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HORSES

 

YEAR: 1983

SPARTAN PRINCE

Former top trotter Spartan Prince was officially retired during the season after attempts had been made to get him back to the races. The Tuft gelding had been off the scene for a couple of seasons and hadn't raced since his 6-year-old days in the 1979-80 term.

As a young trotter Spartan Prince looked a potential champion winning five of six starts at two and posted NZ records for his age over 2000m (2:45.3) and 2600m (3:38.9), which still stand. At three he won four of seven starts, getting his third national record with a mobile 2600m in 3:29.6 at Addington in October, 1976, winning by seven lengths.

Trainer Doody Townley could not keep the gelding going long enough to have a crack at the NZ Trotting Stakes that year but, the following season, at four, the combination won four races to reach open class. Spartan Prince was unbeaten in three starts at the 1977 NZ Cup meeting, ran third in Ilsa Voss's Canterbury Park Winter Cup and took a mile record of 2:02.1 when second to Nigel Craig.

At five Spartan Prince won five more races and ran a gallant second to Scotch Tar in the Dominion Handicap, clocking 4:11.7. Earlier he had won the Worthy Queen in 2:39.3 beating Framalda.

Put up for auction at Addington in February, Spartan Prince was sold for a record $46,000 to Sir William Stevenson, who put the horse back in the care of Doody Townley. Unfortunately Sir William got precious little return for such an oytlay, managing only a couple of minor placings worth $1550 as a 6-year-old. It was a great shame as Spartan Prince was obviously a top trotter, beautifully balanced and virtually foolproof.

He goes into retirement having raced 39 times for 17 wins and 11 placings worth $34,405.



Credit: Dave Cannan: DB Trotting Annual 1983

 

YEAR: 1982

Hal Tryax & Bob Buchanan
HAL TRYAX

Article by 'Stopwatch' in NZ Trotting Calendar 23Sep70

From the lush 'blue grass' pastures of Tennessee, in the United States, to the remote bush-surrounded clearings of Chaslands, South Otago, represents as big a change as any horse could experience. But 23-year-old Hal Tryax, who wrote a notable niche into standardbred breeding records in this country, seems to have taken the transition in his stride.

While his most illustrious son, Cardigan Bay, has recently made a triumphant tour of this country after becoming the world's first million dollar winner, his sire is inconspicuously living out his days in happiness on the Chasland's property of Mr Bob Buchanan. "He's spending his days with me as nature intended - nobody to worry him, plenty of grass and no forced fodder," Mr Buchanan said as he looked up a steep slope, recently cleared of bush, on which the celebrated progenitor was grazing, oblivious of any visitors approaching.

His final home is a far call from the Spring Hill Farm in Tennessee, where Mr Allen Campbell bred him. Long left behind are the days when he fashioned a notable racing record on the major American raceways. Still fresh in the minds of many trotting men is his stud career at Mr George Youngson's Gore Stud, and later at the late Mr Hugh Gamble's Edendale Stud. After sweeping all before him as a sire in NZ, the Tryax horse was struck down by infertility and withdrawn from public service in 1964, when at the pinnacle of his career. Standardbred breeding suffered one of it's stiffest blows in NZ as a result of this tragedy.

This career of extremes was very much in the minds of an Invercargill party to Mr Buchanan's Chaslands property as the visitors tramped the steep slopes and waded creeks in miserable coastal weather to view the 'forgotten horse.' What would he look like? Would his appearance capture and aggravate the tragic disappointment felt at his premature stud retirement? While crossing a gully to where Hal Tryax was sheltering, one wondered if such a humble final home was befitting such a horse, who had made such a dynamic impact, not only on the race track, but also on NZ breeding.

On closer inspection however, these reflections quickly vanished. The old horse, looking 'as fat as a seal' carried his 23 years remarkably well and pranced sprightly along the fence when aroused by the party. It had been a year since Mr Buchanan had last handled him, and, understandably, Hal Tryax was in no great hurry to be fondled by his veteran owner. It was not long, however, before the old horse 'came round' and man and horse showed the strangers the affection they have developed for each other over the last six years. Nobody need fear that Hal Tryax is being neglected in his twilight. He has the 6-year-old Brahman stallion, Lachlan, and a few head of shorthorn beef cattle for grazing companions and his veteran owner to look him up every day, to see that all is still well. His gross condition, alone, is ample testimony to the kind of treatment he is receiving.

Bob Buchanan has spent a lifetime among horses and dogs. Reluctant to divulge his age any further "than well past 70" he has spent most of his life as a drover, stockman and farmer. Born in Ireland, he came to NZ when a boy. After working as a drover on the Mt Ross station in Central Otago, he later worked in and around Gore, before shifting to Tokanui. He has spent the last 31 years on his present Chaslands property. It was while working on the Mt Ross Station that he met the late Hugh Gamble. He was a close friend of Mr Gamble until his death in 1964 and took on the responsibility to look after Hal Tryax.

Bob clearly remembers the bush picnic race meetings which were held at Pine Bush, Waikawa and Tokanui. "Any fellow who had a hack had a go in the races," he recalls. "We raced for stakes the equivalent of about $10 today and had to obtain a permit, even though it cost us nothing." A trot and a gallop race was held at each of these picnics and the events were invariably the highlight of the gatherings. "Those were the days of the saw-mills, when there were many more people in Chaslands than there are today," he said.

Bob Buchanan has always had the odd horse. One of his most successful racehorses was Lady Voison, a useful mare, who won the Invercargill Trotting Cup. "Tautuku was about the only other winner of much account I have raced," he added. Tautuku was named after the Tautuku beach, one of the country's most picturesque beaches, not far from Bob's farm. Probably the most interesting feature of his career with horses was his association with Stella Frost, NZ's star race mare. "I bought her dam, Stella Grattan for $20 off Mr R D Butterick, of Christchurch, in 1954," he recalls. "I bred an Andy Derby colt from her and loaned her to a cobber, who bred a Whipster colt, but as neither of them were any good at all, I practically gave her away to Les Tilson." Having to more or less discard her was a disappointment for Bob, as he liked the breed very much, but was disheartened by the mediocrity of the Andy Derby and Whipster colts. Stella Grattan is also the dam of the Van Hanover 4-year-old, Willsher Bay, a winner late last term.

Bob Buchanan has become a personality of the Chaslands. The remoteness of his home might suggest he is a lonely man, but this is far from the case. Opossum hunters, forestry workers, neighbouring farmers and numerous other friends look him up frequently. He has become known as a friend to all those developing the remote, bush-clad area in one way or another and takes time off to assist at a near-by youth camp when the occasion arises. His energy is remarkable for a man of his age. He was still shearing most of his sheep up until two years ago and walks around his property with ease. He possesses an encouraging philosophy to life. "You're never finished until you stop, so you just have to keep active at my age," he claims.

Bob has four broodmares on his Chaslands property and recently brought the Brahman 6-year-old Lachlan, to mate with them. Lachlan is out of the Light Brigade mare, Pibroch, a close relative of champion pacers Highland Fling and Caduceus. "If only that old fellow up the hill could serve them, I'd be right wouldn't I?" he remarked with a touch of regret. But Hal Tryax will never leave another mare in foal. He has failed to respond to treatment and after several operations all hope has been lost, and he has been left to live out his days in peace.

While driving back to Invercargill over the picturesque Chaslands road, one's thoughts could not help but linger with an old horse in a bush fringed paddock and an old man with a remarkable zest for life.

-o0o-

Hal Tryax, the sire of Cardigan Bay and the maternal sire of Young Quinn, died recently in the remote Chaslands area at the grand old age of 35. It was an occasion which passed largely unnoticed in the New Zealand trotting world, in which he had such a great influence.

The death of the champion sire was confirmed by Mr Ken McKenzie, who had cared for him for the past few years, and a spokesman for the trustees of the estate of the late Mr Hugh Gamble, his last owner. Hal Tryax died peacefully of old age and had maintained physical condition which belied his advancing years. Mr McKenzie had devoted much care towards him after taking him over from the late Bob Buchanan, who cared for him for several years after the death of Mr Gamble.

The American import's career was one of extremes as a sire in NZ. After sweeping all before him, topping the NZ sires' list in the 1963-64 season, his rapidly-waning fertility had written him off as a progenitor. He was soon after pensioned off to the rugged coastal Chaslands area and some attempts were made to restore his fertility. But it was to no avail and he was left to live out his days in contentment

Breeding in this country, and especially in Southland, where he stood for his entire stud career, suffered an irreparable blow. Hal Tryax took over from Dillon Hall in keeping Southland to the fore as one of the country's premier breeding nurseries. His remarkable affinity with southern mares, many of whom were rich in the blood of Peter The Great, soon saw the unfashionably-bred Axworthy line horse make an immediate impact. And there seemed no stopping him. That was, until his tragic impotence had written him off.

Hal Tryax and his stock continued to break records for a while, but it was inevitable that as his quickly-diminishing band of representatives fell by the wayside, he would assume less significance. His influence has been sustained by the deeds of his few daughters at the stud and three of his star sons, Holy Hal, Jurist and Tactile, furthered his male line at the stud in Southland. Other sons in Dale Axworthy, Congruent, Kudos, Blue Prince and Student Prince have sired winners throughout Australasia. In America, his star daughter Robin Dundee is the dam of the crack Meadow Skipper horse Genghis Khan (1:54 3/5).

Cardigan Bay, of course, was his star son, winning more than $1 million and becomming the first standardbred to achieve that feat. There were also pacers of the calibre of Robin Dundee (1:59 and $228,312), Tactile (1:59.6 and $189,415 and the only standardbred in the world to win five Derby classics), Holy Hal (2:00.8 and undisputed champion colt pacer of his time), New Zealand Derby winners in Student Prince and Bass Strait, Two Great Northern Derby winners in King Tryax and Tutta Tryax, and a host of others including Blue Prince (2:04.8).

Hal Tyax's premature impotence has also been reflected in the limited number of daughters he has at the stud. But they have made a real impact. They have produced horses of the calibre of Young Quinn, Bachelor Blue (eight wins), Fait Accompli (seven wins), Young Cardigan (nine wins), Happy Hal (2:01.2), Tuapeka's Garry (2:03.4 at 2 years in Australia), Courtier (2:05.8 at 2 years), Marcus John and Newport Tryax.

In America stock of Hal Tryax won $1,456,660 in stakes. He first topped the NZ sires' list in the 1963-64 season. Two years later, he again headed the list, at a time when NZ's greatest-ever sires, U Scott and Light Brigade, were formidible rivals. During the 11 seasons his stock raced in NZ, they won nearly 460 races and gained almost 1300 placings for close to $600,000 in stakes. Taking into account the earnings of his American runners, his stock won just in excess of $2 million.

As one leading trotting scribe termed it, his career "was a studmaster's dream that ended in a nightmare." That aptly summed up the career of the Tryax horse who was foaled at Mr Allen Campbell's Spring Hill Farm, Tennessee, 1947, and later took a sub-2:00 mile record for Alabama-based horseman Sanders Russell. Hal Tryax was launched on his siring career in NZ by George Youngson of Gore, who later sold him to the late Mr Gamble.

Credit: Don Wright writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 2Mar82

 

YEAR: 1982

ROBIN DUNDEE

'Stopwatch' writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 4Feb70.

NZ's greatest race mare Robin Dundee, winner of $250,000 in stakes, has been retired from racing. Word has been received that she has returned a positive test to former champion Adios Butler (1:54 3/5). Now a twelve-year-old, Robin Dundee has been in America for the last two years, being sold by her owner, Mr J W Hewitt for $100,000. Mr Hewitt, however, retained a breeding interest in the Hal Tryax mare. Robin Dundee is at American trainer E Cobb's Fair Chance stud where Adios Butler stands.

Robin Dundee travelled a long way since she won at her first start - the Southern Stakes for 3-year-olds at Invercargill on October 29,1961. She outdistanced her 14 rivals on that occasion winning pulling up by 16 lengths, and at her next start went on to win the NZ Oaks.

Robin Dundee was a pacing midget if ever there was one. She was little more than a pony pacer, 14.2 hands, but developed into a dour stayer and determined sprinter. She travelled far and wide; had several trips to Australia where she raced against the strongest opposition in both countries. She won the Miracle Mile at Harold Park (Sydney) in 1:59, the fastest mile ever recorded by a mare in either Australia of NZ under race conditions.

She contested four Inter-Dominion championship series. At he first attempt at Melbourne in 1965, she broke a pedal bone which put her out of action for several months. The next year she dead-heated for first in the $20,800 grand final when the championships were held at Forbury Park; a year later she finished second to Chamfer's Star in the $30,000 grand final in Sydney and fourth in the 1967 grand final at Perth. She went to America shortly after.

In NZ Robin Dundee took a mile record of 1:59 2/5 and on three occasions finished second in the NZ Cup - to Cardigan Bay, Garry Dillon and Lordship. She won 25 races and was 50 times placed for $80,540 in stakes in NZ and in Australia won 10 races and was 10 times placed for almost $30,000 in stakes, giving her a NZ and Australian total of $110,540. Among her NZ successes was the 1965 Auckland Cup.

Robin Dundee did not regain her top form in America and was sidelined for some months because of unsoundness. The extensive travelling she did and increasing years were no doubt against her. But as an 11-year-old she won five races and $58,275 in the States, bringing her lifetime score to just on the $250,000 mark.

By Hal Tryax, she was out of the Dillon Hall mare Cherry Blossom, dam also of Dundee and Donald Dundee, both of whom also went to America. Robin Dundee, who had two mile figures of 4:12 2/5 to her credit was also a great public idol - her duminutive stature, sheer courage and consistent record all going to make her a raceday favourite.

She was trained throughout her NZ career by Gore trainer J Walsh, who also campaigned her in Australia and in America for a short time.

-o0o-

Twenty-six years ago when he was given the opportunity of breeding a foal from a Dillon Hall mare in return for providing her with a good home, little did then Mataura Island farmer Mr Jack Hewitt think a notable chapter was unfolding in the story which later produced one of NZ's greatest racemares who was also to become the dam of the world's fastest aged pacer.

Now semi-retired with his wife Joan on a 14 acre Myross Bush farmlet on the outskirts of Invercargill, Jack Hewitt last week recalled the chain of events leading up to the arrival in the world of Robin Dundee and the breeding in America of her son Genghis Khan (1:52.8).

In the spring of 1956, Mrs Hewitt's uncle, the late Bob Ritchie, a brother to the late Hugh Ritchie, a well known Invercargill identity, sold his farm at Willowbank in Northern Southland, an area steeped in light harness history, to his son Keith. Not particularly interested in horses, Keith got his father to try and find a good home for Cherry Blossom, a daughter of Dillon Hall, who was owned by his parents and was nine at the time. Jack Hewitt was approached by Bob Ritchie, then the Gore-based manager of Southland Farmers Co-op, who was particularly fond of the mare and was anxious to see her well cared for.

Jack was given the chance to breed a foal from her after he agreed to look after her on his Mataura Island farm. Taking the advice of Mr Ritchie, he mated her with Hal Tryax, the first 2:00 3-year-old pacer imported to NZ and standing at the late Hugh Gamble's Edendale property at the time. Cherry Blossom was technically owned by Mr Ritchie's wife Myra, now living in Gore. The Ritchies decided to dispose of their other horses, but Cherry Blossom was one that they treasured and did not want to fully part with.

The resulting foal from the mating to Hal Tryax was born at Derek Dynes' Wyndham property, not far from the Wyndham Showgrounds, where she was visiting the court of the Light Brigade horse Fallacy. A small chestnut who grew to only 14.2 hands at maturity, she was named Robin Dundee and was to carry on to woo light harness fans the world over. Mr Hewitt was breeding foal about from Cherry Blossom with Mrs Ritchie. To Fallacy she produced Adamae (dam of Ian). She then missed to Hal Tryax in 1959, but produced a filly, Blossom Song, by Flying Song, for Mrs Ritchie. To the same sire she produced the good winner Donald Dundee a year later. Cherry Blossom then developed shy breeding tendencies, missing to Hal O'Matic and Van Hanover among others. She ended her days with Mr C J Coll of Cave, Canterbury, producing Lord Dundee after running with First Lord in 1968.

Under the late Jack Walsh's guidance at Gore, Robin Dundee developed into NZ's champion racemare of her time for Mr Hewitt who, at the end of her NZ racing career, declined tempting American overtures and offers from the late Martin Tananbaum and decided to lease her for racing purposes to noted New York trainer-driver Eddie Cobb, William Schlesinger and Leon Machiz. For the partners, Robin Dundee won $62,000 on American racetracks before a breeding arrangement was entered into whereby Mr Hewitt was to get three foals and his partners one each. That contract has now expired and Messrs Hewitt and Machiz breed foal about from Robin Dundee, now hale and hearty at the grand old age of 24.

Robin Dundee's chapter of setbacks as a matron has been something of a heartbreak. In fact, until Genghis Khan arrived she appeared doomed to leave horses later solely destined to become injured, break-down or die. Her first foal, Dundee Adios, an Adios Butler colt, broke a bone in his leg which was later pinned in an involved operation at Pennsylvania University. Mr Hewitt bred Dundee Adios and brought him back to NZ to stand at Des Baynes' newly-established Highway Farm, Edendale. Dundee Adios, like his dam a small horse, now stands at Mr Roddy McFarlane's Winton Stud and has compiled a respectable record as a sire. Mr Hewitt suffered more bad luck with Robin Dundee's third foal, Dundee Butler (by Adios Butler) who was badly injured and now stands at stud in Victoria.

Before producing Dundee Butler, Robin Dundee foaled Miss Robin Dundee for Mr Schlesinger. A daughter of Tar Heel, she produced two fillies and a colt by Most Happy Fella at stud. She was found dead in her paddock with a ruptured stomach at Hanover Shoe Farms in September, 1979, when in foal to Albatross. Miss Robin Dundee was not insured and her owner had declined a $100,000 offer for her. Earlier in her career, Miss Robin Dundee took a mile record of 2:00.4 in a light racing career.

Robin Dundee's fourth foal, a 1975 Meadow Skipper colt, had a malformed foot and had to be destroyed as a yearling. Ghenghis Khan, her fifth foal, was not over precocious at two and three, but has emerged as one of North America's stars this season, taking a 1:52.8 mile record to make him the fastest aged pacer in the world with earnings of $750,000 for Eddie Cobb, the Nevacal Stable, New Jersey and the Jet Star Farms, Clarksbury, New Jersey. Robin Dundee's sixth foal, a filly by the Tar Heel horse Nansemond, who downed Albatross in the Little Brown Jug, was brought home to NZ by Mr Hewitt and is a member of his prized broodmare band at Myross Bush. Mr Hewitt maintains she was spoilt during her six month trip home and showed little interest in training after being broken in by his son Robert. Rather, she preferred to take more interest in human company. Standing only 14 hands, she has produced a Pass With Care filly, now a weanling, and is in foal again to the same sire, a son of Meadow Skipper, the sire of Ghenghis Khan.

Robin Dundee's seventh foal, Oily Bird, an Oil Burner colt, was sold by Mr Hewitt to Mr Machiz, but was injured and has developed slight arthritis in a leg. In 1980, Robin Dundee foaled a filly to Mr Machiz's crack racehorse Say Hello, a Bye Bye Byrd horse who clocked 1:55.4 as a 2-year-old.

Jack Hewitt has not seen Robin Dundee since she went to America 16 years ago and he has ruled out much possiblity of ever doing so again. The memories he cherishes of her, however, have been rekindled by the sensational deeds of her son Genghis Khan, and he derives great pleasure from successes by the progeny of her other son, Dundee Adios, in Southland.


Credit: Don Wright writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 20Jul82

 

YEAR: 1982

Court Martial and owner Joe Hampton
COURT MARTIAL

Edna Hampton lost another of her 'family' the other day. Jerry died on August 2, the day after his 35th birthday. "It broke my heart," Mrs Hampton said a few days ago. "I'm still getting over it. I look out the window to his paddock and keep thinking he might reappear..." But Jerry won't. He was put down just as all the effort of trying to keep going a little bit longer was starting to become a bit painful for him.

Jerry was just his pet name. He was officially Court Martial. He had been part of the Hampton household since the day he was born. Mrs Hampton, at 76 now no longer as agile as she was, remembers that day. The Hampton's mare Suda Bay, served by that old gentleman Light Brigade, was due to foal. The night before she had been a bit unhappy and Joe Hampton "knew she'd foal in the morning. He went across the road at four in the morning to check on her but he was back in a few minutes. The foal was there but he was a whopper. Joe said it was the biggest foal he'd ever seen. He couldn't get up to stand to suckle. But that, really, was only a momentary problem. We wrapped him up, put him on a barrow and wheeled him under the old mare to suckle. He was a lot stronger after that first meal. Right there and then, Joe reckoned he'd keep the horse as a stallion. He was so impressed with him." And, after winning three or four races and then breaking down when involved in a skirmish at Wellington, Court Martial was indeed sent to stud.

No-one has to be told how successful he was. He's still making his mark. His mares can't help leaving winners. All told, Court Martial left close to 480 foals...for 149 winners, a grand performance. There were some champions among them, too. And Jerry has also left 128 winner-producing mares, another top effort. He hadn't served any mares over the last few years, Joe Hampton took him out of public service abour six years ago when he considered they both weren't as fit as they had been. Mr Hampton himself died almost two years ago.

From the time he was retired, Court Martial had his own little paddock with a road frontage in one of the outer suburbs of Christchurch. He'd walk backwards and forwards, just checking, and then, when children on bikes or ponies rode past, he'd be away to investigate. "His ears would prick up and he would whinny away to them. He was a real darling," Mrs Hampton said. "Everyone round here knew him and would talk to him." And at meal-times. "You had to be right on the dot otherwise he'd come up and lean over the fence and look at you as if to say, "I'm here, where's my tea? If he didn't get his food then, he'd stalk off in a huff." It was when Mrs Hampton went out to feed her old pet the other morning that she realised somthing was wrong. Jerry used to sleep in the hay barn..."there was plenty of straw there for him to lie down on." But this morning, instead of the usual whinny of greeting from the barn, there was only silence. "I thought it was a bit strange. He always used to call out when he saw me going to the feed shed. I went into the barn and he was still lying down. I told him to get up and he gave a couple of kicks but he couldn't or wouldn't get up. There was still food left from the meal before so I thought he wasn't hungry (he was always well fed). Then when he tried again, I thought perhaps his cover might be hindering him. I'm not strong enough to try to unfasten a cover with a horse on the ground, so I rang Gavin (her son who trains at Weedons) to come over and see what was wrong."

Gavin thought "the poor old chap had had it and called the vet. The kindest thing to do, the vet said, would be to put the old horse down. He could have got him up, but he would be in pain. It was hard, but it was the best thing." Court Martial was given an injection that afternoon. He's now buried in a plot alongside his brother, another fine trotter in Signal Light, and Bonny, Mrs Hampton's Queenland Blue Heeler who was run over. "I'm not keen on going into that paddock. It's as though all my family's there in the one plot. While Court Martial was known affectionately by all and sundry as Jerry, Signal Light, who won the Trotting Stakes at his first start, was known as Barney. "People used to reckon we had a couple of Irishmen on the place," Mrs Hampton said.

The Hamptons bought their dam, Suda Bay, when she was two for 60 guineas as part of an estate sale. She and her daughters bred on well for Joe and Edna Hampton. Court Martial's half-sister by U Scott, Heather Dew, left several good winners including the Cup horse Rhyl. And another half-sister, Landgirl, left Pipitre, the dam of champion trotter Nigel Graig.

The list of the open class trotters sired by Court Martial goes on and on... Reprimand, world record holder Moon Boy, Aquit, Seven Nights, Logan Count, Marshella, Rannach Lad, Jason McCord, Aronmot, Fair Play, Merrin, Sure Mart, Macamba (who provided Maurice Holmes with win number 1000), Slane and latest Australasian Championship winner Courting Appeal. Among his pacers have been the likes of Hoover, a huge winner in America, and Martial Salute (US1:59.8). He also sired the dams of horses like Trafalgar, Royal Armour, Dingle Bay, Ambleside, Wee Win, Classic Touch, Stevie Prestige, Logan Lea, Dryden Lobell, Tough Girl, Local Product, Cyclone Lad, Mister Square, etc, etc, etc.

Around the place, Court Martial was always a pet. "He was a real Light Brigade. He didn't have a single vice. Even in his younger days when he was serving mares, he was the gentlest horse you would ever meet. A kid could lead him along on a loose rope; or they could sit up on his back without any fear. He was just one of those lovable old horses. I still miss him. I think I always will..."





Credit: Graham Ingram writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 24Aug82

 

YEAR: 1981

ROYDON SCOTT

Roydon Scott, one of NZ's best pacers of the last decade, had to be put down at Roydon Lodge Stud last week.

The decision to put the grand pacer, who suffered very badly from arthritis, down, was taken by trainer Fred Fletcher after consultation with owner Roy McKenzie. "He was suffering a lot more than people realised," said Fletcher last week.

Roydon Scott still holds two NZ records and broke 2:00 on four occasions, taking his lifetime mark of 1:58.9 as a 3-year-old. In all, Roydon Scott raced only 49 times for 18 wins, five seconds, four thirds, three fourths and three fifths for stakes totalling $79,792.50.

During his career, he raced against and beat the best horses in the country, even when sorely troubled by arthritis late in his career. He missed several major events because of injury. Roydon Scott had his last race in the 1980 NZ Cup at Addington, finishing down the track, but brilliantly won his two lead-up races.

He was buried at Roydon Lodge.

Credit: NZ TrottingCalendar 20oct81

 

YEAR: 1981

Trusty Scott & Henderson Hunter
TRUSTY SCOTT

The 1978 NZ Cup winner Trusty Scot, one of Southland's best pacers, has a cracked pastern in his off hind leg, and has run his last race. "He had me worried for a while," part owner and trainer Henderson Hunter said, referring to the serious nature of the injury. Trusty Scot suffered the cracked pastern after competing at the NZ Cup meeting at Addington in the week leading up to the Young Quinn flying mile at Wyndham at the end of November.

After racing his way through to Cup class in his 3 and 4-year-old years, Trusty Scot had a bone chip removed from a sesamoid in his near hind leg as an early 5-year-old and missed racing for most of that season. Hunter, who raced Trusty Scot with his father Adam Hunter, said he thought the extra pressure on his off-hind leg due to that first injury contributed to his breaking down in his other hind leg. Trusty Scot will be unable to serve mares this season but the 8-year-old Scottish Command entire from the Flying Song mare Fledgeling will commence stud duties at Edendale next spring. "We'll keep him down here and give Southlanders a chance to breed to him," Hunter said.

Trusty Scot retires with stake earnings of $128,545, the result of 96 starts for 21 wins and 29 placings, including a win at the Inter-Dominion Championships in Brisbane as a 4-year-old. Placed once in five starts at two, he gained prominence in his 3-year-old racing in a busy campaign, starting 25 times for five wins and 12 placings, and taking a 1:59.9 record when he won the Stan Andrews Stakes from Smokey Lopez and Bolton Byrd at Addington.

At four, he ran 21 times for seven wins, including the Ascot Park Flying Mile at Invercargill in 2:00.3, beating the star-studded field of Balgove, Sole Command, In Or Out, Forto Prontezza and Lunar Chance. He also won a heat of the NZ Messenger Championship and was runner-up to Stanley Rio in the final, won a heat of the Brisbane Inter-Dominion, and lowered his mile record to 1:57.6.

After missing his 5-year-old season because of injury, Trusty Scot came back better than ever at six, winning the Ashburton Flying Stakes first up, and the Kaikoura Cup before his most important successes, the 1978 NZ Cup from Sapling, the NZ Free-For-All three days later in 2:29.1 for the mobile 2000 metres, a mile rate of 2:00.1. Naturally, Hunter rates these wins as his best because he beat the top pacers, Sapling, Lord Module and company, when they were all going strong. Hunter also rates his performances in Australia at the Inter-Diminions, when he made a remarkable recovery to run third in a heat after losing a big stretch of ground early, and later at Perth the same season as he won the Cup, among the best in a fine career.

Trusty Scot contested the Inter-Dominion Championships at Christchurch as a late 6-year-old and wound up a strong-finishing fifth in the final after racing back in mid-field. His 7-year-old season was not a happy one. He struck difficulties racing off back marks, but he managed a good sixth in the NZ Cup after an early break, and won twice. This season, he led from end to end in the Quadroon Invitation Stakes at Gore, his last win, and was a strong finisher from the rear for fifth in the NZ Cup.

A genuine racehorse, with a clean gait, Trusty Scot is one of the best performed sons of Scottish Command.

Credit: Jeffery Scott writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 20Jan81

 

YEAR: 1981

GARRISON HANOVER

A trotting identity, who will long be remembered for the contribution he made to the industry - Garrison Hanover - had to be put down at Bill Denton's property at Tai Tapu last week. Garrison Hanover, who was 34, complied a memorable record as a stallion and, even as recently as last month, was represented by a yearling at the National Selected Sale.

Garrison Hanover was described by Bill Denton as "just like one of the family - he was older than any of our own children by quite a bit." He sired 984 foals in NZ and was represented in this country by 459 winners, for an average of 46.6%. Some of the top pacers he left included Cardinal Garrison (Auckland Cup, Great Northern and NSW Derby), Game Adios (NZ Derby), New Law (NZ Derby), Speedy Guest (G N Derby & NZ Messenger), Waitaki Hanover (G N Derby, Auckland Cup), Main Adios (NZ Derby), Apres Ski (1:56.2 the fastest of his 16 2:00 performers), Helen of Tara, Royal Count, Whispering Campaign and many more. Garrison Hanover was leading sire for three successive seasons form 1966-67 to 1968-69 and has proved a great success as a broodmare sire.

Garrison Hanover was imported to NZ in 1955 after being selected by Bill's father and Jack Shaw and apart from two seasons at Clem Scott's in Southland, stood all his life at Russley Lodge Stud, first at Templeton then at Tai Tapu. "He just got to the end of the road - his old machine gave out." Bill said last week when describing how Garrison Hanover suffered the heart attack which led to him being put down. "I knew he wouldn't come out of it and we wouldn't prolong his life any longer."

But Garrison Hanover has not left Russley Lodge. "I've got a nice spot organised for him here and will erect something a bit decent to mark his grave. It's the least I can do - everything I've got I owe to him," Bill said. Harness racing in NZ also owes a lot to Gerrison Hanover.

Credit: Tony Williams writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 17Mar81

 

YEAR: 1981

YOUNG CHARLES

Young Charles, who died a few days ago at the grand age of 35, did much to underline the hard wearing qualities of the U Scott line.

"His death was sad, but easy to accept," his owner-breeder Bob Mayne said last week. "He ate up normally, did everything else as usual and quietly walked away and died," said Mr Mayne, a retired Christchurch cartage contractor.

As a racehorse and as a sire Young Charles was every inch an individual, being bred on the stout U Scott - Jack Potts cross. U Scott and Jack Potts both headed the NZ sires' list on nine occasions and Young Charles topped the list in 1975, the year of Young Quinn.

Foaled on October 25, 1946, Young Charles revealed immediate ability for trainer Colin Berkett, being champion 2-year-old and 3-year-old of his year. In all, he won 11 races and had 26 placings from 56 starts for $24,435, racing against the likes of Van Dieman, Johnny Globe, Vedette, Caduceus, Burns Night and Soangetaha. Hampered by tendon trouble once he attained Cup class rating, his courage won the hearts of many. Canterbury trotting men to this day maintain that his second to Johnny Globe in the 1954 NZ Cup 'on three legs' was one of the most memorable contests ever at Addington. Johnny Globe set a world two mile time of 4:07.6 in that race and Young Charles on a restricted preparation, recorded 4:10.8.

"My greatest thrills were his wins in the NZ Futurity Stakes and All-Aged Stakes at the Ashburton June meeting," Mr Mayne recalled. "Colin Berkett was a great feeder, and, as Young Charles had a wonderful constitution, he had to be worked really hard to give his best on the track," Mr Mayne said.

Young Charles' battle for recognition as a sire was certainly an uphill one. When retired to Mr Mayne's Yaldhurst property he received only eight mares and 11 the following season. He then had a season in Auckland before moving to Southland. Restricted as his early opportunities were, Young Charles slowly but surely acquired the respect of breeders, siring the likes of Danny's Pal (10 wins and 14 placings), Jacobite (12 wins and 9 placings), Valcador (10 wins and 12 placings), Lonesome Valley (9 wins and 12 placings) and Top Copy (9 wins and 21 placings).

Even better, however, was to come when he stood at Colin Baynes' Ferndale and Otama nurseries. Notable pacers conceived at those studs before he finished his Southland career at Des Baynes' Highway Farm, Edendale included Young Quinn (1:55), Sapling (1978-79 Pacer of the Year), Sassenach (1:58.6), Peter Onedin (1:56.8), Gurkha (1:58.2) and Ghandi ($225,000).

Young Charles has so far been credited with siring 165 winners and 20 in 2:00, from around 470 live foals an excellent percentage of 35. Only Local Light (23) and Lordship (22) have been more successful NZ-bred sires of 2:00 performers. "I always wanted him to make the top as a sire more than anything else in the world. When Young Quinn won the 1975 Inter-Dominion final in Auckland, that really put the icing on the cake for me," Mr Mayne said.

As a broodmare sire, Young Charles has now emerged as a real force. He has sired the dams of 122 winners (to July 31, 1981) and at least eight in 2:00 including Armbro Star (1:59.6), Testing Times (1:59.2), Loyal Drift (NZ Oaks), Smooth Charles (1:58.8) and Saucy Jack (Methven Cup).

One way or another, Young Charles has been a good horse to many trotting people all over NZ and many are grateful for the care he received right up until his death. Bob Mayne went to a lot of trouble to bury Young Charles in a special grave on his property last week. The influence of his old favourite promises to be felt as long as there is light harness racing in NZ. Sapling, his best performed entire son, has been heavily booked for his initial season at the Hokonui Stud, where he was conceived nine years ago and where Young Charles made his name as a sire.

Credit: Don Wright writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 22Sep81

 

YEAR: 1980

JOHNNY GEE

Former top trotter Johnny Gee was found dead in his paddock at Central Globe Lodge shortly before New Year. A veterinary examination showed he died of a heart attack. He was 19 years old.

In his racing career Johnny Gee won 28 races and gained 53 placings. His wins included the Dominion Handicap,The Canterbury Park, Banks Peninsula and Waimate Trotting Cups, and three Canterbury Park Stewards' Free-For-Alls, in one of which he set his record of 2:01.2

Johnny Gee was by the great Johnny Globe, four times leading sire, and was out of the Light Brigade mare Atone, who was Broodmare of the Year in 1971-72.

Johnny Gee's progeny are having a good year on the racetrack, led by the good trotter Cool Cat.

-o0o-

Ron Jenkins: Great Trotters

Johnny Gee retired in 1972 as NZ's greatest stakeswinning trotter - $64,690 - and as holder of the NZ mile race trotting record of 2:01 1/5. He was the winner of 27 of his 127 race starts. Among his successes were wins in the Canterbury Park Cup and the Dominion Handicap - the two prestige events for trotters in NZ.

He was the first foal of the champion broodmare Atone, a mare selected as the 1972 NZ Broodmare-of-the-Year. Sold as a yearling at the National Sales for 460 guineas, Johnny Gee was in turn leased to trainer Wes Butt who looked after the horse until his retirement. He was originally tried as a pacer, but was quickly switched to the trotting gait as he persistently crossfired.

During his career in NZ Johnny Gee won many races from difficult handicaps and was seldom beaten under free-for-all conditions. A number of his races were fought out against his stablemate, the Australian bred Tony Bear.

Credit: Ralph Kermode writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 8Jan80

 

YEAR: 1980

Armalight (Bob Negus) parading after winning the 1981 NZ Cup
ARMALIGHT

Take a young filly, gifted from one brother to another, and a young man whose ambition is to own a bit of land where one day he can keep that filly and her foals, and the end result is Armalight and her owner, Brent Smith.

Armalight's rapid rise from 'just another maiden at Westport on Boxing Day' to he position as the best 3-year-old in the country is unusual in that her owner-trainer admits to "just learning about training as I go along." But the learning started a long time ago for 27-year-old Brent, back in the days when he helped his father, the late Howie Smith, with the training of Armalight's dam, Ar Miss.

Ar Miss, a daughter of Armbro Del and the Grattan Loyal mare Trixie Milne, proved an outstanding filly under Howie Smith's care, winning the NZ Sapling Stakes at only her second start when still a maiden, then going on to take the NZ Oaks later that same year. The Sapling-Oaks double was nothing new to Howie Smith at that time, for, nearly a quarter of a century before, he had trained Mr Andy Todd's outstanding filly Perpetua to win both classics.

Ar Miss was raced by Brent's older brother Vic, who was given her by his uncle, the late Ossie Smith. "Ossie gave her to Vic, and I guess he was sort of grateful at getting his start that way, so when Ar Miss started breeding, he promised me the first filly," Brent said when explaining how he came by Amalight. "The first foal by Nevele Romeo died, so we had this free return to Nevele R Stud. At that time Dad had a lot of time for Timely Knight. He really liked him, so Ar Miss was sent back there. I was just lucky that the resultant foal was a filly, her." he said.

That early experience gained with his father influenced young Brent to try his hand at training Armalight himself, a big gamble for a young man with a very valuable filly. "I sent her to Ron Carter to break in, thinking I had better do everything right, rather than risk mucking her up myself. Then after a couple of runs at the trials as a 2-year-old, there was the temptation to go for the Sapling Stakes. Eventually I decided no. Take it easy and do it right."

The experience he gained with his father has proved invaluable to Brent, even though he is the first to admit he still has a great deal to learn. "I always enjoyed the practical side of it with Dad, and I can only go by what I learned working with him. The rest I have just had to find out from others. Bob Negus (the man who drove Armalight in her early racing) and Jack Carmichael have been a great help. I suppose they must get sick of me asking all these questions, but all I can do is learn from them until they have had enough," Brent said.

Bob Negus came into the Armalight story at the same time she opened her racing career. "I had her entered for the Champion Stakes at Ashburton on Boxing Day and a maiden race at Westport the same day. I gave a bit of thought and decided the Champion Stakes might be a bit tough, so I had to find a driver for her at Westport. I knew Bob a little, I was best man for one of his sons, and he was going to Westport with Scholar. He agreed to drive her," Brent said.

That Armalight won her first event is now history, but her record since belies her modest start. Two seconds , both at Nelson - beaten narrowly by the talented Regal Guy and Treasurer respectively - at only her second and third outings, caught the eye of the trotting public and Armalight and her young owner were on their way. Immediately after her Nelson second came the offer for Armalight that Brent now has no regrets he could not accept. "At the time, it would have meant $50,000 in my hand," he recalled. That bit of land was in the back of Brent's mind as Armalight underwent the veterinary examination to confirm the sale. But her off-front hoof, which had been slightly deformed since birth, failed to stand up to the searching veterinary examination for such a big deal, and the sale fell through. You couldn't blame the vet for turning her down on it," said Brent. "The wall of the hoof grows forward instead of down and at that stage she had raced only three times and it was impossible to tell if it would worry her later. Now I'm not sorry she did not pass the examination. I have no regrets at all."

That's not surprising in view of Armalight's record since, six wins, including three heats of the DB Flying Fillies Series and the NZ Metropolitan Championship, and a nose defeat by Armbro Wings in the Great Northern Derby. Though she was beaten only a nose in the Great Northern Derby, Brent surprisingly describes the race as a non-event as far as he was concerned. "I was sitting in the trainers' stand, with Alec Milne actually, and at the 600 metres I knew she had no show from where she was. I thought she had finished fifth, then Alec (who had produced Armbro Wings to win) was shaking my hand saying 'I've done it, I've won'. I started to walk down to the birdcage and somebody came up and said I was fourth. Ten yards further on somebody said I was third, then in the birdcage somebody came up and said I was second, beaten a nose. I thought 'this is good, another ten yards and I'll have won it', but it wasn't really such a nervous time as I would have thought."

Nerves are something Brent has found out about in the past few months, and he admitted not sleeping very well sometimes. The pressure which goes with training such an outstanding filly is something he didn't really think about until he walked Armalight into the birdcage at Timaru for a DB Fillies' heat. "It wasn't until I heard an announcement over the course speaker that she was paying $1.60 to win and 60 cents for a place that it really hit me. I thought 'hello' and it was only then that I realised that there were more people than just myself involved." Until that time, Brent only had the worry of wondering whether he was doing everything possible for the filly, and doing it the right way. He still has that worry, plus the added burden of knowing that Armalight, and to a lesser extent himself, are public property.

Initially, Brent worried mainly about his own abilities. "All I could do, and really still can, is get her as fit as I can, then it's up to her and her driver." But the pressure builds up as each big race approaches, and it can't be an easy thing for a young man with his first horse to handle. The interview was conducted nine days prior to Armalight contesting last Friday's NZ Oaks, and since her win in the NZ Metropolitan 3-year-old Championship at Easter, Armalight had caused her young trainer more than average concern. "I didn't really think she could win that one. I honestly thought she wasn't in the race. I thought I hadn't made one of the payments, but when I got back from Auckland, there she was in the field. I had given her four days off after Auckland so I thought she would be a bit short of work for it." Short of work or not, Armalight proved her complete class by beating a strong field of colts and geldings in record time of 3:23.1 for the 2600 metres, and she did it without being pressured.

Then the trouble started. After she cooled out following that win, Brent discovered Armalight was lame in her near foreleg. "She was as lame as anything when I went to put her on the float and take her home. The next morning, thankfully, it proved to be a stone bruise coming out, nothing as serious as I first thought. I was going to give her four days off anyway, so it did not affect her preparation too much." But before the stone bruise came out, Brent's real worry was that the injury to her near foreleg was caused by her exerting too much pressure on it because of her problem off foreleg.

So far, thankfully, the off front hoof has not caused her any worries, other than making he walk with a peculiar 'roll'. Once travelling at speed, she shows no sign of it. Brent gives all the credit for overcoming her hoof problem to farrier Ron Gibbons. "He spent a lot of time with her and we tried a lot of ways of shoeing her before we got it right. She has a pad under the shoe to build her hoof up to the correct height on that side, and it's thanks to Ron she's had no problems." Ron Gibbons' patience with Armalight has, or will have it's reward though, in the form of a new pair of boots. "I promised Ron that if she won the Metropolitan Stakes I would buy him a new pair of boots. He is always complaining about his footwear, so I made the promise and now I'll have to go out and buy them."

Tom Ryder, who boards Armalight at his Wigram Road property, also comes in for a lot of thanks from Brent. "It's good of Tom to let me keep her there, and he has done a lot to help too," he said. Latest in the list of Brent's 'advisers' is Templeton horseman Jack Carmichael, who drove Armalight for the first time in the Metropolitan Stakes. Brent has been taking Armalight to Carmichael's for fast work in recent weeks. It was because of his association with Ar Miss that Carmichael was offered the drive on Armalight in the Oaks, Bob Negus having to turn down the drive because of having his own filly, Elfin, engaged. "Jack drove Ar miss to win the Oaks for Dad, so he seemed a suitable choice to drive her when Bob advised me to get somebody else," Brent said. Brent gives Bob the credit for Armalight's rapid improvement from the time she started racing. "Bob was really good, teaching her about racing at every start and not knocking her about. She was just another maiden at Westport, but thanks to him she has kept on improving at every start since."

To Brent and his wife Carol, Armalight is more than just a champion filly, of for that matter a ticket to a new house. Brent's affection for the filly has been there since he took possession of her "as a fluffy little thing only that high". Carol's liking for the filly is something that has grown. "Carol was scared of her even when she was only a little thing. Now, she's as proud of her as I am. She treats her like a pet. Carol's had a fair bit to put up with, living in a flat the five years we've been married. We could have been in our own home a while back, but that really took second place to Armalight." Now, thanks to Armalight, Brent and Carol are that much closer to having their home, plus the land Brent wants to keep Armalight and her foals on when he starts breeding from her. And how far away is that day? "I'll race her as a 4-year-old, provided she comes up well, then she'll go to stud. She is too valuable to risk over-racing her," Brent said.

Brent is not worried at the prospect of Armalight ending the season with an open company assessment if she happened to win her three remining engagements this season. "No, I'm not worried about that if it happens. I can't really see her winning all three races, but even if she did, she would only be aimed at 4-year-old events like the Messenger next season." At the time of this interview, Armalight's own personal 'triple crown' was the NZ Oaks, the Great Northern Oaks, and the final of the DB Flying Fillies' Stakes. "I would like her to win the Oaks. Her dam did, but the DB Flying Fillies' would also be a nice one to win. She's won three of the heats and to win the final would really be good."

Armalight proved unbeatable in each of the three DB heats she contested, winning the first at Addington comfortably in 2:03.4, the second at Timaru in 2:02, then becoming the first filly to pace the mile in under 2:00 when she won her Auckland heat by eight lengths in a brilliant 1:59.1 without being pushed. But even these brilliant efforts don't rate with Brent as her best. He names the Celebrity Stakes at Addington between her first two DB heats as her best effort. That night, Armalight outclassed a strong field of colts and geldings over a mile in 2:00.5.

Because of her ability on the racetrack, even Brent has to forgive her little foilbles at home. Her favourite trick, until they fashioned a special frame to stop her was to turn on the tap over the water trough. "Tom Ryder kept blaming me for leaving the tap on, until we found out it was her," Brent said. "Even after we put the frame round the tap, it only took her a month to figure out how to get round that, so we had to put a bar across the top. That stopped her, but now I can hardly get my hand in to turn the tap on." Armalight also has a habit of rubbing her mane against the fence rails, and not even sacks round the rails stops her. "This makes her mane ragged and annoys Carol, who likes to have her looking her best," Brent said.

But believe it or not, It's one of Armalight's little tricks that helps Brent know when she's fit. "If I tickle her under the tummy and she tries to kick the daylights out of me, then she's fit. If she doesn't kick, then it's time to start worrying."


Credit: Tony Williams writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 29Apr80

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