YEAR: 1942


The horse who in a time trial at Addington went within a tick over two seconds to the fastest mile ever paced in America was an out and out Champion. But it was more fun watching him than backing him.

Highland Fling, rather than making a lot of outrageous breaks was just slow to get going. Terribly slow to get going. Sometimes he never really got going at all. He was so good that often it didn't matter. But it was an anxious few moments for the punters early in the race to see how much ground he would have to make up this time. It was usually a lot.

Colin Berkett who drove him to win the 1947 Cup once told me the Fling was not a brilliant, high speed horse. "You'd run the reins over his back and he would accelerate away smoothly like a luxury car but not like a racing car. But he could sustain that run further than any other horse I ever drove."

And from all accounts it was certainly dramatic enough for other drivers and the public. To them he was a horse apart. There are still people around who can tell you all about it. Oh! For mobiles in 1947!

Credit: David McCarthy writing in Harnessed July 2016


YEAR: 1941


He raced across the harness racing sky like a blazing comet, hailed on all sides as the greatest young trotter the country had ever seen. It wasn't just hype. He won 13 of his first 20 starts, unheard of for a youngster running against all aged horses in an era when trotting stars hit their peak at about eight or nine. Even the weary scribes who had seen it all lobbed superlatives in his direction.

Then, in freak and bizarre circumstances, Certissimus was gone, before he had had his fifth birthday. His chance to be up there with all-time greats expired on the side of a country road near Pleasant Point but his memory among those fortunate enough to have seen him never faded. Beside his ability he had charisma like no other of his time. There are still horsemen around who rate him the most spectacular trotter they ever saw.

Certissimus was a product of South Canterbury courtesy of the Teahen family of Pleasant Point. Dinny Teahen had purchased the star's American-bred dam for a paltry sum and bred her to American stallion Quite Sure - Though Certissimus raced in the name of Jack Teahen. The clever name meant "most certain". Certissimus started as a pacer.

His granddam Belle Keller had been imported from the US by J R McKenzie in foal to Arion Guy. Roydon's Pride, the resulting foal, showed trainer George Mouritz extreme trotting speed but was too highly strung to do it on raceday. At a Roydon Lodge dispersal sale in 1936 she could only fetch 14 quineas. Her first foal for the Teahens, a Maxegin filly died as a young horse, perhaps an ill omen.

Quite Sure was notable stud announcement of 1939 to stand at the Kennington Stud in Southland by Julia Cuff. Miss Cuff, a one-time publican and Southland's first professional woman trainer in either code, earlier stood ex-Canterbury sires Rey De Oro, Wrack and Grattan Loyal for the locals. With Quite Sure's success sho later moved to Hinds, dying in Christchurch in the 1970s.

Quite Sure was a free legged pacer and the real deal in the States having been runner-up in the Pacers Classic at two to the top juvenile, Calumet Cheater, in world record 2:02.5 and 2:03.5 heats. As an older horse he beat stars like Mc I Win, the dual gaited world champion Raider(who emigrated to Australia) and Cold Cash (1:58.2). He had been recommended to Cuff by prominent US journalist and breeding expert Walter Moore and the stallion's first star, owned by Cuff, was a colt by that name, the best 2-year-old of 1940.

Special Force was another star by him for Peter Gallagher and then Certissimus appeared on the scene. He was a sign of things to come because, against expectations, Quite Sure became a noted sire of trotters. Experts like Bill Doyle later had reason to recall fondly how reliable an in-form Quite Sure trotter was when the money was on. Breeders of pacers, however, soon lost some of their enthusiasm.

Certissimus made his debut at Methven in the spring of 1940, pacing early before living up to his already big reputation by winning easily. His composure, which must have come from his sire, was an important key to his success. Certissimus was so good that in January, 1941 in a historic special Match Race at Timaru he took on the best 3-year-old pacers including Special Force, Gold Chief(later to sire Rupee), Ronald Logan, Walter Moore and Shadow Maid. He broke twice in that event, wanting to pace, but "showed wonderful speed in between proving he was a great colt" one media report said.

Certissimus beat all aged fields at Addington from long marks when it was unheard of for one of his age. In November 1940 he beat a NZ 2400m record by six seconds after losing 40m at the start. In January 1941 from 72 yards he ran six seconds faster than the second horse, the aged Hamel Bay, clocking 3:18, a national 3-year-old record for over 20 years. A year later he received a reception at Timaru after beating the accomplished Dark Hazard rated the "heartiest in living memory". A month later he was dead.

He had gone to another training track (that of Jack Brophy) for a workout on February 24. Jogging home Certissimus was stung on the nose by a bee. He reared, his untied overcheck hooked around the shaft of the cart and he fell heavily on his head on to the asphalt, stunned and severely injured. Certissimus could not be moved, so right there on the road a tent was erected around him and he was attended night and day by a veterinarian and a doctor. A specialist from Dunedin made a special journey to oversee the crisis.

"There is every prospect of the horse making a complete recovery" was the optimistic claim in the media after Certissimus managed to get back on his feet two days later. But recovery was always a long shot and he died soon afterward. There were various claims, rumours ans recriminations about the real cause of the incident over the years. Nothing could bring the horse back.

Roydon's Pride's descendants gave the Teahan family - and others - compensation when Global Hall won them a Rowe Cup, and Deotatus a Trotting Stakes while Don Hall, owned and trained by Ray Teahen and trained also for a time by Cecil Devine, was a top class pacer though now largely famous in trivia quizzes as a principal in the famous whip incident involving the latter. Roy Grattan, a half-brother, was another outstanding pacer from this family and Heber Hewson's "Cord" family, among others, also came from it.

Certissimus was used lightly as a stallion in his racing days with remarkable success. He sired the high class trotter Acclamation and his daughters left the high class Alight as well as Highland Flame a sensational youngster who won the Trotting Stakes, officially, by 100 yards.

We can't be sure where Certissimus's star would have finnally landed in the galaxy of champion trotters because fate robbed him of his chance. That it would have been right up there was never doubted by his many admirers.

Credit: David McCarthy writing in HRWeekly 28Nov2012


YEAR: 1941

ADMIRATION - Classic Winner Producing Mare

ADMIRATION (1941 Grattan Loyal-Bonny Logan), USA family of Black Betty; 2:11.0, 3,020; 2 wins; 14 foals, 12 winners. Breeder: Miss P Norton. Foals bred by F G Holmes and G Aitchison (Esteem, Shy, Modest); F G Holmes, West Eyreton (Adoration, Achates); all other NZ foals bred by G Aitchison, Oamaru. A number of foals were bred in Australia.

Sire Grattan Loyal was imported from Canada by Free Holmes in 1930. Leading broodmare sire (stakes-twice, winners-four times), he often finished second or third on the sires list to U Scott, Light Brigade, Jack Potts and Dillon Hall. Grattan Loyal left many stayers among his 322 winners including Bonny Bridge (NZ Derby), Gold Bar (NZ Cup/FFA, first NZ bred under 2 minutes, sire), Loyal Friend (AK Cup), Loyal Nurse (NZ/AK Cup), Sir Vivian (GN Derby). As a broodmare sire, he left Adorian & Integrity (NZ Cup), Ar Miss, dam of Armalight & Zany (NZ Oaks), Blue (NZ & NSW Derbies), Cabra & Great Venture (Dominion Hcp), Damian, Dandy Briar & Unite (AK Cup), Danniels Pride, Rauka Lad & Torrent (Easter Cup), Guiseppe (GN Derby), Leyoro & Lord Mina (WA Cup), Single Direct (AK Cup, NZFFA, WA Cup, ID Pacing Grand Final), Stella Frost (AK Cup, NZFFZ, ID Pacing Grand Final).

The family of Black Betty faded out in North America but prospered in New Zealand through Bonilene (3rd dam Black Betty) and her daughters, led by Bonny Logan, Bon Rey, Bonny Drusus, Bonny Norval and St Helena. Tracing back to Bonilene are double millionaire , three time Australian Harness Horse of Year & Grand Circuit Pacing champion Westburn Grant, NZ Cup Winners Adorian & Lookaway and top race mares Hyperstat & Gina Rosa.

Admiration commenced racing at two winning the Timaru Nursery Stakes and twice placed from three starts including third in the Sapling Stakes. Unplaced at three, two placings at four, two further wins came as a five-year-old at Cheviot and Hutt Park. Twice placed at six, she retired to the broodmare paddock the winner of three races.

1. Achates, which won 5 races in NZ before his export to Australia. As a three-year-old, he won at Marlborough and twice at Nelson. Two wins as a four-year-old came in the Louisson Memorial at Nelson and the Geraldine Cup, and was placed second in the Nelson and Marlborough Cups. Placed at five and six he went to Australia during the 1959/60 season and was a winner at Wyong in July 1961.
2. Admiral Way won the York Cup at Cunderdin, WA and became a sire of 30 winners including Haddock (ID heat) and damsire (48 winners) of Earth Station (Aust Pacing C/S.
3. Admire won eight races in NZ (2:06.4) before his export to USA in late 1967 (2:04.0US). Wins at Geraldine and Oamaru as a three-year-old, unraced as a four-year-old, 3 wins as a five-year-old - Central Otago Hcp, Kurow Cup (April 1966) and Timaru President Hcp. A second win in the Kurow Cup (August 1966) and Addington together with second placings in the Rangiora Cup, Easter Cup qualifier and third in the Southland Invitation Stakes saw Admire compete at the top level as a six-year-old. His final NZ win came in the Hannon Memorial before his move ton the USA.
4. Chief Wonder, born in Australia didn't race until he was a five-year-old. He won 15 races over the next six seasons including a heat of the Tasmanian Pacing C/S at Hobart (second in another heat, unplaced in final) and Terang Winter Cup.

1. Adoration, winner of five including four on end with 2 wins on both days od Nelson's 1956 Winter meeting. Her fifth win came at New Brighton as a five-year-old. She was the dam of:
- Louie Lopez, NSW SW and Riverina Derby.
- Taiko News, dam of Milson Edition (WA 4/5 Championship, ht Aust Pacing Championship)
- Tama Trees, granddam of Adrenalin (Southland Oaks), 3rd dam of Thomas Sharp (Northern Southland Autumn Cup).
- Tasman, NZ Railway Hcp Trot (Forbury Park)
2. Esteem, an eight-win mare commenced with a win as a four-year-old at Westland RC followed closely by success in the Epsom Stakes - four at Alexandra Park. As a five-year-old, her three wins were at Timaru, New Brighton and Addington. As a six-year-old a second place in the Methven Cup was followed by victory on Show Day in the Hayward Hcp. Unplaced as a seven-year-old, her final two victories were as an eight-year-old in the Spring Hcp on NZ Cup Day and Smithson Hcp at Addington. Esteem was not bred from.
3. Mirastorm, a winner in Australia was the dam of:
- Acutron, dam om several mainly Tasmanian winners,
- Cover Up, TAS 3yo C/S
4. Shy, won one of four starts as a 5yo at Cambridge and was the dam of:
- Carmen Jones, VIC Her Ladyship-4m.
- Charm, dam of Armbro Free (Cup Day Canterbury Hcp, Hutchinson FFA).
- Devotion, dam of Captain Devotion (NSW Breeders Plate-2)
- Shy Castle, dam of Frosty Castle (NSW Star Trek series), Lincoln Castle (Gloucester Park FFA)
- Timid, dam of Big Chase (Cambridge Gold Cup-3/4), Armadene (NSW Golden Easter Egg-3f); granddam of Bronski Beat (WA Easter Cup, VIC Laidlaw, Hamilton, Yarra Valley Pacers & Maryborough Cups); 4th dam of Sharp Bret (VIC The O' Keefe), Jake Pastime (NSW Breeders Plate-2, Bathurst Gold Chalice-3c).
5. Zany, top class mare won ten races. Unplaced in two 2yo starts, as a 3yo she completed two wins at Greymouth and in the NZ Oaks, also placing third in the Champion Stakes (Ashburton). Three wins at Forbury and another at Alexandra Park resulted during her 4yo career. Zany's one win as a 5yo came in the Ashburton Cup with a second in the Dunedin Cup. At six she won the CPTC's HH Wardrop Hcp and third in the Wellington Cup. Her final season of racing resulted in victory in the National Hcp at Addington and New Brighton's Esplanade Hcp. Zany was the dam of:
- Reporter, Marlborough Cup.
- Stylish Eden, 3rd dam of The Statesman (1:53.0US) at Mohawk, among first 100 Aus bred 1:55.0 pacers).
- Zany Hanover, granddam of Tally Van Gold (QLD Qbred Breeders Classic-4); 3rd dam of Partywiththedevil (WA Higgins Memorial).

Minor winners from Admiration included: Modest, two wins on the same day at Nelson while from other foals born in Australia: Craigs Admire, four race winner; Newport Boy, five-race winner; Craig Junior, a winner at Wayville, Adelaide.

Credit: Peter Craig Writing in Harnessed June2015


YEAR: 1939


For much of his career Nyallo Scott was regarded around Roydon Lodge as a rogue. In the Roydon Lodge history penned by Sir Roy McKenzie he doesn't even earn a mention. But in the mid 1940's he was, for a time, the best known horse in the country.

The secret was Sir John McKenzie handing him to Leo Berkett to train on a lease arrangement at his Hope farm near Nelson. Leo regularly worked his horses between the shafts of a plough. Nyallo Scott was six and a lost cause to anyone but Leo when he went to a Nelson meeting in June and won three races with him in four starts. Two of those races were in succession. He won the first and was second in the other, a rare feat indeed though it wasn't the only time Berkett had tried it. With another rising star among his team called Highland Fling , Berkett transferred permanently to Templeton with Nyallo Scott.

Once he had the horse in shape Berkett didn't give a "thinker" the chance to reflect. As a 7yo he had 38 starts, yes 38, but the good news was that he won 11 of them. No horse had ever done that before. He went from a low class race at New Brighton in September to running against the Cup horses at Ashburton in June, winning the rich Dunedin Cup along the way. Two months later he beat stars like subsequent InterDominion winner Emulous in the August Free-For-All.

Then, as if to prove that you can't keep a bad horse up, it was over. Berkett drove him instead of the superior Highland Fling in the 1947 Cup because nobody else could but he broke early and lost any real chance. After some more erratic disappointments Berkett returned him to Roydon Lodge. He started in the Cup in 1948 but was pulled up after another wayward performance and he never won another race. But 38 for 11 in one season now there's a stat!

Credit: David McCarthy writing in Harnessed July 2016


YEAR: 1939


When older breeders study the claims made for some recent imported sires and how well they are bred they can be forgiven a weary smile. To here some tell it, it is only in the last few years that NZ studmasters imported top-bred stallions, the inference being that sires of the past were practically given away by their American owners because no stud in that country would look at them.

This is, with respect, a load of rubbish. One example was Guy Parrish imported in the 1920s who was a full brother to the champion American pacer Arion Guy, and an even better one was Dillon Hall, five times leading sire and, if you probe below the surface, a good bet as the finest sire we have had. I would suggest to stud advertisement compilers who browbeat breeders with long lines of statistics and how impressive second and third placings were, that they have yet to be asked to design an advertisement for a better bred stallion than Dillon Hall, who was imported to this country by George Youngson and his wife in 1939, complete with a two-minute record, which was not all that easy to get in those days.

Dillon Hall, who took his two-minute mark at four years was by the Peter The Great horse The Laurel Hall, sire of two-minute performers and a success in the United States before being exported to Italy where he was very popular, his world record holding son Prince Hall, sire of Medoro, also being bought by the Italians. His dam, Margaret Dillon, was the champion pacing mare from 1922 when she recorded 1:58.2 - sensational going then - her record not being beaten for 16 years. She is rated as one of the three greatest pacing mares of all time. Her dam, Margaret Primo, was by Peter The Great, making Dillon Hall line bred to that great progenitor, and was a daughter of another champion racemare in Margaret O. The latter's dam was a full sister to the legendary sire Axworthy making Dillon Hall richly bred to the two greatest sires of this century. It is difficult to think of a better female line among sires imported here.

Dillon Hall sired 397 winners in this country and his cause was helped by his getting the great mudlark Acropolis in his first crop. Acropolis won 11 races and $25,000 but was not his sire's finest offspring despite the good start he gave him. Chamfer won 14 races including the NZ Cup and was a leading sire in Australia. Maori Home won 17 races and $37,000 and Parawa Derby was not far behind winning $32,000 from 15 victories. Blue Mist was a great Dillon Hall mare winning 14 races in NZ and setting a world record over 1 miles in Australia of 3:03.2. Our Roger also won the Cup and 14 other races for $30,000 odd and Dragoman won 12. Lady Averill was a top performer and Maida Dillon won 13 races for nearly $20,000.

Perhaps one of Dillon Hall's finest sons was First Lord, who had a career interrupted by injury after winning 10 races. He was noted for his acceleration and did fairly well as a sire. Snowflake was another fine Dillon Hall mare, holding the 3-year-old two mile record for many years and winning six races including the Great Northern Derby. Heather Dillon won 12 and Belmont Hall numbered the Champion Stakes among his wins. Centennial Hall, Duncraig (9 wins), Aberhall (11) and Prince Hall (10) were other good winners, and one of his best trotting sons was Swannee River, who won ten races in all. It was surprising that Dillon Hall did not leave more good trotters for his sire was successful in producing horses of that gait in Italy.

These were the cream of his crops but he left a great number of 'bread and butter' horses who were sturdy and long lasting and who liked racing on any tracks, being particularly adept in heavy going. If Dillon Hall had made an indelible impression as a sire his mares were in great demand and today any Dillon Hall blood in the veins of a broodmare in considered highly desirable. And no wonder. Offspring of his mares have left more than 550 winners. To look at the tops there was Orbiter, winner of nearly $400,000, Robin Dundee, winner of 25 races in NZ alone and altogether winner of nearly a quarter of a million dollars. There was Inter-Dominion winner Free Hall, Student Prince, top pacer Don Hall and the brilliant Sun Chief, winner of 12 including the NSW Derby. Moss Hall and King Hal both won 11, Samantha won 15 including a Wellington Cup and Doctor Dan, Gildirect, Seafield Lad, Denbry and Tobacco Road were all top horses. Another was Smokeaway who won 12 races.

We could go on for hours but should mention Tobias winner of 17 here, Bramble Hall winner of over $160,000, Bay Foyle now at stud here, Stewart Hanover who has won over $220,000, top Australian pacer Imatoff, Monsignor (1:59) winner of 10, Twinkle Hanover, Smoke Cloud and Miss Step. Then there was Roy Grattan, a half brother to Don Hall, and winner of nine and Global Hall, from the same family, who won 10 trotting including the Rowe Cup. Tutta Bella produced eight good winners of over 45 races, Gaiety Hall produced five winners and Van Brabant has produced four. Maida Dillon has founded a successful tribe including Maida Million winner of over $200,000. Dilly Dally produced top trotter Annual Report and four other winners including Nocatchem and Luck's Way, and Marionette was dam of Inter-Dominion trotting champion Poupette. Doctor Barry, from the Dillon Hall mare Weekender, won 100 including the NZ Derby.

Janet Hall left the top pacer Sleek Line and her sister Ellen Hall left four Australian winners. Laura Dillon won five and left Glene, the dam of Fronto Prontezza, and her sister Laura Hall has left five Australian winners. Medium Blue, Flying Blue and Blue Emperor winners of 28 races among them came from Dillon Hall mares. Lauder Hall, who won nine herself, produced seven winners, a number of them doing well in the US. Dillon Hall was five times leading broodmare sire.

The stallion's success brought tempting offers for his owners. In 1946 the company of Matson's Ltd offered the Youngsons $10,000 for the horse allowing them to keep the full book on the lists for that season. This was a big offer but it was declined.

In all, the stock of Dillon Hall won 1507 races in this country for nearly $1 million in prize money. His record of having been in the top three of the sire lists for 13 successive seasons is unparalleled when the length of his stud career is considered. When he won his third sire title in 1950-1 he set a new record for money won with $143,285. In Australia he sired top horses in Collaborate and Bruce Hall, the former being a leading sire in Western Australia and the latter being a success in that field as well. Chamfer was leading Australian sire seven times and Gentry, a top class pacer here, was also a successful sire in Australia and NZ. The Dillon Hall male line is defunct in this country but survives across the Tasman. First Lord ultimately went to that country.

One of the finest aspects of Dillon Hall's stud career is apt to be overlooked. That is that while he sired almost as many winners as the great U Scott he had a much shorter stud career than that horse, and shorter also than Light Brigade's. Whereas U Scott was at stud for more than 20 seasons, as was Light Brigade, Dillon Hall had but 15 seasons to make his mark. To be in the top three sires for 13 in succession underlines what a great progenitor he was. His stock generally responded to plenty of galloping and walking with a minimum of hoppled work. Properly handled their hardiness and endurance coupled with the breeding potential of his daughters made the two minute import second to none among imported sires this century.

Credit: David McCarthy writing in NZ Trotguide 13Jul77


YEAR: 1938



New Zealand saluted her first two-minute pacer last week when the tremendous crowd on the final day of the Cup meeting rose on its feet to give the Australian speed merchant, Lawn Derby, one of the greatest ovations in the history of the sport.

Lawn Derby's attempt against the record was regarded by many as little more than an exhibition of unhoppled pacing, but when he reached the end of the first quarter in 0.28 3/5 and the first half-mile in 0.57 3/5, the crowd began to get to its feet.

With six furlongs gone in 1.27 4/5 and the achievement of something never before seen outside America in sight, the Addington fans let loose in a truly amazing fashion.

Outside the demonstration winessed when Harold Logan won the Free-For-All in his "final appearance" two years ago there has never been a scene on Addington to compare with Lawn Derby's reception. The hoisting of 1.59 2/5 for the full journey was the signal for renewed outbursts, and the mobbing of horse, owner, and driver.

New Zealand has waited a long time for a horse capable of such speed, and last Friday will be a day that will never be forgotten for those fortunate enough to see Lawn Derby in action. Even had he failed in his objective, Lawn Derby would well have been worth going a long way to watch. A bright bay carrying plenty of quality, he is a pacer in every meaning of the word.

Boots, hopples and overcheck know no place in his wardrobe, and he moves with a precision that is attractive to an extreme. In short, he is the finished article, and he could not be improved upon as a pacer.

Conditions were as near to perfect as they could be on Friday, but given similar condition again there is little doubt that Lawn Derby would improve his 1.59 2/5.

Driver W J O'Shea was at a great disadvantage in that he is practically a stranger to the track and the various posts. The result was that his horse was asked for too great a speed in the first half-mile. The first four furlongs in 0.57 3/5 would have found most horses even of Lawn Derby's calibre, collapsing, and no greater proof of his wonderful speed and stamina could have been given than his final half in 1.1 4/5. More favourably rated, he would have reached, or bettered, 1.59.

The Aussie will now remain in New Zealand for several months, making a further attempt over a mile at New Brighton next month, and possibly at Epsom over the Auckland Cup fixture. He should be a wonderful attraction in both centres.

He is the greatest pacer ever seen in New Zealand or Australia and there is little need to say more than that.

Credit: NZ TRUTH 16 Nov 1938


YEAR: 1938


One of the more surprising successes at the stud in NZ was Quite Sure, a double-gaited horse imported her in 1938 by Miss Julia Cuff, then based in Southland. The Peter Volo stallion stood for some years in that province and his last years in Rakaia when Miss Cuff moved north.

Although most of his best offspring were trotters Quite Sure actually took his best lifetime mark of 2:01.8 pacing, though his sire, a son of Peter The Great, was a champion trotting stallion as a yearling and each season through to four years. Quite Sure's sons and daughters had mixed reputations but properly handled gave great results to patient trainers.

For a stallion whose offspring generally needed time to show their best, Quite Sure made an instant impact. From his first crop came 26 individual winners of 102 races. They included the juvenile champion Walter Moore, another top pacer Special Force and many others. The best known is the almost legendary Certissimus who, Even Speed and all, is probably the best young trotter this country has ever seen.

Certissimus had a tremendous action and in a tragically short career (he died from an accident as an early 4 year old) he became a wonder horse, returning one scintillating performance after another in the war years. Another champion trotter from the sire's early crops was Will Cary, the first trotter in NZ to better 4:20 for two miles and a Dominion Handicap winner.

Quite Sure's first winner was Bomber, trained by Bill Doyle at Leeston. Bomber went on to win a Dominion Handicap, and Bill has another cause to remember the stallion for he later leased and trained Gold Horizon. A lot of people will tell you that Gold Horizon's equal as a trotter is yet to be produced in NZ. He won more stakes than any other of his gait either here or in Australia at the time and won more than 20 races though the Dominion eluded him.

There were numerous other grand trotters by Quite Sure. Jimmy Dillon won 16 races and held two Australasian records. Blue Horizon was a mighty trotter, also holding records for some years, and he numbered the Ashburton Cup among his many wins. Then there was the brilliant, but unsound Toushay, holder of the 1 mile record for a number of years and winner of the Trotting Free For All. Sure Gift was another topliner and with Fairy Dell gave Quite Sure wins in the Trotting Stakes.
Ripcord was another champion trotter by Quite Sure, winning over all distances against top company and holder for a while of a world record over 11 furlongs. He won 11 races in all. Like another top trotter in Super Note, by Quite Sure he had some success at stud.

There were a number of other top horses by Quite Sure. Included among them were Copper Trail, a good Southland pacer and winner of the Gore Cup, Sandy Duval, Rerewaka (NZ Trotting FFA), Karnak (who beat a handicap field at two years), Stuart Lee (who won seven successive races), Imperial Trust, Monagh Leagh, Minora, Quite Happy and Quite Likely, holder of a two-year-old national mark over a mile for fillies. His best pacing son however was Whipster who won eight races until injury terminated his career. Whipster was a successful sire of Massacre, Don Hall and Glint among others.

Quite Sure also had considerable success as a broodmare sire. Quite Sound produced a top class trotter in Rock'n Robin. Glamour Girl was the dam of Flying Maiden and Halberg who won 15 races between them, Flying Maiden being the dam of current top three-year-old Cool Cat. Pleasure Bay is a Quite Sure mare assured of undying fame through her grandson Cardigan Bay. Ballyhaunis was the dam of Jennifer who has produced eight winners at stud and Sure Romance was the dam of Royal Mile, a juvenile trotter of great speed who held the national mile record for a time. Quite Evident, who won five races herself, was the dam of eight winners including Call Boy, who won nine including the Great Norther Derby, and Farlena an Australasian record holder and winner of four including the Sapling Stakes.

Little Doubt, a daughter of Quite Evident, produced six winners including For Certain, an Oaks winner. Maid Myra won five and was the dam of Pohutukawa, winner of 11 races in this country, and Cosy Del produced five winners and is grandam of Balgove. Karnak was the dam of five winners including Scimitar, winner of nine, and Ruer, who is the dam of the champion Australian trotter and sire Delvin Dancer. Credere was the dam of Deodatus, who won seven including the Trotting Stakes, and Salamis produced several winners including Sally Walla and Similas, the dam of Viking Water.

Luronne produced Ascot King a top Australian winner. Sporting Edition was the dam of Spring Edition, who won seven and produced five winners. Quite Contrary is the grandam of Ripper's Delight, Ilsa Voss and Rip Silver. Other good winners fron Quite Sure mares include the juvenile champion Vivanti (winner of the Oaks, Sapling Stakes, Welcome Stakes and holder of several records), Lassoloc winner of seven, Rascal five wins, Knighthood six wins (at either gait), Sure Charge winner of 11 (trotting), Dourglo, Prince Garry and April Hall, the dam of six winners.

Quite Sure sired 254 winners all told of 891 races and $705,749. In his second eligible season he was ninth on the list and remained in the top ten until 1954. His higest placing on the overall list was third in 1948-49, his offspring winning nearly $83,000. Other sons of Quite Sure made their mark at the stud including Desmond's Pride, a brother of Certissimus who himself served a few mares as a colt with success, Concord and Rest Assured.

Some trainers were not keen on Quite Sure's stock and Bill Doyle, who had more success with them than most explains why: "They could be very flighty and hard to handle," recalls the Leeston sportsman, "and didn't take kindly to harsh treatment. But once they were sorted out they were top horses and especially top stayers."

Credit: David McCarthy writing in NZ Trotguide 8Jun77


YEAR: 1937


How do you go about paying tribute to a sire who achieved as much as Jack Potts?

His record almost comes into the category of awe inspiring. Nine times leading sire, all in succession from 1937 until 1945, is a record achievment, for U Scott who equalled the nine premierships had them spread much further apart. Jack Potts was also leading broodmare sire six times. Altogether he sired 271 individual winners of over $900,000 and his daughters produced over 320 winners, some of them great horses. At one time Jack Potts were sought after in much the same way as gold in the 1860s and when you examined what they achieved this is not surprising.

Foaled in 1920 Jack Potts was imported to this country as a 2 year old by Alex Anderson of Christchurch through Robert A Smith who had a hand in bringing out a number of stallions in those days. Jack Potts was a good racehorse if not a great one though a leg injury he suffered as a young horse always made him a dicky proposition. However from Ces Donald's stable he won nine races and $10,000. He was pipped on the post in the Auckland Cup and was twice placed in the NZ Cup. A very handsome horse and a fine mover Jack Potts's main track victories were the NZMTC Metropolitan, Victoria, Advance, Hagley and Mid-Summer Handicaps and two major handicaps at Auckland.

Jack Potts was 12 years old before his progeny first appeared in 1933-34 winning only $568 that season. By 1935-36 he was third on the sires' list and remained in the top three for 13 seasons. His list of winners has some impressive names. Among them were Emulous who won $45,000 and an Inter-Dominion, dual Cup winner Lucky Jack who won 14 races, Marlene an Auckland and NZ Cup winner, the juvenile champions Pacing Power and Horsepower who won 30 races between them with the former placed in the Cup, Inter-Dominion champion of 1938 in Pot Luck ($17,000), Fine Art winner of 15 races, King Potts winner of 12 including the Easter Cup, Auckland Cup winner Betty Boop, Cup placegetters and major winners in Plunder Bar, Knave of Diamonds and Countless.

Lightning Lady the winner of 14 races, Ingle Belmer winner of 12, Clockwork the 1 mile national record holder for some years and winner of 12 races, Checkmate (11 wins), free-for-all winner Indian Clipper (12 wins), Ferry Post (unsound, but still the winner of 14 races), Brucus, County Antrim and Accountant were other big winners for Jack Potts but by no means were they finished yet. Jack Potts produced a big number of top juveniles including the Derby winner Gamble and Sapling Stakes winner in Two's Loose, other Sapling winners in Frisco Lady and Sir Julien and G N Derby winner Free Again. Any number of his offspring reached tight assessments including Realm Again, Molly Direct, On Approval, Jack Peterson, Mighty Fine and War Guard. The stock of Jack Potts won four NZ Derbies and three NZ Cups. His offspring favoured the pacing gait and very few trotters by him ever appeared.

As a sire of broodmares Jack Potts was even more successful. Among the major winners his daughters produced were Tactician, our first two-minute racehorse who won 20 races including an Inter-Dominion and $40,000; Van Dieman winner of 18 and $42,000; Merval winner of 11 and holder for a time of a world's race record for a mare over a mile; the great Rupee winner of 14; Thelma Globe who won 17 races and also held a world mark over 1 miles; Globe Direct another record holder and winner of 14; Young Charles who won 11 races and would have won more if fully sound and a champion juvenile horse; Excelsa (10 wins) who ironically prevented Rupee from winning 10 successive tote races; Auditor, Lady Rowan, Trueco, Gough's Pride, Wayward Peter and Whipster who between them won nearly 70 races and Starbeam, Signal Light, Court Martial, Gay Knight (13 wins) were other big winners from Jack Potts mares.

Lottie Location an unraced daughter produced Local Gold who won nine and produced Arania (1:57, 12 wins) and Local Light, Sure Potts produced Florita who won nine. The unraced Anita Patch produced Patchwork (12 wins, Easter Cup) and Aladdin who won 8. Ingle Belmer, a Jack Potts-Purple Patch mare was the dam of Lady Belmer winner of 13. Lightning Lady produced six winners including Dresden Lady who won 10 and Ladyship the dam of Lordship. Kaulala, a daughter of Horotane produced Great Wonder winner of 10 while another daughter of that mare in Nightbeam (6 wins herself) produced the Broodmare of the Year in Nancy Lee in addition to those mentioned. Joan Potts produced the good racehorse and broodmare in La Fey while Aurie's Star in addition to Young Charles produced Ohio who won seven for Sir John McKenzie. Windermere produced Johnny Guitar who won nine including the Wellington Cup, Santa Anita produced eight winners and a daughter of the Jack Potts mare Suda Bay produced the grandam of Nigel Craig in addition to others. Kublai Khan, Genghis Khan, Impressario and Maharajah were some of the good winners produced from Jack Potts mares

In all the direct offspring of Jack Potts won more than 1200 races. For a number of years the stallion was a showring champion as well and he died in 1948 at 28 years of age. He was buried close to the Donald homestead. Apart from his first two seasons when he stood at M B (Dil) Edwards's Yaldhurst establishment he spent all his stud career at Donald's. His initial fee was seven guineas which seem ludicrous today. At the height of his career he stood at 25 guineas and later 50 guineas in his last year. Perhaps then it is not surprising that Ces Donald was quoted in later years as saying that the stud side of his operation did not make a significant profit. In his early years Jack Potts was not rushed by breeders either though he was fortunate to have the fine juvenile pacer Gamble from his first crop.

A number of Jack Potts sons were stood at stud including Gamble, Emulous, Lucky Jack, Pacing Power, Globe Direct, Realm Again (as a colt), Colossal and Tsana. Some of his sons including Gamble and Pacing Power did well in Australia and his daughters which went to that country also did well producing among others the West Australian champion Mark David.

Even though it was inevitablethat it would be superseded Jack Potts achieved a magnificent feat in siring the winners of nearly a million dollars, particularly as during the war years when he was king of the walk, racing was severely curtailed. His place in trotting is secure as one of the three greatest sires ever to have stood in this country.

Credit: David McCarthy writing in NZ Trotguide 19Jan77


YEAR: 1937


Bettor's Delight in just about ready to make the list as a "Cups King"- the most influential stallion in the two major all-aged races on out calendar, the Auckland and New Zealand Cups. He already has three winners and given his domination that might grow rapidly.

But topping some of the "old timers" won't be that easy, even if he has gone past many already. Who are the best? My top 10, based on the following statistical model.
- 10 points for each winner of the New Zealand or Auckland Cup.
- 5 point bonus for each individual winner greater than one.
- 5 points for each broodmare sire win.
- 1 point for each winner sired by a stallion son.

(Volomite-Spinster-Spencer)(Died aged 27)

Light Brigade's Cup records could be considered a shade underwhelming but for the huge success of his sons. Further, his own winners were compressed into a four year cycle while he was at stud for about 20 years. He and his son Fallacy between them left five NZ Cup winners in succession with Thunder, Lookaway and False Step(Three). A record hard to beat.

Local Light (sire of Captain Harcourt and Leading Light) was a star and Fallacy makes Light Brigade the only stallion here to also have a son on it.

Rated by George Noble as the best stayer he trained (he was heavy topped and had leg problems), Light Brigade like U Scott, left as many outstanding trotters as pacers. His versatility made him the "go to" stallion for many years. His Volomite cross with U Scott's Scotland line was made in breeding heaven. Light Brigade only won two sires premierships but was broodmare champion eight times.

TRIVIAL FACT: Sir Roy McKenzie recalled that Light Brigade loved apples and would pick up a stick in his mouth to knock them out of the trees. He did the same with walnuts, eating the nut and spitting out the shell. Brains as well as Brawn.

Credit: David McCarthy writing in Harnessed Nov 2016


YEAR: 1936


To be decorated with a collar of flowers and to be pelted with rose petals in surely a unique experience for a horse in this country, but that honour was accorded Harold Logan on the final day of the Metropolitan Club's meeting.

Over a number of years Harold has been public favourite number one. Champions have come and gone but the well mannered and glorious Hinds' pacer, though now in honourable retirement will never be forgotten.

Friday was announced as his last appearance on a race track and it was to mark the occasion that the Canterbury Owners and Breeders Association arranged the unusual, and pleasing, ceremony before the running of the last race, the Free-For-All. It was a scene worth going a long way to see. A tremendous and cheering crowd; Harold parading in his collar of flowers which he appeared anxious to eat, and being showered with rose petals. Surely a great tribute to any horse.

When the old chap rose to the occasion and won the Free-For-All enthusiasm knew no bounds. Before he had reached the post hats were being thrown in the air and the crowds cut loose to give him one of the greatest receptions ever seen on a race track, surging down the course and packing the three sides of the birdcage in a wildly cheering mob. Even while being cooled off, he was followed by an army of admirers anxious to pat him, and in many cases pull a hair from his tail.

No horse has captured the public imagination as has Harold Logan, and he has concluded his remarkable career to be remembered as the perfect racehorse and a truly great gentleman.

Credit: NZ TRUTH 18 Nov 1936

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