Former top trotter Spartan Prince was officially retired during the season after attempts had been made to get him back to the races. The Tuft gelding had been off the scene for a couple of seasons and hadn't raced since his 6-year-old days in the 1979-80 term.
As a young trotter Spartan Prince looked a potential champion winning five of six starts at two and posted NZ records for his age over 2000m (2:45.3) and 2600m (3:38.9), which still stand. At three he won four of seven starts, getting his third national record with a mobile 2600m in 3:29.6 at Addington in October, 1976, winning by seven lengths.
Trainer Doody Townley could not keep the gelding going long enough to have a crack at the NZ Trotting Stakes that year but, the following season, at four, the combination won four races to reach open class. Spartan Prince was unbeaten in three starts at the 1977 NZ Cup meeting, ran third in Ilsa Voss's Canterbury Park Winter Cup and took a mile record of 2:02.1 when second to Nigel Craig.
At five Spartan Prince won five more races and ran a gallant second to Scotch Tar in the Dominion Handicap, clocking 4:11.7. Earlier he had won the Worthy Queen in 2:39.3 beating Framalda.
Put up for auction at Addington in February, Spartan Prince was sold for a record $46,000 to Sir William Stevenson, who put the horse back in the care of Doody Townley. Unfortunately Sir William got precious little return for such an oytlay, managing only a couple of minor placings worth $1550 as a 6-year-old. It was a great shame as Spartan Prince was obviously a top trotter, beautifully balanced and virtually foolproof.
He goes into retirement having raced 39 times for 17 wins and 11 placings worth $34,405.
Credit: Dave Cannan: DB Trotting Annual 1983