The Precocious story can be taken up at a point where prominent Auckland owner Andy Carmichael and Hawera trainer Doug Grantham in 1963 purchased from veteran Akaroa breeder Jack Ferguson a yearling filly by Johnny Globe from the successful Light Brigade trotting mare Dauphine. The filly was a full sister of Au Fait, who had won the 1961 Dominion Handicap for her Wellington breeder Jack McKay and was subsequently sold to America at a high price.
Mr Carmichael, successful in business through Broadway pies, and over the years a good winning owner with horses like Prince Polka and Chequer Board, decided that Grantham should train their acquistion. Grantham was only too pleased to oblige in this role, but when, as he built up the work schedule for the young filly, she kept putting on condition instead of shedding it, he was at a loss to understand her. A vet solved the problem. The then 2-year-old filly was in foal.
A hasty conference was called, and on checking back the filly's state was traced to a night when an Aksarben colt, appropriately named All Gallant, had got over a fence and in amongst several yearlings on Mr Ferguson's property. Mr Ferguson most apologetically offered to replace the in-foal filly with another, but Andy and Doug decided that whatever will be will be. They gave the filly time off to have her foal - most aptly named the young mother Precocious and the foal Over Fence; put Precocious back into work and produced her for her first racing a a 5-year-old in the 1967-8 season.
That she was as forward at coming forward on the racetrack as she was for Mother Nature, Precocious showed by winning four races and gaining two seconds, a third and three fourths in her first campaign - during which Mr Carmichael bought out Grantham's share (after three wins) and placed her with Bob Mitchell at Cambridge.
At six, Precocious had 10 starts for one win, two thirds and a fourth, and at seven two wins and seven minor placings from 18 attempts in NZ and one win in Melbourne on a brief Australian sojourn at Inter-Dominion time. A costly persistence to tangle early in her races led her connections to think either she was feeling the tracks of she was averse to racing right-handed as they do in many northern tracks.
Meantime, Mr Carmichael, who had paid $20,000 to secure the up-and-coming Chequer Board from Northland owner Dave Jessop, had placed him with successful results with Templeton trainer Jack Carmichael (no relation). The southern horseman, after driving Precocious to the second of her wins as a 7-year-old at Cambridge in January 1970, was invited to take her south to his stable to produce as an 8-year-old. By this time on the fringe of good class, Precocious still persisted with that costly tangle early in her races and her first 22 appearances as an 8-year-old resulted in four seconds, a third and two fourths.
Ironically, it was when Jack Carmichael brought her back to Auckland in May 1971, that Precocious broke through for her first win for his stable - bolting away with an impressive double in the St Andrews and Remuera Handicaps at the Auckland winter meeting. They were her last two starts for the 1970-71 season, and she carried on the good work in the season under review, winning three of her first seven starts before placing fourth in the Worthy Queen Handicap at Addington on NZ Cup day.
Then it was the big one, the $10,200 Dominion Trotting Handicap on Show Day at Addington, November 12 1971. Precocious, on the strength of her lastest good form, was sent out 1-2 in the order of betting. And she didn't let the army of fans she had now established down in any way. Jack Carmichael, bounced the 9-year-old mother out from the limit mark in good style, and with no sign of that earlier chink in her armour she settled in to trot solidly handy on the outer with a good cover. She was going so well that her trainer-driver let her forge through to the front crossing the top with two and a half furlongs to travel.
She was never in danger of defeat, coming in with two lengths and a half to spare from Merrin. Northerner Easton Light was a good third after covering much ground and Marius close up next, best of the others. The winning time of 4:18 2/5 was the seventh-fastest in the 70-year-old history of the race, the record for which is held at 4:15 4/5 by none other than Precocious' sister, Au Fait. But Precocious could obviously have gone a lot faster.
The win brought her earnings to near $25,000 and while she appeared to train off a shade after that she was back in the winners' circle in February, taking the Hagley Trotting Free-for-all at the Canterbury Park meeting at Addington. It was a good season for her, and, as it was only her fourth, there appeared to be no reason why, before she had another look at the matron's paddock, she should not add a lot more lustre to her race record.
Meanwhile Over Fence, who, though speedy and a fairly quick qualifier, proved erratic and was not persevered with as a racing proposition. Shortly after Precocious gained her most important win in the Dominion Handicap, Over Fence made her a grandmother by producing a foal to the imported Tartan Hanover.
Credit: Ron Bisman: DB Trotting Annual 1972
Dubbed the 'Ugly Duckling' because of his roach back and rat tail, Manaroa proved that appearances alone do not make a champion racehorse.
A winner of many top-class races, Manaroa would have had a more impressive record but for being unruly at the barrier in many of his races. In NZ Manaroa held a record of a 2:04 rating over 13 furlongs. He also won over two miles in 4:10 1/5 and was joint record holder with Caduceus for 1½ miles standing start in 3:04 2/5. His best NZ time for a mile was 1:59 2/5.
Manaroa won two heats of the 1971 Inter-Dominion at Addington, and finished a neck and a nose behind Junior's Image and Stella Frost in the final, subsequently being promoted to second placing upon the disqualification of Junior's Image. He brilliantly won his three heats of the 1972 Inter-Dominion in Brisbane and was backmarker off 24 yards in the final, but found the handicap, and being forced to race wide for a good portion of the event, too severe and finished fifth.
Manaroa was third behind Bay Foyle and Reichman in the Miracle Mile of 1972, and ran a similar placing in the same race in 1973 behind Reichman and Royal Ascot. From 24 yards in the 1973 Inter-Dominion in Sydney he was successful in one heat and second in another, but failed to qualify for the final because of a poor start in the other heat in which he finished last.
Manaroa was successful in other principal events in Australia. In winning the 1971 NSW Lord Mayor's Cup from 24 yards he defeated Welcome Advise and Lachamfer and rated 2:06 4/5. He ran 2:00 3/5 in winning the NSW Lightning Mile in September, 1972, by 25 yards and lowered the race record previously held by Macaree and Halwes at 2:01.
Against time in October, 1972, Manaroa paced 1:59 3/5 at Harold Park.
Credit: Ron Jenkins: Great Trotters
Hopes of Holy Hal standing up to another preparation have been dashed, according to his Edendale part-owner, Mr D Keenan. "It looks a bit like curtains this time," he said recently. The Hal Tryax horse resumed light work about a month ago, but soreness recurred. Although he is back in light work again, little hope is held for him getting to the races.
Mr Keenan and the Mataura trainer, D Todd, have been fighting an uphill battle with Holy Hal since he went amiss on an Australian campaign two years ago. He underwent a concerted preparation for the Inter-Dominion Championship in Auckland last year, winning the Wellington Cup and running second to First Lee in the Grand Final. Holy Hal was quartered at Timaru after the championships, where he was given deep ray treatment in an attempt to liven the tissue surrounding the affected area of his off foreleg. He was then turned out to spell before a preparation designed for the NZ Cup last November.
However, he failed to stand up, and did a season at the stud. Included in his court of 33 mares were Colwyn Bay, dam of Cardigan Bay, and Cherry Blossom, who left Robin Dundee. "It looks as if a permanent stud career is the only thing for him now," Mr Keenan said. Ligament trouble in the off foreleg has, therefore, fininshed the career of one of NZ's most outstanding colt pacers of all time. It was remarkable that he was able to run second to First Lee in the 1968 Inter-Dominion Grand Final as at no stage in his training and racing in this campaign was he 100% sound.
Raced in partnership by Keenan and Mr J R Rodgers, of Christchurch, Holy Hal started 16 times in NZ for nine wins and three placings and $19,390 in stakes. He finished second in the first of two Australian starts as a three-year-old. Holy Hal was trained throughout his career by Todd, who drove him in this two-year-old successes. Later in his career, stable horseman K M Balloch handled him.
A son of Hal Tryax and the Sandydale mare, Sandra Kay, Holy Hal was unbeaten in five starts as a two-year-old, at which age he won the NZ Sapling Stakes, beating Cardinal King, who made a clean sweep of the last International series at Yonkers Raceway, New York. After a run at the Northern Southland non-totalisator meeting, he was untroubled to dispose of Killadar, Cardinal King, Fort Nelson, Miles Gentry and others in the NZ Derby, first up as a three-year-old.
Credit: 'Stopwatch' writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 21May69
A chartered cargo plane, which he had all to himself, deposited Cardigan Bay on American soil on the first day of spring, 1964. It was prophetic. For the next five years the great NZ pacing horse was destined to be the evergreen of harness racing, the hardy perennial which not even advancing old age could keep pruned for long. In the September of his years Cardigan Bay planted springtime in the hearts of millions of racing fans.
Cardigan Bay showed up in the United States with just $158,212 in his pockets. When he had cooled out for the last time beneath the blue and gold blanket of the Stanley Dancer Stable at Freehold Raceway on the late afternoon of September 14, 1968, he had accumulated earnings of $1,001,353 and so become the first millionaire horse in standardbred history.
A month later in a warm Saturday night bath of spotlights at Yonkers Raceway he was officially disarmed, relinquishing his racing shoes and equipment amidst pomp and ceremony and the Prime Minister of NZ. It had been, by formal proclamation, 'Cardigan Bay Day' in Yonkers, New York. The next evening Cardigan Bay walked down a long red carpet, which lead into the living rooms of 20-million viewers, on the Ed Sullivan television show. No immigrant had ever 'made it' any bigger any faster.
Cardigan Bay's path to greatness on the North American continent was not a charted one, nor was it paved with pushovers. In his very first race at Yonkers, he had to beat Royal Rick. He did. In his next few races he had to beat the likes of Overtrick, Irvin Paul, Henry T Adios, Country Don, Mighty Tide, Rusty Range and Cold Front. As often as not he did.
Fact is, the rest of the top free-for-allers had been waiting for him. Cardigan Bay had arrived in the United States in a cloud of press clippings. Everone knew the story. How Stanley Dancer had made the long trip to NZ expressly to see the big bay pacing machine, how he hadn't been able to swing the purchase until just 15 minutes before his plane was due to depart, and how it had still cost him $100,000 to buy an eight-year-old gelding.
Back in the United States the future enemy also quickly heard of the unbelievable training routine which Dancer witnessed the week he watched Cardigan Bay. Monday through Friday 15 to 20 miles of jogging each day, then five more jogging miles Saturday morning, a workout of one and a half miles in 3:30, then an afternoon race of a mile and a half, which he won with a 36-yard handicap. The newspapers also carried Dancer's reaction after Cardigan Bay's first workout at the farm in New Egypt, New York. "This is a million dollar horse," Dancer exclaimed as he hopped out of the cart. "I got him $900,000 cheap."
Yes, North America saw Cardigan Bay coming, but it couldn't stop him. Old Cardy, showing an elusive hip to a pursuing Father Time and straight arming one ailment after another, started in 87 races against the most choice of opposition, won 37 of them, finished second 16 times and third on an additional 19 occasions. Cardy left record performances behind him at big places like Yonkers Raceway and Hollywood Park, whipped Bret Hanover in the widely heralded 'Pace of the Century,' attracted tremendous crowds wherever he went, particularly in a series of thrilling 'challenge' and 'revenge' spectacles with Bret Hanover and Overtrick, and finally left the entire world of harness racing limp as he, at last, 'hobbled' past the historic $1-million in 2:01 for the mile.
Like a very good angel who has done so many nice things in a temporary world, Cardigan Bay's life must now go full circle, back to NZ. This clause was in the original contract which Stanley Dancer signed with Mrs Audrey Dean of Auckland. "Wherever he is, he will never really be far away," Stan Dancer said as he folded up Old Cardy's cooler for the last time and prepared to tuck it tenderly and carefully away. Stan was the spokeman for every racing devotee on this continent.
For every individual man who knew Cardigan Bay was coming, there are now 1000 who know he is leaving. Old Cardy could get to people real quick.
Credit: NZ Trotting Calendar 5Feb69
'Ribbonwood' writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 12Jun63.
Thelma Globe, dam of Blazing Globe, one of the smartest 3-year-olds in Australia this season, could quite easily have been relegated to the marton's paddock as a filly, so little promise did she show up till the time she reached her fourth birthday.
She was such a complete duffer as a juvenile that she was raced only once as a 3-year-old, was allowed to go out the rank outsider of a field of 14 in the NZ Oaks, and justified it!
Mr G Lancaster, who bred Thelma Globe, recalled that J Vivian, of Shands Track, Hornby, mouthed and gaited Thelma Globe, who was then given to H J Smith to train. She showed practically no promise and about the only think she was good for was as a pacemaker in trials. In training at the same stables was another of Mr Lancaster's juveniles, Yankiwi, who had much of the early ability of the Free Advice family; but while Yankiwi was usually up near the front of most of his workouts, Thelma Globe went in danger of being run over in the last bit. She became wayward at the barrier, and after her Oaks fiasco she went back to her owner's place and was turned out.
At four years she was leased to Drs A C and A S Sandston, with the right of purchase, and she won a few races before the Doctors excercised their option at what turned out to be a very reasonable figure. Thelma Globe was trained for all her successes, and driven in the majority of he races by J B Pringle. Thelma Globe, of course, was a champion. Her 4.11 for two miles is still a world record for a mare.
The death was reported recently of Thelma Globe, one of the greatest mares to race in the Dominion.
Thelma Globe, who began her career as a 3-year-old and had one unplaced start that season in the NZ Oaks, in which she was the outsider in a field of 14, was a bay mare by Springfield Globe from My Lady Luck, a full sister to two other top-class pacers in Pacing Power and Horsepower. She was purchased before she raced from her breeder, Mr G Lancaster, by the father and son owner combination, Drs A S and A C Sandston, of Christchurch.
Thelma Globe won her first race at the Timaru Trotting Club's meeting at Washdyke in January, 1951, when she was successful in the Fairlie Handicap. Altogether that season, Thelma Globe won four races, her fourth for the term also being at Washdyke when she won the Winter Handicap. Five wins came Thelma Globe's way as a 5-year-old, and they included the New Brighton Cup and a double on the one day at Forbury Park.
She won one race at six years, and the next year she had four wins. Her first success that term was gained in the Flying Handicap at Forbury Park, in which she beat Tactician in 2:35 for the mile and a quarter journey. She was then taken to Auckland for the Auckland Cup meeting where she proved invincible.
Thelma Globe won the principal event each day - the Auckland Cup, Champion Handicap and President's Free-For-All - and trainer-drivers of other champions in these races unstintingly acknowledged her superiority at the Epsom Carnival. "Nothing could have beaten her in the fee-for-all," said one trainer. "She lost more ground even than Johnny Globe and then won decisively."
That season Thelma Globe won $18,480 in stakes, which made her the leading stake-winner that term.
Thelma Globe more than emulated the greatness of her famous grandam, Free Advice. Free Advice was by Blue Mountain King (son of Ribbonwood)from Intaglio, by Logan Pointer(imp) from Cameos, by Galindo(imp) from Thelma, and Thelma Globe was certainly one of the greatest racehorses tracing to this famous taproot.
Thelma Globe was trained, and driven in practically all her races, by the late J B Pringle. In all, Thelma Globe started 92 times for 17 wins and 28 placings worth $40,880. At stud Thelma Globe produced Thermal and Don Caesar, both winners, but not in her class as performers.
Credit: 'Irvington' writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 1May68
Waitaki Hanover, one of the most tightly assessed pacers in NZ - he is on a 2:06 distance mark - has been retired from racing. The decision to retire Waitaki Hanover was made after consultation between his trainer, A J Bourne, of Woolston, and his owners, Mrs J Smith, of Christchurch, and her son, Mr F Smith, of Kurow.
"The old fellow had been working splendidly, but he just lacks the dash to top off his efforts in his races," Bourne said. "He's not completely sound and we don't want to race him until he breaks down completely."
A 9-year-old entire by Garrison Hanover from Kid Dale, Waitaki Hanover changed hands for about $14,000 early in his career. He well justified this expenditure, for in NZ he gained 16 wins and 25 placings worth $35,543. He made several visits to Australia, where his winnings were more than $20,000 and his successes included a Sydney Lord Mayor's Ctp and an A G Hunter Cup in Melbourne. He was also third behind Cardigan Bay and Dusty Miller in the 1963 Inter-Dominion Championship Grand Final in Adelaide.
Waitaki Hanover joined Bourne's team in December, 1965. Before that, he had been through the hands of many trainers. At the time it was considered unlikely that he would stand up to another preparation. Bourne's methods agreed with Waitaki Hanover, who won three races, including the Rotorua Cup, before the end of that season. He won four races last season - the National Handicap and NZ Free-For-All at Addington, the Ashburton Flying Stakes and the Auckland Cup. He was also third to Lordship and Robin Dundee in the NZ Cup.
Campaigned in Australia, he returned from there a very tired horse. He continued to work well this season, but found the task of winning from long marks beyond him, although he paid his way with placings, one of which was a third to Lordship and Fort Nelson in a free-for-all on January 1. On that occasion he paced the mile and five furlongs in 3:21 1/5, his fastest ever for the distance. He also took a record of 2:35 for a mile and a quarter, 2:51 3/5 for a mile and three furlongs, 3:07 3/5 for a mile and a half, and 4:13 3/5 for two miles.
Credit: NZ Trotting Calendar 24Apr68
"He's done it!"
This simple exclamation conveys more than a Poet Laureate could write to pay tribute to our one and only Cardigan Bay, the first millionaire standardbred in all light-harness history; bred at Chimes Lodge, Mataura, Southland, by D (for Davey) Todd, sold to Mrs Audrey Dean for $5000, for whom he won a fortune and was sold for a fortune; and went on to amass (overall) ten-fold the price the American syndicate paid for him.
Cardigan Bay, the seemingly indistructable pacer now in his 13th year to NZ time (he would have been 12 on August 1 last if he remained here) has already more than Tennyson's Brook - he has not only gone on for ever - he has become a worthy offspring of Old Father Thames as well!
With only three years of racing on American tracks under his belt, the durable gelding has already proved a star of stars. From coast to coast, he became recognised as a 'personality.' His duels with some of the all time greats of pacing have gone into the harness racing archives as some of the greatest races ever witnessed in the history of the sport. In 1964, he took part in three thrilling races with the speedy Overtrick, beating him only once, but two of the races were so close it took the judges several minutes to seperate the horses in the photo-finish picture. Appropriately, the two races were named after a pacing immortal, Dan Patch.
Again in 1966, another young rival, the speediest pacer ever, Bret Hanover, was the opposition. In their first meeting, 'The Pace of the Century' at Yonkers Raceway, a crowd of 36,795, which bet a season's record handle for all tracks of $2,802,745, saw Cardigan Bay beat the great Bret by a length. Bret came back to whip Cardigan Bay in subsequent races but it is that first meeting in 'The Pace of the Century' that fans still talk about.
Last year at Windsor, Ontario, for example, on March 8, despite a 22 degree temperature, he broke all kinds of records in winning the Provincial Cup Pace. Other Windsor track records racked up by Cardigan Bay were: 1) Most money bet on a horse, 2) Most money bet on a single race, 3) Most money bet on a programme, and 4) Record crowd.
It is a tribute to the training ability of Davey Todd, Peter Wolfenden and Stanley Dancer that this aged gamester kept going so long and tirelessly. He broke the two-minute mile mark many times and holds all-time track records of 1:57 2/5 for the mile at Hollywood Park, California, and 1:58 1/5 at Yonkers Raceway. He scored victories in practically every important event available to free-for-allers in America. In NZ and Australia Cardigan Bay, at least in the eyes of th present generation, replaced the legendary thoroughbred Phar Lap as the greatest equine hero Down Under.
Purchased by Stanley Dancer in 1964 for $100,000, Cardigan Bay had to end his American racing career at the close of 1969 according to an agreement Dancer signed with the previous owner, Mrs Audrey Dean of Auckland. A clause in the the contract stipulated that "Dancer will ship Cardigan Bay at his own expense back to Mrs Dean when he is retired from racing, but no later than the age of 13 years." Actually, the purchase price was $100,025.70. The $25.70 was a service charge levied by a Melbourne bank for handling the transfer of funds to Mrs Dean's account in Auckland. Add to this the shipping costs of Cardigan Bay, plus a six months quarantine in England, would be about $106,025.70. For this investment, Cardy has returned to his owners, Irving W Berkemeyer and the Cardigan Stable the bonanza of over $825,000. His grand total is $1,000,671.
The saga of our Cardigan Bay began at Chimes Lodge, a training and breeding farm at Mataura. Davey Todd, a veteran trainer, had a considerable reputation for having a knack with problem horses. With his brother Sandy, Todd runs Chimes Lodge. Cardigan Bay was gelded while a weanling, a common practice with the Todd Brothers. Cardigan Bay did not race as a 2-year-old. He started only eight times as a 3-year-old, winning twice and finishing second once. He was campaigned lightly again at four, and this was largely because he was laid aside for three months at the height of the season because of a cold. In four outings, he won three times and finished second on the other occasion. One of these races, incidentally, was in saddle on January 11, 1960. Cardigan Bay finished second. This was one of the last races in saddle in the harness sport in NZ. At the conclusion of his 4-year-old season he was sold for $5000 to Mrs Audrey D Dean of Auckland.
Today, an observer can tour NZ and literally meet hundreds of horsemen who claim that they could have bought Cardigan Bay but didn't act quickly enough to grasp the opportunity. It was ever thus. In most of his subsequent engagements, while owned by Mrs Dean, Cardigan Bay was trained and driven by Peter Wolfenden, one of the top reinsmen in NZ. Martin Tananbaum, president of Yonkers Raceway, who pioneered the International Pace in 1960, first held discussions in Perth about inviting the gelding to the International Pace held annually at Yonkers Raceway. The Inter-Dominion Grand Finals were about three days off and it appeared certain that every attendance and betting record at Gloucester Park, Perth, would be toppled when the exciting Cardigan Bay raced for the Inter-Dominion Championships.
At Cannington track, a training oval some six miles outside Perth, Cardigan Bay was put through a light jogging session by a groom attached to the stable of Billy Wilkins, who was 'standing in' for Peter Wolfenden as trainer-driver at the time. As the lad dismounted and held the reins lightly, one of the sulky wheels suddenly crumbled and collapsed, some say due to a flat tyre. The usually easy-going Cardigan Bay was startled and bolted from the grounds through an open gate dragging the damaged cart behind him. He headed, terror stricken, for his stall. Before anyone could could flag the great animal down it was too late. He had crashed his right hip severely against one of the walls tearing his flesh open to the bone and it looked as though a merciful end, at the hands of a veterinarian, was the only future for Cardigan Bay. As a matter of fact, one story current at the time was that if Cardigan Bay had been insured, he would have been destroyed there and then.
Most of the credit, according to Australian and NZ sources, for the miraculous recovery of Cardigan Bay should go to a Perth trainer named Ted Greig. He insisted the horse could be saved and arranged for special slings and contrivances to shift the weight off the injured member. The damaged hip was actually six inches lower than the other. Greig once told newsmen: "I know you'll think me silly but Cardigan Bay was almost human. He never kicked or nipped me, or anyone else and he had lots of brains. Somehow he knew he was badly hurt by his accident and so he rested for a long time, until he himself knew he had the strength to move. When I took him out to graze," Greig related, "he was very unsteady and I had to brace my body against his so he could lean on me. I'll never know how really big his heart is," concluded Greig.
Cardigan Bay was out for four months and when he went back to light training his pronounced limp was easily visible. Nevertheless, by the time the Inter-Dominions of 1963 rolled around in February, Cardigan Bay was ready. On hand at Adelaide again was president Martin Tananbaum of Yonkers Raceway with a firm invitation to Mrs Dean to bring the horse to the 1963 International. On the first night of the Inter-Dominion Championships Tananbaum met Mrs Dean and her husband, Merv, near Cardigan Bay's stall. "Mr Tananbaum," said Mr Dean, "speaking for my wife, anyone can have the horse beginning right now for £25,000 sterling ($70,000 American currency), I mean" continued the husband, "starting tonight all the purse money goes to the man who buys him."
That night, after the races, the overseas telephone operator from Adelaide was kept busy as the Yonkers track president realised that only through a purchaser could he hope to obtain the services of this obviously great horse. He had no luck after contacting several of the leading standardbred owners in America. The conversations all raged along the same lines. "Seventy thousand dollars for a 7-year-old gelding. What's the matter, Marty, are you nuts or something?" Had any of the men contacted by Tananbaum, taken his advice they would have immediately reaped a return of $30,000 from the Inter-Dominions against their $70,000 outlay.
With Peter Wolfenden back in the sulky, the year 1963 was undoubtedly a most remarkable season for Cardigan Bay. He won the Inter-Dominions after four gruelling heats. In the first qualifying heat, which he won, a horse put a foot through his wheel that almost unseated Wolfenden. Cardigan Bay also won the second qualifier easily but in the third he was unable to avoid a three-horse pile-up and somersaulted over the fallen horses. Wolfenden was hurled from the sulky onto the track. Even the Final was not without incident. Handicapped from 24 yards back,Cardigan Bay got up to the field but on the final turn was forced very wide by another pile up yet finished strongly enough to win setting a track record at Adelaide, South Australia.
That same year, 1963, Cardigan Bay also became the first horse to win both the Inter-Dominion Championships and the NZ Cup in the same year, a feat which had eluded such great horses as Caduceus, False Step, Johnny Globe and Highland Fling. He won several more classics in his native NZ and as his reputation grew so did the crowds. A record 26,107 turned out for the Auckland Cup in which he beat the field from a back mark of 78 yards. Cardigan Bay continued to break attendance and track records from handicap marks of 30, 42, 60 and 78 yards in various races. In December, 1963, at Hutt Park, he paced against time in a blazing record of 1:56 1/5(the fastest mile of his entire career) to round out a most remarkable year for a horse whose racing days had been declared finished by veterinary surgeons the previous year, and his 1:56 1/5 is still the Australian and NZ record.
The news of the last performance of Cardigan Bay was by January, 1964, well-known to most horsemen in American harness racing circles, but the alert Dancer, it appears, was first to act. He contacted some friends in Australia and NZ who confirmed that Cardigan Bay was indeed as good as the press clippings indicated. When Martin Tananbaum, made plans to attend the Inter-Dominion Championships in Melbourne, to invite horses to the 1964 International Pace, Stanley Dancer asked if he could accompany the Yonkers boss and try to purchase Cardigan Bay. Tananbaum himself, although he was to make a third attempt to invite Mrs Dean, went with little hope of collaring the fabulous gelding. Transportation plans were changed as Dancer and one of his owners, Dr Thomas Siciliano, embarked on the trip Down Under with Tananbaum.
Instead of heading directly for Melbourne a six-hour stop-over was arranged at Auckland, the home of the Deans. In the modest brick house, over traditional tea, scones and biscuits, Dancer bid $90,000 for Cardigan Bay. Mrs Dean said that her price was now $140,000, double that of a year previous. It was agreed after some preliminary discussions that they would continue their talks after Dancer had a chance to see Cardigan Bay train and perform in Melbourne. Strict orders were given that Dancer could not test-drive the swift pacer. It was a "look but don't touch" edict.
In Melbourne, one Thursday morning, before the first heat of the Inter-Dominions, scheduled two days later, Dancer saw Cardigan Bay in only one work-out. He turned to the group around him and said: "He's mine if I can buy him. I'll give her $100,000 for him." Later, in an automobile heading back to his hotel, Dancer was asked how he could make a judgement to spend so vast an amount of money after only one work-out. Dancer revealed that he was impressed with Cardigan Bay's stamina, and the way he had shrugged off an unbelievable work-load in only one week of training sold him on the gelding. That and, of course, the 1:56 1/5 mile he had paced on the small track with a heavy sulky at Wellington the previous December. Stanley said: "When I saw him work on that Thursday morning he paced an easy mile in 2:20 and then when Peter Wolfenden blew him out he did the mile in 2:03 3/5." The secret to Dancer's decision was the fact that Peter Wolfenden in conversation had revealed that on this same morning he had jogged Cardigan Bay some 17 miles. His jogging schedule seemed to run between 17 and 20 miles at least four days a week, plus a mile or more of hard work every day.
When on the following Saturday night Cardigan Bay threaded his way from a 36-yard handicap through a 12-horse field to win for fun by four lengths Dancer was determined more than ever to acquire Cardigan Bay for his syndicate, which was headed by Irving W Berkemeyer who also owned another great gelding - the trotter Su Mac Lad. Negotiations began early the following Sunday morning, Dancer was scheduled to leave for the United States at 3pm. The deal appeared to be at a standstill at the $100,000 mark until Dancer, remembering the many cups and trophies, and other momentos, back in Mrs Dean's living room in Auckland, sensed the deep devotion and affection she had for Cardigan Bay, promised to ship the horse back to her at his own expense when the gelding's racing days were ended. A hurried, hand-written agreement was drawn up, signed and witnessed, and Dancer was on the plane headed back to America with minutes to spare.
The rest is now history, and already two journalists, one in NZ, the other in America, are planning to write books about him. And he has, perhaps, also been NZ's greatest ambassador. The men in Parliament must have ideas along these lines, because it has been mooted that his feat will be marked by the issue of a special stamp in NZ. Trotting interests have made representations to the Department of Internal Affairs and to the Postmaster-General(Mr Scott), who has shown interest in the idea.
Cardigan Bay was by Hal Tryax(imp), 3, 2:00, from Colwyn Bay(4:25 for two miles), by Josedale Dictator(imp) from Pleasure Bay, by Quite Sure(imp) from Helen's Bay, by Guy Parrish(imp) from Gold Patch, by Geo M Patchen. Gold Patch, foaled at Green Island, Otago, was out of Trilby, who was claimed to have been a thoroughbred and is probably the same Trilby who appears in Vol II of the NZ (thoroughbred) Stud Book. That Trilby was by Torpedo from Christina, by Javelin from Cascade, by Sledmere. Trilby was apparently of little account on the racetrack, but some of her relatives were good - one in particular her full-brother, Torpina, won three times in a row as a 3-year-old, including a hurdle race at Riccarton. Torpedo, sire of Trilby, was by the famous imported sire Musket, sire of the immortal galloper Carbine, winner of the Melbourne Cup as a 5-year-old in 1890 carrying 10st 5lb, still the highest weight ever carried to victory in one of the world's greatest races. Carbine later went to England and became an outstanding stud success. Torpedo himself was a capable racehorse. In the 1890-91 season he won his first seven races on end and later on in the same season he won four more on end.
Credit: NZ Trotting Calendar 18Sep68
Moon Boy, one of the greatest trotters to race in NZ in the last 10 years, collapsed and died this week. Moon Boy had been used to pull a light cart at Paparoa Prison for the last few years and he was being harness for work when he collapsed.
Moon Boy started 72 times for Mr & Mrs H Morris and gained 14 wins and 26 placings worth $19,045. He still holds the NZ record of 3:23 4/5 for 13 furlongs, and for a time shared the record of 4:15 4/5 for two miles. He also recorded 3:12 for 12 furlongs at Ashburton.
Moon Boy, a 13-year-old gelding by Court Martial from Bardia, was trained for all his racing by T L Bennett at Weedons.
Credit: NZ Trotting Calendar 18Oct67
If Markovina succeeds this year in becoming only the third horse to win two Inter-Dominion championships, it's doubtful whether his feat could cause many more ripples in the trotting world than Captain Sandy did in taking his second title back in 1953.
Captain Sandy was ten at the time...and had not won a race since taking the Inter-Dominion title nearly three years earlier. But win the '53 final he did, confirming yet again his earlier reputation as a dour old race horse.
By Mr John Johnston's Sandydale, Captain Sandy was out of a wayward mare Waikaura. She cost Mr Bob Ludemann, a neighbour of Johnston at Oamaru, only 13gns at auction in the 1930s. Ludemann had her for some years before sending her to Sandydale for the mating which produced a small bay colt, later to be named Captain Sandy. Being bad at almost everything else apparently, Waikaura was not a good mother either, and it was only after some time of constant coaxing and supervision that she would allow her new son to suckle.
Ludemann eventually sent the colt to trainer Jock Bain for his early education...but did not like the way the youngster was shaping. Bain, obviously a shrewd judge, saw some potential and offered to take Captian Sandy on a long-term lease. He wouldn't regret the move. He started Captain Sandy 16 times at four for a win (his first start) and five placings. The next season Captain Sandy earned more than £2000 for Bain, the result of three wins and seven placings. Bain must have realised about then that this was no mere plodder he had on his hands for he was soon to engage the services of one of the country's leading reinsmen, James Bryce Junior to do the driving.
In 1948 Captain Sandy and Bryce won nine races, including the Auckland Cup. The pair took the north's premier race the next year, too, this time from 36 yards behind. It was only natural that Bain should take the horse to Melbourne for the 1950 Inter-Dominion series. Unfortunately, Bryce was taking an enforced 'holiday' at the time so the winning combination was split. However, Freeman Holmes proved an able, if only temporary substitute for Bryce.
Captain Sandy finished fourth in the first heat in the fastest time and on the second night finished a creditable seventh after being almost put out during a bad skirmish during the running. In his third race, Captain Sandy took third and fastest time again but in doing so, Holmes was found guilty of breaking the rules. So he too was given a spell from driving. Sydney driver Jack Watts was more than pleased to take over the reins for the £10,000 Grand Final, a race which Captain Sandy had just scraped into through his fastest times. What happened next is history. Watts and Captain Sandy swooped on Morrie Holmes and Globe Direct near the end of the 14 furlong trip to get the decision by a head with another kiwi, Sprayman, third.
It's difficult to pinpoint the reasons but Captain Sandy never regained anything like that form on his return to NZ. Sure, he qualified for the final of the 1951 Inter-Dominion series in Christchurch with a fourth and a second in the heats, but off long marks, he could not win a race. Bain gave up his lease and Captain Sandy spent a time in the care of Wes Butt and George Benny for very little return. He was sent home again. Perhaps now, it was John Johnston who showed just how astute a judge of horseflesh he was. For it was Johnston, who in 1952, recommended to West Australian Dinny Nolan that he buy Captain Sandy to prepare for a tilt at the next year's big series in Perth. Nolan paid only 525 guineas and took Captain Sandy home.
The 10-year-old thrived and more than paid his way. In the Championship itself Captain Sandy scored a fourth and a second (driven by Freeman Holmes) in the early heats. Then with Bob Pollock in control (Holmes had to drive one of the favourites Blue Mist) Captain Sandy finished second again to the brilliant Ribands on the third night. That placing made Captain Sandy one of the top qualifiers for the Grand Final and Nolan was more than pleased to again give the drive to Pollock, one of the state's more promising young drivers.
Captain Sandy started from 24 yards behind but soon made up his handicap and wore down Ribands in the final few yards. History had been made in more ways than one. As well as being the first horse to win the title twice (Hondo Grattan would do so in 1973 and 74) Captain Sandy also became the greatest stake-winning standardbred in either NZ or Australia at the time with earnings of more than £40,000. And just to demonstrate his toughness he went a mile in 1:59 a couple of nights later followed by another mile of 1:57.5 against time on the half-mile track only days after that. The time, a world record, was not allowed though because the pacemaker had been allowed to head Captain Sandy during the trial.
The old chap made a final Inter-Dominion appearance at Adelaide. He scored points for fastest time (he finished ninth) in the first heat from 36 yards behind, and eventually made the final with six points. For the Grand Final, run on the giddy two and a half furlong Wayville Track, Captain Sandy was to be reunited with his old driver Jimmy Bryce, flown over from NZ just for the occasion. From 48 yards behind, he had virtually no show, but his performance to get up for fourth was one of the highlights of the series. With two rounds of the track left he was still at the back of the field, ten lengths from the leaders. He was forced to improve four and five wide and still had six in front of him at the turn. But fight he did, and Captain Sandy was once more in the money, winding up in fourth place only six yards from the winner, Tennessee Sky.
Captain Sandy, the only horse to win two Inter-Dominion Championships, died recently, according to a report in the Australian 'Trotguide.'
Captain Sandy was by the imported Sandydale from Waikaura. He was driven by J D Watts when he won the Final of the 1950 Inter-Dominion series on the Melbourne Showgrounds. Driven by L Pollock, he won his second Championship at Gloucester Park in 1953.
Driven by the late Claude Tupper, Captain Sandy started from 36 yards behind in the Easter Cup at Harold Park, Sydney, and defeated Avondale(scr) and Sparkling Max(12 yards). Captain Sandy also won the Victorian Easter Cup from 48 yards behind in 1953. In attempts against time in West Australia, Captain Sandy clocked 1:59 for a mile at Gloucester Park in March, 1953. He bettered this at Bunbury on March 4, 1953, when he covered the journey in 1:57½.
Captain Sandy was foaled in NZ in 1942. He was bred at Oamaru by Mr R Ludemann, who picked up Captain Sandy's dam, Waikaura, at auction for the hack price of £6 10s.
One of Captain Sandy's greatest performances in NZ was in the Flying Stakes at the Easter meeting at Addington when, in one of the most thrilling duels ever seen at headquarters, he ran the peerless Highland Fling to a head. The time was 2:35 3/5 for a mile and a quarter. In the 1949 NZ Cup Captain Sandy looked a shade unlucky when beaten into second place by a real surprise packet in Loyal Nurse, and he went on to win the Auckland Cup for the second year in a row.
Captain Sandy was raced and trained in NZ by J M Bain, Oamaru and driven in most of his races by J Bryce, Jnr.
Credit: NZ Trotting Calendar 18Oct67
Credit: Graham Ingram writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 6Mar79