Narrowly averting disaster when Checkmate broke in front of him with a little more than half a mile to go in the New Zealand Cup, Chamfer came on from fourth position at that stage to unwind a sizzling last-furlong dash and leave such seasoned campaigners as Plunder Bar and Single Direct literally standing.
Except for the one hazard referred to Chamfer had a charmed run from barrier rise - he was nursed as no Plunket nurse has ever handled any ailing infant, by the Sir Truby King of trotting drivers, M Holmes, and when the Dillon Hall horse was switched out smartly from behind Single Direct at the distance he promptly flashed past the tiring backmarker and drew away to a three-length's victory over Plunder Bar, who kept Single Direct at bay by a head.
Any fears that the race would develop into a half-mile sprint were put at rest by repeated replacements in the role of pacemaker. Congo Song bounded out of the barrier to put a break of two lengths on Gantree; but C King, Congo Song's driver, emphatically indicated his reluctance to maintain his role by lying out flat in the sulky and bringing Congo Song's head into his chest. Gantree obliged by going to the front but had no sooner done so when Globe Direct streaked round from his rear mark to draw almost level with Gantree, who was the definite leader again at the end of four furlongs. At this stage Checkmate had raced into third place and Plunder Bar was 'going for the doctor' round the field. He was up second with six and a half furlongs covered and ran through to a clear lead with little more than a mile to go.
Commencing the last round Plunder Bar was closely attended by Single Direct and Checkmate, with Gantree and Chamfer next and Gough's Pride showing up on the outer. Nothing else except Lady Averil and Attack ever looked a possibility after that and neither of these at any time looked like matching the final run of Chamfer. Gough's Pride, who looked more like a show-ring exhibit than a race-horse was the first beaten; she began to give ground with five furlongs to run and was down the track at the finish. Attack got into the backwash in the middle stages or he might have paid a dividend. He was fifth and was followed in by Gantree, Navigate, Congo Song, Dundee Sandy and Docter Ted. The last named broke early. That there was no loitering at any stage is revealed by the sectional times of 33 4-5 for the first quarter, 67 for the half, 1:39 for six furlongs, 2:09 2-5 for the mile, 2:44 2-5 for the mile and a quarter, 3:14 4-5 for the mile and a half, 3:46 3-5 for the mile and three quarters, and 4:17 1-5 for the full journey by Chamfer.
The crowd was little, if anything, smaller than last year's, and the total investments on the race were only a few hundred pounds short of last year's record total. The public lost no time in installing the Chamfer- Globe Direct bracket a scorching favourite and the combination finished up with £4920/10/- for a win and £4338 for a place. Second in favour was Gough's Pride with £2501 and £2875/10/-, then Attack, Checkmate and Single Direct.
Chamfer is Mr D McFarlane's first NZ Cup winner, he is the first of the progeny of Dillon Hall to win the race, and is also the first winner of thr premier event trained by M Holmes, who drove Wrackler to victory in 1930 when that pacer was trained by the late D Warren; and finally the first winner of the race bred by Mr G Youngson. Chamfer is held on lease by Mr McFarlane from his breeder, Mr G Youngson, of Gore, who imported the sire, Dillon Hall, 2:00, from America. Rustic Maid, the dam of Chamfer, was bred by the late W J Morland, and was bought at auction for 250gns by Mr Youngson when Mr Morland's horses were disposed of at auction in 1943. At that time Rustic Maid was in foal to Light Brigade and there duly arrived a colt foal that raced during a short career with distinction as Free Fight, among his wins being the NZ Derby Stakes, Canterbury Three-year-old Stakes and Metropolitan Autumn Stakes. Every foal out of Rustic Maid that has raced has been a winner - 10 in all. Rustic Maid was a daughter of Rey de Oro and Country Belle, winner of the NZ Cup in 1915, so Chamfer has proved a worthy grandson.
Chamfer's Cup stake of £5125 (including the £250 gold cup) brings his total since he began racing as a two-year-old to £16,175; at his first start he won the Timaru Nursery Stakes. At three his wins included the NZ Metropolitan Challenge Stakes and Great Northern Derby Stakes, and last season, as a four-year-old, he won five races including the Premier Handicap at Auckland in the smart time of 2:38 for the mile and a quarter and the G W C Smithson Handicap at Addington in 4:16 2-5. This season he had won two races before his NZ Cup victory, the National Handicap at Addington and the Campbell Handicap at Auckland.
Additional distinctions he enjoys are of being the last horse to qualify for this year's Cup and the youngest of the field, a five-year-old, thus joining a select group of horses of this age to win the premier event during the past 20 years - Wrackler, Indianapolis, Lucky Jack and Highland Fling.
Credit: 'Ribbonwood' writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 8Nov50
MAURICE HOLMES - CHAMFER 1950
1948 NEW ZEALAND DERBY STAKES