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HORSES

 

YEAR: 1904

NORICE

There is an Indian legend that the spirit of a brave chief is permitted to return to the scene of his triumphs in time of peril or rejoicing and mingle with the young warriors, inspiring them with his daring or eloquence when reciting their deeds on the warpath. This was the red man's tribute to those who were gone, or, as Longfellow sets it to poetry in the "Psalm of Life.":

Lives of great men all remind us,
We can make our live sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us,
Footprints in the sands of time.

The wraith of Norice must have hovered many times over Addington, the Dominion's leading convincing ground, because here the great mare herself, her sons and their sons and daughters, and their legions of descendants of both gaits have, over a period of more than 40 years, left some imperishable imprints in the sands.

And these legions of Norice's descendants have only followed in the footsteps of their illustrious forebear, who proved head and shoulders above most of the best pacers and trotters that could have assembled in the Dominion from 1903 to 1906. Very quickly her reputation became such that she started a short-priced favourite in any event she contested, no matter what the distance or how severe the handicap.

She began racing as a six-year-old in the 1903-04 season, and scored five wins and a second in her first seven starts. Her first win was recorded in the Trial Handicap, of a mile and a half, at the NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club's meeting at Addington in November, 1903. The time on a heavy track was 3.57. The following day, which was "very wet" she won the Hornby Handicap, of two miles, in 5.03 4-5.

Already she had climbed the heights, for her next win was in the High-Class Handicap, of two miles, at Tahuna Park. At her next start she won the Leap Year Handicap, of two miles, at the NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club's Easter Meeting, in 4.54 and rounded off the season by romping home in the Champion Handicap, of two miles, at the same meeting in 4.46 2-5, those behind he including Vickery, The Needle, Blackchild, Boldrewood, St Simon, Monte Carlo, Vasco and Harold C.

The following season she ran three times unplaced and then ran second in the first NZ Trotting Cup to Monte Carlo. The favourite, Durbar, was third. At her next start she won the New Year Handicap, of two miles, at Plumpton Park, in 4.46 2-5. Her other win that season was in the Grand Free-For-All, of a mile and a quarter, at the NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club's Easter meeting, her time being 2.52 2-5, with Vickery and Monte Carlo in the minor placings. She won very easily.

The 1905-06 season saw the last of her on the racetrack, and she must have been well on towards the foaling stage when she was retired in April, 1906, because in the same year she produced her first foal, a filly by Rothschild, later known as Lady Derby. In August, 1905, she had won the Free-For-All Stakes, of a mile and a quarter. This event was run in two heats and a final, and she won both her heat and the final with ease. Norice was a champion, so good, in fact, that but for being unsound she probably would never have left America. This view was held by the late Dave Price , who was associated with the Charles Derby mare in all her races.

The Charles Derby strain has been notably successful in this country and Australia. It is probable that if the potency of this line in the Antipodes were brought to the notice of an American authority of the standing of John Hervey, he would be able to offer some tangible explanation of its speed-producing qualities. Because Norice was a daughter of Charles Derby; because the great Australian progenitor Globe Derby descended in the direct male line from Charles Derby, and because another champion mare in Trix Pointer is by Demonio, a son of Charles Derby, my curiosity was naturally aroused, and, on consulting Wallace's Year Book, I found that Charles Derby, like many other horses of his day, was inbred to Hambletonian 10, being by Steinway, by Strathmore, a son of Hambletonian 10, from Katie G, by Electioneer, by Hambletonian 10. Charles Derby cut a fairly respectable figure as a sire in the States, as he is credited by Wallace with having sired 48 standard performers, 13 trotters and 35 pacers, among the latter a really good horse in Jim Logan, 2.01; but he was by no means an outstanding progenitor, because the standard performers of sires like McKinney, Peter The Great, Bingen and Axworthy could be counted in hundreds. That does not alter the fact that Charles Derby's son Owyhee, established the greatest male line Australia has had by siring Mambrino Derby, the sire of Globe Derby, and that Charles Derby himself begot in Norice probably the greatest mare - racing and producing qualities taken into account - ever to come to the Dominion.

Norice's greatest fame of the moment comes through her son Nelson Derby, one of the most successful Colonial-bred sires of recent years, though he has never been extensively used at the stud and for the past ten years or more has been in private service. As the sire of Haughty, Hardy Oak, Nelson Eddy, Plutus and numerous other winners, Nelson Derby has occupied a prominent place on the sires' list for some seasons past. Nelson Derby was a good racehorse himself, his wins including the Great Northern Derby and Auckland Cup, but he was not a sound horse, otherwise, according to his last trainer, the late W J Tomkinson, he would have taken the highest honours offering in his time.

Native King, a high class trotter, and Nelson Fame, a brilliant pacer with two-minute potentialities, were full brothers to Nelson Derby. Of the pair, Native King was the most successful sire, his progeny including Native Prince, Native Star and Royal Romance. Nelson Fame met a premature death, and left only a few foals, including Lady Fame. Other sons of Norice who left winners were Bingen Boy and Derby Chimes, both of whom went to Australia, and Lord Derby.

One of the greatest lines coming down from the maternal side of Norice is that from her daughter Queen Cole, by King Cole, 2.08 3-5. Among her foals were three fillies, Colene Pointer, by Logan Pointer; Albena, by Rodgewood; and Queen's Treasure, by Rey de Oro.

Colene Pointer, who was a good pacer, won the Timaru Cup, but she broke down badly soon afterwards. It is related that she was so lame that she could not be sent off her owners place, and at that time an old horse called Quincey, who had been a good racehorse in his day, but not a great success as a sire, was one of the few stallions offering in the district. The upshot of this situation was that Colene Pointer was mated with Quincey, and produced Kingcraft, the only pacer of Cup class ever left by Quincey. Kingcraft won a division of the New Zealand Cup and finished second to Harold Logan the following year. He was at one time the most talked-of pacer in the Dominion, and certainly one of the fastest of the time. Colene Pointer produced other good winners in Kilrea and Village Guy; and Poker Face is good but unsound. Colene Parrish and Ping are other good winners left by Colene Pointer.

Albena also won races and is the dam of Albertini, Sterling Pointer, Strummer and Wrackful.

Queen's Treasure promises to become a successful matron of the true Norice pattern, for already her first three foals are winners, namely, a Cup horse in Hardy Oak, and Single Star and Jack's Treasure.

Lady Derby, a daughter of Rothschild and Norice, produced Derby Dillon, Peter Derby, Frances Derby, Lady Pointer, Her Ladyship, Sister Maud, Olatrice, and that fine trotter Sister Beatrice. Francis Derby produced Bingen Derby and Don Derby; Lady Pointer produced Lady Rey; Her Ladyship produced Lady Fame 4.26, and Play Lady; and Sister Maud has produced Sister Rose, Sister Mary, Queen Maud and others. In turn, Play Lady has produced Play Ring; Sister Rose is the dam of Teddy Gregg; and Queen Maud has produced Sports Guide and Royal Volo.

Theda Bara, a daughter of Van Coronado and Norice, produced General Bingen, Una Dillon, Actor Ballin, Tiger Lily and Rose Warton. Van Coronado was a comparetive failure as a sire, but apparently the Norice blood is capable of overcoming all such hindrances, because the Theda Bara branch of the family is also breeding on, her daughter, Rose Warton (by First Fashion) being the dam of Jimmy Wharton, and another daughter Una Dillon (by Harold Dillon) being the dam of Truman, Deanna Durbin and Storeman. Deanna Durbin has gone to the stud, and is the dam of a 1942 filly by Fremont which shows promise.

Daughters of Nelson Derby are producing winners. An unnamed Nelson Derby mare is the dam of Casabianca, Daphne Queen is the dam of Loyal King, and Hughenden Queen is the dam of Huguenot, 3.13 3-5.


Credit: 'Ribbonwood' writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 27 Sep 1944

 

YEAR: 1919

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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