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MAIDA DILLON: Upset Winner


There was a sensation to the finish of the mile and five furlong Hornby Handicap on Show Day of the 1950 Cup Meeting when Maida Dillon outfinished Fortuna and Gay Piper to win by a nose. The rank outsider of the field, she finished on too resolutely for her win to be declared a fluke.

When the dividends were posted the winner paid £257/12/6 for a win and £37/6/- for a place. Combined with Red Emperor winner of the first leg Hayward Handicap, Maida Dillon returned a Dominion record double dividend of £7948/9/-. She also won her next start, at New Brighton, paying £45, and two others.

A Dillon Hall mare, Maida Dillon was raced on lease by Ron Bainbridge, having won her way out of Southland class, and trained and driven for him by L Frost. Leicester Frost trained for many years at New Brighton and died in May 1989 at the age of 87. This was his most notable accomplishment in harness racing.

Maida Dillon originally came north with a big reputation, but she failed to find form in Canterbury until Frost discovered, by chance, that the best way to train her was galloping along the beach. Said Bainbridge: "It rained throughout May and all Leicester could do was gallop her along the beach. She ran an unlucky third on that preparation, but didn't do a thinh in the spring. Well said Leicester, there's nothing elseto do but to go back and gallop her, like we did in the winter. She didn't respond to hopples at all," recalled Bainbridge.

All told, Maida Dillon won seven races under Frost's care, and finished 12th on the list of stakes winners in the 1950-1 season.


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