YEAR: 1967


If Markovina succeeds this year in becoming only the third horse to win two Inter-Dominion championships, it's doubtful whether his feat could cause many more ripples in the trotting world than Captain Sandy did in taking his second title back in 1953.

Captain Sandy was ten at the time...and had not won a race since taking the Inter-Dominion title nearly three years earlier. But win the '53 final he did, confirming yet again his earlier reputation as a dour old race horse.

By Mr John Johnston's Sandydale, Captain Sandy was out of a wayward mare Waikaura. She cost Mr Bob Ludemann, a neighbour of Johnston at Oamaru, only 13gns at auction in the 1930s. Ludemann had her for some years before sending her to Sandydale for the mating which produced a small bay colt, later to be named Captain Sandy. Being bad at almost everything else apparently, Waikaura was not a good mother either, and it was only after some time of constant coaxing and supervision that she would allow her new son to suckle.

Ludemann eventually sent the colt to trainer Jock Bain for his early education...but did not like the way the youngster was shaping. Bain, obviously a shrewd judge, saw some potential and offered to take Captian Sandy on a long-term lease. He wouldn't regret the move. He started Captain Sandy 16 times at four for a win (his first start) and five placings. The next season Captain Sandy earned more than 2000 for Bain, the result of three wins and seven placings. Bain must have realised about then that this was no mere plodder he had on his hands for he was soon to engage the services of one of the country's leading reinsmen, James Bryce Junior to do the driving.

In 1948 Captain Sandy and Bryce won nine races, including the Auckland Cup. The pair took the north's premier race the next year, too, this time from 36 yards behind. It was only natural that Bain should take the horse to Melbourne for the 1950 Inter-Dominion series. Unfortunately, Bryce was taking an enforced 'holiday' at the time so the winning combination was split. However, Freeman Holmes proved an able, if only temporary substitute for Bryce.

Captain Sandy finished fourth in the first heat in the fastest time and on the second night finished a creditable seventh after being almost put out during a bad skirmish during the running. In his third race, Captain Sandy took third and fastest time again but in doing so, Holmes was found guilty of breaking the rules. So he too was given a spell from driving. Sydney driver Jack Watts was more than pleased to take over the reins for the 10,000 Grand Final, a race which Captain Sandy had just scraped into through his fastest times. What happened next is history. Watts and Captain Sandy swooped on Morrie Holmes and Globe Direct near the end of the 14 furlong trip to get the decision by a head with another kiwi, Sprayman, third.

It's difficult to pinpoint the reasons but Captain Sandy never regained anything like that form on his return to NZ. Sure, he qualified for the final of the 1951 Inter-Dominion series in Christchurch with a fourth and a second in the heats, but off long marks, he could not win a race. Bain gave up his lease and Captain Sandy spent a time in the care of Wes Butt and George Benny for very little return. He was sent home again. Perhaps now, it was John Johnston who showed just how astute a judge of horseflesh he was. For it was Johnston, who in 1952, recommended to West Australian Dinny Nolan that he buy Captain Sandy to prepare for a tilt at the next year's big series in Perth. Nolan paid only 525 guineas and took Captain Sandy home.

The 10-year-old thrived and more than paid his way. In the Championship itself Captain Sandy scored a fourth and a second (driven by Freeman Holmes) in the early heats. Then with Bob Pollock in control (Holmes had to drive one of the favourites Blue Mist) Captain Sandy finished second again to the brilliant Ribands on the third night. That placing made Captain Sandy one of the top qualifiers for the Grand Final and Nolan was more than pleased to again give the drive to Pollock, one of the state's more promising young drivers.

Captain Sandy started from 24 yards behind but soon made up his handicap and wore down Ribands in the final few yards. History had been made in more ways than one. As well as being the first horse to win the title twice (Hondo Grattan would do so in 1973 and 74) Captain Sandy also became the greatest stake-winning standardbred in either NZ or Australia at the time with earnings of more than 40,000. And just to demonstrate his toughness he went a mile in 1:59 a couple of nights later followed by another mile of 1:57.5 against time on the half-mile track only days after that. The time, a world record, was not allowed though because the pacemaker had been allowed to head Captain Sandy during the trial.

The old chap made a final Inter-Dominion appearance at Adelaide. He scored points for fastest time (he finished ninth) in the first heat from 36 yards behind, and eventually made the final with six points. For the Grand Final, run on the giddy two and a half furlong Wayville Track, Captain Sandy was to be reunited with his old driver Jimmy Bryce, flown over from NZ just for the occasion. From 48 yards behind, he had virtually no show, but his performance to get up for fourth was one of the highlights of the series. With two rounds of the track left he was still at the back of the field, ten lengths from the leaders. He was forced to improve four and five wide and still had six in front of him at the turn. But fight he did, and Captain Sandy was once more in the money, winding up in fourth place only six yards from the winner, Tennessee Sky.


Captain Sandy, the only horse to win two Inter-Dominion Championships, died recently, according to a report in the Australian 'Trotguide.'

Captain Sandy was by the imported Sandydale from Waikaura. He was driven by J D Watts when he won the Final of the 1950 Inter-Dominion series on the Melbourne Showgrounds. Driven by L Pollock, he won his second Championship at Gloucester Park in 1953.

Driven by the late Claude Tupper, Captain Sandy started from 36 yards behind in the Easter Cup at Harold Park, Sydney, and defeated Avondale(scr) and Sparkling Max(12 yards). Captain Sandy also won the Victorian Easter Cup from 48 yards behind in 1953. In attempts against time in West Australia, Captain Sandy clocked 1:59 for a mile at Gloucester Park in March, 1953. He bettered this at Bunbury on March 4, 1953, when he covered the journey in 1:57.

Captain Sandy was foaled in NZ in 1942. He was bred at Oamaru by Mr R Ludemann, who picked up Captain Sandy's dam, Waikaura, at auction for the hack price of 6 10s.

One of Captain Sandy's greatest performances in NZ was in the Flying Stakes at the Easter meeting at Addington when, in one of the most thrilling duels ever seen at headquarters, he ran the peerless Highland Fling to a head. The time was 2:35 3/5 for a mile and a quarter. In the 1949 NZ Cup Captain Sandy looked a shade unlucky when beaten into second place by a real surprise packet in Loyal Nurse, and he went on to win the Auckland Cup for the second year in a row.

Captain Sandy was raced and trained in NZ by J M Bain, Oamaru and driven in most of his races by J Bryce, Jnr.

Credit: NZ Trotting Calendar 18Oct67

Credit: Graham Ingram writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 6Mar79


YEAR: 1977


An unraced or lightly raced mare from a good producing family is the best prospect to leave a top racehorse, in the opinion of Mr John Johnston who has been breeding standarbreds in the Oamaru district for 50 years.

Cardinal King, who made a clean sweep of the Inter-Dominion series, ace sprinter Master Dean, and a score of winners sold at the National Yearling Sales, all bred by Mr Johnston support his claim.

Mr Johnston (73), now living with his sister at Pukeuri is currently maintaining his interest in trotting through Rustic Widow, a Bachelor Hanover-Rustic Lady mare whom he has leased to the 16-person Berts Syndicate.

Mr Johnston's father, Joseph, bred Clydesdales in England and NZ, and at one stage had 20 stallions. His grandfather, John, and great-grandfather, Wilson, bred Clydesdales and thoroughbreds in England.

Information, the dam of Cardinal King, had a throat affliction that caused her to choke when at speed. Lent to Mr Johnston by Bob Ludemann of Kauru Hill, she left Cardinal King to a mating with First Lord, one of several stallions Mr Johnston has stood at stud. Sold as a yearling for 150gns to the Wederell brothers, Stewart of Dunedin, and Fred, of Timaru, Cardinal King won 10 races, including the 1967 Olliver Handicap, before he was sold for $40,000 to patrons of Stanley Dancer's New York stable. Cardinal King immediately made an unequalled clean sweep of the International Series - International, Good Time and National Championship Paces - at Yonkers raceway in 1968.

Cardinal King's grandam, Waikaura, and third dam, Misty Morn, were like his dam, unraced. Waikaura, who produced the first two-time Inter-Dominion winner and dual Auckland Cup winner, Captain Sandy, was bought originally by Bob Ludemann as a hack. He gave up the idea when he found she had to be broken in each time she was left for a few days. Misty Morn was a twin of poor constitution and also used as a hack. Mr Johnston had a close association with Captain Sandy. He stood his sire, Sandydale, and he stayed overnight with the vicious Waikaura when Captain Sandy was born to ensure she allowed her foal to suckle.

In 1953 Mr Johnston recommended Captain Sandy to Adelaide trainer Dinny Nolan, who was looking for Inter-Dominion material. Captain Sandy, then 10, had been returned to his breeder, Mr Ludemann, after winning the Inter-Dominion in Melbourne two years earlier when held on lease by Jock Bain, the Oamaru trainer. Nolan bought the gelding for 525gns and won the 1953 Grand Final in Perth at the expense of the favourite, Ribands.

Master Dean is out of Gay Sheila, a Logan Derby mare who did not reach the race track, like her dam, Madam Gay. Mr Johnston bought her after she had left two foals, Flaunt and Smart Play, for Don Nyhan, of Templeton. She had been sent to stud as a 3-year-old. Rauka Lad (Easter Cup and Gore Invitation Stakes)has been another big winner from this family in the past decade.

Master Dean, winner of the NZ Free-For-All, Olliver Handicap, Miracle Mile, Benson & Hedges Flying Mile and Clarendon Free-For-All last season, has a best winning record of 1:57.5 and finished second in 1:57.3. He has seven wins from 10 starts over a mile in NZ. The Honest Master entire, who was foaled on February 3, was several months behind other yearlings when offered at the 1973 national sales. He was passed in at $1,100, and Mr Noel Bolase, of Christchurch, then obtained a lease option for $100. After further discussion when Master Dean was being broken in, Mr Borlase bought him for $400 with two $200 contingencies from his first two wins. Master Dean has won 16 races and $65,245. Mr Johnston sold Gay Sheila, the dam of Master Dean, to Mr Noel Dunston, of New South Wales, in 1975. She slipped the foal she was carrying by Lord Dale, and is in foal to Deep Adios, sire of Paleface Adios.

Mr Johnston sold Village Logan, the dam of three 2:00 pacers, for 170gns at the 1957 national sales. Village Logan (Logan Derby-Blue Banner) who had her racing restricted after she foundered, opened her account at the age of 10 when she won twice trotting at the Manawatu meeting. Her 2:00 progeny are Emory Wheel, Bell Logan and Logan Son. Her first foal, William Gunn sired a winner last season, Gunn Tartan. Village Logan is one of 26 individual winners Mr Johnston has sold through the national sales.

Another pacer he bred was Expensive, who won four races for Laurie Smillie, of Pleasant Point, during the 1946-47 season. Expensive was later bought by Noel Simpson and won a United Handicap at Auckland at odds of 70 to 1 after being off the winning list for three years.

The first stallion Mr Johnston stood was the Victorian-bred Four Chimes in the mid-1920s. Four Chimes sired the 1916 NZ Cup winner, Cathedral Chimes, who in turn stood at Mr Johnston's property. Cathedral Chimes got Ahuriri, the NZ Cup winner of 1925 and 1926, and Kohara, who was successful in the next year. Four Chimes figures as the grandsire of triple NZ Cup winner False Step.

Sandydale, the American importation, was bought by Mr Johnston in the 1940s from Mr George Youngson, of Gore. The son of Abbedale has had a significant influence on breeding. Besides Captain Sandy and the dam of Cardinal King, Sandydale sired the dam of Johnny Globe (unraced Sandfast), the great pacer and sire who left another champion in Lordship. Sandydale is the maternal grandsire of Stanley Rio, Horse of the Year last season,when he became the first horse to win the Inter-Dominion Grand Final and the NZ Cup in one season.


NZ Trotting Caledar 1985

John Johnston, who successfully bred standardbreds in the Oamaru district for 60 years, died recently at the age of 82.

Mr Johnston retired from breeding horses 12 months ago when he sold the broodmare Rustic Widow. He bred the big winners Cardinal King and Master Dean and stood several stallions including Sandydale.

Cardinal King made a clean sweep of the three race International Series at Yonkers Raceway, New York, in 1968. He was sold by Mr Johnston for 150 guineas as a yearling. Cardinal King was by First Lord, whom Mr Johnston stood. Master Dean won 16 races, including the 1976 NZ Free-For-All, after he had been sold by Johnston as a yearling for $400 and $200 contingencies from each of his first two wins.

Mr Johnston had a close association with Captain Sandy, the two-time Inter-Dominion champion. He stood his sire, Sandydale and stayed overnight with Captain Sandy's dam, Waikura, a vicious mare, to ensure her foal could suckle. Mr Johnston recommended Captain Sandy to Dinny Nolan in 1953 when the Adelaide trainer was on the lookout for Inter-Dominion material. Captain Sandy, then ten, had won the Inter-Dominion Final in Melbourne in 1950 for Oamaru trainer, Jock Bain who had him leased. He had subsequently been returned to his Kauru Hill breeder, Bob Ludemann. Nolan bought Captain Sandy for 525 guineas and won the 1953 Final in Perth.

Mr Johnston, who lived with his sister at Pukeuri in recent years, previously had stables at Waikaura. He began assisting his father, Joseph, who bred Clydesdale horses in England and NZ. His grand-father, John, and great-grand-father, Wilson, bred Clydesdales and thoughbreds in England.

The first stallion Mr Johnston stood was the Victorian-bred Four Chimes in the 1910s. Four Chimes sired the 1916 NZ Cup winner Cathedral Chimes, who in turn stood at Waikaura. Cathedral Chimes left Ahuriri, winner of the NZ Cup in 1925 and 1926, and Kohara, who won the next year.

Mr Johnston bought American-bred Sandydale from George Youngson of Gore in the 1940s. Besides siring Captain Sandy and the dam of Cardinal King, Sandydale sired the dam of Johnny Globe, who left the champion racehorse and sire Lordship. He is also the maternal grand-sire of Stanley Rio, winner of the NZ Cup and Inter-Dominion Final in Brisbane in the 1976-77 season.

Mr Johnston sold 26 yearlings through the National Yearling Sale which he supported from its inception in 1944. He sold Village Logan, dam of 2:00 pacers Emery Wheel, Bell Logan and Logan Son, for 175 guineas at the 1957 sale.

Credit: Taylor Strong writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 6Sep77


YEAR: 1944


Captain Sandy(1944) Cost 550 - Won 43,000(Australasian record when set)

The most remarkable thing about this bargain buy was that it was not made as a yearling or as an untried horse. It was paid after Captain Sandy had won two Auckland Cups and the 1949 Inter Dominion Grand Final!

He had also once ran the mighty Highland Fling at his best to a nose after giving him two lengths start at the top of the Addington straight and had beaten all the other champions in pacing's golden age. He was the leading stake earner of 1949.

However, his trainer Jock Bain had raced Captain Sandy on a lease without options and, when it was up, owner Bob Ludemann tried him with Wes Butt and George Benny without success. The Captain really looked well over the hill, not having won for two years, so Ludemann(and Benny) accepted an offer of 1100 from Aussie trainer Dinny Nolan.

Nolan famously carted Captain Sandy all over the continent on a single horse float including to Perth where he won the 1953 Inter Dominion Final, the first to win two of them.

He set a Standardbred Australasian record in stakes and ran a world record 1:59 in Perth, though it was subsequently disallowed. It remains possibly the most amazing comeback in our harness history.

Credit: David McCarthy writing in Harnessed 2016


YEAR: 1950

Captain Sandy won the 1950 Final after he had been all but knocked over in one of the qualifying heats and blamed for knocking Australia's Champ Claude Derby over in another. He lost the services of two drivers through suspensions for the Final and, with J D Watts aboard, won in a close finish beating Globe Direct and Sprayman, who were both New Zealanders.


YEAR: 1953

Captain Sandy and his South Australian owner, Mr D J Nolan, who purchased the veteran New Zealand pacer last June. No one guessed that the son of Sandydale had not yet given of his best when he won the 1949 Auckland Cup.

By his win at Perth Captain Sandy made history. He became the first horse ever to have gained Inter-Dominion honours twice and he also became the greatest stake-earner of all time in Australasia. His total winnings of more than 35,000 eclipsed the previous record of 32,920 held by Highland Fling.

Oamaru trainer Jock Bain, who raced Captain Sandy on lease for all of his New Zealand wins, advised Mr Nolan on how best to train the horse. His methods paid a handsome dividend.


Thriving under Mr Nolan's supervision, Captain Sandy has raced in every State in Australia where there is night trotting, and has retained his form in spite of the exertions of long and arduous travel. Mr Nolan reports that since being under his charge the horse has not had one day off.

From a monetary viewpoint, too, Captain Sandy must have surpassed the rosiest of his new owner's expectations. For, during his brief career in Australia, he has amassed close on 9,000 in stakes. The Grand Final at Perth alone was worth 7,450(including a trophy valued at 300), and he has won in Melbourne and been placed on several occasions.

There was no fluke about Captain Sandy's win in Perth. He began brilliantly from 24 yards, took command 75 yards short of the post, and beat the crack Sydney pacer Ribands by half a length. He covered the mile and five furlongs in 3.24 1/2 - a 2.05 3/5 rate. This was a Perth track record and warranted a rating in world class on a track measuring 88 yards short of a half mile.

Two nights later Captain Sandy paced a mile against time on the same track, returning the sensational figures of 1.59. The greatness of this feat can be appreciated when it is realised that the world's pacing record on a half-mile track is held by the American horse Sampson Hanover, who went 1.59 3/5 in 1951. The trotting record on a half-mile track is Greyhound's
1.59 3/4 established in 1937. Captain Sandy's performance is thus virtually a world record for half-mile tracks or smaller.

For an old-stager, the son of Sandydale and Waikaura certainly has a lot of life left in him.

Credit: NZ Hoof Beats Vol 3 No.8

In the event that you cannot find the information you require from the contents, please contact the Racing Department at Addington Raceway.
Phone (03) 338 9094