YEAR: 1954


For the first time since 1928, when the American stallion Peterwah was in the field, a trotter - or trotters - will have the opportunity, this year, of competing in the NZ Cup.

The race is for pacers on 4.23 and faster, and trotters on 4.30 and faster, and the only trotters who qualify at present are Dictation, Gold Horizon and Vodka. All are great stayers, and two of them, Dictation and Gold Horizon, are brilliant enough out of the barrier to be capable of adding a lot of interest to the race. If either of these great square-gaiters should go the early part of the race as fast as they have done in races among horses of their own gait, there will be little chance of any pacer slowing up the field and indulging in some of the leisurely first miles that have detracted from some of the leading handicap races of the past.

To this extent the presence of these class trotters will be welcomed; and they will also bring variety to the premier event.

In the meantime, no one will expect spectacular results from the Metropolitan Club's innovation - for an innovation it is under our present handicapping system - but old-timers will reflect nostalgically on the great performances in the past of trotters among the pacers and express a hope that this latest step may eventually bring to light a Reta Peter or a Monte Carlo both of whom won trotting Cups against fields of pacers; and, only in a slightly lesser degree, a Whispering Willie, a Hardy Wilkes, a Trampfast, Wrackler, Bellflower, Electrocute, Peterwah, Muricata, Submarine, or Moneyspider, all of whom defeated high-class fields of pacers at different periods. There were others.

The public, in the past, greatly enjoyed the exhilarating spectacle of a real trotter coming home at the head of a field of pacers. We have seen too little of this kind of sport of recent years, and the Metropolitan Club, we think, is deserving of bouquets and not brickbats, for its bold step in once again opening the gate to its top class races to the trotter; because, if the trotters play their part as well as many of us feel confident they will, their presence among the pacers in other races will naturally follow as a matter of course.

Credit: 'Ribbonwood' writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 22Sep54

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