YEAR: 1964

Ted Lowe, Ces Donald & Cairnbrae

Veterans both, Cairnbrae and C S Donald gave nothing a chance of heading them in the NZ Trotting Cup after taking charge with about half the journey covered, tramping the last mile in 2:04.2 and the last half in 60.2 and crossing the line two lengths and a half clear of Orbiter.

Cairnbrae qualifies for the veteran circle because he was one of three eight-year-olds in the field, the oldest group in this year's Cup.

C S Donald qualifies in age and ability - and with honours thick upon him as the most successful trainer of all time in the Dominion.

Cairnbrae's celebrated family - on both sides - has now produced the winners of seven New Zealand Cups - Cairnbrae's sire U Scott has been represented by Highland Fling (winner twice), Van Dieman and Cairnbrae; and on the dam's side Cairnbrae traces to Tairene whose great tribe included the dual NZ Cup winner Lucky Jack.

For Donald it was a second Cup victory - in 1940 he owned and trained Marlene, who beat Dusky Sound in a desperate finish. Incidentally, Donald also bred that fine mare. This was Donald's first driving success in the Cup. Marlene was driven by his brother Ron.

Records galore became a habit with Donald long ago - his success as leading trainer in the 1962-63 season meant that he had by then headed this list nine times, thus beating the record previously held equally by himself and the late James Bryce. Bryce's record of heading the trainer's list eight times was established as far back as the 1923-24 season, and Donald equalled it in the 1960-61 season. Donald has now held a trainer's licence for more than 42 years. It was in April 1922, that he took up the training of light-harness horses, and his score of winners to date has reached 857, easily a record for the Dominion.

Cecil Donald has consistently affirmed that the outstanding event in his training career was his win with his own splendid mare Marlene in the 1940 New Zealand Cup, especially since that milestone in the Donald fortunes was attended by the wins of Tan John in the Dominion Handicap and Plutus in the Free-For-All at the same 1940 NZ Cup meeting. That is believed to be a unique 'triple crown.' And at the same carnival he won the mile saddle race with Repeal and the Australasian Handicap with Superior Rank. Donald's first training and driving success was with the trotter Mangoutu in the Seaview Handicap at the New Brighton Trotting Club's Summer Meeting on Thursday, December 14, 1922. Donald has had a mighty cavalcade of great horses through the stables; perhaps the best remembered of his 'greats' of the past would be Lindbergh (a NZ Cup heat winner in 1931), Plutus (a free-for-all specialist), Carmel, Quality, Ferry Post, Clockwork, Bayard, Brahman and Falsehood; and he has also prepared a glittering band of trotters, among them Kempton, Rangefinder, Writer, Wahnooka, Great Way, Captain Bolt and John Mauritius.

Dandy Briar, Jay Ar, Oreti, Gay Reel, Waitaki Hanover and Orbiter were all slow away, Orbiter losing a good 36 yards, and he was well back when the field settled down. After going half mile, King Hal had charge from Vanderford, then came Valcador, Garcon D'Or, Urrall, Deft, Lordship, Cairnbrae, Oreti, Orbiter, Dandy Briar, Waitaki Hanover, Jay Ar and Gay Reel, most of the field racing in pairs. Cairnbrae moved up smartly soon after, and was in front with a mile to run. Following Cairnbrae was King Hal, and then came Vanderford and Valcador, Garcon D'Or and Urrall, Deft and Lordship, Orbiter, Dandy Briar and Oreti. Cairnbrae led into the straight, and it was obvious a furlong out that he had the result in safe keeping. Lordship and Orbiter made game attempts to bridge the gap to Cairnbrae, but neither could do any better, and Orbiter then came on the scene with a strong run to cut Lordship out of second place, with Vanderford fourth. Orbiter could be regarded as a shade unlucky. Oreti was fifth, then came Garcon D'Or, Gay Reel, Deft, Waitaki Hanover, Dandy Briar, Jay Ar, King Hal, Urrall and Valcador last.

Safeguard, the dam of Cairnbrae, was a performer above the average and took a two miles record of 4:18.4. She was bred by the late Mr W T Lowe, who also bred Cairnbrae, now owned by Mr Lowe's son, W E Lowe, of Hinds, where his late father bred many high-class pacers and trotters, notably Lucky Jack, a leading stayer in the late 1930's. He also owned Trampfast, the champion trotter of the early 1930's. Safeguard was by Springfield Globe, a champion Tasmanian pacer trained for many important wins in New Zealand by the late R B Berry, who trained and drove Lucky Jack. Safeguard was out of Molly Direct, a high-class pacer by Jack Potts from Real Girl, a useful winner by imported Real Guy from Tairene. Tairene was by Wildwood Junior (winner of the NZ Cup in 1909 and 1910) from Jessie B, to whom trace close to 100 individual winners.

Cairnbrae has now had 13 wins and 13 placings for 11,680 in stakes. Cairnbrae had the fastest two mile time of 4:12 among the Cup candidates before Tuesday's race. That was recorded when he finished third from 42 yards to Orbiter (Limit) and Great Credit (36 yards) in the New Brighton Cup last February. In his Cup victory he went slightly slower.

The result was a triumph for the blood of U Scott - Cairnbrae and Orbiter were sired by him and Lordship is out of a U Scott mare. Lordship was a warm favourite. On-course he carried 3108 for a win and 1644 10s for a place; off-course he had 640 for a win and 5747 for a place. The Cairnbrae-King Hal-Urrall bracket carried on-course, 789 10s for a win and 1975 10s for a place, and off-course 584 for a win and 1419 for a place. Total investments on the race were down on last year's figures: the on-course total was 22,503, against 24,147 10s last year; off-course investments totalled 35,013, against 35,930 last year. The totalisator turnover on-course for the day was 216,064 10s, a substantial increase on the 192,254 handled last year, and a record for one day at Addington. This year there were nine races, last year eight. The off- course total this year was 196,592 10s compared with 180,714 15s last year. The attendance was 18,000, compared with 18,500 last year.

Credit: 'Ribbonwood' writing in NZ Trotting Calendar


YEAR: 1964


Lordship produced his best form in the NZ Free-For-All. He hesitated a little at the start but was into top gear quickly and was soon handily placed. He waited on the leaders till well inside the furlong before challenging. Lordship caught Orbiter 24 yards out and went on to win by a length in the smart time of 2:34.6 for the mile and a quarter journey, a 2:03.6 mile rate. The leaders sprinted their last half mile in 60.2, the final quarter in 28.8 secs. Lordship appeared to be a much keener pacer than he was on Cup day, and he was given a rousing reception on his return to the birdcage. Lordship has now won 25,930 in stakes, the result of 24 wins and 21 placings.

Orbiter made a game attempt to win but found Lordship just too good on the day. Orbiter was alongside Cairnbrae racing to the straight and had that pacer covered after turning for home. He looked a winner until Lordship put in his claim, and he was far from disgraced in going under to a pacer of the calibre of Lordship.

Jay Ar finished in good style for third after being several places back at the home turn, with Vanderford in fourth place, followed by Cairnbrae and Waitaki Hanover, with three lengths to Flying Blue, who was followed in by Gay Reel and Dandy Briar, with Grouse tailed off.

Credit: 'Irvington' writing in NZ Trotting Calendar


YEAR: 2000


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: 1985


Ted Lowe, who died in Ashburton last week, was one of New Zealand's best known amatuer horsemen.

From his farm near Hinds in the Maronan district of Mid-Canterbury, Ted Lowe produced a string of top class pacers over the years, and numbered two NZ Cups to his credit. His first Cup victory came in 1964 with Cairnbrae, trained and driven by the late Ces Donald, but in 1968 Ted had his own moment of glory, as trainer-driver of Humphrey, who took out the premier staying event. Many Lowe horses were named after areas in the Mid-Canterbury district, and a drive along the back roads is like a roll call of many of his early winners - Lyndhurst, Lautiston, Mitcham, Barrhill etc.

Better known winners of recent times to race in the Lowe colours include the former New Zealand mile record holder Wag (1:57.2) who set his mark in winning the then Stars Travel Miracle Mile (now Pan Am Mile), Dundas, Atanui, Grouse, Corwar, Stortford Lodge, The Raider, Urrall, Pun, Wing Commander, West Street, Templar and Siouan to name a few.

Ted Lowe had been in ill health for a good number of years, largely caused by the long period he spent as a prisoner of war in Norway during the Second World War, being captured at El Alamein when serving with the 20th Battalion. Few major races escaped Lowe representatives, though he was never to produce a Derby winner. If sentiment were to rectify this state of affairs, Samson would have taken out the 1985 Great Northern Derby at Alexandra Park just two days before Ted's death. Samson was favourite for this event, on the strength of his brilliant lead-up form, but unfortunately went off-stride soon after the start and took no part in the race.

Ted also took a very active role in trotting administration, serving the Trotting Owners and Trainers Association in Mid-Canterbury, and the Ashburton Trotting Club. He joined the Ashburton Trotting Club committee in 1958 after several years as a steward, was President from 1977 to 1980, then was re-elected to the committee again in 1983 after three years as immediate past president.

Until his retirement from race driving at the age of 65, Ted did much of his own driving, but encouraged young reinsmen in his employ. George Adamson drove many winners in the Lowe colours, and in recent seasons Paul Young has proved a highly successful stable reinsman.

Ted Lowe is survived by his wife Lillian and six step-children. He was 71 at the time of his death.

Credit: 26 Mar 1965


YEAR: 1978


There were more eyes on Adjo at the start of the Lance Heron Trotting Handicap on July 22 than normal for the ninth favourite in a trotter's race at Addington. For Adjo's engagement marked the end of the 32 year long race driving career of Ted Lowe, of Hinds, near Ashburton.

Ted turned 65 on June 21 and can not renew his horseman's licence due to the compulsory retirement rule. Adjo did not oblige and allow Ted to go out in a blaze of glory as some other retiring drivers have done, but it was obvious in the driver's room, and at a presentation in the president's room that Ted Lowe commanded much respect regardless of the result of his final drive.

Adjo actually displayed no sense of occasion, breaking badly after 150m and finishing 12th. "He has broken a bone in his leg and I think the track was a bit hard for him. I was restraining him when he broke but it might have been better if I had pushed him into it," Ted said as he changed out of his colours for the last time. His four other drives earlier in the day had produced a somewhat unlucky third (promoted to second) with Single Lord, fourths with Ganelon and Wing Commander, and tenth with Lord George. "If Wing Commander hadn't turned his head to the side just as they let the tape go, I don't think he would have been beaten," Ted said. As it was, Wing Commander battled hard for fourth after making a big run to sit outside the leader with a round to go.

Ted was sad, but philosophical about having to give up driving. "It's an inconvenience. I'll miss out on a lot of fun, but it's the law and there's no use growling about it. Others have had to do it and it's a pleasure to end at Addington on a fine day. But I will miss all my friends out on the track - they're terrific fellows, and there is a tremendous amount of unwritten law and self respect among them," he said.

Ted's major driving victories came in the 1968 NZ Cup and the 1968 New Brighton Cup (both with Humphrey) while he trained Wag to win the 1972 National Flying Pace and the 1973 Stars Travel Miracle Mile. He also owned Cairnbrae trained and driven by Ces Donald to win the 1964 NZ Cup.

Born into a trotting family on June 21, 1913, Walter Edward Lowe did not begin driving until after the Second World War, when he served in the 20th Battalion "with Charlie Upham and several other good trotting men." Ted was among those taken prisoner at El Alamein, on July 15, 1942, and spent most of his prison life in hospital. He was hospitalised for 23 months with pleurisy and pneumonia, which left him with a "bad chest".

In his first race drive, at a Kaikoura Trotting Club meeting at Rangiora on March 23, 1946, Ted finished fourth with Gloxania in the first division of the two-mile Parsons Handicap, won by Ben Adam. Owned by his father, Mr W T Lowe, trained at Hinds by Dave McGregor, Gloxania was the dam of Grouse, whose son Wheatson has taken a mark of 1:58.6 in the United States this year. Later in the 1945-46 season, Ted guided Gloxania to third twice in one day, in harness races on the Oamaru Jockey Club's programme on June 15, 1946. "The placings on Gloxania made me a B Grade driver," Ted recalls. Baadin, a Lucky Jack-Mistral 4-year-old he owned, provided Ted with his first winning drive - a deadheat with Supplement (Dillon Hall-Love Brigade) at the Waikouaiti Racing Club's meeting in January 1, 1948. "I was then an A Grade driver, but I didn't do much driving after that, until I took up training in the 1950's," he said.

Trotting records show Ted Lowe as retiring with 157 winning drives to his credit (not including any seasons when he had less than three wins) and 223 training successes. His best season was the 1962-63 term. He was leading owner with 28 wins and 16,940, eighth on the drivers' list with 21 wins and fourth highest trainer with 22 wins. Of the 28 races won by Lowe owned horses that season, Cairnbrae contributed eight, Grouse and Peel six each, and Urrall and Lyndhurst (Captain Adios-Gloxania) three each. Cairnbrae was trained by Lowe himself for his first three wins in 1962-3, then went to Ces Donald, who prepared him for another five victories, in succession.

"Humphrey was the best all round horse I drove - he could sprint and stay," Ted says of the horse which gave him his most notable driving success. "When I got hold of him the game was easy - good horses make good drivers. I was never any great shakes as a driver, but I could hold my own - with horses I knew."

Ted says the most noticeable change in racing over the years is the move towards shorter races nowdays. "Races are run in more of a rush. You used to be able to sit back and wait like you can still do to a certain extent on the bigger courses like Ashburton and Methven. I don't think the change has improved the horse," he said.

Ted now intends to put more driving opportunities to help the way of his stablehand Paul Young, while Doody Townley will continue to handle West Street "when it suits him."


Extract from NZ Trotting Calendar 26March85

Ted Lowe, who died in Ashburton last week, was one of NZ's best known amateur horsemen. From his farm near Hinds in the Maronan district of Mid-Canterbury, Ted Lowe produced a string of top class pacers over the years, and numbered two NZ Cups to his credit. His first Cup victory came in 1964 with Cairnbrae, trained and driven by the late Ces Donald, but in 1968 Ted had his own moment of glory as trainer-driver of Humphrey who took out the premier staying event.

Many Lowe horses were named after areas in the Mid-Canterbury district, and a drive along the back roads is like a roll call of many of his early winners - Lyndhurst, Lauriston, Mitcham, Barrhill etc.

Better known winners of recent times to race in the Lowe colours include the former NZ mile record holder Wag (1:57.2) who set his mark in winning the then Stars Travel Miracle Mile (now Pan Am Mile), Dundas, Atanui, Grouse, Corwar, Stortford Lodge, The Raider, Urrall, Pun, Wing Commander, West Street, Templar and Siouan to name a few.

Ted Lowe had been in ill health for a good number of years, largely caused by the long period he spent as a prisoner of war in Norway during the Second World War, being captured at El Alamein when serving with the 20th Battalion.

Few major races escaped Lowe representatives, though he was never to produce a Derby winner. If sentiment were to rectify this state of affairs, Samson would have taken out the 1985 Great Northern Derby at Alexandra Park just two days before Ted's death. Samson was favourite for the event, on the strength of his brilliant lead-up form, but unfortunately went off-stride soon after the start and took no part in the race.

Ted also took a very active role in trotting administration, serving the Trotting Owners' and Trainers' Association in Mid-Canterbury, and the Ashburton Trotting Club. He joined the Ashburton Trotting Club committee in 1958 after several years as a steward, was president from 1977 to 1980, then was re-elected to the committee again in 1983 after three years as immediate past president.

Until his retirement from race driving at the age of 65, Ted did much of his own driving, but encouraged young reinsmen in his employ. George Adamson drove many winners in the Lowe colours, and in recent seasons Paul Young has proved a highly successful stable reinsman.

Ted Lowe is survived by his wife Lillian and six step-children. He was 71 at the time of his death.

Credit: Rod Carr writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 1Aug78


YEAR: 1977


One of the more remarkable successes at stud in this country over the last 30 years was undoubtedly Springfield Globe, an Australian bred and owned track champion of the war years.

Though by the great Globe Derby, Springfield Globe had plenty of NZ blood in his veins being from the Logan Pointer mare Ayr, who traced to a thoroughbred taproot. Ayr was bred by Durbar Lodge and sold cheaply to Australia (less than $100) where she was a great breeding success. Springfield Globe was her best known son and won 15 races including the 1939 Inter-Dominions after his full-brother Our Globe had been sensationally disqualified for allegedly not trying in the third series of heats, after winning easily in the first two.

Early in the war years, Springfield Globe was leased to the Springston trainer Roy Berry. He won six races in NZ from a limited campaign, including the Autumn Free For All and the NZ Pacing Championship, the latter including Haughty and Gold Bar in the field. He was rated two minute material by his NZ handlers but acquired something of a reputation as a non-stayer, probably as a result of his abortative chase after Gold Bar in the 1943 NZ Cup. He was later to sire our first two-minute racehorse, but his stud career showed that his stock could match most in the staying field.

Springfield Globe had a rather remarkable stud career. He stood only six seasons in this country and was leading Colonial sire six times. He produced over 100 winners here and nearer 300 altogether. His best son was Tactician, the winner of 20 races and our first local two-minute racehorse, recording 1:59.8. Tactician was also rated by some experts as a non-stayer, but circumstances rather than an weakness, may have contributed to this belief. Tactician, of course, won an Inter-Dominion in 1955, in Auckland.

Thelma Globe was another outstanding racehorse, winning 17 races including an Auckland Cup. She took a national mark of 2:32.6 over 1 miles. Globe Direct, from one of the sire's earlier crops, was a fine racehorse too, winning 14 races and taking a 3:09.4 mark over 1 miles on the grass. Springfield Globe sired two NZ Cup winners in Adorian (12 wins) and Mobile Globe, who defeated Tactician in 1952. His daughters produced two more Cup winners in Invicta and Cairnbrae.

Croughton, a fine juvenile racehorse before being claimed by unsoundness, classic winning mare Perpetua, Springbok, Victory Globe (Auckland Cup), Mighty Song, Lady Rowan, Super Globe, Fortuna, Gay Knight, Gay Heritage and Lady Joss (Australasian record holder) were some of Springfield Globe's stock to reach the top but by no means all. Au Revoir won 11 races and Ohio one fewer. Autumn Sky was successful on the track and was also a fine broodmare as was Safeguard. Prince Regent won a number of races as did Alouette, Chandelier, Agricola and First Globe.

The Globe Derby line has produced some disappointing broodmare sires, but Springfield Globe, probably as a result of the Logan Pointer blood, was not one. In NZ alone his daughters produced one hundred and eight winners. One of the best was Scottish Command who won 16 races and was rated by his connections as unlucky not to win the NZ Cup in 1959 when he was brought down on the turn. He of course has been a successful sire as well. Lochgair, Invicta, Dignus, Queen Ngaio and Cairnbrae were other top horses produced in this country by Springfield Globe mares, and there were many more in Australia including Thelma Globe's son Blazing Globe.

Dessonaire produced six winners in Australia. Modern Globe, winner herself of five, produced five winners including Student. Spring Lily was also the dam of five winners as was Mercias. All the stock of another Springfield Globe mare, Primeavel, went to the USA and six of them won races. Phyllis Globe produced Bob Again who won eight and Perpetua was the dam of top Australian pacer Dale Spring. Fairfield was the dam of seven winners and Heather Globe was the dam of four. The fertility of Springfield Globe mares was marked, another top matron being Silver Circle who was the dam of six winners. Fortuna was also successful at the stud.

Springfield Globe's sons did well in this country. Springbok was the sire of the top class pacer Oreti and a champion trotter in Durban Chief, both of whom distinguished themselves in the USA. Croughton, in his first season, sired a top mare in Beau Marie. Super Globe also did well as did Globe Direct. Henry of Navarre, from limited opportunities sired some good trotters, the best being Control who held the mile record for some years. Bastille, who died after a short stud term, was another Springfield Globe stallion to attract attention and Ayrland's Pride also sired a few winners. A number of his sons were exported to Australia. Harlequin Parade was sent across the Tasman after a very successful track career here and he was from the Springfield Globe mare Liliacae.

Two other sires by Springfield Globe have done well in this country. Prince Regent, a talented but unsound racehorse sired a number of winners and his daughter Princess Grace is the dam of Vanadium among others. Prince Charming, also a good racehorse, gained belated fame through the success of his sons Royal Ascot and Marawaru.

In Australia, Springfield Globe's sons have been most successful. Aachen, an outstanding racehorse who won his first 20 races in a row, has been a consistently outstanding sire across the Tasman and a number of his sons stand at stud there. Aachen has sired over 260 winners. Mineral Spring and the ill fated Sheffield Globe have done well there also and another son, Chief Spring has sired, among many winners, the champion Reichman.

It can be seen then, why some breeders are still anxious to have Springfield Globe blood in the veins of their mares. Whether it affects their staying ability is debatable, but there can be no doubt it is a great asset if you are trying to breed a winner.

Credit: David McCarthy writing in NZ Trotguide 18May77


YEAR: 1972


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: 1965

Lofty Shaw, Jack Baker, Garry Dillon & Peter Wolfenden

Adroitly shepherded through a traffic hazard just after negotiating the home turn, Garry Dillon decisively outstayed the favourite Robin Dundee in the NZ Cup at Addington Raceway.

Crack northern reinsman Peter Wolfenden had the winner in front from barrier rise, he took the trail behind Danny's Pal with about seven furlongs covered, and thereafter he stayed on the fence in the path of the pilot until he got the green light in the run home - he actually edged his way to the outer and had gathered in Robin Dundee half-way down the running.

Garry Dillon had three lengths to spare as he passed the post, too decisive a result to warrant any reaching for the excuse book. However, there were the usual casualties. Gay Robin looked as unlucky as anything. He showed a torrent of speed to finish fourth after striking trouble and going into a prolonged break with only a furlong and a half covered - this lapse cost him about a dozen lengths and he was less than five lengths from the winner at the finish. Orbiter fared little better in the battle of tactics than he did a year ago (when he was second to Cairnbrae) but on this occasion his chance got completely extinguised when he got squeezed back with less than three furlongs to go. He was running a fairly close eighth at the time. Jacobite also made a remarkable recovery to come third, because he misfired as badly as anything at the start and still had at least a dozen of the field to mow down with half the race to run.

Lochgair, Avante and Gay Reel were others to tangle at the start, and Garry Dillon's early attendants were Idaho, Robin Dundee, Orbiter, Danny's Pal, Pancho Boy and Garcon D'Or. Garry Dillon was a clear leader with a mile and a quarter to go, but then Danny's Pal rushed up to take over, and with six furlongs left he had Garry Dillon, Idaho, Avante, Robin Dundee and Tactile as his nearest pursuers. Cairnbrae made a short-lived spurt wide out going along the back the last time, but the one who really 'got cracking' as the field crossed the top was Robin Dundee - she was in full cry on the home bend and soon had Danny's Pal and Idaho in trouble, but no sooner had she drawn clear than Garry Dillon made his sweep well out on the track and Robin Dundee had no answer to his perfectly timed onslaught.

Robin Dundee was a length and a half in front of Jacobite, who was a head better than Gay Robin, and Idaho was the same distance back fifth. Danny's Pal, Lordship, Van Rebeck, Orbiter, Tactile, Avante, Pancho Boy, Garcon D'Or, Lochgair, Gay Reel and Cairnbrae followed in the order named.

P T Wolfenden, interviewed after the race, said he thought he was the only one with a chance of beating Robin Dundee from the home turn if he could get clear, "and I managed to." D J Townley, driver of Jacobite, thought he was "a certainty beaten." He lost fully 36 yards at the start.

Garry Dillon is raced on lease by Messrs E B S Grey and J H Shaw from his Southland breeder, Mrs E M Kirk. A seven-year-old bay gelding by Garrison Hanover(imp), who is now close to the top of the sires' list for the current season. Garry Dillon is out of Regina Dillon, by Dillon Hall out of Regina Pointer, by Logan Sun out of Regina de Oro, by Copa de Oro from Regina, a famous foundation mare whose descendants include Native Chief, Logan Chief, Grand Mogul and a host of other class performers; but this was the first New Zealand Cup winner from the family.

Garry Dillon has now won 12 races and 11,042 5s, including Tuesday's 100 gold Cup. The cup was presented by the Minister of Internal Affairs (Mr D Seath). Robin Dundee's stake-winnings have reached 23,055, plus around 5000 in Australia.

Despite a showery, gloomy morning, the attendance was good, 17,482 compared with 18,000 last year. The weather cleared after the second race. The on-course betting on the Cup was 27,353, an increase of 4850 on last year; the off-course Cup total, 36,842, was 1829 up on last year. The totalisator, on-course, handled 230,015 (including 23,644 10s on the double) compared with 216,064 10s last year. The off-course total was 211,674 15s (including 104,503 5s on the double), compared with 196,592 10s last year.

On a sticky track the time was relatively slow - 4:22.4 for the winner. Sectional times were: Half-mile 64.8; Mile 2:12.8; Mile and a half 3:19.8.

J P Baker, who trains Garry Dillon at Morrinsville, Auckland, told of Garry Dillon's arrival at Addington as late as last Friday following a 600-mile trip by float after a flight from Auckland had to be cancelled. Baker would have driven Garry Dillon himself but for meeting with an accident in recent weeks which injured his ribs and broke his collar-bone. Baker gives unstinted credit to veteran Cambridge trainer C G Lee for his assistance in the training of Garry Dillon in recent weeks, and also his care of the horse on his trying float trip south.

P T Wolfenden was driving his second NZ Cup winner in the last three years - he drove Cardigan Bay in 1963 when, incidentally, Robin Dundee was also second to him.

Credit: 'Ribbonwood' writing in NZ Trotting Calendar


YEAR: 1965


Mention of the influence of the Wildwood strain in the pedigree of the NZ Cup winner Cairnbrae - and the innumerable winning descendants of Tairene - has prompted a Calendar reader to draw our attention to an article by the late F C Thomas which appeared in a Christchurch weekly paper more than 40 years ago.

Here is Mr Thomas's article:

The writer well remembers his first introduction to Wildwood, soon after the black son of Good Gift arrived in Christchurch. Though still showing traces of his journey from San Francisco, he filled the eye as quite the best-looking young horse ever brought to these shores. He was then rising three, and after a few week's spell he was put into light work at William Kerr's New Brighton track.

It was not until two seasons later, however, that he first faced a racecourse crowd, and though of practically unknown quality, he was backed for the Record Reign Handicap at the Showgrounds as if the race was all over, bar shouting. Despite his opponents including much better-performed horses such as General Tracey, Albert Victor, Little Willie, Sam Slick and Viking, he was required to give them starts ranging from 4 to ten seconds in two miles. In the field also was a little-fancied candidate hailing from Ashburton, Prince Imperial, owned by Mr A G Holmes, and driven by Newton Price. After going a fine race Wildwood just failed to concede Prince Imperial the required four-second start, though he managed to account for all the others.

It was this race that led up to the famous match race between Wildwood and Prince Imperial at New Brighton, over which big sums of money changed hands. Dave Price drove Prince Imperial, and Willie Kerr, through the indisposition of his brother, Charlie, held the reins over the black trotter. Wildwood won in two straight heats. Subsequently he showed his worth in races at the Showgrounds, New Brighton and Plumpton Park.

On retiring to the stud Wildwood was not long in establishing his speed-begetting ability, as a sire of both pacers and trotters. One of the earliest to bring him fame was Ribbonwood, who defeated the Australian champion Fritz in the greatest match ever held in NZ. Another of Wildwood's sons, Wildwood Junior, must rank against the greatest racehorses of modern times. In their home trials there was little to choose between Wildwood Junior and his son Admiral Wood. Whereas the latter gained Blue Ribbon distinction, the "black demon," who did his racing before Derbies were instituted, won the NZ Trotting Cup in 1909 and 1910.

Before both these Cups Wildwood Junior had done everthing asked of him at his home track, one of his trials being two miles in 4.31, coming home the last mile in 2.10. He was also a success at the stud, tieing for first place on the sires' list for the number of races won, with Logan Pointer, in the 1921-22 season.

Credit: NZ Trotting Calendar 13Jan65

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