BLAST FROM THE PAST
1953 INTERDOMINION GRAND FINAL: Won by Captain Sandy
PERTH - CAPTAIN SANDY
Captain Sandy and his South Australian owner, Mr D J Nolan, who purchased the veteran New Zealand pacer last June. No one guessed that the son of Sandydale had not yet given of his best when he won the 1949 Auckland Cup.
By his win at Perth Captain Sandy made history. He became the first horse ever to have gained Inter-Dominion honours twice and he also became the greatest stake-earner of all time in Australasia. His total winnings of more than £35,000 eclipsed the previous record of £32,920 held by Highland Fling.
Oamaru trainer Jock Bain, who raced Captain Sandy on lease for all of his New Zealand wins, advised Mr Nolan on how best to train the horse. His methods paid a handsome dividend.
Thriving under Mr Nolan's supervision, Captain Sandy has raced in every State in Australia where there is night trotting, and has retained his form in spite of the exertions of long and arduous travel. Mr Nolan reports that since being under his charge the horse has not had one day off.
From a monetary viewpoint, too, Captain Sandy must have surpassed the rosiest of his new owner's expectations. For, during his brief career in Australia, he has amassed close on £9,000 in stakes. The Grand Final at Perth alone was worth £7,450(including a trophy valued at £300), and he has won in Melbourne and been placed on several occasions.
There was no fluke about Captain Sandy's win in Perth. He began brilliantly from 24 yards, took command 75 yards short of the post, and beat the crack Sydney pacer Ribands by half a length. He covered the mile and five furlongs in 3.24 1/2 - a 2.05 3/5 rate. This was a Perth track record and warranted a rating in world class on a track measuring 88 yards short of a half mile.
Two nights later Captain Sandy paced a mile against time on the same track, returning the sensational figures of 1.59. The greatness of this feat can be appreciated when it is realised that the world's pacing record on a half-mile track is held by the American horse Sampson Hanover, who went 1.59 3/5 in 1951. The trotting record on a half-mile track is Greyhound's
1.59 3/4 established in 1937. Captain Sandy's performance is thus virtually a world record for half-mile tracks or smaller.
For an old-stager, the son of Sandydale and Waikaura certainly has a lot of life left in him.
Credit: NZ Hoof Beats Vol 3 No.8