DID THAT REALLY HAPPEN ? A COLLECTION OF UNUSUAL CUP FACTS.
***James Thompson the owner of the 1916 Cup winner, Cathedral Chimes, had a short lived triumph before falling victim to a bizarre coincidence. The Addington cup was delayed because the Stewards stand caught fire early on in the meeting. In those pre Health and Safety days when the fire was put out the races went on and Cathedral Chimes won the rich stake of 2500 pounds the biggest trotting race outside America in the world. Mr Thompson then boarded the train to return to Invercargill. On arrival there the next day he found that his large manufacturing factory in the city burned to the ground at huge expense. It certainly took the “glow” off the Cup victory
***Tiger Tara is drawing attention with his 5th try to win the Cup but the modern record and a cruel one, belongs to Master Musician, surely the most unlucky horse in the race who lined up SEVEN times for Robert Dunn. He was unplaced in the first two, checked right out of the race in one by a runner later relegated behind him, then ran 2nd to the freakish Chokin in 1992, 2nd to Bee Bee Cee the following year (a very strong field) and third to Il Vicolo in 1995 before two more unplaced runs when past his best. Having a lot of experience in the race is not always significant. Roi’lor in the 1930’s and Tactician in the 1950’s both lined up 7 times. Tactician’s second at his first attempt on a wet track he disliked in 1952 was his best and Roi’Lor also paid a dividend only once and at his first try. Perhaps these superstars stars were not really dour stayers. Who knows ?
***Freeman Holmes jnr a horseman rated the equal of his brother Maurice by a lot of good judges and a marksman of rare ability as his hobby, was a man who could hold a grudge. As a youngster he drove in the 1921 Cup behind Sherwood which was first past the post but relegated over interference to the champion trotting mare Reta Peter.
An appeal failed but young Holmes was adamant it was a bad decision. The media at the time thought otherwise as did the stewards.
FG never lost the feeling he had been robbed. When he finally got to the microphone on Cup Day after his horse Adorian won in 1953 he complained about his treatment in the same race more than 30 years before giving officials a little serve. That’s a long time to dwell on a reversal of placings.
***Bronze Eagle is listed as the favourite when winning the 1944 New Zealand Cup but he wasn’t really even close. He was bracketed with Pacing Power a high class pacer who was expected to win. He looked likely to as well until Bronze Eagle shot through along the inner for catch driver, George Noble, to win. Bronze Eagle was widely regarded as a non-stayer who had been moderate in previous Cup attempts for then owner, Cliff Tasker, a prominent name in the sport. Bronze Eagle was transferred to the great trainer but severe asthmatic Roy Berry for his final Cup preparation after a domestic dispute meant the ownership of Bronze Eagle was transferred to Bill Suttie of Springston whose mother had been associated with Tasker. It was the first and as far as is known the last horse raced by Suttie then working on a Springston farm. Berry’s thorough preparation of Bronze Eagle to help his stamina would raise eyebrows today but was within all the rules then and his scientific approach paid off on the day. Berry drove Pacing Power who won the Free for All that year and was a vastly superior horse.
His concerns about stamina were right. A few years later Cliff Tasker, who had retained Bronze Eagle’s dam, Lady Bridget, produced a young star half-brother to Bronze Eagle in Sir Michael who won the Derby at three and later the NZ Free for All of 1947. But he was never started in the NZ Cup.
Bronze Eagle had a later Cup start for a young Cecil Devine without success. But in a brief stud career he sired a filly, Vivanti, the best two year old of her year for Devine and later winner of the NZ Oaks before being sold for big money to Australia.
*** Kiwi trot fans, with plenty of justification thought the 1980’s era of pacers were world beaters so the harness world was stunned when an Australian hardly anybody here had heard of slaughtered our best in the 1983 NZ Cup.
As a spectacle it was a very special Cup but to have horses like Bonnies Chance, Hands Down, Our Mana Camelot etc dealt to by an upstart Aussie sent more of a wave than a ripple through the industry.
His trainer, Norm Lang, must have smiled when the knowalls here said his horse, who had come from a nothing to a rising star in a matter of months, would have trouble staying 3200m on a track like Addington, especially taking in a pedigree about as long as your index finger.
That was until Norm took Steel Jaw out for the then traditional public workouts at Addington on the Sunday before the Cup and ran 4.14 on his own. Bonnie’s Chance had won the previous Cup in 4.09. Kiwi trainers just didn’t do that so close to the race.
Steel Jaw soon made the front in the Cup. Various stars made runs midrace to tackle him but Lang just sat ther with his charge pulling for his head. The writer recalls announcing in the press box. “Wait until his stops pulling and see what happens then”
What happened was that Steel Jaw ran away by nearly 10 lengths. It was so dramatic the tragedy of an owner collapsing and dying in the birdcage after the race seemed somehow to fit in the day.
Steel Jaw equalled a Lord Module record on the final night and went back to Australia and relative obscurity. He had 18 months off and three more also ran starts before being retired. Before coming here his biggest winning stake was $7000 though he had run second to Popular Alm in a $100,000 race in Queensland, the same purse as the NZ Cup then. But as Cup results go this one was truly bizarre.
OUR NZ CUP CUP RECORD 21 years of Cup starters -5 wins
2018- Thefixer, Cruz Bromac, Dream About Me, Eamon Maguire
2017-LAZARUS 1st 3.55 1st-
Piccadilly Princess Jonny Cox (7th) Have Faith in Me Nathan Purdon (8th) , Dream About Me (Tim Williams) (pulled up after checked at start ) and Heaven Rocks Natalie (9th) unplaced.
2016- LAZARUS 1ST-3,53,1 world record-
Titan Banner (Blair Orange) 3rd Smolda (Tim Williams) 4th - Have Faith in Me (Natalie) 13th
2015-SMOLDA 2ND Mark 3.57.4 Messini 5th Natalie
2014- ADORE ME -MARK 1ST 3.54.6 WORLD RECORD--
Hands Christian -Natalie 9th-Arden Rooney Tim Williams 12th
2013-FLY LIKE AN EAGLE -Mark (3.57) 2ND
2012 HIGHVIEW TOMMY- Blair Orange- 2nd. SUSHI SUSHI -Natalie 3rd MAJOR MARK -Colin De Filippi 5th;Fly Like an Eagle (Mark) 7th Auckland Reactor -Maurice McKendry 15th.
2011- HIGHVIEW TOMMY -BLAIR ORANGE-3RD 3.58.8 (Vit Et Animo and Natalie Rasmussen 10th)
2010-SLEEPY TRIPP -MARK PURDON -3RD 4.01.1 (Highview Tommy and Blair Orange 5th. Ohoka Dallas and Tony Herlihy 14th) )
2009-NO STABLE STARTERS-
2008-NO STABLE STARTERS-
2006-MIGHTY CULLEN -Blair Orange 4TH IMAGINE THAT -Mark-10TH
2005-BORN AGAIN CHRISTIAN (Trainer Grant Payne) Jim Curtin-9TH-LIKMESIAH -Blair Orange -12TH
2004-YOUNG RUFUS -MARK PURDON 6TH.
2003-JACK CADE -MARK PURDON 3RD. YOUNG RUFUS-Tony Herlihy 6TH
2002-YOUNG RUFUS- Anthony Butt-6th.
2001-CIGAR -Ken Barron 5TH-BOGAN FELLA-Mark -6TH
2000-BOGAN FELLA-MARK PURDON 2ND. 4..00.5
1999-BOGAN FELLA-MARK PURDON 3RD 4.04.7
1998-BRABHAM -MARK PURDON 7TH-
1997-BRABHAM -MARK PURDON 5TH-SHARP AND TELFORD-Tony Herlihy 12TH.
1996-IL VICOLO-MARK PURDON 1ST- 4.02.3
1995 IL VICOLO-MARK PURDON. 4.00.4; BRABHAM 4TH
More Notables or Back to News
All Stars reached another milestone at Awards night collecting its 50th NZ Pacing Award in the Horse of the Year section. It has also collected awards across the Tasman for Lazarus, Smolda and Princess Tiffany.
All Stars has won the 2yo male pacing award and the 2yo female award for the last five years in succession a quite remarkable feat whose equal will be a long time coming. It has also won the 3yo male pacers category for the last four years and eight times overall.
The only category not dominated by the stable in recent years has been the aged female pacer an award won only by Adore Me. This reflects the busy racing programmes of the two and three year olds and their subsequent retirement to stud.