Last season's top sire, the now defunct Scottish Command, left his second successive New Zealand Cup winner when Trusty Scot bested the favourite Sapling at the end of a relatively tame contest.
Trusty Scot, only regarded as an outside Cup chance when he resumed racing in the Ashburton Fying Stakes in October, firmed as one of the best prospects for last Tuesday's big event when he won at Ashburton, then followed it up with a win in the final lead-up Cup race, the Kaikoura Cup nine days before the Addington feature.
Some notable 'judges' had expressed doubts as to the patience and temperament of Trusty Scot's young driver, Henderson Hunter, who at 26, was the youngest driver in last Tuesday's field. But Henderson drove with all the skill and aplomb of a reinsman of many more years experience in landing home the Southland-bred entire a half length winner over Sapling. Trusty Scot made a brilliant beginning and led by three lengths after 100 metres, but Henderson then eased him to trail as Sapling sped round the field to lead at the end of 600 metres.
Henry Skinner looked set to land his first Cup winner as he dictated the terms entirely to his own satisfaction, but Trusty Scot pulled out from the trail at the turn, ranged up alongside 150 metres out and outstayed the pacemaker by half a length. Henderson, who races Trusty Scot in partnership with his father Adam, moved to Ohoka last winter to train at the property of his father-in-law, Bill Bagrie, and dedicated his time towards preparing the talented pacer for the Cup.
The finish of the Cup proved a triumph for New Zealand-bred stallions, as the runner-up, Sapling, is by the veteran sire Young Charles and the only other runner by a New Zealand sire, Lord Module, finished fifth. He is by Lordship.
As a spectacle, the race was relatively tame, only developing into a true staying test over the last 1600 metres, the first 1600 taking 2:10.2. The last 1600 took 2:02.6 with the last 800 metres in a startling 57.7 and the final 400 metres in 29.2. With such a fast pace being set only over the last 1600 metres, those trying to improve from the back were left with little chance, and virtually the first four on the home turn filled those placings at the finish.
Rocky Tryax, who settled three back on the rails and was tracked throughout by Wee Win, filled third a length and a half behind Sapling, with Wee Win battling into fourth half a neck back, one place further back than he finished in last year's Cup. Lord Module, attempting to become only the fourth four-year-old in the 75 year history of the event to win the Cup, was far from disgraced in finishing fifth. He stood on the mark after becoming restless in the No.1 barrier position and was six back on the rails when the field settled into position. He worked his way through the traffic on the turn without really getting a clear run and did well under the circumstances.
Belmer's Image made ground for sixth ahead of the North Islanders Bronze Trail and Rondel. Bronze Trail made ground after a slow start but Rondel enjoyed the run of the race and faded from the home turn. Little could be said of the remainder who were well and truly beaten.
Credit: Editor NZ Trotting Calendar
1978 BENSON & HEDGES NZ FREE-FOR-ALL
The 1979 Inter Dominion Championships staged at Addington will best be remembered for the phenomenal finishing burst that gave victory in the Trotters Grand Final to South Canterbury's No Response and Peter Wolfenden's masterful drive to take the Pacers Grand Final with the lightly fancied Auckland campaigner Rondel which edged out Sapling.
There have been many vocal receptions for winners at Addington over the years. But its been a long, long time since anyone got the reception Lord Module and his veteran trainer Cecil Devine had to face after their thrilling NZ Cup win last Tuesday.
The cheers started as the brilliant racehorse bullocked his way out of the ruck at the top of the straight, took complete charge 150 metres out and left the others to it. They continued, with a fair bit of admiring applause thrown in, too, as an emotional Devine brought Lord Module back into the birdcage before the howl of the protest siren changed the tone of the hubub. But they started anew as a still-shaking Devine emerged back into the sunlight of the birdcage from the gloom of the stipes room and made his way across the lawn to be presented with what must have been his dream come true...the gleam of gold at the end of a driving career lasting 43 years.
Devine had previously trained and driven five New Zealand Cup winners (Van Dieman in 1952, Thunder 1956 and False Step 1858-59-60)but none would have been achieved in such tense circumstances, and with such spectacular ease or with such significance as last Tuesday's victory. It was especially significant for it was Cecil's last drive in the Cup. He has to give up at the end of the present season, having reached the compolsory retiring age of 65.
It was especially tense for, even having drawn 3 on the front, Lord Module stood on the mark and swung round, losing forty of fifty metres before hitting out fairly.
After 800 metres he had caught the field to be three wide at the rear. Soon after, though, he got a good run through to be perfectly placed one out and one back behind Sapling. However Sapling, not going like a horse who won more than $130,000 last season, started to feel the pinch about 800 metres from home and Lord Module lost his place. He was wide at the turn, appeared to put in a couple of rough ones, and then charged out of the ruck and set sail for the line and that $52,000 first prize.
It was thought later that Lord Module might have interfered with the chances of third placed Trevira at that moment. But according to Gavin Hamilton, driver of the southern visitor, he knew Lord Module was "bursting to go" behind him and there was no way he could have beaten the Lordship five-year-old. The astute Devine had Lord Mobule trained to the minute, if not the second, for the big race. In seven previous starts this season, the horse had scored a win, four seconds and two thirds. His time of 4:09 for the 3200 metres equalled the time of Robalan in 1974 and was just .4 of a second outside the time set by Lunar Chance and Arapaho. It was a good effort considering the windy conditions.
As well as setting a personal record for Devine, the race also produced another unique statistic. When Lord Module goes to stud, which he undoubtedly will do before too many more seasons are over he will be the third in a direct line of Cup winners. His sire Lordship won the Cup twice (in '62 and '66) and that great performer's own sire Johnny Globe took it in 1954 in a time that was never bettered, 4:07.6 for the two miles. Winner of the Cup in 1916, incidentally, Cathedral Chimes went on to sire Ahuriri ('25 and '26) and in the following year, Kohara.
Lord Module is out of Module, a Bachelor Hanover mare out of Volatile, by First Lord out of Belle Volo, by Lusty Volo out of Belle Pointer by the great Logan Pointer, himself the sire of a double New Zealand Cup winner in Harold Logan. The blood of Logan Pointer is also prominent in the blood of Lord Module's male line.
For the beaten lot in this year's Cup, though - and most of them were a thoroughly beaten lot - there could be few excuses. Runner-up, hardy little Rocky Tryax enjoyed a perfect trail for most of the trip and Lord Module went past him in the straight as if he was tied to the rail. Trevira was doing good work at the end and Bad Luck, in the possie he seems to like the best, making the pace, just hung on for his forth. Driver Robert Cameron said later he was waiting for something to have him on but the challenges just didn't come to push him.
Tough mare Del's Dream did the best of the northern contingent and driver Denis Nyhan thought he was in with a good show going down the back for the last time. "I was going well enough and I could see that most of the others were flat," he said. But the mare, too, had no answer to the power of Lord Module's withering burst. Last year's winner Trusty Scot was slow away and then had to come wide from the turn, Greg Robinson was checked and broke at the 2000 metres and must have finished closed but for this and Delightful Lady broke for no reason. Wee Win was well enough placed on the outer and it was unusual for him, after having been where he likes it, not to have pressed on. Majestic Charger had his chance while Sapling, after a hard run early, had little left at the end. Sun Seeker made a flier at the start but then in the incident when Greg Robinson met trouble, put paid to any chance he may have had and that of Rondel at the same time.
It was probably ironic that while Cecil Devine was winning at his nineteenth drive in the New Zealand Cup, his son-in-law Kevin Williams (Sun Seeker) was earning himself a week's holiday for that incident in just his first Cup drive.
Credit: Graham Ingram writing in NZ Trotting Calendar
It was only a year ago. Winning the 1980 New Zealand Cup was the furtherest thought in Bill McAughtrie's mind. "In fact," he confessed only minutes after his tough five-year-old gelding Hands Down had indeed won the Cup, "I had a horse I knew had a ton of ability, but I never thought he'd ever win a race. He was a wayward animal," Mr McAughtrie said before being hustled off to receive the gleaming trophy from the Duchess of Kent.
But in the last year, most of it in the hands of Templeton trainer Derek Jones, Hands Down has lost just about all those wayward tendencies and has won a dozen races in the meantime. From maiden to New Zealand Cup winner in a matter of months...a fairy tale of progress for Bill McAughtrie, a farmer from Omararama, and his wife.
And equally meteoric has been the rise of Hands Down's driver, twenty-five-year-old Peter Jones. Last Tuesday's was his first drive in the Cup. And in it he was able to achieve what father Derek, astute horseman that he is, has been unable to do in his twenty drives in New Zealand's premier race over the years. Peter was also able to credit his father with his first training success in the Cup after having many horses in the past who have made it to Cup class. Hands Down was Derek's thirteenth runner in the race, a point that prompted him, with usual quickness of wit, to suggest to the nearby reporters: "If I'd known that, I would have backed him."
Hands Down, though, has long been marked as a top Cup prospect. He won his first race at Timaru last December and then proceeded to win his next three as well. He missed a few times before winning a class four and five free-for-all at Addington in February, scored a third and then failed in three more races. Then again he lined up at Addington in April to begin an unbroken sequence of six unbeaten starts, four at the end of last term and two fine performances at the National meeting on the course in August.
The first of those August wins took him into the Cup and his win on the second night, a tough performance in anyone's language, marked him as the horse to watch if he lined up in New Zealand's premier staying race. A stayer Hands Down certainly is. He's taken five of his dozen victories over the exteme distance,more than any of his rivals last week.
He's big and strong and, according to Peter Jones, he's a lovely horse to work with at home. He's still relatively lightly raced (he hasn't had thirty races yet) and this, along with losing a lot of confidence after falling at the start of one of his early races at Forbury, contributes a little to his "greenness". The stipes weren't all that impressed with his Forbury performance and put him out for a month and made him trial to their satisfaction before they let him race again.
"Quietly confident" before last weeks event, Jones said he first knew the Armbro Del gelding was extra good when he missed away in a four-year-old race at Invercargill last December and yet still thrashed the likes of Lincmac, Historic Moment and Matai Dreamer.
It was no thrashing, though, Hands Down handed out to this year's star-studded Cup field. At the line, he had only a neck to spare from the brilliant northern mare Delightful Lady, whose run for her placing in an incredible 4:06.1 was a feature of the race. Hands Down's time of 4:07.2 was a record for the race. Delightful Lady, in turn, was four lengths to the good of old Sapling with another northerner in Greg Robinson three lengths further back.
Where Hands Down lost ground at the start, "The Lady" too was a little slow but soon made up her 15 metre handicap. She tagged onto the back of the main bunch, four lengths in front of the breakers Hands Down, Trio, Canis Minor, Roydon Scott - and the luckless Lord Module who let the others get 200 metres in front before moving off for John Noble. At the half-way stage Hands Down was tucked up behind the mare but soon after Jones took off in search of the lead with Wee Win, Mack Dougal and Trevira. He was outside Wee Win at the 1000 with Mike Stormont and Delightful Lady now back in the second line but three wide.
Hands Down mastered Wee Win at the 600 and at that moment Stormont started his charge. These two sorted themselves out and set sail for the judge some lengths clear of the rest. Delightful Lady actually got her head in front of Hands Down half-way down the straight but he fought back well to take the decision. Third-placed Sapling, in peak of condition, was, according to driver Doug Mangos, held up by a tiring Trevira at the 500 metres. "The leaders got away on me then and those three or four lengths I had to make up were just too much," he said. "Still, he ran on really well. It was a top run."
Greg Robinson, in the hands of Peter Wolfenden, pleased his owner Max Robinson with the way he stuck on after getting a good run mostly, even though a little wide down the back. And at the same time Robinson confessed, not without the inevitable smile however, to being a little disappointed after the race. "We thought we'd go home with the horse having won $100,000 in stakes." However his $6,000 for fourth took him to just on $96,000. "But we'll hit the target over the next few weeks once we get home," Robinson said. "They're easier up there." On his horse's performance last week, he wasn't being too optimistic. Greg Robinson was down to start in last Friday night's $20,000 Franklin Cup, a race Stormont was taking Delightful Lady back north for as well.
Stormont was a little critical of one aspect of last Tuesday's race, the lack of a tape on the 15 metre mark. "She was standing back when they went; we might have been 20 metres for all anyone knows. And then she was waiting for the tape. When it goes, she goes," he said explaining her slight tardiness at the start. He was returning home almost immediately because the stake at Franklin was better than for the Free-For-All and the northern opposition was weaker. "In the Free-For-All she'd have to go hard again and with the Addington track as hard as it is, her splints would make he a bit scratchy," he said. Besides, they'd be racing on their home track. however, he would return to Addington for another crack at the Breeders' Stakes, a race she won earlier this year.
The favourite, Roydon Scott, missed the start and really never had the chance to show the form that saw him unbeaten in his two other starts this season. Trainer-driver Fred Fletcher thought perhaps the big horse might have been "a bit fresh" in spite of some hard runs at the recent trials. "It's a long time since he's done that, and you can't do it in a race like this. It was a hopeless task trying to make up that ground".
If Roydon Scott's task was hopeless, Lord Module, well backed by the Addington crowd, set himself an impossible job by refusing to go again at the start. Last season's pacing sensation, starting from the unruly mark on 10 metres, didn't go for a long time and tailed the field by a long way all through. I was the final ignominy when he was later barred by the stipendary stewards from racing off standing starts. How quickly the mighty fall from grace. But amongst the jeers from a section of the 20,000 strong crowd, as Lord Module and John Noble went past on their own, there were more than a few murmurs of sympathy for a previously great performer. On looks alone on Tuesday, he should have won his second Cup.
But, realistacally, for the beaten lot there were no excuses. Hands Down and Delightful Lady trounced them well and truly.
Credit: Graham Ingram writing in NZ Trotting Calendar
Though he finally finished out of the money, champion trotter Scotch Tar was responsible for the spectacular contest which developed in the NZ Free-For-All.
Producing speed away from the gate which few thought even he could muster, Scotch Tar streaked to the lead to pull the field through the first quarter in 26.8. Maintaining amazing speed, Scotch Tar went through the first 800 metres in 58.6, then maintained the pressure as owner-trainer Slim Dykman attempted to burn off the opposition at the 800 metres. Scotch Tar reached the 1600 metres in an incredible 1:57.4, having left Be Sly struggling in his wake as the one trying to lead the chase after the trotter.
Scotch Tar was under pressure, not surprisingly, as he straightened up for the run home and Lord Module was the first to put his head in front. He took a clear lead, but then came NZ Cup winner Hands Down with a genuine stayer's finish from near the rear on the home turn to wear down Lord Module and go clear over the last 50 metres. Peter Jones said after the event that it was only his staying ability that saw Hands Down get up to beat Lord Module, a fact confirmed by trainer Derek Jones later. "That trotter made it for him. If it had turned into a sprint he wouldn't have had a chance," Derek said.
Lord Module's effort was much more encouraging, considering he had not really had a race for some weeks. He locked sulky stays with Trevira at the 400 metres as they both started to improve after Scotch Tar but driver Jack Smolenski did not think it affected his winning chances. "It was a much better race. He showed he wanted to race today," Smolenski said.
Philippa Frost showed once again just what a game little mare she is by finishing strongly for third after starting from the second line and following Lord Module round when he started to improve. Trevira wilted a shade to fourth after moving up to challenge on the home turn, then came Sun Seeker, Wee Win and Sapling.
Sapling's driver Doug Mangos and Sun Seeker's driver Richard Brosnan were both disappointed after the race. "I thought it was going to be a false start," said Mangos, who had his chances extinguished 200 metres from the start when Wee Win broke and ran out, checking Sapling badly. Sun Seeker was another to suffer and Brosnan, too, was far from satisfied with the start.
Credit: NZ Trotting Calendar
If the 1979 New Zealand Cup had been a spectacular sight, the 1980 edition promised even more, and it didn't disappoint in going right to the wire - literally. On paper there had never been a better field of protagonists, or since for that matter, and in a full field of 15 for the first Cup to carry a stake of $100,000, a good case could have been made for at least 10 of them.
By the time the big day rolled around though, the class, form and champion status of Delightful Lady, Lord Module and Roydon Scott had been well established and it seemed the winner would come from that trio. But also in contention were such fine stayers as Greg Robinson, Sapling, Trevira, Trusty Scot and Wee Win, and then there were the Hannon winner Idolmite and Kaikoura Cup winner Sun Seeker, along with a 'young' upstart in the form of 5-year-old Hands Down.
Delightful Lady was a 7-year-old and in career best form. She had downed Lord Module in the previous Auckland Cup and been much too good for her northern rivals in five straight races in the spring, only going down in her last lead-up event when beaten two heads by frontmarkers Trio and Dictatorship fron 25m in the Rondel Handicap on October 29. Against her was the 15m backmark and the record book though - a mare had not won the Cup since Loyal Nurse in 1949, let alone from a handicap.
Lord Module looked and seemed in great shape for a second Cup win when resuming with a strong finishing second to Wee Win in the Ashburton Flying Stakes, but then things began to turn to custard when starting a hot favourite in two races at Forbury Park in mid-October. Kevin Williams, son-in-law of owner-trainer Ces Devine, had been employed to drive Lord Module at the start of the season, but on the first night in Dunedin the stallion had swung sideways at the start and taken no part in what was the first sign of things to come. Devine then engaged Jack Smolenski, but on the second night Lord Module refused to move at all, and when he repeated that performance in the Cup Trial he was made unruly.
Devine had been reluctant to race Lord Module after Forbury, as a repeat mulish display would have resulted in him being stood down from racing and starting in the Cup, and also compounding his problems was the fact that Lord Module was now also suffering from quarter cracks in his hind hooves as well as the front. Then the week of the Cup Trial, Smolenski had also been suspended for an indiscretion at Kaikoura and an appeal had failed at the 11th hour, forcing Devine to turn to the experience of John Noble. It was hardly an ideal build up, but the Cup still loomed as and promised to be an epic battle between 'The Lord' and 'The Lady.'
Roydon Scott would actually run the favourite though, on the strength of two brilliant wins at Addington in September and the Cup Trial, and the fact he was a normally smart beginner and off the front. He resumed by breaking his own NZ standing start 2000m record in the Laing Free-For-All and was no less impressive with a last to first performance in the Hutchison FFA a fortnight later. Not known at the time though was that the Cup would be the last race for the injury-troubled Scottish Hanover gelding, and that he would be humanely put down inside of a year when arthritis took its toll.
Sapling was a 7-year-old entire and coming to the end of his sterling career, but had shown with a runaway win at Forbury Park that he was still a big threat in any race. Greg Robinson was the same age and while overshadowed by Delightful Lady his staying credentials were never in question either. Another 7-year-old in Trevira, third in the Cup a year earlier, had streeted his rival in the Easter Cup that year in a track record 4:06.9, and downed Sapling at Ascot Park in the spring in NZ record time, while the 8-year-old Wee Win had shown at Ashburton that he was far from finished too. The 1978 Cup winner Trusty Scot, also now eight, had downed Trevira and Sapling at Gore in late September, also adding to the form puzzle.
Almost forgotten and neglected while all this was going on was Hands Down, who had qualified for the Cup with an outstanding double in the Louisson and National Handicaps in August. A one-time rogue who had improved to be just a very wayward customer in the early part of his racing career, Hands Down had finally turned the corner for trainer Derek Jones in breaking maiden ranks the previous December. The National was his sixth straight win and 11th in less than eight months, a sequence which had included the Canterbuy Park Winter Cup in 4:09.3 after a great tussle with Bonnie's Chance. But he had not shown up in two further races - at Forbury Park he had been tripped up by the shifty track and been stood down for a month and until trialling satisfactorily, and at Kaikoura he had been checked and galloped - nor was he placed in the Cup Trial.
But a then 25-year-old Peter Jones was still quietly confident in what would be his first Cup drive. "At that point he was still fragile and easily tripped up at the best of times (referring to his Dunedin and Kaikoura failures), but in the Cup Trial I just kept him 'in behind' and he had been travelling as easy as any of them," recalled Jones last week. "I think he fell from favour mostly because he had got there (to Cup class) so quickly, and had become overlooked particularly given the quality and experience of the others. When it might have seemed the bubble had burst, his career was actually still in the ascendency when most of the others were in the descent," he added.
The start of the 1980 NZ Cup was almost as sensational as the finish. Lord Module played up and eventually just stood there, figuring 200 metres was about his correct handicap, while Roydon Scott also missed away badly and lost all chance along with Canis Minor and Trio. Hands Down was also tardily away and settled down well behind Delightful Lady, who had started from more like a 20m handicap with on tape behind the 10m line, and had been slow starting because of it. Delightful Lady was normally a very smart starter, but a flying tape was her signal to get into gear.
Mack Dougall took up the early running from Trevira in the open, but it wasn't long before the fireworks began - Wee Win and Bob Cameron were soon off and around them when the pace eased and led a mile from home. They had been tracked forward by Hands Down, and Delightful Lady had attempted to follow him, but was shoved four-wide a lap out by Lordable and Denis Nyhan.
Jones pressed on to join Wee Win at the 1100m and Delightful Lady camped three-wide outside them, until the 700m mark when Mike Stromont tuned up the wick and Hands Down and Delightful Lady went clear and set sail for the judge, going at it hammer and tongs. The great mare seemed to have the measure of Hands Down on the home turn and Stormont glanced to his right to see no other threats were coming. Half a length up at the furlong, Delightful Lady looked certain to have the Cup in the bag, but Jones was just foxing and when he finally went for Hands Down, the rugged gelding responded and gradually pegged the mare back, in the end drawing away by a neck right on the line.
The race had been a true test of stamina - Hands Down's 4:07.2 off the front broke Johnny Globe's equivalent race record and was the fastest 3200m recorded at Addington since the introduction of metrics - and the stretch duel was a truly stirring, strength sapping and memorable one. Delightful Lady was gallant in defeat, not giving an inch until the final strides after such a tough run, while Sapling finished on gamely for third four lengths away after being held up at a crucial time by the tiring Wee Win. Greg Robinson was fourth another three lengths as the rest of the field filed in at intervals, with a last ironic and sarcastic cheer being saved for Lord Module as he actually finished the race, a very long last, only to suffer the ignominy of being barred from standing starts.
Delightful Lady, who was credited with a placed time of 4:06.1 in the Cup, underlined her greatness when she trekked back to Auckland and won the Franklin Cup three days later in 4:05.8 from 55 metres. This gave her the record 'no ifs or buts' over Young Quinn's 4:06.7 recorded at the Auckland Inter-Dominions five years earlier - Young Quinn having bowed out from the spotlight by parading at Addington on Cup Day. Delightful Lady would win 12 races that season, careering away with a second Auckland Cup in another all-comers' national record and claiming the Horse of the Year title, and was no worse than third in 18 races that year.
But Hands Down's triumph from seemingly certain defeat in the NZ Cup was certainly no less a performance that day. "I would have been quite happy to sit outside Wee Win, but when Mike (Stormont) made his move down the back, he forced me to go. Hands Down never got tired and even when Delightful Lady got half a length on us, I knew we weren't going away - it was just a matter of whether she would come back to us and in the end she did. Hands Down couldn't go the Auckland way, but on his day at Addington, he was pretty much unbeatable." He had the last say over Lord Module in an equally exciting NZ Free-For-All after trotting speedster Scotch Tar had taken them through the first mile in 1:57.4, and the Allan Matson proved a mere formality.
Hands Down would start in five more Cups without success, being third a year later behind Armalight and fourth in 1983, and only Roi l'Or, Tactician and Master Musician would start in more Cups with seven unsuccessful bids. When retired with 31 wins, 23 had come at Addington to break Lordship's record of 21, and also included three Easter Cups and four Louissons.
For Derek Jones, his son had provided him with his first Cup winner after 21 drives himself, which included the likes of Auckland Cup winners Soangetaha ( for his solitary third place behind Adorian almost 30 years earlier) and Leading Light. When informed that Hands Down was his 13th individual starter in the race during his famous quick wit - "bugger, if I had known that - I would have backed him."
For breeder/owner Bill McAughtrie, a humble and semi-retired farmer from Omarama, Hands Down's overnight success was a reminder just how fickle the game can be. As he accepted the gleaming trophy from the Duchess of Kent, McAughtrie reflected that year earlier "I knew I had a horse with a tonne of ability, but I never thought he would ever win a race."
Hands Down, by the successful Tar Heel horse Armbro Del, belonged to the maternal line of previous Cup winners Cardigan Bay and Globe Bay and a host of other top performers. McAughtrie had been involved with the family for 20 years, when he leased the first foal in Slick Chick from Snow Jane, an unraced U Scott half-sister to the dam of Cardigan Bay. Slick Chick won a race with Jack Fraser jnr as the trainer, but when he gave the game away, McAughtrie gave the Brahman gelding to Jones and he won another six. McAughtrie then bought from Christchurch breeder Harry Kay his sister Snowline for $1000. She won three as a 3-year-old, but was then so badly injured in a fence that it seemed she was finished, and McAughtrie bred he to Fallacy to get the dam of Hands Down - Snow Chick.
Put back into work, Snowline won another nine races, including a 2:00 mile in the New Year FFA at Addington. In March 1971, Snowline won her last race at Greymouth, the same night that Snow Chick won a maiden race for Jones and then training partner Jack Grant, and both were soon retired.
Snowline's dam, Snow Jane was also the dam of 1976 Inter-Dominion Trotting Grand Final winner Bay Johnny, Snow Globe (10 NZ wins trotting), good Australian pacer Toliver Bay and the dam of a brilliant one in Apre Ski (Vic Marathon, US1:56).
Snowline had 10 in all with nine of them being fillies that amounted to little on the track, but the first colt from the first of them, Snow Chick, was Hands Down.
Credit: Frank Marrion writing in HRWeekly 12Jul06
Now that we have entered the realms of our 'living memory', the very first occasion that always springs to mind as a 'greatest event' is Lord Module's 1981 Allan Matson. It was a great race featuring a number of great horses like a lot of others, but it was a spectacle combined with the recent history and the emotions which flowed which made it all the more special.
I was a rising 21-year-old cadet with the then 'NZ Trotting Calendar' in November, 1981, having been brought on board the HRW's predecessor a year or two earlier by editor Tony Williams, based solely on unabashed enthusiasm - couldn't even type let alone write a story. Reading up the old Calendars at the time to refresh the memory, it is obvious by the time the 1981 Cup Meeting came round that my main responsibilities each week had still only evolved into banging out the weekend's race results all day Monday on our trusty old portable typewriter, sorting out the NZ-bred winners in America and being 'trusted' with the intro, and 'working' at the Addington races, where my primary objective was to ensure I made the stretch to the old tote 10 times a night and in time to get Tony's investments placed, which was all very exciting given each one was more than my weekly wage. The memory banks recede with time, but I will never, ever forget the night of November 21, 1981.
Sitting in the open Press Box in the old Member's Stand and on an angle to the public grandstand, which in those days was pretty full for events such as the last night of the Cup Meeting, the sight of the stand moving like a slow moving landside was unbelievable. The people were coming to greet, cheer and clap their idol, and they crammed around the birdcage for the nearest and best possible vantage point. It was enough to make grown men cry, and some did.
To appreciate and understand what led to this night of unbridled enthusiasm and passion and an unforgettably magic moment in time, one had to live through the career of Lord Module, one which for the most part seemed like one sensational hair-raising performance or controversial abject failure after another.
In 1976, the racing days of Canterbury's favourite (standardbred) son Robalan were over, and the people needed a new champion. Lord Module wasn't long in coming, displaying exceptional talent and potential as a 2-year-old for a by now veteran and semi-retired but legendary horseman in Ces Devine, a man who did not suffer fools lightly let alone owners and slow horses. He suffered Lord Module though, even when more often than not that season he would run the favourite and do a stretch at the start, mobiles being still a rarity at Addington, rather than the norm. But his class was well and truly confirmed when he romped away in record time with the NZ Juvenile Championship at Alexandra Park at season's end, accounting for the boom northern youngster Testing Times (10 wins from 12 starts going in) and other top colts in Glide Time, Redcraze, Main Star and Motu Prince.
He was back bigger and bolder at three, but no better behaved, and waywardness would cost him dearly in both the New Zealand and Great Northern Derbys. Devine was not afraid to start him against tough and older intermediate grade pacers if it suited the schedule though, and his eight wins that season included a 'c5-c6' mobile at Addington over the good mares Ruling River and Bronze Queen and the 'c7-c9' Barton Memorial at Forbury Park, where he started favourite against pretty much an open class field and bolted in by six lengths over stable-mate Sun Seeker (handled by son-in-law Kevin Williams) and Miss Pert.
Not much changed at four either, a season he began in open class. Lord Module started favourite in each of his first eight races that year - except for the NZ Cup where he blew the start - and failed to win any of them for one reason or another. He started to get his act together in the second half of the season with three straight wins and a game third from 30m behind in the Forbury 4YO Championship to frontmarker Graikos, giving cause for a rise in optimism going into the 1979 Inter-Dominions at Addington.
That optimism crashed to Ground Zero on the first night though when he was up to his old tricks again and tailed the field home bar one even more tardy Australian in Gemini Boy. Faced with a 'must win' situation on the second night, Lord Module again conceded ground and settled well behind favourite Markovina (15m), but the 3200m helped and after tracking the NZ-bred entire up and into line six-wide, and as many lengths from the leaders, Lord Module scorched the outside fence and got up to down Belmer's Image in the last stride. A sound second to the unbeaten heat winner Wee Win on the third night had him comfortably into the Final, but Lord Module had had enough of the heroics for now and in an Inter-Dominion which was supposed to serve as redemption for the 'one that got away' with False Step, Devine's thoughts instead turned to what would be his last NZ Cup drive that year.
Lord Module would be overshadowed in the spring by a redhot Roydon Scott - on the comeback trail after going amiss the previous January - and was also the centre of much mirth at the National Meeting in August. Roydon Scott had beaten him fairly and squarely in the Louisson, but when the field emerged from a blanket of fog less than 100 metres from the finish in the National Handicap, Lord Module had Roydon Scott in a box as Sunseeker won uncontested to qualify for the Cup. Roydon Scott had gone amiss again by the time Lord Module was runner-up at Ashburton to Bad Luck and Oamaru to Watbro, but Devine was just foxing and fine-tuning his V8 to have it ready to explode at the Cup Meeting.
And explode it did, at least at the start in the minds of punters, who sent him out a $3.55 favourite. While only winning once at Forbury Park in his seven lead-up races, Lord Module had been second or third in the other six and had been rewarded for his good behaviour by being taken off the unruly list. This however resulted in him drawing the awkward barrier one in the Cup, and as if to signal that Lord Module figured big occasions equated to failure and disappointment, he stood motionless as he tape flew and watched the rest of the field disembark. He had however made up his lost 50 metres by the time Bad Luck reached the winning post the first time and Devine immediately latched onto Sapling's back for an early cart into the race.
What happened soon after would become the stuff of folklore. Sapling took over the 'death seat' occupied by Sun Seeker, and Lord Module managed to slot into the one-one in an incident which forced his stablemate down onto Greg Robinson, who galloped and put Rondel out of the race. Pushed back from the half by the three-wide train as Sapling also tired and came back on him, Lord Module showed up at the furlong and careered away for a brilliant and magnificent four-and-a-half-length win in a truly-run 4:09.
Gavan Hamilton, who was a 22-year-old participant in all this and had a good view behind his father Ron's horse, the third-placed Trevira, wrote to vote for this race as one of the greatest, and offered his thoughts on what transpired. "I was talking to Henry (Skinner with Sapling) later and he said 'I looked around and saw Lord Module coming and I thought this was good. Then I looked around again to see where he'd got to and he was on my back, and I thought how the hell did that happen.' Soon after we had finished, Max (Robinson with Greg Robinson) drove over to Ces and screamed 'you are going to lose that' and so on. Max was normally a very placid sort of fellow and Wolfie was none to happy either. Then I was called into the room about getting cut off (by Lord Module) at the furlong. I had taken hold for a stride but that's all, I didn't think it had cost me second. But if I had been second, it would have been tempting to say 'what about the earlier incident'."
There was an enquiry into the infamous incident about 2100 metre from home, but after receiving conflicting evidence and viewing an inconclusive video, the announcement that the placings would stand came about 20 minutes later much to the delight of all and sundry. Fair to say, the Stipes knew they stood to be lynched by an angry mob at best if they had taken the race off Lord Module, or more to the point, Devine.
Hamilton, these days working for a fertilisator company while keeping his hand in with the odd horse, was as much in awe of Lord Module that day as anyone. "I was four-wide coming to the turn outside Del's Dream and Lord Module was inside me, fair bolting and climbing all over Denis Nyhan (Del's Dream). Denis turned to me and said 'who is that' and I said it's 'Tassie'. He said keep him there as long as you can and you might win. Being just a lad with a chance to win the Cup, I thought I would go for it and put a winning break on him. Well no sooner had I done that and he was out and around me and gone in two strides, and I thought, my God what a horse, and I didn't even know he had done a stretch at the start."
Three days later, Lord Module jogged the opening mile of the Free-For-All in 1:57.4 and won easing down by four lengths over Trevira, missing Robalan's world record by .1 of a second, and the Allan Matson was likewise a walk in the park. The Pan Am Mile and the NZ record for a race of 1:56.2 soon followed - where he loafed home in 30.2 with nobody to push him - as he did in the New Year Mile over speedster Locarno and new Auckland sensation Delightful Lady.
The 1:55 barrier then fell in an epic time-trial at Addington in far from even good conditions. The event had been postponed a week due to the weather, and from 8.30pm until after the last race following day-long rain, but over 6000 ardent admirers braved the bitter conditions and Lord Module didn't disappoint in powering home in 1:54.9 when most figured 1:57 would be tough.
Turning back an offer of $600,000 from Del Miller which would have resulted in the resurrection of the International Series in New York with a flat "not for sale at any price - I'm having too much fun," Devine next headed off for a tilt at th Auckland Cup, and Lord Module headed for the downward spiral to his career which would land him on the night of the 1981 Allan Matson, with only one further win behind him - a mile at Washdyke over light-weights Philippa Frost and The Raider the previous February from 14 races in his 6-year-old season.
He had developed a reputation as a complete rogue, and it mattered little that the painful quarter cracks which had troubled him on and off for much of his career had reduced his mental capacity to that of an errant 3-year-old with a tooth ache. He had been stood down from even starting in the spring and failed special trials which would have allowed him to take his place in the Cup. Yet another sullen display had seen him fail to participate at all in the NZ Free-For-All, in a week when the spotlight shone brightly on Armalight, Lord Module had been reduced to the butt of cruel jibes and jokes by all but his most fanatical followers.
Come the Allan Matson, and the 'bully' was that if Lord Module produced another act of petulance and Devine didn't then retire him, the Stipes would. Enough was enough - the end was nigh.
It was therefore hearts in mouths stuff as the mobile began to move away, and heads in hands when Lord Module pig-rooted and momentarily it seemed 'here we go again'- the end had come with another inglorious display. But out of desperation, Jack Smolenski went for the whip, and Lord Module lept into action and was almost unbelievably in his rightful place as the start was reached, and the crowd roared for the first time. Settling handy only to be pushed back in the running, Lord Module was last on the fence with a lap to go as Armalight and Gammalite - under the bat but unable to cross - took them along at break-neck speed, closely attende by Bonnie's Chance and Hands Down.
All the while the crowd rumbled with feverish excitement. Still last at the 300m, Lord Module began to make his move and when he showed up six-wide at the furlong, Reon Murtha screamed "and here's Lord Module, and oh, he is just mowing them down!" And the crowd erupted. There was a secondary eruption when a new world record was announced, and a third when Lord Module finally arrived back at the birdcage after some delay - he had kept going at high speed some way past the finish and Smolenski had only been able to bring him to a standstill and turn around in the backstraight.
Even Devine was visibly shaken, and down at the track the incessant and frenetic reaction that swept along everyone meant that it was impossible to hear someone only a few feet away. Lord Module returned to a hero's welcome and old-timers agreed that the only receptions to compare were the aftermath of Johnny Globe's NZ Cup almost half a century earlier, and the retirement of the immortal Harold Logan in the late 30s. All else was forgotten in the delerium and ecstasy - no abuse this time, just admiration and awe.
Not known that night was that it would in fact be Lord Module's last race. The quarter cracks would deteriorate beyond repair in the ensuing months, and Devine announced his retirement to stud a few months later. That would not be the start of another fairytale story, but as the end to a spectacular racing career, what a way to go!
Credit: Frank Marrion writing in HRWeekly 5Jul06
The 1978 NZ Cup winner Trusty Scot, one of Southland's best pacers, has a cracked pastern in his off hind leg, and has run his last race. "He had me worried for a while," part owner and trainer Henderson Hunter said, referring to the serious nature of the injury. Trusty Scot suffered the cracked pastern after competing at the NZ Cup meeting at Addington in the week leading up to the Young Quinn flying mile at Wyndham at the end of November.
After racing his way through to Cup class in his 3 and 4-year-old years, Trusty Scot had a bone chip removed from a sesamoid in his near hind leg as an early 5-year-old and missed racing for most of that season. Hunter, who raced Trusty Scot with his father Adam Hunter, said he thought the extra pressure on his off-hind leg due to that first injury contributed to his breaking down in his other hind leg. Trusty Scot will be unable to serve mares this season but the 8-year-old Scottish Command entire from the Flying Song mare Fledgeling will commence stud duties at Edendale next spring. "We'll keep him down here and give Southlanders a chance to breed to him," Hunter said.
Trusty Scot retires with stake earnings of $128,545, the result of 96 starts for 21 wins and 29 placings, including a win at the Inter-Dominion Championships in Brisbane as a 4-year-old. Placed once in five starts at two, he gained prominence in his 3-year-old racing in a busy campaign, starting 25 times for five wins and 12 placings, and taking a 1:59.9 record when he won the Stan Andrews Stakes from Smokey Lopez and Bolton Byrd at Addington.
At four, he ran 21 times for seven wins, including the Ascot Park Flying Mile at Invercargill in 2:00.3, beating the star-studded field of Balgove, Sole Command, In Or Out, Forto Prontezza and Lunar Chance. He also won a heat of the NZ Messenger Championship and was runner-up to Stanley Rio in the final, won a heat of the Brisbane Inter-Dominion, and lowered his mile record to 1:57.6.
After missing his 5-year-old season because of injury, Trusty Scot came back better than ever at six, winning the Ashburton Flying Stakes first up, and the Kaikoura Cup before his most important successes, the 1978 NZ Cup from Sapling, the NZ Free-For-All three days later in 2:29.1 for the mobile 2000 metres, a mile rate of 2:00.1. Naturally, Hunter rates these wins as his best because he beat the top pacers, Sapling, Lord Module and company, when they were all going strong. Hunter also rates his performances in Australia at the Inter-Diminions, when he made a remarkable recovery to run third in a heat after losing a big stretch of ground early, and later at Perth the same season as he won the Cup, among the best in a fine career.
Trusty Scot contested the Inter-Dominion Championships at Christchurch as a late 6-year-old and wound up a strong-finishing fifth in the final after racing back in mid-field. His 7-year-old season was not a happy one. He struck difficulties racing off back marks, but he managed a good sixth in the NZ Cup after an early break, and won twice. This season, he led from end to end in the Quadroon Invitation Stakes at Gore, his last win, and was a strong finisher from the rear for fifth in the NZ Cup.
A genuine racehorse, with a clean gait, Trusty Scot is one of the best performed sons of Scottish Command.
Credit: Jeffery Scott writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 20Jan81
Young Charles, who died a few days ago at the grand age of 35, did much to underline the hard wearing qualities of the U Scott line.
"His death was sad, but easy to accept," his owner-breeder Bob Mayne said last week. "He ate up normally, did everything else as usual and quietly walked away and died," said Mr Mayne, a retired Christchurch cartage contractor.
As a racehorse and as a sire Young Charles was every inch an individual, being bred on the stout U Scott - Jack Potts cross. U Scott and Jack Potts both headed the NZ sires' list on nine occasions and Young Charles topped the list in 1975, the year of Young Quinn.
Foaled on October 25, 1946, Young Charles revealed immediate ability for trainer Colin Berkett, being champion 2-year-old and 3-year-old of his year. In all, he won 11 races and had 26 placings from 56 starts for $24,435, racing against the likes of Van Dieman, Johnny Globe, Vedette, Caduceus, Burns Night and Soangetaha. Hampered by tendon trouble once he attained Cup class rating, his courage won the hearts of many. Canterbury trotting men to this day maintain that his second to Johnny Globe in the 1954 NZ Cup 'on three legs' was one of the most memorable contests ever at Addington. Johnny Globe set a world two mile time of 4:07.6 in that race and Young Charles on a restricted preparation, recorded 4:10.8.
"My greatest thrills were his wins in the NZ Futurity Stakes and All-Aged Stakes at the Ashburton June meeting," Mr Mayne recalled. "Colin Berkett was a great feeder, and, as Young Charles had a wonderful constitution, he had to be worked really hard to give his best on the track," Mr Mayne said.
Young Charles' battle for recognition as a sire was certainly an uphill one. When retired to Mr Mayne's Yaldhurst property he received only eight mares and 11 the following season. He then had a season in Auckland before moving to Southland. Restricted as his early opportunities were, Young Charles slowly but surely acquired the respect of breeders, siring the likes of Danny's Pal (10 wins and 14 placings), Jacobite (12 wins and 9 placings), Valcador (10 wins and 12 placings), Lonesome Valley (9 wins and 12 placings) and Top Copy (9 wins and 21 placings).
Even better, however, was to come when he stood at Colin Baynes' Ferndale and Otama nurseries. Notable pacers conceived at those studs before he finished his Southland career at Des Baynes' Highway Farm, Edendale included Young Quinn (1:55), Sapling (1978-79 Pacer of the Year), Sassenach (1:58.6), Peter Onedin (1:56.8), Gurkha (1:58.2) and Ghandi ($225,000).
Young Charles has so far been credited with siring 165 winners and 20 in 2:00, from around 470 live foals an excellent percentage of 35. Only Local Light (23) and Lordship (22) have been more successful NZ-bred sires of 2:00 performers. "I always wanted him to make the top as a sire more than anything else in the world. When Young Quinn won the 1975 Inter-Dominion final in Auckland, that really put the icing on the cake for me," Mr Mayne said.
As a broodmare sire, Young Charles has now emerged as a real force. He has sired the dams of 122 winners (to July 31, 1981) and at least eight in 2:00 including Armbro Star (1:59.6), Testing Times (1:59.2), Loyal Drift (NZ Oaks), Smooth Charles (1:58.8) and Saucy Jack (Methven Cup).
One way or another, Young Charles has been a good horse to many trotting people all over NZ and many are grateful for the care he received right up until his death. Bob Mayne went to a lot of trouble to bury Young Charles in a special grave on his property last week. The influence of his old favourite promises to be felt as long as there is light harness racing in NZ. Sapling, his best performed entire son, has been heavily booked for his initial season at the Hokonui Stud, where he was conceived nine years ago and where Young Charles made his name as a sire.
Credit: Don Wright writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 22Sep81