YEAR: 1950

Mr & Mrs McFarlane, Lord & Lady Freyberg, Chamfer & Maurice Holmes

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


YEAR: 1950


With great horsemen the fact nothing exceptional happened in a race they won might be the highest compliment you can pay.

so it was with Chamfer, one of the hottest favourites in the history of the Cup, and one of the more moderate winners. Heck, he wasn't even the best horse in the stable. But Maurice Holmes trained and drove him and that was enough for most.

Chamfer hopped into the trail, worked clear in the straight and won easily from what was a moderate lot. He was a good horse but had a sprint about as long as your arm. Being cuddled up for one run was not a clever driving plan. The punters just never doubted Morrie could do it.

A few months later the real stable star Vedette, won the Inter Dominion Final at Addington with a drive for the ages, probably the most famous in a fabulous career. But that is another story.

TRIVIA FACT: Maurice Holmes might have had a fourth Cup win with True Averil(1971) who, like Morrie's 1957 winner Lookaway, was raced by his brother-in-law, Clarrie Rhodes. However the story was, there had been a difference of opinion over the terms of the Lookaway win and as a result Maurice declined the True Averil drive in the big race.

Credit: David McCarthy writing in Harnessed Oct 2016


YEAR: 1948


There will be general agreement with Mr C S Thomas, president of the NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club, in his declaration that the New Zealand Derby on Saturday was the greatest classic race ever staged at Addington. Four horses - Croughton, Bronze Gold, Perpetua and Chamfer came to the wire with less than a length between them, and the winner's time, 3:15 4-5, was a new record for the race, clipping two-fifths of a second off War Bouy's long-standing record established in 1933.

Although Croughton enjoyed better luck in the running than either Bronze Gold or Chamfer, he is every inch a Derby colt and fought on in the gamest possible manner in a finish demanding the highest degree of courage, staying power and true racing instincts. Bronze Gold was in an almost hopeless position turning for home; at the back of a bunch of six horses and boxed in on the rails. He had to be extricated and brought on the outside to make his run and was travelling faster than anything only a neck behind the winner at the finish.

Chamfer was in front at the end of a quarter but M Holmes allowed Perpetua to supplant him. This may have led to his ultimate undoing, because he could not find an opening until late, and when it did come he appeared to be hampered for room in his attempt to push through on the rails. Chamfer was only a head away fourth.

Spring Fashion, who at one stage of the betting was a firm favourite, began slowly and met a slight check when Zantileer broke near her with five furlongs covered. Spring Fashion made a run going to the far turn but came to the end of it long before the straight had been reached.

Croughton, a tall, racy-looking bay colt, is the first horse raced by his owner, Mr J S South. Mr South, who is a resident of Geraldine, has achieved in a year or two what most breeders fail to do in a lifetime - breed a Derby winner. Croughton is by Springfield Globe, a Colonial-bred stallion who is making a big name as a sire of classic and semi-classic winners. Croughton's dam is Lady Antrim, by John Dillon from a Wildwood mare, and that is as far as the pedigree goes.

Croughton gave his trainer, J Young, his first Derby success. R Young, who drove Croughton, also won the blue riband event with Sir Michael in 1945

Credit: 'Ribbonwood' writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 10Nov48

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