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HORSES

 

YEAR: 1965

VANDERFORD

The news of the tragic death of Vanderford would come as a great shock to admirers of a good horse - or any horse for that matter

Vanderford may not have reached the heights of Cardigan Bay and the other champions in the Dominion, but he could always be relied on to give his followers a good run for their money, and his consistent record over recent seasons speaks for itself.

Vanderford was a most reliable pacer with no serious chinks in his armour. His reliability would have no doubt stood him in good stead in the United States and his career there was being looked forward to by light harness enthusiasts in the country of Vanderford's birth.

Vanderford made one of those meteoric rises to NZ Cup company that paralleled the careers of Lordship, Lookaway and Johnny Globe. Vanderford won eight of his nine starts - he finished fourth at his other appearance after having little in his favour - leading up to his appearance in the Dominion's premier two-miler. Brilliant finishing runs characterised all of his performances. To that stage of his career - and later - he did nothing wrong in his races.

When trained in the North by D N Hayes, Vanderford showed fine promise as a 3-year-old, and for that trainer he won two races and was placed seven times in 15 starts. One of Vanderford's best performances that season was his second placing to Tactile in the record-run NZ Derby Stakes. Tactile paced the journey in 3.10 2-5, a fresh NZ record for a 3-year-old. Vanderford recorded 3.10 2-5. Towards the end of that term, Vanderford was transferred to A J Bourne at Woolston, and under him Vanderford went from strength to strength, culminating in his grand slam of a quality field of sprinters at Oamaru.

According to Mr W D Barnes, in whose interest Vanderford raced, Vanderford gave him his greatest thrill when he won the Ashburton Flying Stakes, in which Robin Dundee and Cardigan Bay finished second and third respectively. It was a performance which capped seven wins in succession. Mr Barnes sold Vanderford to United International Stables in Toronto with an option to repurchase him in three years. He would not say how much he had been paid for Vanderford, but admitted it ran into five figures. "I was going to bring him back to NZ for stud services," he said. "That was part of the agreement." Mr Barnes leased Vanderford with an option to purchase him when he was 12 months old. He started racing as a 2-year-old in the 1961-62 season.

Vanderford had 15 wins and 39 placings for £15,910 in stakes. He was a 5-year-old bay horse by Great Evander from Milford Girl, who was got by Dillon Hall from Sister Polly, by Wrack-Our Nurse, by Wildwood Junior-Imperial Polly, by Prince Imperial.

Credit: NZ Trotting Calendar 12May65

 

YEAR: 1965

VONNELL - Classic Winner Producing Mare

Vonnell (1965 Van Hanover-Dainty), Aus family of Lady Ajax; 2:13.4, $805; 1 win; 8 foals, 7 to race for 6 winners/1 qualifier. Breeders Ron & Mrs Maureen Hamilton. All foals bred by: Mrs Maureen Hamilton & Mrs Jill Marshall.

Sire Van Hanover is a descendant of Axworthy and his son Guy Axworthy (Van Hanover 4x4 to Guy Axworthy)appearing on his paternal side. His own sire Nibble Hanover, winner of 35 of 67 races, is the only stallion to have sired both a Hambletonian (Miss Tilly) and Little Brown Jug (Knight Dream) winner. Van Hanover topped the NZ Broodmare sires list (winners) for two and three year olds in 1977. He sired 109 winners in Australasia; damsire of 201 including Justin Hanover (WA Golden Nugget), Karloo Frost (NSWSS-3c) and Vonnell's foals Lirelle, Trevira, Tokorangi & Trilobal.

Vonnell's dam Dainty only had the one significant foal and that was Vonnell. Dainty was by the Springfield Globe stallion High Class from Luckylast, who was by Blaydon from Fortunate, by Wrack from Fortune Maid and back through Miss Fortune to Edith and Lady Ajax. Vonnell raced from two (unplaced), placed at three, with her only success being at Wyndham as a 4yo. She was unplaced at five before entering the broodmare barn.

Vonnell's male progeny included:

Trevira, classy and speedy open class pacer, winner of 16. Commencing as a 4yo, Trevira won eight of his thirteen starts including the Gore Cup, Trans Tours Discovery 4yo Stakes as well as wins at Forbury Park, Oamaru, Waikouaiti, Wyndham, Invercargill and Winton. A two-time winner at five in consecutive races (Ashburton Cup and the CPTC President's Stakes), Trevira finished fourth (promoted) in Sapling's AK Cup victory and in an ID Consolation at Addington.
Trevira managed 4 wins at six - Waikato Flying Mile at Cambridge, Whangarei Hotel Flying Mile (first sub-two-minute mile at Ruakaka, 1:59.6) beating Young Quinn who had just returned from north America, and consecutive starts at the Addington Easter meeting the Lion Lager Sprint and the Easter Cup). Notable placings included seconds in the NZFFA, Benson & Hedges Flying Mile, New Brighton Cup, Adams Memorial; thirds in NZ Cup (Lord Module), Thames Cup; fourths in the Pan Am Mile & the Pezaro Memorial.
His 2 wins at seven were at Winton and a second Waikato Flying Mile at Cambridge, part of 14 cheques from 16 seasonal starts. Significant placings were recorded with seconds in the Thames Cup, the Benson & Hedges Flying Mile, Wellington Cup; thirds in Hannon Memorial, Pezaro Memorial and fourths in the NZFFA and the Pan Am Mile. Trevira was sidelined for a season in January after the Wellington Cup second with a splint problem in his near foreleg. Trevira did not win at eight but finished second in the Ansett Flying Mile (Addington) with thirds in the Timaru Couplands Mile that Bonnies Chance won in 1:56.2 and the Easter Cup. He headed for North America after the Easter Cup (2:00.2US).

Trilobal, nine race winner. Unplaced in his sole 2yo start, Trilobal won five at three (Gore - Tanqueray & Eastern Southland 3yo Stakes; twice at Wyndham and Invercargill), he was second in the Southland Juvenile Championship and third in the Timaru Challenge Stakes.
At four, Trilobal won a further four at Oamaru, on Cup Day at Addington and the Timaru and New Brighton Cups. He was placed second in the Ashburton Cup and fifth behind Hands Down in the Easter Cup. Trilobal was a non-winner at five and six with just a solitary placing in the Wellington Cup (third).

Vonnell's fillies included:

Cambric, three wins (Wyndham, Addington & Timaru), dam of a winner Chequers (2 at Alexandra Park, 4 in Western Australia with 2 at Gloucester Park).

Lirelle, twice second and a third in the DB Fillies heats (fourth in the Final); 4th in the Southland Oaks at three before becoming the winner of four as a 4yo including the Invercargill Breeders Stakes and third in the Winton Equine Stakes. She was bred from but never managed to conceive.

Tokorangi was an eight-win Lumber Dream mare for Noel Taylor with six of her victories coming at three (Claudelands, Manawatu, Hutt Park and three at Alexandra Park). Taylor turned down an offer of $40,000 from North America for Tokorangi. At four she won twice at Alexandra Park (Franklin Cup) and placed twice including a second in the NI Breeders Stakes. A further 9 starts at five and six were unproductive before Tokorangi was retired for breeding. She was dam of Power and Glory, 1:53.4US (among first100 NZ bred Pacers in 1:55)

Tricotine, the winner of four, including 2 at Winton and fourth in the Ladyship Stakes, dam of:
. Just Royce, 9 wins, 2 at Addington, with significant placings including seconds in the NZ Cup to Il Vicolo, and the Thames Cup; thirds in the Superstars and NZ Championship at four; fourth in the NZFFA.
. Royceden, 12 wins (3 at Moonee Valley & Globe Derby)
. Tri Royce, dam of Riverboat Royce (Palmerstonian Classic).

Credit: Peter Craig writin in Harnessed Sept 2015

 

YEAR: 1965

MANAROA - Enigma

Here is a sum up of how the roach backed "Ugly Duckling" frustrated punters. In the spring of 1970 he had seven unplaced starts and then he won the Kaikoura Cup. Then he produced the performance of a lifetime for third in the 1970 NZ Cup after losing 100m at the start. Some still regard it as the best non-winning run in the race.

He was privately timed to run from post to post in 4:03 and change which would have won every Cup for 20 years and he was only half a length away at the finish. But then he was typically unplaced in five of his next six starts before winning two heats at the 1971 InterDominions and ultimately being second in the final a neck behind Stella Frost at the post. He won well over $200,000 which was a lot of money in those days, held several records and was quick enough to break two minutes in a time trial at Harold Park.

Manaroa's determination to give all the others a start probably came from his sire Morano who was a bit of an enigma himself. Morano was a horse with electric speed but unruly manners. His brilliance was an asset to him at stud where he was influential but never reached his potential on the track.

Yet, strangely, Manaroa's defeats in Australia were more about bad luck than bad beginnings. At one stage he had won 12 from 17 there and after three brilliant heat wins in record times he would have won the 1972 InterDominion Final(crowd 33,000) had he not been checked badly early. Maybe that was because Neville Hargreaves, a friend of Colin McLaughlin, usually drove him there. He certainly seemed to have the secret to successful starts. The veteran owner handled Manaroa himself in his later NZ Cups after all else failed but it was no use.

Manaroa was no rogue in attitude. He won 38 races and was unlucky in a lot of others. But erratic? Yes sir.

Credit: David McCarthy in Harnessed July 2016

 

YEAR: 1964

SUN CHIEF

Sun Chief, one of the Dominion's top pacers in his heyday, is to be retired from racing. He had more than his share of bad luck after reaching five years of age.

During the last two seasons, Sun Chief failed to return to his earlier good form, his failure to do so being due, no doubt, to his being involved in more than one accident in races.

Sun Chief commenced racing as a 2-year-old in the 1958-9 season, and met defeat only once in six starts - in the NZ Sapling Stakes. That season Sun Chief won the NZ Golden Slipper Stakes, the Canterbury Park Juvenile Stakes, the Timaru Nursery Stakes, the NZ Welcome Stakes and the Oamaru Juvenile Stakes.

At three years Sun Chief won four races, including the NZ Champion Stakes and the Great Northern Derby in 3.14 1/5. Sun Chief was also narrowly beaten in the NZ Derby by Stormont after meeting with interference.

Sun Chief commenced his 4-year-old season on a winning note in the Louisson Handicap, a success which brought him right into favour for the NZ Cup that year. His prospects of success in the big event were further strengthened when he beat a strong field in the Hannon Memorial Handicap by a length and a half. Sun Chief made a game effort to win the Cup at four years, but was caught and beaten in the last furlong by False Step - an out-and-out champion.

Sun Chief won the final of the Dunedin Festival Cup as a 5-year-old, his sole success at that age. Since then, Sun Chief has raced removes below his best form, but last season he managed a fourth in the NZ Cup won by Lordship.

Sun Chief is a handsome bay horse by My Chief from the Dillon Hall mare, Jenny Dillon, a direct descendant of the imported mare Bonnie Jenny. In all, Sun Chief won £12,360 in stakes in the Dominion, the result of 12 wins and 14 placings in 62 starts. He also won a substantial amount in Australia.

Credit: NZ Trotting Calendar 1Apr64

 

YEAR: 1964

DICTATION

Dictation, who died recently, was one of the greatest trotters ever to race in the Dominion. At one time during his career he held seven records, including a world record. Like the majority of champions, Dictation was an individualist. He was possessed of unbounded, almost atomic energy, and his inclination to keep on the move may have contributed in no small measure to his death.

Dictation was spending his retirement in a spacious paddock with Ordinance on the farm of Mr Geoff Hammond, at Lismore. Both horses were well fed, had plenty of shelter and water, with acres of room in which to move. Their feet were trimmed regularly, and they were always fat. One day recently both horses took to galloping around the paddock, Dictation no doubt being the chief instigator. The 'workout' however, proved too much for Ordinance, who dropped dead. Dictation was in a lather of sweat, and shortly afterward developed pneumonia, and complications set in. Nothing could be done for the old fellow, who was 20 years old, and owner-trainer, Mr J (Jim) Wilson, was in no doubt that the kindest thing to do was to put Dictation down. Both Dictation and Ordinance are buried on Mr Hammond's farm.

Dictation always pulled hard, in work and in races, and Wilson was often criticised unfairly by 'grandstand' drivers for his handling of Dictation. Dictation only knew one pace, 'flat out'. In a race it was useless trying to drive Dictation in behind, for if anything in front slowed up or broke, Dictation and his driver were immediately in trouble. Dictation was just as likely to carry on at his own pace and run into, or go over the top of the sulky in front. He could not be controlled, and had to be let run along. These tearaway tactics were not confined to racedays. Dictation was the same at home, and could never be jogged quietly in harness. He did on more than one occasion take off across the centre of Mr Wilson's private track, and it was hopeless attempting to keep Dictation on a set course, if Dictation decided otherwise.

This wilfulness on the part of Dictation led to a change in training methods. Dictation did the bulk of his work on the lead. On jogging days his trainer would use two horses, one after the other, from which to lead Dictation, as he naturally required more work than a lot of other horses. Dictation even did his fast work behind a horse galloping in the sulky. "He was a great leader," said Mr Wilson, "and never once did he touch the wheel of a sulky when in training." When Dictation could work over different distances at a 2.10 gait in this manner, he was considered ready to go to the races.

Mr Wilson said that never, during his racing career, did Dictation walk from the birdcage after a race, no matter how hard that race. He always trotted out. Often too, he went a lot further than the rest of the field before he could be pulled up. He had remarkable powers of recuperation after a hard contest - two or three deep breaths, and he was back to normal. Dictation would not have been retired when he was if Mr Wilson had not reached the age limit when he could no longer hold a driving licence. Only one other driver handled Dictation in races, but the combination did not click.

Dictation had another side to his nature. Around the stable, in his yard or paddock, he was as docile as a lamb, and the easiest of horses to handle. And he could handle all types of going, wet or dry, grass tracks or dirt tracks, but he was at his best on dirt tracks, as he was a line trotter. A line trotter does not spread behind as some do, each hind foot in turn driving straight up behind the corresponding front foot.

By Josedale Dictator from the New Derby mare, Seal Globe, Dictation was bred by Mr P J Andrew, Ashburton, and was first tried as a pacer. He showed very little promise in this department, and Mr Wilson bought Dictation for £200 and converted him to the trotting gait. He made his first appearance as a 3-year-old at the Kaikoura Trotting Club's annual meeting held at Rangiora in 1948. Dictation finished third to Tatsydale and Steel Sword in a division of a novice race for horses of that gait. Dictation next lined up in the NZ Trotting Stakes, and this time was third to Signal Light and Cottesloe.

Dictation had three starts as a 4-year-old before he won a novice trotter's race at Ashburton, and that was his final start for the season. As a 5-year-old, Dictation really began to show what potential he had, and he won five races, including the Railway Handicap at Forbury Park, and the Stewards' Handicap at Auckland.

The 1950-51 season was a record-breaking one for Dictation. Among his successes was the Sockburn Sprint at Addington, in which he trotted the mile and a quarter journey in the Australasian race-winning time of 2.38 3/5. Dictation later clipped 1/5 sec off this time when he finished third to Highland Kilt and Gay Belwin in a qualifying heat of the Inter-Dominion Championship at Addington. At the same meeting at which Dictation won the Sockburn Sprint, he also won the Dominion Handicap in the then record winning time of 4.16 2/5. At the Inter-Dominion Championship meeting that same season, Dictation failed by only a head to give Swanee River 36 yards start in the Trotters' Championship Qualifying race. In running second, Dictation recorded the amazing time of 3.10 4/5 for the mile and a half, time which still stands as an Australasian record for trotters.

Dictation won only one race in the 1951-52 term, and that was the NZ Trotting Free-For-All at Addington, in which he trotted the mile and five furlong journey in 3.28 4/5 to add yet another record to his growing list. Dictation also trotted the distance in 1951 in 3.27. In 1954, at the National meeting at Addington, Dictation lowered these figures to 3.25 1/5 (a world record) when he finished fourth to Battle Cry, Precaution and Excellenza in the Winter Handicap when conceding starts up to 96 yards to this high class field, which also included Vodka and Fair Isle. This record was equalled by Durban Chief in 1959, and broken by Moon Boy in 1960, who went 3.23 4/5.

Four more successes came Dictation's way in the 1952-53 season, including the Reta Peter Handicap at Addington, when he met on even terms (60 yards) and beat, Gold Horizon. One of his best performances that term was in the Dominion Handicap. From 72 yards, Dictation trotted the two miles in 4.15 4/5, a new Australasian record for the distance.

After two unplaced performances in the 1953-54 season, Dictation created his seventh record when he won the Greyhound Handicap from 48 yards, in 3.12 3/5. In reviewing the race 'Ribbonwood' had this to say: "Dictation returned to all his former glory by winning the Greyhound Handicap from Correction, Red Valley, Lady Inchcape and Vodka in a finish that was nothing short of colossal - no fewer than 12 horses charged acoss the line with only about four lengths separating them. The speed was on from start to finish...It would exhaust all the light-harness superlatives and cliches ever thought of to put on paper adaquately the intrepid run Dictation had to make to win Saturday's race from the back mark of 48 yards. He was certainly on the fence at one stage in the middle part, but J Wilson soon dropped the idea of going the shortest way round, and he took Dictation three, four and even five out over the last six furlongs to come home at two minute speed to nose out Correction in a finish that must have delighted everyone on course." It was voted one of the best races witnessed anywhere in the world.

To that stage of his career, Dictation also held the outright mile and a half record with his 3.10 4/5 for a place, the mile and a quarter record 2.38 2/5 and the winning record for the same distance, 2.38 3/5, the mile and five furlongs record of 3.27 and the two miles record of 4.15 4/5, as well as the winning record for the same distance, 4.16 2/5. To hold so many records at one time was a record in itself. That same season, Dictation also won the Otago Handicap at Forbury Park from 60 yards, and the NZ Hambletonian Handicap at Addington.

Dictation failed to win a race in the 1954-55 season. However, that was the term in which he set the fresh figures of 3.25 1/5 for one mile and five furlongs. The next term was Dictation's last on the racetrack. He made three appearances, but did not get into a place. In one particular race, when racing four carts out, Dictation was privately timed to trot his last mile in 2.02 2/5.

Dictation raced at a time when there was a wealth of champion trotters about, including Precaution, Gay Belwin, Highland Kilt, Fair Isle, Single Task, Swanee River, Barrier Reef, Signal Light, Battle Cry, Vodka and Gold Horizon, to mention a few. In all, Dictation started in 84 races for 17 wins, 30 placings and £16,330 in stakes.



Credit: 'Irvington' writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 20May64

 

YEAR: 1964

Caduceus paraded by J D Litten
CADUCEUS

Caduceus, who died at Wyndham last week as a result of an accident, returned from the United States in March, 1963, after virtually circumnavigating the globe and proving himself a champion in all of the four countries in which he raced - his own, Australia, the United States and Canada.

The Calendar, on Caduceus's retirement, claimed for him the following distinctions:-

*The most travelled racehorse the world has ever known. The distance from NZ to the United States of America, on to England and then back here is nearly 27,000 miles alone. Add to this his several trips to Australia - Perth is 6432 miles return, Adelaide 3798, Sydney 2642, Melbourne 2990; and his excursions into Canada from the United States; and how many more thousands of miles did he cover in his home land, from Auckland to Southland?

*The biggest stakewinner, galloper or harness horse, ever bred in NZ or Australia, with a total of $329,937, which is computed in NZ currency as approximately £116,000. [Cardigan Bay may now be slightly ahead on this total.]

*The highest light-harness stakewinner in NZ and Australia with a total of £68,204 10s in these countries.

*The fastest pacer or trotter ever imported into NZ - he had a mile record of 1.57 3-5 against time when he left NZ, and a race record of 1.57 2-5 when he arrived back. [Arania, 1.57, returned to NZ later]

*The holder of three NZ records: the mile, 1.57 3-5 established in 1959 [since lowered by Cardigan Bay to 1.56 1-5]; the mile and a quarter, 2.31 4-5 (1960), and the mile and a half, 3.04 2-5 (1955).

*"The mightiest pacer ever to hit these shores"- a tribute paid him by a leading USA publicity man on the eve of Caduceus's return to NZ.

Caduceus, trained by J D Litten, won the NZ Derby, NZ Champion Stakes, NZ Futurity Stakes and was the champion 3-year-old of his season. At four years he won the All Aged Stakes, the Metropolitan Challenge Stakes and Auckland Cup. At five years he won the Sydney Lord Mayor's Cup and a Harold Park free-for-all; and back in NZ he won under free-for-all conditions over a mile and a half in the world record figures of 3.04 2-5 from a standing start, which still stands. Caduceus finished a close second - beaten a head by False Step - in the NZ Cup of 1958. He finished third in 1959 to False Step and Gentry; and third in 1956 to Thunder and Laureldale.

At seven years Caduceus entered the 2.00 list for the first time, and at nine years he created new Dominion and Australian figures by running one mile against time at Addington in 1.57 3-5; he returned 2.31 4-5 for one mile and a quarter (still a world record from a standing start), and his phenomenal success in the Grand Final of the 1960 series of the Inter-Dominion Championship at Harold Park, Sydney, remains indelibly impressed. It was his sixth consecutive appearance at the Championships.

At nine years Caduceus not only retained all his zest for racing and work, but he had actually achieved the impossible by improving! The Yonkers promoters were quick to recognise this, and soon the ruling light-harness monarch abdicated his Australasian throne to invade the citadel of trotting - America! A crowd of 14,000, the largest Easter attendance for some years, packed round the birdcage and rails at Addington when Caduceus, the Moore Bros., and J D Litten, on the eve of their departure for America, were given a farewell by the NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club in April, 1960.

Caduceus competed against all the American champions - Adios Butler, Bye Bye Byrd, Bullet Hanover and Irvin Paul included - and he won no fewer than nine races in the United States and Canada. "Caduceus impressed American horsemen not only with his gameness and stamina, but also with his speed at an unfamiliar distance, one mile. Not only was he clocked at the age of 12 in 1.57 2-5 under race conditions at Santa Anita, but he raced the best American pacers, including Adios Butler and Widower Creed, as well as 'Down Under toughie' False Step." declared a Yonkers spokeman. "Caduceus is held in great esteem at home, discounting the old 'saw' that no one is a hero in his own backyard," concluded the Yonkers tribute.

Caduceus raced for ten seasons and won 55 races. He remained incurably light-hearted wherever he went, the eternal youth. He was feted and fanfared on radio, motion picture and television - even banquetted in carpeted, chandeliered New York dining halls! He became a drawcard wherever he appeared in the United States. He was called the "Mighty Atom" here and the "David among the Goliaths" in America. He was only 14.1 hands when registered as a 2-year-old and was always a valiant "pocket edition."

His globe trotting apparently affected him little. He continued to look forward to every day with relish. It was, unfortunately, his seemingly endless supply of energy and exuberance that contributed to his untimely death: the injuries from which he died were the result of his rearing up on his hind legs and crashing down on his chest on a concrete post. Caduceus did his first full stud season on the property of his owners, Messrs D D and D R Moore, Templeton, Canterbury, last season, and he served over 40 mares. He had just started the current season in Southland last week and had covered only one mare.

-o0o-

Ron Jenkins: Great Trotters

Bred in NZ in 1950, Caduceus was a pony-sized pacer nick-named the 'mighty atom'. He amassed more than $320,000 in prizemoney in NZ, Australia, America and Canada.

Caduceus did not race in Australia until he was a 5-year-old and in 1956 he won the first of two Lord Mayor's Cups. He was again successful in this race in 1957 and, in addition, won the 1959 Summer Cup at Harold Park. These three successes were all of the 36 yard handicap. His time of 3:30 in the 13 furlong 98 yard Summer Cup at a fast 2:05 rate created a track record which stood for nearly 10 years until bettered by Halwes when he rated 2:04 1/5 in 1968.

At one time Caduceus held track records at Harold Park, Melbourne, Wayville, Gloucester Park and Addington. His Addington mile rate of 2:02 4/5 over 1 1/2 miles was a world record. Caduceus recorded many sub two-minute times, his fastest being 1:57 2/5 in America.

Caduceus had contested six Inter-Dominions when he competed in the Sydney series in February, 1960, as a 9-year-old. A record crowd of 50,346 attended the final and to their delight saw the gallant New Zealander, from the back mark of 36 yards, get up to defeat Apmat (12 yards). After this win Caduceus was invited to compete in America. In typical American promotion Caduceus was feted during his stay in the US from dining with celebrities in the Waldorf Astoria Hotel to a rousing farewell upon his retirement.

When he returned to NZ in 1962, Caduceus stood at stud and sired the two good Harold Park performers, Born To Trot and Royal Society. Unfortunately, Caduceus injured himself in a paddock and as a precaution a veterinary surgeon was called. An injection was given but Caduceus proved allergic to it and died within hours.

Caduceus was the winner of 82 races in 10 seasons of racing.

Credit: 'Ribbonwood' writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 21Oct64

 

YEAR: 1964

SNOWFLAKE

The death was reported recently of Snowflake, whose 3-year-old record of 4.18 for two miles, established in 1947, still stands. By Dillon Hall from Silk Stockings, Snowflake was registered as a 2-year-old as a skewbald filly, and won, and lost, her first and only race at that age. Snowflake won the Great Northern Stakes by three lengths, but was later disqualified on a registration technicality.

At her first start as a 3-year-old, Snowflake was beaten by half a head in the Canterbury 3-year-old stakes by Free Fight. At her next race attempt, Snowflake again had to be content with second place, this time to Branford at Geraldine. Three starts later Snowflake took her place in the NZ Derby Stakes, and once again Free Fight proved her master.

Snowflake later struck a solid patch of form, winning three consecutive races - the Great Northern Derby, the Bruntwood Handicap at the Waikato meeting and the Campbell Handicap at Auckland. Snowflake's record-breaking two mile effort came in the Liverpool Handicap at Addington, in which she started from 48 yards, her 4.18 lowering Indianapolis's long-standing record by five seconds.

Snowflake won at four and five years and gained one second at six years. Her career was brought to an end when she met with an accident. Snowflake won £6030 in stakes, the result of six wins and 12 placings, and at stud she has been represented by the winners Moray, Elegant and Reputation.



Credit: Írvington' writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 28Oct64

 

YEAR: 1964

LIGHT BRIGADE

Light Brigade, who would have been officially 27 years of age on August 1 next, died at Roydon Lodge last week from a colic condition or a twisted bowel. He had been in good health and condition right up till the last and had practically completed another full stud season. Among the mares on his final list were Local Gold(dam of Arania), Malabella(dam of Bellajily), Merval(one of the best pacing mares of her day), Lady Belmer(another top class pacer), Vanity Scott, Virginia Scott(dam of Trade Fair), Sure Phoebe(dam of Harbour Light), Royal Triumph(dam of Junior Royal), Inglewood(dam of Glenurquart), Autumn Sky(dam of Lochgair), Highland Silk(full sister to Highland Fling), Circlette(U Scott-Within) and an as yet unregistered royally-bred mare by U Scott-Haughty.

With one or two seasons excepted, Light Brigade had been a sire of high fertility. Even with advancing years he had been reaching a percentage of more than 70 - the 1961-62 statistics show that he covered 48 mares that season for 29 live foals, a percentage of 71.73. His 1960-61 figures were 61 mares covered and 42 live foals, 77.59%. In 1959-60 he did the big season of 91 mares, which produced 67 live foals, 83.53%. The season prior to that the 57 mares he covered produced 30 live foals, 60.38%. A year earlier he had covered 60 mares for 46 live foals, 84.21%. His 1956-57 figures were: 58 mares, 42 live foals, 79.3%; 1955-56, 62 mares, 48 live foals, 83.61%; 1954-55, 64 mares, 32 live foals, 50%; 1953-54, 74 mares, 53 live foals, 82.85%, 1952-53, 78 mares, 50 live foals, 65.38%; 1951-52, 90 mares, 66 live foals, 77.11%; 1950-51, 84 mares, 57 live foals, 75.31% - that was the first season these statistics were compiled.

Light Brigade was foaled at Walnut Hall Farm in 1937 and was imported from America in 1940 by the late Sir John McKenzie. Light Brigade, who was a trotter when he was purchased, took some time to become adjusted to the hopples when first tried at Roydon Lodge by G B Noble, and he looked anything but an elegant pacer in one of his early trials at an Addington matinee. He apparently took some ironing out, because he was a 3-year-old on arrival, and he did not race here until the latter half of the 1942-43 season, when he was officially a 6-year-old.

Unplaced at his first two starts, he opened his winning account in the Trial Handicap, a maiden two miles at Ashburton in June. Driven by his trainer, G B Noble, Light Brigade won impressively by half a length in 4.39 in his 5.1 class. The following season, 1943-44, Noble produced Light Brigade in six races for the excellent tally of three wins, a second and a third placing. He won a sprint race at Wellington very easily, stayed much too well for a 4.48 class field over two miles at Auckland, and in his final appearance of the season he won again over two miles at the NZMTC Easter meeting - the going was heavy, and he created a big impression that day by making his final run down on the heaviest part of the track next to the rails to beat Claremorris and Scottish Lady (both very capable pacers) going away by two lengths. At his only appearance in the 1944-45 season Light Brigade scored another very easy win on a dead track over two miles in the Canterbury Handicap on NZ Cup day.

Light Brigade was now proving a difficult horse to keep sound and had to be sparingly raced in the 1945-46 season. He was a heavy-topped horse, and was afflicted by splints all his racing life. He ran a meritorious fourth from 48 yards in the two mile Craven Handicap at the Metropolitan meeting, and from 36 yards in the Cashmere Handicap, another two mile race at the same meeting, he ran fourth to Belhall, scr, Sir Michael, scr and Tam O'Shanter, scr. The first and second place-fillers were good horses, particularly Sir Michael, a free-for-all winner later on. One unplaced performance the following season saw the last of Light Brigade on the racetrack.

Minus his splints, Light Brigade could have been anything. In training he was more than a match for some of the top pacers of his day. On one particular occasion, when he was still racing in the improvers' class himself, he thoroughly trounced a champion pacer who had already been a free-for-all winner and subsequently ran third in a NZ Cup. The champion shall be nameless, also the champion's trainer - one of the most successful we have had in this country - who was so astounded by Light Brigade's performance that he declared then and there that the imported stallion was "the greatest pacer I have ever seen." And that trainer prepared three NZ Cup winners!

Already started on a stud career, he had been by no means rushed by breeders when first advertised at the microscopic fee (by modern standards) of "7gns a mare, with return privilege." That was soon altered when he sired a NZ Derby winner, Free Fight, from his first crop of foals, a mere handful though it was - he had served about half a dozen mares as a 5-year-old. Light Brigade's fee eventually climbed to 150gns, and he had a 'waiting list' even at that figure. Season after season he was fully booked, and had been right up to the time of his death.

It followed in the natural course of breeding events that a double-gaited stallion like Light Brigade (a son of Volomite, who left many champions of both gaits), should leave winners of both gaits; but no other sire, with the possible exception of an earlier progenitor in Wrack, and Light Brigade's companion Roydon Lodge sire, U Scott, has been credited with so many great performers of both gaits as has Light Brigade.

His pacers are headed by Vedette(Inter-Dominion Champion and free-for-all winner), Thunder(NZ Cup), Lookaway(NZ Cup), Soangetaha(two Auckland Cups), Patchwork(Easter Cup), Le Mignon(13 wins including NZ Saplind Stks), Tactics(11 wins including New Brighton Cup), Scottish Light(12 wins including Lightning Free-for-all), Attack(14 wins including Dunedin Cup), White Angel(12 wins including Oamaru Hannon Memorial) and Masterpiece (11 wins including free-for-all)

His top trotters make just as impressive a team. Ordeal, 1.59 3/5, the only NZ-bred two-minute trotter(17 wins in NZ, including the Dominion Handicap, Rowe Memorial Cup and free-for-alls), Battle Cry(Inter-Dominion Trotters' Championship Grand Final and Auckland Mark Memorial when competing against top-class trotters), Recruit(17 wins including Dominion Handicap, Rowe Cup twice, and free-for-alls), Fair Isle(12 wins including Dominion Handicap), Signal Light(Ashburton Cup and free-for-all), Light Oak(11 wins including Bridgens Free-for-all), Our Own(11 wins including Worthy Queen Handicap), and When 2.02 4/5, NZ and Australian mile trotting record-holder(18 wins including NZ Hambletonian Handicap and free-for-alls).

These are but the cream - there are dozens more of both gaits any trainer would be glad to have in his stable. In the classic field too, Light Brigade has built an indelible name as the sire of the following winners:

Timaru Nursery Stakes: Dresden Lady, Bon Ton.
Oamaru Juvenile Stakes: Vigilant, Golden Hero.
Great Northern Stakes: Scutari.
NZ Sapling Stakes: Forward, La Mignon, Golden Hero.
NZ Derby Stakes: Free Fight, Fallacy, Bon Ton.
NZ Champion Stakes: Fallacy, Bon Ton, Lochgair.
NZ Futurity Stakes: Fallacy, Lookaway.
GN Derby Stakes: Soangetaha, Scottish Brigade.
NZ Trotting Stakes: Signal Light, King's Brigade, General Lee, Battle Cry, Winterlight, Our Own, Asia Minor.
Canterbury Park Juvenile Stakes: Bon Ton.
NZ Welcome Stakes: Bon Ton.
NZ Oaks: Zany, Balcairn.

Light Brigade is taking time to come into his own as a brrodmare sire, but he is in good company in this respect, because U Scott was also late in making his mark as a sire of producing dams; but he eventually made it, and Light Brigade now looks certain to follow suit. Light Brigade made a sharp advance from seventh on the Broodmare Sires' List in the 1961-2 season to fifth last season, when his daughters were represented by such winners as Min Scott, Peerswick, Deft, Lakeda, Meadowmac, Adioson, Belle Vue, Black Treasure, Field Chief, Filet Mignon, Notify, Queen's Cord, Rapine and Uteena. In earlier seasons his mares produced the champion trotting mare Au Fait, as well as Gay Baron, Adioway, Raft, Zenith, Stormy Parade, Dawn Smoke, Ivy Scott, Estelle, Retreat, Spangled Princess, Adroit, Josie Gay, Satyr and others.

Light Brigade's sons have bred on, notably Fallacy(sire of False Step, Falsehood and Dignus), Masterpiece(sire of Master Alan), Local Light(sire of Blue), Court Martial(sire of Moon Boy and Reprimand), Forward(sire of Avante), Fourth Brigade(sire of Fourth Edition), Red Emperor(sire of Blue Emperor) and Attack(sire of Responsive, First Attack and Doctor Kyle).

Light Brigade's sire, Volomite, 2.03 1/4, will ever remain one of the cornerstones of the standard breed. Sire of 33 in the two-minute list, and who was the leading sire of America over a long period, he has now been the leading broodmare sire for many years. Light Brigade's dam, Spinster, 2.05, was the dam of five winners, and belonged to the famous Minnetonka family, which has produced a record number of Hambletonian winners, including Hoot Mon, 2.00, the first two-minute Hambletonian winner, and who is now an eminent sire (11 in the 2.00 list) - he has been fully booked for years past at a fee of $5000. Spinster was by Spencer, 1.59 3/4, who was the leading sire of the United States in 1937. The Minnetonka family abounds in trotters and pacers in the very top flight, one of the most notable pacers being Dancer Hanover, 1.56 1/5.

Light Brigade has already been the leading sire of the Dominion three times, and he has also been second six times and third four times, in the last 13 seasons he has not been further back than third. His grand total to date in NZ is approximately £740,000, which places him second to the record-breaking U Scott (approximate total to date in NZ £987,000), and in front of Dillon Hall (£731,000, approx.), who was second until this season. Light Brigade, in the 1956-7 season, established a record for one season that still stands - his progeny's winnings totalled £72,337 10s


Credit: 'Ribbonwood' writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 29Jan64

 

YEAR: 1964

BLUE MOUNTAIN

Blue Mountain, one of the top pacers in the Dominion in his day, died recently in his 37th year.

Blue Mountain, at the time of his death, was being cared for on the property of Mr O H Sprott, Pendarves. He was grey in colour when registered as a 3-year-old in 1930, but was pure white in later years. Blue Mountain commenced racing as a 4-year-old, and was retired at 10 years.

J M Maconnell, who trained at Drummond, Southland, first produced Blue Mountain, who was later trained by E Todd at Wyndham. After he won his way out of Southland classes, Blue Mountain was transferred to L A Maidens's Methven team, and for a short time after that was trained by J S Shaw at Addington, only to be taken over again by Maidens, for whom Blue Mountain won the majority of his races.

In 1934, Blue Mountain finished second to Indianapolis in the NZ Cup, and in the same year won the Ollivier Handicap in 4.17 3/5. Blue Mountain also finished third in the Auckland Cup to Roi l'Or and Worthy Light. He took a record of 2.38 3/5 for one mile and a quarter, and won 16 races altogether.



Credit: NZ Trotting Calendar 3June64

 

YEAR: 1963

WHEN

When commenced racing as a 4-year-old in the 1959-60 season and quickly showed winning form, being successful in the Claremont Handicap at the autumn meeting of the Timaru Trotting Club on March 12, 1960. She was having her second race start, and won by a length and a half on a heavy track.

Three later starts produced two third placings, and then When won two races on end, her last appearances for that season. She won the Waikaura Handicap at Oamaru, and the Addington Handicap at the Canterbury Park Trotting Club's winter meeting, beating Mighty Ruston by half a length when giving that trotter 24 yards start.

As a 5-year-old, When started in 12 races for three wins and six placings. Her successes were gained in the Spring Handicap at New Brighton, the Stewards Handicap at the New Year meeting of the Canterbury Park Trotting Club, and the H F Nicoll Handicap on the fourth day of the Inter-Dominion Championship meeting at Addington. That day When trotted the two mile journey in 4.20 2/5 from 24 yards, and won by two lengths from Hindu, with Court Out and Chances Are third and fourth respectively.
By now it was becoming increasingly obvious that When was destined for dress-circle company among those of her gait. The patient policy adopted by her breeder-owner-trainer-driver, W J Doyle, a master with trotters, was bearing fruit.

At 6 years, When won six races and was placed twice in 13 starts for £4050 in stakes. When made her first appearance for that season in the Opening Handicap at Addington, but failed to gain a place. Improved by the race, When made no mistakes on the second day, winning the Winter Handicap by the comfortable margin of two lengths from Merry Nora. He time for the mile and five furlongs was 3.32 3/5, a 2.10 4/5 mile rate. In her next five starts, When gained only one fourth placing - in the NZ Trotting Free-For-All at Addington on the third day of the Cup meeting. That race was won by Reprimand, with Au Fait and Coronet Lass second and third.

However, When then regained winning form with a vengeance, winning five races and being placed second at her last six starts for the season. When won the Stewards' Handicap at the Canterbury Park New Year meeting (her second success in that event), the Hornby Handicap on the second day of the same meeting, the Autumn Handicap at New Brighton from 36 yards, the NZ Hambletonian Handicap at Addington, and the L S Smart Trotting Free-for-all at the Winter meeting of the Canterbury Park Trotting Club. Her second placing was gained in the Reta Peter Handicap at the NZ Metropolitan Easter meeting when she failed by only a nose to beat Moon Boy.

When has reached the pinnacle of her career this season, and has returned some superlative performances. She commenced the season by finishing third at her first start to Moon Boy and Spinster Scott in the Christchurch Handicap at the National meeting. This event was run under invitation conditions. At her next start on the second day of the meeting , When took her place in the Winter Free-for-all and won by a length and a half from Moon Boy. From behind the mobile starting gate When began well but met with a check at the end of the first furlong and was very lucky to escape serious trouble. She trotted the 12 furlongs and a half in 3.21, a little better than a 2.9 mile rate.

Two starts later When was beaten into third place in the Worthy Queen Handicap at the Cup meeting at Addington by Our Own and With You, and this defeat was followed by a second placing in the Dominion Handicap at the same meeting. In that event When was well back in the early stages, and although she improved over the last half mile and finished strongly, she failed by three-quarters of a length to reach Spinster Scott. When made amends at her next start at the meeting when she proved too good for her rivals in the NZ Trotting Free-For-All, winning by a length from Reprimand, with Moon Boy in third place. Two starts later, When gave starts up to 36 yards to her rivals in the Winslow Handicap at Ashburton and won comfortably by a length.

She carried on her winning way at the New Year meeting of the Canterbury Park Trotting Club when she won the Trotters' Flying Mile at that meeting. From behind the mobile starting gate When was quickly in front and set a solid pace. She beat Resistor by a length and trotted the mile in 2.02 4/5, a fresh NZ record for one of her gait. Taken to Hutt Park for the Royal meeting, When gave starts of up to 30 yards and a beating to the rest in the Duke of Edinburgh Handicap.

When's last race appearance in the Dominion was made at the Autumn meeting of the New Brighton Trotting Club, and her success, from 48 yards, in the Autumn Handicap, could be classed as one of the easiest in her career. When was still well back at the half mile and was seventh on the turn for home. From there on her class told, and she did not have to do her best to win by a length and a half. Her 2.38 3/5 for the mile and a quarter journey was great trotting by any standards, and a world grass track record to boot.

Earlier in her career, When appeared to experience difficulty in mustering her speed in the early part of her races, and was inclined to leave her feet if bustled. Patience, combined with experience and the expert knowledge of W J Doyle, remedied that failing, if it could be called such. In practically all her races over the last two seasons When has been as 'solid as the Rock of Gibraltar'.

A hardy chestnut in colour, When was by Light Brigade, a champion sire of trotters, and is the 1955 foal of the U Scott mare Passive, who took a record of 3.20 4/5 for a mile and a half as a trotter. Passive's dam, Violet Wrack, was a very good winner at the trotting gait for W J Doyle. Chances Are is a full sister to When, and Reflective is a half-sister, both being winners.

When has now started 43 times for 18 wins and 13 placings for £11,420 in stakes, including £250 received for lowering Dianthus Girl's NZ record for one mile of 2.03 2/5 to 2.02 4/5 when she won the Trotters' Flying Mile at the Canterbury Park meeting at New Year.



Credit: 'Irvington' writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 20Mar63

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