Highland Fling was Leo Berkett's finest hour; the U Scott flyer placed him under the world spotlight.
Many of us still regard Highland Fling as the mightiest pacer ever to blaze the light-harness tracks of the Dominion. And he was only six years old when, with 'the world' virtually at his feet, he broke a sesamoid bone in a foot and had to be retired to the stud. Small consolation that his racing career terminated in a blaze of glory, because here was the horse of the century, here was the horse who might have proved the best in the world. Highland Fling proved himself a champion 2-year-old - his mile race record of 2.10 still stands - and a top 3-year-old.
The following season Highland Fling entered on his busiest period, but in his first nine starts, when was returned only once a winner, he began to earn the reputation of being both brilliant and erratic. He was not only refusing to move away from the barrier in reasonably good style, but he was also showing a disinclination to face up to the tasks asked of him in the running. Various types of harness were tried on him without bringing any marked improvement in his race-day manners. Highland Fling was regarded by many as a 'problem child' - a pacer capable of measuring strides with the best, but one with definite ideas of his own.
It was at this critical stage of his career that Highland Fling was taken over by L F Berkett, and this marked the beginning of a new era in his life. Highland Fling was about to arrive. In his first race under the Templeton trainer he ran second behind Gold Peg in the New Brighton Handicap, run at Addington, and the same mare, a noted mud lark, again defeated him later on the same day over a mile and a quarter. Highland Fling still retained a good measure of his unreliableness, but his brilliancy and stamina were strikingly revealed in his third start under Berkett, when he won the Craven Handicap, a 4.32 class from 36 behind. Highland Fling broke early and was all of 100 yards behind the leaders when he settled down. Most people counted him out when he was still in a seemingly hopeless position at the mile. To cut a long story short, Highland Fling was separately timed to run the last mile and a half in 3.07 and he won with astounding ease. He proved that he was a champion here, and to emphasise that he was still far from infallible, he failed badly later on the same day in an event run over one mile and a quarter. Highland Fling then commenced his rapid rise to the best classes, his last 11 starts as a 4-year-old resulting in six wins and one minor placing, and he was now assessed in NZ Cup company.
As a 5-year-old Highland Fling went from success to success, registering amazingly brilliant performances over all distances, and often still displaying a tendency to leave the barrier indifferently. His wins at this period included the Winter Handicap and Lightning Free-for-all, run at Addington in August; the NZ Cup; the Wellington Cup; the A I Rattray Handicap and the Otago Pacing Free-for-all. His earnings in that season amounted to £15,835 - a record total for a horse of any gait in NZ.
Highland Fling made history in 1948 by winning his second NZ Cup in the then world's race record time of 4.10 3/5 for the two miles, and this, combined with his subsequent and successful attempts against time, gained him world-wide recognition. It was then claimed of him that he was the best horse in the world, and that description could not in any measure be regarded as an exaggeration. Highland Fling in action was superb.
Highland Fling, winner of the last race he contested, retired with an unequalled record. He not only held the world's two-mile record, but his 2.10 race record as a 2-year-old still stands; he bettered 2.00 on three occasions, his best being 1.57 4/5 (since bettered by Caduceus 1.57 3/5); and he held the world's grass track record of 2.00 for one mile. His total stake-winnings, at the time of his retirement, exceeded those of any horse raced solely in NZ.
A week after his second NZ Cup victory Highland Fling went the mile against time in 1.59 2/5, equalling Lawn Derby's long-standing mile record established in November 1938, also at Addington. The following Friday Highland Fling again went against the record and his sensational figures of 1.57 4/5 were a further triumph for the unconventional training and driving methods of L F Berkett. The usual procedure in trials against time is a strong warm-up and a galloping pacemaker. Berkett dispensed with both and shattered the previous record, by 1 3/5 secs. The spectacle of Highland Fling's lone role was a thrilling one - propably much more so than it would have been with a pace-maker, and the public appeal of the trial was emphasised by packed stands and enclosures although the starting time for the first race was still half an hour away.
Berkett rated Highland Fling to perfection: the first quarter in 29 secs, half-mile in 58 2/5 secs, six furlongs in 1.28 3/5, and full journey in 1.57 4/5. The last half-mile showed 59 2/5 secs and the last quarter 29 1/5 secs. A warm ovation awaited Highland Fling and Berkett when they returned to the birdcage, and Berkett's deep satisfaction with the greatest mile paced outside of America was betrayed by his permitting himself one of his isolated smiles. Six hours after breaking the mile record, Highland Fling was harnessed up for the NZ Premier Sprint Championship, which he won by a safe margin after being left flat-footed at the start. Berkett's coolness and unconcern at this initial setback was not lost upon the crowd, and also made a profound impression upon many of the sports oldest adherents.
In the NZ Pacing Free-For-All the following day, the extent to which Single Direct and Integrity were stopping at the close was revealed by the fact they took 1.09 2/5 to run the last half-mile and 36 secs for the last quarter. This is no distraction from the performance of either; Integrity's effort to slip the field - he was 40 yards clear of anything else with half a mile covered - and Single Direct's lion-hearted run to overhaul him, set Highland Fling the impossible. Losing 60 yards at the start, Highland Fling had drifted nearly half a furlong behind the leaders with a mile and a quarter to go. He came his last mile in 2.07 2/5 on the soft track and only a veritable pacing machine could have made up 100 yards of this leeway from that point and finish third.
Highland Fling a few weeks later went 1.58 against time on the five furlong Forbury Park track, which compares most favourably with anything done on the best American half-mile tracks.
The editor of the NZ Trotting Calendar was surprised one afternoon in March 1949, to receive advice from tolls that Mr Bernard Kearney, vice-president of the Western Harness Racing Association, Los Angeles, California, wished to talk to him about Highland Fling. The editor lost no time in inviting Mr Kemble and Berkett to the Calendar office. They were all 'on their toes' awaiting the call, but it did not come through - Mr Kearney later cabled as follows: "We have races of $65,000 for which Highland Fling is eligible, October 8 through November 26 (1949), Hollywood Park. If owner interested cable us immediately, and I will telephone details - Bernard Kearney, Western Harness Racing Association."
Highland Fling's connections, obviously flattered by the American cablegram, said they had already discussed the idea of taking Highland Fling to the States to race, but that October and November would not suit their plans. One of their main ambitions was to win a third NZ Cup with their champion. Mr Kemble authorised the editor of the Trotting Calendar to reply to Mr Kearny as follows: "Dates mentioned do not suit. Definitely interested later."
Hot on the heels of the cablegram came this letter from Mr Kearney to the editor of the Calendar: Dear Sir, We have been reading, with great interest, stories carried in the American Harness Magazine, 'Horseman and Fair World' about the phenomenal feats of that world champion pacer, Highland Fling. To say the least it has everyone hereabouts really thrilled and excited. First, we wish to offer out heartiest congratulations to the owner, as well as the trainer and driver of this great animal. We are sorry none of the stories we have read tell the owner's name. Thus we cabled you hoping you would relay our message to the proper party. The Western Harness Racing Association, with headquarters in Los Angeles, California, offers this year one of the greatest stake programmes for just such a horse, the $50,000 Golden West Pace, which attracts the best horses from all over the United States. This event will be raced at Hollywood Park, Inglewood, California, one of the finest and most beautiful racecourses in America, on Saturday, November 12, at a distance of one mile and a quarter. Aside from this race there are others in our condition book in which Highland Fling could qualify to win a total of $65,000 in purses during a 35-day meet, which starts October 8 and continues through November 26, 1949. These races are outlined in detail in the condition book enclosed in this letter. We are exceptionally interested in the possibilities of the owner shipping Highland Fling to the United States for this race meeting. If interested there is plenty of time to ship the horse by water, or perhaps the owner would be interested in flying the horse here. In either case we are prepared to offer and international publicity campaign and build Highland Fling into the greatest public favourite that has ever come from the country 'Down Under.' This campaign would include newspaper reports, photographs, newsreel motion pictures, magazine articles and other forms of media publicity. This publicity, if the owner is interested, would make it possible to sell the horse in this country at a nice profit. The latter possibility is brought out only should the owner wish to sell after the campaign in America. If you would contact the owner and deliver this message we would be very appreciative. Thanking you in advance for your interest in this matter, we wish to remain, Sincerely yours, Bernard Kearney."
Early in 1949 another American visitor to NZ, Mr C Richarson wrote to the American weekly magazine 'Horseman and Fair World," as follows:
"Attracted by the brilliant record of Highland Fling, the idol of NZ, I resolved to see this sensational hoppled pacing son of U Scott and Queen Ayesha. On arrival in Auckland, I found that although the residence of his owner A T Kemble is there, the object of my quest was in Christchurch, the centre of harness racing in the South Island. When I reached Christchurch I got in touch with C S Thomas, president of the NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club there. I had heard that Highland Fling had an injured leg, and was told that his trainer L F Berkett, was away, but Mr Thomas graciously took me to Berkett's place. Mr Kemble's son whom we found there, took us across the road to a pasture, in which was the horse I was most anxious to see.
Taking a halter lying by the gate he spoke to Highland Fling, who readily submitted to our inspection. He is a thoroughly relaxed horse. This 6-year-old wonder horse is about 16 hands high, rather on the lanky side, and is a dark bay with three white feet and a white spot on his forehead. He is a clean-cut individual and looked to be in splendid condition except for his lameness, the exact cause of which the younger Mr Kemble said he did not know.
Highland Fling's record is most interesting. Bred by Mrs K Bare, of Christchurch, his sire, as has been stated is the now 17-year-old U Scott, by Scotland. Highland Fling's dam, owned by Mrs K Bare, is Queen Ayesha, a bay pacing mare by Frank Worthy; dam Royal Empress by Logan Pointer. Both Frank Worthy and Logan Pointer were imported from the United States. Queen Ayesha is said to have shown early speed, but had no record, breaking down and subsequently being used as a broodmare. Mrs Bare sold Highland Fling as a yearling for a reported £100, and I imagine has regretted it ever since. As a 2-year-old he was surprisingly fast, pacing a mile in 2.10. As a 3-year-old he had an off year, not getting right until late in the season, and winning only twice. It was then that he was taken over by L F Berkett, a trainer who turned from farming to noteworthy success with harness horses.
Many stories are told of Berkett, one being that he puts his horses to the plough. He apparently never pampers a horse in the slightest, but either because of his rough and ready methods, or in spite of them, he has had remarkable results. Whether Highland Fling was used with a plough or not, his improvement was steady under Berkett's tutelage, and as a 4-year-old he won eight times and did two miles in 4.13 4/5. As a 5-year-old he won the NZ Cup and had nine wins. As a 6-year-old, besides winning the NZ Cup for the second time he made several records, including a mile in 1.57 4/5 and two miles in 4.10 3/5. He has been timed a quarter in 27 4/5 and a half in 57 4/5. The ordinary spectators are completely thrilled by his rousing finishes, and hail his victories with triumphant acclaim. Highland Fling's competitive spirit is tremendous and Berkett rarely has to put any pressure on him. His utter relaxation is shown by the fact that, while many horses won't eat right after a race, he eats like a plough horse. Highland Fling's racing career seems to be drawing to a close. He has beaten all his rivals; in fact there are only two or three that can give him any noticeable argument. The national appeal of Highland Fling is truly extraordinary. It was a distinct dissappointment to me that I did not see him race, because this darling of NZ sports lovers is, to all who have seen his amazing victories, a real superhorse."
That is what they thought of Highland Fling in the USA. They were prepared to build him into the 'greatest public favourite' ever to leave our shores, and what a worthy ambassador he must have been for us!
**Extract from an article on L F Berkett written by 'Ribbonwood' in NZ Trotting Calendar 17Apr63**
Once the idol of NZ trotting followers, Highland Fling died in relative obscurity in Australia earlier this month at the age of 33.
At the height of a brilliant racing career in this country he broke a sesamoid bone and had to be retired. He was taken to Australia and stood at stud, siring more than 180 individual winners and serving mares until last season.
Bought as a yearling for only $200, Highland Fling had 70 starts for 25 wins and 13 placings and won more than $66,000 for his Auckland owner Mr A T Kemble. He commenced racing as a 2-year-old when he won the Great Northern Trotting Stakes at Alexandra Park at his first appearance. Among the 'also-rans' was Single Direct, later to become one of Highland Fling's great racing rivals. In his final race at two he lost many lengths in the early stages and was beaten into second place by Sprayman yet still registered 2:10, a new mile record for one of his age. At three he was beaten by Local Gold in the Great Northern Derby, his only classic race of the season but he won two handicaps.
The following season Highland Fling had a busy campaign but time after time he ruined winning prospects by losing big stretches of ground when the barrier was released. It was at this stage he was taken over by Canterbury trainer L F Berkett and under the guidance of this astute Canterbury mentor he developed into a dual NZ Cup winner and world record holder. His second Trotting Cup in 1948 was run in world record time of 4:10.6 and he three times clocked under two minutes for the mile, the fastest 1:57.8.
It was the performances of Highland Fling to win so many races after inflicting additional self-imposed handicaps at the start that endeared him to the public of the time and ensured that there would be an increased attendance whenever he appeared.
The sensational efforts of the son of U Scott and Queen Ayesha did not go unnoticed in America and he was invited to race at Hollywood Park in October 1949 but this was turned down because his connections had their sights set on a third Trotting Cup.
Even though his race career was cut short by the leg injury most race followers of the era saw enough great performances by Highland Fling to ensure his name remains among the list of all time greats in NZ trotting history.
Credit: Richard Turnbull writing in NZ Trotguide 26Jun75
Scottish Command a successful racehorse and standardbred stallion has died at Yankee Lodge Matamata aged 22 years. In recent years Scottish Command has proved popular with northern breeders and studmaster Mr Peter McMillan reported 40 mares had been booked for the coming season.
Foaled in 1953 at Roydon Lodge, Scottish Command was by top sire U Scott from Mary Wootten by Springfield Globe - Parisienne. In a racing career spanning seven seasons in this country Scottish Command won 16 races and was placed 48 times, his wins included the 1957 Auckland Trotting Cup from 60 yards and a consolation race at the Inter-Dominion Championships in Christchurch, he was also third in Invicta's NZ Cup.
He raced in the interests of Mr Roy McKenzie and was trained by the late Jack Hunter whose sons Ian and Charlie handled Scottish Command in most of his races. However, when the entire scored his initial win at Hutt Park he was driven by his owner giving him his first success. Leased to America at eight years Scottish Command won only $13,000 there and he was also successful in Wales while undergoing a period of quarantine before returning to NZ. His lifetime winnings were $65,634.
From a small number of matings before his export Scottish Command had produced a promising crop which included the 1973 Great Northern Derby winner Scottish Laddie. In the years since he returned he has consistently taken a high ranking on the sire list, doing best when seventh in the 1971-2 term. In the past seven years sons and daughters of Scottish Command have won 177 races and been placed in a further 419 for stakes of $358,000 the amount of winnings from the USA lifts his total to over $½ million.
Among his best winners of recent times have been Command Performer (1:58.6), Black Watch, Scottish Charm, Bella's Command, Scottish Warrior, Paula Scott, Hundred Pipers, Sole Command, Scotty Grattan and Sway Boy.
At the request of Mr McKenzie Scottish Command was buried in his paddock at Yankee Lodge.
Credit: Richard Turnbull writing in NZ Trotguide 9Oct75
Lovers of champions were saddened last week by the news of the death of Bachelor Hanover at the age of 22 years. The magnificent racehorse and sire passed away at Jim Dalgety's Lantana Stud, West Melton, where he had stood since being imported in 1965.
Bred by the famous Pennsylvanian nursery Hanover Shoe Farms, Bachelor Hanover was a rich chestnut by Nibble Hanover (T5, 1:58¾ - a champion square-gaiter of the late thirties early forties and sire of four and the dams of thirty seven in two minutes) from one of the all time greatest matrons in The Old Maid, amongst whose progeny is included Dancer Hanover (P4, 1:56.8 - sire of twenty seven and the dam of one in two minutes namely the mighty Albatross P4, 1:54.6).
By Guy Abbey, The Old Maid Maid was from Spinster, dam also of the almost legendary Roydon Lodge import Light Brigade, grandam of Harold J sire of one of North America's top free-for-allers of the present in Nickawampus Leroy, and third dam of current Castleton Farm owned boom sire Tace Time, sire of thirty three in two minutes. A daughter of Spencer and Minnetonka, Spinster belonged to the famed Thompson sisters. This family now boasts sevety seven pacers and fourteen trotters with records of two minutes or better.
A racehorse campaigning from the Billy Houghton stables Bachelor Hanover installed himself as one of the top two and three-year-old pacers of all time. At those ages he earned $123,583, the greatest amount ever won by a standardbred in juvenile and sophomore seasons up to that time. His eleven wins at two included two of North America's most prestigious classics, namely the Fox Stakes and the Reading Futurity.
At three he again scored on eleven occasions including the inaugural running of the Little Brown Trial and a Junior Free-For-All while over the four following seasons he competed in the tough free-for-all circuit, meeting and defeating such champions as Adios Harry(P4, 1:55), Diamond Hal(P4,1:57.4), Gold Worthy(P5, 1:57.2) and Belle Acton(P3, 1:58.6), when he was retired as a seven-year-old his bankroll stood at $209,021 (and stakes were then far below today's level). He stood light stud duty at the North American Symphony Acres Stud Farm and was purchased by Jim Dalgety at that establishment's dispersal sale in 1964.
On his arrival in NZ at West Melton in October 1965 he was justifiably heralded as "the greatest classic winning pacer to do stud duty outside of America" and was in fact the biggest stake winner ever to be imported to that time. For his first NZ stud season, 1965-66 Bachelor Hanover covered 84 mares, the resulting 60 foals crediting him with a 71% fertility rate. Over the next seven stud seasons he preserved his extremely high fertility rate, never dropping below 72% and on two occasions peaking at 81%, during his first eight seasons he was mated with 673 mares for 504 resulting live foals.
He steadily climbed in 1970-1, second to Johnny Globe in 1971-2 and 1972-3 before topping the table for the 1973-4 season. He left the winners of 340 races worth $614,625 in NZ while his exported stock has performed with great credit in both Australia and North America. He was also leading sire of NZ 2-year-olds on three occasions.
His two most notable offspring are undoubtedly wonder colt Noodlum and mighty stayer Arapaho(P4, 1:59) the 1972 "Horse Of The Year", winner of the NZ and Auckland Cups in 1973 and now based in Canada. Others to have aided Bachelor Hanover's enormous contribution to this country's standardbred breeding industry have been Bachelor Star(the 1971 NZ Derby victor), Bachelor Tom(one of the nation's top trotters of the present era), First Batch(winner of the 1969 Great Northern Derby), Dwayne, Violetta, Walk Alone, Boy Friend, Double Cash and in Australia Royal Nibble. His daughters too are now beginning to feature as the dams of winners, this term's smart juveniles Bolton Byrd, Kiatina and in Australia the rich Victoria Breeders' Plate victor Valdis being three potential stars from 'Bachelor' mares.
Last November Bachelor Hanover endeared himself to many when he 'officiated' as guest of honour at a press conference called by the NZ Standardbred Breeders' Association at the Russley Hotel (Christchurch) to announce the commencement of 'standardbred 75' the promotion of last autumn's sales. Behaving with manners and dignity rarely displayed by humans, 'Bachelor' in his specially improvised stall in a corner of the conference room, seemed somehow to sense that he was the most important being present as he quietly dined from his feeder after being presented with a beautifully inscribed dress rug.
Bachelor Hanover has been buried near the main entrance of Lantana Stud and a headstone mounted in a scree garden is to be set above the plot. His male line is being carried on by Bashful Hanover who has already sired winners in Australia, Fernside Bachelor who stands at Keith Powell's Westport establishment and Adios Bachelor who is based at Alister Kerslake's Highbank property, while doubtlessly both Noodlum and Bachelor Star will be heavily patronised if and when they are made available to the nation's breeders.
The NZ standardbred breeding industry is deeply indebted to Jim Dalgety for importing and making available such a wonderful stallion as Bachelor Hanover, for to prosper harness racing needs crowd drawing news making champions and what more could 'Bachelor' do but give us Noodlum and Arapaho.
Credit: Peter Larkin writing in NZ Trotguide 24July75
LORD MODULE - Enigma
The brilliant NZ pacer who won an unprecedented five derbies in NZ and Australia, then raced with distinction in America, where he pushed his earnings to $189,415 before launching a successful stud career there, has arrived back to his Ryal Bush (near Invercargill) owner Jim Dynes.
Dynes, who is already standing the Nandina stallion Scrappy Wave at his stud, has had so much enquiry for Tactile that he may have to place him the coming season on the property of his cousin and former partner in the horse, Derek Dynes who has a larger property. This keen enquiry is not surprising for from his first two crops in America of 32 foals Tactile is already represented there by 14 individual winners. These are headed by a smart youngster Jinks Minbar, who after starring in his 2-year-old campaign last year when he took a mark of 2:03.2 has continued as a good three-year-old winner this term, his victories including several at Yonkers Raceway, the track on which his sire flew the NZ flag high several years back. The Dynes cousins bought Tactile in a private deal with Tactic's breeder Andy Wilson, as a Hal Tryax foal in embryo and they raced him in partnership with outstanding success before Jim bought Derek's share when Tactile was ending his racing career in America.
His dam Tactics was a Cup class pacer herself (11 wins, including a New Brighton Cup), Tactics was of course the dam also of Deft (10 wins and 29 placings for Mr Wilson's wife Ann), in turn the dam of Mrs Wilson's champion 2-year-old of the current season Noodlum. Tactile's sire Hal Tryax also sired the mighty Cardigan Bay and grand mare Robin Dundee not to mention numerous other winners that saw him top the leading sires list in 1965-6 and 1966-7, and Tactile capped his NZ and Great Northern Derby wins with victories the same season (1962-3) in the South Australian, Victorian and New South Wales Derbies. Winning his way to the best class here, he ran Cardigan Bay to half-a-length in the 1963 Auckland Cup in which epic encounter the mighty Cardy, after giving away starts of up to 78 yards, prevailed but had to pull out all the stops to survive Tactile's late bid.
Like most of our top horses, Tactile eventually found his way to America, and so impressed was Yonkers Raceway chief Martin Tananbaum with the form he showed in around New York, where he took a mark of 1:59.6, then he persuaded Jim Dynes to let the stallion stand at his White Devon Stud in upstate New York. Tananbaum died in 1970, but Tactile carried on in service at White Devon under the farm's manager Harry Moss. With such fierce competition in breeding in the States, it was a struggle to get Tactile mares of any reasonable quality or quantity. So it is a credit to him that from his first two crops of 32 foals he already has 14 individual winners.
With the decision to disperse the White Devon stallion string, Tactile was earlier this season shipped to England on the first leg of his return home to Southland. After his compulsory six-month quarantine there, he was flown to NZ and recently completed the mandatory fortnight's quarantine here. He travelled by float and boat from the quarantine base at Alton Lodge, near Te Kauwhata, to Ryal Bush to meet up again with Jim Dynes. Says Alton Lodge proprietor Eric Haydon "he arrived in fron England in great nick and will reach Southland in wonderful order."
Now rising 15, Tatile appears assured of a fine future at stud in NZ.
Credit: Ron Bisman writing in NZ Trotguide 18Jul74
A sensational colt pacer of his time, and one who made an even greater impact as a sire, the Light Brigade horse Fallacy died last week. Fallacy was raced by J D Litten who trained him throughout his career and apart from an odd stint at the stud away from Canterbury he spent almost the whole of his lifetime at Litten's Preston Farm at West Melton. He was foaled in 1948.
Fallacy hit the headlines in his first season of racing - as a 3-year-old, at which age he won seven of his 10 starts and also finished second twice. He was the top juvenile of his year winning the 1952 NZ Derby in a race record of 3:12 1-5, which stood for eight years until Stormont cut it back to 3:11 4-5. He also won the NZ Champion Stakes and the NZ Futurity Stakes that season. Fallacy was only lightly raced for the remainder of his career, being twice placed in four starts at four, he was unplaced in his three 5-year-old appearances and placed once in five starts at six.
As a sire, however, he matched his juvenile brilliance. He finished fourth on the NZ sires' list in the 1962/3 season and was leading NZ-bred sire for the year. And it was from this point on that he really made an impact on the NZ sires' list, being in the top five on no fewer than eight occasions. He was faced with strong opposition in holding his place in the leading bracket as Light Brigade, U Scott, Hal Tryax, Garrison Hanover and Johnny Globe were at their peak in a mighty siring age.
In the 17 seasons that Fallacy's stock raced in NZ he sired more than 160 winners of 528 races and $709,814 in stakes to the end of last season. Taking the winnings of his stock in Australia and America into account Fallacy's stock must have won around the $1 million mark. With several crops to represent him in future he could well join the only other NZ bred sire, Johnny Globe, to have sired winners of $1 million in stakes in his own country.
Fallacy sired a triple NZ Cup winner in False Step and also last year's NZ Cup winner, True Averil. Both hold 2:00 records - True Averil the winner of $52,830 in stakes with figures of 1:58 4-5 and False Step, who also won a heat of the 1961 International series at Yonkers in 2:00. Fallacy sired many grand stayers over the years, among them Falsehood(2:06 2-5), who won 18 races, Allakasam(2:00 2-5), one of the finest staying mares bred in this country and the winner of 18 races; a brilliant 3-year-old in Dignus who won the NZ Derby, Junior Royal, who won 12; a NZ Derby winner in Doctor Barry, who won 10, a NZ Cup place-getter in Happy Ending(4:11 2-5), a NZ Cup-class pacer in Rain Again(2:05 3-5), who has won 12 races. In both NZ and Australia the list of winners sired by Fallacy is a select and lengthy one.
In the past few seasons Fallacy has distinguished himself as a broodmare sire, and until his death he was NZ's leading living sire of broodmares. In the seven or eight seasons he has figured as a broodmare sire Fallacy mares have left the winners of more than $200,000 in stakes in NZ. They will continue to exert an influence far beyond this figure. One of NZ's star pacers at the moment in Royal Ascot: Geffin winner of the 1961 trotter's Inter-Dominion Grand Final: Tutira, who won the Dominion Handicap and NZ Trotters Free-For-All: Royal Trump(2:01 3-5): a star juvenile trotter in the ill-fated Black Miller are among those from mares by Fallacy.
Not only did Fallacy sire 2:00 performers in False Step and True Averil, but two of his sons in False Step and Dignus became 2:00 sires. False Step sired Miss Step(1:59 3-5), who left NZ as a novice and took her record in America and Dignus, a leading juvenile himself and winner of the New South Wales Derby, is the sire of Peerswick(2:00). Some of Fallacy's best performed sons were kept entire and as his male line has already taken 2:00 status (through his own siring efforts and those of his sons False Step and Dignus) it is certain to exert itself further. Other sons, particularly True Averil, Junior Royal and Happy Ending could further add to the male line of Light Brigade, through Fallacy.
Fallacy has an interesting breeding background. His sire Light Brigade was not only one of NZ's top sires over a long period, but his sons, grandsons and great grandsons have come to the top as sires. His fillies have put him at the head of the NZ broomare sires for the last three seasons. Fallacy's dam, Diversion also belongs to what is probably the most distinguished sire family outside America. Diversion was by Rey de Oro(imp) from Escapade, by Nelson Bingen fron NZ Cup winner Country Belle, whose grandam was an Arab mare. It is to this Arab mare that Logan Derby (sire of NZ's champion sire of the last three seasons in Johnny Globe) and one of NZ's greatest broodmares in Rustic Maid, trace. Rustic Maid has established a family of sires all of her own. Chamfer and Scottish Brigade, both leading sires in Australia, Gentry, who was top sire of NZ's 2-year-olds last season.
Fallacy will break an association of some 25 years with the Preston Farm household of the Litten family. Jack Litten always did the Light Brigade horse proud and only last month when I saw Fallacy at West Melton he certainly did not look his 25 years and was being given the same immaculate care that had been given him throughout his life.
Credit: 'Stopwatch' writing in NZ Trotting 9Sep72
After watching Mount Eden's time trial in 1:56 3/5 at Addington on Saturday afternoon, I have no hesitation in naming him the fastest pacer the world has seen.
Given perfect conditions and rated well on Lexington's Big Red Mile in Kentucky, Mount Eden, providing he holds his form, will surely topple Bret Hanover's world record of 1:53 3/5.
And, under mobile start conditions at Yonkers Raceway, with Peter Wolfenden driving him (he has accepted this assignment, offered to him by Mount Eden's trainer Jack Miles), it is hard to imagine his rivals in this year's $170,000 International series living with him.
The six-furlong Addington track throughout Saturday morning received a thorough drenching by driving rain. Mount Eden's trial, scheduled for noon, had to be postponed for more than five hours until after the last race. Throughout the day the racing was affected by the 'off' track, and the final event, run about 20 minutes before Mount Eden's mile attempt, was won by Radiant Globe in the fastest time of the day, 3:27 for the 13 furlongs - a 2:07 mile rate.
The track was then scraped, but still remained quite damp - especially on the turn out of the front straight which occupied most of the second quarter-mile section of the mile. Miles, who drove Mount Eden, later likened this part of the track to porridge. Miles said: "I had to nurse him all the way around that bend, as I didn't want the horse to slip or knuckle over at speed and leave me with no horse, and I reckon that cost me a full second.
"Down the back the galloper was no use to me. I kept yelling to Jim (Jim Dalgety, driver of the galloping prompter, thoroughbred Maxwelton) to keep him up, but he shouted back he couldn't." Before the time trial, experienced horsemen agreed that Mount Eden would be lucky to break 2:00. To accomplish a time only 2/5 sec outside Cardigan Bay's NZ and Australian record in such conditions was phenomenal. There seems not much doubt that in the Miracle Mile in Sydney on Friday week, when Mount Eden will meet Stella Frost and Manaroa among others over mobile start mile conditions, given good conditions the remarkable 4-year-old will have little difficulty in breaking Halwes' 1:57 3/5 Australian record, accomplished in the same race in 1968.
Miles and his co-owner Bernie Ogden have also agreed to produce Mount Eden in Melbourne before he leaves for the United States and his Yonkers International bid. On the three-furlong Melbourne Showgrounds track, Mount Eden, for a $5000 incentive will attack the track record of 2:00 3/5, which seems at his mercy.
On Saturday at Addington my sectional times for Mount Eden were: first quarter 30 2/5 sec; second quarter 29 sec; third quarter 28 4/5; fourth quarter 28 2/5. It was the fifth time in 18 days, since he astonished trackwatchers with a casual 1:58 1/5 mile in his first serious workout in NZ, that Mount Eden had penetrated well inside the two-minute barrier; and each time his clocking was faster. His mightiest race here, though he finished only sixth, was in the third round of heats, when, over 13 furlongs, he lost three-quarters of a furlong at the start and was reliably timed to come his last mile and a half in an unheard of 2:56 4/5, his final mile in 1:56 4/5.
Mount Eden's $2000 for breaking 2:00 in the time trial (virtually appearance money) pushed his earning to only $21,160. His racing record is 13 wins and two placings from 20 starts. In the next few weeks in Australia he should double his bankroll, while when he reaches America his earning rate should really rocket. Mr Ogden said on Saturday night that several attractive offers have been made for Mount Eden, and that some are still being considered, but no deals have been made at this stage. Mr Ogden does not expect to go to America with Miles and Mount Eden, but said he might fly from Perth to New York to see him contest the $100,000 International Pace on June 4.
Mount Eden may be a freak but he is no fluke of breeding. He is by the imported Adios horse Morris Eden (p, 2:01 1/5 and $88,000), a three-quarter brother to the crack American 3-year-old of last year, Columbia George (p,3, 1:56). Owned by Noel Simpson, Morris Eden, after a successful stint in NZ, is now standing in Victoria, Australia, under Ron Hutchins. His place at Jack Hughes' Glencoe Stud at Pukekohe, has been taken by Good Time Eden, a half-brother by Good Time to Morris Eden.
Blankets, the dam of Mount Eden, was unraced. She was by the Light Brigade (by Volomite) horse Aksarben, who won eight races and had a big reputation but was restricted in his race career by recurring leg trouble. Blue Revue, the dam of Aksarben, was a fine producer. She also left Blue (2:09 1/5, world's record for a yearling; eight wins including the NZ Sapling Stakes, NZ Derby and NSW Derby) and several other less important winners.
Shepherd's Brook, the dam of Blankets, was by the good racehorse and sire, Nelson Derby. She won three races and apart from Blankets left Midday (6 wins), Midnight (four), Wallacetown (four) and Forenoon (four, and dam of Selena, 7 wins). Shepherd's Brook's dam, the unraced Queen's Treasure, produced Hardy Oak (12 wins), Jack's Treasure (four), Buccaneer (three), Single Star (six), Mareeta (five) and Manoa (four). And Single Star became the dam of a champion NZ filly of her day, Riviera, as well as Petro Star (six wins and dam of six winners including the latest NZ Futurity winner, True Temper).
Ron Jenkins: Great Trotters
One of the most sensational pacers to race in Australia was the NZ-bred, WA-owned pacer Mount Eden who first gained attention as a 3-year-old in winning the WA Sires' Produce Stakes. In recording a mile rate of 2:04 in the mile and a half race from a standing start Mount Eden created a world record for a 3-year-old. In the following season he entered the world spotlight in harness racing. In little more than two months he recorded nine runs in less than two minutes for a timed flying mile.
Mount Eden contested the 1971 Inter-Dominion series at Addington, after recording 1:58 4/5 in a time trial before the series began. He failed to qualify for the final as he performed poorly at the start in each of his heats but was timed to run a flying mile in under two minutes in all three heats. Mount Eden's connections were later invited to run their pacer in a time trial on the day of the final and despite the damp conditions, he ran 1:56 3/5, just two-fifths of a second outside Cardigan Bay's Australasian record.
On his return to Australia, Mount Eden won the Craven Filter Miracle Mile by 15 yards in 1:58 4/5 after losing some six lengths at the start when he mixed his gait. He paced 1:56.7 in a time trial attempt at Harold Park, replacing Halwes' Australian record of 1:57.3. This was followed by runs of 1:59.8 in Melbourne and 1:57.8 at the Gloucester Park, WA, track in other time trials.
Mount Eden was sold to an American owner in April, 1971, for $268,000, making him the most expensive horse, galloper or trotter, to ever be sold in Australia. He left for America having won 14 races from 20 starts and $43,000 in prizemoney. After a time in which he was plagued with injury, Mount Eden was retired to the stud without contesting a race in America.
Credit: 'R B' writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 3Mar71
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