Globetrotter who took the NZ thoroughbred to the world ...more
Balmerino is remembered for a pioneering odyssey which brought the New Zealand thoroughbred to the world stage. Less remembered is what a good galloper he proved himself in New Zealand and Australia before setting out on his world travels.
Bred and raced by Waikato dairy farmer Ralph Stuart, who had bred very successfully from the family previously, Balmerino was by Trictrac from the grand broodmare Dulcie. Stuart usually sold his colts; the elderly farmer was persuaded by brash young trainer Brian Smith to keep Balmerino after Smith won five races with older half-sister Mia Bella to keep the ledger in the black. Balmerino was the outstanding three-year-old of 1975-76, proving not only his class but his toughness through a campaign that began in the spring and ended in the Queensland winter; that embraced 18 starts and netted 14 wins and three seconds. That toughness stood to Balmerino when, after a truncated four-year-old season which nevertheless provided wins in the Air New Zealand Stakes, Awapuni Gold Cup, Sydney Autumn Stakes and Hastings Ormond Memorial, he headed for Europe. Stopping off on the way in California, where he notched a win despite missing his main target, he won the Valdoe Stakes at Goodwood first up in England and, on that one outing, ran a rather unlucky second in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe to the very good three-year-old Alleged (who won the Arc again the following year). Balmerino then went to Italy, where he finished first in the Gran Premio del Jockey Club but was relegated that to second. Allowing that as at least a moral victory, Balmerino had now won in New Zealand, Australia, the United States, England, and Italy – and finished a luckless second in France’s most prestigious race.
As a six-year-old stallion Balmerino had one more campaign and, though he’d lost some of his zest for racing, still managed a win in the Clive Graham Stakes at Goodwood and seconds in the Coronation Cup at Epsom and the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown. He returned home to stand at Middlepark Stud, Cambridge, and sired some quality gallopers despite suffering the quick abandonment by breeders that was the lot of “colonial-bred” stallions at that time.
Raced into equine immortality in the race of the century ...more
44 starts, 18 wins (nine Group One, six of these in Australia), five seconds, 12 thirds; NZ$674,225, A$1,679,495.
Champion NZ 3YO Bonecrusher can count amongst his home wins the NZ Derby and Air New Zealand Stakes, followed up with stunning Australian wins in Sydney including the Tancred Stakes and AJC Derby.
In the following spring Bonecrusher won the most memorable Cox Plate duel with Waverley Star – being described as the “race of the century”. In this career defining race, Bonecrusher’s name continues to live on in equine immortality.
Bonecrusher beat At Talaq in the Australian Cup, again displaying a huge will to win and continued on to win another Air New Zealand Stakes at five, despite having injury problems.
One of the greatest racehorses and sires bred in the southern hemisphere ...more
A colourful character named Dan O’Brien bought the Musket colt he first named Mauser and then renamed Carbine at a Sylvia Park, Auckland, auction for 625 guineas. He was unbeaten in five New Zealand starts at two, and O’Brien took him to Melbourne as a spring three-year-old to race in the VRC Derby. Narrowly beaten – he was reputedly beaten by the jockey’s over-confidence – in the Derby, he won two races in Melbourne for O’Brien before being bought for 3000 pounds by Australian sportsman Donald Wallace. For Wallace he became the first true champion of Australian racing, transcending Victorian/New South Wales rivalries. He started 43 times for 33 wins, six seconds and three thirds, his stake earnings of 29,626 pounds a record for more than 20 years. The apogee of his racing career was the 1890 Melbourne Cup, which he won over a record field (38), with a record weight (10st 5lb, or 66kg) in record time. No horse had previously won with as much weight; no horse has since, in more than a hundred years. In the closing stages Carbine outfinished a lightweight named Highborn, to whom he was conceding 3st 11lb, or 24kg. Highborn later won the Sydney Cup with 9st 3lb! Carbine went to stud for four years in Australia, and sired the winners of more than 200 races. Then he was sold privately to the Duke of Portland, and, despite standing in England alongside the great St Simon, founded the triple Derby-winning dynasty of Spearmint, Spion Kop and Felstead. His blood flows through the veins of Nearco, Hyperion and all their great descendants.
43 starts, 33 wins, 6 seconds, 3 thirds.
29,626 pounds (a record for over 20 years)
Carbine was kindly sponsored by the Chianti Stallion Partnership. Chianti is an Irish bred 1998 bay stallion by Danehill from Sabbah. He stands at Te Runga Stud, Pukekohe. For further details contact Wayne Larsen (Studmaster) at 027-497-5115 or refer to websites www.terungastud.co.nz or www.chianti.co.nz.
Rich bay unbeaten at Weight For Age in Australasia ...more
28 starts, 22 wins, one second, one third, 11,890 pounds.
Outstanding performer at the end of the 1930s Defaulter won his last seven races at two years old, and 10 straight as a 3YO, a first-up defeat at three interrupting a sequence of 18 wins.
Defaulter beat the best in Australia as well as New Zealand, winning five weight-for-age races in Sydney against vintage opposition and at distances from seven furlongs to two and a quarter miles.
Retired to stud, Defaulter was a successful sire.
Fierce front running 1st lady of NZ racing ...more
By All Black from Aurarius, Desert Gold was trained by Fred Davis for Mr T.H. (Tom) Lowry; the first of three Tom Lowry’s to be the squire of Okawa Stud in the Hawke’s Bay. Just as Gloaming’s sequence of 19 would have been much longer but for an unexpected defeat, Desert Gold’s would have been 22 but for a close second at weight-for-age against the older horses at her second-last start as a two-year-old. She won her final start that season and then proceeded through her three-year-old season unbeaten in 14 starts.
As a four-year-old Desert Gold took her sequence through to 19 with weight-for-age wins at Trentham, Ellerslie and Riccarton. At five she was still the weight-for-age queen – she won the Awapuni Gold Cup at three, four and five years – and she made several trips to Australia where, during those First World War years, she was tremendously popular through her owner donating her winnings to the War Relief Fund.
At six years of age, coming to the end of her wonderful career, Desert Gold had three virtual match races on the then-strong Taranaki circuit with the rising young star Gloaming. She beat him in the first, but Gloaming had got tangled in the tapes at the start; Gloaming won the next “match” but this time Desert Gold lost lengths when her half-brother Croesus fell in front of her. Finally the decider, the Hawera Stakes; and, with no excuses either way this time, the three-year-old Gloaming was too good for the mare. Desert Gold was retired after a few more starts (which included an easy win in the Manawatu Stakes), hugely popular with the public to the end.
One of the greatest racing records in NZ history ...more
More than 70 years after he ran his last race, the winning sequence of 19 which Gloaming shared with his great contemporary Desert Gold remains the New Zealand record. But for an unexpected defeat by Thespian – a horse he trounced at his next start – as a six-year-old, Gloaming would in fact have won 29 in a row. By the end of his marvellous career, Gloaming had raced 67 times, won 57 times, run nine seconds – and taken no part in the only race in which he was unplaced. Trained by Dick Mason for a new patron, the Canterbury station-holder George Dean Greenwood, Gloaming (The Welkin-Light) was taken back to Australia, where he was bred, to have his first start – and won the Chelmsford Stakes, as a maiden, by eight lengths! Next up he won the AJC Derby; then he returned home to win the New Zealand and Great Northern Derbys as well, his feat of winning three Derbys unprecedented at that time. His class thoroughly established, Gloaming was to cross and re-cross the Tasman no fewer than 15 times over the next four seasons. On separate visits to Australia, year after year, he met and matched the latest champ… Poitrel and Beauford, Heroic and Ballymena. Gloaming closed out his career at Hastings, the course which was to launch latter-day champions 75 years on. The oldtimer fought a memorable match race with a brilliant sprinter named The Hawk, then a six-year-old at the height of his powers – and beat him.
67 starts, 57 wins, 9 seconds
Gloaming was sponsored by the specialty bloodstock publication - Australasian Turf Monthly.
The Washdyke Wonder - one of the best of the post war era ...more
164 starts, 51 wins, 27 seconds, 21 thirds, NZ$235,020, A$8,400.
Grey Way’s first win was at Rangiora in October 1972. His last win was on the same racecourse - eight years later.
Grey Way’s 50 wins in New Zealand, often against outstanding opposition, beat Black Duke's previous New Zealand record of 46.
Grey Way won from 1200m to 2000m and was a noted miler, at which distance he scored great wins in the ARC Easter Handicap and the WRC George Adams.
Australasia's record breaking champion mare and producer ...more
40 starts, 17 wins (six at Group One), 10 seconds, 2 thirds. NZ$3,411,682, A$625,000
Horlicks, by Three Legs out of Malt, won 17 of her 40 starts, chalking up six Group One victories in three countries. She won both the million-dollar DB Draught Classic and the New Zealand Stakes twice.
In the spring of 1989 she won the weight-for-age Mackinnon Stakes at Flemington and followed it up three weeks later with a win in the $3 million Japan Cup (2400m) in world record time for trainers Dave and Paul O'Sullivan.
She was retired from racing the following year, with career earnings of $A3.2 million.
A super mare on the track, Horlicks later became a very successful broodmare. At stud she left 13 foals with Brew, the winner of the Melbourne Cup in 2000, the most notable. One of her daughters, Latte, produced the 2007 AJC Australian Derby winner Fiumicino
Horlicks died peacefully at Cambridge stud in August 2011 and is buried at her owner breeder Graham de Gruchy’s Hawke’s Bay property.
One of NZ's greatest racehorses ...more
During a career constantly impeded by unsoundness, Kindergarten (Kincardine-Valadore) raced till he was nine but had just 35 starts. He won 25 of them, including among his wins three of the greatest weight-carrying performances of his or any era.
Unarguably the best three-year-old of 1940-41, when he won the last 10 of his 13 starts, Kindergarten lined up at that age in the ARC Easter Handicap. No respecter of youth, handicapper Frank McManemin gave the three-year-old 9st 11lb (62kg). That was 16lb – about seven kg – above weight-for-age. Near the back of a capacity field in the running, Kindergarten stormed home to win the big mile by a head. Two days later he won the Great Northern St Leger at a mile and three-quarters (2800m). After breaking down in Australia and missing most of his four-year-old season, Kindergarten was patched up to tackle the Easter again, this time with 10st 3lb (65kg). Again he came from near last to win. In the spring of 1942, a Melbourne Cup bid was planned for a five-year-old Kindergarten. But the dangers and uncertainties of wartime shipping kept him at home and, on a seemingly light preparation, he tackled the Auckland Cup instead under 10st 2lb (64.5kg). In the hands of Bert Ellis, Kindergarten took the lead under his big weight five furlongs (1000m) from home, dropped the bit again, then accelerated away in the straight to win by five lengths.
Though Kindergarten never got the chance to prove his class in Australia, the opinion held of him by the Melbourne handicapper can be ascertained. For three successive Melbourne Cups he accorded Kindergarten top weight at 9st 10lb, 9st 13lb and 10st 6lb respectively. Let 30-year handicapper Frank McManemin pass verdict: “The best horse I ever handicapped was Kindergarten. Not only that, he was the best horse I have ever seen.”
35 starts, 25 wins, 3 thirds
Cambridge Stud is the proud inductee sponsor of Kindergarten. Cambridge Stud is the premier privately owned and operated stud farm in the world and presently stands the Champion sire - Zabeel, Stravinsky and new sires - Keeper, One Cool Cat and Viking Ruler. For further information please call 07-827-7887
Chestnut thunderbolt who's short career was outstanding ...more
The New Zealand record-winning sequence of 19, shared jointly by Desert Gold and Gloaming, has survived from the 1920s through into the 21st Century. It came under its greatest threat from a chestnut colt named Mainbrace, at the end of the 1940s.
By a young sire named Admiral’s Luck, who sadly died after only four seasons at stud, from Maneroo, Mainbrace was raced in partnership by his dam’s owner, Dr Thomas Fraser, and Bob Nolan, who handled her matings.
Beaten in his debut, Mainbrace won his next six starts as a two-year-old. Not fully wound up for his three-year-old debut, Mainbrace was beaten by The Unicorn in a sprint at Avondale before turning the tables in the Avondale Guineas. And that sprint defeat proved significant. Mainbrace won his next 15 starts as a three-year-old, all the classics included (except the New Zealand Derby at Riccarton which, in his absence, The Unicorn won), and his first two starts as a four-year-old.
Then, with a winning sequence of 17 and the Desert Gold-Gloaming record at his mercy, he became so cramped and awkward in his action he had to be retired. Only after his death, following a pretty neglected stud career, did an autopsy reveal the all but blocked hind-leg artery which had restricted the flow of blood.
Had Mainbrace not run second in that first three-year-old outing, he would have won 24 on end. He won from six furlongs (1200m) to the St Leger mile and three-quarters (2800m). The remarkable thing was that he was seldom even given a contest. If a three-year-old is markedly superior to his age group, one might suspect it was a moderate crop (though Mainbrace’s early adversary The Unicorn was no moderate).
But Mainbrace was just as superior to the older horses he regularly beat at weight-for-age. His winning margins in his last five starts as a three-year-old totalled 23 ¾ lengths. On consecutive days, he won the Great Northern St Leger, at a mile and three-quarters, and then the seven-furlong wfa Great Northern Challenge Stakes – by six lengths! Mainbrace and his young rider Grenville Hughes were pop stars to a generation of racegoers.
The most famous horse ever to race in Australia ...more
The last generation who saw him race, even as youngsters, are pretty much gone now. Yet the big chestnut gelding’s name still has power. The son of Night Raid and Entreaty, who lifted hearts and spirits during the depths of the Depression years, remained a measuring stick long after his deeds had passed into history. Phar Lap won 37 of his 51 starts, ran three seconds and two thirds. Most of his misses were at the outset of his career, before trainer Harry Telford got “the hang of him” and his capacity for work. Phar Lap developed from a wonderful three-year-old into a virtually unbeatable older horse. Consider his four-year-old spring in 1930. In four days at the Melbourne Cup carnival, he successively won the Melbourne (now MacKinnon) Stakes, Melbourne Cup, Linlithgow Stakes (then at a mile, or 1600m) and the C.B.Fisher Plate, at a mile and a half (2400m). Before that he’d won five races in Sydney, plus the Cox Plate. Nightmarch, who’d beaten a hard-pulling, three-year-old Phar Lap in the previous year’s Melbourne Cup, trailed him home four times in the chestnut’s four-year-old spring campaign in Sydney before his connections gave up and brought Nightmarch home. Nightmarch, who’d been unable to keep Phar Lap warm in Sydney, won the New Zealand Cup under 9st 6lb (about 60kg). Four days earlier Phar Lap had cruised to a three-length victory in the Melbourne Cup under 9st 12lb (nearly 63kg). Though he never raced in New Zealand, Phar Lap drew discerning eyes to the land of his birth and undoubtedly contributed to the progress of the then fledgling National Yearling Sale at Trentham, from whence he’d been purchased for 160 guineas. The first horse to earn the indisputable “champion” tag in Australian racing, Carbine, was bred in New Zealand. So, 40 years later, was the next, Phar Lap. And so, nearly 30 years on, was the next: Tulloch.
51 starts, 37 wins, 3 seconds, 2 thirds
It is very fitting that Phar Lap should be sponsored by our sister organisation - The Australian Racing Hall of Fame. The Australian Racing Museum - Champions has honoured Phar Lap is in a very special way at their site in Melbourne.
Weight-carrying Marvel ...more
Raced 86 times for 32 wins and 20 placings.
A good horse in New Zealand, Redcraze became a great horse in Australia.
Sent to Tom Smith as a five-year-old, he became a superstar in the spring of 1956.
After winning three races in Sydney, including the Metropolitan, he won the WFA Caulfield Stakes, then the Caulfield Cup with a record 9st 13lb (63kg).
Under 10st 3lb (65kg) in the Melbourne Cup, Redcraze failed by a half-neck to overhaul the lightweight Evening Peal, to whom he was conceding the equivalent of 15kg - an outstanding performance.
Sponsor: Northfields Stud
The 1st horse to win the spring grand slam ...more
Controversy was to haunt Rising Fast for much of his career, yet this son of Alonzo and Faster was undoubtedly one of the best stayers and middle-distance gallopers that ever graced the Australasian turf. Bought at a Trentham sale by a Whakatane accountant, Leicester Spring, Rising Fast was put with Cambridge trainer Jack Winder and, after a quiet three-year-old season which yielded four wins and a couple of placings from eight starts, he was set as a four-year-old for the Royal Auckland Cup of 1953. Then trainer, jockey and indeed the horse were put out after he was allegedly not ridden on his merits in the Te Awamutu Cup. And, though the horse was reinstated on appeal, he never raced in New Zealand again. Trained now by Ivan Tucker, Rising Fast was set for the 1954 Melbourne Cup. He won three of five lead-up races in Melbourne, then successively won the Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate, MacKinnon Stakes and, under 9st 5lb (59.5kg), the Melbourne Cup. For good measure, on the final day at Flemington, he added the C.B.Fisher Plate to his tally.
The hoodoo struck again when Rising Fast returned home and Ivan Tucker was suspended after one of his team returned a positive test. Rising Fast was sent to Melbourne trainer Fred Hoysted. His lead-up form in the spring of 1955 wasn’t as good as the previous year – until he charged to victory under 9st 10lb (61.5kg) in the Caulfield Cup. Rising Fast was an odds-on favourite to complete the never-achieved “double-double” – two Caulfield Cups and two Melbourne Cups. He struck all the interference going in a rough-house Melbourne Cup and still went under by only three-quarters of a length to Toporoa, carrying 34lb less.
Toporoa’s rider, Neville Sellwood, was afterwards suspended for two months for failing to prevent Toporoa boring out on the champion. Rising Fast tried the Melbourne Cup one more time, the following year, and ran a valiant fifth under 10st 2lb (64.5kg).
Honorary 'Queenslander' who made Brisbane his own ...more
"Roughie" won 29 races from 1200m to 2400m, including 11 Group Ones.
Six of these Group Ones were in Queensland, where he won the Stradbroke-Doomben Cup double not once but twice. Rough Habit went on to win the Doomben Cup a third time.
Roughie was and still is hugely popular in Brisbane. As an indication of his popularity, a bar at Eagle Farm was named the Rough Habit Bar after his sixth group one success there.
His other four Group Ones were spread between Victoria, New South Wales and his native New Zealand.
Sponsor: Brisbane Racing Club
Courage Personified - a Champion mare from the South. ...more
Show Gate was a winner at Group level from 1200m to 2400m (narrowly beaten at 3200m) and won 30 races, and was nine times placed from 51 starts.
Twice New Zealand Horse of the Year (1975 and 1977), she loved Riccarton and won three of the Canterbury Jockey Club's feature races, the Stewards Handicap (1200m), Churchill Stakes (1600m) and Canterbury Gold Cup (2000m) twice apiece.
She beat the best northerners on several North Island raids, and was notably unlucky in the 1977 Wellington Cup.
Sponsor: Gallop South
New Zealand's mare of the world ...more
This wonderful mare captured the hearts of the public at the beginning of the new millennium like few other horses in post-War years. Tough-minded if not bloody-minded, she had a physique to match and was able to race competitively at top level from two to seven years. Sunline raced 45 times for 32 wins, eight seconds and two thirds and an Australasian record $11 million in stakes. She raced in four countries and won in three; she twice won the Southern Hemisphere’s weight-for-age championship, the Cox Plate (on the second occasion by a stunning seven lengths) and was narrowly beaten by Northerly going for a third. She twice won Sydney’s toughest “metric mile,” the Doncaster Handicap, and was second on another occasion when conceding 6kg to her conqueror, Over. Her optimum distance was probably 1400m, at which she was unbeaten, yet she was able to stretch her high cruising speed to the 2040m of the Cox Plate, and to hold out the redoubtable Fairy King Prawn in the tough Hong Kong International Mile. At home, where her races were usually in preparation for another overseas campaign, she was unbeaten in seven starts. Sunline was twice elected Australian Racehorse of the Year and three times New Zealand Horse of the Year. In 1999 the authoritative Timeform publication named her the best turf mare in the world.
48 starts, 32 wins, 8 seconds, 2 thirds
$13million, a record for her time.
Sunline is proudly sponsored by Dunstan Horse Feed - New Zealand's leading horse feed suppliers. Dunstan is a major sponsor of horse sports and racing events and we appreciate their involvement in our event. For further information please call Dave Smith at 0274-931-580.
Tommy Smith's universal yardstick for equine excellence ...more
In the inaugural series of Hall of Fame inductees, two thoroughbreds that raced almost entirely outside their country of birth made the list. Carbine, who raced in New Zealand only as an unbeaten two-year-old and achieved fame across the Tasman, and Phar Lap, who was sold at Trentham as a yearling and never raced in his homeland, were champions of such quality that it was felt they deserved to be honoured by the country where they were bred, born and raised.
One other New Zealand-bred horse, in the opinion of the HOF Historical Committee, also merits that special recognition.
Tulloch, the swampy-backed little colt who attracted the attention of top Sydney trainer Tommy Smith – and not many others – at the 1956 Trentham yearling sale, had that extra dimension, that near-freakish ability, which stamps the handful of greats.
He won 36 of his 53 starts, was only once out of the money and set a then Australasian stake-earning record of 108,293 pounds, a record for 11 years. Yet he lost nearly two years of his career – his four- and five-year-old seasons when he should have been at his prime – through a debilitating and recurrent stomach illness which nearly killed him.
You probably had to be around in the late 1950s to appreciate the excitement, emotion and controversy Tulloch aroused.
He was a star at two years, his defeat of the Victorian champion Todman in what was virtually a match race, the AJC Sires’ Produce Stakes, a sensation. Todman, winner of the inaugural Golden Slipper, turned the tables at a shorter distance a week later but they never met again, Todman breaking down as a three-year-old. Meanwhile Tulloch made non-stop headlines through the first half of his three-year-old season, not only for the quality of his form (his wins in the AJC Derby, Caulfield Guineas and Caulfield Cup were all stunning performances) but for his highly controversial scratching from the Melbourne Cup. Tommy Smith rated the colt a Melbourne Cup certainty but was unable to persuade his sick and elderly owner, Evelyn Haley, to start him after a media campaign, spearheaded by the Ezra Norton-owned newspapers, against the “cruelty” of running a three-year-old in the two-mile Cup.
In Tulloch’s absence, Straight Draw won the 1957 Melbourne Cup. Who owned him? Newspaper tycoon Ezra Norton. Who ran second to Straight Draw, beaten only a neck? The three-year-old Prince Darius, whom Tulloch beat by eight lengths in the VRC Derby and, in the autumn, by 20 lengths in the AJC St Leger.
Robbed of his four-year-old season by the recurring gastroenteritis, Tulloch resumed in the autumn as a five-year-old and won each of his five comeback starts. The first of these involved a hard-slugging stretch-long duel with Victorian weight-for-age star Lord which Tulloch won by a short head. Not bad for a horse considered by most to never quite regain, after that long illness, the height of his three-year-old powers.
Tulloch was handicapped at top weight for four Melbourne Cups and raced in it only once, in the 1960 Centenary Cup (after winning the Cox Plate and Mackinnon Stakes). It was the only time he was unplaced, and Neville Sellwood received no plaudits for his ride. Under 10st 1lb, Tulloch was 25 lengths off the leaders at the half-mile and he made ground for seventh behind longshot New Zealand mare Hi Jinx. Tulloch wound up his career in Queensland, where he won the O’Shea Stakes and Brisbane Cup and was given an emotional farewell by a 33,000-strong Brisbane crowd.