This is the twenty second in a series of articles covering the Interdominion (ID) Trotters Championships conducted over the period 1948 – 2012. These articles will be presented on a track by track basis as opposed to a chronological order with the exception of the first (background and first championship) and last two articles (final championship and statistical analysis).
2006 MOONEE VALLEY – DELFT
The Kiwi contingent at this year’s Trotters Interdominion was extensive – nine in total who were Delft, Glenbogle, Whatsundermykilt, Pompallier, Jasmyns Gift, Play On (2005 Alexandra Park champion), Romper Stomper, Genius, Prince Sundon all contested Melbourne’s ninth Trotters ID championship (Pacers champs were held in Tasmania).
Saturday 28 January, Ballarat, 2710m : first round of heats
Heat One – DELFT, tr Michelle Wallis, dr Tony Herlihy, T3:30.2/T2:04.4, 10m; Calder Sensation (dr John Caldow) 2nd; All Action Son (dr Chris Alford) 3rd
Australasian trotting giant Delft (17 hands) opened his ID campaign with a half head victory over Calder Sensation. A fast beginning and being three wide early, Delft assumed control by the bell and although shifting out under pressure held well at the line, last 800m in 59.2 and 400m in 29.6. All Action Son had led early before giving way to Calder Sensation ending up three back on the pegs with a lap to run before obtaining an inside run in the straight to finish 5.8m behind the front two. Calder Sensation led before trailing Delft for the balance of the journey. Delft received bonus points for the fastest time in this heat. Former champion Sumthingaboutmaori galloped twice in the running before finishing twelfth.
Heat Two – PRINCE SUNDON, tr/dr John Hay, T3:31.5/T2:05.6, Lt; Whatsundermykilt (dr Chris Alford) 2nd; A Touch Of Flair (dr Russell Thomson) 3rd
The surprise package of the series Prince Sundon delayed the start before leading all the way to win by 4.2m from fellow Kiwi Whatsundermykilt who raced behind Prince Sundon. A Touch of Flair set the fastest heat time after being severely checked at the start and three wide without cover for the majority of the race finishing a half head in arrears of Whatsundermykilt with Illawong Ian fourth. Play On was badly checked ending up in tenth place.
Saturday 4 February, Moonee Valley, 3050m : second round of heats
Heat Three – SAMMY DO GOOD, tr Peter Manning, driver Kerryn Manning, T3:58.5/T2:05.4, 10m; Prince Sundon (dr John Hay) 2nd; Illawong Ian (dr Brain Gath) 3rd
Sammy Do Good was an impressive winner being three wide in the middle stages and outside the leader at the bell before winning by 1.9m after covering plenty of extra ground and digging deep in the straight. After again delaying the start, Prince Sundon positioned three back on the rails worked hard for a gutsy second. Illawong Ian led before giving way to Genius before obtaining an inside run ending up 10.5m behind Prince Sundon. Sumthingaboutmaori finished eleventh and last after which her retirement was announced.
Heat Four – DELFT, tr Michelle Wallis, dr Tony Herlihy, T3:58.8/T2:05.6, 10m; Romper Stomper (dr Peter Ferguson) 2nd; Kiwi Demand (dr Kate Gath) 3rd
Delft 4th heat
Delft favourite for the final impressed by leading for the majority of the distance to score by 3.3m with a final 80m in 59.5 and 400m in 30.2. Romper Stomper positioned three back on the markers with a lap to run just managed to retain third from Kiwi Demand who after being slowly away sat four back on the rails behind Romper Stomper and used the passing lane to get within a neck of him at the finish. Whatsundermykilt was fourth with A Touch Of Flair fifth after being four back with a lap to run and three wide without cover late in the race.
Sunday 12 February Moonee Valley 2006 TROTTERS GRAND FINAL, 3050m, $200,000
Half the field were Kiwi trotters plus Play On was the emergency (scratched) with only Jasmyns Gift missing the Grand Final field from the NZ contingent. With favourite Delft off the 10m handicap were A Touch Of Flair, Pompallier and Sammy Do Good. Grand Final day incorporated the Hunter Cup as well, being run as a Sunday afternoon day meeting as opposed to normal night meeting for the final. The now retired Sumthingaboutmaori led the Grand Final field out for reinsman Gavin Lang.
DELFT (1998 Sundon/Miriam gelding, family of Hoods Polly N8), owner Supreme Harness Ltd, trainer Michelle Wallis, driver Tony Herlihy, 10m, T3:56.6/T2:04.4, 6m, 9.8m, favourite [T1:53.0, $353,910]
A Touch Of Flair, tr/dr Russell Thomson, 10m, 2nd
Whatsundermykilt tr Kevin Fairbairn, dr Chris Lang, Lt, 3rd
(also in finishing order) : Calder Sensation, Prince Sundon, Action After Dark, Glenbogle, Romper Stomper, All Action Son, Illawong Ian, Pompallier, Kiwi Demand, Sammy Do Good, Genius
Delft Grand Final
This year’s ID Trotters Grand Final was a triumph for the giant trotting giraffe Delft, an ungainly trotter if ever there was one. Stepping out well, Delft made the lead which he maintained throughout outstaying and outsprinting his rivals for Tony Herlihy, with a winning margin of six metres, last 800m in 58.4, 400m in 29.3 paying $2.80 for the win. A Touch of Flair three wide in the middle stages was parked outside the leader over the last lap and was clearly the best of Delft’s rivals having nine metres to spare from Whatsundermykilt in third place who had been ideally placed one out one back over the final lap. Calder Sensation finished fourth ahead of Prince Sundon who again began poorly, three wide and two back at the bell and three wide late with cover, producing one of the runs of the race. Delft managed a clean sweep of the heats and Grand Final with his front running performances.
Delft was Tony Herlihy’s fourth ID Trotters Grand Final winner (Diamond Field, Pride Of Petite and Buster Hanover), all achieved in Australia – two at Harold Park, one at Moonee Valley and one at Globe Derby. Michelle Wallis became the first female to train an ID Trotters Grand Final winner, her father Errol had specialised in trotters. Delft was the first of Sundon’s three ID Trotting Grand Final champions who won four Grand Final’s between them (Delft, Galleons Sunset and Sundons Gift twice). Delft received an invitation to the USA Breeders Crown following this success.
Leslie and Linda Harris bred Delft from premier Australasian stallion Sundon out of an unraced Chiola Hanover mare Miriam, dam of eight live foals including Lavra Miriam (T1:57.4, four wins), Top Notch Lavros (T2:03.1AUS, five NZ /two AUS wins), Astrapi (T2:02.5, five wins) and grand dam of Josephine Jones (VIC VSTA Cup). Delft was her third foal.
The Harris’s initially raced Delft from the stable of Tony Herlihy prior to his purchase by major USA owner Joe Muscara and first export to United Sates for racing at four years of age. Delft failed to settle in USA and was returned to Michelle Wallis and Bernie Hackett for among other things beach and straight line training. The gelding’s five starts at four for Tony Herlihy returned victories at Alexandra Park and Cambridge. In North America, his nine starts as a five year old yielded a solitary victory at Freehold on 16 May 2003 (US$3,050). Back in New Zealand, his next start was in early October 2004, winning second up at Alexandra Park now trained by Michelle Wallis with Tony Herlihy still doing the steering. This was the start of a six year old season that produced eight victories from fourteen outings, all at Alexandra Park with six of them in consecutive starts, the latter two being the opening and third night’s ID Trotters heats at 2005 Auckland Interdominions (sixth in other heat and fifth in final won by Play On). He concluded his season with a second to Martina H in the Rowe Cup.
The following season Delft’s racing activities were split between NZ and Australia. In eight NZ starts he managed a single win at Alexandra Park in his first Group One victory, National Trot setting a new NZ record for 2700mM breaking Fraggle Rock’s long standing record (nearly fifteen years) when setting a time of T3:23.4. A clean sweep of three Australian starts as described previously saw him go through the 2006 Melbourne ID Trotters series undefeated. Named NZ (also aged trotter of year) and Australian Trotter of Year and stake earning trotter of year in 2005/6 season (Aus $155,000). As an eight year old, his three outings in NZ produced two thirds and in Australia a win in the Dullard Cup from four starts.
Following this Delft again set off to conquer North America where from a further fourteen starts his four victories included becoming one of the five NZ bred trotters to have gone T1:53.0 or better (Mighty Dragon, Lyell Creek, Lets Get Serious, Westland Sun and Delft) at Colonial Downs on 10 July 2007. Twelve starts in 2007 aged nine resulted in four wins and a second, US$14,262. Aged ten in 2008 he was unraced then on 23 May 2009 as an eleven year old he qualified at Scotio Downs in T1:58.4 but was unplaced in his final two race starts.
Delft finished his career with a record of sixty starts for twenty wins (eleven NZ, four Aus, five USA), two seconds, two thirds for stakes of $353,910, T1:53.0US, T2:00.2NZ, T2:01.2AUS.
2008 MOONEE VALLEY – GALLEONS SUNSET
The week prior to the Melbourne Trotters ID of 2008 pacing heats were held at Geelong together with two lead up races for the Trotters ID’s – as a matter of record, results of these two features are shown first. Again there was good Kiwi representation at the Trotters ID’s. Melbourne 2008 was notable for the third Pacers Grand Final success of Blacks A Fake.
Saturday 16 February, Geelong : first round of heats
SEW Eurodrive Trotters FFA, 2570mM –
PINEVALE ELLASON, tr Russell Thomson, dr Daryl Douglas, T3:16.3/T2:02.9; Bonito (dr Steven Lindberg) 2nd; Earl Of Mot (dr Lance Justice), 3rd
EB Cochran Trotters Cup, 2570mM –
ONE OVER KENNY, tr Phil Williamson, dr Tony Herlihy, T3:16.0/T2:02.7; Whatsundermykilt (dr Daryl Douglas) 2nd; Crescent Glory (dr Jodi Quinlan) 3rd
One Over Kenny, Cochran Cup
Saturday 23 February, Moonee Valley, 2575mM : semi finals
The Australasian Young Drivers Championships were concluded on semi-final night with Stephen Reed (WA) winning from James Austin (TAS) and Dexter Dunn (NZ). Dunn drove Yucatchim to win the seventh and final heat of the championship at Moonee Valley.
Semi One – VIVA LA FEVER, tr Ross Graham, dr Brain Gath, T3:15.4/T2:02.1; Whatsundermykilt (dr Daryl Douglas) 2nd; Earl Of Mot (dr Lance Justice) 3rd
Whatsundermykilt led initially before handing up to Tennotrump while Viva La Fever settled into the one out one back position at the bell. The fourth place getting the previous year at Globe Derby to Uncle Petrika and ultimately this year’s second favourite for the Grand Final, Viva La Fever finished well but had to dig deep to hold out Whatsundermykilt who had trailed the leader and used the sprint lane to get within a neck of the winner at the finish. Earl of Mot who was three wide without cover at the bell and three wide for the balance of the race was 5.1m back with Tennotrump ending up in fourth place. Viva La Fever trotted his last 800m in 58.9, final 400m in 30.3.
Semi – Finals
Semi Two – WILL TRAPPER, tr John Noonan, dr Todd Mathews, T3:16.2/T2:02/6; Pinevale Ellason (dr Daryl Douglas) 2nd; One Over Kenny (dr Tony Herlihy) 3rd
The second semi featured the appearance of series favourite One Over Kenny ($1.20) who had won the EB Cochran Cup at Geelong the previous week in record time. Galleons Sunset showed gate speed from barrier five to lead with Pinevale Ellason in the trail at the bell. Meanwhile One Over Kenny after being three wide through the middle stages then sat parked outside Galleons Sunset over the last mile. Will Trapper who had been one out and two back pressed on to take out the second semi by 4.1m from Pinevale Ellason who used the sprint lane to cut One Over Kenny back to third 3.8m away with Galleons Sunset holding fourth placing. Will Trapper had covered the 2575m journey almost a second slower than Viva La Fever with his last 800m in 59.2 and a quicker 400m in 29.7.
For Will Trapper’s sixty six year old trainer John Noonan, this was only the fourth horse he had trained in his own right. However he had been closely involved with Peter Manning’s stable, in particular with star trotter Knight Pistol, was the “muscle man” who worked on many horses backs (both codes) and in earlier days had trained greyhounds in the 1970’s.
Saturday 1 March 2008 TROTTERS GRAND FINAL, 2575mM, $250,000
GALLEONS SUNSET (2001 Sundon/Galleons Dream gelding, family of Midnight U9), owner Lincoln Farms Ltd, trainer Chris Lang, driver Derek Balle, T3:17.2/T2:03.3, 3.4m, 3.4m, 8/8 [T1:58.9, $315,2000]
Will Trapper, tr John Noonan, dr Todd Matthews, 2nd
Rhythm Of The Night, tr Bruce Hutton, dr Anthony Butt, 3rd
(also in finishing order) : Whatsundermykilt, Viva La Fever, Earl Of Mot, One Over Kenny, Tennotrump, Crescent Glory, False Gem, Pinevale Ellason
Top Galleons Sunset Grand Final; bottom Jazz Legend consolation
Consolation : 2575Mm, $30,000
JAZZ LEGEND, tr Graeme Lang, dr Gavin Lang, T3:15.8/T2:02.3; River Red (dr Max Wishart) 2nd; Sundons Tiavon (dr Mario Azzopardi) 3rd
Earlier in the season Galleons Sunset had won the Bill Collins Mile at Moonee Valley (15 December 2007) in a time of T1:58.9. He was then left in the care of Nagambie, Victorian trainer Chris Lang snr to prepare for the Interdominions although NZ trainer Derek Balle continued to drive him throughout the carnival. The son of Graeme (Scotch Notch 1983, 1985), brother of Gavin (True Roman 1988) maintained a proud family tradition in producing Trotters ID Grand Final winners only enhanced in the following two years by Sundons Gifts victories (had gone amiss prior to 2008 Interdominions). Galleons Sunset was somewhat neglected in the betting being eighth favourite paying $30.80 for the win.
Derek Balle and Galleons Sunset
Galleons Sunset drew ideally in barrier five using his gate speed to be in front with a lap to run and while he shifted out in the run home won well by 3.4m from Will Trapper with a further 3.4m back to Rhythm Of The Night and Whatsundermykilt. Will Trapper was buried three back on the rails using the sprint lane to mount his fast finishing challenge. Rhythm Of The Night had trailed leader Galleons Sunset while Whatsundermykilt had been three wide early and one out two back at the bell running his usual honest race. No one had put any pressure on Galleons Sunset who had a cosy run in front. Warm favourite One Over Kenny ($1.60) again disappointed with a lack lustre run having broken soon after the start (inside opening 50m) before being three wide from the middle stages and remained there without cover over the last lap ending up in seventh position.
Consolation winner was ex Kiwi Jazz Legend (Holdonmyheart/Lilly The Pink), a gelded son from 1994 Sydney Trotters ID Grand Final third place getter Lilly The Pink. Both Jazz Legend and Lilly The Pink products of the late Carl Middleton’s Millburn Farm Ltd. The consolation was the final race of the ID carnival with Jazz Legend recording a time 1½ seconds quicker than Galleons Sunset Grand Final success – T3:15.8/T2:02.3/59.4/30.1. Lenny Lewis had led early before surrendering the lead to take the trail behind River Red who had been three wide early. Jazz Legend had been one out and three back with a lap to run with Sundons Tiavon on his back. Three wide into contention late with a rail up, Jazz Legend just got up to defeat River red by a half head with Sundons Tiavon 8.7m back third ahead of Jauriol.
Galleons Sunset was bred by the Fanny Allen Trust (Manager future HRNZ Chairman Gary Allen) being by Sundon (Dominion Hcp; leading NZ trotting stallion for sixteen consecutive years, thirteen consecutive seasons in Australia and now leading broodmare sire in both countries which is likely to be the case for many years to come) out of unraced Chiola Hanover mare Galleons Dream, dam of thirteen live foals to date including six winners from seven starters. Galleons Sunset was her first foal, others include The Ultimate Galleon (six wins, NZYSS 2T); Kathy Galleon, three wins in six starts, NZYSS and Cambridge Trotting Stakes at two, 2yoF Trotter of Year, dam of four winners including Chevron Express (T1:57.0, $67,612, five wins, Hambletonian and NZ Trotters Oaks at three), Thebestlove (T1:59.8, $96,128, six wins, NZYSS – 3T), Courchevel (T1:59.6AUS, $54,438, three NZ/two Australian wins); The Ultimate Galleon (2yo C&G Trotter of Year).
Galleons Sunset grand dam, Royal Prestige mare Catherine The Great was imported from North America as a two year old recording five wins over the next three seasons before her broodmare career produced just the four foals – unraced Galleons Dream, Last Sunset (T1:55.1US, $312,423; eighteen NZ wins, NZYSS – 3T, NZ Trotting FFA; six Aus wins including two ID heats at Albion Park, Holmfield, two VIC Trotters Derby heats), Real Deal Yankee** (T1:57.4AUS, $303,762, eleven NZ wins, Hambletonian – 3T, twelve Australian victories [seven Menangle, five Albion Park], Menangle Trotters Cup) and Great Getaway** (T2:03.9, $117,260, ten wins, GN Breeders Stakes).
** both Embryo transfers
Galleons Sunset belongs to the family of Midnight U9 (Emily Ellen). Leaving aside Midnight’s numerous North American and European trotting descendants which include Love You, prominent Australasian trotters belonging to this family apart from those already mentioned include Count Bay, Calamity Gal and Great Things Happen.
Galleons Sunset was owned by Lincoln Farms Bloodstock Ltd (John and Lynne Street and Erin and late Graeme Blackburn). His trainer Derek Balle is the brother in law of NZ horseman Peter Blanchard with whom he did his time, as well as with Morry Doidge, Barry Purdon, Les Purdon and Ross Croghan. He has trained in partnership with Peter Blanchard (1992 – 1993), Ian Small (2000 – 2002), Steve Clarke (2003 – 2004), Owen Gillies (2010 – 2013) and in other years on his own account. Training successes to date total 154 in partnerships and 281 on his own account (199 trotters in total…. 68 in partnerships) in NZ with five in Australia while 207 … 92 trotters) driving successes in NZ and six in Australia (difference due to Chris Lang snr training Galleons Sunset for his ID carnival with Balle driving). His charge Martina H had finished second in the 2004 Melbourne Grand Final to Sumthignaboutmaori and was disqualified from second for galloping in Play On’s 2005 Grand Final victory at Auckland. His wife Raelene is involved with organising the annual NI Harness Racing Awards ceremony.
Galleons Sunset raced for six seasons although he only had the one unplaced start as a three year old. At four, from twelve starts he won half of them (six) with a third placing, with five of these victories at Alexandra Park. A further five starts as a five year old resulted in two wins at Alexandra Park one off 20m and the other off 50m, a second and two thirds in Cambridge Trotters Flying Mile (T2:00.4pl) and Cambridge Trotters Flying Stakes.
A stellar season at six where he was twice unplaced in New Zealand before embarking on his successful Australian campaign which included the Interdominions in Melbourne. His nine starts yielded victories in the Bill Collins Mile (T1:58.9) and ID Trotters Grand Final; second in the Dullard Cup heat at Ballarat (twelfth in final) with fourths in an ID Trotters heat and Australian Trotting Grand Prix. Galleons Sunset was leading Trotting stake earner of the 2007/8 season in Australia. Eleven starts as a seven year old produced four victories at Alexandra Park (three off 30m, one off 40m), a second in Greenlane Cup and two thirds including Cambridge Trotters Flying Stakes. Galleons Sunset’s final season at eight, where his three starts included a second in the Cambridge Trotters Flying Mile in T1:59.7pl.
Galleons Sunset’s overall record was forty one starts in NZ for twelve wins, three seconds and five thirds, T2:04.7, $125,950; nine starts in Australia with two wins and a second, T1:58.9AUS, $189,250.