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SEA GIFT - Bargain Buy
SEA GIFT(1929) $9, 16 wins including Dominion Hcp, approx. $12,000
Here is a remarkable story because Sea Gift changed hands at a bargain price no less than three times in her career, including once from the stable of the best trainer in New Zealand. She became the best trotter of her time in New Zealand, capable of beating high class pacers at her own gait.
Sea Gift's antecedents are hidden in the 'unnamed' and 'unregistered' files but someone thought her dam, a mare by a good trotter but obscure sire, Paul Huon, good enough to send to headline new stallion, Wrack. That faith didn't last long. She was sold for $9 as a 2yo and then James Bryce picked her up for $50 at four. He realised that she had potential but it seems he was under financial pressure during the Depression. He put her up for auction with a reserve of $600, a big price for an unproven horse then.
She was passed in but later sold to Duncan McFarlane and his partner 'Bill' Archer for $500 and handed to Ernie Smith to train at Prebbleton. Sea Gift was so good she paralysed the handicapping system, meaning she had to race against the pacers to avoid starting off 100m in top class trotter's races.
She was one of few of her gait to beat pacing fields of genuine class including open grade events at Forbury Park. At one Addington Cup meeting she trotted the fastest 'two miles'(3200m) of the entire meeting, pacer or trotter, and there were a lot of races over that distance then. No trotter has done that in November since.
When Sea Gift became famous her dam, originally unnamed but now Whispering Grass, was rescued from between the shafts of a milk cart in Wellington, she was very successful for the Craddock family in Westport. She headlined a second time when one of her daughters produced the most famous Westport trotter of all - the mighty Durban Chief.
Credit: David McCarthy writing in Harnessed May2016