YEAR: 1971

HAPPY GIFT - Mystery Mare

This mare from Timaru won a couple of races in several years of trying and was the only winner by her sire the uncommercial Johnny Kawa. Her dam was by Record Time, another 'household name' and the next sire in the pedigree was Colossal, probably best known for one of his daughter's foals who was able to be registered as Colossal Dick without any objection from officialdom!

Happy Gift maintained the family tradition of going to locally bred stallions when sent to Steven Stock, a top racehorse and underrated sire overwhelmed by the rush of imports in the 1980s. The result was a horse called Happy Sunrise who set the racing world on it's ear in the mid 1980s.

Happy Sunrise went to NZ Cup class in less than 12 months winning 10 of his first 14 starts. This was a record under modern handicapping until broken by Derby soon afterward. One of those wins was in the Ashburton Flying Stakes, beating the subsequent NZ Cup winner Master Mood less than 12 months after starting racing for trainer Brian Saunders and driver Ricky May.

The horse made a mess of the NZ Cup; was fifth in a blanket Free For All finish from the outside second row draw breaking 2:27; and was then off to Australia where he was an anti-climax from the word go never winning a stake over $4000. Part of the problem was temperament. Sometimes Happy Sunrise when getting back to the stables after a win had as much action for spectators than the race itself. But it was electric racing while it lasted.

The family soon returned to obscurity until Kevin Fairbairn obtained a mare from it, sent her to top trotting stallions and got Whatsundermykilt and Glenbogle.

Credit: David McCarthy writing in Harnessed June 2016


YEAR: 1970

SUE ADIOS - Classic Winner Producing Mare

SUE ADIOS (1970 Jerry Adios-Cuidado), NZ family of The Brat; 2:02.0, $21,919, 17 wins. 10 foals, 8 to race for 8 winners. Breeder: Mrs F J Scott, Christchurch. Foals bred by Delvan G Rickerby, NSW and formerly a trainer at East Eyreton(Even Trick, Adios Trick, Senator Sue); Solid Earth Pty Ltd, QLD(Sweet Valentine, Sir Galahad, Sweet Sue, Woy Woy Lad); Standardbred International Pty Ltd, QLD(Sweet Liberty, Sweet Clementine, Vanston Adios).

Her Adios line sire Jerry Adios left over 100 winners and was damsire of a similar number in Australasia(UK/USA credits also). His winners included Eastwood Jerry(UK National Pacing/Lakeland Derbies), Rippers Delight(NZ Derby, Ladyship Stakes, GN/NZ Oaks); dam sire of Adios Trick(GN Oaks), Countess Gina(WA Oaks), Sweet Clementine(QLD Oaks).

The dam of Sue Adios was the Van Dieman mare Cuidado from The Brat family. She left four winners including Curragh Dan, winner of the Lightning Hcp at Addington. The Brat was the family of champion pacer Young Quinn(AK Cup, ID Pacers Grand Final, CAN Provincial Cup twice), Sole Command(AK & NZ Cups), Tapuwae(Rowe Cup), Godfrey(NZ 2yo Championship, GN Derby), Cool Hand Luke(Taylor Mile).

Sue Adios, born in NZ, was purchased at 1972 National Yearling Sales by Delvan Rickerby and exported to Australia in November 1973 where she raced for the next six seasons. She was to win a total of 17 races for Little River publican Delvan Rickerby who retained a share in her. She commenced with 5 wins at three including the inaugural Ladyship Mile(Ladyship Championship, 2350m), at Harold Park in 1974. Sue Adios only raced on four occasions at four for two placings. She managed 8 wins at 5(5 'old' Menangle track, 1 Harold Park), a further one from three 6yo starts, 3 wins at seven(Harold Park, Mooney Valley, Gold Coast FFA) and was placed in her only start at eight.

Her first three foals were by ill-fated sire Overtrick(champion American pacer and arch rival of Cardigan Bay) who stood in NSW and then to Land Grant, Gatwick and Vanston Hanover. The only progeny of Sue Adios to race in NZ was her second foal, born in Australia, the well-performed filly Adios Trick.

Sue Adios male progeny included:

Vanston Adios, 13 wins(6 Harold Park, 3 Albion Park), NSW Christmas Gift and Sir Galahad, 15 wins(8 at Harold Park, 1 at Albion Park).

Sue Adios fillies included:

Adios Trick, her 23 starts yielded 9 wins in NZ for the Win A Trick Syndicate(Manager Delvan Rickerby). At two, she was the top southern juvenile filly winning 4 of her 5 starts(Stan Andrews, Rangiora Raceway, R M Cameron & Forbury Park Stakes), placing fourth in the Sapling Stakes. First up at three, Adios Trick won the TS Harrison Stakes(Methven), as well as at Addington, Timaru, Alexandra Park twice including the GN Oaks. She was unplaced in four 4yo starts, unraced at five and unplaced in her only start at six. Adios Trick produced nine foals for five winners/ two qualifiers including Hanover Trick(5 wins, 1:54.3US), Smooth Ghia(7 wins, Harold Park twice, Sue Dreamer(6wins, NI Breeders Stakes).

Credit: Peter Craig writing in Harnessed Oct 2015


YEAR: 1970


Had mobile racing been as firmly established in the mid 1970's as it is today Master Dean would probably be toasted as one of the biggest stars of his era. But it wasn't and he wasn't. Pity.

Trained by Alec Purdon for Noel Borlase, Master Dean's barrier manners eventually exasperated his first driver Robert Cameron and Mike De Filippi used the opportunity to put his name in the headlines with some of his brilliant horse's most notable performances. But only from mobiles.

Typical of his career was his 6yo efforts when he was already established in open class. He broke early at his only start previous to the New Zealand Cup where, typically, he broke badly early and was never in the race. Three days later he was a brilliant winner of the NZ Free-For-All and was not beaten again that season in New Zealand.

He beat all the topliners again in the Allan Matson FFA close to the national record and added the Stars Travel Miracle Mile over Stanley Rio, thanks to a brilliant drive from young De Filippi who had to work off a tricky position on the rail to win in the days when drivers could master mile racing on the track. On a cold night on a wet track he only went 2:00 but won well. In Auckland he destroyed them in the Benson and Hedges Flying Mile and then ran 1:57.5 to win the Clarendon FFA over a mile at Addington, a tick outside Young Quinn's national record.

Master Dean, in spite of his great speed, had not won a race after his first 16 starts, sometimes just pulled up. He won two in a row at Hutt Park in his first mobile starts at three and things changed. In fact all 16 of Master Dean's wins were mobiles. He had over 40 races from standing starts and could never finish better than second. And remember that not many horses Alec Purdon's training skills.

Credit: David McCarthy writing in Harnessed July 2016


YEAR: 1970


George Shand's pride and joy of the mid 1970's was an unlikely star on breeding who put up some phenomenal performances.

Trouble was, they invariably came after a gallop at the start and so his full potential was never found. George was a "don't die wondering" sort of driver who did not accept 100m behind the field was a lost cause. On Show Day at Addington in 1973 when the horse was a 3yo, he was lined up in the 3200m Author Dillon Handicap against horses of all ages, something rarely attempted in such a tough race at that time and certainly not now. He did 100m at the start, looped the field to lead at the top of the straight and went on to win.

As a 2yo he was pulled up in two of his first four starts, won a couple at the Nelson winter meeting, floated to Auckland to win first up at Alexandra Park and then lost 150m in the Juvenile Championship.

It was often all or nothing. From 98 starts in NZ he was placed in only 15, nine of them wins. It is probably a record without equal among top line performers. Mighty Gay inherited superior speed from his fast, tough but erratic sire, Gay Gordon, who left about a dozen winners. Some took fast times in the US.

Mighty Gay's form fell right away as an older horse. Then as a 6yo, having won one race in three years, he won the rich Ashburton Flying Stakes at 35/1. That was your Mighty Gay. We may never know how good he really was. He seemed to prefer it that way.

Credit: David McCarthy writing in Harnessed July 2016


YEAR: 1969


NIGEL CRAIG(1969) $475 26 wins(ANZ) $91,000

Bevan Heron probably thought he had the inside running at the 1971 National Sales when he set his eye on the Protector-Pipetre colt who would become famous as Nigel Craig. Heron had been at some West Coast meetings and noticed the success of the stock of Protector, the star of Murchison breeding(admittedly not much of a contest) but hardly known anywhere else.

Bevan only had $500 to spend(the limit for his Dad Lance coming into a partnership) and breeder Dave Oxnam, the Murchison butcher, had a reserve of $1000. Fortunately the youngster never looked like making that rather ambitious sum. After being passed in, some smooth talking persuaded Dave $475 was a fair price.

It actually looked a very good price for a very long time but after being gelded as a late 3yo Nigel Craig suddenly shaped up as a racehorse and the rest, as they say, was history. He was the first trotter to break two minutes for the mile in New Zealand, going 1:58.8 at Addington in a time trial in February 1977. At that time he was being rated by knowing souls as having "serious claims to being our best trotter of all time." The Rowe Cup eluded him and undoubtedly Addington was his spiritual home, but even racing against class acts like Petite Evander, he was a standout performer.

The backstory was half the fun. Protector went to work at stud as a yearling and free ranged with Pipetre who came from a good family developed by Joe Hampton at Upper Riccarton, for no less than 12 successive seasons. Nigel Craig had to survive a fall into the flooded Murchison river in his younger days but it was all part of the fun. Protector was never commercial but he had a mighty strike rate. His stock had 455(total) starts. They won 42 in the days of the hit and miss 'come as you are' breeding business that was tops. And never forget, he had sired six of the eight winners as a Reefton meeting, a ratio even Bettor's Delight couldn't beat!

Credit: David McCarthy writing in Harnessed May 2016


YEAR: 1969


A chartered cargo plane, which he had all to himself, deposited Cardigan Bay on American soil on the first day of spring, 1964. It was prophetic. For the next five years the great NZ pacing horse was destined to be the evergreen of harness racing, the hardy perennial which not even advancing old age could keep pruned for long. In the September of his years Cardigan Bay planted springtime in the hearts of millions of racing fans.

Cardigan Bay showed up in the United States with just $158,212 in his pockets. When he had cooled out for the last time beneath the blue and gold blanket of the Stanley Dancer Stable at Freehold Raceway on the late afternoon of September 14, 1968, he had accumulated earnings of $1,001,353 and so become the first millionaire horse in standardbred history.

A month later in a warm Saturday night bath of spotlights at Yonkers Raceway he was officially disarmed, relinquishing his racing shoes and equipment amidst pomp and ceremony and the Prime Minister of NZ. It had been, by formal proclamation, 'Cardigan Bay Day' in Yonkers, New York. The next evening Cardigan Bay walked down a long red carpet, which lead into the living rooms of 20-million viewers, on the Ed Sullivan television show. No immigrant had ever 'made it' any bigger any faster.

Cardigan Bay's path to greatness on the North American continent was not a charted one, nor was it paved with pushovers. In his very first race at Yonkers, he had to beat Royal Rick. He did. In his next few races he had to beat the likes of Overtrick, Irvin Paul, Henry T Adios, Country Don, Mighty Tide, Rusty Range and Cold Front. As often as not he did.

Fact is, the rest of the top free-for-allers had been waiting for him. Cardigan Bay had arrived in the United States in a cloud of press clippings. Everone knew the story. How Stanley Dancer had made the long trip to NZ expressly to see the big bay pacing machine, how he hadn't been able to swing the purchase until just 15 minutes before his plane was due to depart, and how it had still cost him $100,000 to buy an eight-year-old gelding.

Back in the United States the future enemy also quickly heard of the unbelievable training routine which Dancer witnessed the week he watched Cardigan Bay. Monday through Friday 15 to 20 miles of jogging each day, then five more jogging miles Saturday morning, a workout of one and a half miles in 3:30, then an afternoon race of a mile and a half, which he won with a 36-yard handicap. The newspapers also carried Dancer's reaction after Cardigan Bay's first workout at the farm in New Egypt, New York. "This is a million dollar horse," Dancer exclaimed as he hopped out of the cart. "I got him $900,000 cheap."

Yes, North America saw Cardigan Bay coming, but it couldn't stop him. Old Cardy, showing an elusive hip to a pursuing Father Time and straight arming one ailment after another, started in 87 races against the most choice of opposition, won 37 of them, finished second 16 times and third on an additional 19 occasions. Cardy left record performances behind him at big places like Yonkers Raceway and Hollywood Park, whipped Bret Hanover in the widely heralded 'Pace of the Century,' attracted tremendous crowds wherever he went, particularly in a series of thrilling 'challenge' and 'revenge' spectacles with Bret Hanover and Overtrick, and finally left the entire world of harness racing limp as he, at last, 'hobbled' past the historic $1-million in 2:01 for the mile.

Like a very good angel who has done so many nice things in a temporary world, Cardigan Bay's life must now go full circle, back to NZ. This clause was in the original contract which Stanley Dancer signed with Mrs Audrey Dean of Auckland. "Wherever he is, he will never really be far away," Stan Dancer said as he folded up Old Cardy's cooler for the last time and prepared to tuck it tenderly and carefully away. Stan was the spokeman for every racing devotee on this continent.

For every individual man who knew Cardigan Bay was coming, there are now 1000 who know he is leaving. Old Cardy could get to people real quick.

Credit: NZ Trotting Calendar 5Feb69


YEAR: 1969


Hopes of Holy Hal standing up to another preparation have been dashed, according to his Edendale part-owner, Mr D Keenan. "It looks a bit like curtains this time," he said recently. The Hal Tryax horse resumed light work about a month ago, but soreness recurred. Although he is back in light work again, little hope is held for him getting to the races.

Mr Keenan and the Mataura trainer, D Todd, have been fighting an uphill battle with Holy Hal since he went amiss on an Australian campaign two years ago. He underwent a concerted preparation for the Inter-Dominion Championship in Auckland last year, winning the Wellington Cup and running second to First Lee in the Grand Final. Holy Hal was quartered at Timaru after the championships, where he was given deep ray treatment in an attempt to liven the tissue surrounding the affected area of his off foreleg. He was then turned out to spell before a preparation designed for the NZ Cup last November.

However, he failed to stand up, and did a season at the stud. Included in his court of 33 mares were Colwyn Bay, dam of Cardigan Bay, and Cherry Blossom, who left Robin Dundee. "It looks as if a permanent stud career is the only thing for him now," Mr Keenan said. Ligament trouble in the off foreleg has, therefore, fininshed the career of one of NZ's most outstanding colt pacers of all time. It was remarkable that he was able to run second to First Lee in the 1968 Inter-Dominion Grand Final as at no stage in his training and racing in this campaign was he 100% sound.

Raced in partnership by Keenan and Mr J R Rodgers, of Christchurch, Holy Hal started 16 times in NZ for nine wins and three placings and $19,390 in stakes. He finished second in the first of two Australian starts as a three-year-old. Holy Hal was trained throughout his career by Todd, who drove him in this two-year-old successes. Later in his career, stable horseman K M Balloch handled him.

A son of Hal Tryax and the Sandydale mare, Sandra Kay, Holy Hal was unbeaten in five starts as a two-year-old, at which age he won the NZ Sapling Stakes, beating Cardinal King, who made a clean sweep of the last International series at Yonkers Raceway, New York. After a run at the Northern Southland non-totalisator meeting, he was untroubled to dispose of Killadar, Cardinal King, Fort Nelson, Miles Gentry and others in the NZ Derby, first up as a three-year-old.

Credit: 'Stopwatch' writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 21May69


YEAR: 1968


'Ribbonwood' writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 12Jun63.

Thelma Globe, dam of Blazing Globe, one of the smartest 3-year-olds in Australia this season, could quite easily have been relegated to the marton's paddock as a filly, so little promise did she show up till the time she reached her fourth birthday.

She was such a complete duffer as a juvenile that she was raced only once as a 3-year-old, was allowed to go out the rank outsider of a field of 14 in the NZ Oaks, and justified it!

Mr G Lancaster, who bred Thelma Globe, recalled that J Vivian, of Shands Track, Hornby, mouthed and gaited Thelma Globe, who was then given to H J Smith to train. She showed practically no promise and about the only think she was good for was as a pacemaker in trials. In training at the same stables was another of Mr Lancaster's juveniles, Yankiwi, who had much of the early ability of the Free Advice family; but while Yankiwi was usually up near the front of most of his workouts, Thelma Globe went in danger of being run over in the last bit. She became wayward at the barrier, and after her Oaks fiasco she went back to her owner's place and was turned out.

At four years she was leased to Drs A C and A S Sandston, with the right of purchase, and she won a few races before the Doctors excercised their option at what turned out to be a very reasonable figure. Thelma Globe was trained for all her successes, and driven in the majority of he races by J B Pringle. Thelma Globe, of course, was a champion. Her 4.11 for two miles is still a world record for a mare.


The death was reported recently of Thelma Globe, one of the greatest mares to race in the Dominion.

Thelma Globe, who began her career as a 3-year-old and had one unplaced start that season in the NZ Oaks, in which she was the outsider in a field of 14, was a bay mare by Springfield Globe from My Lady Luck, a full sister to two other top-class pacers in Pacing Power and Horsepower. She was purchased before she raced from her breeder, Mr G Lancaster, by the father and son owner combination, Drs A S and A C Sandston, of Christchurch.

Thelma Globe won her first race at the Timaru Trotting Club's meeting at Washdyke in January, 1951, when she was successful in the Fairlie Handicap. Altogether that season, Thelma Globe won four races, her fourth for the term also being at Washdyke when she won the Winter Handicap. Five wins came Thelma Globe's way as a 5-year-old, and they included the New Brighton Cup and a double on the one day at Forbury Park.

She won one race at six years, and the next year she had four wins. Her first success that term was gained in the Flying Handicap at Forbury Park, in which she beat Tactician in 2:35 for the mile and a quarter journey. She was then taken to Auckland for the Auckland Cup meeting where she proved invincible.

Thelma Globe won the principal event each day - the Auckland Cup, Champion Handicap and President's Free-For-All - and trainer-drivers of other champions in these races unstintingly acknowledged her superiority at the Epsom Carnival. "Nothing could have beaten her in the fee-for-all," said one trainer. "She lost more ground even than Johnny Globe and then won decisively."
That season Thelma Globe won $18,480 in stakes, which made her the leading stake-winner that term.

Thelma Globe more than emulated the greatness of her famous grandam, Free Advice. Free Advice was by Blue Mountain King (son of Ribbonwood)from Intaglio, by Logan Pointer(imp) from Cameos, by Galindo(imp) from Thelma, and Thelma Globe was certainly one of the greatest racehorses tracing to this famous taproot.

Thelma Globe was trained, and driven in practically all her races, by the late J B Pringle. In all, Thelma Globe started 92 times for 17 wins and 28 placings worth $40,880. At stud Thelma Globe produced Thermal and Don Caesar, both winners, but not in her class as performers.

Credit: 'Irvington' writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 1May68


YEAR: 1968

Waitaki Hanover after the 61 Great Northern Derby victory

Waitaki Hanover, one of the most tightly assessed pacers in NZ - he is on a 2:06 distance mark - has been retired from racing. The decision to retire Waitaki Hanover was made after consultation between his trainer, A J Bourne, of Woolston, and his owners, Mrs J Smith, of Christchurch, and her son, Mr F Smith, of Kurow.

"The old fellow had been working splendidly, but he just lacks the dash to top off his efforts in his races," Bourne said. "He's not completely sound and we don't want to race him until he breaks down completely."

A 9-year-old entire by Garrison Hanover from Kid Dale, Waitaki Hanover changed hands for about $14,000 early in his career. He well justified this expenditure, for in NZ he gained 16 wins and 25 placings worth $35,543. He made several visits to Australia, where his winnings were more than $20,000 and his successes included a Sydney Lord Mayor's Ctp and an A G Hunter Cup in Melbourne. He was also third behind Cardigan Bay and Dusty Miller in the 1963 Inter-Dominion Championship Grand Final in Adelaide.

Waitaki Hanover joined Bourne's team in December, 1965. Before that, he had been through the hands of many trainers. At the time it was considered unlikely that he would stand up to another preparation. Bourne's methods agreed with Waitaki Hanover, who won three races, including the Rotorua Cup, before the end of that season. He won four races last season - the National Handicap and NZ Free-For-All at Addington, the Ashburton Flying Stakes and the Auckland Cup. He was also third to Lordship and Robin Dundee in the NZ Cup.

Campaigned in Australia, he returned from there a very tired horse. He continued to work well this season, but found the task of winning from long marks beyond him, although he paid his way with placings, one of which was a third to Lordship and Fort Nelson in a free-for-all on January 1. On that occasion he paced the mile and five furlongs in 3:21 1/5, his fastest ever for the distance. He also took a record of 2:35 for a mile and a quarter, 2:51 3/5 for a mile and three furlongs, 3:07 3/5 for a mile and a half, and 4:13 3/5 for two miles.

Credit: NZ Trotting Calendar 24Apr68


YEAR: 1968


"He's done it!"

This simple exclamation conveys more than a Poet Laureate could write to pay tribute to our one and only Cardigan Bay, the first millionaire standardbred in all light-harness history; bred at Chimes Lodge, Mataura, Southland, by D (for Davey) Todd, sold to Mrs Audrey Dean for $5000, for whom he won a fortune and was sold for a fortune; and went on to amass (overall) ten-fold the price the American syndicate paid for him.

Cardigan Bay, the seemingly indistructable pacer now in his 13th year to NZ time (he would have been 12 on August 1 last if he remained here) has already more than Tennyson's Brook - he has not only gone on for ever - he has become a worthy offspring of Old Father Thames as well!

With only three years of racing on American tracks under his belt, the durable gelding has already proved a star of stars. From coast to coast, he became recognised as a 'personality.' His duels with some of the all time greats of pacing have gone into the harness racing archives as some of the greatest races ever witnessed in the history of the sport. In 1964, he took part in three thrilling races with the speedy Overtrick, beating him only once, but two of the races were so close it took the judges several minutes to seperate the horses in the photo-finish picture. Appropriately, the two races were named after a pacing immortal, Dan Patch.

Again in 1966, another young rival, the speediest pacer ever, Bret Hanover, was the opposition. In their first meeting, 'The Pace of the Century' at Yonkers Raceway, a crowd of 36,795, which bet a season's record handle for all tracks of $2,802,745, saw Cardigan Bay beat the great Bret by a length. Bret came back to whip Cardigan Bay in subsequent races but it is that first meeting in 'The Pace of the Century' that fans still talk about.

Last year at Windsor, Ontario, for example, on March 8, despite a 22 degree temperature, he broke all kinds of records in winning the Provincial Cup Pace. Other Windsor track records racked up by Cardigan Bay were: 1) Most money bet on a horse, 2) Most money bet on a single race, 3) Most money bet on a programme, and 4) Record crowd.

It is a tribute to the training ability of Davey Todd, Peter Wolfenden and Stanley Dancer that this aged gamester kept going so long and tirelessly. He broke the two-minute mile mark many times and holds all-time track records of 1:57 2/5 for the mile at Hollywood Park, California, and 1:58 1/5 at Yonkers Raceway. He scored victories in practically every important event available to free-for-allers in America. In NZ and Australia Cardigan Bay, at least in the eyes of th present generation, replaced the legendary thoroughbred Phar Lap as the greatest equine hero Down Under.

Purchased by Stanley Dancer in 1964 for $100,000, Cardigan Bay had to end his American racing career at the close of 1969 according to an agreement Dancer signed with the previous owner, Mrs Audrey Dean of Auckland. A clause in the the contract stipulated that "Dancer will ship Cardigan Bay at his own expense back to Mrs Dean when he is retired from racing, but no later than the age of 13 years." Actually, the purchase price was $100,025.70. The $25.70 was a service charge levied by a Melbourne bank for handling the transfer of funds to Mrs Dean's account in Auckland. Add to this the shipping costs of Cardigan Bay, plus a six months quarantine in England, would be about $106,025.70. For this investment, Cardy has returned to his owners, Irving W Berkemeyer and the Cardigan Stable the bonanza of over $825,000. His grand total is $1,000,671.

The saga of our Cardigan Bay began at Chimes Lodge, a training and breeding farm at Mataura. Davey Todd, a veteran trainer, had a considerable reputation for having a knack with problem horses. With his brother Sandy, Todd runs Chimes Lodge. Cardigan Bay was gelded while a weanling, a common practice with the Todd Brothers. Cardigan Bay did not race as a 2-year-old. He started only eight times as a 3-year-old, winning twice and finishing second once. He was campaigned lightly again at four, and this was largely because he was laid aside for three months at the height of the season because of a cold. In four outings, he won three times and finished second on the other occasion. One of these races, incidentally, was in saddle on January 11, 1960. Cardigan Bay finished second. This was one of the last races in saddle in the harness sport in NZ. At the conclusion of his 4-year-old season he was sold for $5000 to Mrs Audrey D Dean of Auckland.

Today, an observer can tour NZ and literally meet hundreds of horsemen who claim that they could have bought Cardigan Bay but didn't act quickly enough to grasp the opportunity. It was ever thus. In most of his subsequent engagements, while owned by Mrs Dean, Cardigan Bay was trained and driven by Peter Wolfenden, one of the top reinsmen in NZ. Martin Tananbaum, president of Yonkers Raceway, who pioneered the International Pace in 1960, first held discussions in Perth about inviting the gelding to the International Pace held annually at Yonkers Raceway. The Inter-Dominion Grand Finals were about three days off and it appeared certain that every attendance and betting record at Gloucester Park, Perth, would be toppled when the exciting Cardigan Bay raced for the Inter-Dominion Championships.

At Cannington track, a training oval some six miles outside Perth, Cardigan Bay was put through a light jogging session by a groom attached to the stable of Billy Wilkins, who was 'standing in' for Peter Wolfenden as trainer-driver at the time. As the lad dismounted and held the reins lightly, one of the sulky wheels suddenly crumbled and collapsed, some say due to a flat tyre. The usually easy-going Cardigan Bay was startled and bolted from the grounds through an open gate dragging the damaged cart behind him. He headed, terror stricken, for his stall. Before anyone could could flag the great animal down it was too late. He had crashed his right hip severely against one of the walls tearing his flesh open to the bone and it looked as though a merciful end, at the hands of a veterinarian, was the only future for Cardigan Bay. As a matter of fact, one story current at the time was that if Cardigan Bay had been insured, he would have been destroyed there and then.

Most of the credit, according to Australian and NZ sources, for the miraculous recovery of Cardigan Bay should go to a Perth trainer named Ted Greig. He insisted the horse could be saved and arranged for special slings and contrivances to shift the weight off the injured member. The damaged hip was actually six inches lower than the other. Greig once told newsmen: "I know you'll think me silly but Cardigan Bay was almost human. He never kicked or nipped me, or anyone else and he had lots of brains. Somehow he knew he was badly hurt by his accident and so he rested for a long time, until he himself knew he had the strength to move. When I took him out to graze," Greig related, "he was very unsteady and I had to brace my body against his so he could lean on me. I'll never know how really big his heart is," concluded Greig.

Cardigan Bay was out for four months and when he went back to light training his pronounced limp was easily visible. Nevertheless, by the time the Inter-Dominions of 1963 rolled around in February, Cardigan Bay was ready. On hand at Adelaide again was president Martin Tananbaum of Yonkers Raceway with a firm invitation to Mrs Dean to bring the horse to the 1963 International. On the first night of the Inter-Dominion Championships Tananbaum met Mrs Dean and her husband, Merv, near Cardigan Bay's stall. "Mr Tananbaum," said Mr Dean, "speaking for my wife, anyone can have the horse beginning right now for 25,000 sterling ($70,000 American currency), I mean" continued the husband, "starting tonight all the purse money goes to the man who buys him."

That night, after the races, the overseas telephone operator from Adelaide was kept busy as the Yonkers track president realised that only through a purchaser could he hope to obtain the services of this obviously great horse. He had no luck after contacting several of the leading standardbred owners in America. The conversations all raged along the same lines. "Seventy thousand dollars for a 7-year-old gelding. What's the matter, Marty, are you nuts or something?" Had any of the men contacted by Tananbaum, taken his advice they would have immediately reaped a return of $30,000 from the Inter-Dominions against their $70,000 outlay.

With Peter Wolfenden back in the sulky, the year 1963 was undoubtedly a most remarkable season for Cardigan Bay. He won the Inter-Dominions after four gruelling heats. In the first qualifying heat, which he won, a horse put a foot through his wheel that almost unseated Wolfenden. Cardigan Bay also won the second qualifier easily but in the third he was unable to avoid a three-horse pile-up and somersaulted over the fallen horses. Wolfenden was hurled from the sulky onto the track. Even the Final was not without incident. Handicapped from 24 yards back,Cardigan Bay got up to the field but on the final turn was forced very wide by another pile up yet finished strongly enough to win setting a track record at Adelaide, South Australia.

That same year, 1963, Cardigan Bay also became the first horse to win both the Inter-Dominion Championships and the NZ Cup in the same year, a feat which had eluded such great horses as Caduceus, False Step, Johnny Globe and Highland Fling. He won several more classics in his native NZ and as his reputation grew so did the crowds. A record 26,107 turned out for the Auckland Cup in which he beat the field from a back mark of 78 yards. Cardigan Bay continued to break attendance and track records from handicap marks of 30, 42, 60 and 78 yards in various races. In December, 1963, at Hutt Park, he paced against time in a blazing record of 1:56 1/5(the fastest mile of his entire career) to round out a most remarkable year for a horse whose racing days had been declared finished by veterinary surgeons the previous year, and his 1:56 1/5 is still the Australian and NZ record.

The news of the last performance of Cardigan Bay was by January, 1964, well-known to most horsemen in American harness racing circles, but the alert Dancer, it appears, was first to act. He contacted some friends in Australia and NZ who confirmed that Cardigan Bay was indeed as good as the press clippings indicated. When Martin Tananbaum, made plans to attend the Inter-Dominion Championships in Melbourne, to invite horses to the 1964 International Pace, Stanley Dancer asked if he could accompany the Yonkers boss and try to purchase Cardigan Bay. Tananbaum himself, although he was to make a third attempt to invite Mrs Dean, went with little hope of collaring the fabulous gelding. Transportation plans were changed as Dancer and one of his owners, Dr Thomas Siciliano, embarked on the trip Down Under with Tananbaum.

Instead of heading directly for Melbourne a six-hour stop-over was arranged at Auckland, the home of the Deans. In the modest brick house, over traditional tea, scones and biscuits, Dancer bid $90,000 for Cardigan Bay. Mrs Dean said that her price was now $140,000, double that of a year previous. It was agreed after some preliminary discussions that they would continue their talks after Dancer had a chance to see Cardigan Bay train and perform in Melbourne. Strict orders were given that Dancer could not test-drive the swift pacer. It was a "look but don't touch" edict.

In Melbourne, one Thursday morning, before the first heat of the Inter-Dominions, scheduled two days later, Dancer saw Cardigan Bay in only one work-out. He turned to the group around him and said: "He's mine if I can buy him. I'll give her $100,000 for him." Later, in an automobile heading back to his hotel, Dancer was asked how he could make a judgement to spend so vast an amount of money after only one work-out. Dancer revealed that he was impressed with Cardigan Bay's stamina, and the way he had shrugged off an unbelievable work-load in only one week of training sold him on the gelding. That and, of course, the 1:56 1/5 mile he had paced on the small track with a heavy sulky at Wellington the previous December. Stanley said: "When I saw him work on that Thursday morning he paced an easy mile in 2:20 and then when Peter Wolfenden blew him out he did the mile in 2:03 3/5." The secret to Dancer's decision was the fact that Peter Wolfenden in conversation had revealed that on this same morning he had jogged Cardigan Bay some 17 miles. His jogging schedule seemed to run between 17 and 20 miles at least four days a week, plus a mile or more of hard work every day.

When on the following Saturday night Cardigan Bay threaded his way from a 36-yard handicap through a 12-horse field to win for fun by four lengths Dancer was determined more than ever to acquire Cardigan Bay for his syndicate, which was headed by Irving W Berkemeyer who also owned another great gelding - the trotter Su Mac Lad. Negotiations began early the following Sunday morning, Dancer was scheduled to leave for the United States at 3pm. The deal appeared to be at a standstill at the $100,000 mark until Dancer, remembering the many cups and trophies, and other momentos, back in Mrs Dean's living room in Auckland, sensed the deep devotion and affection she had for Cardigan Bay, promised to ship the horse back to her at his own expense when the gelding's racing days were ended. A hurried, hand-written agreement was drawn up, signed and witnessed, and Dancer was on the plane headed back to America with minutes to spare.

The rest is now history, and already two journalists, one in NZ, the other in America, are planning to write books about him. And he has, perhaps, also been NZ's greatest ambassador. The men in Parliament must have ideas along these lines, because it has been mooted that his feat will be marked by the issue of a special stamp in NZ. Trotting interests have made representations to the Department of Internal Affairs and to the Postmaster-General(Mr Scott), who has shown interest in the idea.

Cardigan Bay was by Hal Tryax(imp), 3, 2:00, from Colwyn Bay(4:25 for two miles), by Josedale Dictator(imp) from Pleasure Bay, by Quite Sure(imp) from Helen's Bay, by Guy Parrish(imp) from Gold Patch, by Geo M Patchen. Gold Patch, foaled at Green Island, Otago, was out of Trilby, who was claimed to have been a thoroughbred and is probably the same Trilby who appears in Vol II of the NZ (thoroughbred) Stud Book. That Trilby was by Torpedo from Christina, by Javelin from Cascade, by Sledmere. Trilby was apparently of little account on the racetrack, but some of her relatives were good - one in particular her full-brother, Torpina, won three times in a row as a 3-year-old, including a hurdle race at Riccarton. Torpedo, sire of Trilby, was by the famous imported sire Musket, sire of the immortal galloper Carbine, winner of the Melbourne Cup as a 5-year-old in 1890 carrying 10st 5lb, still the highest weight ever carried to victory in one of the world's greatest races. Carbine later went to England and became an outstanding stud success. Torpedo himself was a capable racehorse. In the 1890-91 season he won his first seven races on end and later on in the same season he won four more on end.

Credit: NZ Trotting Calendar 18Sep68

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