded onto the track to give Bronze Eagle and George Noble a memorable reception. Again, when Mr A L Matson, president of the New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club, and Mr Forde, Deputy-Prime Minister of Australia, spoke to the presentation of the Cup, the crowd showed approval in whole-hearted fashion.

It was a magnificent race, a popular victory, and the largest crowd ever to attend Addington watched it with bated breath. The totalisator investments on the race, 31,758, are a record, and the 154,064/10/- put through the totalisator for the day is a record for the South Island.

It was another red-letter day in a chain of red-letter days that bedeck the history of the NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club.

Full Result

1st: W J Suttie's BRONZE EAGLE. Trained by R B Berry, Yaldhurst and driven by G B Noble, started off 24yds.

2nd: V Leeming's INTEGRITY. Driven by D C Watts, started off scratch.

3rd: G Lancaster's PACING POWER. Driven by R B Berry, started off 36yds. Bracketed with the winner.

4th: F McKendry's COUNTLESS. Driven by G McKendry, started off 24yds.

The winner won by a length and a half, with three lengths to third and a further four lengths to fourth.

Times: 4:24 4-5, 4:30 1-5, 4:28 2-5, 4:30 2-5.

Also started: Clockwork scr, Hardy Oak 12 and Haughty 60 bracketed; Parshall scr; Shadow Maid scr; Burt Scott 12; Gold Bar 12; Horsepower 12; Indian Clipper 12; Loyal Friend 12.

Credit: 'Ribbonwood' writing in NZ Trotting Calendar

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