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PEOPLE

 

YEAR: 1963

Sir John McKenzie (left) and Sandy Stewart
ALEXANDER STEWART

Mr Alexander (Sandy) Stewart has died in Christchurch at the age of 77. After service in the First Otago Regiment, 1st NZEF, Sandy Stewart, a native of Scotland, became a groom of Clydesdale horses.

He went to Roydon Lodge in 1943 and, put in charge of U Scott - a horse who could never be trifled with - he formed one of those strange and inexplicable affinities with his fiery charge that was to grow into an obsession. After he became U Scott's acknowledged 'keeper' no one else dared to lay a hand on the horse when Sandy was on the farm, and he was very rarely off it. In fact, it was only with the greatest difficulty that George Noble was able to persuade Sandy to take an isolated holiday - he invariably had to resort to the stratagem of personally buying Sandy's rail ticket and making certain the old gentleman was still on the train when it pulled out! Sandy was never happy when he was off the place, and he invented numerous excuses in order to keep his vacations down to a bare minimum.

Of course, from time immemorial men have loved horses, and Sandy doted on U Scott; and U Scott responded to his groom's mixture of firmness, kindness and cajolery in a way that was completely uncanny to the uninitiated. Sandy groomed the horse himself, he talked to him like a Dutch uncle, he would walk any distance, scythe in hand, to gather a special treat of succulent grass or clover or thistles for his pride and joy. In short, Sandy Stewart was dedicated to U Scott, as dedicated, probably, as humanly possible.

Sandy became a walking encyclopaedia on U Scott, U Scott's progeny and their performances - here and abroad - and of U Scott's siring sons and producing daughters. Nothing worth knowing about U Scott or written about him ever escaped Sandy Stewart's notice. For Sandy there was no horse like U Scott, or ever could be again.

Sandy also knew practically everbody who sent a mare to U Scott and visited the stud as a result, and he was well liked by all those same people, and by other owners and trainers, and by pressmen who marvelled at his innate horsesense - the man who succeeded in calming the boisterous spirits of the greatest sire in Dominion light-harness history, a horse who might not have scaled the heights he did as a progenitor if Sandy Stewart had not been constantly at his beck and call to curb his strong will.

Credit: NZ Trotting Calendar 25Sep63

 

YEAR: 1962

U SCOTT

U Scott sire of champions of both gaits and the winners of over 1,000,000 in stakes in three countries - NZ, Australia and the USA - died at Roydon Lodge Stud las week. U Scott was in his 31st year. He had become a living legend.

Class and breeding were strongly ingrained in the conformation of U Scott, a compact, handsome, jet black horse, standing 15.3 hands at maturity, with a bloodlike, clean-cut head in character with the standardbred monarch he was to become. An abundance of what the geneticists call nerve force, coupled with a 'Latin' temperament inflamed from time to time by his life-long affliction of an internal abscess in a foot, made U Scott an animal with whom no liberties could be taken - but one man, in particular, succeeded in calming the boisterous spirits of U Scott.

Andrew (Sandy) Stewart was the stud groom who put in charge of U Scott in 1943 formed one of those strange and inexplicable affinities with his rebel charge that must have been the inspiration for more than one great animal narrative, such as 'Black Bess', 'Lassie' and the current television feature 'Fury'. Sandy's affinity with U Scott was to grow into an obsession. After he became U Scott's acknowledged 'keeper' no one else dared to lay a hand on the horse when Sandy was on the farm, and he was very rarely off it. In fact, it was only with the greatest difficulty that George Noble was able to persuade Sandy to take an isolated holiday - he invariably had to resort to the stratagem of personally buying Sandy's rail ticket and making certain the old gentleman was still on the train when it pulled out! Sandy was never happy when he was off the place, and he invented numerous excuses in order to keep his vacations down to a bare minimum.

Of course, from time immemorial men have loved horses, and Sandy doted on U Scott; and U Scott responded to his groom's mixture of firmness, kindness and cajolery in a way that was completely uncanny to the uninitiated. Sandy stropped the horse himself, he talked to him like a Dutch uncle, he would walk any distance, scythe in hand, to gather a special treat of succulent grass or clover or thistles for his pride and joy. In short, Sandy Stewart was dedicated to U Scott, as dedicated, probably, as humanly possible.

Sandy is still an active unit of the Roydon Lodge team, he became a walking encyclopaedia on U Scott, U Scott's progeny and their performances - here and abroad - and of U Scott's siring sons and producing daughters. Nothing worth knowing about U Scott or written about him ever escaped Sandy Stewart's notice. For Sandy, now in his eighties, there was no horse like U Scott, or ever could be again.

A measure of U Scott's greatness - and the tough fibre of the horse - was revealed soon after Noble arrived at Roydon Lodge from Australia in August 1941, to become private trainer to Sir John McKenzie. U Scott had been out of training for nearly two years. Put back into work, barely three months later he paced two miles in 4.16, the last mile and a half in 3.09. The abscess continued to trouble U Scott, however, and Noble was reluctantly compelled to retire him permanently. "He had sheer brilliance," said Noble. "He probably have been a two-minute horse but for the abscess - the seedy foot must have caused him acute pain at times, especially when the concussion of fast work aggravated the pressure," continued Noble, who added, "otherwise U Scott was as sound as a bell."

U Scott started life as a trotter and he took a matinee record of 2.11 at two years in America before being purchsed from his breeder, Mr J O McAllister, of Lexington, by the late Sir John McKenzie and imported to NZ in 1935. U Scott commenced racing soon after his arrival here. Converted to pacing, at his first appearance as a 4-year-old in the 1935-36 season, he finished second in the Trial Handicap at Wyndham in March to Night Voyage. He was driven that day by J Bryce, Jnr. After three unplaced performances, U Scott opened his winning accounton the first day of the South Canterbury Jockey Club's Winter meeting in May. Again driven by J Bryce, Jnr, U Scott beat Maltravers and Aid-de-Camp in the Opihi Handicap. Two starts later, U Scott was beaten into second place by Credit Funds in the Winchmore Handicap at the Ashburton County Racing Club's winter meeting.

As a 5-year-old, U Scott started 11 times for five wins and four placings, including a decisive win from a champion filly in Parisienne at Hutt Park. At six years he opened the season on a most impressive note when, at his second start, he won the Lincoln Handicap at Addington, beating William Tell and Aid-de-Camp. He was also successful in the Islington Handicap on the thrd day of the meeting. Three more wins came U Scott's way that season, his most notable being his victory over Pot Luck and Supertax in the third heat of the third qualifying race at the Inter-Dominion Championships at Addington. U Scott was trained for that race by F C Dunlevy, and was driven by F (Free) Holmes, who allowed the black stallion to run along in front. Nothing could get near U Scott in the run home, and he passed the post three lengths clear of Pot Luck. He looked a Triton among the minnows that day, and Pot Luck was no minnow! In the Grand Final, won by Pot Luck, U Scott was driven in behind, and he pulled so hard that he literally 'choked' himself and failed to finish in the money.

In all, U Scott started 30 times for 11 wins, 6 placings and 2055 in stakes. He raced in a period when prizemoney had become almost microscopic. Throughout his career, U Scott was troubled with recurring soreness in a front foot, and there is no doubt that if he had been completely sound his record on the racetrack would have been much better. He could both sprint and stay and was a racehorse of unflinching courage.

U Scott was by Scotland, 1.59 1/4, a distinguished representative of the Peter The Great line. Scotland sired 23 in the two-minute list.Scotland's dam, Roya McKinney, was a famous two-minute producer, and was by the mighty McKinney from Princess Royal, a daughter of Chimes, from whom in a direct male line stems the present USA siring sensation Adios.

U Scott's dam, Lillian Hilta, was by U Forbes, 2.21 1/2, a son of J Malcolm Forbes, 2.08, who was a half-brother (by Bingen) to Peter The Great. J Malcolm Forbes himself was described by John Hervey as one of the "most influencial" sires of his day, in fact at one time "unapproached as a progenitor of extreme early speed." U Forbes dam, Iviolette, was by Moko, a "great Futurity sire" who for many years was the premier sire at Walnut Hall Farm and headed the American sires' list in 1911.

Allarine Watts, dam of Lillian Hilta, was by Generaln Watts, 2.06 3/4, a noted son of the great fountainhead of speed, Axworthy himself. General Watts was the world champion 3-year-old trotter of 1907 and a highly successful sire with 274 standard performers to his credit. Alla P, dam of Allarine Watts, was by Palo Alto, 2.08 3/4, champion trotting stallion of the world for some years and whose record, to high wheels, still stands as the "world standard for entire horses." Palo Alto was described in early American breeding manuals as a 'half-bred' because he was by Electioneer out of the thoroughbred mare Dame Winnie. Electioneer, of course, sired (among many other celebrities) Chimes, already referred to above as the ancestor of Adios.

Lula Wilkes, fourth dam of U Scott, was a daughter of George Wilkes, 2.22, sire of Axworthy, and ons of the cornerstones of the standard breed. A noted performer and champion trotting stallion of his time, George Wilkes raced from five years to 16 years. In 12 seasons he started in 69 races (more than 200 heats) for 27 wins and 38 placings. George Wilkes became America's leading sire of the late 1870s and died in 1882 "acclaimed the founder of the most wonderful family of colt trotters that the Blue Grass (Kentucky) had ever produced..."

U Scott has become the leading sire of two-minute performers outside America with three in the list: Arania(1.57), Caduceus(1.57 2/5) and Highland Fling(1.57 4/5) and last season he equalled the long-standing record of Jack Potts by heading the Dominion sires' list nine times. Another record he cannot fail to break within a season or two is as a sire of individual winners - the only sire ahead of him in this regard at present in Dillon Hall with 397. U Scott's individual winners in the Dominion now total 371. U Scott, just over three seasons ago, passed Dillon Hall's previous record for races won, a record that had stood to the credit of Jack Potts up till the 1956-57 season. Dillon Hall passed this total during that season and U Scott has now 'distanced' them both with his total to date of well over 1750.

U Scott's two famous pacing sons, Caduceus (1.57 3/5 - he went 1.57 2/5 in the USA as well) and Highland Fling (1.57 4/5 - dual NZ Cup winner) hold the fastest mile records in the Dominion, and his other pacing celebrities include his world-famous daughter Arania, whose 1.57 against time on America's 'Red Mile' is only 1/5 second outside the mares world record; Van Dieman(4.11 2/5, NZ Cup and Royal Cup; Burns Night(Free-for-all; 3.22 1m 5f); Petite Yvonne(2.03 1/5; Free-for-all); Young Charles(4.10 4/5/0; Burt Scott(Free-for-all); Nyallo Scott(Free-for-all; 3.23 1m 5f); Samantha(2.02), Highland Air, Prince Polka, Hilda Scott, Scottish Lady, Mayneen, Bel Hamed, Monaro, Scottish Command, In The Mood, Unite, Commander Scot, Trusty Scot, Merval, Riviera, Highland Scott, Lavengro and Admit. His trotters include Ariel Scott, Fantom, Barrier Reef, Highland Kilt and Ladt Scott, all champions, and as a sire of classic winners his record is unexcelled.

U Scott's progeny have won approximately 940,000 to date in NZ, and if his Australian and American winnings could be added, the grand total would be far in advance of a millon pounds. He has eclipsed all other standardbred sires - the nearest to him, Dillon Hall, is about a quarter of a millon pounds behind. U Scott reached the head of the brood-mare sires' list in the 1957-58 season, and since then he has been runner-up more than once. U Scott's progress as a broodmare sire was painfully slow until fairly recent years, but his daughters have amply made up for their delayed action by producing such topo racehorses as Lordship, Ordeal, Durban Chief, Lookaway, Scottish Light, When, Grouse, Gentry and Fourth Edition in a relatively short period.

U Scotts sons include Noble Scott, who has topped the Australian sires' list on a number of occasions; and Highland Fling has been one of the leading sires of New South Wales for several seasons past. In NZ U Scott stallions that have left winners include Van Dieman, Scottish Star, Morano, Burns Night, Gay Piper, King Scott, Young Charles, Highland Chief, widower Scott, Scotland's Pride, Highland Kilt and by next season his world renowned son Caduceus will be back at the stud here.

-o0o-

Norman Pierce writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 24Jun80

The influence of former champion sire U Scott, brought to NZ by the late Sir John McKenzie for his Roydon Lodge Stud, continues to be strikingly demonstrated with each passing season.

In North America last season, to the end of 1979, U Scott had seven fresh 2:00 credits as a broodmare sire, giving him a total of 51 mares who have been 2:00 producers. This is five more than his own sire Scotland who was one of the premier sires of the day and finished up siring 46 2:00 producing mares. U Scott is seventeenth on the overall American broodmare sires' list which is headed by Tar Heel (290), Adios (198), Good Time (147), Knight Dream (118) and Bye Bye Byrd (100).

Other sires who spent their stud life in NZ on the American broodmare sires' list are Light Brigade with 25 2:00 producing mares, Garrison Hanover, who had 11 newcomers in 1979, with 18, Dillon Hall with 16, Thurber Frost 15, Smokey Hanover 12, and Fallacy and Johnny Globe, both 10.

They are creditable totals in a very competitive American field without having weight of numbers on their side.

Credit: 'Ribbonwood' writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 7Nov62



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