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FEATURE RACE COMMENT

 

YEAR: 1933

1933 NEW ZEALAND DERBY

Another record broken was that for three-year-olds, War Buoy now being credited with 3min 16 1/5sec, which gives him the honour of being the fastest three-year-old pacer ever raced in the Dominion. In winning the New Zealand Derby Stakes he reduced the record for the race by 4sec.

War Buoy is owned by Mrs E K Mauger, who has had the satisfaction of seeing her horse win every race he has contested, his score now being five. The Derby winner is a gelding by Man o' War from Little Kewpie, and he was bred by Mr J Mauger, who also had his dam, by Diadem from Little Alma. He is the most outstanding young pacer the Dominion has ever known.

All three horses in the New Zealand Derby Stakes made a tangle at the start and War Buoy swung right across Morello but then straightened up and went away in the lead, with Guy Junior bringing up the rear. Guy Junior then occupied second place until the mile post was passed by the leader in 2min 12 4/5sec, but shortly after was done with.

From there War Buoy had all his own way and he went on to win as he liked by six lengths in the race record time of 3min 16 1/5sec from Morello, who beat Guy Junior by 12 lengths.

It was only to be expected that the previously unbeaten War Buoy would retain his record, but the performance of Guy Junior was most disappointing in view of his excellent recent track work. On the other hand Morello, who was on this occasion driven by his trainer, showed to better advantage than was anticipated.

Credit: THE PRESS 10 Nov 1933

 

YEAR: 1935

George Barton receives the Cup from Sir Heaton Rhodes
1935 NEW ZEALAND TROTTING CUP

Refer also 1934 Cup for comment.

Indianapolis, a son of imported parents in Wrack and Estella Amos, was bred at Durbar Lodge by Harry Nicoll's son Arthur and bought as an early 3-year-old by Dunedin's George Barton, the leading owner each year for a decade during this time, on the recommendation of Billie Tomkinson.

The entire was in 'star class' by the end of his 4-year-old season, but Tomkinson had died prior to the 1934 Cup and Indianapolis was prepared by his right-hand-man Claude Dunleavy for the remainder of his career.

His first Cup win was a mere formality from 12 yards over Blue Mountain(Fr) and Harlod Logan(72yds), but there was another star on the horizon at the meeting that year in the form of War Buoy, who was in the process of putting together an unbeaten career of 10 wins, a sequence that remained unmatched until Cardigan Bay eclipsed it some 30 years later.

War Buoy took his record to 15 wins from 17 starts when he won the August Handicap at the National Meeting as a 5-year-old, so as the Cup loomed with War Buoy off the front and Indianapolis off 48 yards, there was much anticipation. Particularly when War Buoy skipped six lengths clear turning for home for Stan Edwards, but Indianapolis was commencing his run at the same time six-wide and in the end had three lengths to spare.

It was no less exciting the following year when Indianapolis(48yds) became the first three-time winner after a great tussle with Red Shadow(24yds), War Buoy(Fr) and Harold Logan(48yds). A rejuvenated Red Shadow, back in the Bryce stable, had skipped clear at the three furlongs while Indianapolis appeared to be languishing in the rear. But with giant strides, Indianapolis drew level at the 100m for Jack Fraser and came away to confirm his status as one of the greatest stayers ever seen.


Credit: New Zealand HRWeekly 8Oct03

 

YEAR: 1943

T H McGIRR

Mr T H McGirr, who died recently, was a well-known figure in the trotting world. Living in the Methven district, it was only natural that Mr McGirr should be closely connected with trotters and pacers, as the district is a strong one for the sport.

The deceased became most prominent when he purchased the Australian pacer Man o' War, who was thought, at the time, to be past his racing career; but to the surprise of many, that fine pacer came out and defeated a very strong field in a free-for-all at Ashburton. It was a splendid contest.

On going to the stud, Man o' War sired a number of good performers, including War Buoy, Sabu, Happy Man, Waress, Warfield, Marceres, Battlefield, Lady Milne, Warplane and Navy Blue.

A pacer who raced very successfully for Mr McGirr was Reporter, winner of two August Handicaps and many other important events; and recently Native Man had carried his colours successfully.

Credit: NZ Trotting Calendar 20Jan1943

 

YEAR: 1946

1946 NEW ZEALAND DERBY STAKES

M Holmes, Mr D McFarlane and Rustic Maid all had previous successful associations with the New Zealand Derby, the latest contest for which was won in the manner of a champion by Free Fight at Addington on Friday. This marked M Holmes's seventh winning drive in the race, his fourth success as a trainer; it was Mr McFarlane's third success as an owner, and Rustic Maid, dam of Free Fight, also produced the 1942 Derby winner, Scottish Lady.

Holmes's winning drives in the Derby have been behind Wrackler(1928), Arethusa(1930), Ciro(1931), Aldershot (1938), Imperial Jade(1939), Scottish Lady(1942) and Free Fight this year and he has trained Aldershot, Imperial Jade, Scottish Lady and Free Fight. Mr McFarlane raced Imperial Jade in partnership with Mr W Scott, and he holds both Scottish Lady and Free Fight on lease from Mr G Youngson, of Gore.

Mr Youngson secured two bargains as things are turning out when he bought Scottish Lady for 400gns and Rustic Maid, carrying Free Fight, for 200gns, about four years ago. Rustic Maid is the dam of Highland Scott, Gallant Maid, Scottish Lady, Scottish Lord, Slavonic and Free Fight, and another of her progeny, a two-year-old colt by Dillon Hall, has also been leased by Mr McFarlane and is being prepared by M Holmes for classic races.

This famous family of horses was established by a mare named Bonnie Belle, owned by the late W J Morland, some 40 to 50 years ago. Bonnie Belle was by Lincoln Yet from an Arab mare, and this Arab mare was by a pure-bred Arab stallion imported to the Dominion by the late Sir Cracroft Wilson more than 80 years ago. The Arab characteristics are still strongly ingrained in the descendants of Bonnie Belle, most of them being flecked with white hairs through their coats. Do they derive a measure of their gameness from this source as well? The late Mr Morland was sure of it, and as he bred such champions as Country Belle, Escapade and Gold Country from this line, and jealously preserved the breed over half a century, his high opinion of the family has never been in dispute. The female side of the tribe has been one of the most conspicuous in the Stud Book over a long period, but Free Fight is the only colt of the line left intact for many years. He is no doubt intended for a stud career in Southland when his racing days are over.

Free Fight is the first winner to the credit of a grand imported pacer in Light Brigade, and it is a splendid advertisement for Mr McKenzie's stallion that he should sire a Derby winner among his first crop. It is doubtful if there is a better bred horse in the Dominion today than Light Brigade, who is by Volomite, 2:03, today the leading sire of the United States with 13 two-minute performers, and the first stallion to be credited with 100 or more 2:10 trotters and 100 or more 2:10 pacers. Another great distinction came to Volomite recently when Poplar Bird, a two-year-old, took a record of 2:04 and became Volomite's 100th representative to enter the 2:05 list. Volomite thus becomes the first sire to attain this honour.

Besides being by the world's outstanding sire of modern times, Light Brigade is flawlessly bred on the dam's side. He is out of Spinster, who took a record of 2:03, and is by Spencer, 1:59, a champion in his day and also leading sire for one season a few years ago. Spinster is out of Minnetonka, 2:12, by Belwin, 2:06 from The Miss Stokes, 2:08, by Peter The Great-Tillie Thompson, by Guy Wilkes, etc. Minnetonka, second dam of Light Brigade, also produced Emily Stokes, 2:01, Tilly Tonka 2:02, Kedgewick 2:03, and Balbo, 2:04. The Miss Stokes, third dam of Light Brigade, was a Futurity winner and produced a famous race mare in Tilly Brooke, 1:59.

Although the mile and a half start again proved unsatisfactory, the race over the last mile developed into one of the finest in the history of the blue riband event. County Antrim, as in the Riccarton Stakes, took up the role of pacemaker, and Free Fight, drawn on the second row, made the best beginning of his career to be in fifth place going round the first bend. With half the journey covered, County Antrim led Sahara Queen, Snowflake, Free Fight, Culture, Fillmore, Darkie Grattan, Lady Diane, Pirouette, Gay Piper and Palette. It was not until three furlongs from home that Free Fight made a definite move, and he had raced up to County Antrim at the distance. He finished in the gamest possible style and won all out by a length from Snowflake, who finished too well for County Antrim after getting out of a pocket late. Culture went a surprisingly good race for a close fourth, Gay Piper was fifth, then Lady Diane, with the rest well back.

The time, 3:17 4-5, was the second fastest for the race, the record being held by War Buoy, who registered 3:16 1-5 when he outclassed a good field in 1933. The sectional times on Friday tell their own story of a sound pace for youngsters: Half-mile 1:08 4-5, six furlongs 1:41 4-5, mile 2:14 4-5, mile and a quarter 2:46 2-5 and the full journey 3:17 4-5.

Sahara Queen failed to stay, but On Approval, who would probably have been hard to beat, was among several eliminated as a result of a mix up caused through Darkie Grattan tangling going into the back the first time. Darkie Grattan was lame on returning to the birdcage. Coral Princess, who was strongly fancied by her connections, failed to begin correctly, and, with Henry of Navarre and His Excellency, was in an impossible position at the end of a furlong.

The big field completely ruined the chances of many, but it is some consolation to reflect that probably the best horse won.

Credit: 'Ribbonwood' writing in the NZ Trotting Calendar 20Nov46

 

YEAR: 1948

Manny Edwards
EDWARDS: M B

M B Edwards, whose death occured last week, was one of the Dominion's most successful trainers and reinsmen over a long period. He headed the trainers' list in the 1926-7 season.

Edwards was the son of the late M Edwards, who was also a leading trainer and driver. When he set up on his own account about thirty years ago, M B Edwards met with early success with Phil Smith, Homeleigh Dick and Vice Admiral. Many of his early winners came fron the 'Willowbank' Stud, Southland, among the good ones sent to him from that successful nursery being Dalmeny, Black Admiral, Dalnahine, Harold Thorpe, and Shine Soon. Another Southland pacer with whom he won important races was Mate o' Mine.

For a period Edwards enjoyed outstanding success in the classic field, his juvenile winners including War Buoy (NZ Sapling Stakes, NZ Derby, etc), Frisco Lady (NZ Sapling Stakes and NZ Champion Stakes), Twos Loose (Timaru Nursery Stakes, NZ Sapling Stakes and NZ Derby) and Gamble (NZ Derby).

Credit: NZ Trotting Calendar 5May48

 

YEAR: 1963

1963 NZ TROTTING CUP

"He will have to achieve the impossible to give Vanderford 54 yards start today," declared a seasoned racegoer after examining the track, the favourite, and the backmarker during the New Zealand Cup preliminary at Addington on Tuesday. And the totalisator investments affirmed that our seasoned racegoer was not alone in his dictum. But nothing tickles the palate of the dedicated racegoer - any brand or vintage of racegoer - more than the achievement of the 'impossible' and the warm ovation for Cardigan Bay had already broken out when he took command with two furlongs to go.

Cardigan Bay performed the 'impossible' in irreproachable style - he even exceeded all the highest estimates of his ability and duribility in the fourth fastest Cup in history - Johnny Globe 4:07.6, False Step 4:09, Highland Fling 4:10.6, Cardigan Bay 4:11.2. He reduced all his opponents of any consequence to a struggling, straggling band with surprising rapidity, even for him. This phase of his and Peter Wolfenden's strategy occurred suddenly and unexpectedly - with three furlongs to go. One moment Vanderford was still striding confidently out in front; the next was a complete metamorphosis, with Cardigan Bay taking every advantage of a trail behind the streaking Oreti on the outer, and Vanderford rapidly losing his grip of the situation down on the hub rail. The race was as good as won from that stage. Cardigan Bay, doing it the hard way, nearly three wide, got his head in front at the two furlongs, and his only effective challenger, Robin Dundee, came no closer than two lengths and a half to him in the race from the home turn.

Vanderford's first mile in 2:11.2 was not sensational, due to his slowing down the pace from a 2:07 clip to a 2:15 clip in the second half-mile. Neither was the time for the first mile and a half, 3:17, out of the way for horses of Cup class, and this no doubt was a life-saver for Cardigan Bay, already at least 24 yards closer to the leaders than at the outset. Cardigan Bay was privately timed from post to post in 4:09.6, his first half in 61, mile in 2:06.2, mile and a quarter in 2:38.8, and mile and a half in 3:10.6. So it will be readily gleaned that he tramped his last half mile in 59.6 secs and the last mile in 2.03.4.

A rather surprising third favourite, Sun Chief beat only two horses home - his youthful spring excellence has given way to autumn mediocrity. He is only a shadow of the horse who finished second in the NZ Cup of 1960. Robin Dundee was produced in rare fettle by veteran trainer J Walsh - nothing looked better - and she came home much more resolutely than any of the minor place-fillers. It was a brave showing on the part of this pocket-edition pacer.

Doctor Dan, Grouse, Oreti and King Hal were all a little slow away, and Dandy Briar broke. Vanderford tangled for a few strides but lost very little ground. Blue Prince was first to show out from Sun Chief, Urrall, Master Alan, Vanderford and Robin Dundee, with two lengths to King Hal, Doctor Dan, Oreti and Cardigan Bay last. At the end of two furlongs Vanderford had taken over, and he was followed past the stands by Blue Prince, Sun Chief, Urrall, Robin Dundee, Master Alan, King Hal, Doctor Dan, Oreti, Dandy Briar and Cardigan Bay, still at the rear. Most of the field were racing in pairs by now. There was little change till approached the three furlongs, where Oreti moved up to Vanderford, and Cardigan Bay was beginning to improve from the back in the direct path of Oreti.

Soon after, Vanderford gave way to Oreti, and Cardigan Bay, continuing his run, was in front at the two furlongs. He led into the straight and, shaken up, held his advantage to beat Robin Dundee by two lengths and a half. Robin Dundee finished strongly to beat Master Alan by a head. Two lengths back came Oreti, followed by Doctor Dan, the weakening Vanderford, King Hal, Urrall, Dandy Briar, Sun Chief, Blue Prince and Grouse last.

Cardigan Bay has now won 35 races and 48,447 in stakes and trophies. He shares with War Buoy the best winning sequence for a harness horse in the Dominion - 10. He is the first horse ever to win a New Zealand Cup and an Inter-Dominion Championship, a 'double' that eluded such greats as Highland Fling, Caduceus, Johnny Globe and False Step - one way or the other. He holds the New Zealand and Australian mile record, 1:57.6, jointly with Caduceus. He is one of the most perfect pacing 'machines' ever seen in this country - reliable, brilliant, and a renowned stayer or unflinching courage. Only two horses have won the Cup from longer marks than Cardigan Bay's 54 yards: Harold Logan and Highland Fling both won from 60 yards.

An odds-on favourite, Vanderford carried 3697 for a win on-course and 8976 off-course; for a place he carried 3580 10s on-course and 4003 off-course. Cardigan Bay, second favourite, earned 1488 10s for a win on-course and 3197 off-course; his place totals were 1666 10s on-course and 3681 off-course. The betting totals on the Cup were slightly down on last year: on-course total was 24,147 10s, compared with 24,828 10s last year; and the off-course figure was 35,930, against 36,176 last year. The on-course total for the day was 192,254, a substantial increase on the 183,633 10s handled last year; but the off-course figures showed a corresponding decrease - this year's total was 180,714 15s, against 188,535 last year. The attendance this year, 18,500, was almost the same as last year.

The result was a triumph for the Southland sire Hal Tryax (imp), who sired the first and second horses, Cardigan Bay and Robin Dundee. Colwyn Bay, the dam of Cardigan Bay, recently produced a filly foal, a full sister to the Cup winner, and there is also an older filly of the same breeding. Colwyn Bay was a brilliant pacer herself, but unsoundness cut short her racing career. She is by Josedale Dictator (imp) from Pleasure Bay, by Quite Sure (imp) from Helen's Bay, by Guy Parrish (imp) from Gold Patch, by Geo M Patchen.

Cardigan Bay was bred was developed by the Mataura trainer, D Todd. He was raced by D Todd's brother, Mr A Todd, of Mataura, who sold him to Mrs Deans. Mrs Deans related how she had decided to buy a pacer and that she and her husband had followed closely the newspaper comments made on the form and performances of Cardigan Bay. "We were quite certain that Cardigan Bay would be the horse we would buy - we had never seen him - and when we read there were some northern inquiries for him, we decided there and then to buy him before anyone else did," she said. The champion cost Mrs Dean 2500 after contingencies had been met.

Cardigan Bay's mixed fortune at the 1962 Inter-Dominion Championship in Perth is too widely known to require repetition here. His recovery will always rank as a miracle of racing. He made no mistakes about the 1963 series - his form was 'bang on' and he outclassed the opposition he met in Suoth Australia.

Describing the race as "one of the great Cups, and one of the best fields for many years" the president of the NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club, Mr J K Davidson, congratulated the owner and trainer-driver on a "magnificent performance in which the result was under control some distance from home." After Mrs Davidson decorated Cardigan Bay with a garland of flowers, Mrs Dean replied. She paid a warm tribute to P T Wolfenden for his "careful training and skilful driving" and also thanked "Noel Bennett, who has so capably looked after the horse.




Credit: 'Ribbonwood' writing in NZ Trotting Calendar

 

YEAR: 1965

S A EDWARDS

Last week light harness racing lost one of it's most pleasing and engaging personalities with the death of S (Stan) A Edwards at the comparatively early age of 56 years.

Stan, "Young Stan" as he was known throughout his career, was something more than merely an exceptionally good horseman and trainer. He was a philosopher ever ready to give a helping hand, whether by deed or word, whenever or wherever his advice or assistance was required. What is more, he had a keen and delightful sense of quiet, kindly humour, winning himself a wide circle of friends in all walks of life.

It was natural that Stan would make trotting his life. A son of "Manny", an outstanding horseman at the turn of the century, and a brother to the late Dil, recognised as an expert trainer and driver, Stan came on the light harness scene at an early age. As a mere boy he quickly won recognition as a saddle horseman at a period when this type of racing was a regular feature of all meetings and the standard of horsemanship was of the highest. Stan was regarded as having few equals and no superiors in this field, also as a trainer.

He was associated with numerous horses of high quality. He and Ripcord, one of the greatest trotters ever seen, made a perfect combination, and he also handled Great Venture, a Dominion Handicap winner, in faultless style. He developed and drove Silver de Oro and Sir Julian to take major honours in the NZ Sapling Stakes, and he drove War Buoy in a number of his races. War Buoy, of course, still holds the record number of successive wins, scoring in each of his first 10 starts. That was a remarkable achievement because he started out as a 2-year-old by winning a handicap event against pacers of all ages, shapes and sizes and only bad luck brought about his first defeat in his eleventh appearance.

Other top-class horses Stan was associated with included Star Rosa (Champion Stakes), Hilda Scott (Greymouth Cup), Thunder (National Cup), Gamble, Blair Athol, Nell Grattan, Our Kentucky, Lady Belmer (Easter Cup), Black Douglas and Maori Queen, to mention a few.

Stan was keenly interested in the Horsemen's Association of which he was president for some years, and his passing left a big gap in all departments of light harness racing.

Credit: NZ Trotting Calendar 26May65



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