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HORSES

 

YEAR: 1956

Johnny Globe & D G Nyhan
JOHNNY GLOBE

Johnny Globe, the personality pacer of the Dominion over a long period, ran his last race when he finished fourth to General Sandy, Caduceus and Brahman in the NZ Pacing Championship at the Summer meeting of the NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club. This dapper little pacing gentleman made his final bow to the public when he was paraded at the New Brighton Trotting Club's on Saturday, December 1st, and he will spend the rest of his days at the stud on the property of his owner, D G Nyhan, at Templeton.

Johnny Globe retires the holder of four world records, winner of 15 free-for-alls and 42,887/10/- in stakes, the result of 34 wins and 45 places. This is the largest amount credited to any horse - galloper or pacer - won solely in New Zealand. His winnings are exceeded only by Captain Sandy, who won 43,712 in New Zealand and Australia.

Like many other champions before him Johnny Globe was sold over the bargain counter. Read in his own words how his owner-trainer-driver D G (Don) Nyhan, came to buy him: "I went over to see Mr F E Ward, of Pahiatua, before he went to England in 1948, and while there he said: 'Make me an offer for that 10-month-old colt by Logan Derby-Sandfast.' He had to be sold before he sailed and my wife offered him 50, which he accepted. The colt was very small and didn't look much of a buy at the time, as he was a late December foal and was very backward."

"I broke him in and he started to do better and look more like a colt should. After a consultation my wife and I decided to put him in the Yearling Sales at Christchurch, thinking we might show a fair profiton our buy, so he was entered; but in the meantime we went on working him, and in January (he was only actually 13 months old) he ran half a mile in 1:06 on a rough grass galloping track at Ashhurst. Needless to say, we knew we had something extra good, and withdrew him from the sales. He was then spelled and we shifted to the South Island in August, 1949."

"After winning the Timaru Nursery Stakes (his first start as a two-year-old) he was affected with his feet and, although he raced well, he was never at his best, as he was continually sore; a lot of credit goes to my wife for curing his soreness, for she spent hours a day with his feet in hot water. Of course," concluded Nyhan, "Johnny is the family pet; in fact he has always been looked on as one of the family."

Debonair Johnny! He was always that way, right through his career, extending over eight seasons. His record as a four-year-old has never been equalled, let alone bettered. During that season, 1951-52, he was the leading stake-winner with 9360. He won won eight races besides finishing a very close second to Van Dieman in the NZ Cup, and he was the first four-year-old to start in the premier event for many years; it is an extreme rarity, even today, for a four-year-old to qualify, let alone go close to winning it.

Addington was the scene of Johnny Globe's greatest triumphs, 13 of his wins being gained there. His greatest performance was undoubtedly his success in the record-breaking Cup of 1954. This event was a supreme test of speed and stamina and the time recorded by Johnny Globe, 4:07.6, shattered all previous times for the race and set new world pacing figures for a race and out of a race. Johnny Globe's 15 free-for-alls is the greatest number credited to any horse in the Dominion, his nearest rival in this department being Gold Bar, with six. Other world records held by Johnny Globe are: A mile against time on the grass at Epsom in 1:59.8; a mile from a standing start in a race in 2:01.2, and a mile and three furlongs in a race in 2:50.2. Johnny Globe also holds the New Zealand mile and a quarter record for a three-year-old, 2:37.6.

After his success in the New Zealand Cup of 1954, few opportunities in handicapping events were left for Johnny Globe, and his racing was restricted to free-for-alls and sprint events. He started at the Inter-Dominion Championships at Auckland in 1955. He was sent out a firm favourite in the Grand Final, but after receiving a check, found Tactician a shade too good over the final furlong.

There is no parallel to Johnny Globe's career in light-harness history. This grand little stayer and sprinter bore many of the characteristics of the previous public idol in Harold Logan. The Johnny Globes and Harold Logans are far too few in our sport, and Johnny's retirement - which has been well earned - leaves a void which may not be filled for some time.

Credit: 'Irvington' writing in the NZ Trotting Calendar

 

YEAR: 1954

Don & Doris Nyhan hold the 1954 NZ Cup
1954 NZ TROTTING CUP

World's record pacing figures of 4:07 3-5 were returned by the indomitable dynamo of character and courage, Johnny Globe, in wresting New Zealand Cup honours from Young Charles and Rupee in the NZ Cup at Addington on Tuesday after the most scorching and thrilling stayer's epic in harness history the world over.

Not even in the United States, the acknowledged home and stronghold of the harness racehorse, has there ever been a distance race to compare with the sizzling marathon so bravely sealed by the dapper little personality horse from Templeton.

And his trainer-driver, D G Nyhan, richly deserved all the compliments and congratulations showered upon him. Nyhan had come in for some trenchant criticism of his driving of Johnny Globe in some of his past races. Whether it was all merited was of no moment now. On Tuesday Don's handling of Johnny was in every sense a masterpiece: the perfect understanding and harmony between horse and driver was an inspiration.

Johnny Globe took 6sec to do his 48yds handicap, so from post to post he put up the incredible time of 4:05 3-5, which was 2-5 of a second faster than Greyhound's 4:06, the world's harness record, put up against time from a flying start. Greyhound, the greatest trotter of all time, put up his record on a mile track in 1939. It is only fair to add that no champion American pacer has been sent against time over two miles for more than a quarter of a century; on the other side of the medal, there are now quite a number of two-mile races in America, but nothing to compare with Johnny Globe's performance has yet been recorded.

Official sectional times were: first quarter 32 2-5secs; half-mile 64 2-5secs; six furlongs 1:35; mile 2:04 4-5; mile and a quarter 2:37; mile and a half 3:10; mile and three-quarters 3:40 4-5; full journey 4:11 3-5 (gross). From this is deducted 4sec for Johnny Globe, making his official time 4:07 3-5secs. The previous record was Highland Fling's 4:10 3-5, put up in the New Zealand Cup of 1948. Johnny Globe, when only a four-year-old, ran a close second to Van Dieman in the 1951 NZ Cup. In the 1952 race he collapsed early. Last year he lost 60 yds at the start and finished second to Adorian.

Ribands and Denbry broke badly at the start and were soon in hopeless positions. Rupee also went away at a tangle, but lost little ground before correcting his gait. Star Rosa was the early leader, giving way to Rupee with a little less than half a mile covered, where Tactician was next, ahead of Young Charles, Our Roger, Laureldale, Petite Yvonne, Soangetaha, Thelma Globe, Adorian, Au Revoir and Johnny Globe, who was fairly handy, racing on the rails.

Tactician took over from Rupee going into the back, and with a mile covered he was being trailed by Rupee, with Petite Yvonne and Young Charles next. Tactician and Petite Yvonne were closely attended by Rupee and Young Charles with a round to go, and by this time Johnny Globe had commenced his run on the outer. He was sixth approaching the half-mile, and when Tactician swung for home attended by Young Charles and Rupee, Johnny Globe was next, travelling better than anything. Young Charles headed Tactician, and momentarily looked like winning. Then Johnny Globe challenged and soon had the upper hand to beat Young Charles by half a length, with Rupee travelling strongly on the outside the same margin back. Our Roger was fourth, Au Revoir fifth, then Vedette, with a gap to Laureldale, Tactician and Thelma Globe, another gap to Soangetaha, Petite Yvonne and Star Rosa, with Denbry and Ribands bringing up the rear.

Rupee received none of the breaks in the run home. He tried to make a run between Young Charles, on the rails, and Johnny Globe, further out, inside the distance, but there was insufficient room, and he had to change course and come to the outer at a very late stage. He ran a great race for third, because the difficulties he encountered in the final furlong must have set him back a couple of lengths.

Mr C E Hoy, president of the NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club, said this was the first visit of the Governor-General (Sir Willoughby Norrie) to the Addington course, and he extended His Excellency and Lady Norrie a warm welcome, expressing the hope that this would be the forerunner of many more visits. Sir Willoughby Norrie, in presenting the gold cup to D G Nyhan, congratulated the club on it's "extremely fine meeting and the particularly good field" for the Cup. "I hope one day to own a trotter myself," said His Excellency. He understood that, between them, the horses in the Cup race had won more than 200,000 in stakes. He recalled that he had the honour of presenting the trophy and a cheque for 10,000 to Mr Bruce Elliot when Single Direct won the Grand Final of the Inter-Dominion Championship at Adelaide.

His Excellency then congratulated D G Nyhan on his "most popular win with a wonderful horse," and Lady Norrie decorated Johnny Globe with a garland of flowers. Johnny Globe was paraded down the straight, and hundreds of his enthusiastic admirers flocked round him, clapping and cheering him on his way. Old-timers declared it was the most popular win ever seen at Addington, and one veteran has seen every Cup race since Monte Carlo won the first contest in 1904. Roll upon roll of cheering broke out some yards before he reached the post and continued as he returned to the birdcage. Hundreds of people swarmed over the rails from the inside of the track and massed along the birdcage fence to pay homage to the most idolised horse in light-harness history.

The on-course totalisator turnover for the race was 28,427, compared with 28,331 last year. The off-course figures were 29,826 10s, against 29,815 10s last year. This year the sum of 51,524 15s was invested on the double, of which 35,244 came from off-course investments and 16,280 15s on the course. The off-course double figures last year were 49,031, and the on-course figures 14,592 5s, a total of 63,623 5s, the record to date. This year's on-course total was 182,056 10s, compared with 179,170 15s last year. The off-course figures this year were 140,435 5s (a record for Cup day) against 134,707 last year.

For the third year in succession the winner was sired by a son of the immortal Australian sire Globe Derby. Mobile Globe (1952) and Adorian (1953) are both sons of Springfield Globe, and Johnny Globe is by Logan Derby, himself a champion. Johnny Globe is out of Sandfast, by Sandydale (imp) from the American pacing mare Slapfast, a yearling record-holder in the States in her day, and who was imported to the Dominion by Sir John McKenzie. Slapfast was sent up for auction at Tattersalls in 1935 and brought only 12gns. She was eventually passed on to the late Mr F E Ward, of Pahiatua, who bred Sandfast and Johnny Globe. Nyhan bought Johnny Globe as a 10-month-old foal for 50, and he has now won 26 races and 32,395 in stakes, which brings him very close to Highland Fling's Dominion record of 32,920.


Credit: 'Ribbonwood' writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 10Nov54

 

YEAR: 1954

GREAT RACES: JOHNNY GLOBE

In 1954, Johnny Globe was a 7-year-old and making his fourth attempt at the New Zealand Cup. He had been a good and close second to Van Dieman as a 4-year-old; sensationally collapsed the following year when a hot favourite, and second from 60 yards to Adorian the year before.

He was off 48 yards this time, but such was the quality of the field before him, Johnny Globe was only given a sentimental chance of winning, particularly as Rupee was among those off the front. The record of first starters during the first half century of the Cup was overwhelming and Rupee was among those along with the tough and in-form Denbry and the Australian champion Ribands, who would be handled by Sydney's Jack Watts from 18 yards for trainer Charlie Muddle.

The stellar field also included previous winners Adorian and Mobile Globe and subsequent winner Our Roger along with Soangetaha, Tactician, Vedette and an evergreen and notoriously unsound 8-year-old Young Charles. But Rupee dominated the discussions and 'Ribbonwood' summed it up in the NZ Trotting Calendar a week earlier..."With the possible exception of Indianapolis and Highland Fling, no pacer has arrived in Cup class with more convincing credentials than those held by Rupee." A 5-year-old horse by the NZ Derby winner Gold Chief and bred from a line of unnamed mares by Ashburton's Jack Grice, Rupee had won 10 of 12 starts going into the Cup and been most unlucky to have been beaten in the other two.

His unbeaten run had been ended the previous Easter at Addington, going down by half a head to Excelsa after being three-wide without cover for the last mile and pushed four and five-wide on the home turn. At the traditional Cup lead-up meeting in August, Rupee had made his Cup class rivals "look like hacks" in the Louisson, although Johnny Globe gave him a 60-yard start and was third, beaten less than three lengths. In the National Handicap however, Ruree and Doody Townley ran into a "copper-fastened pocket" and didn't get clear until the race was over, finishing third to Denbry and Our Roger with Young Charles fourth from 24 yards. The New Zealand Cup would be his next race.

Wrote Ribbonwood..."Rupee is a perfect beginner, as smooth a mover in the thick of a race or anywhere else for that matter as we have seen, nothing upsets him, and with any sort of run his dazzling brilliance should carry him through."

Rupee was selected to beat Ribands, who came to New Zealand with a record of 1:58.7 at Harold Park, which was only a fraction outside the world record of 1:58 3/5 for a half-mile track set by Hi Lo's Forbes in America the previous year, and proven two-miler Denbry, a son of 1941 Cup winner Josedale Grattan and a close relation maternally to the 1953 winner, Adorian.

The pre-race hype was about the height of Rupee's career however. He was unsound and raced just once more that season, beating Tactician in the Electric Stakes at Addington over Easter, and while he won fresh-up in the next two seasons, that was about all.

Rupee had been the hottest favourite on record in the Cup, carrying 4719 to win on-course compared to 1783 for the public's second elect, but sentimental favourite Johnny Globe. But when the dust had settled, Johnny Globe's win had been the most popular ever witnessed at Addington, surpassing the scenes when the grand old trotter Monte Carlo won the first Cup in 1904. Roll upon roll of cheering broke out some time before he reached the winning post and continued as he returned to the birdcage. Hundreds of people swarmed over the rails from the inside of the track and massed along the bircage fence to pay homage to the most idolised horse in light-harness history.

Wrote Ribbonwood..."World's record pacing figures of 4:07 3/5 were returned by the indomitable dynamo of character and courage, Johnny Globe, in wrestling New Zealand Cup honours from Young Charles and Rupee after the most scorching and thrilling stayers' epic in harness racing the world over. And his trainer/driver, D G Nyhan, richly deserved all the compliments and congratulations showered upon him. Nyhan had come in for some trenchant criticism of his driving of Johnny Globe in some of his past races. Whether it was all merited is of no moment now. On Tuesday, Don's handling of 'Johnny' was in every sense a masterpiece: the perfect understanding and harmony between horse and driver was an inspiration."

To put Johnny Globe's performance in perspective, the world record had belonged to Highland Fling at 4:10 3/5, an adjusted time from 60 yards, meaning the pace off the front in 1948 had been around 4:16. That time bettered Haughty's race and world record of 4:13 2/5, achieved in 1943 from 36 yards. The gross time in 1954 was 4:11 3/5, from which four seconds was deducted for Johnny Globe's 48-yard handicap.

Johnny Globe actually took six seconds to make up his handicap and was timed post-to-post in the "incredible" time of 4:05 3/5 - the fastest two miles ever recorded at that time was Greyhound's time-trial of 4:06 at the Indianapolis 'speedway' in 1939, when two-mile races for pacers and trotters were not actually uncommon in North America. Johnny Globe's time of 4:07 3/5 would remain the New Zealand Cup record for 26 years, until Hands Down recorded 4:07.2 in 1980, and the national two-mile record until metrics were introduced and then Young Quinn paced 4:06.7 for 3200m during the 1975 Inter-Dominions in Auckland.

Denbry and Ribands broke badly at the start and were soon out of it, while Rupee also tangled away, but soon recovered and took up the running from Star Rosa after half a mile, followed by Tactician, Young Charles, Our Roger, Laureldale, Petite Yvonne, Soangetaha, Thelma Globe, Adorian, Au Revoir and Johnny Globe. Tactician then took over down the back to maintain the pace and positions remained the same until Johnny Globe commenced a three-wide run with a lap to go.

He was sixth and wide at the half and fourth into line as Tactician swung for home from Young Charles and Rupee on the fence. Tactician soon caved in and Young Charles took over and momentarily looked like winning, as Rupee was denied a gap and had to swing to the outside of Johnny Globe. It made no difference though - Johnny Globe would not be denied and won by half a length over the brave Young Charles, with Rupee finishing on for third a half a length away, perhaps a little unlucky but having had his chance all the same, with a space back to Our Roger and the rest filing in with some difficulty. All the honours were however with Johnny Globe, who was decorated with a garland of flowers and paraded down the straight before "hundreds of his enthusiastic admirers who flocked round him, clapping and cheering him on his way."

"Not even in the United States, the acknowledged home and stronghold of the harness racehorse, has there ever been a distance race to compare with the sizzling marathon so bravely sealed by the dapper little personality horse from Templeton," wrote Ribbonwood.

Johnny Globe was by little Logan Derby, a champion son of Globe Derby, and he was his third consecutive grandson to score, following Springfield Globe's sons Mobile Globe and Adorian. He was from Sandfast, by Sandydale from the American pacing mare Slapfast, a yearling record-holder imported by Sir John McKenzie. Slapfast had been sent up for auction at Tattersalls in 1935 and brought only 12gns. She was eventually passed on to F E Ward of Pahiatua, who bred Sandfast and Johnny Globe.

Nyhan bought Johnny Globe as a 10-month-old colt for 50, and the Cup was his 26th win and took his earnings to 32,395 and close to Highland Fling's record of 32,920. Johnny Globe was far from finished though of course. Three-days later he toyed with the same field in the NZ Free-For-All, racing clear of Ribands, Laureldale, Petite Yvonne and Au Revoir, who finished almost in line but some distance from Johnny Globe. His 2:33 3/5 for the mile and a half from a stand broke his own national record of 2:34 and was one of just six such records he held at that point in time.

Later that season, Johnny Globe was a desperately unlucky second in the Inter-Dominion in Auckland, beaten a head by Tactician from the back mark of 48 yards. A star 4-year-old in Caduceus and Doug Watts had taken the field through the first mile and a half in a pedestrian 3:20 3/5, and Tactician's time of 4:19 3/5 from 18 yards reflected what had merely been a sprint for home. Johnny Globe, back on the fence at the half and checked by the galloping Our Roger soon after, went very wide for a run on the home turn and almost overcame the herculean task before him.

Johnny Globe would retire as a 9-year-old as the winner of 34 races (including a record 15 Free-For-Alls) from 99 starts and 42,887, a record for a standardbred of thoroughbred raced solely in New Zealand and only exceeded marginally by Captain Sandy. And he would sire from his first crop for the Nyhans the two-time New Zealand Cup winner and champion, Lordship, who would be the horse to rewrite most of his achievements and records.


Credit: Frank Marrion writing in HRWeekly 8Jun06

 

YEAR: 1954

1954 NZ FREE-FOR-ALL

Records are falling like cornstalks before Johnny Globe. On Friday he toyed with his opposition in the NZ Free-For-All to the tune of a fresh New Zealand and Australian record of 2:33 3-5 which is 2-5sec better than the previous record of 2:34 - also belonging to him.

Johnny Globe's new figures also displace Tactician's previous winning record of 2:34 1-5, and are a world record from a standing start. The world's pacing record, put up against time from a moving start, is Dr Stanton's 2:30 2-5, made in the United States in 1948.

Even after easing off towards the close of Friday's race, Johnny Globe paced his last mile in 2:01 3-5 and his last half in 60 1-5sec. He did not begin as fast as one or two others, but he was not long in reaching the lead, and thereafter the rest were confronted with a hopeless chase.

This was Johnny Globe's eighth free-for-all win - a record. On Friday his stakes-winnings reached 33,210, a record for a New Zealand harness horse or galloper - and passing the previous record of Highland Fling, who won 32,920 in the Dominion. Johnny Globe is compiling records galore - the world's pacing record for two miles 4:07 3-5; the world's race record for a mile from a standing start, 2:01 1-5; the world's grass-track record for a mile, 1:59 4-5, and the New Zealand three-year-old record for a mile and a quarter, 2:37, as well as well as the winning record, 2:37 3-5, are his other laurels.

Ribands, who lost fully 24yds at the start, proved himself a brilliant and remarkably game horse with a fine fighting spirit. He was forced to cover a good deal of extra ground, and he fought off strong challenges from Laureldale and Petite Yvonne, who were almost in line with him at the finishing post. In the circumstances, Ribands's time, 2:34 1-5, was the run of a champion. Petite Yvonne, too, earned fame with her 2:34 3-5, a world's record for a mare from a standing start, displacing her own record of 2:34 4-5 put up on the same course last Easter.

Credit: 'Ribbonwood' writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 17Nov54

 

YEAR: 1953

1953 NZ FREE-FOR-ALL

In time only two-fifths of a second outside Gold Bar's mile and a quarter Australasian record of 2:35, Johnny Globe spreadeagled the field in the New Zealand Free-For-All at Addington on Friday. He was actually easing up at the finish, otherwise he must have at least equalled the record.

From No.1 position at the barrier Johnny Globe began very fast and he led all the way. Rounding the top turn for the run home he left the opposition standing, and Adorian, his Cup victor, never looked like getting near him.

D G Nyhan received a warm and well-earned ovation on returning to the birdcage with his champion. Johnny Globe's time is a 2:04 1-5 mile rate, and it is obvious he would have gone well inside the record if anything had been capable of making him race.

Johnny Globe's winnings have now reached 21,865. He has won 21 races, including seven free-for-alls, which is one more than the previous record totals shared by Johnny Globe with Gold Bar and Great Bingen, each of whom won six of these races; Highland Fling's score was five.

Credit: 'Ribbonwood' writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 18Nov53

 

YEAR: 1950

1950 NEW ZEALAND DERBY STAKES

Johnny Globe, dogged by bad luck for most of the running in the NZ Derby Stakes, was good enough to overcome it all and get up with a brilliant last-furlong dash to shade Vivanti in a photo finish.

Drawn in the second row at the start, Johnny Globe became awkwardly placed from barrier rise. He appeared to reach clear running, racing to the three furlongs, but was immediately in a fix again and it was not until well into the straight that he was able to race clear and go in pursuit of Vivanti. If it had not been a winning run it would have been one of the real hard luck stories of the Derby, because if ever everything seemed to be loaded against a Derby horse it was in the case of Johnny Globe.

Johnny Globe had not won a classic race since he was an easy winner of the Timaru Nursery Stakes last season, but he had been a model of consistency in the interim, finishing fourth in the Welcome Stakes, second in the Manawatu Futurity Stakes, second in the Oamaru Juvenile Stakes and fourth in the Canterbury Park Juvenile Stakes, all at two years, and second in the Canterbury Three-Year-Old Stakes and third in the Riccarton Stakes, besides winning in open class at New Brighton before his Derby success on Friday.

Johnny Globe is the first New Zealand winner by a great little Australian champion in Logan Derby, who has been at stud in Auckland for some four years now. Logan Derby, by Globe Derby from the New Zealand bred mare Bell Logan, is closely related on the dam's side to the NZ Cup winner, Chamfer. Sandfast, dam of Johnny Globe, is by Sandydale (imp) from Slapfast, a mare imported from America by Sir John McKenzie as a two-year-old in 1926, and who held a yearling record of 2:22.25 in the States. Slapfast bred winners in Greatfast, Prince Roydon and Silk Lady for Sir John before being sent up for auction at Tattersalls, where she was knocked down at the gift price of 12gns and became the property of the late F E Ward, of Pahiatua.

To Rey de Oro Slapfast left a more than useful pacer in Gold Flight, who died just when he appeared on the verge of high-class form. Johnny Globe, who was bought as a yearling by D G Nyhan for 50, is Sandfast's first living foal.

Vivanti began like a rocket and led out of the straight. Going through the back the first time she dropped in behind Kapeen and was content to accept the trail until the home turn was reached, where she came through on the fence to displace Adorian, Kapeen and Irish Orator and establish what looked like a winning break until Johnny Globe got out of his predicament. Kapeen, third, was merely solid, and Irish Orator never looked like doing any better than a minor placing. Adorian failed to stay. First Victory, Dual Flight, and Regal Parade lost a lot of ground at the start, and Prince Charming reared up and took no part in the race.

The first quarter was run in 35 2-5sec, the mile in 2:13 3-5, and the full journey in the race record time of 3:15.

Credit: 'Ribbonwood' writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 15Nov50

 

YEAR: 2007

The passing of Doris Nyhan last week brought back memories of a truly fairytale chapter in NZ light harness history.

Doris, who had been in private care in recent years with failing sight, would have been 95 next month, but she is survived by husband of 70-odd years Don, 97, and sons Barry 70 and Denis 68. Barry's son Grant has a young daughter, but whether the Nyhan name in harness racing continues beyond the sons and daughters of Barry and Denis remains to be seen. Grant drove a bit in his younger days but is no longer actively involved in the game, while Kim is a licenceholder at Motukarara and has the maiden Spiderman racing at the moment, and Margot is well established as a trainer with partner Peter Davis, but has no children.

Whatever the future holds in that respect, the Nyhans will be forever associated with two of the greatest names to have graced the sport - Johnny Globe and Lordship. As per usual, luck played a large part in the purchase of the first, but Doris owned Lordship after borrowing the U Scott mare Ladyship from the Haslett family and breeding her to Johnny Globe, at a time when the champion pacer was hardly getting a mare in his initial years at stud.

Johnny Globe would be leading sire in NZ for four consecutive years in the early 70s however, and Lordship would continue in the same vein and make the Nyhans' Globe Lodge at Templeton an influential and successful nursery for over three decades and through the 90s. Denis drove Lordship to win 45 races including two NZ Cups before becoming a successful trainer in his own right, with another champion Robalan among others, while Barry managed Globe Lodge for much of Lordship's many years at stud.

Doris was born in Petone to German immigrants, George and Louise Hublitz. "George managed the Gear (freezing) Works at Petone, and I'd say that's where Doris got much of her business acumen from," said Denis. "She was a very well-organised and strong-willed person, and provided the structure to the partnership, which allowed Dad to concentrate on being a horseman without worrying about the peripheral concerns. She provided the backbone of the family and the whole show - she was a quiet achiever while us fellows got the limelight. Behind the scenes she could work with horses as easily as she could give us orders. When it came to raising us, fair to say she was a very no nonsense mother, but she was also very fair," he added.

Don was the son of trainer Dan Nyhan, who won the 1909 Auckland Cup with his own horse Havoc and drove the 1913 winner Jewel Chimes. As a young man Don was working hard to get ahead at Ashurst in the Manawatu in the 1930s when he met Doris and married her in 1936. They soon had two sons, and to 'make ends meet' as a horse trainer Don would get up at 1.30am and do a milk run around Lower Hutt before training the horses at Hutt Park. Doris had no experience with horses when they met, but would often also make the journey to Hutt Park, which would involve her driving the horses over a narrow bridge 'with no sides'.

Their first big break came when Pahiatua breeder F E Ward gave Nyhan a horse to train called Gold Flight. He was a son of Rey de Oro and Slapfast, a mare who had taken a yearling record in America of 2.22 1/4 in 1925 and had been imported soon after by Sir John McKenzie. Slapfast never grew and proved of little account however, and McKenzie sold her for a princely 12 guineas and she wound up with Ward, who had a bad back and needed a driving horse to get around as opposed to a motor vehicle.

After having some success with Slapfast at shows, and given her imported pedigree, Ward was encouraged to breed her to the successful sire Rey de Oro, who had moved to a Central Districts stud in his twilight years. "Gold Flight was a really good, fine looking horse and won around 3000 which was a lot of money during the war years," recalls Denis. Long-time NZ Trotting Calendar editor Karl Scott had been the agent in selling Slapfast to Ward, and subsequently held the little-known sire Sandydale on lease for a season at stud. After persuading Ward to send his mare to Sandydale, Slapfast produced a filly Sandfast which showed Nyhan a promising mile in 2.10 as as 2-year-old in 1942.

Nyhan decided she was worth putting aside to strengthen, but she got out of her paddock and into a nearby swamp, and was discovered buried in a bog up to her neck. After enlisting the help of some boys to get a rope around Sandfast she was saved, but she was never the same after the strain, and she was retired after one unforgettable race. Sandfast first had a colt by the Jack Potts horse Conflagrate, but she killed that one, before producing a colt by the supremely tough Globe Derby horse Logan Derby, who had also moved into the area to stand at stud not long after retiring from a long and grand racing career.

When Ward's wife passed away and he decided to return to his homeland of England, he offered the Logan Derby-Sandfast colt to the Nyhans. Don was not at all impressed with the pot-bellied and worm ridden weanling though, and also in the back of his mind was a desire to move his family to a new property in Canterbury. Out of sentimentality spurred by Gold Flight, Doris decided to hand over 50 she had been saving towards a fur coat, or "so the story goes, according to Don".

Intending to build the colt up with a view to selling and recouping the outlay, Don had a change of heart when he broke the colt in at 10 months and he showed him a half mile in a remarkable 66. The Nyhans had moved to Templeton by the time Johnny Globe won the 1950 Timaru Nursery 2YO Stakes, and the rest as they say is history. While troubled by his feet for much of his career, the legacy of standing around in swampy ground as a foal, Johnny Globe careered away with the NZ and Great Northern Derbys and almost tore off the NZ Cup the next season, at a time when only two other 4-year-olds had even attempted the race, some three decades prior. Johnny Globe was the leading stakewinner that season though with 8 wins and over 9000, and the stake for his close second to Van Dieman in the 7500 Cup alone was more than enough to build a good house.

Starting a hot favourite for the Cup the next year, Johnny Globe collapsed soon after the start and almost died, while the next year he was a certainty beaten when second to Adorian after losing 60 yards in an early skirmish. Having his fourth attempt as a 7-year-old in 1954, little 'Johnny' was given little chance from 48 yards with the likes of the brilliant Rupee off the front, but he would not be denied this day and returned to scenes never before or since witnessed at Addington. At the time wrote 'Ribbonwood' ..."World record pacing figures of 4.07 3/5 were returned by the indomitable dynamo of character and courage, Johnny Globe, in wrestling NZ Cup honours from Young Charles and Rupee after the most scorching and thrilling stayers' epic in harness racing the world over. And his trainer/driver, D G Nyhan, richly deserved all the compliments and congratulations showered upon him. Nyhan had come in for some trenchant criticism of his driving of Johnny Globe in some of his past races. Whether it was all merited is of no moment now. On Tuesday, Don's handling of 'Johnny' was in every sense a masterpiece: the perfect understanding and harmony between horse and driver was an inspiration."

Johnny Globe would retire as a 9-year-old as the winner of 34 races (including a record 15 FFAs) from 99 starts and 42,887, a record for a standardbred or thoroughbred raced solely in NZ. He was officially farewelled at Addington in December, 1956, when a huge crowd emotionally cheered and sang as a band played 'When Johnny Comes Marching Home'.

And as if one champion in a lifetime was not enough, not long after he sired another for the Nyhans in Lordship, who through the 60s would win two NZ Cups and rewrite many of his sire's records, including stakemoney and FFA races won. "Johnny Globe was not a very fashionably bred horse at the time - he suffered the prejudice against 'colonial-breds' even though his grandam was imported. He got four mares in his first season and sired (top 2YO and aged trotter) Au Fait and half a dozen mares in his second. But after siring Lordship and then when Adios came along, he started to earn some respect."

Sandydale was by Abbedale, the sire of Hal Dale, in turn the sire of Adios and grandsire of Meadow Skipper, while Logan Derby was by Globe Derby from a Logan Pointer mare and would sire other great pacers and trotters in spite of suffering similar prejudices at stud both here and in Australia. "He was really a horse born ahead of his time, and then you threw a U Scott mare into the picture to get Lordship, and it didn't really get any better. That's when horses were horses - I don't care what people say about the breed today."

Nyhan also recalls how easy it would have been for his Mother to sell Lordship to Australia "for colossal money" after he'd won his first race - the Welcome Stakes. There was a Captain Taylor buying up every good horse going at the time and he offered 6000, which would have been enough to buy the biggest and flashest house in Christchurch. Later there were lots of offers to go to Australia and America for that matter, but Lordship never left the country, because of her the best interests of the horse and the family came first."

Credit: Frank Marrion writing in HRWeekly 11Jul07

 

YEAR: 2009

Don Nyhan with Livingston Road
DON NYHAN

The death occurred in Christchurch last Sunday of Don Nyhan. Aged 99, Nyhan gained fame and respect for developing two champions - Johnny Globe and Lordship. After long and successful years on the track, they became premier sires.

Johnny Globe was champion sire four times from 1969/70 to 1972/73, and Lordship headed the list in 1979/80, and followed that by leading the broodmare list on four occasions.

Don bought Johnny Globe as a foal for his late wife Doris for 50 from the horse's Pahiatua breeder, F E Ward. He had trained his dam Sandfast for Ward, and knew she had ability after a time trial over a mile in 2.10 at Hutt Park as a 2-year-old. Johnny Globe became a crowd favourite, winning the 1954 NZ Cup from 48 yards in 4.07 3/5, which was a world record. He retired with 34 wins from 99 starts, 15 of them free-for-alls, and four world records. He was given an official farewell at Addington in December, 1956.

From the stately Globe Derby Lodge, Nyhan produced Lordship to follow in his footsteps. He won 45 races from 137 starts, and his stake earnings of $115,190 were easily a record for a thoroughbred or standardbred. He won two NZ Cups, 16 free-for-alls, and among his stock was the great Lord Module.

Among many other fine performers he trained were Dresden Lady, Gold Flight, Vagas, Au Fait, Lords and Koarakau.

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DAVID McCARTHY writing in The Press 31Oct09

Obituaries of leading horsemen often rely on lists. Lists of races won, top horses trained, trophies on the mantlepiece. After 80 years working with horses however, Don Nyhan, who died in Christchurch last week in his 100th year, was always associated with just two names - Johnny Globe and Lordship.

The two most popular pacers to grace Addington in the last six decades, their reputation was partly a reflection of the values of the of the Nyhan family itself and the esteem they earned from the racing public. Nyhan and Doris, his late wife and best friend of 70 years, were ornaments of the trotting world in its peak years, respectively racing Johnny Globe and Lordship.

Modest winners, gracious losers, their focus unaffected by success, their chief enjoyment was the friends they made in racing. They loved their horses, valued their family and devoted their lives to both. No breath of scandal ever touched the horses housed at the immaculate Globe Lodge in Templeton. The Addington public clutching their precious 10 shillings each way ticket knew they would at least get a run for their money from the horses in the black, pink-crossed sashes and sleeves, black cap.

Don Nyhan was born in Petone, the son of Dan, a successful horse trainer from Ireland, and was raised in surrounding districts. In Wellington he met Doris, the attractive and stylish daughter of family friends who had never been to a race meeting. They were married a few years later. Within a short time Doris was driving the team in fast work while Don rose at 1.30am each day for his milk round before his day's work horse training. Even in recent years few birds were singing when Don Nyhan arrived at the stables and 8pm could count as a late night for the couple. They shifted to Canterbury in 1948, first to West Melton and later Templeton.

Visiting a client returning to England one Sunday in the late 1940s, Nyhan was offered a colt from a mare which he had trained. He later described him as "a mean-looking little coot with a poor coat who had been in swamps too long". When asked about his value he replied "nothing". Doris liked him though, and emptied her fur-coat fund to take him home for 50. The colt, Johnny Globe was to pay for a lot of fur coats, winning 34 races, an unprecedented 15 free-for-alls, and a stakes-earning record of all codes in New Zealand at a time when a Cup win could buy a farm.

His win in the 1954 NZ Cup in world record time was one of the most exciting in the long history of the race. Two years before he had pulled up as a distressed favourite. For a few dramatic minutes he hovered close to death and "you could literally see the life draining from him" an eye-witness related. An emergency high-risk dose of adrenalin restored the blood flow and within 24 hours he was back to normal. As horse stories go, Seabiscuit had nothing on Johnny Globe.

After the 1954 Cup, fans on the inside of the course rushed the track amidst unforgettable scenes of affection for the great horse. Others were cheered after big races, but only Johnny Globe was cheered and applauded before them. Partly because of his head harness, the dapper little champion appeared to nod to the public in appreciation and the natural showman soon learned the ploy for further applause.

"John" as he was known, was only not human in that he could not speak, according to Don Nyhan. Even as an older stallion he allowed children to ride him bareback without complaint, and when Doris spent up to two hours at a time bathing his troublesome feet, he would rest his head on her shoulder while she read her book. When Johnny Globe made his farewell appearance, thousands sang 'When Johnny Comes Marching Home' and club president Allan Matson expressed the hope "he will leave one as good as himself".

Retired to stud at Globe Lodge and with barely 10 mares booked to him in his first year because of a bias against New Zealand-bred stallions, he fulfilled that dream by producing Lordship, bred by Doris Nyhan. Twice winner of the NZ Cup and with 45 wins in all, he was an even greater stud success than Johnny Globe had been.

Don Nyhan trained many other top horses - all with a story - yet the father and son champions dominate memories of his achievements. He worked them hard in the old fashioned way but treated them with great respect.

A noted raconter, his stories of older days in racing never varied in the telling. He had to miss the departure of so many contemporaries in recent years but kept good health until near the end. His older son, Barry, ran the Globe Lodge breeding operation and the younger, Denis, set on the path to success by being given the drive on Lordship as a youth, was to later win his own NZ Cup with Robalan.

Don Nyhan took the one big opportunity life gave him and turned it into a small industry. That he did that without any loss to his reputation or friendships in a tough business was a true measure of his long life.

Credit: Mike Grainger writing in HRWeekly 29Oct09

 

YEAR: 2010

DENIS NYHAN

Your first (Cup) win was behind Lordship in 1962. You were young then. Did any nerves affect you on the big day?

Well, you can't afford to be nervous. There is too much going on. Lordship had worked brilliantly leading up to the Cup and Russell Cooper had just crafted a beautifully built new Bryant cart which we had. It had shorter shafts. We tried it on Lordshipon the Sunday and he was fine. Everthing went well until Cup morning.

And?

We were out doing stud work (with Johnny Globe) on a lovely morning and then it started to bucket down. We just didn't know how he would handle it. That affected the confidence. As I remember it we got a beautiful run in the one-one and he handled th wet well.

He beat the great Cardigan Bay twice at that meeting but he didn't line up against him in 1963.

He galloped in the Free-For-All in 1962 but then still beat Cardy. I mean they were great horses at that time. But on the last day he felt "noddy" warming up for the first time. He developed needle splints and he hardly raced in 1963-64.

He won the Cup again in 1966, a long time apart and he gave the others a 42-yard start. He must have been a good beginner.

He was a marvel, really. In between all that trouble he still won all the best races (45 wins). As an older horse he could get on the toe at the start. One day he broke a crossbar on the cart kicking it. But when they said "go" he was off like a rocket. That day I started him out in the middle of the track, a big help if you were on a handicap because you were on your own and could angle him straight to the rail and make up the ground. I think we actually led for most of the last round that day.

What made him special to drive?

High Speed. Lordy had unbelievable acceleration. He could circle a field of top class horses - and I mean real top class horses like Robin Dundee and company - in a furlong (200m) and it just gave you an extra dimension in the race. He was also a clever horse on his feet. Very manoeuvrable in a field. A dream horse really.

Who did you model your driving style on?

Bob Young was a driver who always appealed to me. He balanced his horses up so well and he always looked in control. But there were a lot of genuinely great horsemen about then. And I learned a lot when I worked for Eddie Cobb in America.

Such as?

There wer those great horsemen operating therethen too, legendary fellas. Delvin Miller, Cobb, Stanley Dancer, John Simpson. Clint Hodgins was my special favourite. He was a big man, tall, always ice cool and alwaysseemed beautifully balanced in a cart so his size didn't seem to matter. They had two real champions then, Adios Butler who was more of a speed horse, and Bye Bye Byrd, more of a stayer. I saw Clint win a big race on Bye Bye Byrd with a great drive one night. I used to think then wouldn't it be great one day to be good enough to drive great horses like that. I never forgot it.

Robalan paced free-legged of course. There were hardly any free-legged pacers then. It must have been a gamble to take the hopples off.

Not really on looking back. At home we used to work Johnny Globe and Lordship free-legged and they were fine. They were just better with hopples on raceday. Robalan was better without them. He was a beautiful pacer actually. He won a lot of races on the smaller tracks, Hutt Park and Forbury. He could use his speed just as much as on the big ones.

He had a lot of tries before he won the Cup. Why was that?

Well,one year another driver spent all his time looking after me instead of trying to win on his own horse, but basically he wasn't really a two mile(3200) horse. Robalan had phenomenal speed over short distances, probably even faster than Lordy. When he won the Stars Travel Miracle Mile he drew the outside and just blew them away pace and ran world records. He could be a bit keen in his races wanting to use his speed, so while he could stay alright in a two mile race he could take a bit out of himself. We never worked him hard at home to keep him relaxed.

Like what?

My wife Denise (a daughter of great trotting trainer, Bill Doyle, for whom Denis drove Wipe Outin two Cups) did a lot of work and travelling with him, but I don't think from memory he ever worked faster than 4:50 for two miles before a Cup.

Only just before he won in 1974 he collapsed dramatically in a trial. What caused that?

We never found out. They went all over him but he just came right on his own, not long before the race. In the actual Cup Trial he was as good as ever.

So what are the secrets to driving a Cup winner. Does the thought of winning affect your tactics?

You don't think of winning. It is a mistake if you do. You go through processes aimed at getting the best result and that's all you can plan for. Even when you've done everything right you still need a bit of luck on your side. Winning is the best outcome but only one. And while it is like driving any other race, in theory it isn't really because of what is at stake.

Processes?

Knowing every other horse, how it races, the driver's style, checking the colours are still the same in the prelim. Working out where the best horses might be, the ones which will give you a run into the race. That is very important, following the right horse, things like that. You also have to stay cool and have disipline, like Clint Hodgins.

Disipline?

Some drivers change their styles in big races. You never saw the top American drivers do that. They adapted to each horse but they drove in their established style. You can get into trouble doing somethingfancy and different. The same spot in the field can be the best place to be and the worst.

You alway carry a watch. How important are sectional times?

Most important of all. A really good horse can feel like he is going easily when in fact he is running terrific sectionals and they can run themselves out in a big staying race without the driver being fully aware of it. You've seen them on Cup Day. You need to check that it is not happening to you. You can't make a decision on a watch but you can checkthat the ones you are making are right

Any unusual things you did?

Funny thing, I always make a point of studyingthe first race of the day. It was a trotting racebut it was over the Cup distance. I liked to see if they were going at high speed and then checking it off against the times. It gave me a feel for what the Cup might be like. The tempo of the race is everything.

It all sounds like hard work. Did you always get the right answers?

Even if youy are doing everything right you can't afford for something to go wrong at vital stages of the race. That is where the luck comes in. You always need some of it.

Credit: David McCarthy writing in The Press 6Nov2010

 

YEAR: 1948

JOHNNY GLOBE - Bargain Buy

Johnny Globe(1948) $100, 34 wins $85,375

This story has been told so often it literally has fur on it. How Don Nyhan and his wife, Doris, were visiting English expatriate breeding and saddle horse riding fan, Frank Ward, before he left to return to England. They were discussing what to do with the Ward horses in his absence. After some discussion Doris offered the $100 she had been saving for a fur coat for an unimpressive Logan Derby colt foal from Sandfast. Don went to his grave claiming he "wouldn't have given $20 for him."

It turned out to be Johnny Globe. He won 34 races(one in every three starts) and 15 Free-For-Alls(the next best in our history then, Gold Bar, won six). He retired the highest stake earner of either code raced solely in New Zealand; held four world records, and became a champion stallion. A few fur coats there! He had already made the Nyhan family fortune before he sired Lordship for Doris and he went on to break all his old man's records - a story for the ages. But was it all that it seemed?

Don entered Johnny Globe in the National Sales thinking it was the only way Doris would get her fur coat money back. Then, in what was a life changing moment, he trialled the colt over 800m on the rough old Ashhurst grass track and timed him in 1.06. Johnny Globe and the Nyhan family were headed south all right - to a West Melton stable not the sales. A pencil line went through the catalogue page.

In truth Doris Nyhan was just being practical. There was history in the stable of the family through a horse called Gold Flight, a half-brother to Sandfast. Sandfast herself had shown potential before a mishap in a bog ended her career. Johnny Globe was her first foal and apparently she hadn't done him well.

But Gold Flight had won 8 races including 3 Addington staying features for the stable and Don always maintained he was a NZ Cup horse. He died as an 8yo in tragic circumstances. The muscle powders he was treated with were banned from import to New Zealand. The Veterinary experts could find no successful replacement treatment and the old soldier just faded away

Credit: David McCarthy writing in Harnessed May 2016



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