YEAR: 1980

Doris Nyhan & Lordship in 1962

When Don and Doris Nyhan established their stables at Templeton 30 years ago they named it Globe Lodge as a tribute to the immortal sire, Globe Derby.

About this time they raced Johnny Globe, a grandson of Globe Derby, who wrote a colourful chapter into NZ light-harness history through his deeds on the track and as a sire. And now it is a son of former public idol Johnny Globe, Lordship, who is keeping the stud to the fore in a manner which promises to make his chapter longer and more memorable than that of his father.

Globe Lodge the Nyhan property might be, but Lordship is 'Lord of the Manor'. He is currently 'King of the Sires'. At this stage of the season, most trotting folk reflect on the season and look to the statisticians to tell them who is top of what. The sires' table is one of these categories, which has a certain amount of prestige. Lordship has not only headed it this season, he has set a record. And in doing so, he has shown complete contempt for his rival sires. This season his progeny have amassed around $350,000 on the track, which is over $150,000 more than the next sire on the list and well over $100,000 more than the previous record earnings for a season.

In the past, most sires have reached the head of the table through the deeds of one or two major contributors. When these horses' earnings have been subtracted from their sire's totals, the stallion has fallen below the number one spot. This is far from the case with Lordship. If there had never been a Lord Module, Lordship's main winner this season, he would still be a clear leader on the premiership table.

The Lordship story started a long time ago when Mrs Nyhan took pity on a scruffy looking foal and persuaded Don, much against his judgement, to spend the 50 they had caved to buy a fur coat to buy the colt. The colt was Johnny Globe. With his son Lordship, Johnny Globe returned over 200,000, the result of 79 wins, for the sacrificed 50. The Nyhans came upon Lordship almost as fortuitously as his dad. Mrs Nyhan, at the invitation of a friend, leased the mare Ladyship, who was bred in the purple but had shown very little on the track. She put Ladyship to Johnny Globe. The result? Lordship. Ladyship was by U Scott from a fine racemare in Lightning Lady, who was a sister to a brilliant pacer in his day in Emulous, one of a select few who could match strides with the mighty Highland Fling. Lightning Lady was by Jack Potts from Light Wings, a mare imported into this country by Sir John McKenzie.

It didn't take long for Lordship to reveal special talents. "We knew we had something different when he was a yearling. He could work half a mile free-legged in a minute without any difficulty," Don recalled last week. Lordship fulfilled that early promise in his first season. He won six of his nine starts as a 2-year-old, including the 1961 Sapling Stakes. Lordship's regular driver Denis Nyhan, Don's younger son, recalled how Lordship wasn't happy on wet tracks when a juvenile. In many cases it was his class that took him through.

Just a young man at that stage and working at the stables, Denis got the regular drive on Lordship with a stroke of luck. Denis Nyhan tells the story. "On the morning Lordship was due to start in the Welcome Stakes I was following Dad in a workout when his horse cracked a bone in one of his forelegs and fell. I piled over the top of him and Dad was quite badly hurt," Denis said. "I got the drive then and won the Welcome. I was lucky enough to win the following three races with him, so Mum decided to keep me on," Denis said.

Lordship returned the next season and won five races including the NZ Derby by six lengths. However it was later that season that he gave a true testimony to his class. After finishing an unlucky second to Waitaki Hanover in the Great Northern Derby, Lordship took on the open class horses. He finished out of the money in his first few attempts before running third in the 1962 Easter Cup to Patchwork and then winning the Winter Free-For-All at Addington. In that event he decisively beat horses of the calibre of Falehood, Samantha, Blue Prince, Diamond Hanover, Gildirect, King Hal, Master Alan and Queen Ngaio. No 3-year-old before or since has ever done this.

Lordship was quite superb as a 4-year-old winning eight races including the NZ Cup, only the second of his age to do so. But it could have been quite different. Lordship almost never started in the Cup. A torrential downpour on the day prompted the Nyhans to consider scratching him. But officials reminded Don of all those off-course investors who had bet on Lordship and persuaded him to start. Lordship eventually strolled to an easy win for Mrs Nyhan. Denis, in the cart again, was having his first Cup drive. The overseas offers were soon flowing in for the brilliant black. Mrs Nyhan was adamant. Her pride and joy would not go to America. Her decision was to have a profound effect on the record books later.

However, it was the following season, 1963-64, that Lordship developed splint trouble which required daily treatment. But even though handicapped by his legs and lengthy marks, Lordship continued to win many races including his second NZ Cup, and Auckland Cup and two Easter Cups. And so grew a deep affection with the public which saw him become an idol in the mould of his dad.

Don and Denis Nyhan agree that his Auckland Cup win in 1964 was his greatest victory. He had to beat unsoundness, some other top horses and his handicap. "He was sore only a month or so beforehand and was far from being trained for a searching two-mile test," Don recalled. However, he came through with flying colours from his 36 yard back mark, by shading Jay Ar, with Great Adios and Vanderford filling the minor placings. "They went 4:11.4 that night. I'm sure if they had gone faster up front, he would have beaten Johnny's record - 4:07.6 - he was travelling that well throughout," Denis said.

Lordship retired as a 10-year-old with a record unequalled by a horse raced solely in NZ. As the winner of 45 races, including 16 free-for-alls, and $120,660 in stakes, he had eclipsed Johnny Globe's previous records. If he had won the same races today, his stakes winnings would have been anything from $450,00 to half a millon dollars.

And so Lordship went into his stud career with many hoping he could leave somthing as good as himself and perhaps carry on the Globe Derby male line. He has done this in no uncertain terms in the form of Lord Module. However it wasn't an easy road to haul. Lordship's support early on was moderate to say the least and it was only his ability that finally won him full book support. Only now, as a 22-year-old, is he getting the support he deserved in the first place. Don can't explain or understand the attitude of NZ breeders. "It's the same with any NZ-bred horse; it's an uphill battle," Nyhan said. "It was the same with Johnny. He never had a full book in his entire stud career, even when he was four times leading sire. And a lot of his mares were hacks," he said when recalling the support for Johnny Globe, one of the most admired horses ever.

"A mare could go to Johnny Globe and a top-class horse would often result. But send the same mare to U Scott, Light Brigade, Garrison Hanover or any other top sire, and she'd leave nothing," Don said. "Take Raidette, for example. When put to Johnny she left Radiant Globe, who almost won a NZ Cup, but to half a dozen matings with other sires, she left very little," he said. Don was also critical of the many breeders who flock to patronise imported sires in preference to our own champion horses. "A real battler here, who no one would even consider sending a mare to, can go to America and run 1:56 or 1:57, but bring an American-bred stallion here who went 2:00 as a 3-year-old, and they queue up at the back door," Don said. But now, it seems, breeders are only too aware of Lordship's siring prowess.

In the last couple of seasons, about a decade after his first crop hit the tracks, Lordship's book has been practically full and next season he will be one of the few stallions in the country standing at a fee of $1500. His service fee for his first season was a minute $210. Like Johnny Globe, Lordship was a tough and game pacer and he is passing these attributes onto his progeny. Although his good racehorses are too numerous to mention, some of the really top ones include Noble Lord, Jason King (Australia), Micron, Tricky Dick, Regal Light, Relinquish, Lordable, Single Lord, Trio, Tay Bridge and, of course, Lord Module.

At this stage he has left 137 winners. And with the oldest of his progeny only 12, he has already left several mares who have left winners. In fact, the first mare he covered, Lady Moose, left the talented pacer Lord Moose. Other up-and-coming horses to come out of Lordship mares include Captain Knight (1:59), Glen Moria, Jazzman and Poker Night. He is currently fifth on the 2:00 list with 14, including the fastest horse bred outside America, Lord Module (1:54.9).

Although very quiet and reasonably placid now, Lordship had a tremendous amount of nervous energy when a youngster. "I remember how he used to kick at the start and how one day he broke part of the sulky," Denis recalled. "And he used to get so wound up that he would trot round in his box for ages, just because of his nervousness. However he is a very intelligent horse. Whenever he went away, whether it was Auckland or to Dunedin, and we turned off the main road onto ours, 'Lordy' used to throw his head out of the float and start clawing the floor," Denis said. "He knew exactly where home was."

A routine day at Globe Lodge for Lordy these days is a lazy one. "He will spend part of the morning in a yard, lunchtime in a paddock and then he will sleep for the rest of the day in his box," Don said. For a stallion, Lordship is surprisingly tolerant. "We've got 11 and 12-year-old kids around here that can do anything with him," Don said. However, there is no doubt that Lordship, still as black as ever, will be boss around the place for a while yet. His dislike for strangers will be around also. He took a lunge at me - the last of several during the interview - just before I left the stable. He missed out on a souvenir. "The Lord" is hail and hearty. He wears the sire's crown proudly.


Mike Grainger writing in HRWeekly 9Aug89

Lordship was put down at his Globe Lodge home yesterday afternoon. The decision came just a month after he was withdrawn from service as a sire.

"He was one of the family," said Barry Nyhan. "Thirty one years is a long time here, but he has been withering away and hasn't been eating the same. He has been getting skinnier and skinnier and in the last fortnight his kidneys have started to pack up," he said.

Prebbleton veterinarian John Shaw has been monitoring the old horse's health over the last fortnight and advised the Nyhan family that it would be "cruel in the long run" continuing his present existence. "He was still shuffling around, picking a bit of grass," said Barry.

Lordship was rare in that he was a champion racehorse, a champion sire and a champion brood-mare sire.

He won 45 races, including two NZ Cups. His siring career has kept the Globe Derby line at full steam, though there are no firm leads as to who his successor will be, or even if there will be one. Lordship has 82 on the 2:00 list, and three on the 1:55 list - First Mate 1:54.8, Lord Module 1:54.9 and Templar 1:55. A past champion sire, Lordship has twice been leading broodmare sire.

His contribution to the breeding industry in New Zealand and Australia will be effective for many generations to come.

Credit: Frank Marrion writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 22Jul80


YEAR: 1979


The honour of being NZ's leading sire of stake-earners for the 1978-79 season falls again to Roydon Lodge's sire Scottish Hanover. And who better to be his best representative than Roydon Lodge's own star performer, Wellington Cup winner Roydon Scott.

Epitomising much that is typical of Scottish Hanover's stock - speed, size, great staying ability and durability, Roydon Scott did much to enhance the already growing stature of Scottish Hanover, who looks destined to go down in our record books as one of the most influential sires of the late seventies and early eighties. Scottish Hanover's siring career has been notable for his remarkable consistency in leaving quality fillies and colts each year, and all improving with age. Breeders, after a slow start, have now recognised these qualities and have ensured his book has been near full each season.

The decision of Mr Roy McKenzie, managing director of Roydon Lodge, to purchase Scottish Hanover in 1966 for stud duties in NZ was a fortunate one for our breeding and racing industry. With such an excellent record of having stood previous top sires like Light Brigade, U Scott, Captain Adios and Thurber Frost in past seasons, it was hardly surprising that Roy McKenzie chose such a worthy successor. To quote Roy McKenzie's reasons for purchasing him: "Apart from his good race record in his races, he always finished strongly and usually covered extra distance, as Saunders Russell's wife did not like him driving horses and was only happy about his doing so if he kept out of a packed field, which often meant he raced one out in the death seat!"

Allied to his obvious racing ability (he paced 1:59 as a 3-year-old and 1:57.2 as a 4-year-old) was the appeal of his pedigree, which had a double strain of Scotland blood so successful in NZ with U Scott and the mare Minnetonka, who was the second dam of Light Brigade. The Peter The Great line in NZ has enjoyed great success under our racing conditions, through siring sons like Wrack and grandsons like Dillon Hall. The greatest influence, however, has occurred with Volomite's siring descendants (Light Brigade, Out To Win, Local Light, Fallacy, Tuft etc.) and Scotland's (U Scott, Scottish Hanover, Young Charles, Scottish Command, etc.)

Scottish Hanover's bloodlines have crossed well with most, and his stream of winners now exceeds 132, with over 12 in 2:00, inclding horses of the calibre of ...

~ Roydon Roux, a champion filly whose nine wins included a NZ Golden Slipper stakes and Great Northern Derby.
~ Final Curtain p, 1:59.6 - the winner of 18 races and 24 places.
~ Palestine - whose list of notable wins includes a Wellington Cup.
~ Roydon Scott p, 1:58.9 - the brilliant winner of the 1979 Wellington Cup.
~ Hanover Don p, 1:58 - an excellent performer in USA.
~ La Roue and Kara Kara - excellent racemares.
~ Classiebawn - winner of NZ Standardbred Breeders Stakes.
~ Scottish Heath - a durable type who competed with distinction at this year's InterDominion.
~ Watbro - a leading Southland 4-year-old.
~ Gretna Hanover - a leading North Island 3-year-old filly.

If past records are anything to go on, it will be in the broodmare field that Scottish Hanover will make a new impact, and Roy McKenzie expects his mares to be excellent producers in the years ahead - a pattern followed incidentally, by his other leading sires, Light Brigade and U Scott.

For the future, it is pleasing to see some of Scottish Hanover's sons being retained with a view to stud duties. Palestine, one of his best pacing sons, is being given a chance at stud, while Roy McKenzie is considering Roydon Scott's full brother Dreamover for a possible stud career once his racing days are over. There would be nothing more tragic to our breeding industry that to have such an excellent sire's bloodlines lost to out racing and breeding scene.

Credit: Ron Bisman writing in DB Trotting Annual 1979


YEAR: 1977


The ghost of numerous champion trotters of past eras and their connections must have watched in satisfaction on Saturday night (19 February 1977) as the brilliant Nigel Craig scooted over a mile in 1:58.8 shattering his own outright mile record of 2:00.3 and embarrassing the previous time trial record of 2:02.4 held by Control.

Driven by part-owner Bevan Heron and assisted by a galloping pacemaker in Glenroy Lass driven by John Noble, Nigel Craig went his first quarter in a brilliant 29.9 and reached the half in 58.4. The large crowd sensed the long-awaited two-minute mark for a trotter in NZ was on as Heron steered his horse through the third-quarter pole in 1:27.5. Urged on over the final stages, Nigel Craig showed all his great staying ability to reach the post in a time which was probably faster than most expected.

The winner of nine races this season alone and nearly $30,000, Nigel Graig has all the credentials to be a fitting holder of our first home two-minute trotting mark (Ordeal broke two-minutes in America some years ago) and the time he set is going to make things difficult for the number of horses getting ready for similar time trials in various parts of NZ and Australia.

Turned out in tremendous condition by his trainer Lance Heron, Nigel Craig won $2,100 for his effort on Saturday as a result of various sponsorships. From the Addington clubs the horse owners received $500 for appearing, $100 for breaking two-minutes and $100 for each tenth of a second under two-minutes. The Canterbury Owners and Breeders gave $500 for the two-minute mark being beaten.

Although not the only trotter in the country capable of going two-minutes, Nigel Craig deserved the honour as the first to go under that mark, for he has held the race record for more than 12 months, lowering it twice in that period. He is not a horse who would win show ring ribbons for looks, but there is little doubt now that he is a great trotter, perhaps one of the five best the country has ever sent. He has had a busy season but you wouldn't know it by his latest run, and his continuing good form is a credit to his handlers.

Credit: David McCarthy writing in NZ Trotguide 23Feb77


YEAR: 1977


One of the more remarkable successes at stud in this country over the last 30 years was undoubtedly Springfield Globe, an Australian bred and owned track champion of the war years.

Though by the great Globe Derby, Springfield Globe had plenty of NZ blood in his veins being from the Logan Pointer mare Ayr, who traced to a thoroughbred taproot. Ayr was bred by Durbar Lodge and sold cheaply to Australia (less than $100) where she was a great breeding success. Springfield Globe was her best known son and won 15 races including the 1939 Inter-Dominions after his full-brother Our Globe had been sensationally disqualified for allegedly not trying in the third series of heats, after winning easily in the first two.

Early in the war years, Springfield Globe was leased to the Springston trainer Roy Berry. He won six races in NZ from a limited campaign, including the Autumn Free For All and the NZ Pacing Championship, the latter including Haughty and Gold Bar in the field. He was rated two minute material by his NZ handlers but acquired something of a reputation as a non-stayer, probably as a result of his abortative chase after Gold Bar in the 1943 NZ Cup. He was later to sire our first two-minute racehorse, but his stud career showed that his stock could match most in the staying field.

Springfield Globe had a rather remarkable stud career. He stood only six seasons in this country and was leading Colonial sire six times. He produced over 100 winners here and nearer 300 altogether. His best son was Tactician, the winner of 20 races and our first local two-minute racehorse, recording 1:59.8. Tactician was also rated by some experts as a non-stayer, but circumstances rather than an weakness, may have contributed to this belief. Tactician, of course, won an Inter-Dominion in 1955, in Auckland.

Thelma Globe was another outstanding racehorse, winning 17 races including an Auckland Cup. She took a national mark of 2:32.6 over 1 miles. Globe Direct, from one of the sire's earlier crops, was a fine racehorse too, winning 14 races and taking a 3:09.4 mark over 1 miles on the grass. Springfield Globe sired two NZ Cup winners in Adorian (12 wins) and Mobile Globe, who defeated Tactician in 1952. His daughters produced two more Cup winners in Invicta and Cairnbrae.

Croughton, a fine juvenile racehorse before being claimed by unsoundness, classic winning mare Perpetua, Springbok, Victory Globe (Auckland Cup), Mighty Song, Lady Rowan, Super Globe, Fortuna, Gay Knight, Gay Heritage and Lady Joss (Australasian record holder) were some of Springfield Globe's stock to reach the top but by no means all. Au Revoir won 11 races and Ohio one fewer. Autumn Sky was successful on the track and was also a fine broodmare as was Safeguard. Prince Regent won a number of races as did Alouette, Chandelier, Agricola and First Globe.

The Globe Derby line has produced some disappointing broodmare sires, but Springfield Globe, probably as a result of the Logan Pointer blood, was not one. In NZ alone his daughters produced one hundred and eight winners. One of the best was Scottish Command who won 16 races and was rated by his connections as unlucky not to win the NZ Cup in 1959 when he was brought down on the turn. He of course has been a successful sire as well. Lochgair, Invicta, Dignus, Queen Ngaio and Cairnbrae were other top horses produced in this country by Springfield Globe mares, and there were many more in Australia including Thelma Globe's son Blazing Globe.

Dessonaire produced six winners in Australia. Modern Globe, winner herself of five, produced five winners including Student. Spring Lily was also the dam of five winners as was Mercias. All the stock of another Springfield Globe mare, Primeavel, went to the USA and six of them won races. Phyllis Globe produced Bob Again who won eight and Perpetua was the dam of top Australian pacer Dale Spring. Fairfield was the dam of seven winners and Heather Globe was the dam of four. The fertility of Springfield Globe mares was marked, another top matron being Silver Circle who was the dam of six winners. Fortuna was also successful at the stud.

Springfield Globe's sons did well in this country. Springbok was the sire of the top class pacer Oreti and a champion trotter in Durban Chief, both of whom distinguished themselves in the USA. Croughton, in his first season, sired a top mare in Beau Marie. Super Globe also did well as did Globe Direct. Henry of Navarre, from limited opportunities sired some good trotters, the best being Control who held the mile record for some years. Bastille, who died after a short stud term, was another Springfield Globe stallion to attract attention and Ayrland's Pride also sired a few winners. A number of his sons were exported to Australia. Harlequin Parade was sent across the Tasman after a very successful track career here and he was from the Springfield Globe mare Liliacae.

Two other sires by Springfield Globe have done well in this country. Prince Regent, a talented but unsound racehorse sired a number of winners and his daughter Princess Grace is the dam of Vanadium among others. Prince Charming, also a good racehorse, gained belated fame through the success of his sons Royal Ascot and Marawaru.

In Australia, Springfield Globe's sons have been most successful. Aachen, an outstanding racehorse who won his first 20 races in a row, has been a consistently outstanding sire across the Tasman and a number of his sons stand at stud there. Aachen has sired over 260 winners. Mineral Spring and the ill fated Sheffield Globe have done well there also and another son, Chief Spring has sired, among many winners, the champion Reichman.

It can be seen then, why some breeders are still anxious to have Springfield Globe blood in the veins of their mares. Whether it affects their staying ability is debatable, but there can be no doubt it is a great asset if you are trying to breed a winner.

Credit: David McCarthy writing in NZ Trotguide 18May77


YEAR: 1977

Van Dieman (C C Devine) after the 1951 NZ Cup

Van Dieman, one of the best stayers to race in NZ, died at the Templeton property of his owner, Ces Devine, last week.

Van Dieman, who numbered the 1951 NZ Cup among his 18 victories, later became a successful sire and has been to the fore recently as a sire of broodmares. Van Dieman (U Scott-Reno) won eight races over two miles, and one of his most notable victories came in the Royal Metropolitan Cup.

The winner of more than $50,000 in stakes, Van Dieman was the top 4-year-old of his year and among the other notable races he won were the New Brighton Cup, Louisson Handicap, NZ Pacing Championship and the Ollivier Free-For-All.

At stud, Van Dieman left many good winners, among the most notable being the NZ Derby winner Bellajily, Van Rebeck (13 wins), Terryman, Van Rush, Raft, Vanadium, Van Glory, Florita, Vantage and Demure.

Credit: NZ Trotting Calendar 13Dec77


YEAR: 1977


Local Light, one of the best NZ-bred stallions to stand at stud for many years, died at the age of 26 on Friday.

The sire of nine 2:00 performers, Local Light left such top performers as the Auckland Cup winners Leading Light (1:59.8) and Captain Harcourt (1:58.5), the NZ Derby winner Leroy (1:59.4), Intrepid (1:57), Lightsey (1:58.8), Game Lad (1:58.6), Local Product (1:59.7), the NZ Oaks winner Local Lie, Valencia, Golden Oriole, Partisan, Castle Derg, Goodlight, Costa Light (1:59), Local Rose, Dieppe and the champion Blue, the world yearling record holder (2:09.2) and undefeated at two.

Local Light had been in perfect health up until the time of his death from a cerebral haemorrhage. He died on the property of his owners, Geoff and Jackie Hill, of Ellesmere, and was buried there.

Local Light was represented by only one yearling at last week's National Standardbred Sale in Christchurch, but it was a measure of his standing as a stallion that the filly, Mia Mocca, a full-sister to Golden Oriole, was passed in at $14,000. Had she been sold, it would have been a record price for a filly at the sales.

Local Light, who won nine races and took a mark of 2:00.2, was by Light Brigade from Local Gold, herself the winner of nine races and the dam of eight individual winners, including Arania (1:57) and Golcourt. Local Gold was by Gold Bar out of Lottie Location, by Jack Potts from Location, by Rey De Oro from Locality.

Credit: Tony Williams writing in NZ Trotguide 16Feb77


YEAR: 1976


The photo shows Noodlum and Freeman Holmes on Show Day 1974...the day they came off 30m to win the Riccarton Stakes over a top field of 3-year-olds by 14 lengths in 3:21, a national record by almost three seconds.


The brilliant Noodlum, undoubtedly one of the greatest pacers ever produced in NZ and the wonder colt of his era, has been retired to the stud and will this Spring stand his first season alongside the already successful Adios import Jersey Hanover at part-owner Freeman Holmes' Ellesmere nursery, The Manor.

The decision to terminate the dashing chestnut's racing career was made a fortnight ago by Freeman and champ's other part-owner Mrs Ann Wilson of Christchurch. "There was a risk of him breaking a sesamoid bone in his off hind leg as the ligament running along the cannon bone had moved off the bone," said Freeman who trained the horse and drove him in all bar seven of his races.

The trouble actually stemmed from the eve of the NZ Derby of November 1974 when the precocious colt sprung a curb. A look at his record sheet since then would give the impression that he made a complete recovery but as Freeman takes up the story again, "the peculiar thing is that in his endeavour to save the strained ligaments he placed great pressure elsewhere and that is the reason for his recent injury." All Noodlum's troubles originate from the fact that the great drive possessed in his beautiful pacing action caused strain on his stifles and when soreness occurred in these ligaments it placed greater pressure on the lower areas of his hind legs eventually resulting in injuries.

Noodlum's 2-year-old campaign was nothing short of sensational. He was constantly in the headlines from his first public appearance, when he scurried over 1200 metres in 1:36.4 (last 800 in 1:04.4) on a 'cutting out' grass track to down a field of his age group by more than 150 metres at a Waimate trial meeting late in August 1973 until he was eased up for his first Winter spell, with the greatest juvenile pacing campaign ever witnessed in this part of the world, behind him.

He won his debut, taking the Morrinsville Juvenile Stakes at Cambridge, was unbeaten at his next three attempts, the Ellerslie League Pace at Alexandra Park, NZ Springtime Stakes at Addington and NZ Golden Slipper Stakes at Waimate (deadheating with Astro Blue) before tasting his first defeat, running second to Don Lopez in the New Year Stakes at Addington. At his next appearance he bounced back with a brilliant finishing burst to down Commissioner in the Town Hall Stakes at Addington's Commonwealth Games Meeting but then at his following attempt disaster struck.

Coasting home well clear of the field in the Forbury Juvenile Stakes at Dunedin late in January 1974 Noodlum fell victim to the even human tendency of 'star gazing' and 'having a wee dream' when things are going to easily. He suddenly spotted a head number lying on the track about thirty metres from the line, woke up in a panic (as one does whe rudely disturbed during a pleasant day dream) and tried to jump the obstacle. In an instant Noodlum, driver Holmes and a tangled mass of sulky and gear were on the deck - Noodlum receiving abrasions losing two teeth and requiring a fortnight off work to recover from the nasty incident.

Reappearing in the Second Graduation Stakes at Addington in April, Noodlum, from a ten metre backmark, received a shocking run before finishing fourth to Sly Kiwi, Esteban and Golden Nurse - but that was the last time he would taste defeat for fifteen starts, a NZ record winning sequence not approached before or since. He took the NZ Welcome Stakes by five lengths, the Allanton Stakes at Forbury Park by six lengths, the Gladville Stakes at Addington (from a 20 metre backmark) by of a length, the Oamaru Juvenile Stakes by four lengths, the Canterbury Park Juvenile Stakes (again from 20 metres) by one and a half lengths, the NZ Sapling Stakes at Ashburton by four and a half lengths and the NZ Juvenile Championship at Auckland by eight lengths.

Noodlum's complete juvenile record sheet reads 15 starts, 12 wins, one second and one fourth and $23,162.50. He set a stakes winning record for one of his age, bettering the previous best (credited to Young Quinn) by $9,947.50, equalled the record performance of Robalan by winning 12 races in a single season (the previous best was 11 credited to Nyallo Scott back in the mid-forties) and set race record mile rates in seven classics or semi-classics - the NZ Juvenile Championship, the NZ Welcome Stakes, NZ Golden Slipper Stakes, NZ Springtime Stakes, Canterbury Park Juvenile Stakes, Morrinsville Juvenile Stakes and Oamaru Juvenile Stakes. He still holds three National 2-year-old marks, 2000 metres standing starts at 2:35.4 (set in the Canterbury Park Juvenile Stakes), 2200 metres standing start at 2:54.4 (Allanton Stakes, Forbury Park) and 2200 metres mobile at 2:49.8 (NZ Juvenile Championship, Alexandra Park). In his final seven victorious juvenile appearances Noodlum was handled by the great Maurice Holmes (uncle of Freeman) then in his last season of race driving. Horse and driver certainly formed a champion team.

Noodlum commenced his 3-year-old campaign with a devasting patch of form which saw him unbeaten over an eight race, four month period, thus extending his winning sequence to the record 15. He opened by taking the Waitaki Hanover Stakes at Kurow (from a 20 metre backmark) by three and a half lengths then preceding to blast similar Semi-Classic fields in the Second Canterbury Stakes at Addington (again of 20 metres) by four lengths, the Fourth Canterbury Stakes (20 metres again) by three lengths, the New Brighton Stakes (this time from 30 metres) by two and a half lengths, the Concord Handicap at Forbury (off 20 metres) by six lengths, the Warrington Handicap at Forbury (again 20 metres) by five and a half lengths and the Second Riccarton Stakes at Addington on Show Day. In the latter event Noodlum came from a 30 metre handicap in the 2600 metre contest, reached the lead 1000 metre out then said goodbye to his field with a 58.6 last half to score by 14 lengths, still a National 3YO mark and then an all-age record. In his earlier New Brighton Stakes victory Noodlum has similarly assaulted the record book, cutting the 2000 metre standing start contest out in 2:32.4, a National mark for a 3-year-old and jointly shared with Hi Foyle as an all-aged record.

Although not at his best, being troubled by his earlier mentioned curb, Noodlum had little trouble in downing a vintage field in the 1974 NZ Derby at his next appearance, being hard held all the way in front but still covering his last 800 metres in 57.8 to make it 15 on end.

After a short let-up Noodlum resumed in the North Canterbury Stakes at Rangiora and it was to become the first occasion the champion colt was to cross the line unplaced (his only other failure to earn a stake at that stage being when he fell at Forbury). Badly checked early from his 20 metre backmark Noodlum found himself some 250 metres from the early leader, yet still managed to finish fifth behind the flying Commissioner. Seconds to Commissioner in the NZ Champion Stakes at Ashburton and Parlez Vous in the E F Mercer Mile at Addington (being parked out in the suicide seat throughout both times) followed then, still suffering from the effects of his affected hock, Noodlum was taken out of fast work and put onto a programme of long, slow jogging for a period.

Four months later he was back again and after a seven length victoty in the Russley Stakes ay Addington and a grand second (from 30 behind) to Ganya in the Queen's Birthday Stakes at Ashburton Noodlum ventured across the Tasman for the first and only time, two out of two at Albion Park, Brisbane. He romped away by 35 metres in his qualifying heat of the 1975 Queensland Derby then a week later displayed to the Australians just what a champion he was by overcoming an early lapse from the mobile which cost him a good 50 metres and saw him settle last in the field of budding top-liners including Wilbur Post, Little William, Chief Eagle and the ill-fated Francis Joseph. From there he was forced to race "round the world" on the tight Albion Park curcuit to reach the lead early in the run home and score by a long neck, the 2510 metre journey being snapped out in 3:15.8.

Noodlum returned home to The Manor for a short winter break, his sophomore season record standing at 15 starts for eleven wins, three seconds and a fifth worth $32,100. He had equalled the National all-age 2000 metre standing start mark of 2:32.4 and created a 2600 metre 3-year-old record of 3:21 - both these marks still standing at the time of writing. But just as startling performances were to come the following season as a 4-year-old.

Noodlum commenced his third season on the track with two successive seconds to Lunar Chance at the 1975 National Meeting, going down by a head in the Louisson Handicap and a neck in the National Handicap. A fortnight later he was back in the birdcage first as a result of one of the most brilliant finishing bursts seen in many a long day. From 10 metres behind in New Brighton's A E Laing Handicap Noodlum found himself back near the tail of the field for most of the journey and with just 400 metres to go was still last equal. Asked the question by driver Holmes the gifted sidewheeler swept up eight wide round the home turn and flew down the outside of the track, grabbing a neck victory over Kawarau Gold just short of the line, in a time of 3:23.1. His last quarter was covered in an electrified 27 seconds.

At his next attempt he failed to run in the money after being left in the suicide seat for most of the contest, and this became only the third time of his career Noodlum had failed to earn a cheque. Noodlum's next appearance, from a 15 metre handicap in the Ashburton Flying Stakes, provided a near carbon copy of his magnificent Laing Handicap victory of two starts previous. Buried back near the rear on the inner of the high-class fourteen horse field Noodlum's chances seemed completely extinguished when the leaders dawdled over the majority of the 2400 metre contest, effectively converting it into an 800 metre dash. Still not sighted and far from the lead at the straight most of the champion's admirers had given up hope for their idol when closer to the outside fence than the running rail, the brilliant chestnut appeared, literally swallowing up his rivals to catch Kawarau Gold right on the line and win by a head, with Why Bill and Speedy Guest right up next. His time for the full journey was 3:17.3 but his last half on the grass surface, far from conducive to fast times, was an amazing 57 seconds. Other stars to finish behind him were Lunar Chance and Vanadium.

A sixth after being all but brought down in a scrimmage on the home turn in the Hannon Memorial (won by Kawarau Gold) at Oamaru and a dashing 2:00.9 victory after a wide early run in the Canterbury Park 4-year-old Mile followed. Then just prior to the 1975 NZ Cup Noodlum became troubled by stifle soreness and was forced to miss the Carnival.

An internal blister was successfully applied to the stifle and Noodlum flew north for the Auckland Cup Meeting where he scored a magificent last-to-first victory over Ripper's Delight, Forto Prontezza, Captain Harcourt, Lunar Chance and company in the National Flying Pace (clocking 2:03.8), ran a sound fifth in the Pezaro Memorial then chased Captain Harcourt and Speedy Guest home in the 1975 Auckland Cup after being parked out for a good bit of the journey.

Next it was down to Wellington's Hutt Park, and the Pacific Handicap was to be the last event to fall to the brilliant chestnut, his winning margin (from a ten metre handicap) over Palestine being a long neck. Noodlum contested his last race in the 1976 Wellington Cup, finishing a good third behind Palestine and Speedy Guest, clocking 3:05 for the 2400 metres.

Although due to his injuries it became increasingly difficult for Noodlum to be produced at his best as a 4-year-old, the magnificent entire still managed five wins, two seconds, two thirds and $21,150 from his twelve appearances. His full career record stands at 42 starts, 28 wins, 6 seconds, 2 thirds and one fourth for $76,412.50 in stakes. He was only unplaced on five occasions, and of those five fell once, was all but brought down on the home turn once and was checked loosing 250 metres at the start once. An incredible record by any standards.

Bred by part-owner Mrs Ann Wilson, Noodlum standing 15.2 hands and boasting a heartscore of 140, is by Jim Dalgety's great, late import and once NZ premier sire Bachelor Hanover, sire of other standouts in Arapaho (p5, 1:58.2), Dwayne (p9, 1:59.8), Jondor Hanover (p6, 2:00), Bachelor Star, Bachelor Tom, Boy Friend, Double Cash, Violetta, Walk Alone, First Batch, Royal Nibble and a host of other good winners. Although his first NZ crop are currently only 10-year-olds Bachelor Hanover is already a two-minute broodmare-sire through the deeds of last year's top 3-year-old pacer Bolton Byrd (p3, 1:59.9) while another of his daughters produced Harvey Wilson, undisputed leader of last years sophomore trotters brigade.

Dam of Noodlum is the former high-class racemare Deft who left earlier winners in Eligo and Canny while her foal immediately following Noodlum was champion filly and leading 2-year-old of her last season Olga Korbut. $15,020 being her first season earnings. The only mare to be acclaimed NZ broodmare of the year more than once (she was so honoured in 1974 and 1975) Deft won ten races including two invitations (the Pope and McDonald Handicaps, both at Hutt Park) for Mrs Wilson from the Wyndham stables of Derek Dynes. Like her brilliant son Deft was also a chestnut, being by the dual two-minute siring Roydon Lodge-import Captain Adios from a real broodmare gem and also high-class racemare Tactics who scored eleven wins including the 1953 New Brighton Cup for Mrs Wilson's husband Andy.

At the stud Tactics produced nine winners, Tactile (p7, 1:59.6 - $189,415 - a champion classic colt, the only horse ever to win five derbies, a highly-successful sire in a short stay in North America and now based at Derek Dynes' Wyndham property where he receives heavy patronage), Adroit (a classic victor and now successful Australian-based sire), Tactus (also a successful sire across the Tasman), Master Proof, Tactena, Tacmae, Greek March and Deft herself while she now ranks as either the grandam or ancestress of such good performers as (besides Deft's brood) Ryal Anne, Tactful, Astute Hanover, Tactless, Yankee Score, Young Charlene and Tact Del.

By another of Roydon Lodge's great imports Light Brigade, Tactics is from yet another class racemare in the nine times successful Nell Grattan, dam also of Mighty Song (eight wins) and grandam of yet another star performer in Coral Donna (p6, 2:00). A daughter of Grattan Loyal, Nell Grattan boasted as her dam the prolific producer First Water whose brood included twelve winners, amongst their numbers being such standouts as Rocks Ahead (16 wins), First Lord (ten wins - now a 2:00 sire) and 1940 Auckland Cup victor Ned Worthy. By Harold Rothschild, First Water was from the Prince Imperial mare Red Diamond, foaled in 1907 and founder of this now nearly two hundred individual winner producing family.

No story on Noodlum would be complete without a tribute to Freeman Holmes who always paraded the horse in the magnificent order, truly befitting a champion. Well worthy of mention too is a big thank you on behalf of the NZ standardbred breeding industry, present and future, to Freeman and Mrs Wilson for resisting many overseas offers, some of the magnitude of $ million for their champion and standing by their word in making him available to the nation's broodmare owners now his racing days are over. The high regard Noodlum was held in by the breeding industry can be gauged by the fact that within 48 hours of his retirement being announced he was fully booked for the current season, while there are now only a few vacancies left for his 1977-78 season.

But perhaps the greatest tribute paid to Noodlum came from NZ's maestro of the reins Maurice Holmes who in his half century career drove more classic victors than some harness followers have picked winners. Said Maurice "He's the greatest juvenile pacer I've ever sat behind." Perhaps with that quotation we can remember Noodlum, the crowd drawing, newsmaking racehorse and look forward to Noodlum, the horse with all the credentials to be a supersire of the future.


Extract from HRWeekly 15 Nov 89

Noodlum, champion New Zealand sire in 1985-86 and 1986-87, collapsed and died after serving a mare on Sunday.
Aged 18, Noodlum was in good health, and had served 20 mares this season.

Noodlum was a son of Bachelor Hanover and the Captain Adios mare, Deft. A chestnut foal of 1971, Noodlum was a grand racehorse, winning 15 consecutive races, 12 of them as a 2-year-old. His most notable wins were the Ashburton Flying Stakes, NZ and Queensland Derbys, NZ Sapling Stakes, NZ Welcome Stakes and the Benson and Hedges Flying Mile.

On retiring, Noodlum stood at The Manor, the Springston stud of his trainer, Freeman Holmes. He sired a marvellous racehorse in Master Mood, who won the 1986 NZ Cup, the Auckland Cup and the Miracle Mile in the same season, and Race Ruler, who was exceptional at three and won both the New Zealand and Great Northern Derbys.

Another gem sired by Noodlum is Tyron Scottie, who is a superb trotter with good prospects of winning the TV3 Dominion Handicap at Addington on Saturday night.

The early Noodlum mares are now producing, and among their progeny are Mark Hanover, Auckland winner Predator, Zippy Jiffy, Lord Stiven, Shuttle Prime Rate and Fraggle Rock.

Credit: Peter Larkin writing in NZ Trotguide 2Sep76


YEAR: 1976

LORD MODULE - Bargain Buy

Lord Module(1976) $3,000 28 wins $251,000

It was said in later years that Cecil Devine hadn't really done any homework on the Lordship colt he bought at the sales for less than the average price, selecting him chiefly on looks and presence. Not that there was anything wrong with his pedigree either. He was bred on the Lordship/Bachelor Hanover cross and from a family that stood the test of time. As it turned out and, while Lord Module was a horse of freakish ability, Cecil almost certainly did not check out the colt's dam, Module, trained for a time by Hughie Greenhorn.

Module was well known around Addington but not in a good way. The personable Greenhorn enjoyed telling her story in later years. Her favourite party trick, apart from constantly being in season, was lying down on the track and refusing to get up. A contemporary claimed to me that markers were once put around the mare so other horses could get on with their work while she lay there sulking.

Something of the temperament eventually emerged with Lord Module combined with the fact that his feet often hurt and caused the master trainer all kinds of headaches. However, he was still carried into the New Zealand Cup history books and ran an unbelievable 1:54.9 time trial in adverse conditions - one of the greatest performances of a generation.

Credit: David McCarthy writing in Harnessed May 2016


YEAR: 1975

STORMY MORN - Bargain Buy

Stormy Morn(1975) $120, 32 wins, $214,000

Here was a horse to remind you how life can be short for some stars in the memory bank. Stormy Morn was the first trotter to win the Dominion and the Rowe Cup in the same season smashing season stakes breaking records along the way.

He was also the first trotter on either side of the Tasman to win over $200,000 in stakes, supplanting No Response whom he beat in the Australian Trotting Championship in Melbourne. His NZ earnings of just under $140,000 beat Scotch Tar's and Easton Light's previous records. We are talking big names here yet as owner and sometime trainer, Peter Moore lamented, his 'Reg' never got the glamour treatment of some contemporaries or subsequent stars.

Peter correctly put it down to the fact that Reg was a 'no nonsense' sort of horse lacking the brilliance of some. Trevor Thomas used to reckon he never broke 29 for a quarter mile in his life and mostly not even 30. But he would go on reeling off those sectionals until his rivals got thoroughly sick of him.

Reg was languishing in a Kaiapoi paddock when Peter paid his brother Stan $120 for him as a hack for his daughter, Diane. Stan had inherited the horse from his father and had tried him with Brian Gliddon as a youngster without success. Reg disliked the lifeof a girl's hack even more than he did racing so he was given to Thomas for a second chance

Trevor Thomas was the trainer that 'made' him and Tony Perucich(initially in partnership with Brian Hughes) had the most success.

Credit: David McCarthy writing in Harnessed May 2016


YEAR: 1975


Many of the greatest 'one off' performances in racing are from 'chasers' horses which put up apparently impossible efforts after losing any realistic chance early. There have been a huge number of them over the years but not many to match that of Final Decision in the 1975 New Zealand Cup won in outstanding fashion by the Southland pacer, Lunar Chance.

It may well be the greatest non-winning performance in the history of the Cup, and that is saying something.

Final Decision was anything but ordinary. His sire Hi Blue was practically unknown, he was no oil printing and Derek Heckler had bought him for$600 from colourful Jim Donaldson. Then he had gone to America to race as a younger horse and thus became the first American raced pacer to start in a New Zealand Cup in modern times.

On Cup Day, driven by Robert Mitchell, Final Decision who had not won a race in 17 starts that year, began well and then went off stride after 200m. Mitchell, who was almost in tears after the race, could not explain why. But then Final Decision had always had a few quirks.

It was what happened next which astonished. Timed to be 9 seconds(about 100m)behind the leaders when he settled, Final Decision set off on an impossible mission. Around the 800m mark he caught the field and commenced to circle it. Nobody expected that to last long and he was twice checked on the way, yet rallied again in the straight to beat all but the winner.

Lunar Chance was rightly lauded for his gritty win because he didn't have all favours either, but nobody could believe what Final Decision had done. He had been timed by Dave Cannan to run his last 2400m in 2:58.8 when the national record was 3:03. And the Cup had hardly been a walk in the park at 4:08.6. "I had fought them off and then that horse came along. He was so wide I thought he had got me," Keith Lawlor said later.

Lunar Chance beat Final Decision on his merits in the Free-For-All before the northerner set a new national 2600m record of 3:16.6turning the tables in the Matson Free-For-All. He broke down in the Pan Am Mile and never featured in New Zealand again returning to race in mobiles in America.

Gone but never forgotten.

Credit: David McCarthy writing in Harnessed Feb 2016

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