Continuing and frustrating postponements through rain which dogged the carnival, a furore over a change of gear on the horse destined to become New Zealand's greatest sire and a clear-cut Championship win on poins for a famous mare despite going under in the Grand Final were memorable features of the first Interdominion Series in New Zealand - at Addington in 1938.
In common with Perth and Brisbane, trotting in Christchurch had in very early times been held on a cricket ground - at Lancaster Park from 1886 - by cricket enthusiasts to raise funds for their foremost love. About five years earlier Robert Wilkin had laid the foundation for the sport by importing from America the Kentucky-bred stallions Berlin and Blackwood Abdallah, the yearling colt Vancleve and six broodmares. The venue soon changed to Addington, where the New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club held the first meeting in November, 1899, with stakes totalling £2140 and investments £10,695. The first New Zealand Cup was run at Addington in 1904 (won by straightout trotter Monte Carlo) and by 1938 the Metropolitan Club was ready to stage New Zealand's first-ever four-day meeting for the Interdomions with total stakes of £9700 and a Grand Final purse of £2350.
Rain, badly affecting the six-furlong clay track, proved a nightmare for officials, forcing "the Met" to make four postponments during the carnival. Originally set down to start on Easter Saturday, April 16, the first set of heats were run on Wednesday, April, 20. The second round was to have followed the day after, but was postponed twice until the Saturday, while the third day was held on Tuesday, April 26. Then the Final had to be put of from the following Saturday until Wednesday, May 4. Scheduled to be run over eight days, from April 16 to 23, the meeting wound up extending over a fortnight.
But, despite these upsets, all the ingredients were there for some splendid racing, with a good selection of worthy visitors from Australia to measure strides with a vintage assortment of New Zealand's best. And the racing as it unfolded proved of the highest order. The 1936 and 1937 Grand Champions Evicus and Dan's Son were both on hand from Australia, not to mention Icevus (a well-performed brother of Evicus), J P Stratton's Kolect, Melbourne-trained Joy's John (third in the Adelaide Grand Final a year earlier) and the gallant West Australian mare Lady Childewood.
Such was the strength of the New Zealand force, however, that of these only Evicus (who after finishing last in the Adelaide Grand Final had been trained in New Zealand for some time) made the Final, in which she was never in contention. Points were allotted in the heats on the basis of 6 for first, 2 1/2 for second, 1 for third and 2 1/2 for fastest time of the first four home. The allotment in the Final was 7, 2 1/2, 1 and 3.
First blood in the 10-furlong round went to the bonny four-year-old mare Parisienne, who in the deft hands of trainer Roy Berry started from 12yds and came from the back in slow going to beat Evicus (12yds) by two lengths with favourite King's Play (12) next, then Roi l'Or, hero of a hundred battles, fourth from 36yds.
The second heat was affected by accidents, and 1937 NZ Cup winner Lucky Jack (who was to win the Cup again in 1939 after finishing second in 1938) was among those put out of contention. The winner was Ces Donald's candidate Plutus by two lengths over Joy's John (George Gath).
Supertax, a fine pacer of the era for George Mouritz, came off 36yds to beat Blair Athol (Fr) and Ladt Childewood (12yds) in the remaining heat. Here John McKenzie's American import U Scott, a ruling favourite, made a hopelessmess of the start before catching the field, running upo to third on the turn then wilting out.
Supertax and Parisienne moved well ahead on the points table with 17 apiece following clear wins at a mile and a half on a holding but drying track on the second day. Pot Luck, no danger on the opening day, was runner-up to Supertax in the hands of Maurice Holmes, while smart Auckland visitor Nervie's Last (F J Smith) with 12yds start from Parisienne, failed by half a length to hold her out, with Evicus a good third. Lucky Jack won the other heat for Roy Berry by a neck from Blair Athol.
The going was similar for the two-mile heats the third day, and again Parisienne and Lucky Jack prevailed, but, to the ire of many in the crowd, the third heat, the final event of the day, provided an all-the-way win for the Free Holmes-driven U Scott over Pot Luck and Supertax.
After U Scott had badly muffed his starts on the first two days, owner John McKenzie (later Sir John) has sought permission on the third day to race the horse in a closed bridle instead of an open one. Mr McKenzie ordered U Scott back to the stalls and threatened to scratch the horse when refused this request by chief stipendiary steward Fred Beer and the judicial committee. Under the rules of the day, a horse that started more than once at a meeting was required to wear exactly the same gear unless the express consent of the stewards was given for a change. The stewards reconsidered; U Scott made a late appearance on the track and won. He was greeted with a hostile reception, mainly from people who had altered their choice of bets under the impression that he would be scratched.
A protest by the Pot Luck camp against U Scott was dismissed after dividends were held up until the following day. It cost Mr McKenzie the winning stake of £525. He had stipulated he would pay this amount to the Returned Services Association if the stakes were awarded to him. U Scott got £100 of that back by taking the lap prize awarded to the first horse past the winning post the second time round with six furlongs to go in the Grand Final. But after leading to the straight he was under pressure and dropped out.
He was a good racehorse, however, and his 11 wins and six placings from 30 starts in New Zealand as a pacer after taking a matinee mark of 2.11 trotting at two years in America, earned him, in days of microscopic stakes, £2055. This was nothing to what he was to accomplish as a sire and broodmare sire, however, and today the son of Scotland and Lillian Hilta is famous throughout the trotting world for his accomplishments at stud.
Roy Berry had to choose between his stablemates Parisienne (top points scorer with 23) and Lucky Jack (second equal in the table with Supertax on 17) as his charge in the Final. He opted for Parisienne. Plutus and U Scott (8 1/2) were next on the points table ending the qualifying heats, at which stage Pot Luck - a wayward type and hard to manage, so that the early slow pace in the heats had told on him - had only 5 points.
A great crowd turned out despite the overcast weather, and on a good track the whole Grand Final field of twelve went off correctly. U Scott, on reaching the front fairly early, set a muddling pace before sprinting up for the lap prize. At this stage Parisienne, squeezed back early, began moving up from second-last. She had the crowd on its toes as she chased U Scott and Nervie's Last (Jimmy Bryce Jnr) into the straight. However, just when it appeared this grand mare was on her way to a clean sweep of the series, Pot Luck - shuffled around in the race but cleverly and patiently handled by Morrie Holmes - pulled out and with a brilliant final spurt outsprinted Parisienne to the line by two lengths. Stan Edwards with Blair Athol was third, only a head from Parisienne, with Jack Pringle and Supertax next, just ahead of Lucky Jack. The last-named, in the hands of Lester Frost had been badly checked near the three furlongs when travelling like a winner. Parisienne was a clear-cut Championship winner with 28 1/2 points over Supertax (18), Lucky Jack (17) and Pot Luck (12).
Bred in Auckland by George McMillan and raced by Mrs D R Revell, Parisienne was by the imported American horse Rey de Oro. Her sire had topped the New Zealand sire's list in the two previous seasons and was also to subsequently twice top the broodmares sires' list. Her dam, Yenot, by the imported Harold Dillon from a mare by the famous Rothschild, was a fair performer who won saddle races in Westport and Greymouth. Yenot was to found a fine family, with the line through Parisienne (dam of the brilliant La Mignon, in turn the dam of Garcon Roux and Roydon Roux) the strongest branch.
Educated by one of New Zealand's best-ever jockeys, Hector Gray, before being handed to Berry, the handsome chestnut Parisienne, 15.1 hands, won the Sapling Stakes at two and at three the New Zealand and Great Northern Derbies. Following her Championship win she in 1939 became world's champion pacing mare with a race record of 4:15.6 for two miles. When she embarked on her equally successful stud career her racing record stood at 16 wins, 10 seconds, four thirds and two fourths and £6766 in stakes. She was widely acclaimed the greatest of her sex to have raced in New Zealand as a four-year-old, and one of the top mares of all time.
Pot Luck, a sturdy five-year-old son of the imported Walter Direct horse Jack Potts (nine times New Zealand's leading sire and six times leading broodmare sire) and the Harold Dillon (imp) mare Hope Dillon, was trained and driven by the then 29-year-old Maurice Holmes for another capable horseman Bert Stafford, then publican at the Carlton Hotel in Christchurch. Stafford, long a trotting dabbler, had bought Pot Luck for £400 from New Brighton breeder J D Smith after the gelding had finished second in the Riccarton Stakes as a three-year-old. While still three Pot Luck carried on to win six races for Mr Stafford, including the inaugural All-Aged Stakes at Ashburton. He was later to win a Wellington Cup and had 18 wins and 33 placings worth £8092 on the scoreboard when retired as a nine-year-old. Ironically, Pot Luck was ninth on the score table with 12 points after winning the Grand Final.
The heats carried stakes of £750 (£525 to the winner) and the Final was worth £2250, of which Pot Luck collected £1500. Parisienne received £450 and also £250 for the highest aggregate of time points, which with her heat wins boosted her earnings to about £1800 -roughly the same as Pot Luck's full share of the spoils.
Australians Joy's John (Victoria) and Lady Childewood (Western Australia) had gained a few qualifying points, but did not stay around for the last day of the meeting, when Joy's John would have been able to contest the Final.
The great Indianapolis, off the winning list since he won his third successive New Zealand Cup in 1936, took a consolation race from 60yds, with the crowd cheering the old favourite home, in the hands of Doug Watts. Lou Thomas won the other consolation with Glenrossie.
Credit: Ron Bisman & Taylor Strong in Interdominions the Saga of Champions
R J HUMPHREYS
The death has been reported of Logan Derby, a champion racehorse and a highly successful sire. Logan Derby was for the last year or two located at Mr J M Connolly's Orari stud. Logan Derby was 26 years old.
He was one of the most widely travelled pacers raced in NZ and Australia. He raced in every state in Australia where there was trotting, and also in Tasmania and NZ. he made several trips to Perth at a time when the means of transport were much slower than they are today.
Logan Derby, sire of the two-mile world's champion pacer, Johnny Globe 4.07 3/5 and champion trotter Vodka (3.26, 13f), combined the prepotent strains of Globe Derby and Logan Pointer, both never waning influences for speed and stamina. Logan Derby was by Globe Derby from Bell Logan, by Logan Pointer(imp) from Curfew Bell, by Wildwood(imp) from Bonnie Bell, by Lincoln Yet from an Arab mare.
Logan Derby won more than 60 races and more than £10,000 is stakes prior to 1943 when prizemoney was less than half what it is today. Logan Derby proved both a brilliant sprinter and pronounced stayer and the smoothness of his gait made him at home on both big and small tracks. His consistency and eagerness for the fray earned for him the greatest popularity in all parts of Australia and NZ. He had a mile record of 2.04 against time, averaged under 2.08 in a race of 10 furlongs, 2.09 for 12 furlongs, 2.07 1/2 for two miles, and he was a foolproof racehorse.
In NZ Logan Derby started seven times for three wins and four places. He finished third in the NZ Cup in 4.19 2/5 and in a later event was second in a tick under 4.15 after giving the winner a start of 36 yards. In the November Free-For-All, from a barrier start, he bettered a 2.08 rate for 10 furlongs in beating a field of high-class performers, including Pot Luck, Parisienne, Supertax, Harold Logan, Grand Mogul, Lucky Jack, King's Warrior and Plutus. Following this fine performance, Logan Derby won twice over two miles in 4.22 1/5 and 4.18 1/5.
At the 1936 Championships at Perth Logan Derby went right through without a single defeat, and in another visit to Perth earned Championship honours with his aggregate of points. In a mile race he did 2.05 1/2 from a barrier start, and his 2.09 rate for one mile and a half broke the previous Western Australian race record.
In 'Globe Derby's Greatness,' a book dealing with the career of Australia's phenomenal producer - Logan Derby is referred to as possessing the endurance of a camel and the heart of a lion. He was a model of docility as was his world-famous son, Johnny Globe.
Logan Derby, as the sire of Johnny Globe, Vodka, Rellek and numerous other winners in the Dominion, made his fame as a sire fairly late in life. He was only a moderate stud success in Australia, and was 16 years old when the late F J Smith, of Village Farm, Auckland, bought him fron Mr J P Stratton, Perth, in 1946. Johnny Globe, Vodka and Rellek all came fron Logan Derby's first NZ crop. Logan Derby sired 44 individual winners during his stud career.
Credit: NZ Trotting Calendar 10Jul57
The death occurred in Christchurch recently of Mr G Mouritz who, for more than 30 years, was a trotting trainer and driver in Canterbury.
Mr Mouritz was born in Australia and he came to NZ more than 30 years ago. He was private trainer for Sir John McKenzie for a time and while with him he trained and drove Taxpayer to win the NZ Sapling Stakes and the NZ Derby Stakes. Mouritz also drove two fine pacers in Wild Guy and Supertax to win races.
In partnership with Mr C Campbell, he bred a number of winners, including Petite Yvonne, one of the best mares raced in NZ in the last 10 years.
In the photo, George Mouritz is seen returning to scale at Greymouth with Elsinore, dam of Robalan, after the first of her three wins
Credit: NZ Trotting Calendar 16May62
Bob Townley, 'Doody' and Alec's older brother, died on Sunday at the Accolade Lodge, Rangiora. Aged 82, Bob was the eldest of 10 Townley children, two of whom are left alive.
Townley drove some of the great names in harness racing, notably Harold Logan, U Scott, Supertax and a good trotter in Jenny Guy. "I think he was 13 when I won the NZ Free-For-All with Harold Logan," recalled Townley last year. "But U Scott was the fastest I ever sat behind." That U Scott was to make a name for himself as a sire and then as a broodmare sire which was a paradox to Townley. "Gallant Knight was a good horse, a beauty, but at stud he left nothing," he said. "U Scott was a cranky, hard-pulling horse yet left a host of winners." According to Townley, U Scott was a two-minute pacer but never got the opportunity to try. "He would have run two minutes without any bother," he said. "U Scott was a hard-case but he could fly."
Townley trained at Winchester, Orari, Nightcaps, Papanui and for Dave Rogers, who had boxes at the Islington Hotel.
'Doody' recalls him winning the Methven Cup with Regal and many races for Henderson Hunter, including the 1940 Auckland Cup with Ned Worthy driven by the late Billy Doyle. Ned Worthy was raced by Southlander Henderson Hunter, father of the current trainer. He employed Townley to take care of his horses and it was his first job in trotting after starting off with his father, Bob senior, at Winchester. "Mr Hunter had a lot of good horses from the First Water family, and Ned Worthy won the first three-year-old race to be run in Southland in his year," Bob said after he had qualified Centre this time last year.
Credit: NZ HRWeekly 7Jun90