Emulous, whose death was reported recently, was one of the greatest pacers to race in the Dominion. Many will recall some of the clashes the big Jack Potts pacer had with another undoubted champion, Highland Fling. When these two great pacers were on the way up, opinions as to the respective merits of both were some-what divided, but suffice it to say that they were both champions in their own right and created keen interest wherever they appeared.
A big horse with a tremendous stride, Emulous was what was referred to by some as a 'pile driver' and his tendency to hit the ground hard with his feet brought on periods of soreness and it said a lot for his trainer-driver, W K Tatterson, that he reached the heights he did.
Emulous commenced racing as a 3-year-old in the 1943-44 season, and at his first start finished fourth to Scottish Emperor, Acropolis and Native Scott in the NZ Futurity Stakes which was that year run at Addington. In five more starts that term Emulous recorded a second in the Hutt Handicap at Wellington and a third in the Trial Handicap at Ashburton.
Emulous opened his 4-year-old season on a winning note when he won the second division of the View Hill Handicap at the North Canterbury Racing Club's meeting in October, and he followed up that success by winning the Metropolitan Challenge Stakes at Addington. In the event he turned the tables on Native Scott and Scottish Emperor, who finished second and third respectively. His next six starts that term resulted in four minor placings and a win.
As a 5-year-old Emulous made good judges sit up and take notice when he won nine races, seven of them consecutively. In all he started 15 times that term and was out of the money only once - at his first appearance for the season. His successes included the Le Lievre Handicap at Addington, the St Heliers Handicap, the Ranfurly Handicap, the President's Handicap and the Premier Handicap, all at the Auckland Trotting Club's summer meeting, and the President's and Flying Handicaps at the Addington Easter meeting.
Emulous started only four times as a 6-year-old, but he carried on his winning way to the extent of three successes in a row. He won the President's Handicap at Addington, pacing the mile and five furlongs journey from 12 yards in 3.28; he won the Flying Stakes at the same meeting; and on the third day won the Easter Stakes, returning the fast time of 3.10 2/5 for the mile and a half.
After several placings in the early part of the 1947-48 season, including a second to Highland Fling in the Lightning Free-for-all at Addington, Emulous regained the winning list in the Pacers' Championship qualifying race on the first day of the Inter-Dominion Championship series at Auckland. In the second qualifying race Emulous was beaten into second place by Knave Of Diamonds, but came back on the third day to win the Grand Final from 36 yards. Highland Fling, who was considered his most serious rival in the final, failed to gain a place after losing ground at the start and tangling later when making a forward move.
By this time Emulous and Highland Fling were clashing, and although Emulous gained several places before the season ended, he did not win another race that term. In six appearances in the 1948-49 season, Emulous won one race, the Flying Handicap at Forbury Park, a race he won from 60 yards, pacing the mile and three furlong journey in 2.53. That was his last success. In four subsequent starts he failed to finish in the money and was retired from racing.
Emulous was the 1940 foal of the Peter Chenault mare, Light Wings, who also left Lightning Lady, Sirocco and Golden Lady. He was bred by Mrs M A Haslett, Rakaia, in whose name he raced, and he was trained and driven throughout his career by W K Tatterson, In all, Emulous won £22,654 in stakes, the result of 18 wins and 20 placings.
Credit: 'Irvington' writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 17Aug60
It was away back in 1939 when Purple Patch was foaled and she has always been owned by Methven trotting personality Percy Watson.
A prolific breeder, Purple Patch now spends her days nonchalantly strolling round her fine paddock where she is treated like a cup horse and really is in control of the stable.
By Rey de Oro from a Logan Pointer mare who traces back to the thoroughbred mare Papilla, Purple Patch has thrown many winners. The following are some of the better known pacers from Purple Patch. They were Royal Rey, Countless, Ingle Belmer, Anita Patch, Inherit, Peggy Patch, Dora Patch, Direct Link, Inglewood and Ingleside.
Ingle Belmer who raced with a good del of success has produced Brittania, Royal Brittania and Lady Belmer. These were all by U Scott and by Light Brigade she threw the trotter Ingle Brigade.
For years now Mr Watson has been prominent in South Island trotting circles and it would be the fulfilment of a great ambition if he could win the NZ Cup particularly with a pacer which traces back to his favourite Purple Patch.
Credit: NZ Hoof Beats Vol 10 No 7
The death was reported recently of Gold Horizon, one of the greatest trotters ever to race in NZ and leading stake-winner among those of his gait with £18,260 to his credit.
Gold Horizon won almost every important event on the calendar for those of his gait, several of them twice. He was the poetry of motion when in action and wore a minimum of gear. Apart from the usual harness he wore only shin and ankle boots behind.
Gold Horizon commenced racing as a 5-year-old in the 1947-48 season, when owned and trained by his breeder, J G Gillard. At his first start, Gold Horizon won the Claudelands Handicap at the Waikato Trotting Club's summer meeting on January 3, 1948. At his next attempt, Gold Horizon finished out of a place but made amends by winning at his next two appearances. He finished that season with a third placing and his record was six starts, three wins and a third.
As a 6-year-old, Gold Horizon won two races and gained a second placing, his most important success that season being in the February Handicap at the Auckland Trotting Club's February meeting. The race was run over a mile and a half and Gold Horizon trotted the journey from 12 yards in 3.22. Gold Horizon did not race in the 1949-50 season and won only one race the next term in 10 starts. He had been driven in all his successes up to this time by J G Gillard.
In the 1951-52 season, Gold Horizon was leased by the Leeston owner-trainer, W J Doyle, who has experienced outstanding success with trotters over a long period. At his third start for Doyle, Gold Horizon finished fourth against a field of pacers in the Elgin Handicap at Ashburton and followed that placing by winning the Wishful Handicap at Oamaru, beating Dictation, Highland Kilt and Barrier Reef. Four more successes came his way that season in addition to several placings. He won the Ashburton Trotting Cup Handicap, the NZ Hambletonian Handicap, the R A Armstrong Memorial Handicap and the Hambletonian Handicap at the Canterbury Park Trotting Club's winter meeting. Gold Horizon's improvement under Doyle was remarkable; he became as 'solid as the Rock of Gibraltar,' and developed outstanding stamina.
The next season Gold Horizon won the Wishful Handicap at Oamaru for the second time and followed up that success by winning the Greyhound Handicap at Addington from 48 yards, trotting the mile and five furlong journey in 3.27 4/5, which was then the winning record for the distance. Also for the second time, Gold Horizon won the NZ Hambletonian Handicap at Addington trotting the two mile journey from 60 yards in 4.18. At his last appearance for that term, Gold Horizon easily won the Steward's Trotting stakes at the Easter meeting at Addington, beating Sure Charge by two lengths in 2.42 1/5 for the mile and a quarter journey.
Gold Horizon carried on his winning way in the 1953-54 season to record three wins and two seconds in six starts. His successes were gained in the Christchurch Handicap at the National meeting at Addington, the NZ Trotting Free-For-All and the Steward's Trotting Stakes for the second time. This event, of course, was run under free-for-all conditions.
Although he had reached the advanced age of 12 years when the 1954-55 season opened, Gold Horizon showed he was far from being done with. At his second start for the term he won the Worthy Queen Handicap at the NZ Cup meeting at Addington from 42 yards, trotting the mile and a quarter in 2.39 2/5. Gold Horizon was now racing in the joint ownership of W J Doyle and J G Gillard, but was still being trained and driven by Doyle. Those to finish behind Gold Horizon that day were Slipstream, Fair Isle and Battle Cry. At the same meeting Gold Horizon added the NZ Trotting Free-For-All for the second time. Dictation, Battle Cry and Fair Isle finished in the minor placings.
Shortly after, Doyle's interest in Gold Horizon terminated, and he was returned to his breeder. Although he was raced several times and even tried as a pacer, Gold Horizon did not regain winning form.
Foaled in 1942, Gold Horizon was got by Quite Sure (a most successful sire of trotters), and was the second foal of the Great Parrish mare, Eyre (2.49, P). Eyre was out of Great Eyre, who was got by Great Audubon-Eyrechild, by Rothschild from a Traducer mare. Eyre also left Belcar (3.24, T), to Worthy Belwin. Great Eyre left a string of winners besides Eyre in Golden Eagle, Axminster, Charles Rex, Fighting Friend and Eyre's Last, all of whom were bred by J T Paul at Mangere.
Credit: Írvington' writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 16Mar60
DESILU - Classic Winner Producing Mare
LEYAVA - Classic Winner Producing Mare
Vodka, winner of 11 races in the United States and holder of the NZ winning record for one mile and five furlongs, had to be destroyed recently at Saratoga Springs, USA. In a race there, Vodka suffered a badly shattered pastern.
When first campaigned in America by owner-trainer J S Shaw, Vodka won eight races, finished second twice, third once and fourth once in 17 starts. On the return of Mr Shaw to NZ, Vodka was leased to Earl Nelson, who won three more races with the Logan Derby gelding. Mr Shaw stated to the calendar that Nelson, who had grown very attached to the horse, was very upset over the loss.
Prior to the accident, Vodka had been working exceptionally well and it was thought he would win. Including his NZ winnings, Vodka has won over $34,000. Before being put into training this season in the USA, Vodka was taken to Canada, where it was thought he might not encounter so many difficulties, as that country is under the British flag. However, his career there was stopped before it ever started, as the powers that be refused to register Vodka. The reason given was that Vodka was not a standardbred. No horse is a standardbred over there unless it is completely American-bred. Vodka was registered in America as non-standard-bred.
In one race at Saratoga in which Vodka finished fifth after losing a big stretch of ground at the start, he was timed to trot the last six furlongs on a half-mile track in 1.29 1/5sec.
Vodka was a champion of scintillating brilliance when raced in the Dominion, and he made history when he crossed the Pacific Ocean to race in America. It was a gigantic undertaking and Jack Shaw did not fully realise what he had taken on till he was well on the way. A rough passage on the ship was experienced to start with and on arrival there, Vodka took some time to settle down in the new climate and different surroundings. Change of feed was also no small hurdle to surmount. However, Vodka, in the skilled hands of Shaw, eventually won out, but it was not without a grim struggle. Dollars were short and Vodka and his owner-trainer-driver were almost on their own in a strange land. Jack Shaw had previously been to the States to buy two stallions for two well-known NZ breeders and he was well received on that trip.
Vodka had always been very fast. When he was winning races in the North Island for his first trainer, J K Hughes, he already had amazing speed. He beat horses of all ages as a 3-year-old, winning four races that season. Vodka started out as a pacer - he finished fourth in the Manawatu Futurity Stakes, for 2-year-olds, to Red Slipper, Johnny Globe and Ohio and had several more starts as a pacer that season. Then he took time off from the racetrack while Hughes converted him to the trotting gait. He was an apt pupil.
At his third start as a 3-year-old he was a winner, and he took two more winning tricks in a row. He finished up that season on a tight line for a 3-year-old trotter, line 11, or marks of 3:33 for a mile and a half, 3:52 for a mile and five furlongs and 4:47 for two miles.
He opened his 4-year-old career by winning at his first start and he won two more races for Hughes that season before being sent south to Shaw, in whose colours he has raced since. As a young trotter Vodka had an ungainly action. At the outset he used to hit himself behind. Later he trotted cleanly and he did not touch himself anywhere, as his exceptional speed showed. "It used to take really half a mile before he got trotting," Shaw said. "Due to his early experience as a pacer he got confused at the start of his races and was liable to go away on the pace."
Vodka gradually overcame those disabilities and in his record-breaking winning run at Addington before leaving for America he was at full speed within a furlong; for the next half mile he put up the astonishing time of 58 2/5sec - a 1.56 4/5 mile rate. The 'hop, step and jump' method of locomotion once employed by Vodka in the early part of his races had been practically ironed out of his system by patience and careful study of his feet and shoeing and the improvement in his speed after he conquered his tendency to 'put down three and carry one' was phenomenal. It seemed certain that, given the opportunity, Vodka would have been the first two-minute trotter in NZ.
Mr Hoskings received several substantial offers for Vodka as a 3-year-old, one of £1500, but he would not sell him. J S Shaw asked him one day: "What are you going to do with him?" "When he runs out of the North Island classes I'm going to give him to you and you'll have a trotter who will take Worthy Queen's place, because some day he will be fast enough to break her record and will be the best two-mile trotter in the country as well," declared Mr Hosking.
In one race at Addington Shaw timed him the last mile and a quarter in 2:34 3-5, the last half mile in 1:00 4-5. On several occasions, after breaking at the start, he trotted the last mile and a half in 3:06 4/5 and 3:09, and on one notable occasion a middle mile in 2.00 2/5.
It is of interest to note that Vodka's pedigree was predominantly pacing. Both his sire, Logan Derby, and dam Cyone Girl, were pacers, and so were all four of his grand-parents, Globe Derby and Belle Logan (sire and dam of Logan Derby), and Tsana and Cyone (sire and dam of Cyone Girl). All too, were winners of the pacing gait. Vodka carried no fewer than three strains of the blood of Logan Pointer, a famous American-bred pacing sire who left very few trotters, although one of those was a champion in Trampfast. Vodka was by Logan Derby, a champion pacer by Globe Derby from Belle Logan, by Logan Pointer, and Vodka's dam, Cyone Girl, was got by Tsana, a little-known sire by another famous pacing sire in Jack Potts (who left only one trotting winner, Implacable), from Abyssinia, by Logan Pointer. Cyone Girl's dam Cyone, was also by Logan Pointer.
Cyone was out of Mavis Bingen, by Huia Dillon (Harold Dillon, imp-Grattanette, imp) from Belle Bingen(imp) by Bingen (famous American sire), from Bertha Belle(imp), the dam of champion pacers Great Bingen and Peter Bingen, and several other good winners, including the trotter Worthy Bingen, the sire of Worthy Queen, whose mile trotting record of 2.03 3/5 has now stood since 1934. Shaw trained and drove Worthy Queen.
'Irvington' writing in the NZ Trotting Calendar 1956
Vodka returned one of the finest exhibitions of trotting ever seen at Addington when he won the Holmes Handicap from the long mark of 102 yards and set a new world's winning record for one mile and five furlongs, lowering his own record by one second. He trotted one of his half-miles in 58.4 secs, probably the fastest for a trotter ever recorded in the Dominion.
Vodka began safely, and it was apparent passing the stands with a round to go that he had more than an average chance of winning. The crowd was quick to recognise this fact and he was given a good hand as he approached the showgrounds bend. The Logan Derby trotter moved forward at the three furlongs, and when the field straightened up for the run to the post he soon gathered up the leaders to win by a length and a half. The merit of his performance was fully appreciated by the crowd, who gave him and his driver, J S Shaw, a wonderful ovation on their return to the birdcage.
This was Vodka's final race appearance in New Zealand before leaving for America.
Vodka and Jack Shaw made light-harness history when they left for the United States at the end of February 1956, for this was the first occasion that a standardbred had been taken fron New Zealand to be raced in America.
Dave Cannan, in his book Unhoppled Heroes, notes that "There were no overnight flights to the states in those days. For Vodka and Shaw it was a 4000-mile sea voyage which lasted nearly five weeks and proved very arduous for both horse and owner."
Credit: 'Irvington' writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 17Sep583
The 12-year-old Tactician gave further evidence that he is a hard-wearing veteran when he scored his fourth win under free-for-all conditions in the Forbury Handicap on the opening day of the Forbury Park Club's summer meeting. Leading all the way, he was not asked to over-exert himself - he averaged a 2.09 mile rate - and he was not in serious danger in the run in. In spite of his years, Tactician continues to be produced in great heart by his owner-trainer, M C McTigue, and the manner in which he scored his latest success indicates that he will hold his own under free-for-all conditions for some time yet.
Tactician is one of the greatest winners to have raced in the Dominion, and has now won £25,765 in stakes, the result of 19 wins and 28 placings (including 14 seconds) in 93 starts in his nine seasons of racing. The Springfield Globe gelding had perhaps lacked the personality to become an idol of racegoers like some pacers, but he has proved a grand performer, and has beaten all the best pacers of his time - and decisively at times, too. He seems to have specialised in upsetting the champions when it was least expected. A late start in racing - he did not have his first race until well on in his 4-year-old season, in March 1950 - probably accounts for him being able to turn in winning efforts in free-for-alls at the age of 12.
Tactician scored his greatest triumph at Auckland three years ago when he won the £10,000 Inter-Dominion Grand Final. But he has not proved a really genuine two miler when the pace has been on all the way, and he had Lady Luck on his side when he won the Inter-Dominion, for Johnny Globe was badly checked by a breaking horse with five furlongs to run, and then came with a paralysing finishing run, failing by only a head to get up.
Tactician has contested 6 NZ Cups, his best effort being at his first attempt in 1952 when he finished second to Mobile Globe on a track which did not suit him. His best effort over two miles was at the Easter meeting at Addington four years ago, when he beat Maori Home in the Rattray Handicap in 4.14 3/5.
At the Easter meeting in 1954 he won the free-for-all Electric Stakes by two lengths from Johnny Globe and Soangetaha, and followed this up by beating Johnny Globe, to whom he conceded six yards, in the Au Revoir Handicap on the final day, running the mile and a quarter in the then NZ record time of 2.34 1/5. Early in the 1954-55 season Tactician egualled the NZ record of 2.52 1/4 for a mile and three furlongs in running second to Caduceus from the 60 yard mark in the All-aged Stakes at Ashburton. He also ran some grand races at the NZ Cup meeting a little later. He set the scorching pace which enabled Johnny Globe to hoist the new world figures of 4.07 3/5 in his NZ Cup win; he ran Rupee to half a length in the Ollivier Free-for-all recording 3.07 2/5 for the mile and a half; and finishing fourth to Ribands, Rupee and Johnny Globe in the NZ Pacing Championship. His time fot the mile and five furlongs was 3.23 2/5.
Three months later he won the Inter-Dominion Final at Auckland, first qualifing with a brilliant win over Laureldale and Caduceus in a mile and five furlong heat. He wound up a highly successful season by running Rupee to a neck in the free-for-all Electric Stakes at Addington in 2.36. His winnings of £8655 placed him second to Johnny Globe (£10,105) on the leading stakes winner's list for the season.
Tactician scored only one win in the 1955-56 season, and it came in typical style when he raced right away to beat Johnny Globe by four lengths over a mile and a quarter in the NZ Free-For-All on the second day of the Cup meeting at Addington. On the third he finished fourth in 3.06 to Caduceus, Rupee and Johnny Globe in the record-breaking Ollivier Free-for-all, and on the final day he ran third to Johnny Globe and Rupee in the NZ Pacing Championship in 3.25 1/5. He had only one other start at Easter at Addington that season, when Johnny Globe beat him under free-for-all conditions.
Tactician scored two brilliant wins next season, the first being at Oamaru in October when he beat Johnny Globe and Our Roger in the Hannon Memorial Handicap. He marked another highlight in his career at Addington at Easter when he downed False Step and Local Light in the Rattray Stakes, recording 1.59 4/5 for the mile from a flying start to become the first pacer outside America to break two minutes under race conditions. On the second day of the meeting he was runner-up to False Step in the Electric Stakes, a race in which he had recorded one win and three seconds in the past four years.
The veteran had not won this season before his success at Forbury Park, but he was runner-up to Lookaway in the NZ Free-For-All at the NZ Cup meeting, and finished third behind Caduceus and False Step in the NZ Pacing Championship. A glance at Tactician's time record over all distances gives some idea of his greatness - 1m, 1.59 4/5; 1¼m 2.34 1/5; 1m 3f, 2.52 1/5; 1½m, 3.06; 1m 5f, 3.23 2/5; 2m 4.14 3/5.
Tactician has been a great money-spinner for M C McTigue, who has had a long association with the light-harness sport. Not only does he own, train and drive the veteran Springfield Globe gelding, but he also bred his dam, Berengaria, who is the dam also of Impresario. Berengaria, who was foaled in 1938, was by Jack Potts from Waress, by Man O' War from Ivy Mac, by General Mac from the Wildwood mare, Manuka, a sister to Ribbonwood. Waress, who was also bred by McTigue, was a particularly smart 3-year-old, winning five races at that age. She also won four times as a 4-year-old. At the stud she proved a great success, leaving several winners, all by Jack Potts. Plunder Bar (winner of 12 races and £16,554, and twice runner-up in the NZ Cup), Indigo (winner of eight races and £6436 10s), Vimy Ridge (winner of five races and £2378) and West Point were four fully related to Berengaria which McTigue raced with notable success.
Credit: 'Stopwatch' writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 5Feb58
Airflow, one of the best trotters in the Dominion in her period, and an outstanding success as a broodmare, had to be destroyed recently at Roydon Lodge, Yaldhurst.
Airflow was imported from the United States by the late Sir John McKenzie and commenced racing in the 1934-35 season as a 3-year-old. She had her first start in the Improver's Handicap at the New Brighton Trotting Club's autumn meeting, a race in which she finished out of a place. Her next three starts resulted in three wins; the Allenton Handicap at Ashburton, the Bayfield Handicap at Forbury Park and the Waikoura Handicap at Oamaru. She was trained for those successes by R Dunn and driven by P P Gallagher. Airflow won one more race that season and that was against the pacers in the Washdyke Handicap at the South Canterbury Hunt Club's meeting in July, and her share of the stake was £49. In all that season for her four wins, Airflow earned £344 in stake money.
As a 4-year-old Airflow started 14 times for four wins and five placings. At her first start at that age she won the Introductory Handicap at the August meeting at Addington, trotting the mile and a half journey in 3.24 2/5, and beating Mataunga by two lengths. Her other successes were gained in the Hornby Handicap at the Canterbury Park New Year meeting, the Stewards' Handicap at Ashburton and the High Class Handicap at Addington.
Airflow won only one race as a 5-year-old but she was placed five times in her other seven starts. She beat the pacers again in the Stewards' Handicap at New Brighton, included in the field being Play On, Red Flyer and Navy Blue. That was her last season on the race track and in all she raced 31 times for 9 wins, 10 placings and £1509 in stakes in a period when prize-money was at its lowest.
Airflow produced her first foal in 1938, Scottish Air. She produced foals fairly regularly up to and including 1955 and besides the winner Scottish Air she left Carlow (by Great Bingen); Aerial Scott (by U Scott), a champion trotter, one time record holder and big stake winner; Risingholme (by Dillon Hall); Slipstream (by Spencer Volo or U Scott); Red Emperor (by Light Brigade); Air Command (by Light Brigade); Highland Air (by U Scott).
Airflow was got by Guy Day from Willina Chenault, by Peter Chenault-Willina H, by The Harvester-Sis Derectum, by Directum.
Credit: NZ Trotting Calendar 10Dec58
The death was reported recently of the 1949 NZ Derby Stakes winner, Burns Night. Burns Night died suddenly on the property of his owner, the Methven trainer, G McKendry.
Burns Night, a son of U Scott and Festival, was one of the best pacers of his era and won over all distances, being outstanding over a mile and five furlongs journey.
On the third day of the NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club's Easter meeting in 1953, Burns Night accomplished something unique in the annals of the light-harness sport when he created two world records in the one day. That day he won the Easter Handicap in 3.22 for the mile and five furlong journey and in the concluding event, the Au Revoir Free-for-all he paced the mile journey from a standing start in 2.02 3/5, both records. Those times have since been lowered, the first by Ribands and the second by Johnny Globe.
Burns Night was bought by McKendry for £500 when 10 days old and he won £18,020 in stakes. In all, Burns Night gained 16 wins and 25 placings, two of his wins being in free-for-alls. He may not have been an idol of the public such as Harold Logan, Highland Fling or Johnny Globe, but there is no doubting he was a grand pacer.
Two world's records were broken by Burns Night at Addington on Saturday, the concluding day of the NZ Metropolitan TC's Easter Meeting. He won the Easter Handicap in 3:22 for the mile and five furlongs lowering the previous record of 3:22 3-5 standing to the credit of Vedette since 1951.
Three hours later Burns Night made short work of a great field in the Au Revoir Free-For-All, his time for the mile being 2:02 3-5, a world's record from a standing start. The previous record in harness was Walla Walla's 2:04 1-5, put up in the first of the Invitation Match Races at Addington in 1934. In saddle, from a standing start, Gold Bar won in 2:03 3-5 on the same track in 1942.
Burns Night won the Easter Handicap to the accompaniment of a noisy demonstration from a section of the crowd. It appeared, however, that there was as much clapping and cheering as booing. An inquiry was held into Burns Night's previous unplaced performances at the meeting and it was decided to take no action. Burns Night was never near the fence over the last mile of the Easter Handicap, and it was a great effort on his part to come from sixth - very wide out - at the home turn and win going away by a daylight margin. Burns Night's time, 3:22, is a 2:04 2-5 mile rate, a phenominal run from an exacting handicap and over a good deal of extra ground.
The mile free-for-all was just as easy for him. Drawn in the second line, about 6 yards behind the front row, he overcame this disadvantage with a fast beginning and he was soon racing close up on the rails about the middle of the field. He had Petite Yvonne and Johnny Globe measured off at the distance, and although Vedette finished well, he had no chance with Burns Night, who won most convincingly. This time the whole crowd cheered wholeheartedly. Burns Night gave a superlative exhibition of pacing and the fact that he went at least 6 yards more than a mile adds to the merit of probably the greatest sprint race performance registered outside America - it is certainly the greatest ever recorded the world over from a standing start.
Now a 6-year-old, Burns Night was out in strong juvenile seasons; among his contemporaries at two and three years were Young Charles, Van Dieman, Soangetaha and Morano. Burns Night was the hard-luck horse of the 2-year-old classics in the 1948-49 season. He made only four appearances, being beaten by a length by Morano in the Timaru Nursery Stakes, going under by the same margin to Young Charles in the Welcome Stakes, coming second, six lengths behind Young Charles,in the Oamaru Juvenile Stakes, and trailing along a poor fourth behind Farlena, Young Charles and Van Dieman in the NZ Sapling Stakes.
But things brightened up considerably for him when he turned three. At his second start he brought off one of the big surprises of the NZ Cup carnival by defeating the hot favourite Young Charles, with Van Dieman third and Soangetaha fourth, in the NZ Derby. He gave that form some endorsement by running Morano to a neck, with Vedette third in the NZ Metropolitan Challenge Stakes a week later and decisively winning the NZ Champion Stakes at Ashburton, from Van Dieman at his next start. Van Dieman beat him narrowly in the Charles Cross Stakes at New Year, but that was no disgrace as things turned out: Van Dieman developed into a NZ Cup winner.
Burns Night, as a 4-year-old, opened the 1950-51 season with a flourish, winning at his first appearance, the Geraldine Cup. He looked a coming young stayer the day he won the Moorhouse Handicap at the Canterbury Park New Year Meeting, 1951, in the good time of 4:19 4-5 in this 4:40 class and, following a lapse of form for the next two months, he came into his own again with a slashing victory over a seasoned field in the Timaru Centennial Cup in March, 1951.
During the 1951-52 season Burns Night developed into one of the finest handicap horses in the land. He made a somewhat timid opening with his third placing behind Te Maru and Realm Again in the Heathcote Handicap at the Metropolitan August Meeting and a poor showing in hs following race at New Brighton, but at his next appearance he rang rings around Star Rosa and Palava in the Methven Cup. In successive starts at the 1951 NZ Cup Meeting he finished second to Laureldale in the Empire Handicap, won the Australasian Handicap from Adorian and Mundanity, and the Flying Mile from Adorian and Mighty Song in 2:05 2-5. His next three runs resulted in a meritorious third from 48 yards in the Boxing Day Handicap at Ashburton, in which he registered 3:10 3-5 for a mile and a half, and wins in the Canterbury Handicap and the Mason Handicap at New Year, 1952. In these latter two races he defeated such high class pacers as Van Dieman, Vedette and Parawa Derby.
Came the NZ Metropolitan TC's Easter Meeting, 1952, and Burns Night, after finishing third in the Rattray Handicap to Maori Home and Johnny Globe, proved much too good for Zulu and Maida Dillon in the Williams Handicap on the second day and, started in the Electric Stakes, of a mile and a quarter, later the same afternoon, he gained his first free-for-all success, the minor placegetters being Zulu, Vedette and Van Dieman.
This season Burns Night's form has not been easy to follow. He took some time to reach his best in the early part of the season. He had a profitable time at Forbury Park in January, finishing second in the Forbury Free-for-All to Soangetaha on the first day, and winning the principal event, the Irwin Handicap and finishing second to Johnny Globe in the Champion Free-for-All, on the second day.
He was one of five champion pacers to go to Timaru for an exhibition mile race last month, but he went very poorly indeed. Again on the first two days of the Metropolitan Easter Meeting his performances were abject in the extreme, and the public were scarcely prepared for his sharp recovery on the concluding day, hence the annoyance of some of the onlookers.
Burns Night was bought by G McKendry from his breeder, Mr N G Mason, before he raced. Burns Night has now won 15 races and £16,430 in stakes. He is a good type of brown entire by U Scott from Festival, a mare picked up on the bargain counter by Mr N G Mason, of Rangiora, who has bred Burns Night and Gay Piper from her. Mr Mason bought Festival at the late E C McDermott's dispersal sale in 1938 for a few pounds. Dunmore one of Festival's earlier foals bred by McDermott, was a good performer for McKendry as far as he went - in his first season on the racetrack his record was six wins, five thirds and three fourths in 16 starts.
Festival was a tidy stake-winner for McDermott in depression times when £100 to the winner was quite a pile of money. She began racing as a 3-year-old and won her first two starts, both at Nelson. At four she started ten times for the very creditable return of four wins and a second. She won two races and was once second in 15 starts as a 5-year-old. She was more than useful over all distances, and in training she could reel off a mile and a quarter in 2:41, which was well above average in the early 1930s. Festival was got by the American horse Sonoma Harvester, from a mare by Prince Imperial. It is one of the shortest pedigrees in the Stud Book, but the calibre of her progeny - all of her five foals that have raced have all been winners - indicates that there must have been a good deal more behind her than these meagre details suggest. She was certainly no nondescript herself, being a clean-gaited, level-headed pacer, and her two sons, Gay Piper and Burns Night, both show breeding.
Credit: NZ Trotting Calendar 12Nov58