YEAR: 1951


D Teahen, whose death occurred last week, was one of the best-known trainers in the Pleasant Point, South Canterbury, district over a long period. He owned and trained many good winners of both gaits, but his heart was in the trotter, and when he bred that great colt Certissimus, he felt that his crowning achievement as a breeder had arrived.

Certissimus was the greatest juvenile trotter ever bred in the Dominion. His tragic death as a 4-year-old early in 1942 cast a gloom over horse-lovers in every part of the country. He fell heavily while jogging along a road at Pleasant Point and sustained injuries from which he died a few days later. Certissimus was a peerless exponent of the square gait. He was also an Apollo among horseflesh and a 'gentleman' to boot. With ordinary development he looked to have the makings of the greatest of his gait ever to be bred in this country. His 3-year-old record for a mile and a half, 3.18, established from the 72yd mark with a lot in hand at Addington in 1941, has yet to be approached; it is still seconds better than the next best. In his camparatively short career of 19 months on the racetrack he won 13 races and finished second twice in 20 starts. Seven of his wins were gained as a 3-year-old.

One of the first horses Teahan ever raced, back in the middle 1920s, was Lazarus, a trotter with whom he won several races. He trained and drove John Jinks to win the 1929 NZ Sapling Stakes. Gunfire and Sabu were among the other good pacers he trained and drove.

Teahan achieved a high reputation in breeding trotters, and among the winners he bred were Sure Gift (NZ Trotting Stakes): Mamanuas, Conceit, Dalcassian, Stray Shot, Sandy Duval (Addington Trotting Stakes); Max Baer, Lochinvar, Desmond's Pride, King's Brigade (NZ Trotting Stakes), and Desworthy (Ashburton Cup).

Credit: NZ Trotting Calendar 13Jun51


YEAR: 1946


The mirth that greeted the running of earlier contests for the NZ Trotting Stakes subsided on Saturday when three of the field - Acclamation, Flame and Balmoral - provided an interesting race with Acclamation winning in the excellent time of 3.29 3/5.

One can imagine the shudders that must have run through the stalwart frames of Mr A Matson and Mr C S Thomas when ridicule was heaped upon the four-horse fiasco for the Trotting Stakes in 1944. But they were men of courage, idealists who knew that the trotter is an integral part of the light-harness sport and must be catered for. "Carry on at all costs" was the slogan.

Saturday's contest was the best yet provided by the baby trotters, with progeny of Certissimus, the greatest juvenile trotter yet bred in the Dominion, finishing first and second after good exhibitions. Acclamation and Flame are daughters of this popular and handsome horse, and they are among his only crop of foals, as he survived only one season at the stud before meeting with a fatal accident.

All three place-fillers were bred to trot, Acclamation being out of Raclaim, a good-class trotter by Wrack from Trix Pointer, Fame from Belle Lorimer, winner of races at both gaits, and Belmoral by Worthy Belwin-Bessie Bingen, both sire and dam being trotting winners.

J Wilson trained three of the four place-fillers - Acclamation, Flame and Sandwrack (fourth). He must have expended a great deal of patience on his charges, who are a credit to him, and he is performing a service to the pure-gaited horse that will be recognised by every lover of the trotter throughout the Dominion. We could do with a dozen of him.


There are only nine living 3-year-olds by Certissimus.

D Teahen, who bred, trained and drove this greatest of all juvenile trotters seen on Dominion tracks, gave the Calendar some interesting information regarding his old favourite's only crop of foals.

Apart from Acclamation, Flame and Carissima, who started in th NZ Trotting Stakes, there are six of the progeny of Certissimus in various parts of Canterbury. They are a filly from Wee Wrack, a filly from Morewa, a gelding from London Tan, a colt from a Denver Huon mare, a filly from Random, and a filly from a Logan Fraser mare. All are trotters except the one from the Logan Fraser mare, and all, of course, are 3-year-olds.

Betty Jinks produced twins to Certissimus, both of which died, and the same fate befell a colt from Paying Guest and a colt from a Jingle mare. This Jingle mare, which is out of Lluvia de Oro, is the dam of several winners, namely, Royal de Oro, Guncase, Maximum, Walter Jingle and Rustle. Teahen related how a passing drover, with the best of intentions, climbed through a fence to help the Jingle mare, which was having difficulty in foaling. The mare unfortunately took fright, which caused the death of the foal, a fine colt

"Considering the old Jingle mare could not leave a bad one, I took that colt's death to heart a bit," said Teahen, "but I can never hope to sit behind a greater horse than Certissimus. He was just too good to be true - speed, looks, manners, and anything else you like."

Credit: NZ Trotting Calendar 10 & 17Apr46


YEAR: 1938


One of the more surprising successes at the stud in NZ was Quite Sure, a double-gaited horse imported her in 1938 by Miss Julia Cuff, then based in Southland. The Peter Volo stallion stood for some years in that province and his last years in Rakaia when Miss Cuff moved north.

Although most of his best offspring were trotters Quite Sure actually took his best lifetime mark of 2:01.8 pacing, though his sire, a son of Peter The Great, was a champion trotting stallion as a yearling and each season through to four years. Quite Sure's sons and daughters had mixed reputations but properly handled gave great results to patient trainers.

For a stallion whose offspring generally needed time to show their best, Quite Sure made an instant impact. From his first crop came 26 individual winners of 102 races. They included the juvenile champion Walter Moore, another top pacer Special Force and many others. The best known is the almost legendary Certissimus who, Even Speed and all, is probably the best young trotter this country has ever seen.

Certissimus had a tremendous action and in a tragically short career (he died from an accident as an early 4 year old) he became a wonder horse, returning one scintillating performance after another in the war years. Another champion trotter from the sire's early crops was Will Cary, the first trotter in NZ to better 4:20 for two miles and a Dominion Handicap winner.

Quite Sure's first winner was Bomber, trained by Bill Doyle at Leeston. Bomber went on to win a Dominion Handicap, and Bill has another cause to remember the stallion for he later leased and trained Gold Horizon. A lot of people will tell you that Gold Horizon's equal as a trotter is yet to be produced in NZ. He won more stakes than any other of his gait either here or in Australia at the time and won more than 20 races though the Dominion eluded him.

There were numerous other grand trotters by Quite Sure. Jimmy Dillon won 16 races and held two Australasian records. Blue Horizon was a mighty trotter, also holding records for some years, and he numbered the Ashburton Cup among his many wins. Then there was the brilliant, but unsound Toushay, holder of the 1 mile record for a number of years and winner of the Trotting Free For All. Sure Gift was another topliner and with Fairy Dell gave Quite Sure wins in the Trotting Stakes.
Ripcord was another champion trotter by Quite Sure, winning over all distances against top company and holder for a while of a world record over 11 furlongs. He won 11 races in all. Like another top trotter in Super Note, by Quite Sure he had some success at stud.

There were a number of other top horses by Quite Sure. Included among them were Copper Trail, a good Southland pacer and winner of the Gore Cup, Sandy Duval, Rerewaka (NZ Trotting FFA), Karnak (who beat a handicap field at two years), Stuart Lee (who won seven successive races), Imperial Trust, Monagh Leagh, Minora, Quite Happy and Quite Likely, holder of a two-year-old national mark over a mile for fillies. His best pacing son however was Whipster who won eight races until injury terminated his career. Whipster was a successful sire of Massacre, Don Hall and Glint among others.

Quite Sure also had considerable success as a broodmare sire. Quite Sound produced a top class trotter in Rock'n Robin. Glamour Girl was the dam of Flying Maiden and Halberg who won 15 races between them, Flying Maiden being the dam of current top three-year-old Cool Cat. Pleasure Bay is a Quite Sure mare assured of undying fame through her grandson Cardigan Bay. Ballyhaunis was the dam of Jennifer who has produced eight winners at stud and Sure Romance was the dam of Royal Mile, a juvenile trotter of great speed who held the national mile record for a time. Quite Evident, who won five races herself, was the dam of eight winners including Call Boy, who won nine including the Great Norther Derby, and Farlena an Australasian record holder and winner of four including the Sapling Stakes.

Little Doubt, a daughter of Quite Evident, produced six winners including For Certain, an Oaks winner. Maid Myra won five and was the dam of Pohutukawa, winner of 11 races in this country, and Cosy Del produced five winners and is grandam of Balgove. Karnak was the dam of five winners including Scimitar, winner of nine, and Ruer, who is the dam of the champion Australian trotter and sire Delvin Dancer. Credere was the dam of Deodatus, who won seven including the Trotting Stakes, and Salamis produced several winners including Sally Walla and Similas, the dam of Viking Water.

Luronne produced Ascot King a top Australian winner. Sporting Edition was the dam of Spring Edition, who won seven and produced five winners. Quite Contrary is the grandam of Ripper's Delight, Ilsa Voss and Rip Silver. Other good winners fron Quite Sure mares include the juvenile champion Vivanti (winner of the Oaks, Sapling Stakes, Welcome Stakes and holder of several records), Lassoloc winner of seven, Rascal five wins, Knighthood six wins (at either gait), Sure Charge winner of 11 (trotting), Dourglo, Prince Garry and April Hall, the dam of six winners.

Quite Sure sired 254 winners all told of 891 races and $705,749. In his second eligible season he was ninth on the list and remained in the top ten until 1954. His higest placing on the overall list was third in 1948-49, his offspring winning nearly $83,000. Other sons of Quite Sure made their mark at the stud including Desmond's Pride, a brother of Certissimus who himself served a few mares as a colt with success, Concord and Rest Assured.

Some trainers were not keen on Quite Sure's stock and Bill Doyle, who had more success with them than most explains why: "They could be very flighty and hard to handle," recalls the Leeston sportsman, "and didn't take kindly to harsh treatment. But once they were sorted out they were top horses and especially top stayers."

Credit: David McCarthy writing in NZ Trotguide 8Jun77


YEAR: 1941


He raced across the harness racing sky like a blazing comet, hailed on all sides as the greatest young trotter the country had ever seen. It wasn't just hype. He won 13 of his first 20 starts, unheard of for a youngster running against all aged horses in an era when trotting stars hit their peak at about eight or nine. Even the weary scribes who had seen it all lobbed superlatives in his direction.

Then, in freak and bizarre circumstances, Certissimus was gone, before he had had his fifth birthday. His chance to be up there with all-time greats expired on the side of a country road near Pleasant Point but his memory among those fortunate enough to have seen him never faded. Beside his ability he had charisma like no other of his time. There are still horsemen around who rate him the most spectacular trotter they ever saw.

Certissimus was a product of South Canterbury courtesy of the Teahen family of Pleasant Point. Dinny Teahen had purchased the star's American-bred dam for a paltry sum and bred her to American stallion Quite Sure - Though Certissimus raced in the name of Jack Teahen. The clever name meant "most certain". Certissimus started as a pacer.

His granddam Belle Keller had been imported from the US by J R McKenzie in foal to Arion Guy. Roydon's Pride, the resulting foal, showed trainer George Mouritz extreme trotting speed but was too highly strung to do it on raceday. At a Roydon Lodge dispersal sale in 1936 she could only fetch 14 quineas. Her first foal for the Teahens, a Maxegin filly died as a young horse, perhaps an ill omen.

Quite Sure was notable stud announcement of 1939 to stand at the Kennington Stud in Southland by Julia Cuff. Miss Cuff, a one-time publican and Southland's first professional woman trainer in either code, earlier stood ex-Canterbury sires Rey De Oro, Wrack and Grattan Loyal for the locals. With Quite Sure's success sho later moved to Hinds, dying in Christchurch in the 1970s.

Quite Sure was a free legged pacer and the real deal in the States having been runner-up in the Pacers Classic at two to the top juvenile, Calumet Cheater, in world record 2:02.5 and 2:03.5 heats. As an older horse he beat stars like Mc I Win, the dual gaited world champion Raider(who emigrated to Australia) and Cold Cash (1:58.2). He had been recommended to Cuff by prominent US journalist and breeding expert Walter Moore and the stallion's first star, owned by Cuff, was a colt by that name, the best 2-year-old of 1940.

Special Force was another star by him for Peter Gallagher and then Certissimus appeared on the scene. He was a sign of things to come because, against expectations, Quite Sure became a noted sire of trotters. Experts like Bill Doyle later had reason to recall fondly how reliable an in-form Quite Sure trotter was when the money was on. Breeders of pacers, however, soon lost some of their enthusiasm.

Certissimus made his debut at Methven in the spring of 1940, pacing early before living up to his already big reputation by winning easily. His composure, which must have come from his sire, was an important key to his success. Certissimus was so good that in January, 1941 in a historic special Match Race at Timaru he took on the best 3-year-old pacers including Special Force, Gold Chief(later to sire Rupee), Ronald Logan, Walter Moore and Shadow Maid. He broke twice in that event, wanting to pace, but "showed wonderful speed in between proving he was a great colt" one media report said.

Certissimus beat all aged fields at Addington from long marks when it was unheard of for one of his age. In November 1940 he beat a NZ 2400m record by six seconds after losing 40m at the start. In January 1941 from 72 yards he ran six seconds faster than the second horse, the aged Hamel Bay, clocking 3:18, a national 3-year-old record for over 20 years. A year later he received a reception at Timaru after beating the accomplished Dark Hazard rated the "heartiest in living memory". A month later he was dead.

He had gone to another training track (that of Jack Brophy) for a workout on February 24. Jogging home Certissimus was stung on the nose by a bee. He reared, his untied overcheck hooked around the shaft of the cart and he fell heavily on his head on to the asphalt, stunned and severely injured. Certissimus could not be moved, so right there on the road a tent was erected around him and he was attended night and day by a veterinarian and a doctor. A specialist from Dunedin made a special journey to oversee the crisis.

"There is every prospect of the horse making a complete recovery" was the optimistic claim in the media after Certissimus managed to get back on his feet two days later. But recovery was always a long shot and he died soon afterward. There were various claims, rumours ans recriminations about the real cause of the incident over the years. Nothing could bring the horse back.

Roydon's Pride's descendants gave the Teahan family - and others - compensation when Global Hall won them a Rowe Cup, and Deotatus a Trotting Stakes while Don Hall, owned and trained by Ray Teahen and trained also for a time by Cecil Devine, was a top class pacer though now largely famous in trivia quizzes as a principal in the famous whip incident involving the latter. Roy Grattan, a half-brother, was another outstanding pacer from this family and Heber Hewson's "Cord" family, among others, also came from it.

Certissimus was used lightly as a stallion in his racing days with remarkable success. He sired the high class trotter Acclamation and his daughters left the high class Alight as well as Highland Flame a sensational youngster who won the Trotting Stakes, officially, by 100 yards.

We can't be sure where Certissimus's star would have finnally landed in the galaxy of champion trotters because fate robbed him of his chance. That it would have been right up there was never doubted by his many admirers.

Credit: David McCarthy writing in HRWeekly 28Nov2012

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