YEAR: 1953


Parawa Derby, one of the best pacers raced in the Dominion in recent years - his Australasian mile and a half record of 3.07 2/5 has now stood for two years - was recently retired from racing. In a career extending over six seasons, he started 75 times for 15 wins, 10 seconds, 9 thirds and 5 fourths. Raced by his breeder, Mr L T Padget, of Invercargill, he won £16,313 in stakes, of which he won £10,120 in the 1950-1 season, when he was second on the leading stakes winners' list to Vedette.

Consistency was for a long time a feature of his racing. In one period of his career he contested 35 races for 12 wins and 19 placings - a wonderful record considering he was racing against one of the best collections of light-harness horses raced in the Dominion at one time.

At the beginning of his career a bad habit of boring threatened to prejudice his career, but he overcame this fault with racing. Parawa Derby began racing as a 4-year-old in the 1947-48 season, and in five starts from J T Looney's Winton stable he recorded two wins and one second placing. He failed to show the same form the next season and recorded only three minor placings in 14 starts.

Parawa Derby was transferred to J B Pringle's Hornby stable at the beginning of the 1949-50 season. Under Pringle's guidance he fashioned an outstanding record, gaining 6 wins and nine placings in 21 starts. He was only once further back than fourth in his last 14 starts for the season. His best efforts were in the Eclipse Handicap (1 1/2m) at New Brighton, when he gave Vedette 24 yards and a beating, running the distance in 3.13 4/5 and in the Winter Handicap (1m 5f) at Addington in May, which he won by five lengths in the fast time of 3.26 4/5.

Parawa Derby again raced with great consistency in the strongest classes the next season and gained six wins and nine placings in 17 starts only twice out of the money. It was at the NZ Cup meeting that he revealed his true greatness. After winning comfortably the Empire Handicap on the opening day of the meeting, he took on the best pacers in the Dominion in the NZ Free-For-All on the second day and put up an outstanding performance to beat Congo Song and Gay Knight in a thrilling finish.

Then came the Inter-Dominion Championships. On the opening day Parawa Derby put up a brilliant performance to run second to Blue Mist (to whom he conceded 12 yards) in his mile and a half heat, running the distance in 3.07 2/5, which smashed Globe Direct's NZ record by two seconds. He scored an easy win over Captain Sandy and Young Charles in his two-mile heat. Parawa Derby was widely considered the unlucky runner in the Grand Final, in which he finished third to Vedette and Soangetaha after receiving a poor run in the straight. His time for the mile and five furlongs was 3.23. This was his last race for the season, during which he won £10,120.

Parawa Derby again showed high-class form at the start of the last season, and after being placed at his first two starts he scored a good win over the dead-heaters, Chamfer and Soangetaha, in the Metropolitan Free-for-all at Hutt Park. On this form he looked as though he would take a power of beating in the NZ Cup, but suffered from an attack of influenza and could not start. That set-back must have affected him permanently, because he showed only one flash of form afterwards, and in 13 subsequent starts he gained only one fourth.

A brown gelding, he is one of the best winners sired by Dillon Hall. His dam, War Betty, a useful mare when raced in Southland was by Man o' War from Betty Martin, by Prince Imperial from Peri, by Imperious from Fairy, a mare who was sired by a thoroughbred. War Betty is the dam also of another winner in Lahore (by Indianapolis).

Credit: NZ Trotting Calendar 4Mar53


YEAR: 1953


The death is reported of Fantom, a champion trotter a few years ago. Fantom, on his retirement, was given by Sir John McKenzie to Mr T Goodyer, of Otago, where the old horse had a good home.

Fantom, who was bred by the late S W Kelly, was bought at auction by Sir John for 750gns and he won £12,645 in stakes. Among his 13 wins were the NZ Trotting Stakes, for 3-years-olds, Dominion Handicap, Avon Free-For-All, Rowe Memorial Cup (twice), Ashburton Cup, a Qualifying Heat of the Inter-Dominion Championships, Metropolitan High-Class Trotting Stakes (free-for-all), and the Steward's Trotting Stakes (free-for-all). Fantom also won over two miles against good class pacers at Auckland.

For his early races Fantom was trained by the late R B Berry and he later developed champion form under G B Noble. Fantom held the two mile trotting record at 4:16 for some years. He was by U Scott (imp) from Fantine (imp), both his sire and dam coming from America.

G B Noble, private trainer to Sir John McKenzie, in a note to the Calendar on Fantom states: "The old fellow had wintered well but took ill last week, and though a vet and medical aid were sought, he went the way of all horses, good and bad. Apart from being a great trotter, I shall always remember him for his remarkable courage."

Credit: NZ Trotting Calendar 26Aug53


YEAR: 1953


In winning the Easter Handicap, Burns Night covered the mile and five furlongs in 3.22, a world race record. He won going away from Lady Rowan and Soangetaha.

After he won that race there was one of the worst demonstrations yet seen at Addington. Failing dismally on the first day, Burns Night started ninth favourite in a field of twelve. But when he created his second record of the day in the Au Revoir Handicap the cheers were deafening.

Burns Night covered the 'flying mile' in the world record time of 2.02 3/5 from a standing start. Vedette was second ahead of Petite Yvonne.

Credit: NZ Hoof Beats Vol 3 No.8


YEAR: 1953


World class for a Dominion 2-year-old was entered when Brahman paced a mile against time at Addington on Saturday 13 June in 2.02 1/5. Incredulity was plainly written on the faces of seasoned racegoers all over the course when they stopped their watches at this sensational figure. Before the trial Brahman's connections were quietly confident the colt would go between 2.04 and 2.05 and even the owner, Mr B Grice, and the driver, F G Holmes, must have been astonished and elated at the big slice Brahman carved off Convivial's previous Australasian record of 2.08 4/5, put up at Harold Park, Sydney, in 1951.

Brahman's performance was epoch-making not only because he completely annihilated all previous NZ and Australian 2-year-old records, but also because his figures compare favourably with anything done in the acknowledged leading light-harness country in the world, the United States.

Brahman made his record on a six-furlong track - certainly one of the fastest and best conditioned in the world - but cognisance must be taken of the fact that the American authorities compute that the mile track is the perfect sized track and by far the fastest for record-breaking purposes. They say emphatically - and their overwhelming number of world's records fully substantiates their conclusions - that their leading mile tracks are between four and five seconds to the mile faster than their best half-mile tracks. For example: Greyhound trotted his world's record mile of 1.55¼ on a mile track and the best he could do on a half-mile track was 1.59¾; Billy Direct's 1.55 was done on a mile track, and the best pacing performance on a half-mile track is Sampson Hanover's 1.59 3/5.

It does not strictly follow that the difference in speed between a six-furlong track like Addington and a mile track of similar composition would be, say, two seconds by the American way of reckoning, but it would not be far off the mark, and that brings Brahman's potential speed on a mile track - with its wider and more gradual bends - down to the two-minute mark. It may sound fantastic, it may be dismissed by many people as a rather dubiuos method of working things out; but that is the extent the Americans have found, by long years of experience, speed is reduced or increased according to the sizes of tracks, and they ought to know.

Brahman is also entitled to this: although the track was in perfect order and only a slight breeze was blowing, the atmosphere was a bit damp and certainly cold when he made his attempt, and winter can scarcely be the most favourable time of year for record-making. On the contra account, of course, Brahman had gained valuable months in age and seasoned condition by delaying his trial until June instead of taking it on in the height of summer - or the autumn.

Notwithstanding all this supposition, it was a world run by any standards and puts Brahman in the same champion mould as Titan Hanover, 2.00, a trotter, and Knight Dream, 2.00 2/5, a pacer. Titan Hanover is the only harness horse, trotter or pacer, to enter the 2.00 list at two years, and Knight Dream, a pacer, is the fastest 2-year-old of that gait.

Brahman, driven by F G Holmes in the familar colours - cardinal, cream sash, cardinal cap - of his breeder-owner-trainer, Mr B Grice, and with Morano, driven by A Holmes in his well known jacket - purple, red band and cap - as galloping companion (pacemaker has become a misnomer because the rules long since required the accompanying horse never to head the one making the attempt at any part of the trial), Brahman was not long about warming up and at the first time of asking he hit the mile starting peg at top speed. Pacing like a machine - he is smooth and effortless in style - he reached the quarter in a tick better than 31secs and the half-mile in 60 2/5secs.

Experienced trotting trainers and others in the stands this looked at each other in consternation. "He can't keep this up," said one. "He'll stop to a walk in the straight," declared another. A third registered blank astonishment by shaking his watch in his ear to make sure it hadn't seized up! And Brahman sizzled on towards the three-quarter mark. There was still no sign of a slackening of speed - six furlongs in 1.31 1/5! "He must feel the strain soon," muttered a bewildered newspaper reporter, who was still dazed by the performance a couple of hours after Brahman had felt no such thing. At the furlong Brahman certainly had nothing in reserve, but when F G shook the whip at him he showed he had grit as well as all this phenomenal speed by finishing without a flicker and tramping the final quarter in 31secs flat, only a fifth slower than his opening quarter and making his full time 2.02 1/5.

"It should stand for some time." This was the triumph of understatment drawn out of Ben Grice when this notoriously 'mike-shy' sportsman was coaxed to say something about his champion during one of those extremely friendly gatherings in the birdcage which have become a pleasant aftermath of special events at Metropolitan meetings. The president, Mr C E Hoy, drew applause when he disclosed that Mr Grice had needed no inducement to send Brahman against the record. He assured the crowd, however, that the club would present Mr Grice with a momento to commemorate the occasion. Brahman had brought lustre to Dominion trotting by his superb performance. It was hard to credit what he had done, and he was confident it was only the forerunner of many more records on the part of Brahman. In his reply Mr Grice said he thought before the attempt that Brahman would go 2.04 or 2.05. He was naturally thrilled with the outcome. "He had a good driver and a good track," he said.

F G Holmes, who has always been on the top deck among NZ reinsmen, had Brahman under perfect control throughout the trial. He had worked him many times and got to know Brahman right down to the nails in his shoes! A few days before the official trial he had driven the colt a "pretty stiff mile." In a telephone conversation with the editor of the Calendar, A Holmes, who was naturally a keenly interested party in the trial, said: "He went the last half in a tick better than a minute. We think he'll go at least 2.06 on Saturday."

F G Holmes gave Mr Grice and A Holmes all the help and encouragement he possibly could. He made Morano available as galloping aid to Brahman and told his brother to "make his own arrangements" about the details of the attack on the record. These side issues may seem of small moment to some of our readers, but they are mentioned to stress the fine sportmanship that inspired the whole show, one of the most exhilarating things that has happened to our sport in all it's existence. In fact, the writer must confess that no previous light-harness performance in the last 30 years has stirred him to the same depths as did Brahman's prodigious run on Saturday morning.

Special significance attaches to Brahman's figures because they are only 1 4/5secs slower than the world's 2-year-old pacing record of Knight Dream, and 2 1/5 behind the world's 2-year-old record of the trotter Titan Hanover (the only 2-year-old of either gait in the two-minute list). Compare this with the difference between the times of our older champions: Highland Fling's 1.57 4/5 is 2 4/5secs slower than Billy Direct's world's pacing record of 1.55 and about 2 3/5secs slower than Greyhound's trotting record of 1.55¼. This is not meant as any disparagement of the peerless 'Fling'; it is mentioned merely to emphasise that Brahman would probably prove at least the equal of the best 2-year-olds in America today.

A Holmes drove the galloping companion, Morano, with discernment - the mission had obviously been thoroughly planned and rehearsed, and Morano was kept a 'daylight' margin behind Brahman (the fact that Brahman could hear his hoof-beats was sufficient) until the final quarter, when Morano was moved up to finish with his head on the record-breakers quarters, as our picture shows.

There was another member of the Holmes family at Addington on Saturday who must hav derived great pleasure and satisfaction from the performances of all the participants. That was 82-year-old Freeman Holmes, father of F (Freeman) G and Allan Holmes. Freeman Holmes, an importer of numerous sires and mares, brought from Canada the pacing stallion Grattan Loyal, a big stud success and sire of Gold Bar, the sire of Brahman. Freeman Holmes also imported, from America, Rey de Oro, sire of Gold Bar's dam, Imperial Gold, and Logan Pointer, sire of Gold Bar's grandam, Imperial Pointer. Rey de Oro and Logan Pointer were both outstanding stud successes, and Logan Pointer also figures as the sire of Logan Princess, the grandam of Haughty, who produced Brahman. It is a chain of breeding events, culminating in a phenomenon like Brahman, any breeder would be mighty proud to own.

Gold Bar was bred by A Holmes and developed into a champion by him. He held a number of records on his retirement in 1946, and one of these, his mile and a quarter in 2.35, still stands. Of interest, too, is that Haughty's 3.35 2/5 for the same distance has also stood as the mare's record for a similar period to Gold Bar's and that both sire and dam of Brahman have identical mile records, 1.59 3/5.

Mr B Grice's son, Mr D P Grice, who owns Wayfarer, a full-brother to Haughty and sire of Buccaneer, told the writer recently that Nelson Derby, sire of Haughty and many other good ones, had never done a big stud season. A dozen mares was about the limit of the patronage he received each season, yet he sired a remarkable percentage of winners and must rank as one of the most successful Colonial-bred sires of all time - he got over 100 individual winners and lived to the ripe old age of 31.

Regal Voyage, dam of Haughty, was bought at auction by Mr B Grice for stud purposes. She was a beautiful looking mare, in contrast to most of her progeny, who were on the plain side - neither Haughty or her son Brahman would get a prize for looks but they were certainly fashioned to go fast. That Prince Imperial strain again: Gold Bar has it through his third dam, Imperial Polly, and Haughty gets it through her third dam, an unnamed Prince Imperial mare, so Brahman has a double dose of this prepotent strain, a strain that courses through the veins of some of the greatest horses of both gaits over nearly half a century.

Credit: 'Ribbonwood' writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 17Jun53


YEAR: 1953

DOUNREAY - Mystery Mare

There was quite a kerfuffle when a horse called Angelo Dundee arrived on the scene in the late 1970s bred by Brian Saunders brother, Gavin, and the first top winner for trainer Brian. He went to the edge of Cup class before being sold to the US.

The talk was all around his dam, Dounreay, who was by a thoroughbred stallion, registered as Dean but officially of unknown breeding. Thoroughbred blood was accepted in pedigrees in earlier eras but was a real novelty in the late 1970s.

Angelo Dundee, a big strapping sort by the smart My Chief horse Indecision, did not race until he was five but then set about making his mark. Back in his maternal family was a half-sister to Johnny Globe's dam Sandfast who left the smart trotter Widower Scott. But a top intermediate pacer by a disappointing stallion from a failed broodmare sired by a galloper. What were the odds?

Dounreay, apparently an only foal, spent quite a few years going to Janice Orr's stallion Lighterman Tom(who lived to be 41 but was not noted for much else) so while Gavin Saunders seemed to have the right recipe, no dish of the same quality subsequently appeared.

Credit: David McCarthy writing in Harnessed June 2016


YEAR: 1952

SNOW JANE - Classic Winner Producing Mare

Snow Jane (1952 U Scott/Pleasure Bay), NZ family of Trilby; unraced; 12 foals, 9 winners. Breeder: Harold B Kay, Christchurch. All NZ foals bred by Harold Kay except Bay Johnny (R Croghan). Mare then exported to Australian breeders (Jane Flex, Toliver Bay, Toljane, Big Flex, Battle Flex, Johnny Toliver).

Her sire U Scott is arguably the greatest stallion in the history of the breed in NZ and among the most influential in the Southern Hemisphere. As with Light Brigade, he was imported to NZ by Sir John McKenzie in 1935, racing as a trotter in USA before converting to the pace in NZ. Eleven wins from 30 starts included a hear of the 1938 Addington Inter Dominions.

U Scott was a son of Scotland, a Peter Scott grandson of Peter The Great and the great Roya McKinney. U Scott led the sires list on nine occasions, topped the broodmare sires list 10 times and leading Australian broodmare sire six times. U Scott and Light Brigade were the golden cross (either way) of their era and one of all time great crosses. U Scott sired 506 winners from 878 foals (72 trotters) for winners to foals percentage of 58%. He sired top performers including Aerial Scott (Rowe Cup, ID Trotters Grand Final), Arania (NZ Oaks, US1:57.0TT), Caduceus (ID Pacing Grand Final, NZ Derby, AK Cup, 3 NZFFA's), Fantom (Dominion Hcp, 2 Rowe Cups), Highland Fling (2 NZ Cups, NZFFA), Scotleigh (Rowe Cup), Scottish Command (AK Cup), Van Dieman (NZ Cup) and numerous group race winners.

U Scott's daughters sealed his great siring career, damsire of Argent, Bay Johnny, Cal Brydon, Cardinal Garrison, Delightful Lady, Don't Retreat, Durban Chief, Jay Ar, Koala King, Lookaway, Lordship, Ordeal, Rippers Delight, Robalan, True Averil to name a few.

Trilby, matriarch of this NZ family was by King Quail, a thoroughbred imported from New South Wales as a yearling. He won the Auckland Cup and the Easter Handicap in 1881. Trilby's most notable foal was Gold Patch who, to Guy Parrish, left trotter Helen's Bay, winner of seven races. To Quite Sure, she produced Pleasure Bay, dam of Snow Jane. Pleasure Bay was bred to trot but injured a stifle and was sent to stud. A great producer of fillies, the most famous was Colwyn Bay who won three of six starts as a pacer before succumbing to injury. Bred to Hal Tryax, she produced the immortal Cardigan Bay. Pleasure Bay left seven winners from nine foals: Dorstan, Scotch Girl (four wins, dam of nine Australian winners including Scotch Goose, nineteen wins, VIC Oaks), Scotch Pleasure, Scotch Pigeon (dam of Bangaroo Flex, 26 NSW & Qld wins), Morris, Lowry Bay, Toucher. Her filly Baylight left NZ Cup winner Globe Bay, Australian filly All Arranged (WA Triple Crown-3f), 4th dam of Franco Nelson (NZSS, Jewels Emerald-4), 5th dam of Chancellor Cullen. Pleasure Bay was inaugural NZ Broodmare of Year in 1969.

Snow Jane was an unraced U Scott half sister to the dam of Cardigan Bay. Her NZ progeny included:
1 Kapuni, one placing from three starts before he was exported to Australia. Managed his best MR of 2:11.6 in final season of racing (1966/7) at Bulli.
2 Slick Chick, seven-win gelding winning at Kurow JC at three; five wins at four (Westport Cup) and RA Armstrong Memorial at Hutt Park at five. He was raced on lease to Omarama farmer Bill McAughtrie (one time President of Kurow TC), who with his wife Fay, owned Hands Down.
3 Ski Girl, unraced she was exported to Australia where she became dam of Apre Ski, 1:56.0US, winner of 18 races in Australia (NSW Carousel, VIC Marathon, Melbourne Pacing & Warragul Cups) plus a good winner in North America; Summer Holiday (18 wins).
4 Snow Globe, high class ten-win trotting mare in NZ exported to North America (T2:08.4NZ, T2:02.3US). A winner at Methven and Oamaru at three preceded a third in the CPTC Trotting Stakes. Three wins at four (Forbury Park-2, Hutt Park), one at five (Addington) before a stellar season at six. She only won three races (two at Addington - Winter Hcp, Ordeal Trotting FFA - Hutt Park), and produced grand placed performances. These included fourth in Worthy Queen Hcp and at the 1965 Forbury Inter Dominions, second (to Australian champion Gramel) and third in her heats preceding a second placing to Poupette in the Trotters Grand Final. A win at Addington and third in a qualifying heat of NZ Trotting Championship were Snow Globe's final return before departure to North America.
5 Snowline, Slick Chick's full sister purchased by Bill McAughtrie from Harold Kay for $1,000. She won 12 races during a six-season racing career spread over eight years. Three wins at three included NZ Pacing Stakes and third in the Cross Stakes. One placing (third Geraldine Cup) at four, unraced at five (badly injured in a fence; foaled Snow Chick), was followed by Snowline's best season at six - five wins with four of them at Addington (Addington, Pioneer, o. Hutchinson & peninsula Stakes). Snowline's one win at seven was in the CPTC New Year FFA (2:00.0, amoung first 100 2:00 NZ pacers/ NZ bred) with second placing in the Canterbury FFA on Cup Day. Unraced at eight, her final three wins at nine were at Hutt Park, Alexandra Park (Patrons Hcp) and Greymouth's Victoria Park Raceway FFA (her daughter Snow Chick won her maiden race the same evening). Placed at ten, Snowline became the dam of nine fillies from 10 foals:
. Snow Chick, dam of Hands Down (NZ CUP & FFA, 3 Easter Cups, Kaikoura Cup, 4 Louisson Hcps, 3 Allan Matson FFA's, ID Consolation, winningest horse ever at Addington - 23 victories); granddam of Jim Dandy (Gore & Riverton Cups).
. Snow Rose, 3rd dam of Pegasus Aurora (NZSS SI $7% m).
. Snow Schell, 3rd dam of Critical Judge (Waimate & Timaru Winter Cups).
. Snow Sure, granddam of Lavros Skipper (Yarra Valley Pacers Cup).

Snow Jane's Australian-bred progeny included:
1 Bay Johnny, bred in NZ but undertook his racing career in Australia apart from 1975 Inter Dominions in Auckland. A top level trotter who won 25 races (24 Australia, 1 NZ) including an ID Trot Heat, Consolation and Final, all in different years. He won on 13 occasions at Harold Park (Invitation Stakes, Champion Trotters Invitational and Stakes, various FFA's) and finished third in the 1973 Inter Dominion Trotters Final at Sydney. As a 10yo his Trans-Tasman trip to the 1975 Auckland ID's yielded Bay Johnny success in the Trotter's Consolation. The 1975/6 season produced two wins as an 11yo, a heat (second in another heat) and Grand Final of the ID Trotters Championship held for the first time at Adelaide's Globe Derby Park. Bay Johnny ran second in the Jack Roberts FFA on pacers Grand Final night a week later. He continued to race at twelve (fourth placing) and thirteen (one unplaced start) before retirement.
2 Jane Flex, won five races in NSW (qualifying division of Ladyship Championship at Harold Park, 3rd in the final). She was the dam of:
~ Agincourt, dam of Dustndiesil (Geelong 4T Classic)
~ Jonnell Low, dam of Jonnells Son (Nyah, Mildura, Echuca, Horsham, Hamilton, TAS Easter, Wangaratta Cups & TAS Easter Plate)
~ Joanie Toliver, Dullard Cup, Aust Trot Championship heat, Shepparton trotters Cup, dam of:
~1 Jaguar Franco, dam of trotters Jacanti Franco, Jags Invasion T1:56.5), Jumanji Franco.
~2 Jo Franco, dam of trotters Jack the Capricorn, Keepyaguardup
~3 Joanie Franco, dam of Franco Jonquill (QLD Derby); granddam of The Gigolo (Nelson & Marlborough Cups), Fly the Flag (Akaroa & Kawatiri Cups)
~4 Toliver Twist, NZ 4yo Trotter of the Year
3 Toliver Bay won twelve races over four seasons. A 2yo winner at Fairfield, his six wins at three included Penrith Derby, NSW Southern Cross-3c at Harold Park while his five 4yo successes included Penrith 4yo Championship together with four at Harold Park. Toliver Bay was sire of 40 winners (34 as broodmare sire).
4 Toljane, unraced mare, was dam of Preferred Bay (NSW Spring Gift).
5 Minor Australian winners included Battle Flex who won once at Menangle and Johnny Toliver, winner of two races (Penrith & Manangle).

Credit: Peter Craig writing in Harnessed July 2015


YEAR: 1952


There is no denying the Fallacy is entitled to rank as one of the greatest three-year-old pacers ever to appear on New Zealand. He has carried all before him in the classics this season, and at this stage of his career it is difficult to assess just how good this son of Light Brigade really is.

When it is remembered that Fallacy won the New Zealand Derby by seven lengths in the phenomenal time of 3.12 3/5 the reason for his high ranking can be realised. And on top of this his owner-trainer, Jack Litten, is of the opinion that he would have been as good a trotter as he is a pacer if he had been educated at the unhoppled gait.

Fallacy has only raced as a three-year-old, and his record this season is six firsts, one second and once unplaced. He is a truly remarkable young pacer and it would seem no feat is beyond his capabilities.

At the moment Fallacy is inclined to be a little 'tricky' at the start and on a couple of occasions this season he has added to his task by losing ground early. It speaks volumes for his ability that he has overcome this early setback and then won in pointless fashion.

Credit: NZ Hoof Beats Vol 2 No.11


YEAR: 1952


1952/53 Season

Sat Nov 12 Invercargill – Innovation Hcp
Won by 16 lengths. Trained by D Todd, Mataura, Driven by K Balloch
Extract from NZ Trotting Calendar 12 November 1952
“It is a long time since such confident support has come for a three-year-old making his first appearance as was shown in Mighty Benny in the Innovation Handicap, which he finally won by 16 lengths. K Balloch handled the Blaydon three-year-old with kid gloves over the first furlong, but once into his stride he was soon sharing the lead with Belle Renarde, who was in trouble at the home turn. Mighty Benny did not look like being beaten over the last three furlongs, and it was certainly a clear-cut success.
He is a big colt and is raced by his breeder, Mr L L Abernethy, and trained by D Todd. Grey Hall, the dam of Mighty Benny, is a Dillon Hall mare from Grey Girl, a useful sprinter some seasons back. Grey Girl had little in the way of breeding, being by Charlie McKinney from a General Pet mare.
Mighty Benny promises to make matters awkward for Southland three-year-olds in the current season’s juvenile events.”

Sat Nov 29 Wyndham – Second Mercantile Hcp
3rd to Peace Pipe and Black Beauty( ½ length & Neck). Driven by K Balloch
Extract from NZ Trotting Calendar 3 December 1952
“The Blaydon three-year-old Mighty Benny gave a further taste of his worth in finishing third in the Mercantile Handicap No2 after losing a big stretch of ground at the start. He was credited with running his last mile in better than 2.12 and he finished the final furlong in genuine style. He is certainly a cut above the average.”

Sat Dec 20 Gore – Longford Division of Improvers Hcp
2nd to Recent Choice (4 Lengths) Driven by K Balloch.

Fri Dec 26 Gore – Eastern Southland Three-Year-Old Hcp
Won off 12 yards by 6 lengths. Driven by K Balloch
Extract from NZ Trotting Calendar 31 December 1952
“Mighty Benny further established his claim to being the best juvenile pacer in Southland this season by the manner in which he won the Eastern Southland Three-Year-Old Handicap at Gore.
He ran to the front at the home turn and won pulling up in 3.20 3-5 for the mile and a half. His next appearance will be at Wyndham on New Year’s Day, when the Blaydon colt will see a short price.”

Thu Jan 1 Wyndham R C – Victory Hcp
Unplaced off Scr behind Regal Gold, Eynsford Oak & Recent Choice
Extract from NZ Trotting Calendar 7 January 1953
“On the strength of his runaway win at Gore on Boxing Day, Mighty Benny was backed as unbeatable in the Victory Handicap at Wyndham. He had been suffering from a bruised foot and looked sore when he went out, but he was well placed in his field until three furlongs from home when he hung out badly and collided with Neon and unseated K Balloch.
The Blaydon colt is certainly a capable three-year-old, but he still acts greenly and is inclined to run about in his races.”

Sat Mar 28 Winton – Stewards Hcp
Won off 12 yards by 1 length. Driven by K Balloch
Extract from NZ Trotting Calendar 1 April 1953
“Mighty Benny gave a taste of his worth when he beat a strong field over two miles in the Stewards Handicap. K Balloch had him tucked in behind the leaders until the last half-mile, where he took over. Although his stablemate, Peterhead, was on terms with him at the straight entrance, Mighty Benny always had the situation in hand. It was a sound staying effort on the part of the Blaydon three-year-old, as he completed his task with a minimum of effort and did not act as greenly as in some of his earlier races.”

Sat Oct 31 Invercargill – Southland Hcp
Won off 36 yards by 15 lengths. Driven by K Balloch
Extract from NZ Trotting Calendar 4 November 1953
“It is many a long day since a performance approaching that put up by Mighty Benny in winning the Southland Handicap on Saturday has been witnessed in Southland. The Blaydon stallion was making his first appearance as a four-year-old and, after being at the rear over the first mile, he moved round the outer racing to the final half and from then on he had the opposition completely routed. He won pulling up by 15 lengths, running the two-mile journey in 2.23 2-5, only 1 2-5 seconds outside the record for the track.
The merit of Mighty Benny’s effort was the ease with which it was accomplished. He looked like being hemmed in on the rails with five furlongs to go, but K Balloch immediately eased him back to the rear, raced round the field and was in front inside a furlong. The first mile was run in 2.17 and the mile and a half in 3.22 2-5, Mighty Benny ran his last mile in 2.06 2-5, the last half in 1.04 pulling up, and the last half of the final mile in 1.02 2-5. It was a phenomenal effort on a grass track.
D Todd, the trainer, said afterwards that he thought he may have been a little easy, if anything, on him a week before the meeting. “But he is a bit of a freak and is liable to run anything,” he remarked.”

Sat Nov 7 Invercargill – President’s Hcp
Won off 72 yards by 5 lengths. Driven by K Balloch
Extract from NZ Trotting Calendar 11 November 1953
“Although he did not win by the same wide margin, Mighty Benny’s success in the President’s Handicap was achieved in much the same manner as when he won the first day.
With little pace on over the first mile, he was allowed to join the rear of the field at the end of two furlongs, and K Balloch was content to wait there until five furlongs from home, when he set Mighty Benny after the leaders. The Blaydon horse had reached the front with about three furlongs to go, and from then on he had the opposition completely tied up, running his final mile in 2.07 and his last half in 60 2-5 secs.
Mighty Benny now goes back to a 4.35 two-mile mark, and his opportunities in Southland will be at an end. It is likely that he will appear on the third and fourth days of the New Zealand Cup meeting at Addington.”

Fri Jan 1 Canterbury Park – Islington Hcp
Unplaced off 12 yards behind Brava, Moss Hall & Trout Stream

Sat Jan 2 Canterbury Park – Selwyn Hcp
Unplaced off 12 yards behind Moss Hall, Venetian & Our Roger
Extract from NZ Trotting Calendar 6 January 1954
“The Southland pacer, Mighty Benny, was disappointing in both his appearances. A hot favourite in the Islington Handicap on the first day, he worked his way into a handy position with a mile to go and was prominent turning for home. He failed to run on in the straight and was fifth to finish. In the Selwyn Handicap on the second day he was always well placed, but could make little impression over the final stages.
This may not be his true form, but he will have to improve considerably to extend his record in Canterbury.”

Sat Jan 30 Forbury Park – Summer Hcp
Unplaced off 12 yards behind Onward, Our Roger & Recent Choice

Sat Feb 6 Forbury Park – St Clair Hcp
Unplaced off 12 yards behind Our Roger, Midnight & Recent Choice

Sat Mar 13 Wyndham – Wyndham Hcp
Unplaced off 36 yards behind Chimera, Kaka Hall & Direct Power


YEAR: 1952


The New Zealand Cup of 1952 was all about the weather - the rain. A wet August affected some top horses at the National meeting and a wet spring meant their trainers were frustrated getting the work and racing into their charges right through until Cup time. It was still raining then. The four day Cup meeting was reduced to three through rain. But singing in it were Noel Berkett and Mobile Globe.

Berkett was already noted for his ability to work horses through the winter to peak at the August meetings. And he had recently taken over Mobile Globe - a good horse but a much better one in the wet. Mobile Globe had not won a race all of the previous season and only a handful in the one before that. He has been switched from the Laing stable at Eiffleton and won the Louisson and National Handicaps first and second up for Berkett.

Normally that would make any horse a warm Cup favourite but he was dismissed as a mudder who lacked class. Punters preferred eight others on the day. It was a testing track. Favourite Johnny Globe broke down. The next best, Tactician, had had only two starts due to weather. He went clear 500m out to try and steal it but the seasoned Mobile Globe came up on the inside of him and ran away by four lengths. It was almost bizarre. There had been only two slower Cups in 25 years. It was Berkett's first Cup runner but his magic with Mobile Globe was short-lived. The horse could not handle regular racing on hard tracks and never won again

Credit: David McCarthy writing in Harnessed Feb 2016


YEAR: 1951

MALABELLA - Classic Winner Producing Mare

MALABELLA (1951 Dorals Derby- Mala), NZ family of Krinas dam; 2:07.8, $6,840; 5 wins; 7 foals, five were winners. Breeder of Malabella and all her foals: Nick Matyasevic, Chistchurch.

Sire Dorals Derby left 63 winners standing in Victoria/ South Australia with only Malabella of note. His broodmare credits are shown below and also include Tail Light (VIC Oaks).

Non-winning dam Mala (placed at two) by NZ Cup winner Red Shadow left Princess Grace (Malabella's half sister), dam of open class pacer Vanadium (1:59.3US, Easter Cup, New Brighton Cup twice, Ashburton Flying Stakes, 2 ID heats). Princess Grace was granddam of Sun Seeker (Champion Stakes, Kaikoura Cup, National Hcp).

From the NZ family of Krinas dam (Grey Trap mare), an unnamed Rothschild mare, Krina, was a smart saddle mare (2:10.8, Addington; Nelson Cup) who produced eight winners: Mala, Rerekohua, Ngarimu, Air Spray, Lady Spray, Noel Simpson's Sprayman (Welcome & Sapling Stakes, ID heat), Son's Gift and Stronghold. This family has bred on without leaving any champions aside from Malabella's descendants.

Unplaced as a 2yo Malabella's 2 wins as a 3yo in the Riccarton Stakes and at FPTC with seconds in NZ Oaks, Champion & Cross Stakes and thirds in NZ Derby and NZPacing Stakes. She proved herself a top class 3yo age group pacer. Her one win as a 4yo came at New Brighton and as a 5yo 2 wins at New Brighton and CPTC Islington Hcp. After 5 wins over three seasons, she began her broodmare career.

Malabella's Fillies included:

1. Bellajily, the winner of nine NZ races before being exported to USA (6 wins) and then returned to NZ (served by Most Happy Fella) for breeding purposes by Jim Dalgety. At two, she won her first start at Geraldine, followed by third in the Welcome Stakes and fourth in the Sapling Stakes. Bellajily's only win at three was significant - NZ Derby against the boys on the first night of racing under lights at Addington (20 November 1963). She finished second in the NZ Oaks and third in NZ Pacing Stakes in the same year. Five wins as a 4yo included two wins at Addington and South Canterbury Hcp at Timaru. Bellajily's two 5yo wins were at Forbury Park (DN Festival Cup consolation). A fourth in the Louisson Hcp at six resulted before venturing to North America (2:03.3US). On her return to NZ, she became the dam of:
. Jovial Jeanie (Most Happy Fella), born with a dropped hip which meant she could race right legged and the reason she was sent north to Roy & Barry Purdon to train. The winner of nine (first four on end, placed and then won the next four in succession) including the Franklin Cup, Patron FFA (all nine wins in one season: 14 starts, 9 wins, 1 placing, $21,685); dam of Happy Hazel (Ladyship Stakes-3f, GN Oaks, Nevele R fillies, 3f Pacer of the Year; dam of Imagine That, NZSS-3/3f< GN Breeders, Queen of Hearts, Rangiora Classic, Kaikoura Cup, Renwick FFA, 4m Pacer of the Year); 4th dam of Heza Thrill (1:51.7, Menangle Country Series), Rathmore Lady(1:52.6).
. Krina Bella, 4 wina at two, Thames Debutante-2f, 2f Pacer of the Year; dam of Keep It Up (SA/ Gawler Derbies, SA St Leger, Italian & West End Cups); The Chevalier (VIC Gammalite Marathon); 3rd dam of Apatchee (Nelson/Nelson Winter Cups), Code Red (Inangahua Grey Valley Cup, WA Marathon Hcp), Ohokas Bondy (WA Golden Slipper-2, Caduceus Club Classic-3, Western Gateway-3, Nights of Thunder, 4/5yo C/S), Dancing Diamonds (American Ideal Leonard Memorial-2, NZ Yearling Sales-2/3f).
. Van Glory, like Bellajily by Van Dieman, won 11 races starting with 3 wins as a 2yo (Addington; Hosking & Roydon Stakes at Hutt Park). Her most productive season was as a 3yo recording 5 wins (Otaki Cup, NZ Metropolitan C/S-3, GN Oaks) as well as placings in NZ Derby (second) and thirds in GN Derby & NZ Oaks. Two placings at the NZ Cup carnival and a fourth in a Messenger heat were Van Glory's only rewards at four. As a 5yo, wins came at Alexandra Park (ARC Centennial Hcp-Invitational) and in the second running of the NZ Breeders Stakes where Van Glory paced her quickest mile (1:59.6, Pacing mares mile record, among first 100 2:00 NZ pacers/ NZ bred). Van Glory placed second in the New Brighton Cup and third in the Adams Memorial. Her solitary win as a 6yo was a heat of the Easter Cup(second in another heat, fourth in the final). Third placings were recorded in Hutchinson FFA, Allan Matson Stakes, National Flying Pace and NZ Breeders Stakes. Unplaced at seven, Van Glory retired to be bred from. She was the dam of:
1 Broncroft Castle, dam of Mon Poppy Day (WA & TAS Derbies, WA Golden Nugget, Christmas Gift, Mount Eden Sprint), Parthenon (WA Sales Classic-2f, WA Oaks); granddam of Amongst Royalty ($½m, APG-2f, Bathurst Gold Tiara-2f, WA Sales Classic-2f, WA Golden Girls Mile twice, Aust Pacing C/S Consolation, Aust 2f Pacer of Year); 3rd dam of Straittothehilton (WA Westbred Classic-2f)
2 Vain Franco, NZSBA Broodmare Excellence Award, dam of Under Cover Lover ($864,923, 1:51.4US, 2F: NZSS, Delightful Lady Classic, 3f; Ladyship Stakes, Nevele R Fillies, NZSS, GN, NZ & NSW Oaks, Queen of Hearts, 2 & 3 filly and 4m Pacer of Year; granddam of Bettor Cover Lover (millionaire, NZSS-2f, Jewels-2f, VIC Oaks, Queen of Hearts twice, NZ Breeders Stakes), Exotic Lover (NZYSS-2f); 3rd dam of Chachingchaching (NI Cales Graduate-2)
3 Vanessa Franco, granddam of All In Baby (WA Empress Stakes), Sir Mick Sloy (WA Caduceus Club Classic-3)
4 Vonnie Franco, dam of Wirrpunda (WA Champagne Classic-2, WA Sales Classic 2/3c)
5 Traplanda, a non winning mare, dam of Imperial Grant (Gold Coast Derby).

Malabella's Male Progeny Included:

1 Chief Eagle, recorded 2 Addington wins as a two- and three-year-old before departing for Australia where he won the Redcliffe Derby. A further four wins at four including Celebrity Stakes, 1 of 2 wins at Harold Park (2 02.7), again successful in 4 races as a 5yo (Harold Park(2), Moonee Valley), his final season saw him placed.
2 Lord Garry, a three-win horse with his first 2 wins at Cambridge as a 3yo. His 4yo win was at Alexandra Park (Grey Lynn Hcp).
3 Wee Mike, recorded 2 wins at Timaru and in the Rangiora Challenge Stakes.
4 Michaelae had 3wins as a 5yo (Ashburton, Oamaru, Reefton)

Credit: Peter Craig writing in Harnessed June 2015

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