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HORSES

 

YEAR: 1937

JACK POTTS

How do you go about paying tribute to a sire who achieved as much as Jack Potts?

His record almost comes into the category of awe inspiring. Nine times leading sire, all in succession from 1937 until 1945, is a record achievment, for U Scott who equalled the nine premierships had them spread much further apart. Jack Potts was also leading broodmare sire six times. Altogether he sired 271 individual winners of over $900,000 and his daughters produced over 320 winners, some of them great horses. At one time Jack Potts were sought after in much the same way as gold in the 1860s and when you examined what they achieved this is not surprising.

Foaled in 1920 Jack Potts was imported to this country as a 2 year old by Alex Anderson of Christchurch through Robert A Smith who had a hand in bringing out a number of stallions in those days. Jack Potts was a good racehorse if not a great one though a leg injury he suffered as a young horse always made him a dicky proposition. However from Ces Donald's stable he won nine races and $10,000. He was pipped on the post in the Auckland Cup and was twice placed in the NZ Cup. A very handsome horse and a fine mover Jack Potts's main track victories were the NZMTC Metropolitan, Victoria, Advance, Hagley and Mid-Summer Handicaps and two major handicaps at Auckland.

Jack Potts was 12 years old before his progeny first appeared in 1933-34 winning only $568 that season. By 1935-36 he was third on the sires' list and remained in the top three for 13 seasons. His list of winners has some impressive names. Among them were Emulous who won $45,000 and an Inter-Dominion, dual Cup winner Lucky Jack who won 14 races, Marlene an Auckland and NZ Cup winner, the juvenile champions Pacing Power and Horsepower who won 30 races between them with the former placed in the Cup, Inter-Dominion champion of 1938 in Pot Luck ($17,000), Fine Art winner of 15 races, King Potts winner of 12 including the Easter Cup, Auckland Cup winner Betty Boop, Cup placegetters and major winners in Plunder Bar, Knave of Diamonds and Countless.

Lightning Lady the winner of 14 races, Ingle Belmer winner of 12, Clockwork the 1 mile national record holder for some years and winner of 12 races, Checkmate (11 wins), free-for-all winner Indian Clipper (12 wins), Ferry Post (unsound, but still the winner of 14 races), Brucus, County Antrim and Accountant were other big winners for Jack Potts but by no means were they finished yet. Jack Potts produced a big number of top juveniles including the Derby winner Gamble and Sapling Stakes winner in Two's Loose, other Sapling winners in Frisco Lady and Sir Julien and G N Derby winner Free Again. Any number of his offspring reached tight assessments including Realm Again, Molly Direct, On Approval, Jack Peterson, Mighty Fine and War Guard. The stock of Jack Potts won four NZ Derbies and three NZ Cups. His offspring favoured the pacing gait and very few trotters by him ever appeared.

As a sire of broodmares Jack Potts was even more successful. Among the major winners his daughters produced were Tactician, our first two-minute racehorse who won 20 races including an Inter-Dominion and $40,000; Van Dieman winner of 18 and $42,000; Merval winner of 11 and holder for a time of a world's race record for a mare over a mile; the great Rupee winner of 14; Thelma Globe who won 17 races and also held a world mark over 1 miles; Globe Direct another record holder and winner of 14; Young Charles who won 11 races and would have won more if fully sound and a champion juvenile horse; Excelsa (10 wins) who ironically prevented Rupee from winning 10 successive tote races; Auditor, Lady Rowan, Trueco, Gough's Pride, Wayward Peter and Whipster who between them won nearly 70 races and Starbeam, Signal Light, Court Martial, Gay Knight (13 wins) were other big winners from Jack Potts mares.

Lottie Location an unraced daughter produced Local Gold who won nine and produced Arania (1:57, 12 wins) and Local Light, Sure Potts produced Florita who won nine. The unraced Anita Patch produced Patchwork (12 wins, Easter Cup) and Aladdin who won 8. Ingle Belmer, a Jack Potts-Purple Patch mare was the dam of Lady Belmer winner of 13. Lightning Lady produced six winners including Dresden Lady who won 10 and Ladyship the dam of Lordship. Kaulala, a daughter of Horotane produced Great Wonder winner of 10 while another daughter of that mare in Nightbeam (6 wins herself) produced the Broodmare of the Year in Nancy Lee in addition to those mentioned. Joan Potts produced the good racehorse and broodmare in La Fey while Aurie's Star in addition to Young Charles produced Ohio who won seven for Sir John McKenzie. Windermere produced Johnny Guitar who won nine including the Wellington Cup, Santa Anita produced eight winners and a daughter of the Jack Potts mare Suda Bay produced the grandam of Nigel Craig in addition to others. Kublai Khan, Genghis Khan, Impressario and Maharajah were some of the good winners produced from Jack Potts mares

In all the direct offspring of Jack Potts won more than 1200 races. For a number of years the stallion was a showring champion as well and he died in 1948 at 28 years of age. He was buried close to the Donald homestead. Apart from his first two seasons when he stood at M B (Dil) Edwards's Yaldhurst establishment he spent all his stud career at Donald's. His initial fee was seven guineas which seem ludicrous today. At the height of his career he stood at 25 guineas and later 50 guineas in his last year. Perhaps then it is not surprising that Ces Donald was quoted in later years as saying that the stud side of his operation did not make a significant profit. In his early years Jack Potts was not rushed by breeders either though he was fortunate to have the fine juvenile pacer Gamble from his first crop.

A number of Jack Potts sons were stood at stud including Gamble, Emulous, Lucky Jack, Pacing Power, Globe Direct, Realm Again (as a colt), Colossal and Tsana. Some of his sons including Gamble and Pacing Power did well in Australia and his daughters which went to that country also did well producing among others the West Australian champion Mark David.

Even though it was inevitablethat it would be superseded Jack Potts achieved a magnificent feat in siring the winners of nearly a million dollars, particularly as during the war years when he was king of the walk, racing was severely curtailed. His place in trotting is secure as one of the three greatest sires ever to have stood in this country.

Credit: David McCarthy writing in NZ Trotguide 19Jan77

 

YEAR: 2000

CES DONALD

Ces Donald was among the rare breed who became a legend in his own lifetime.

When he trained his 1000th winner in NZ - Forest King at Addington in February, 1972 - he was the first horseman to reach that milestone and in thoroughbred circles, it is a feat only matched in recent years by Rex Cochrane. To put this achievement into perspective, one has to appreciate that when Donald was in his prime in the 1930s and 40s, there were approximately 50 meetings per season, plus the odd races held at galloping meetings, and often eight races per meeting. Even towards the end of his career in the 1960s there were still only about 120 meetings a year with nine races - it was the early 1970s when licences began to be despatched like the Allies were dropping 'windows' along with bombs over Germany in WWII.

The most successful trainer in modern times is Roy Purdon, who joined Donald in the 1000 Club in 1985 when the majority of his winners came after a 15 year period when well over 200 meetings a season were the norm. This is not obviously in anyway meant to belittle Purdon, who when he retired in partnership with son Barry in 1995 had moved on to a staggering 2021 wins.

When Donald won his ninth Trainer's Premiership in 1963, he bettered the record held by James Bryce, whose eight titles were in the formative years of trotting. Purdon won three and tied for another on his own account, and another 17 along with Barry. A more appropriate yardstick is perhaps Derek Jones, who has now been training for about the same length of time as Donald's career. A two time Premiership winner with Jack Grant, Jones is presently sitting on 977 wins.

Donald's story is the stuff that books are made of - the names that passed through his famous Belfast stables read almost like a who's who of trotting annals - and one cannot do it full justice here, but we will attempt a condensed form.

Born in the Heathcote Valley, near Christchurch, to Joseph and Florence Donald, who emigrated from the Gurnsey Islands in the English Channel, Donald was practically riding bareback before he could walk. First taking out a licence in April, 1922, Donald had his first win as a trainer/driver later that year when the trotter Mangoutu won at Addington. A Galindo mare, Mangoutu had won twice in five seasons and had not won in 18 months when as a 10-year-old, Donald took her over and produced her to win the two mile Seaview Handicap from 36 yards by four lengths as eighth favourite. She won another five races for Donald, including the Forbury Park T C feature, the Dominion Handicap, from 72 yards.

In his first full season of training, Donald also won the Greymouth and Westport Cups and the 500 sov. Liverpool Handicap at Addington with Harbour Light, a son of Wildwood Junior who had been around the traps prior to Donald buying him for himself. People were already starting to sit up and take notice, but half way through the 1924/5 season, Donald was suspended from driving for 12 months when Wharepiana, after winning at Ashburton by five lengths, staged a dramatic form reversal at the Forbury Park Summer meeting. The Hal Zolock filly had failed to show up on the first day, but won easily on the second and was disqualified.

After serving his time, Donald bounced back in dramatic fashion when the newcomers to his stable in the 1926/7 season included the imported American pacer Jack Potts and the Author Dillon mare Auditress, both from other stables. They were to prove a decisive turning point in the young Donald's career in more ways than one - not the least of which was later combining to produce the NZ Cup winner Marlene.

Despite being troubled by unsoundness, Jack Potts proved a top class pacer. At the 1927 Auckland TC Summer carnival, he was beaten a head by dual NZ Cup winner Ahuriri (both off 36 yards) in the Auckland Cup and won the President's Handicap from 60 yards, beating among others Jewel Pointer, Peterwah, Kohara and Sheik. Line-bred to two of Hambletonian's famous sons in Dictator and George Wilkes, the aristocratic Jack Potts, who was owned by Alex Anderson after arriving as a 2-year-old, did however have a fair degree of non-Hambletonian blood in his pedigree, such as the 'Clays' and 'Hals.'

With five crops racing, Jack Potts was leading sire in 1938 and occupied that position for nine consecutive seasons, only being dethroned by the arrival of U Scott and Dillon Hall. Jack Potts sire numerous Cup class and classic winners, among them Inter-Dominion champions Emulous (48) and Pot Black (38), NZ Cup winners Lucky Jack (37,39) and Marlene (40), NZ FFA winners Pacing Power (NZ Derby), Indian Clipper, Knave of Diamonds, Fine Art and Clockwork, Sapling Stakes winners Frisco Lady, Twos Loose (NZ Derby) and Sir Julian, Horsepower (GN Derby) and further NZ Derby winners in Gamble and Air Marshall. His daughters were to produce the likes of Van Dieman, Tactician, Thelma Globe, Lady Belmer, Patchwork, Thunder, Rupee and Young Charles.

Many of the fine performers sired by Jack Potts came from Donald's spacious and immaculate 30 acre property at Belfast - now a wasteland situated between the Styx River bridge and the Pentland subdivision. Donald would later relate how Jack Potts initially stood in the Depression years at 7 and many breeders would pay the fee off at a pound a time when they could afford it. Even when leading sire he still only stood for 25 guineas and it was only towards the end that he commanded an appropriate fee. He was never really rushed by breeders at any stage.

Donald's stables were into top gear by 1930, the year he first won the Trainers' Premiership with a record 45 wins, and over the next decade he occupied that position seven times. Among the horses who reached the very best classes, or close to it, during this period, were Plutus (17 wins, Inter-Dom Heat), Lindberg (14 wins, NZ Cup division), Kempton (Dominion, Rowe), Royal Silk, Carmel (Auckland Cup),Bessie Logan (NZ Cup trial), Sir Guy (11 wins), Writer (Dominion), Great Way, Accountant, Baron Bingen, Blaydon, Brook Pointer, Clockwork, Dilnon, Ferry Post, First Flight, Grand Canyon (Australasian Hcp), Morning Sun, Night Beam, Quality, Pearl Logan, Pluto, Real Light, Ron, St George, Sir Author, Village Guy and Blondie, the latter a distinctive cream pacer.

Tonic, Stand By, Tan John (Dominion), Ambition, Biworthy (2nd Dominion), John Mauritius, Wahnooka and Mr Penalty were all high class trotters. Wahnooka, among many who arrived from other stables with little apparent future, had looked promising as a pacer, but was a notorious knee knocker. Donald discovered his trotting ability however and won 13 races with him - shod as a pacer. The trotter Captain Bolt and the pacing filly De La Paix were fondly remembered by Donald for their ability, but who failed to realise their ability. Captain Bolt, who won eight and would have won many more if he had been at all reliable, beat the champion mare Sea Gift in a match race, while De La Paix was considered better than Marlene before she contracted strangles.

Along with Jack Potts in the 1930s, Donald also stood his son Gamble, the imported sires in Lusty Volo and Calumet Axworth and the thoroughbred Airway at Belfast and at the height of his breeding activities the broodmare band numbered around 90. Dabbling with the odd galloper, Donald owned and trained along with others Crash, a sprint record holder at Riccarton for a time. Donald had also seen the potential in dairy farming in the 1930s and purchased a rundown sheep and cattle station at Bullock Hill near Okuku which he transformed into a showplace holding. He made various sizeable investments in this area - some of which were to practically bankrupt him on occasions over the years - and at one point controlled over 3000 acres of farm land. He was a regular at the Addington sale yards with truckloads of fat cattle and in later years also ran a pig farm.

Donald was very much a three meals a day man, a philosophy he took to the stables. "Meat three times a day" for the men and "the best of oats," crushed on the premises, for the horses. "If you don't feed them, they can't work" was a well known quote. Donald would also later relate that horses were not treated "as a mob." "They are all individuals. They are all different. Some want to be alone. Some go haywire if they are left alone. Each one is handled with understanding, no matter how nervous, or mad, or bad it may be when it first arrives here. None of the head lads or stable boys are allowed to hit a horse. We don't molly-coddle them, of course, but the rough stuff is out. Firmness, by all means; cruelty never. I only allow three horses to each lad."

If the 1930s were pretty much a Donald benefit, he showed no signs of slowing down in the following decade. In fact, it began with perhaps his finest training feat. Marlene, who had won the Auckland Cup the previous season, had for all intents and purposes broken down after winning twice at the Met's August meeting and had not raced for three months going into the 1940 NZ Cup. Noticeably lame prior to the race, and afterwards, she won in a ding-dong struggle with Dusky Sound over the closing stages with Donald's brother Ron at the helm. Ron Donald was generally regarded as a better driver than his brother - in fact a quite brilliant all-round horseman - but his light was to fade as he lost his battle with the bottle. Marlene only raced a handful of further times without winning and then only left three named foals. Donald also won the Free-For-All with Plutus and the Dominion with Tan John, beating Captain Bolt, while Superior Rank and Repeal were also successful at the meeting.

Soon after, Donald produced the brilliant trotter Rangefinder, whom he believed was 2:00 material at a time when pacers had only just achieved the feat. The son of Frank Worthy beat the best trotters around and on one occasion easily accounted for a field of 23 pacers in the mile and a quarter Strowan Handicap at Addington. Bayard was just a pony pacer and well past his prime when he entered the stable, but Donald gave him such a new lease on life that he finished third from 12 yards in the 1942 NZ Cup when Haughty went a record 4:12 4/5 off the front. Steel Grey was a superb grey trotter that arrived from Auckland late in his career who won the 1946 NZ Trotting FFA for Donald, while Checkmate was a top pacer in the late 40s with 11 wins.

In the early 50s, Ben Grice's brilliant Brahman joined the team as a late 3-year-old and Donald won 10 times with him, including a defeat of Caduceus in the two mile Ollivier Handicap at the 1956 NZ Cup meeting, before he broke a sesamoid the following year on the eve of the Cup, a race Donald was sure he would win. After one of his bad patches in the 1957/58 season where he registered just one win, Donald bounced back with a number of good sorts, none better than the Southland mare Lady Shona. She won 10 races and finished fourth in the 1959 NZ Cup behind False Step, Gentry and Caduceus. Not far away were Falsehood (Dunedin Cup), King Hal, Dandy Briar (Auckland Cup over Cardigan Bay), Gildirect, Urrall and Cairnbrae (NZ Cup), all Cup class pacers for him around the same time and who often formed a formidable bracket - sometimes five of six of them in the same race.

Donald had three starters in the 1964 NZ Cup and opted to drive Ted Lowe's 8-year-old U Scott gelding Cairnbrae himself. After taking over at the mile, they left the likes of Orbiter, Lordship and Vanderford in their wake. In the latter part of the 1960s, the brothers Chief Command (NZ FFA) and Indecision -"who was twice the horse if he'd had any legs"- and Rauka Lad (New Brighton Cup) also raced and beat the best.

While he won with Cairnbrae, Donald was a rare sight in the sulky towards the end, preferring to employ the likes of Doug Watts, Doody Townley, Derek Jones and - when he could - Maurice Holmes. His last driving win was On Probation in April, 1966 - a horse he owned - and appropriately it was the Farewell Handicap at Hawera. He was for many years a keen supporter of the Club and a great friend of Club stalwart Alex Corrigan. Almost to the day, On Probation's win came 44 years after he first took out a licence.

It was in October, 1963, that Donald approached a youthful Bob Nyhan, who was engaged to his daughter Pat, and would marry her the following year, to become his stable foreman and No.1 driver. Ron Donald had long since departed and Kevin Holmes had left to set up his own stable. "Some of the owners had been complaining about having a different driver every week," recalls Nyhan, who had been briefly training on his own account after a stint with Jack Litten. While Nyhan jumped at the chance, he has some mixed emotions about that part of his life.

"Ces had always loved the challenge of a gamble, but towards the end, he really had a passion about stitching up the bookies. there were times when they came unstuck rather badly, and a lesser person might have given the game away, but he always bounced back. There were some horses that had been pulled up that often, when you asked them to go or hit them, they didn't know what to do. I well recall one day - I used to have a bet myself in those days - that I had got a mate to put the money on this horse I was driving, as I was sure it would win. When I arrived in the birdcage, Ces says to me 'you are not to win today'." Asked what he did, Nyhan said "I always did what I was told. You couldn't ask the outside drivers like Holmes and so forth not to try, so I always got the one that wasn't supposed to win. It didn't exactly help my career much at that point," said Nyhan.

Nyhan recalls Donald as being a terrific host, but he never once saw him drunk. "Often, it was when we had lost that he would shout all the boys after the races - and there were six or seven of them. He figured though that when we had won, there was no need to." Then there were the infamous boot parties in the carpark after the races. "Ben Grice, who was a great mate of Ces, often arrived full of gin and Ces would give him water because he didn't know the difference."

Nyhan says that a lot of Donald's horses had unsoundness problems due to the nature of his training track. "It was very fertile ground, but with any rain it became very puggy and hard on the legs. "I recall at times putting a truckload of sawdust on the track four to five times a day for a week just to give it a bit of binding. There was one day where out of 40 horses that were in work, I had to put bandages on 28 of them."

"He was ahead of his time though and was always experimenting with different types of feed. A lot of horses joined the stable that were not known to be very good stayers, but Ces was a great believer in feeding them glucose and they became good stayers. Long before swimming pools were thought of, Ces would stand a lot of horses in cold water. We always used to wash then in buckets of warm water - Ces said to me one day 'would you like a cold shower in the middle of winter?' He was the only one in those days too who would water the track in summer. He did not believe in automation though. Even when walking machines came along, he still preferred to have the staff walk the horses to cool off. I said to him one day that you could save a lot of money on staff with a walker and he just said don't be lazy."

Donald was still training when, literally, he was on his last legs - he had crook hips and was a familiar sight at the track with his walking sticks. A few weeks before he died in August, 1973, he had been told by his doctor that he would had to go into hospital for at least three weeks for complete rest. He only stayed a week - "he wanted to die at home."

Ces Donald presented himself to most, including his family and staff, as being gruff and difficult to approach. But Nyhan says he was amazed at the number of people who said to him at Donald's funeral how much he had helped them. "If someone was short, he had given them money, or if it was a young fellow trying to get started, he had given them gear and equipment. He did untold good for lots of people, but he never wanted anybody to know about it."


Credit: Frank Marrion writing in HRWeekly 5Jul00

 

YEAR: 1972

CECIL DONALD

The first trainer in either code to train 1000 winners (in 1972) Cecil Donald has a special hniche in harness racing history. But a simple stat hadly does him justice. In an erawhen the Purdon have rewritten most training records, the innovation and scope of the vintage Donald years stand out as exceptional.

Donald was the "young man in a hurry" of the trotting world from the time he started out training at Addington in 1922. Having five horses was considered a large professional stable then, and only people like James Bryce had 20. Donald soon had 30 in work. Within seven years he had won his first training and driving premierships, his 45 training wins being 11 more than the previous best. He also held the driving record.

After a hat-trick at Forbury he was described in the media as a "healthy vigourous young man whose secret is his personal supervision every day of a huge team of 30 horses." When Cecil won his final Premiership in 1961 he had equalled James Bryce's enduring record of seven. He had won an Auckland Cup (Carmel) and quinellaed the Dominion Handicap (Kempton, Writer) within 12 months of his first. He also posted the lowest winning total of any premiership with 17 wins in 1941-42 when there were only 559 races and huge travel restrictions. Through that era his operation and enterprise constantly attracted headlines.

Some of the major ones:

* In 1931 he became the first to drive and win a race at Addington (the first) the morning after driving in the seventh race at Alexandra Park. Donald had arranged for Captain McGregor to fly his primitive aircraft from Christchurch to Feilding, left the Northern Express near there for his first plane ride and was able to inspect his stable before the first race.

* Early trainers stood stallions to make ends meet but Donald went a lot further with Jack Potts which arrived from America as a 3-year-old in 1922 imported by Alec Anderson. Jack Potts, a lovely pacer, and the only American pacing-bred sire available then, became the breeding phenomenon of his era winning nine successive sires premierships.

* In 1938-39 Jack Potts was the first to leave 100 winners in a season. Donald also stood sons of Jack Potts such as Gamble (2nd in a NZ Cup) which at times caused some problems with officialdom. In 1937he had over 150 horses at Belfast, unheard of in that era. He also raced and trained gallopers and stood thoroughbreds at stud.

* Calumet Axworth, a disappointment, and Lusty Volo, a 1500 purchase, were stallions Donald imported from America. Lusty Volo died from heart failure whe his oldest crop were only two. He left top liners Great Venture and Sir Michael as well as the dam of Our Roger.

* At the 1937 New Zealand Cup meeting Donald was the leading trainer, the leading driver and his stallion Jack Potts the leading sire - another unique record. At the 1940 New Zealand Cup meeting, Donald trained the winner of the NZ Cup (Marlene), the Dominion Handicap (Tan John, a $16 buy and then aged 14) and the NZ FFA (Plutus) - a feat not repeated in the 72 years since.

* Cecil quoted his feat of training the home-bred but chronically unsound Marlene, then seven, to win the Cup as his finest achievment. As usual his skilful brother, Ron, drove, Cecil believing lightweight was an advantage in the cart. He had also been severely injured in a fall driving Accountant that year. But Cecil drove Cairnbrae (an 8-year-old) with supreme judgement (led last mile) to win his second Cup for owner Ted Lowe in 1964 at a time when the various brackets including King Hal, Gildirect, Urrall, Falsehood and Dandy Briar were popular combinations with the public. Donald had minor placings in other Cups with Lindbergh, Jack Potts, Bayard, Lary Shona and Falsehood.

* More than once he produced three horse brackets in the race. Dandy Briar won an Auckland Cup. In later years Chief Command, Indecision and Rauka Lad were his top pacers.

* In 1941 Donald based his entire racing team at Oamaru in the weeks leading up to the August Addington meeting because of the drier tracks. "The Belfast track was always a problem in winter but those were the sort of ideas he would come up with," Donald's former chief assistant Bob Nyhan recalls.

* A Donald innovation relieved a disastrous fire at Belfast which killed his high class pacer Accountant, a brother to Marlene. He had a special irrigation system for his track. "It was something new," Nyhan said. "Nobody bothered to water their training tracks like that. He also groomed the track during training sessions." When a rear barn burst into flames during the night in June, 1944, only the resources of the track watering system saved the main barn. Five horses died in the fire, most by suffocation.

* In 1950 Donald who had held some large sales of his own of young stock here in the 1930's, landed in Sydney with 25 horses to sell or, if not sold, to race. Among them was the stallion Gamble which fetched 1300 quineas. Most of the rest found a new home.

* The Donald training regime accentuated the basics. He had extraordinary patience in "setting a horse up" - claimed as 12 months or more by some. "He was a great feeder," Nyhan remembers. Glocose was a staple part of the horse's diet and his biggest successes were with stayers.

* Don Nyhan used to recall how Donald would put colts together on trucks without stalls as part of their education.

* Beside all that Ces Donald was a leading cattle dealer and eventually bought farms to cater for his stock. To manage one of the biggest racing teams in the country, a stud, and maintain his dealing interests makes him one of the rare achievers in the Kiwi harness world.

Credit: David McCarthy writing in HRWeekly 2May12

 

YEAR: 1920

CUPS KINGS - JACK POTTS

INTRODUCTION
Bettor's Delight in just about ready to make the list as a "Cups King"- the most influential stallion in the two major all-aged races on out calendar, the Auckland and New Zealand Cups. He already has three winners and given his domination that might grow rapidly.

But topping some of the "old timers" won't be that easy, even if he has gone past many already. Who are the best? My top 10, based on the following statistical model.
- 10 points for each winner of the New Zealand or Auckland Cup.
- 5 point bonus for each individual winner greater than one.
- 5 points for each broodmare sire win.
- 1 point for each winner sired by a stallion son.

JACK POTTS 1920
(Walter Direct-Margaret Steiner-Steiner) Died aged 24
Six WINS, Four WINNERS, Three BROODMARE WINNERS, Zero SIRE SON WINNERS = 90 points

Imported to New Zealand as a yearling by Alec Anderson and trained initially by Ben Jarden (later Ces Donald) Jack Potts was a top racehorse but a sensational sire because of his stamina. "If they had three mile(5000m) races nothing will ever beat him," a writer said of him in his racing days.
One odd aspect of his success was the naming of so many of his offspring after card game (such as Busted Flush the dam of NZ Cup winner, Thunder). Owners assumed that was the source of his name. In fact he had been named after a close friend of the breeder.

TRIVIAL FACT - The enormous popularity of Jack Potts put pressure on his stud duties and in at least one season he is said to have served over 100 mares. But the stud owner was later charged for using Jack Potts' sons for some services. He pleaded guilty.




Credit: David McCarthy writing in Harnessed Nov 2016



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