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A court case involving a New Zealand Trotting Cup winner, a leading trainer and a well-known Canterbury owner was guaranteed to be a headliner.
The 1911 New Zealand Cup winner, Lady Clare, raced by Darfield farmer, William F Clinton, and trained at Addington by Jim Tasker was the centre of a suit for £600 damages (about half the stake of a NZ Cup in those days) against Clinton, money Tasker considered he had been denied in stake earnings by the owner's drastic actions.
Clinton had paid a hefty 165 quineas to buy Lady Clare at an Ashburton sale only a year before her Cup win. She had ability but had only won a few races. Tasker agreed to train her for 10 shillings a week (for race expenses and shoeing) the stakes evenly divided. He had trained and driven Marian to become the first mare to win the NZ Cup in 1907 and make his wife, Sarah, the first female owner though that seems a well kept secret. Tasker also bred and sold Sal Tasker, named after his daughter, an Australasian champion mare.
He imported the stallion Galindo and others from America. Tasker drove the fancied stablemate Aberfeldy in the 1911 Cup and Ashburton's Jack Brankin handled Lady Clare. She led most of the way landing big bets for Clinton. In court Tasker took exception to Clinton's lawyer Oscar Alpers claiming that he had driven Aberfeldy "on a tight rein". Justice Dennison reminded Alpers that it was not a trial for fraud. Aberfeldy started in four Cups from the stable.
Set all year for a 1912 repeat Lady Clare suffered a minor knock on a leg in October. Tasker wrote to Clinton saying he would aim at supporting features and withdraw from the Cup. Clinton, who had backed the mare heavily for the Cup threw Tasker's letter in the fire, rang the club and scratched her from all her engagements in Cup week. Tasker was furious and sued. The mare had recovered well and the club's vet passed her fit to race. Another, Dr Charlton, praised Tasker's professional approach to the mare's injury at the hearing.
The colourful Clinton was the star of the courtroom drama but destroyed his own case along the way. Described as "a bewhiskered and somewhat rustic looking figure" he confided to the judge that "of course I had had a whiskey by then" when Tasker's lawyer questioned his refusal to discuss the mare's programme with Tasker after the latter made a special trip to Tattersalls hotel to meet him. "Are you sure it was not a double?" the normally humourless Justice Dennison asked.
Clinton, one of the most successful farmers in Canterbury whose stock sales attracted buyers from all over the province, claimed the right to scratch even though the agreement with Tasker was registered. He then whispered loudly to the judge that as there were no ladies in the court he could say the words Tasker had used telling Clinton what he could do with the mare if he did not accept the terms. "That would be rather a large undertaking" Dennison dryly commented on hearing them, telling the typist to replace them with a row of stars. Clinton then made the damaging admission to the judge that the cost of his actions to Tasker was "no more than he had cost me by scratching from the Cup" - referring to his Cup bets. "Such a statement made the reason for the action of Clinton very plain indeed" the Judge told the jury in the summing up.
Tasker's lawyer Mr Stringer, questioned Clinton about incidents caused by drinking on past visits to the city in his Cadillac and whether this was another example. Clinton had appeared unsteady making his way to the witness box.
Clinton: "That is a personal question and I refuse to answer"
Stringer: "Haven't you in fact had a glass too much this morning?"
Cliton: "That is a very personal question and I won't answer"
At the end of the show the jury absolved Tasker of any Blame ans awarded him £350 in damages. Another sensation passed into history.
Jim Tasker is still the only trainer to win NZ Cups with two different mares. In a bizarre coincidence the 1944 winner, Bronze Eagle from a family Tasker had had for 40 years, was bred, owned and trained by his son, Cliff, until a few months before the race. Tasker lost possession of the horse in a marriage settlement. His former wife gave it to her son, William Suttie, of Springston, the official owner. In another coincidence George Noble, like Brankin, only got the drive because trainer Roy Berry opted for inform stablemate, Pacing Power. Bronze Eagle had several Cup starts and sired the near champion filly, Vivanti, an early star for Cecil Devine.
Tasker retained Bronze Eagle's half-brother, Sir Michael, which won the NZ Free-For-All and NZ Derby for him some years later. The Tasker maternal line starting with Mavourneen were shy breeders and the Group 1 winners were Lady Bridget's only foals over many years.
William Clinton, whose family remains prominent in West Canterbury, died suddenly in 1915 triggering the biggest farming sale in Canterbury for years. He had also bought and raced the high class little roan trotter Muricata, good enough to be nominated for a NZ Cup against the pacers. Adding insult to injury she was run down late in the 1913 Dominion Handicap by the Tasker-owned Michael Galindo. Sold in 1917 Muricata left the dual NZ Cup winner, Ahuriri, and another top class pacer, the pony roan Taraire, later winner of the Pacing Championship in Perth which preceded the Inter-Dominion.
The NZ Cup association did not end there. Luxury Liner the record breaking 1987 winner had as his fifth dam none other than William Francis Clinton's fine staying mare, Lady Clare.
Credit: David McCarthy writing in HRWeekly 26Jun1911
1911 SPRING MEETING: TUESDAY 7 NOVEMBER
In the history of sport in New Zealand nothing has been more remarkable than the wonderful development of trotting within recent years, both as regards the quality of the racing and also its increasing popularity with the public. Nowhere has that development been more marked than in Canterbury, and more particularly in Christchurch, where the leading Club, the New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club, has firmly established itself as the leading institution of the kind in Australasia. Since that Club established itself at Addington it has never looked back, and at its headquarters there it boasts of a course and appointments that challenge comparison with the best in the Dominion.
Its Spring Meeting has for a number of years past held a very important place in the programme of Carnival Week in Christchurch, but last year it was decided to take a bold step and endow the leading event of the Meeting with a stake of £1000, the first occasion on which such an amount had been offered for a trotting race in the colonies. At the time there were those who were doubtful as to the wisdom of such a forward policy, but the interest aroused by the race showed that the Club's committee was more than justified in its decision, so the stake for this year's New Zealand Cup was fixed at the four-figure sum, and the handicap limit was reduced.
The race was the chief event on the card for yesterday, the opening day of the 1911 November Meeting, and favoured by beautiful weather at the start the Club's officials had the pleasure of seeing a very large attendance. Towards the close of the day a fierce nor'-wester sprang up, but those who remained to the close of the proceedings were evidently too much engrossed with the interesting sport provided to trouble much about minor discomforts.
The gathering of spectators was a very representative one, visitors being present from all parts of the Dominion, and commodious as is the grandstand which did duty for the first time twelve months ago, it was more than filled during the afternoon. Among those present were Sir Robert Lockhart, of Auckland; the Hon J D Ormond, MLC; Major-General Godley, Lieutenant-Colonel Burnett-Stuart, Lieutenant-Colonel Heard, Messrs J B Harcourt, J W Abbott, A Duncan, J E Henrys and J H Pollock, of Wellington; Mr C F Mark, of Auckland, Mr P Miller of Dunedin; Messrs G King, W and G Callender, Bruce Christie, T H Davey, MP, G Witty MP, and G W Russell MP.
The grounds have never looked better, the various parts of the enclosure giving evidence of the care bestowed on them, while the track was in capital order, as was proved by the times registered during the afternoon. That the people had come determined to support their fancies freely was soon made apparent, the totalisator investments for the day reaching the large sum of £27,418, as against £17,036 10s on the corresponding day last year, when a large number of bookmakers were doing business. Of the sum invested yesterday, the New Zealand Cup was responsible for the record sum of £6096 10s, easily the largest yet invested on a trotting event in the Dominion.
The most notable of the improvements effected since the last Meeting at Addington, has been thev building of a new totalisator house to meet the requirements of the ten-shilling investors, both inside and outside the building is one of the most complete and conveniently-arranged strustures of its kind in New Zealand, but the staff working in it did not handle all the money that apparently was available for investment, though this was mainly due to the dilatoriness of the backers themselves.
The feature of the day's racing was, of course, the contest for the New Zealand Cup, of 1000 sovs, for which there were eleven starters out of the original entry of fourteen. Al Franz, who was reported to have shown some remarkable trials, was made a solid first favourite, with the bracketed pair, Dick Fly and Redchild, both trained by M Edwards, second in demand. Next in favour was another bracket, Aberfeldy and Lady Clare, hailing from J Tasker's stable, and then came Bribery, Medallion, Bright and Havoc, the outsiders of the party being Wilkie, who ran fairly well for a good portion of the journey, and Imperial Polly.
So far as the winner is concerned, the story of the race is soon told, for Lady Clare was quickest to begin of the limit division, and at once going to the front, never lost her place, and lasted long enough to win by a bare length from the fast-finishing Dick Fly, whe beat Al Franz by a neck. The favourite was given a good chance of justifying his reputation, but failed in the final pinch. Redchild finished close up behind Al Franz and was followed by Aberfeldy. Medallion stood on the mark, and took no part in the race, while Bribery only went about once round and came in very lame.
From a monetary point of view, the next most important event was the Middleton Handicap, for unhoppled trotters, which, after looking at one stage as if it would be an easily won race, produced an interesting finish between Coiner and Muricata. The latter might have reversed positions with the winner had she not been kept so wide out when runninng in the lead.
The Spring Handicap, with which proceedings opened, was won easily by The Next, who, handicapped on 5.15, cut out the two miles in 4 57 2/5 sec. The Ladies' Bracelet produced the usual large field, but it was not a very interesting race, for Aotearoa and Lady Rattoo had the finish to themselves, drawing right away from the rest of the field.
Adonis, a half-brother to Wildwood Junr, last year's New Zealand Cup winner, was sent out a strong favourite for the Empire Handicap, the principal saddle race of the day, and he gave his backers very little anxiety, winning with a good deal in hand from the consistent Miss Florrie C. The Riccarton Handicap brought about the downfall of a strong favourite in Andy Regan, the winner, Schoolgirl, paying the best dividend of the day.
In the Au Revoir Handicap, Princess Tracey was staunchly supported, and though she had to be shaken up at the finish to stall off Little Tib's final run, she won in fast time. The final event, the St Albans Handicap, was, next to the New Zealand Cup, the best betting race of the day, but the public were somewhat astray, as the first favourite, Dayspring, was never really dangerous, and Iola, the second selection, could not see the journey out, being outstayed by Blue Rose. Details of the racing are:-
SPRING HANDICAP (in saddle) of 150 sovs; second 22sovs and third 15 sovs from stake. 5.15 Class. Two miles.
Fanning and Wilson's b g The Next, by Robin Hood-Rothschild mare, 3yrs, 11sec (A Wilson) 1
E E Lelievre's ch g Moa Dillon, 5yrs, 3sec (A Butterfield) 2
J A August's b g Link, aged, 4sec (Owner) 3.
Te Kuiti scr, Treasure Seeker scr, Nancy Marley 1sec, Lord Cardigan 5sec, Francita 7sec, Armamenter 7sec, Dorothy D 11sec, Clinton 11sec, Lucky Child 11sec, Irvy Woodburn 11sec and General Black 11sec also started.
Irvy Woodburn, The Next, and Fancita made the early running, and led past the stand, with Moa Dillon at the head of the others. In the last lap Irvy Woodburn was beaten, and The Next came away, and won easily by 10 lengths from Moa Dillon, who was eight lengths in front of Link, with Irvy Woodburn next. Time 4min 57 2/5th sec.
LADIES' BRACELET HANDICAP (in harness) 0f 75 sovs; second 7 sovs and third 3 sovs from stake. One mile and a half.
Mrs W S Wootton's blk m Aotearoa, by Mauritius-Ivy Dean, 5yrs, 6sec (Mr W S Wootton) 1
Mrs D J Clarke's b f Lady Ratoo, 3yrs, (Mr J Cass) 2
Miss I Wright's br m Merry May, aged, 10sec (Mr E S Harper) 3.
Lincoln Junr 1sec, Posie G 2sec, Prince Raynard 3sec, Welcome Jack 3sec, Eunice 3sec, Innisfail 6sec, Belle Elmore 6sec, Corbell 6sec, Wallet 6sec, Blooming Heather 6sec, Black Link 6sec, Gee Whiz 7sec, Winter Rose 7sec, Royal Child 6sec (coupled with Posie G), Cynisca 8sec, Pleasant Child 8sec, Yellow Ribbon 8sec and Bessie Child 10sec (coupled), Maggie Wylie 109sec and Lincolnette 10sec (coupled with Merry May) also started.
Aotearoa ran to the front after going half a mile, and, with Lady Ratoo, cleared right out from the remainder of the field. Aotearoa held her place throughout, and was never troubled, winning easily by twelve lengths from Lady Ratoo, who was four lengths clear of Merry May, with Maggie Wylie next. Time 3min 47sec.
NEW ZEALAND CUP HANDICAP (in harness), of 1000 sovs; second 200 sovs and third 100 sovs from stake. 4.40 class. Two miles.
W F Clinton's b m Lady Clare, by Prince Imperial, 6yrs, 4sec (J Brankin) 1
S Tapp's b g Dick Fly, aged, 2sec (M Edwards) 2
E Bowes's b h Al Franz, 6yrs, 4sec (C Kerr) 3
J Preece's b h Bright, 6yrs, scr (T Frost)
D Nyhan's b h Havoc, 6yrs, 1sec (Owner)
J Jeff's b g Wilkie, aged, 1sec (R McMillan)
J G McConochie's br g Aberfeldy, aged, 2sec (J Tasker)
G Clarkson's b g Redchild, aged, 3sec (B Edwards)
L Dorie's br h Bribery, 6yrs, 4sec (F Holmes)
Quirk & Shaw's b h Medallion, aged, 4sec (E McKewen)
G Hood's b m Imperial Polly, aged, 4sec (Owner)
(Aberfeldy and Lady Clare, and Dick Fly and Redchild were coupled).
The field did not get away at the first attempt, owing to Bribery's driver being over-anxious. When they were sent away, Medallion refused to leave the mark. Lady Clare at once took the inside running, with Imperial Polly, Al Franz and Dick Fly next. This was the order running round the turn and into the straight. Passing the stand the first time Lady Clare was showing the way to Imperial Polly, Dick Fly and Wilkie, while Bright, Aberfeldy and Havoc were at the head of the rest of the field, which was at this stage very much strung out. There was practically no change going out of the straight and along the back, but at the tanks Al Franz had run into second place. Rounding the turn into the straight for the second time Lady Clare still held her place in front, with Al Franz, Dick Fly, Imperial Polly and Aberfeldy next in order, while Havoc and Redchild were coming fast on the outside. Going round the turn out of the straight and along the back, Lady Clare had as her nearest attendants Al Franz, Dick Fly and Redchild, close together, with Havoc and Aberfeldy next, the field now being well bunched. Turning into the straight for the final round, Al Franz was in second place behind Lady Clare, with Dick Fly, Aberfeldy, Bright and Havoc close up next. Dick Fly put in a strong run in the final stages, but though he cut down Al Franz, he could not reach Lady Clare who won by a length. Al Franz was a neck behind Dick Fly, with Redchild a similar distance away fourth. Then came Aberfeldy, Bright and Havoc. Time, 4min 38sec.
Bribery was pulled up after going a round, and walked in very lame.
EMPIRE HANDICAP (in saddle), of 175 sovs; second 25 sovs and third 17 sovs from stake. 5min class. Two miles.
J Dennett's b h Adonis, by Harold Dillon-Thelma, 4yrs, 10sec (R Reay) 1
J H Olliver's b m Miss Florrie C, aged, scr (A Pringle) 2
M J Groat's br h Ferira, 6yrs, 16sec (E S Groat) 3
Electrocute 2sec, Bonification 5sec, Prince Wilkin 6sec, Wild Tree 8sec, Havelock 11sec, Esma 12sec, Gladsome 12sec, Rolf Boldrewood 14sec, Bellwind 15sec, and Wild Victor 16sec also started. (Miss Florrie
C and Havelock were coupled)
Havelock and Ferira led past the stand the first time, with Adonis next, but in the second round Adonis took charge, and showed the way in the straight to Ferira, with Gladsome and Prince Wilkin next, with Miss Florrie C closing on the leaders. In the last lap Miss Florrie C took second place, but though hard ridden she was unable to trouble Adonis, who won comfortably by two lengths. Ferira was a dozen lengths away third, followed by Gladsome and Prince Wilkin. Time 4min 47 1/5 sec.
RICCARTON HANDICAP (in harness), of 150 sovs; second 22 sovs and third 15 sovs from stake. 3.48 Class. One mile and a half.
A Smith's b m Schoolgirl, by Mambrino King-Factory Girl, aged, 8sec (Owner) 1
W Quirk's gr g Andy Regan, 3yrs, 10sec (J Rainey) 2
N Clegg's b m Childe Beldon, 5yrs, 10sec (R H Wright) 3
Fuseo scr, TFC 1sec, Prince Rufus 2sec, Pinewood 4sec, Onawa 7sec, Hazelfield 8sec, Lord Heathcote 10sec, Nancy Marley 10sec, Kini 10sec, Lady Disdain 10sec, Wallace M 10sec, Lyonette 11sec, Idaho 12sec and Delia 12sec also started.
Childe Beldon quickly ran to the front, and at the end of a lap was showing the way to Schoolgirl, Lady Disdain and Idaho, with Andy Regan coming fast on the outside. Going along the back Andy Regan overhauled Lady Disdain and Idaho, and rounding the turn started to close on Schoolgirl, who had displaced Childe Beldon. Schoolgirl, however, stalled off his challenge, and won by two lengths. Childe Beldon was a dozen lengths away third, with Idaho fourth and Kini next. Time, 3min 34 3/5th sec.
MIDDLETON HANDICAP (in saddle), of 200 sovs; second 30 sovs and third 20 sovs from stake. For unhoppled trotters. 5.15 Class. Two miles.
Quincey scr, Rothville 5sec, Violet M 11sec, Lignite 11sec, Treasure Seeker 11sec, Sir Joe 14sec, Lord Cardigan 16sec, Lula Child 16sec, Clevewood 16sec, Miss Ngapara 16sec, Woodbell 17sec, Salt Air 19sec, Prince Gift 19sec and JCH 22sec also started.
Muricata began well, and passing the stand was well clear of Lula Child, with Coiner at the head of the next bunch. There was very little change in the order for the first mile, but starting the second half of the journey Coiner had taken charge from Muricata, who covered an unnecessary lot of ground, Lula Child being in third place, and JCH next. Turning into the straight Muricata challenged Coiner, but the latter lasted long enough to win by a length; Ngarata was fifty yards back third, with Lula Child and JCH next. Time, 4min 52sec.
AU REVOIR HANDICAP (in harness) of 150 sovs; second 22sovs, and third 15 sovs from stake. 2.27 Class. One mile.
M Edwards's b f Princess Tracey, by Prince Imperial-Traceywood, 3yrs, 8sec (Owner) 1
D Spence's b g Little Tib, 6yrs, 5sec (J Messervey) 2
Mrs J Austen's b f Clotah, 4yrs, 8sec (T G Fox) 3
Piecework scr, Troubadour 5sec, Elsa Huon 5sec and Ripon Child 6sec also started.
Princess Tracey at once went to the front and passing the stand was well clear of Clotah and Ripon Child. Going out of the straight and along the back Princess Tracey established a commanding lead. In the last half-mile Little Tib took second place, and set out in pursuit of Princess Tracey, who, however, won by a couple of lengths. Clotah was fifty yards away fourth, with Ripon Child fourth and Piecework next. Time, 2min 21sec.
ST ALBANS HANDICAP (in saddle) of 150 sovs; second 22 sovs, and third 15 sovs from the stake. 2.27 Class. One mile.
J Preece's b m Blue Rose, by Rothschild-Wild Rose, 6yrs, 6sec (H Frost) 1
J Bernard's br m Iola, 5yrs, 6sec (R Reay) 2
J A Buckland's ch m Dayspring, 5yrs, 5sec (J McLennan) 3
Bellis scr, Millie C scr, Ianto 3sec, Prince Randle 3sec, Ashwood 4sec, Pinewood 4sec, Dollar Princess 6 sec, Ned Corbett 6sec and Viewmont 6sec also started.
Iola was quickest to begin and led past the stand followed by Blue Rose, Ianto and Dayspring. Iola showed the way all along the back, but turning into the straight Blue Rose closed on her, and having the leader's measure a furlong from home, won by three lengths. Dayspring was a length behind Iola, with Pinewood fourth, the rest of the field a long way back. Time 2min 21 1/5th sec.
Credit: The Press 8Nov1911