Doug Mangos, who started life in Buller, became a prominent figure in Canterbury and New Zealand harness racing over many years, chiefly through his long association with the famous George Noble stable at Roydon Lodge, Yaldhurst. He talks to David McCarthy.
I suppose with a name like yours you must have spent some time in Lyell. That is where the Mangos name came from?
I was there until I was seven. There are actually about three main branches of the Mangos family in the country, one of them from Timaru and they are distant relations. My parents were storekeepers and moved to Inangahua when I was just a youngster.
Where did the horses start?
There was a fellow at Inanguhua, Plugger(W E) Taylor who had the butcher's shop and had a few horses. I remember Battle Flight was one. I used to do a bit with them, lead them into the birdcage and that sort of stuff. The local publican bought a horse called Elation for one and sixpence about that time and won four races with it. I was 14 when I came over to Christchurch. I wasn't doing a lot at school - I didn't go often enough for that - and in the end they thought I was better off out of it. I went to Roydon Lodge soon after that. (Wife) Eileen had a brother working there and he got me a job.
You stayed a long time?
Nearly 35 years. It was actually the only job I ever had, working for George Noble. I loved every day of it. Wouldn't swap a day.
But you must have thought of going out on your own for bigger rewards?
No, I didn't, at least not seriously. With the travelling we did to Auckland I looked at those trips as three paid holidays a year for a start. No, I was quite happy and George was such a great horseman and boss you never got tired of learning from listening to him. He liked good listeners and I think he thought I was one.
You seem to have finished up all right anyway?
After I left Noble's I used to race a few, usually of my own, and look to sell them. We've done alright over the years. One of the first was a nice trotter called Isa Rangi which we raced with Bill Prendeville. She was pretty good. We beat Ilsa Voss twice. Anyway we agreed her price was $15,000. Then Les Purdon rang up and wanted to buy her. I was a bit cheeky, because I knew Les well, and reckoned we couldn't sell under $25,000. "I don't know about that but I could do $20,000," Les said. Anyway we got the 25 which was a big bonus. We bought this house with what we got from Isa Rangi. It won a few in America.
Was it hard work at Roydon Lodge?
We started at 6 o'clock and got £3 a week. There were 15 horses in full work then but it wasn't as simple as that. The boss used to double heat them all the time so actually it was just like working 30.
Double heat. What was that?
We would work them, not fast, over 2000m, bring them back, take the carts off and rub them down, then later on go out and work another heat brushing home the last bit. It made for a long day.
Was it long before you got a raceday drive?
A couple or three years I suppose. It was good to get a drive. Every one was a week's wages so the competition was keen. I drove Highland Air to win at Forbury Park when he qualified for the New Zealand Cup. I had run a second in a probationary race with Wha' Hae. But my first drive at Addington was on Royal Minstrel which had dead-heated in the New Zealand Derby (with Single Medoro in 1954). He all but fell going into the back straight. It wasn't a great start but we made up for it over the years.
You must have been a very young bloke then when you had your first New Zealand Cup drive?
Yes, on La Mignon the year Lookaway won (1957). She ran third. I think the first three were all by Light Brigade. The boss drove Highland Air (it was the first year of Cup runners for Roy McKenzie after his father's death). There was quite a go after the race.
What can you tell?
We got a nice run and got home well. I was quite pleased with myself. The next thing the chief stipe, Fred Beer, was calling me into the room and there was talk about us being put out.
What was that about?
They reckoned I had checked Roy Butterick on Roy Grattan and Beer gave me a speech. He said to me,"This is a very good race with a big stake that people spend a long time getting ready for. Every horse should have an equal chance of winning this race. I don't think you gave Mr Butterick an equal chance."
How did you get out of that?
I just said,"Well, I don't think Mr Butterick has done too badly out of it". Beer, an arrogant bloke, said pretty sharply,"What do you mean by that Mangos?" So I told him.
Soon after the start General Sandy shot away to the front and Lookaway, which could be tricky at the start - Maurice Holmes could be a genius at getting them away - came up but Bob Young on General Sandy wasn't giving it away. Roy Butterick was in the trail and I heard Maurice call to him, "There's £500 for you to pull back". Butterick did and Lookaway got the run of the race. They just walked around and sprinted home and you couldn't have beaten him. The Cup was worth £7500 but £500 was a good payday in those days. I said that nobody was doing anything about that, while I didn't even know what I was supposed to have done.
What did Beer say to that?
"You can go now, Mangos," was all he said.
The Press 23Jan10
Roydon Lodge had some great horses over the years and you got the chance to drive a lot of them. Which ones do you remember most?
We had some terrific seasons, but we had some bad ones, too. I remember one season we only won one race with 15 horses, which was right out of character. It is hard to remember all the good ones. Sounds silly, but there were a lot of them. Roydon Roux was one I had a bit of luck with in Australia.
Roydon Roux? She was a champion young horse which had a sad end.
I think she won seven as a two-year-old and, at three, she won the Great Northern Derby for me, beating Bachelor Star and Van Glory. It was then that we took her to Autralia. She was out of La Mignon and so was Garcon Roux.
What happened there?
She won the Wraith Memorial Series, which was a big go then in Sydney. She was hot favourite in a leadup, but knuckled over at the start and I had to drive her back. She ran second. When the final came around, the winner of the leadup had drawn in and was the favourite. Before the race, I was taken into the stipes' room. They wanted to know how I was going to drive her.
"The best I can." I said, but they wanteed to know more than that, so I said I would try to get to the lead and, if I couldn't, I would sit outside the leader and I'd beat him anyway. They seemed happy with that. I sat her out and she just bolted in and broke a record. I wasn't too popular on the lap of honour. A few empty cans came my way and they booed. Funny thing was that though she had won all those races, they dodn't count for handicapping and she wasn't actually eligible to run at Harold Park in the classes.
The news was not so good after that?
She broke a pastern bone; just shattered it, running around that little showgrounds track in Melbourne. She couldn't be saved.
Garcon Roux had a big reputation?
The old boss (Noble)thought he was one of the very best. I drove him in a time trial at Bankstown in Sydney and there was a bit of drama. When we started off, there was some bloke crouched under the inside rail taking a photo and the horse balked. He went his furlong(200m) in 16 seconds and ran the mile in 2:01.2. That was some performance.
Jay Ar was one of your favourites, I suppose?
He won a trial at Ashburton one day and even the old boss was amazed at the time. "He couldn't have done that," he kept saying. I can't remember now just what the time was, because the trial was over six furlongs(1200m), which was very unusual, even then. Whatever it was, it was a record.
He dead-heated in an InterDominion Final, of course.
I didn't drive him in that series - the boss did - but I won a lot of races with him, especially in Auckland. He just got beaten in the Auckland Cup by Lordship just before the Interdominion. He was a bit of a nervy horse whe he got out on the track...he wasn't quite as good from a stand because of that. But, gee, he was good. He was in a 3200m free-for-all one day and Garcon D'or had drawn out and we had drawn in. The boss said to me,"You might as well lead till the other one comes around." Jar Ar was off and gone. We haven't seen the other horse yet.
Wasn't there a story over his low heart score?
Taking heart scores had just come in here and a few were very keen on them. The experts seemed to think a horse had to have a high heart score to produce top runs in the best company and Jay Ar was a bit below average. But there's a few stories about those early scores.
A lot of the top trainers were sceptical of them. The boss was one of them. Allen McKay came down from Wellington and did the heart scores over quite a few years. When he first came, we were under instructions not to identify the horses, and we mixed them up a bit in the queue. One horse came out at 123 and they were all excited about it. The next time he came, he kept asking when Jay Ar was coming, and when we told him, he couldn't believe his read, which was about 100 then. I think he thought he was the 123 one, originally. Jay Ar won about $100,000 and the horse which was 123 won a small race somewhere in the Central Districts. It was all quite experimental here then and scores could vary a lot. This one showed that judging a horse just on its heart score was a ticket to trouble.
Samantha was another good one you drove?
Yes, I won a Wellington Cup with her - she won two of them - and beat Lordship just. I learnt a big lesson from George over that.
Well, I won the race and when I got home everyone was very happy and the boss congratulated me on my drive. A couple of days later, though, I got a call to go up to the house. When I got there, George, who had a special way of telling you things, started talking about the Wellington Cup and how Samantha was the best-gaited horse in the race. It was just as well, he said, otherwise she wouldn't have beaten Lordship.
What was that about?
Well, there was no video or anything in those days. But during the week, in the paper, they published a photo of the finish. I had my left hand high in the air holding the reins and I was weilding the whip with the other one. George wasn't impressed. He didn't think he could go on putting me on top horses if I was going to throw everything at them like that. I knew without him actually saying it that I was getting a good dressing down. I never forgot it. There was no more of that.
You didn't do so much driving later on, but it wasn't because of things like that?
The main reason was that John(George Noble's son) decided to work full time with the horses. In those earlier years, John was a mechanic in town and wasn't able to drive them much of the time. When he came into it, naturally, I was going to miss out, but it didn't persuade me to leave. I was quite happy.
The Press 6Feb2010
General Frost was a brilliant young horse you drove?
Gee, he was good. He won the first Juvenile Championship in Auckland. It was a great effort because he was hopeless right-handed. We had a problem about what to do going into the race.
What did you do?
The old boss (George Noble) gave me unusual instructions. He said not to drive the horse around final bends no matter where he was. He wanted me to just let him find his own way; that even if he lost a lot of ground he would still be too good. Well, he lost a good bit of ground on the bends all right but he picked them up and dropped them in the straight. Won easy. He had incredible speed, General Frost. It was a shame he went in the wind. They couldn't do anything about it.
You had a lot of big moments at Alexandra Park?
I won my biggest trophy there - the one I value the most. it is the only one I have really kept. I was the leading driver at the 1968 Interdominion Championship at Auckland. I actually tied with Peter Wolfenden and Kevin Newnam(Sydney) so I was in pretty good company. They decided there would be a toss and George stood in for me. I reckoned I had always had a bit of luck with the toss and George did the right thing. It was an odd man out toss. The first two came up heads all round and then one head and two tails. It was quite an honour when you consider the opposition.
Julie Hanover. I think Andrew Cunningham and their wives raced her. Did you handle her much?
I should have won an Auckland Cup with her. A really top mare. She was usually foolproof but that night she missed away. She ran fourth to Allakasam. John (Noble) usually drove he but he was on a holiday. However, I still blamed myself. It was a terrific effort. She raced for Martin Tannenbaum who organised all the international races at Yonkers at the time when she went up to America. She raced well there and left some good stock. Vista Abbey was another one and I won with Arania (New Zealand's first mare to beat two minutes in a race) off 36 yards up in Auckland on day. She was phenomenal when she was right.
You drove quite a few outside horses at that time too. I hadn't realised you handled Holy Hal. He had been a terrific young horse?
He was older when I first came across him. They had brought him up from Southland for the Auckland Cup. They said he could break down at any time and Kenny Balloch wanted to come up and drive him in the cup so,"Would I be happy to drive him in the lead-ups under those conditions?" I knew he was a smart horse and leapt at the chance. They were hard-case blokes those Southlanders.
They came to me after we'd done the final feeds one night and asked if I minded giving him an extra feed before I left. I said,"why, you have given him his tea? Yes, they said but they wanted to give him a bit of his breakfast in case they were late in the morning! I think they were going out for a big night. Anyway, the horse dodn't mind.
He had had problems as I remember it. What was his form like then?
Sensational. He was a moral beaten in the Auckland Cup. I couldn't believe it. He won both nights I drove him and I thought he was a good thing in the cup.
They had reintroduced lap times. Every time they came round Holy Hal was not just in front but well clear. He was six lengths in front one round. He still ran third. I could have cried.
Did you get another chance with him?
Yes, and we proved a point. We had a chat about the Cambridge Flying Mile and I was to drive him in that. They didn't like it when he drew out but I told them he would still win. Sure enough, outside draw and all, he bolted in. Many people never realised how good Haly Hal was.
Did your success at Alexandra Park bring many extra drives?
Yes, quite a few. One of the more unusual was Merv Dean whose wife, Audrey, owned Cardigan Bay. Merv ran a billiard saloon. He was a big guy and y the standards of those days a huge punter but a really top bloke with it. He started flying me up to Auckland just to drive one horse and it was a lucrative operation for a while there. One time I drove down here during the day and caught the plane to Auckland to drive one for him. Merv met me at the airport and gave me five hundred and he had the colours for me to put on on the way. The horse won. It was Great Return which won a few down here. He gave me another five hundred after that and paid all the expenses. We had a great strike rate for a while there.
You probably liked a bet youself. Any huge collects?
I learned after a while it was quite hard. A lot of people have learned that. I did put 100 each way on La Mignan as a four year old. She had been working so well and she won. I remember going to Forbury one night with Ohio which George trained. It was pouring early in the night and Jimmy Walsh had a horse in earlier in the nightthat we knew loved it like that and it won. The rain stopped and the track improved so it wouldn't bother Ohio with his problem, and he won.
Ohio. He was a top horse?
He would had been but he was tubed. Horses that couldn't breathe properly then, they opened up a breathing passage through the chest - they called it tubing - and put a stopper in it which they took out for the race. It was not uncommon then though I think he might have been one of the last allowed to race. The trouble was you had to be very careful on the wet grit and sand tracks because of the danger of the tube getting blocked and the poor buggers would run out of breath. The boss tried ever sort of gauze over the tube to make sure it was kept clear but we weren't going to risk any tragedies and he had to be retired because of it.
Credit: David McCarthy writing in The Press 16Jan2010
G B Noble's effort to top the trainers' list for the Dominion this season was a fitting reward for an association with trotting in this country which began in 1941 when he was appointed private trainer of the Roydon Lodge team. Of the record total this season of £28,361 15s won by Mr R A McKenzie, horses trained by Noble won around £23,000 of that amount.
Before coming to NZ, Noble had trained at Harold Park from 1918 to 1941. Besides being a horse trainer and reinsman, Noble is a qualified architect and a farrier of no mean ability. He had made a study of the horses foot and its footwear and it was this fact that weighed heavily in Noble's favour when in 1941 Mr J R McKenzie was seeking a private trainer.
Noble's early interest in trotting was through his father, a trainer, and it is more than 40 years since he drove his first winner, Elmo Chief, at Harold Park. In his early years of training at Roydon Lodge, Noble prepared the outstanding trotter Fantom, who won the Dominion Handicap at Addington and the Rowe Cup at Auckland twice.
One of Noble's best records is in the Oamaru Juvenile Stakes, a 2-year-old semi-classic, first run in 1941. He trained and drove Scottish Emperor to win the event in 1943 for Sir John and for the same owner won with Royal Minstrel in 1954. In 1956 he produced Golden Hero to win for Mr R A McKenzie and was successful for him again with Jar Ar in 1960. Two years later he drove Thunderboy to win the race at odds of more than 70 to 1.
With La Mignon (1954) and Golden Hero (1956), Noble won the NZ Sapling Stakes, driving both himself.
After the death of Sir John, Noble continued to train the Roydon Lodge team for Mr R A McKenzie. The establishment has produced some good winners, including two of the best mares to have raced in NZ, Arania and Samantha. Arania won nine races and £8960 in NZ. Her successes included the NZ Oaks, Dunedin Festival Cup and two heats of the 1961 Inter-Dominion series at Addington. She then went to America, where she ran a 1.57 mile against time - the third fastest of all time for a mare and just outside the world record time for a mare of 1.56¾, held jointly by Rosalind(T) and Her Ladyship(P). Arania did not race a great deal in the United States, but won six races and was 11 times placed for $45,400. Samantha, who, like Arania, was by U Scott, took a mile record of 2.01 4/5. She won 15 races, including the Wellington Cup twice, and £14,910.
As a driver, Noble has been associated with many of the winners he has trained, and has also met with success in the odd outside drive. He has more than 250 winning drives to his credit. This season he has driven 25 winners, his best total ever, placing him eighth on the drivers list. Asked who was the best horse he ever drove, Noble unhesitatingly plumped for Light Brigade, and one of his greatest earlier thrills in the Dominion was when he drove Bronze Eagle (trained by R B Berry), to win the NZ Cup in 1944.
NZ Trotting Calendar 14Jul65
George Noble, one of NZ's most capable and respected trainers over the past 40 years, died in Christchurch last Thursday at the age of 85 after a brief illness.
During a career which commenced in New Zealand in 1941, the former Australian trained and drove some of NZ's greatest pacers and trotters to win here, in Australia and in the United States. He was leading trainer in New Zealand on two occasions.
George, or "G B" as he was known to his great number of friends, was born in New South Wales, the son of a farmer who also raced standardbreds. George received his early education with the family horses and drove his first winner at the age of 18. However, he decided to follow a career as an architect and did so until the depression in 1930. He then decided to return to the world of harness racing, and in one of the toughest periods of Australian trotting, made a success of his new career.
He was among the top trainers in New South Wales when the late Sir John McKenzie chose him to take over the training and stud management at Roydon Lodge in Yaldhurst. It was a partnership which was to prove highly successful, as a string of champion racehorses went forth in the McKenzie colours to win many of the country's top races. Horses such as Red Emperor, Flight Command, Commander Scott, Royal Minstrel, La Mignon, Highland Air, Slipstream and Highland Kilt saw J R McKenzie head the owners' list on three occasions and following his death in August 1955, the success continued as his son Roy headed the owners' list on seven successive occasions. Scotch Paree, Golden Hero, Garcon Dór, General Frost, Valencia, Bonheur, Adioway, Jay Ar, Heatherloch, Samantha, Bewitched, Arania, Garcon Roux, Roydon Roux and Hurrania continued to keep George Noble and Roy McKenzie to the forefront.
When Roy decided to expand Roydon Lodge's stud activities and transferred the stud and training operation to Templeton in 1970, George Noble remained at the Yaldhurst property he had operated from so successfully. It was from here that George performed one of the training feats which will probably go unequalled in NZ harness racing history. In November 1976, he turned out the Australian-bred 4-year-old Stanley Rio to win the NZ Cup, took him to Auckland to win the NZ Messenger Championship in March 1977, the across the Tasman to win the Inter-Dominion Grand Final at Albion Park. Stanley Rio is the only 4-year-old ever to win such a demanding treble, and only a trainer of George's expertise could have programmed it. He raced the Tasmanian-bred pacer in partnership with his son John and Wayne Francis. The same year, he trained Rustic Zephyr to win the NZ Derby at Addington and was justly named 'Racing Personality of the Year' by the NZ Racing Writers' Association.
Few major NZ races escaped George Noble in his long and successful career, but he also made his mark in international competition. He won the Inter-Dominion Grand Final twice, deadheating in the 1965 event at Forbury Park (with Robin Dundee) with Roy McKenzie's Jay Ar whom he drove himself, then winning the 1977 event with Stanley Rio. He won the NZ Cup with Stanley Rio (1976), the Auckland Cup twice with Highland Air (1957) and Garcon Roux (1971), the Sapling Stakes twice with La Mignon (1954) and Golden Hero (1956), the Rowe Cup with Fantom (1943 & 1944), the NZ Juvenile Championship with General Frost (1968), the NZ Messenger with Stanley Rio (1977), the Great Northern Derby with Garcon Roux (1968) and Roydon Roux (1971), the Dominion Handicap with Fantom (1945), the NZ Derby with Royal Minstrel (1954) and Rustic Zephyr (1976), the NZ Trotting Stakes with Highland Kilt (1950), the NZ Oaks with Arania (1959), Bonnie Frost (1969)and Hurrania (1974), the NZ Futurity Stakes with General Frost (1968), Bonnie Frost (1970), Roydon Roux (1971) and Fabriani (1975), the NZ Sires' Produce with Garcon Roux (1968), the Timaru Nursery Stakes with Meadowmac (1963) and Garcon Roux (1968), the North Island Oaks with Bonnie Frost (1970), the NZ Golden Slipper Stakes with General Frost (1967) and Roydon Roux (1970), the Wellington Cup with Samantha (1962 & 1963).
George also campaigned successfully in Australia. He won the NSW Southern Cross Stakes at Harold Park in 1970 with Bonnie Frost and again in 1976 with Stanley Rio when the race was renamed the Prince Stakes, won the NSW Oaks - Victoria Oaks double with Bonnie Frost in 1970, the same year she took out the J L Raith Memorial at Harold Park, and won the NSW Derby and the R C Simpson Sprint at Harold Park in 1969.
Under his guidance, Garcon Roux became the first 3-year-old ever to better 2:00 in New Zealand when he time-trialled at Hutt Park in 1:59.6 while, when campaigned in the United States, his champion mare Arania narrowly missed becoming the then fastest mare in the world when she time-trialled in 1:57 at Lexington when driven by Bill Houghton. Only Her Ladyship (1:56 3/4), Dotties Pick (1:56.8) and the trotter Rosalind (1:56 3/4) had gone faster at the time.
Arania, one of NZ's best mares, was narrowly beaten in the sensational finish to the 1961 Inter-Dominion Grand Final, which saw Massacre, False Step and Arania locked together at the post. Arania and False Step then went to the United States for the 1961 International Series at Yonkers, and, though she performed dissappointingly during the series, she was to win at Roosevelt, and George also drove his Inter-Dominion winner Jay Ar to win at Santa Anita, California, in 2:01 and Garcon Dór to win on the same track in 1:59.
As a trainer, George Noble may have been equalled by few, but never bettered, and he earned the respect of everyone in the industry for his willingness to help others. He was, in every respect, a 'Gentleman' and harness racing is the poorer for his passing.
Credit: Tony Williams writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 28Jun83
Picking the highlight of Cardigan Bay's career is like trying to pick the greatest cricket catch of all time - if there were 10 people on a judging panel one would no doubt get 10 different opinions.
But 1963 was the year of Cardigan Bay like no other before or after and the Auckland Cup was his crowning glory. Among other things he had won the Inter-Dominion in Wayville and the NZ Cup from 54 yards, when the entire field outside of Oreti (12yds), started from the front. To become the first horse to win an Inter-Dominion, New Zealand and Auckland Cup in the one calendar year,'Cardy'would be faced with a 78-yard handicap.
A few of the locals were let into the race off the front along with Jar Ar, but Cardigan Bay's presence had compressed most of the rest into the 12-yard handicap and they included a "young champion" in 4-year-old Tactile along with King Hal, Sun Chief, Urrall, Vandeford and the bonny, gallant wee mare Robin Dundee, who chased him home at Addington. Behind them were Robin Dundee's fine older half-brother Dundee on 18 yards and Gentry, still going strong as a 10-year-old, off 36 yards. The enormity of the task seemed over-whelming even for Cardigan Bay, and over 26,000 people packed Alexandra Park to cheer him on.
The 'Trotting Calendar' in previewing the event said..."Cardigan Bay's task of giving starts ranging up to 78 yards in this year's Auckland Cup would be a Herculean one by any yardstick of the past, but this pre-eminent pacer has so completely demolished all previous concepts of what the limit to pacing speed and stamina might be that he is assured of favouritism at Epsom on December 27. His superlative performances to win the New Zealand Cup from 54 yards; his world record of 3:18 1/5 for 13 furlongs in the Allan Matson Handicap; and his torrent of speed to outclass the free-for-all field have placed him on a public pedestal usually reserved for Olympic stars."
To set the scene further, Cardigan Bay had joined Peter Wolfenden as a late 4-year-old, having won three straight races and five in total for Mataura trainer Dave Todd and his brother Sandy. He had won twice at three, but failed to pay a dividend on five occasions - a good sale would have to wait until Todd and his driver Ken Balloch had knocked the edges off. This was achieved in the next season when Cardigan Bay was racing with a hefty price tag of £2500.
Prominent administrator Arthur Nicoll would have bought him but for an investment in Australia collapsing at the time, and Gentry's owner/trainer Bob Barry was more than interested but considered him too dear, and waited until he was beaten in the hope he could get him cheaper. However, Cardigan Bay so impressed in taking out the Renown Handicap at Forbury Park in April, 1961, that Auckland snooker hall proprietor and well established 'bookie' Merv Deans successfully bid £2000 with two £250 contingencies. Dean had been flush with success after purchasing from the Todds a Hal Tryax gelding named Motif, who had won for him at Claudelands at 40-to-one, and then when placed with a young horseman in Wolfenden, had won again at Stratford on April 15.
Placed in the name of Dean's wife Audrey, Cardigan Bay came into Wolfenden's life when he was 26 and at a time when the track was being remodelled. When the track became available again in the new season, Cardigan Bay "breezed" a half in 59 in work and led Wolfenden to declare "driving something else and then him is like stepping from a Morris Minor into a Jaguar."
A big and powerfully-built but ultimately plain bay, Cardigan Bay romped unbeaten through Auckland meetings in September and October and arrived at the 1961 NZ Cup Meeting unbeaten in seven races, easily accounting for the Final Handicap on Cup Day and Scottish Command and Smokeaway in the NZ Free-For-All, the day the granstand burned to the ground in the background. When he bolted away with the Auckland Cup by five lengths soon after, it was his 10th straight win, equalling a record established by War Buoy 40 years earlier.
Cardigan Bay had not actually travelled well to Addington and Wolfenden was then against taking him all the way to Perth for the Inter-Dominions, but Dean had other ideas and placed him under the guidance of NSW horseman Bill Wilkins. Handicapped on 12 yards with only the brilliant NSW horse James Scott behind him in the Championship, Cardigan Bay easily won on the first two nights as did James Scott, and a clash in the two-mile third round heat and the Final were eagerly anticipated. It was not to be though, as in a training mishap, Cardigan Bay crashed to the ground back at the stables and landed on a concrete curb, completely displacing his near-hind hip. About the same time, Audrey Dean went into hospital for an operation and received news of the death of a relative, and Wolfenden was kicked in the face by a horse, requiring surgery that put him on the sidelines for several months.
Negotiations had already been taking place to have Cardigan Bay competing in that year's Yonkers International Series, but it seemed his career could be over. Placed in a sling and lovingly cared for by Perth trainer Ted Greig, a month later Cardigan Bay was walking without pain, although with a noticable limp. Four months after the disaster he was shipped home, and in September at Alexandra Park he successfully resumed from 36 yards over 13 furlongs.
Unplaced when favourite from 24 yards in Lordship's 1962 NZ Cup, when the slushy conditions hindered his by now less-than-perfect pacing action, Cardigan Bay also had to take a backseat to the brilliant 4-year-old in the NZ Free-For-All, but won the Matson and Smithson FFAs. He then came up two lengths short of Ces Donald's speedy but erratic Dandy Briar in the Auckland Cup after giving him a 48-yard start, but added the Champion Handicap and another race in Auckland before heading to Adelaide and the Inter-Dominions.
The saucer-like two and a half furlong Wayville circuit did not suit Cardigan Bay's ambling action and there were incidents aplenty during the rounds of heats, one of which put Wolfenden on the deck during the third night. But ironically in the Final, Cardigan Bay had moved around the field from 24 yards and had a clear track starting the last lap when Idle Raider faltered and wiped out most of the field, and he went on to down Dusty Miller and Waitaki Hanover handsomely.
Marty Tananbaum was again on-hand to witness this, but could not persuade any of his fellow Americans to fork out the equivalent of $70,000 for a "7-year-old gelging with a suspect hip." Continuing his Australian campaign under Wilkins, Cardigan Bay won a race in Melbourne and four more a Harold Park, where he was also second from 48 yards to Waitaki Hanover in the Lord Mayor's Cup, before returning home to rest up for his 1963 NZ Cup Meeting assault and demolition.
First Cardigan Bay would be at Addington in August for the National Meeting, downing Samantha (12yds) and Lordship (18yds) in the mile and a quarter Lightning Handicap from 30 yards, and dead-heating for first with Junior Royal (Fr) in the National Handicap after starting from 42 yards. A week later at Hutt Park on the way home, Cardigan Bay easily won the Roydon Lodge FFA over Samantha and Junior Royal, and the Prsident's Handicap from 36 yards over Master Alan more easily by five lengths, and for good measure he time-trialled at Cambridge's new five-furlong track and equalled Caduceus' Australasian mile record of 1:57 3/5.
From 54 yards in the Cup, Cardigan Bay conceded favouritism to the Alf Bourne-trained and Maurice Holmes-driven 4-year-old Vanderford, a son of Great Evander, who had won seven of eight races that spring including the Ashburton Flying Stakes and Hannon. Holmes had Vanderford bowling along in front most of the way, but when Cardigan Bay received a good cart into the race by Oreti over he last lap, he pounced and won easily by a couple of lengths over Robin Dundee and Master Alan.
Another FFA proved a mere formality, and then to ceebrate the introduction of night racing at Addington a £500 bonus was offered if False Step's NZ record of 3:21 could be broken in the Allan Matson, which was worth half that of the Cup at £3500. In other words, £500 was serious money some 40 years ago. Fron 54 yards and with four others on 12 yards in the 15 horse field, Cardigan Bay romped home by almost four lengths in 3:18 1/5 - he was three-wide for practically the entire race and timed over the last two laps (mile and a half) in under three minutes - and added the Ollivier from 60 yards in 3:20 3/5 on the final night for good measure.
Realising what a drawcard Cardigan Bay would be, the Wellington TC offered £600 to break the mile record, and on a cold and blustery night Cardy scorched round the four and a half furlong track in 1:56 1/5. Wolfenden claimed that but for the windy conditions, Cardigan Bay would had threatened Adios Butler's world record of 1:54 3/5 set at The Red Mile on 1960.
On to the big night in Auckland, and time when the Handicapper has all but brought Cardigan Bay's Down Under career to a close - all but. While there may have been cause for optimism given his form, 78 yards was a monumental task when the best horses in the country are at least 66 yards ahead of you.
Cardigan Bay made his usual swift beginning though and bided his time at the tail of the big field until he commenced his run around the field from the 1200m - or about the point when the crescendo began. He forged to the lead in the backstraight, but he was being stalked by Tactile, handy all the way and now tracking Cardigan Bay into line. Tactile drew up, but Cardy would not be denied and went on to win by half a length like the champion he was.
It was heart-stoppingly spectacular stuff and C E Craig, writing for the 'Calendar' on the night, said "the thunderous ovation received has never been equalled at Epsom or probably on any other trotting course. All eyes were on him from start to finish, and when they accelerated at the three furlongs, racing around the field to be first in line for the judge it was just an uproar, and continued until they returned to the enclosure. "As President Mr Bridgens said in his Cup presentation: 'What can I say? You people have already said it for me'." The scenes would be repeated to some extent on the nights of the 1974 and 2005 Inter-Dominions in Auckland - just add about 50 metres to what was asked of Young Quinn and Elsu and double the crowd.
A few weeks later Cardigan Bay won his last New Zealand start, taking out the two-mile Pezaro Memorial from 60 yards by a length over frontmarker Jay Ar. On to the Inter-Dominions around the three-furlong Melbourne Showgrounds, and on-hand to see Cardigan Bay thread his way through 11 rivals from 36 yards to win on the first night was Tananbaum again, but this time with a special guest - Stanley Dancer. Needing no more prodding, Dancer offered US$100,000 (about £36,000) and agreed to return Cardigan Bay home at his own expense, while Tananbaum threw in a $30,000 specially chartered flight to New York.
Out of luck in the Inter-Dom Final won by Minuteman in all-the-way fashion, Cardigan Bay departed these shores having won 43 races with nine seconds from 67 starts - £36,477 in New Zealand and £24,940 in Australia.
Taking delivery of Cardigan Bay when he landed in New York in March, 1964, Dancer told reporters: "I got him cheap - $900,000 cheap. This one's worth a million." Just how prophetic was that comment?
Credit: Frank Marrion writing in HRWeekly 21Jun06
It is a light-harness adage that a champion can handle any type of track: Lordship not only handled the wet going in Tuesday's New Zealand Cup better than any of the field - most of them twice his age - but he also completely slammed the opposition and became the second four-year-old to win the premier event; the other was Lookaway. Lordship is a nonpareil, perhaps the greatest pacer in the world today, and both as a racehorse and a potential sire he could be worth a fabulous price when it is considered that standardbred stallions out of the top draw in America have already changed hands for half a million and more. Lordship is almost certain to go to America, and what a gem of the Globe Derby male line he will be expected to make, both in competition and as a progenitor.
Lordship raced smoothly and confidently throughout in the Cup. He was kept in a handy position at all stages, and he had the race won with a little more than a furlong to go. At that point he had his only serious rival, Falsehood, safely covered, and he was drawing away, three lengths clear, as the post was passed. Young Denis Nyhan handled Lordship as well as any 'old hand' could have driven him. He had everything struggling to keep within coo-ee once when he asked Lordship to get down to serious business at the home turn, at which stage he still had four horses in front of him - Diamond Hanover, King Hal, Falsehood and Blue Prince. But Lordship was pacing in the ratio of about two to one to anything else by then.
This was a pointless victory, one of the greatest Cup performances ever, because it was an excellent field that Lordship actually outclassed. Mere speculation, of course, but it is interesting to think what the time could have been if the track had been dry. Lordship paced his last mile in 2:09, the first half in 63, a section of the race that was a real sizzler under the conditions. Lordship's share of the stake, £4550 and the £100 trophy, brings his total winnings to £15,695. He has started 31 times for 15 wins and 12 minor placings.
The weight of the Auckland money was responsible for making Cardigan Bay the win favourite. Cardigan Bay's totals were £3071 10s on-course (win and place) and £10,621 10s off-course. Lordship, surprisingly, was allowed to pay double figures for a win. He carried £2023 10s for a win (on and off-course combined), and £2337 for a place. The Falsehood-King Hal bracket was entrusted with £5362 for a win, and £7345 for a place. The total investments on the race were £61,004 10s, a big increase on the £49,562 10s handled last year. The on-course total this year was £24,828 10s, compared with £21,328 last year. The off-course investments soared to £36,176, as against £28,234 10s last year.
Grouse broke badly at the start, and Sun Chief, Scottish Light and Falsehood were slow to get underway. Diamond Hanover took over his customary pacemaking role and led early fom Smokeaway, King Hal, Blue Prince and Samantha, with Lordship next, on the outer, one out from the rails. Cardigan Bay made some headway in the first quarter, but he did not keep it up, and he was near the rear at the mile, where King Hal had run up to second and Lordship was still travelling like a hare, sixth. Lordship improved one position at the half-mile, where Falsehood was in full cry on the outer, and by the time the leader, still Diamond Hanover, reached the two furlongs, Falsehood was gathering him in with every stride. By now Lordship was looming up wide out.
No sooner had Falsehood taken charge on straightening up than Lordship zoomed past him with about as much effort as a mason would display in laying a brick. It was all over. Daylight was second, Falsehood next, and Blue Prince three-quarters of a length away third. Sun Chief was fourth, followed by Cardigan Bay, leading in a string of exhausted horses - Diamond Hanover, Samantha, Smokeaway, King Hal, Lady Belmer, Scottish Light, Invicta and Susan Blue in that order. Grouse had been eased up.
Lordship is a 'pocket dreadnought'. Even now he is barely 15 hands. Trainers knowingly call it heart. Sporting writers traditionally call it class. Whatever it is, it is the indefinable ingredient that is the hallmark of the 'small parcel' tribe of world beaters that also includes Adios Butler, and Lordship's sire, Johnny Globe, who was also under 15 hands when registered as a two-year-old. Logan Derby, sire of Johnny Globe, was also a little fellow, "with the endurance of a camel," according to those who knew him best.
Tuesday was a great day for the Nyhans: Mr and Mrs Don Nyhan and their son Denis between them staged the whole show - Mrs Nyhan bred and owns Lordship, Don Nyhan trains him, and Denis drove him, and Don, of course, owns Johnny Globe, whom he brought as a yearling for £50 and won 34 races and £42,887 10s in stakes with him. He also trained and drove him the day he won the NZ Cup in 4:07.6, which has already stood as a world's record for eight years. Johnny Globe's fleet son is the only horse in sight likely to better it.
Roydon Lodge can take justifiable pride in the deeds of Lordship, because the late Sir John McKenzie imported Slapfast, the granddam of Johnny Globe, while Ladyship, the dam of Lordship, is by U Scott. Sir John also brought from Australia, back in 1923, the pacing mare Lightnin', a high-class racehorse herself who established the family which has already produced, besides Lordship, an earlier champion in Emulous. Lightnin' was by Siam from an Honest Harry mare and, according to Edgar Tatlow, in the early days of Australian breeding - "every other winner was out of an Honest Harry mare." To round off Tuesday's special interest in this pedegree: Ladyship (who took a record of 4:23.4 for two miles) was by U Scott from Lightning Lady (a top class pacer herself and a full sister to Emulous) by Jack Potts from Light Wings, by Peter Chenault (another of Sir John McKenzie's importations) from Lightnin'.
The weather played a big part in Lordship's winning run, for when the rain which fell heavily before and during the first race came, D G Nyhan had made up his mind to scratch the horse. The time for scratching horses for the first leg, however, had expired, and if Nyhan had carried out his intention he would have been fined. It was then decided, rather than risk official disapproval, to start the four-year-old, with the happy result of him winning.
So concludes the chain of events culminating in a neat pacing phenomenon, neatly driven by the son of a lady owner whose neat speech following the Cup presentation was warmly acclaimed by a dampened but by no means dispirited crowd of 18,500.
Credit: 'Ribbonwood' writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 7Nov62
1959 NZ DERBY STAKES
1959 NZ OAKS