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NIGEL CRAIG: Holder of Trotting Mile Record


The ghost of numerous champion trotters of past eras and their connections must have watched in satisfaction on Saturday night (19 February 1977) as the brilliant Nigel Craig scooted over a mile in 1:58.8 shattering his own outright mile record of 2:00.3 and embarrassing the previous time trial record of 2:02.4 held by Control.

Driven by part-owner Bevan Heron and assisted by a galloping pacemaker in Glenroy Lass driven by John Noble, Nigel Craig went his first quarter in a brilliant 29.9 and reached the half in 58.4. The large crowd sensed the long-awaited two-minute mark for a trotter in NZ was on as Heron steered his horse through the third-quarter pole in 1:27.5. Urged on over the final stages, Nigel Craig showed all his great staying ability to reach the post in a time which was probably faster than most expected.

The winner of nine races this season alone and nearly $30,000, Nigel Graig has all the credentials to be a fitting holder of our first home two-minute trotting mark (Ordeal broke two-minutes in America some years ago) and the time he set is going to make things difficult for the number of horses getting ready for similar time trials in various parts of NZ and Australia.

Turned out in tremendous condition by his trainer Lance Heron, Nigel Craig won $2,100 for his effort on Saturday as a result of various sponsorships. From the Addington clubs the horse owners received $500 for appearing, $100 for breaking two-minutes and $100 for each tenth of a second under two-minutes. The Canterbury Owners and Breeders gave $500 for the two-minute mark being beaten.

Although not the only trotter in the country capable of going two-minutes, Nigel Craig deserved the honour as the first to go under that mark, for he has held the race record for more than 12 months, lowering it twice in that period. He is not a horse who would win show ring ribbons for looks, but there is little doubt now that he is a great trotter, perhaps one of the five best the country has ever sent. He has had a busy season but you wouldn't know it by his latest run, and his continuing good form is a credit to his handlers.

Credit: David McCarthy writing in NZ Trotguide 23Feb77

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