BLAST FROM THE PAST
1978 DOMINION TROTTING HANDICAP: Won by Scotch Tar
1978 DOMINION TROTTING HANDICAP
Scotch Tar, a rank failure in the Worthy Queen Handicap, earned forgiveness for all his previous sins when he turned in one of the greatest exhibitions of trotting ever seen in a Dominion Handicap.
The five-year-old Tarport Coulter-Scotch Penny gelding claimed three records in beating warm favourite Spartan Prince - the New Zealand 3200 metre record, the Addington track record, and the Dominion Handicap race record. Scotch Tar won in the brilliant time of 4:11.6 - time which would have seen him score a clear cut over the pacers in the NZ Cup.
It was obvious right from the start that Brian Gliddon, driver of Alias Armbro, was not going to stand for any loitering on the journey. Alias Armbro cut out the first 800 metres in 1:04.8, then when Scotch Tar moved up outside him, the pace stepped up again and the half way mark was reached in 2:06.8. The 2000 metres was reached in 2:39.8, then the fireworks really began. Bob Cameron sent Scotch Tar forward to try and wrest the lead from Alias Armbro, and they cut out the next quarter to the 2400 metres in 29.7. Alias Armbro fought off the first challenge by Scotch Tar, but they still reached the 2800 metres in 3:39.5, with that quarter taking 30.4.
Scotch Tar edged past Alias Armbro soon after turning for home, but looked as though he would be under pressure to hold out Spartan Prince, who had enjoyed the run of the race all the way, and had not been involved in the classic battle between Alias Armbro and Scotch Tar. But not even a trotter of Spartan Prince's calibre could do anything but nibble at Scotch Tar's lead in the run home, and the brilliant five-year-old was holding Spartan Prince by three quarters of a length at the finish.
Backmarker Framalda, who was feeling the pinch at the 300 metres and broke briefly, recovered to battle into third but she was four and a half lengths back and two lengths clear of the weakening pacemaker Alias Armbro. Waitaki Gamble led in a well and truly beaten remainder three lengths back, with eight lengths to Isla Voss who started to feel the pressure when the leaders fired in the 29.7 to the 2400 metres.
Scotch Tar's time of 4:11.6 was a full 1.5 seconds inside Easton Light's great record of 4:13.1, set in winning the 1974 Dominion Handicap.
Scotch Tar, owned and trained by Slim Dykman at Chertsey, gave last season's leading sire, the now defunct Scottish Command, a notable double. Scottsh Command is the sire of the NZ Cup-NZ FFA double winner Trust Scot, and also the sire of Scotch Penny, dam of Scotch Tar.
Credit: Tony Williams writing in NZ Trotting Calendar