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HORSES

 

YEAR: 1964

BLUE MOUNTAIN

Blue Mountain, one of the top pacers in the Dominion in his day, died recently in his 37th year.

Blue Mountain, at the time of his death, was being cared for on the property of Mr O H Sprott, Pendarves. He was grey in colour when registered as a 3-year-old in 1930, but was pure white in later years. Blue Mountain commenced racing as a 4-year-old, and was retired at 10 years.

J M Maconnell, who trained at Drummond, Southland, first produced Blue Mountain, who was later trained by E Todd at Wyndham. After he won his way out of Southland classes, Blue Mountain was transferred to L A Maidens's Methven team, and for a short time after that was trained by J S Shaw at Addington, only to be taken over again by Maidens, for whom Blue Mountain won the majority of his races.

In 1934, Blue Mountain finished second to Indianapolis in the NZ Cup, and in the same year won the Ollivier Handicap in 4.17 3/5. Blue Mountain also finished third in the Auckland Cup to Roi l'Or and Worthy Light. He took a record of 2.38 3/5 for one mile and a quarter, and won 16 races altogether.



Credit: NZ Trotting Calendar 3June64

 

YEAR: 1969

E 'DOODY' TODD

One of NZ's most successful trainers, Mr E 'Doody' Todd died at Invercargill last week at the age of 75. One of the 'old school' of traiers, Mr Todd enjoyed a long association with trotting.

Mr Todd turned his attention to training horses after World War I, during which he worked in the Wyndham coal pits. He based his training operations at Wyndham, and later acquired land at Menzies Ferry, maintaining that a private property was vital in training.

Mr Todd was associated with many outstanding horses, the more notable ones including Blue Mist, Barrier Reef, Rocks Ahead, Nell Grattan, Tactics, Mandrake and Will Cary. Other winners to pass through Mr Todd's hands included Sungauge, Blue Mountain, Journey's End, Sure Harvest, Blue Blood, Lynwood, Carver Doone, Willowbank, All Sunshine, Scarlett O'Hara, Dan McGrew, Elation, Happy Night, Quick Trick, Morning Sun, Dame Rumour, Volo Bond and Icilma.

Blue Mist, a former world champion pacer over a mile and a half with her 3:03 1/4 against time on the Banbury track in Western Australia, set in April 1953, reached her greatest heights under the care of Addington trainer, C H Fairman, but much of the credit for developing her rested with Mr Todd. Barrier Reef(2:07 3/5) was one of the outstanding trotters of his time, and Nell Grattan and Tactics were both well performed members of the noted First Water family to which Rocks Ahead, who won 16 races and established one of it's best branches, belonged.

Mr Todd achieved the unique distinction of winning successive races at the Wyndham Totting Club's autumn meeting in April 1949, with Blue Mist. The races were the Edendale and the Final Handicaps. Mr Todd drove her in both wins. The Invercargill Trotting Club's meeting in 1935 was one which Mr Todd had good reason to look back on with fond memories. He achieved a feat probably unequalled in Southland trotting when he produced five successive winners. The winners were All Sunshine (Invercargill Trotting Club Handicap), Royal Drive(Crescent Handicap), Journey's End(Travis Memorial), Lynwood(Members' Handicap) and Rocks Ahead(Takitimu Handicap). Mr Todd drove four of those winners.

One of his sons, Ray, a former Southland Rugby representative, is farming at Wyndham. He has inherited his fathers' love of horses and has been a trainer for some years. Ray Todd was responsible for the education and early training of Le Chant and Stylish Major, both champion trotters.

Credit: NZ Trotting Calendar 19Nov69

 

YEAR: 1935

George Barton receives the Cup from Sir Heaton Rhodes
1935 NEW ZEALAND TROTTING CUP

Refer also 1934 Cup for comment.

Indianapolis, a son of imported parents in Wrack and Estella Amos, was bred at Durbar Lodge by Harry Nicoll's son Arthur and bought as an early 3-year-old by Dunedin's George Barton, the leading owner each year for a decade during this time, on the recommendation of Billie Tomkinson.

The entire was in 'star class' by the end of his 4-year-old season, but Tomkinson had died prior to the 1934 Cup and Indianapolis was prepared by his right-hand-man Claude Dunleavy for the remainder of his career.

His first Cup win was a mere formality from 12 yards over Blue Mountain(Fr) and Harlod Logan(72yds), but there was another star on the horizon at the meeting that year in the form of War Buoy, who was in the process of putting together an unbeaten career of 10 wins, a sequence that remained unmatched until Cardigan Bay eclipsed it some 30 years later.

War Buoy took his record to 15 wins from 17 starts when he won the August Handicap at the National Meeting as a 5-year-old, so as the Cup loomed with War Buoy off the front and Indianapolis off 48 yards, there was much anticipation. Particularly when War Buoy skipped six lengths clear turning for home for Stan Edwards, but Indianapolis was commencing his run at the same time six-wide and in the end had three lengths to spare.

It was no less exciting the following year when Indianapolis(48yds) became the first three-time winner after a great tussle with Red Shadow(24yds), War Buoy(Fr) and Harold Logan(48yds). A rejuvenated Red Shadow, back in the Bryce stable, had skipped clear at the three furlongs while Indianapolis appeared to be languishing in the rear. But with giant strides, Indianapolis drew level at the 100m for Jack Fraser and came away to confirm his status as one of the greatest stayers ever seen.


Credit: New Zealand HRWeekly 8Oct03

 

YEAR: 1934

1934 CHRISTCHURCH HANDICAP

800 sovs: 4min 27sec class: Two Miles

One of the most thrilling performances in light-harness history was Indianapolis's victory with a broken hopple in the Christchurch Handicap at Addington in 1934.

The gear came adrift soon after the start and the horse went in danger of tripping on the broken hopple all through the race.

This incident will always be related with bated breath by those who saw the late E C McDermott take the risk and bring the champion home at the head of the field. Glenrossie was second.

-o0o-

THE PRESS 10 Nov 1934

The Christchurch Handicap produced one of the most remarkable performances ever registered on a New Zealand racecourse and established once and for all the greatness of Indianapolis.

At the end of a furlong he broke one of his hopples and from then on he was hoppled on one side and free-legged on the other. As he went past the stand the first time he was well back in the field and with the straps swinging round his legs it was thought he would be pulled up.

His driver E C McDermott, however, elected to go on with the race and the horse showed great speed to bury the rest over the last three furlongs. It was a magnificent display of pacing, and it not only showed Indianapolis to be a speedster and a great stayer, but it also proved him to have the right racing temperment. Few other horses racing would have carried on under such conditions.

From the start Ayrmont Chimes and Kingcraft raced away to the front but Blue Mountain, who had started smartly, at once raced up to the leaders and took command before half a mile had been covered. He was the leader all through, followed by Kingcraft, Ayrmont Chimes, Silver de Oro, Sunny Morn, Impromptu, Sir Guy, and Rollo, while Roi l'Or and Indianapolis were well back. As the field passed the three furlongs post Indianapolis put in a great run and was handy to Blue Mountain as the home stretch was reached.

Indianapolis had the race well in hand once the straight was reached, and though Glenrossie put in a strong late run he had no chance with the leader, who won in very impressive style. There was no sign of unsoundness on this occasion.

Glenrossie went his best race of the meeting to register 4min 16 4/5sec, and Roi l'Or's time of 4min 15 1/5sec represented a great performance, especially as he came the last two furlongs with a flat sulky tyre. Silver de Oro had every chance on this occasion, for she was nicely tucked in behind the leaders all through the race and failed to produce the great burst of speed which has won her more than one race. Impromptu had every chance and at the top of the straight looked like taking a hand in the finish. He faded out in the straight as did Sir Guy, Kingcraft, and Ayrmont Chimes. Lindbergh was never dangerous.



Credit: NZ Trotting Calendar 22Jun49

 

YEAR: 1934

1934 NEW ZEALAND CUP

1500 sovs: 4min 26sec class: Two miles

The Addington trotting course was never in better order than it was yesterday, when the Metropolitan Trotting Club held the thirty-first race for the New Zealand Cup and a programme of the best racing seen at Addington in many years. From 10 o'clock visitors commenced to arrive at the course, and the scene on Lincoln Road from 11 o'clock onwards was one that brought to trotting enthusiasts memories of the bustle and excitement of Addington in more prosperous days.

The crowd was the biggest seen at Addington for a number of years, with perhaps the Walla Walla meeting held at Easter time and the enthusiasm displayed was in marked contrast to that exhibited a year or two ago. Seldom has a day's racing provided such capital racing and the star item, the New Zealand Cup, had the crowd at a high pitch of excitment. The track was in perfect racing order, and as atmospheric conditions were favourable the day was one for fast times.

The most ardent followers of the light harness sport, however, were hardly prepared for the thrills provided in the Cup, in which two world's records were broken by horses the equal of any ever raced in New Zealand.

The parade of horses for the New Zealand Cup was one to be remembered. It is doubtful whether a better-looking field of horses has ever paraded for this race. Though Indianapolis and Mountain Dell, who were bracketed on the totalisator, carried more investments than any other horse in the race, it was plain to everyone that Harold Logan was the popular horse. Mr E F C Hinds's pacer looked a picture of contentment and good condition as he walked to the birdcage carring the blue and cerise cover presented to him by the New Brighton Trotting Club. He received a cheer as soon as he appeared, and another from the enclosures as he paraded for the race. A perfect-tempered horse, he looked every inch a champion, and his racing proved it.

Roi l'Or, another of the back-markers looked as fresh and well as ever he has been - a jaunty little pacer whose very conformation suggests extreme speed. Red Shadow, a dark chestnut in colour, had plainly come through a good preparation, and it was not condition that failed him.

Lindbergh, a lightly fleshed gelding, of rather delicate constitution, was perhaps the least prepossessing of the strong field, but, Sir Guy, a good-looking stallion by Real Guy, was full of fire and anxiuos to race. Next came the somewhat heavily-timbered Rollo, who carried the bright polish of the R B Berry stable, and Auckland's representative was Impromptu, big and angular, with a reputation for speed in keeping with his size.

Indianapolis, who had been under veterinary treatment for an injury to a foot, had not missed a workout, and he confounded those critics who had doubts about his soundness. He appeared tender when being brought to the birdcage, but on the softer track he was better when warmed up. His stable connections were a little pertubed, however, over his condition. His stable-mate, Mountain Dell, not generally regarded as quite good enough, looked bright and well and the two ponies, Blue Mountain and Silver de Oro, were dwarfed by the other horses. Blue Mountain, one of the lathy greyhound type, did not carry condition, as he did in August, but he races best when trained fine. Silver de Oro looked more like a child's pony than a competitor in the highest class race in New Zealand, but she is a very well put together pony, and she carried the good wishes of many regular racegoers.

Sunny Morn, who helped to make most of the running, was not generally regarded as good enough for such a race, but he carried a sheen on his coat that he had not known before, and his running proved that his trainer had spent a lot of time on his preparation.

Altogether it was as good-looking a field - and as well performed a field - as has ever contested a race on a New Zealand track - each horse a credit to its trainer and the standard breed.

When the horses were at the post every point of vantage was occupied, the stands were filled to overflowing, the back fence, the railway trucks on the neighbouring line, and even the trees near the track each supporting ardent enthusiasts to see the race for the New Zealand Cup. It was a race in which only a champion could be expected to succeed. A thrilling pace was set from the start, and as the pacemakers felt the strain the true and tried pacers came into the picture.

When Indianapolis shot away from the field three furlongs from home excitement grew, and then from the ruck of horses emerged the little grey pacer Blue Mountain, who was followed by Harold Logan, both making valiant attempts to catch the flying leader. They failed, but they were not disgraced. They helped to provide one of the most exciting races on record.

The success of the favourite pleased the crowd, a great performance that demanded of the winner a world's winning race record and from the champion, Harold Logan, something better than he had ever shown his admiring public. The New Zealand Cup race showed plainly that trotting is a very popular sport, and that the champions will attract the crowds.

Nor were all the plums in one basket, for while the Cup was a spectacle in itself, other races provided the thrills. The brilliant War Buoy, who had started eight times for as many wins, added another victory to the credit of his trainer, M B Edmonds, and the manner of his win proved himself one of the greatest young pacers of all time. Sir Guy and Blue Mountain staged a thrilling finish in the Hagley Handicap, the little grey gelding, Blue Mountain, again having to fill the position of runner-up.

Auckland was represented by a team of horses that included a truly brilliant trotter in Nell Volo, Wellington sent Glenrossie, the West Coast was represented by a useful team, Waimate sent Roi l'Or, and though Dunedin-trained horses were absent, Mr G J Barton who lives there, was the proud owner of Indianapolis. It was a truly representative gathering of horses and sportsmen from all parts of New Zealand.

While the attendance showed a big increase on last year, the totalisator investments dropped from 43,783 10s last year to 42,383 10s, a decrease that may be attributed to the change from the win and place system of betting to the old style of first and second dividends.

Altogether it was a most satisfactory opening to the carnival trotting, capably managed by staff and honorary officials of the New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club.

-o0o-

The betting on Indianapolis, Red Shadow, and Harold Logan was surprisingly even in the New Zealand Cup, and excitement was intense as the horses lined up at the start.

Blue Mountain faltered the slightest bit when the barriers were released and Silver de Oro went to a bad break and did not recover till after the field had gone some distance and she was hopelessly out of the race.
Sunny Morn soon took up the running with Blue Mountain, Mountain Dell, Impromptu, and Indianapolis the most prominent, while the crowd also watched the fortunes of the back-marker Harold Logan, who had made his usual quick beginning. At the half mile post Sunny Morn faltered and Mountain Dell, followed by Indianapolis, took the lead, while Blue Mountain and Rollo made a fast burst and Harold Logan, who had headed Red Shadow, also set out in pursuit. At this stage Indianapolis shot right away from the field with Blue Mountain and Harold Logan at three length intervals following. Roi l'Or at this stage also emerged from the ruck in a somewhat hopeless chase.

A furlong from home Blue Mountain issued his challenge and at one stage appeared to have the measure of the younger horse. Under the whip, however, Indianapolis stuck to his work like a good game racehorse and was still a length to the good as the post was reached.

It was a very fine race from start to finish, with the pace fast over the final mile. Indianapolis was driven a very well-judged race by E C McDermott. After lying in a handy position throughout he used his great burst of speed to establish a commanding lead. His win was all the more meritorious in view of his interrupted preparation, and F C Dunleavy, the trainer, is to be congratulated on getting him to the post in such great order under difficulties.

The time registered, 4min 15 4/5sec, establishes a new world's race record, displacing the 4min 16sec registered by Satin King in the Courtenay Handicap on the second day of the spring meeting 12 months ago.

Blue Mountain again showed himself a great and game pacer. He registered 4min 17sec, a great performance only surpassed by the sterling effort of the winner and the record-breaking run of Harold Logan, who finished third in the phenomenal time of 4min 12 2/5sec. The little champion did not enjoy the best of the running, for in the last three furlongs he had to go round the field several sulkies out and at no stage of the race was he running on the inside. His performance must go down as the greatest in history and proved him the ideal racehorse.

The winner received the reception such a victory deserved and there were cheers for Blue Mountain and many more for Harold Logan. Roi l'Or paced one of his best races and finished at a great rate. He put in a great burst over the last two furlongs. Red Shadow disappointed his backers badly but he lost his chance three furlongs from home, when he attempted to follow Harold Logan on the outside of the field. At this stage Free Holmes behind Roi l'Or also started to move fast and Red Shadow was sent a long way out. It did not appear that J Bryce persevered after this and Red Shadow finished well down the track. In any circumstances he could not have won.

Silver de Oro also caused a stir when she tangled and almost fell at the start, a remarkable accident for a filly of her excellent manners. Sunny Morn played his part well by carrying on his role of pacemaker for a mile and a half, after which he was done with. Mountain Dell also assisted to make the pace with Sunny Morn and went a good race until the three furlong post. Impromptu raced steadily and better that expected and Rollo had every chance but was not quite good enough in a very select field. Lindbergh was never dangerous.

Indianapolis is only five years old and the youngest horse to win the Cup. He was bred at Durbar Lodge by Mr H F Nicoll and is by Wrack - Estella Amos, both imported from America.

Credit: THE PRESS 7 Nov 1934

 

YEAR: 1934

1934 HAGLEY HANDICAP

300 sovs: 2min 41sec class: One mile & a Quarter

The bracketed pair, Sunny Morn and Satin King, was a warm favourite for the Hagley Handicap, and with half the journey covered both horses had a good chance. Pegaway made the early running, but at the end of six furlongs Satin King made a fast move, and with Pegaway carried on the pace from a close running field.

Both the leaders were beaten at the straight entrance where Sir Guy and Glenrossie issued their challenges. In a great finish Sir Guy won by the narrowest of margins from Blue Mountain, who made a late run on the rails. The winner fought out the issue in the gamest manner possible and won on his merits.

He was well handled by C King, who had driven him in the Cup earlier in the day. Blue Mountain was unlucky enough to run up against another horse at the top of his form, and he was also unlucky after a good beginning, to be forced to drift back in the field, and at the top of the straight his chance looked hopeless. Then again luck favoured him when an opening did come on the rails and through it Blue Mountain shot. A few more strides and he would have won.

Glenrossie had every chance, and at the straight entrance he was with the leaders. He gained third money, but Kingcraft finished much the faster in fourth place. Satin King went for a mile when he failed, and he was lame on returning to the birdcage. Pegaway did not stay well and Wrackler found the company beyond him.

Credit: THE PRESS 7 Nov 1934

 

YEAR: 1931

Harold Logan & Roy Berry starting the 1933 Cup off 72yds
SPARE A THOUGHT

If the connections of Borana and Camelot think it's going to be tough to win a second Cup off 10m this year, they should spare a thought for this fellow. Half a century ago, Harold Logan was the champion pacer of the day and made a habit of attempting the NZ Cup from seemingly insurmountable handicaps.

The handsome gelding began racing as a 5-year-old and in his first attempt at the Cup, as a 9-year-old, won from 48yds over Kingcraft (fr) and Free Advice (12yds). That was his 15th win in just 33 starts, but these were the days when handicaps were made to cripple. Harold Logan scored an astonishing win in the big event the next season from 60yds, downing Glenrossie (12), Roi l'Or (24) and Red Shadow (12) in 4:16.4, but the following season the 11-year-old was unplaced from 72yds.

By now Harold Logan was a household word, but it was only the beginning. He returned as a 12-year-old to almost win the NZ Cup trial from 84yds, going down by a whisker to scratch starter Blue Mountain. In the Cup he finished third to Indianapolis (24) and Blue Mountain (front) fron 72yds, creating a two-mile world record of 4:12.4. Harold Logan easily won two free-for-alls on the latter days of the meeting and wound up the season racing unsuccessfully at a Manawatu Trotting Club's meeting from 214 yards.

As a 13-year-old he won the Cup trial at Hutt Park from 60yds but did not start in the big race. But the old warrior was back for more in 1936, finishing fourth to Indianapolis (48), Red Shadow (24) and War Bouy (front) from 48 yards.

Harold Logan did not race in the 1937-38 season, but this was not retirement. He was back in training as a 16-year-old and managed a couple more placings from long handicaps before finally winding up his colourful career. He had raced 108 times for 29 wins and 29 placings.



Credit: HRWeekly 6Nov86

 

YEAR: 1941

LEICESTER MAIDENS

Now forgotten, a lesson on how few "legends" last beyond our own time, Winchmore trainer Leicester Maidens produced some amazing results with "has been" pacers and trotters on both sides of the Tasman in the 1930's and 1940's. What was his secret? - and did it later play a role in Bart Cummings winning at least one of his Melbourne Cups?

Maiden's feats with top class veteran horses remain unequalled. In 1941, fresh from a two year retirement on health grounds, he won 23 races just from January to July when leading trainer Ces Donald had 34 for the whole season. More remarkably, the youngest of his winners was eight and the eldest two were 12! Zincali, raced by West Coast All Black, Jack Steel, and formerly with experts Maurice McTigue and "Dil" Edwards, was the leading stakes earner nationally, winning six races and setting an Australasian record for a mile and a half.

In 1936 when asked to take a "lost cause" for Ashburton owner, Harry Nicoll, Maidens agreed - if he could also try the New Zealand Cup/ Dominion Handicap winner Wrackler, then 10, which had been hacked in retirement for more than 12 months. Nicoll reluctantly agreed and within three months Wrackler had won the Addington Handicap beating most of the best open class trotters around.

Born in 1900 into an Ashburton farming family, the personable and popular Maidens first came to prominence with Harvest Child, one of two high class winners from th first crop of the "hyped" expensive stallion, Sonoma Harvester who never repeated the feat. Past his best and a refugee from stables such as that of Freeman Holmes, Harvest Child was rejuvenated under Maidens.

At his 1930's peak Maidens had 30 horses in work near Methven, a huge number then. Rollo, then a 12-year-old, had been retired out of Roy Berry's stable but won several rich races for Maidens. Peter Locanda, Marie Celeste - both 10 year olds - Zingarrie, Jesse Owens - who won four of his six starts for Maidens after being taken over from Dinny Teahen of Certissimus fame - and Palomar were other great successes.

His two best results, apart from Zincali, were Blue Mountain and Peter Smith. Blue Mountain was a tough grey horse owned bt Mrs Inex Sweetapple of Auckland and fornerly with Jack Shaw before Maidens raced him in partnership with his owner. He went within a length of beating Indianapolis in that champion's first NZ Cup in 1934, anothe champion Harold Logan being three lengths away.

Maidens inherited Peter Smith late in his career. He won the rich Olivier Handicap and ran third in three NZ Cup attempts, his problem on Cup Day being that as a fast beginner he was always dragging the field up to inevitable tearaway pacemaker, Gold Bar.

Maidens retired again in 1945 and took over the Royal Hotel in Palmerston North. In 17 seasons training by his count he had been in the top four trainers or drivers seven times and rarely outside the top five. In 1949 Maidens turned up in Melbourne, claiming health reasons though his wife, Margaret, remained in Palmerston North. After a time he took over a free-legged pacer well past his best called Dauntless Peter and decided to train him in hopples, something the horse hated with a passion. "He tried to kick them off every day for six weeks," Maidens recalled.

Largely thanks to a rejuvenated Dauntless Peter who beat the best in the Melbourne Free-For-All in spite of carrying a buckled wheel for most of the way so bad the driver had to sit on one side of the cart, Maidens then won a Melbourne trainer's premiership. Later, in 1953, he was on the front pages (headline "Women Screamed) after surviving a spetacular smash at the Showgrounds when thrown 20ft high in the air, and he was also a guest columnist in the Melbourne Argus.

He was then private trainer for owner/breeder Bob Stewart but after a time there was strife with the stewards over the form of Silver Trigger in two races the same night at a provincial meeting. Owner-trainer and horse were disqualified for 12 months. On appeal Stewart was absolved. However Maidens, who had been in trouble for giving the stewards a "serve" about them talking to him before the start of the race on the night, (he won one race and was second in the other) lost his appeal in spite of several impressive character witnesses in his defence. Stewart sold up in favour of galloping in disgust. Maidens later retired and died in Toorak, Melbourne, in 1973.

The Maidens secret? Various tonics were in use in that era but few were unknown to the top trainers on whom Maidens seemed to improve on time after time. He had either found an effective form of natural hormone treatment or, as he himself seemed to claim, he was ahead of his time in recognising the role of ulcers on the performance of older horses. "Old horses suffer more from ulcers because of stress and the standard training feeding diet ofter makes it worse," Maidens once said in an interview. "Ulcers are painful and have a big effect on diet and work. I pay special attention to diets for my horses (lower oats content, special cooked supplements) and work them less to cut stress."

60 years later, after veteran Rogan Josh came from nowhere to win the 1999 Melbourne Cup, Bart Cummings sang the praises of an ulcer product as the winning edge. Treating ulcers became a racing fad - until an ingredient was found to be a prohibited substance. Ulcer treatment remains large in the training of older horses as a result.

It would have been another story the colourful Leicester Maidens would love to have told.

Credit: David McCarthy writing in HR Weekly 6Feb13



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