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FEATURE RACE COMMENT

 

YEAR: 1916

Just as the horses were going out of the enclosure to warm up for the Cup, a lady leaned over the members' balcony and called out that the stand was on fire. At first it was thought to be a false alarm, but it was only too true and the whole building was soon blazing.
On account of a ridiculous regulation the fire brigade would not come to save the building for some time and when they did arrive it was a hopeless case. It is presumed that the cause of the outbreak was the same old thing, fused wires.

The officials stuck gamely to the programme and though a damper was put on everything the day's racing was finished as previously arranged. Our Thorpe was the only scratching for the Cup. The champion is not quite himself, so his people decided to pull him out. Cathedral Chimes ran up to his track form and won very easily, but an ugly accident at the beginning of the last lap made things much easier for him. At the beginning of the final round for the Cup the field bunched and things looked good for a fine termination of a grand race, but, unfortunately, Succeed put her foot through Eccentrics wheel and down she went with Erin's King and Brown Bell piled on top of her. Tommy C. and Jingle were saved by being swerved to the outside rails, but their chances were settled. Eccentric had to be pulled up on account of a bucked Wheel.

Ashburton backed Emilius as if he could not lose and, of course, saved their money through the stable's second leg, Evelyn, running into a minor but dividend paying place. They are still satisfied that, taking a line from Evelyn's performance, that her brother should have won the Cup. Writer is of the opinion that on the day nothing could have beaten Cathedral Chimes. Admiral Wood paced a great race and but for the accident certainly would have finished in front of Evelyn.

Wallace Wood, Frandocio, St. Ursula, Steel Bell, and Don Caesar never gave their supporters any reason to think they might get a dividend. W. R. Thomas's pair, Brown Bell and Succeed, were both going well when they fell and looked to have a chance of getting some of the money as they stay well. Thomas was unfortunate enough to break a collarbone.

Manderini got fourth money, but he fluked it. Eccentric made all the early running, but he was gone when the smash occurred. Hendricksen was driving a great race on Erin's King. This horse did not get going very smartly, but his driver got on the rails and never left them. Always creeping closer to the leaders he was on the fence just behind Thomas's pair when the smash occurred.

Writer was very pleased to see E. Berry turn out two wlnners in Miss Salisbury and Olive L. This young trainer until lately has always had to do with horses that other trainers could not do any good with, and such is not a profitable business. It is only during the last few months that there has been anything decent in his stables. Berry is delivering the goods with them . Erln's King got some skin knocked of when he fell.

Trotting In great style Olive L. never left the Middleton Handicap in doubt. The little mare got over the two miles in 4.44 3-5. which is much her best time to date. She was handicapped on something like 4.51. El Carbine might have won the Middleton Handicap if he had attended to his work properly. He would not go steadily for any distance and so had to remain content with second place. The bracketed pair, Woodchild and Commander Bell, did not get away properly and were never near the leading division. Once again Treasure Seeker and Norval King showed themselves to be poor stayers.

The pony Soda paced a great race in the Lyttelton Handicap. It was a fine performance for one of her inches to get to the end of two miles in 4.57 1-5. A protest was entered against her by the owner of Cappriccio for foul driving on Bryce's part but it was not sustained. Irvar, ran like a non-stayer or else he is a rank quitter. Sir Fulham is not to be relied upon at the start. He has got undoubted pace. The Whip is both looking and pacing well. Messervey deserves credit tor the condition he has the chestnut in and deserves to win shortly. As usual, Cappriccio went a great race, but the pony had too many guns for her. Huon Drift still has got a great objection to leaving the mark properly.

On account of a great go over twelve furlongs, Author Dillon was made a hot favorite for the Rlccarton Handicap. He broke at the start and lost a lot of ground. In consequence of which he could hot catch Sherwood. Persuader is getting over his cold and should be capable of showing very good form before long.

Ariadne, ridden by the hurdle rider, Redmond, made an exhibition of his field In the St. Alban's Handicap, getting to the end ot the mile in 2.14 2-5, a smart performance. Brown Nugget is not to be depended upon to leave the mark. Louie Drift was whispered about as a good thing for the mile harness, but she lost her chance at the start. Rose Dillon came out of her shell and paced the mile in 2.16 4-5. She never gave the back markers a look in.

Gold Bell was too sore to show his best form at this meeting, and he looked as if it will take some time for him to get right. Jessie's Dream is improving. Her effort m the Whiteleigh Handicap, when she went 4.53, was much the best she has ever gone. Hula was produced at the meeting, but he was much too lame to do anything properly. Albertoria has not improved a second during the last twelve months.

Andy Pringle has no superior as a relnsman or rider either with a pacer or trotter. Tom Annett was in far too great a hurry to hit the front on Commander Bell. It cost him the race, for she was too tired to struggle home. In Cappriccio, McDermott has got one of the most solid pacers in commission. As she has only got two legs and a bit it was good business for her to go 4.57 3-5 in the November Handicap. Golindo Lou gave Free Holmes a sickener in the early part of the meeting and her owner got up behind her on the last day. She is very sour and, would do nothing but try to buck.

The much boomed Moorland did not answer expectations. Grainger is not ready yet. George Hard was patched up and sent to the post for the Courtney Handicap, but he was far too sore to pace and finished last. He is to be blistered and spelled. Black Erie is a fine pacer. It was bad luck for his owner (who was over from Australia to see him run) that be should break down m the Courtney Handicap. Stanley's Child went an ugly "seven" when Black Erie swerved across her after he broke down. Sherwood and Emilius ran very bad races in the Courtney. Emiliuus does not shape as if he will ever stay.

Hal Zolock, like many horses that have done stud duties, does not race well at this season of the game. St. Ursula is looking in great buckle and she should make some money for her owner soon. This mare does not begin very well, but she stays like a boy in a lolly shop.

Notwithstanding the fact that the burning down of the stewards stand at Addington quite upset the totalisator turnover for the day, there was 335 10s more invested on the New Zealand Trotting Cup than there was on the Cup at Riccarton. As expected, Agathos failed to stay out twelve furlongs. Raeburn will be benefited by the racing he had at the meeting. He is a good class pacer. Nance O'Neil who hails from Qamaru, is said to be very fast. She may be at home, but her showings last week were nothing to boast about. Once again Ariadne showed himself to be speedy, but a very poor stayer. Teddy McCann produced his charges in good condition for the meeting, but they were not good enough to catch a race.

Eccentric made the pace very solid in the Free-For-All. Beginning very smartly he got to the half mile peg in 1.4. once round in 1.37 1-5. Then Cathedral Chimes took up the running and flashed past the mile post in 2.11 4-5 only to bo collared by Admiral Wood in the run home and beaten by a narrow margin 2.45 for the mile and a quarter.

Tommy C. was not in one of his happy moods during race week. His displays were not as good as we have seen him give. The Bronzewlng was turned out in great condition for the meeting. She is not nearly as good as report made her.

Irvar is not at all a generous horse. Truganini and Electrocute were trotting well before the meeting, but they must have gone off, as their showings with the colors up and the money down proved. Norval King was stopping to a walk at the end of the Sockburn Handicap, and lasted long enough to win from El Carbine, who but for repeated breaks must have won. Flamingo does not improve. He is a seasoned trotter now and should be showing something better.

Young Freeman Holmes has been very successful on Law Chimes. When he won the Railway Handicap last week he rode her with the greatest confidence and judgment and she just strolled home. Cromstall is not himself. When right he can keep our best pacers busy for a bit.

Someone queried Soda's height last week, when the trainer claimed that as a pony she should be allowed to carry 9.0 instead of 10.0, the officials measured her, the writer being present. She is not more than fourteen hands and half an inch.

When Ben Dillon fell in the Railway Handicap, Ben Jardin looked to get an ugly fall, but he just hit the ground, gave a roll and a bounce and was on his feet again. Bob Allen has Yarravllle pacing well, but the big chestnut does not like the standing starts, Young Tohu, who won the Empire Handicap, the two mile saddle race on the first day of the Metropolitan meeting m 4.43 2-5, was put up to auction last Monday, but did not brlng a bid.

Sal Tasker, Vanquish, O.M.Y. and Gianella are amongst the well-bred matrons who have foaled to Logan Pointer and are to visit the same sire again. Sinado and Calindo Low were turned out in a section for a spell at the end of the meeting. They quarrelled about something and kicked holes in each other.

Anyone would fancy that a three-year-old colt by Wildwood Jnr, Myosotis would bring some money, but a youngster bred on those lines was passed in at twenty guineas last Monday. He was on the small side but was shapely enough.

Caretaker French had a strenuous time of it at the Metropolitan grounds last week. The place looked a wreck after the fire, but with the assistance of a gang of men he managed to have the building habitable for the two last days. The fire at Addington made a great difference to the totalisator turnover at Addington.

Andy Pringle rode a great race on Treasure Seeker when he won the Governor's Handicap on that gelding. It was a masterly piece of work. King Capitalist is very well, and he can go fast but he is not very solid when the pressure is on. Neither is Commander Bell. She is also a bad breaker. Eruption is not nearly at good as was supposed. Hardy Wllkes is a good trotter until be leaves his feet. Afterwards he cannot be depended upon for any distance. Mr. George Iles purchased him at auction for six hundred guineas last Saturday. It seems a lot of money.

The writer does not want to condemn the standing-start and yards handicapping until they have had a fair trial, but if they do not improve on last week's showing they will have to go out. To start with, to call the start standing was a joke, for in nearly every race some of the competitors were let away with a fly. In fact, in one or two oases contestants were racing when the flag dropped.

A regrettable incident which happened at the Metropolitan meeting was the disqualifying of Emilius for interfering with Cappricio in the Christchurch Handicap. The writer does not intend to express an opinion on the matter, but it seemed ridiculous to suggest that an experienced relnsman like Ranald McDonnell should interfere with a beaten opponent. McDermott, who drove Cappriclo was manly enough to do his best for McDonnell when giving his evidence to the stewards. It was on the stipendiary stewards' evidence that Emilius lost the race. Erin's King was one of the unlucky racers at the meeting. He got pocketed in the Christchurch Handicap and never got out until tho race was practically over.

Bellflower was a trotter amongst pacers in the Australasian Handicap, but she showed more speed over the first half mile than any of her opponents and was in front at the end of a mile. The race was never in doubt after that and she walked home in 4.38 2-6.

Red Heather gave a number of his supporters a severe heartache as he would not begin in the Dominion Trotting Cup. He finished a long way back in fourth place and could not have trotted much bettor than 4.50.

A. Fleming gave 1500 for Our Thorpe last week. This is the biggest price ever given in the Dominion for a pacer, and certainly the horse bought for it is the best we have produced. W. G. Abbott, the Auckland owner trainer, bought Brown's Nugget for 100 during the week. This pacer is on a mark from which he is quite capable of winning. Mr. G. S. Simpson arranged the sale of tho well-known sire, Harold Dillon, during the week. The Messrs Thorne Bros., who havo had a lease of the horse, have now purchased him right out, the price is said to have been 750.

Author Dillon did not race nearly up to his form during the week. He must have won the Enfield if he had gone the mile In 2.15. He did not manage to go 2.17. Desdemona is showing plenty of dash in her track essays but she is not staying on nearly as well as of yore.


Credit: The Looker On writing in NZ Truth 18 Nov 1916

 

YEAR: 1917

The New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club commenced its Spring meeting on Tuesday last in fine weather. After the second race a high wind sprang up. The track was in excellent order, and there was a very large- attendance. The New Zealand Trotting Cup, which has for some considerable time been the chief topic, reached its zenith when the horses went on to the track.

Of the 14 contestants, Cathedral Chimes, Author Dillon, Adelaide Direct and Agathos looked the best, all stripping fit enough to run the race of their lives. Enthusiasm was high as the horses did their preliminaries. Speculation was keen when the machine closed. Jarden's trio were better backed than Boyes's reps. The start was good, John Dillon broke up badly, and Hardy Wilkes put in a skip and lost ground. At the end of two furlongs Moneymaker was in charge from Soda, Agathos, Evelyn and Adelaide Direct, with the favorites making up their ground in good style. Passing the stand Moneymaker was just in front of Soda and Agathos with Adelaide Direct, Evelyn and Hardy Wilkes next, as they wheeled into the back stretch Moneymaker and Soda were just clear of Agathos, Evelyn, Adelaide Direct and Hardy Wilkes, with the favorites still improving their positions. On reaching the mile post, Moneymaker and Soda drew out a length from Agathos with Adelaide Direct, Evelyn and Hardy Wilkes in close attendance. Passing the stand the field bunched, the favorites being close up, racing down the back Evelyn ran to the front from Moneymaker and Agathos but three furlongs from home Adelaide Direct ran through and opened up a gap of two lengths from Agathos, Evelyn, Cathedral Chimes and Author Dillon. Rounding the top turn. Adelalde Direct increased her advantage, and turned into the straight five lengths clear of Agathos. In the run home Cathedral Chimes and Author Dillon challenged, and the greatest of all trotting Cups ended in a struggle between Cathedral Chimes, Agathos and Author Dillon for placed honors. Adelaide Direct won amidst great applause by five lengths from Cathedral Chimes, who finished a neck in front of Author Dillon, with Agathos a head further away fourth, with Evelyn fifth and Hardy Wilkes sixth.

King William was sent out favorite for the Spring Handicap for unhoppled trotters, two miles, under saddle. He began smartly and soon obtained a big lead which he held to the finish, he was well ridden by "Manny" Edwards, who trains him. King William should win again. Parkfield with his owner aboard trotted well and should be in the money before the meeting is concluded. Mushroom went a very solid race. He is short of work so should annex a stake when ready. Lady Patricia did not go too well. She is more at home in harness. Craibwood showed some of his old form. It will be hard for him to win a race, as the time against him for second money will tighten him up in the handicap. Wood Drift is very erratic. He might fluke a race. Bridgewood is an improved horse. He is very solid and stays well over two miles.

Stormy Way broke badly and lost all chance m the Empire Handicap. She did the same thing at Oamaru. Zara cost the public further money. She is not worth following. Rorke's Drift went a solid race but could not muster up enough pace over the concluding stages of the Empire Handicap. He finished fourth. Pita Roa is inclined to loaf. Had Jarden taken a whip out with him he would have been closer to the leaders. A mile and a half is more to his liking. Harold Direct broke at the start of the Empire Handicap, and lost a lot of ground. He showed a phenomenal burst of speed. Had he gone away kindly he would have walked in.

Brown Bell had every chance in the Riccarton Handicap, but broke up badly and finished fifth. Karryrie has a great burst of speed. At the end of a furlong in the Riccarton Handicap she broke and nearly stood on her head. Bryce got her going again with the result that she soon gathered up the field, and going to the front three furlongs from home, she won easily from Lady Rothsoon, who tired badly over the concluding stages. Frandocia ran his best race for some time past. He does not put any vim into his work. Lady Rothsoon has always been troublesome. At the start her tactics cost her a good deal of ground. At the start of the Riccarton Handicap had she began kindly she must have won. She is nothing more or less than a bundle of nerves.

Truganini has been very sore in her work. She trotted a surprisingly good race when she won the Middleton Handicap. Gay Wilkes broke up badly in the Middleton Handicap and lost all his handicap. Louie Drift refused to go away in the Middleton Handicap. Norval King still fades out badly at the end of two miles. Michael Galindo broke badly in the Middleton Handicap. He came very fast over the last half mile and finished fourth. Eruption was backed by his connections in the Middleton Handicap, but he broke up badly at the start, and refused to trot. At the end of two furlongs Franks pulled him up and joined the spectators. Kaikanui is hitting out freely in his work. He has always raced best under saddle. Red Bell is on the improve, and is one that should soon land a stake.

Imperial Crown goes good in saddle and stays well. King- Lear would try the patience of Job. It's a shame to waste good time with him. Miss Audrey is now trained by H. Gasken at Anerley. Marietta is still going with a hop behind. She is a nice trotter when right. Reter Peter is striding along very pleasingly at Addington. Ringleader is none too sound, and cannot be regarded as a great stake earner. Lady Linwood is one of the best maiden trotters seen out this year. She is worth owning. J. H. Wilson, the trainer of Admiral Wood, is slightly amiss and will not be at his best for November engagements. Moneymaker will be a winner at the Carnival fixture. The Christchurch Handicap perhaps.

Wallace Wood is coming back to his best form. On Thursday of last week he ran out a couple of miles m approved style. Emilius sustained a slight injury to his knee and in consequence was scratched for all engagaments at the Metrop. flxture. Michael Galindo is training on very satisfactorily. Commander Bell is m great buckle, and must soon replenish the oatbin. Antonio is under a cloud. His old legs are showing the worse for wear. Hardy Wilkes ought to deliver the goods in the Dominion Trotters Cup. Harold Direct does not look ready. The much inbred son of Harold Rothschild is a good horse when right. Denver Huon refuses to do his best in a race, and must be regarded as a past number. Winn All is showing glimpses of his best form. He still breaks badly.

Macwood is back with Pat De Largey for whom the erratic trotter went good. Gemma will catch a race before Spring Carnival is concluded. Sherwood is certain to collect a stake at the Spring Carnival. Steel Bell is at her best just now, and will be hard to keep out of the money.

The champion pacing mare, Emmeline has produced a colt foal to Wildwood Junr. and her full-sister, Aileen, a colt to Logan Pointer. Both mares are this season to be mated with Brent Locanda.

Willie Lincoln is very fast over a mile and a quarter. Lord Roanchild is in great buckle, and should be one of the hardest to beat in the two mile trotters events at the Metrop. Law Chimes has been doing attractive work. She takes a lot of heading over a mile in saddle.

Credit: The Toff writing in NZ Truth 10 Nov 1917

 

YEAR: 1956

MR J B THOMSON

Mr John Bruce Thomson, an Invercargill businessman widely known throughout the province, and throughout the South Island for his associations with racing and trotting, died suddenly in Invercargill last week, aged 83. Mr Thomson had a lifelong association with both the Southland Racing Club and the Invercargill Trotting Club, and was president of the NZ Trotting Association when it was absorbed in the NZ Trotting Conference in 1950.

Mr Thomson was managing director of Thomsons Ltd, cordial manufacturers and wine and spirit merchants. Known as a public-spirited citizen, who supported many charitable organisations, Mr Thomson will also be remembered for his part in the May Day carnivals which were a regular feature of Invercargill life 30-odd years ago. He was held in high esteem by all sectors of the community and was known for his generosity and fairness. He was known almost universally among his friends as 'J B.'

It was through the sports of racing and trotting that he became widely known. A number of attempts were made to establish a trotting club in Invercargill in the early days, and when the Southland Trotting Club was re-registered on March 5, 1913, Mr Thomson was elected president. For the next few years the club conducted non-totalisator meetings. Because of the lavish stakes, it was necessary each year for members of the club to make up the deficiency. With the promise of totalisator permits in 1924, a meeting of light-harness enthusiasts was held and the Invercargill Trotting Club as it is constituted to-day was formed. Mr Thomson became the first president, a position he held until he retired in 1952, thus ending 40 years as president of the trotting Club in Invercargill.

As early as 1927 he was elected an executive member of the NZ Trotting Association, was later made vice-president, and in 1947 president. He was president in 1950 when a change of administration embodied the Association in the NZ Trotting Conference. He was for many years a member of the stipendiary stewards committee of the Association. Soon after his arrival in Invercargill in 1906, Mr Thomson was elected a member of the committee of the Southland Racing Club, and he remained a member until his death.

Before World War I, Mr Thomson had his own stud farm and a private training track at Charlton, near Gore, with A J Scott as trainer. It was there that Cathedral Chimes, who won the NZ Cup in 1916 in his colours, and other good winners in Louvain Chimes, Dora Derby and Raeburn did their early training. At this time Mr Thomson raced on an extensive scale, and in Canterbury he had horses like Cathedral Chimes, Muricata, the best free-gaited trotter of her time, Antonio, Zara, and the great pony pacer Soda, as members of J Bryce's team at Sockburn. Zara later became the dam of Zincali, who at one time held the NZ mile and a half record of 3.10 3/5.

Cathedral Chimes was one of the greatest pacers of his day. When he won the 1916 NZ Trotting Cup it was the first time that trotting races were run from a standing start. Cathedral Chimes won a number of other big races in NZ, was second in the NZ Cup in 1917, and after being retired to the stud he sired the winners of three NZ Cups, Ahuriri (twice) and Kohara. Before leaving for service overseas in World War I, Mr Thomson sold his stud, with the exception of Cathedral Chimes whom he leased to J Bryce during his absence. His interest in horses also led to a long association with agricultural and pastoral shows, and he was a prominent exhibitor of show jumpers.

A bachelor, Mr Thomson was at the time of his death, and for something like 40 years previously, a full-time boarder at Invercargill's Grand Hotel. He took a keen interest in all organisations established for the good of the community and was a foundation member of the Invercargill Rotary Club. He was also a past president of the Invercargill Club. A keen lover of bird and forest life, he was Southland representative on the council of the Forest and Bird Protection Society. He had a fine collection of native trees at his holiday cottage.

Credit: NZ Trotting Calendar 28Nov56

 

YEAR: 1972

James Bryce Jnr
BRYCE FAMILY

The end of what was once a beautiful romance with trotting for the long-renowned Bryce family finally came (it would seem) when last Tuesday, the day of the 1972 running of the NZ Trotting Cup - a race whose history the Bryces played an outstanding part in - James Bryce, jun. died in Christchurch aged 70.

The father and sons triumvirate of James (Scotty) Bryce and Andy and Jim Jnr really hogged NZ's trotting limelight almost right from the time Scotty, in his mid-30s in 1913, shipped out to NZ with his family and continued his remarkable career as a trotting trainer. It is said that Scotty was so good with horses that the Scottish bookmakers were delighted to see him leave his homeland. And it took no time at all for Scotty in NZ to show why.

This was despite atrocious luck at the start of the Bryce family's venture; and the story can be taken up when the little man from Glasgow stood on the Wellington wharf on a dull, cheerless morning in 1913 with his wife, his belongings and five children clustered around him, and had to take on the chin a blow that would have flattened anyone but the strongest. In surroundings where he knew no-one, wondering what the future would hold. Scotty was approached by a stranger. "Are you Mr Bryce?" And hearing the raw Gaelic accent: "Yes? Well,I have had some bad news for you. Your two horses have been ship-wrecked and are still in England." The day must then have seemed really dismal to the little man from Glasgow. Hardly a promising start in a new land. But Scotty was a real horseman - one of the world's best - and he was about to prove it in no uncertain terms.

Stakes were small and bookmakers big in the halcyon days when Scotty Bryce learned to drive imported American horses in trotting races in Glasgow; but he was a canny Scot who soon earned a reputation for reliability in getting horses first past the post. Reading some NZ newspapers from London Bryce saw the pictures of the race crowds, which decided him to come and try his luck here. When he left Scotland, he was given a great send off. Owners and trainers presented him with a purse of 100 guineas in gold. Here is Scotty's own quote on that farewell, recorded in the Auckland Star in the mid 1940s by C G Shaw: "I have never tasted liquor in my life. I thought port wine was a tea-total drink. I never remember leaving the place."

Fares and freight for the family and the horses left Bryce with 300 when he landed in Wellington, and it was at this stage that he learned that his two mares he was shipping out, Our Aggie and Jennie Lind, had gone aground in the Mersey on an old troop transport, the Westmeath, and were still in England. Subsequently, they were transhipped to the Nairnshire and after a rough passage arrived in NZ strapped to the deck after the mate had suggested putting them overboard. The mares reached here two months after the Bryce family, who had decided to go to Christchurch. The family was taken to a boarding house in the city but left after Mrs Bryce had discovered the woman of the house drank 'phonic', which is the Gaelic for methylated spirits. They went to Lancaster Park and there they settled.

Three months after reaching NZ, Our Aggie, driven by Scotty Bryce, won her first race - but she did not get it. She had not been sighted by the judge as she finished on the outside, and his verdict went to a mare called Cute whose driver said after the race: "I did not win but I could not tell the judge that." Our Aggie was placed second and the crowd staged a riot. Our Aggie won seven races in NZ and became the dam of Red Shadow, considered by Scotty to be his best performed horse ever. Red Shadow won the Great Northern Derby in 1930 and the NZ Cup and Metropolitan Free-For-All in 1933, taking all four principal races at Addington. He sired Golden Shadow winner of the 1943 Great Northern Derby, and Shadow Maid, who won the Auckland Cup in the same year.

When they first arrived with their dad and the rest of the family, James Jnr was 13 and Andrew 11. James Jnr, to begin with, got a brief grounding with the thoroughbreds, being introduced to a famed galloping trainer George Cutts at Riccarton. Before he could go far in his role as a racing apprentice, however, increasing weight forced young Jim out of the thoroughbred sport without him riding a winner. But he had been quick to learn and had what it took, Jim, who got his trotting driver's ticket when he was 15, quickly showed when he won at each of his first three rides in saddle events for the standardbreds.

Scotty had two horses engaged in a race, but the owner of one of them, the favourite, would not allow the trainer to put James Jnr up on that horse (as Jimmy had been promised) and a bitterly disappointed lad took his seat on a little mare called Soda. This happened again on another horse, whose owner, with a magnificent gesture, presented the boy with a cigarette holder and 2s 6d. However, to this Scotty added a 5 note. Finally, the first owner who had been so reluctant to avail himself of James Jnr's services asked him to take the ride, and history records that the young boy this time prevailed on the horse he had twice earlier beaten - for three wins out of three in saddle races.

It speaks volumes for Scotty Bryce's reputation that the biggest dividend paid by a horse driven by him was 14. Way back in 1923 horses driven by the old master earned over 100,000 in stakes. Scotty retired from driving when compulsorily retired aged 69 and died 20 years later. He had topped the trainers' list eight times from 1915/16 to 1923/24, being headed out in that period only by Free Holmes in 1922/23. As a driver, Scotty took the premiership five times, while Jim Jnr. was to top it in 1935/36.

In 1925 Jim and Andy were entrusted by their dad to take Great Hope and Taraire to Perth for the first edition of the Australasian Championship, the forerunner of the Inter-Dominion Championships. Both horses fared well, but on the eve of the Grand Final, the father of West Australian trotting, J P Stratton, came to the brothers and candidly informed them that Great Hope, the weaker stayer of the pair, would have to win the final if the boys were to take the championship on points. Andy, driving Taraire, got behind Jim driving Great Hope in the race, amazing horsemanship being displayed by both brothers, literally pushed Great Hope to the line to take the honours. Scotty, knowing what the lads were like, tied up the money from those successes, and Andy and Jim, needing cash, decided to trade Taraire for an Australian horse and some cash when the carnival was over.

To his mortification, Scotty Bryce not only failed to win a race with Planet, the horse got in trade for Taraire by his sons, but when he himself returned to Perth the following year with Sir John McKenxie's Great Bingen, he was beaten in the final by none other than his former stable member, Taraire. Episodes like this and the one in which Great Bingen, swimming in the Perth river, got away, swam to the bank, made his way though the city and back to his stable unscathed were part and parcel of the Bryce saga.

At his model Oakhampton set-up in Hornby near Christchurch, with it's lavish appointments that included a swimming pool for his horses, Scotty and his sons lorded over the trotting world for many happy years. Between them they were associated with six NZ Cup winners and 10 Auckland Cup winners - either in training or as drivers while they won every other big race there was to win in NZ.

Scotty trained the NZ Cup winners Cathedral Chimes(1916), Great Hope(1923), Ahuriri(1925 and 1926), Kohara(1927) and Red Shadow(1933). Of these he drove Cathedral Chimes and Ahuriri (twice) and Red Shadow, while Jimmy Jnr. drove Great Hope and Andy handled Kohara. Scotty prepared the Auckland Cup winner Cathedral Chimes(1915), Man o' War(1920 & 1921), Ahuriri(1927), and Shadow Maid(1943). Of these he drove Cathedral Chimes, Man o' War the first time and Ahuriri while Andy drove Man o' War the second time and Jimmy Junr. Shadow Maid. Then Andy for owner Ted Parkes and trainer Lauder McMahon won the Auckland Cup in 1928 & 1929 with Gold Jacket, while Jimmy Jnr. drove Sea Born to win for Charlie Johnston in 1945 and Captain Sandy for Jock Bain to score in 1948 and 1949.

Their individual victories are far too many to enumerate, but while Andy was associated with such stars as Man o' War, Kohara, Gold Jacket and, in later years, Jewel Derby and Tobacco Road, James Jnr. took the limelight with Shadow Maid, Sea Born and that mighty pacer Captain Sandy.

Eighteen months ago, Andy, at 66, was admitted to hospital with hernia trouble, told his daughter "I'm in the starter's hands," and died peacefully. James Jnr. left to join up with the other two sides of the redoubtable triangle early this week. Among the grandsons of Scotty, Colin(son of Jim) and Jim(son of Andy) were involved for a time in trotting but both gave the practical side, at least, away. It would seem the Bryce saga is over. But, who knows? Perhaps there will be a great-grandson to kindle the flame again. I wouldn't be surprised.

Credit: Ron Bisman writing in NZ Trotting 18Nov72



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