Mot Cup Waipounamu

Banks Peninsula Trotting Club (Inc.) was delighted to announce a capacity field when heralding the second decade of its annual Cup feature on Saturday 11th October 1975. Sponsorship had evolved enabling local stud farms to step aside; providing hospitality outlets an opportunity of fulfilling the breach. Accordingly, each race except the Banks Peninsula Trotting Cup was allocated to a supporting hotel, together with associated naming rights. As a consequence, sponsored trophies were received by respective winning owners in addition to their stake money.

A relatively compressed handicap spread saw joint backmarkers Darky Forbes and Cee Ar only making 15 metre concessions to the limit markers. Those two, the most tightly assessed under invitation conditions, were scheduled to be driven by Mike and Colin de Filippi respectively. Darky Forbes now with Colin Berkett at Yaldhurst, provided the most intriguing background of any runner in today’s big field. A son of Hi Lo’s Forbes, he commenced his career in 1969 as a juvenile pacer at Hutt Park, encountering Sam Tryax, Bravine and Bonnie Frost on debut! Darky Forbes eventually won a maiden race on the heavy Stratford grass during April 1972, but his first trotting success wasn’t recorded until November 1973 when he scored from 36 yards in C.O. and faster company at Gate Pa, Tauranga.

Previous Banks Peninsula Trotting Cup winning mares, Jillinda and Edis Nova appeared to be reasonably well treated, being only 10 metres behind the front tape. Edis Nova was produced fresh by Freeman Holmes, whereas 9yo Jillinda had the benefit of three runs to fit her for a testing 2800 metres on grass. Naturally, pre race discussions centred on form runners where Waipounamu, who finished second before completing a pair of victories at headquarters, was strongly fancied to further his unbeaten sequence. He appeared to have strengthened right up, after winning just once the previous season when initially encountering top class opposition. His effortless three length Ordeal Cup victory stamped Waipounamu as a serious contender in any forthcoming contests.

Armbro Lady, trained at Ashburton by R.E. (Ron) Webster and driven by regular reinsman Bob Cameron, was a great staying type who impressed many good judges with her strong second behind Waipounamu in the Ordeal Cup.  Although requiring one scratching before obtaining a start, first ballot Now, her older half brother Now Charles and Southern Comfort were others expected to figure in the finish. 5yo Rodney Day gelding Rebel Statesman, was a progressive type earning nine cheques from ten starts the previous season and would take improvement from an Ashburton run behind Nigel Craig, his first since Easter

Now and Van Fair both re-entered the field, when Carmen Suva and Darky Forbes were withdrawn. Other balloted runners Topeka, a half brother to 1970 winner Merrin and Westport trained Honest Pete were also scratched.

Priority, Screws Loose and Bambi failed to step away correctly, with all three repeating those indiscretions again during the running. Indira galloped off the mark with Southern Comfort also making a mistake shortly thereafter. Now Charles began best for I.D. (Ian) McLaren before trailing 7yo Nevele Gourmet mare Rodney Dale, who assumed control after 600 metres. Graham Holmes positioned Now three back behind her stablemate, whilst Nevele Rodney and Rannach Ray settled handily on the outer. Jillinda settled next on the rail inside Waipounamu, with Dupreez outside of Rebel Statesman. Cee Ar and Edis Nova were the next pair, positioned just beyond midfield.

As they turned in on the first occasion Armbro Lady was left trapped three wide, before Bob Cameron progressed to sit parked. After having begun well for Wes Butt, Nevele Rodney galloped at the end of 800 metres.  Positions were relatively unchanged as Rodney Dale maintained control for Terry McMillan until they approached the home turn. Shortly after straightening up Armbro Lady moved up for Bob Cameron and then put her head in front of Rodney Dale. Rannach Ray and Waipounamu had become prominent with Cee Ar showing up further out as Now Charles looked to clear a pocket.

Receiving a favourable run on the outer, courtesy of beginning safely from 10 metres for Jack Carmichael, it was Duntroon trained gelding Waipounamu who prevailed narrowly. Having previously scored with Tronso in 1966, this victory accorded Carmichael the distinction of being first to secure a second Banks Peninsula Cup driving success. By Aksarben, a speedy but erratic pacer who was in turn sired by Light Brigade; Waipounamu was out of the unraced mare Talaus, therefore closely related to Dreamy Morn and Dictatorship. He was prepared by I.S. (Stewie) Sutherland for his brother Mr G.E. (Gordon) Sutherland a farmer from Riversdale, near Gore.

Bill Doyle produced runner-up Now Charles, a son of inaugural winner When, together with his half sister by Tuft, Now. After being knocked over in the Ordeal Trotting Cup, Now Charles was again decidedly unlucky. He received an economical run, but was held up when looking to find racing room a furlong from home. Eventually clear, he roared home and was only a stride adrift at the line. Another family representative Rebel Statesman who was out of When’s sister Chances Are, raced in the interests of Doyle’s daughter, Mrs H.H. (Helen) Pope.  Today’s second favourite Rebel Statesman, who was prepared by experienced Tinwald horseman T.G.(Tom) Cavill, broke 100 metres out, after having secured a run five back on the fence for Doody Townley. This trainer and driver combination experienced better fortune in the C.O. and faster trot, when Hodgens Surprise gelding Carrick recorded his second consecutive victory.

The winner scored by a head, with one and a quarter lengths to Armbro Lady. The same margin back was Rodney Dale, who stuck on well after being headed 400 metres out. Former North Island trained trotter Rannach Ray turned around some modest form when finishing in front of backmarker Cee Ar, who was next home after receiving an unimpeded passage throughout. Neither of the previous winners Edis Nova or Jillinda, made any impression after settling in the midfield from their respective 10 metre handicaps.

Although five stables, including that of today’s winner and the runner-up were represented by more than one acceptor, they were not coupled by totalisator bracket for investment purposes. This outcome followed a remit from Wellington Trotting Club to New Zealand Trotting Conference advocating discontinuing the practice. Brackets remained however as a means of reducing tote numbers in division races. Banks Peninsula Trotting Club attempted to reverse this ruling at the annual conference, but was unsuccessful.

It was not an occasion for favourites, with Waipounamu being one of only two successful on the day. This didn’t deter the big crowd from spending freely with on course turnover of $201,885 a club record, although off course figures were down. A strong return, given today’s chilling northerly wind made conditions unpleasant for those in exposed areas.

It was a memorable day for 19yo South Canterbury reinsman P.G. (Peter) Shand. He combined with Worthy Gentry who was trained by his father Geordie to win the race for Probationary Drivers, before scoring with Hey Pronto, another Washdyke trained gelding in race six.

In his first race since May, Alias Armbro a warm favourite in the Akaroa Handicap broke badly and took no part in proceedings. The 4yo showed his worth a week later at Forbury Park, winning by fifteen lengths on a slushy track. The half hoppled son of Armbro Del, would return to Motukarara and make an impact at a later date.