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INTRODUCTION OF CLAIMING RACES
The Waikato club championed the cause of claiming races, which made their NZ debut at the Claudelands track on November 12 after the usual hoo-haa which greets anything new in trotting. Toronui who ran second last behind Regal Classic, was bought by Kevin Holmes for $7500 and has since won races in North America. Manurewa was claimed for $6000 at the Waikato club's next claimer in December and went on to win at Alexandra Park in May. The December claimer was won by Soanai Chief, a massive gelding, who won the Waikato's third claimer in March. There was also a claimer at the Northland meeting in February but again no horses changed hands.
Addington's sole claimer was a fizzer, with no horses being sold, but there was plenty of publicity after the race, won by ofter controversial gelding Scholar on November 18, a mobile 2000m event worth $2500, penalty free (except for maidens) with no restrictions, attracted 14 starters with punters investing only $44,105 in win and place bets.
The favourite Flaxton, valued at $10,000 by his connections, ran ninth. Scholar (Bob Negus), valued at $10,000 but out of the money in four lead-up events, won effortlessly, paying $6.05, earning the wrath of the crowd which gave the gelding one of the worst receptions accorded any winner at Addington. Negus was most upset by the demonstration. He maintained Scholar, a c3 pacer looked a good thing on paper before the race as most of his opposition were maidens or c1 pacers. Whatever the reasons, Scholar's claimer was the last at head-quarters.
Credit: DB Trotting Annual 1981