The Taliban seize power in Afghanistan after a war lasting 17 years. Their regime was overthrown in 2001.
Dolly the sheep is cloned.
First General Election in New Zealand under the MMP system.
Ngai Tahu reaches agreement with the Government on the Waitangi Tribunal claims.
Peacock Fountain resurrected.
Ch-Ch's population reaches 313,969.
Centennial Pool is demolished.
Rob Hall dies on Mt Everest.
Credit: Ch-Ch City Libraries
The death occurred last Wednesday of Trevor Davis, a highly-respected and long serving harness racing administrator.
Aged 71, Mr Davis enjoyed attending most Canterbury meetings since retiring as secretary-manager from Addington Raceway in 1989, and was at the Timaru meeting just four days earlier. He was a keen supporter of the useful pacer Luchador, which was raced by his brother-in-law, John Atkinson.
Mr Davis joined Addington Raceway in 1960 as assistant to the secretary Mr Des Parker, and took over on Mr Parker's retirement in 1979. Among the changes that occurred during the control of Mr Davis were the introduction of the Jetbet system, the construction of the new members' stand, the conversion of Raceway heating fron gas to electricity, and the computerisation of the accounts and membership lists.
He is survived by his wife Betty, daughter Sandra and son Robert, a former Keeper of the Stud Book for Harness Racing New Zealand.
Credit: NZ HRWeekly 24Jan96
PERTH - YOUNG MISTER CHARLES
Driver Peter Morris, trainer Garry Hancock and Young Mister Charles' proud owners all had their day in the sun when they took out the 1996 Inter Dominion Grand Final after having been disqualified from a placing in the final the previous year as a result of a positive swab. Young Mister Charles held out Sunshine Band and the gallant New Zealander Master Musician and grabbed the winnerís purse of $250,000.
There would be few Addington personalities in the last 50 years who have attracted such favour and adulation as Blossom Lady. In this context, Johnny Globe probably reigns supreme, with Blossom Lady a close second, ahead of Lordship and Lord Module.
The retirement at the weekend of New Zealand's greatest racemare is of no surprise: it has been on hold for two and a half years!
Lesser competitors would have given up the battle, but the skills of trainer Derek Jones coupled with an indomitable spirit gave Blossom Lady a long life at the top. On the eve of her 156th start, she was still working as well as ever. But when a leg injury she has tolerated since the Brisbane Inter-Dominions in 1993 made another visit, Jones decided the show was over.
"Derek told us that he would never forgive himself if he had raced her last Saturday night and something had happened to her," said Ralph Kermode, the manager of the Polly Syndicate which raced the million dollar mare. "We have no complaints. It has been something we have anticipated for some time, certainly this season. After she ran the fastest two miles of her career at the Cup meeting and the fastest mile, we thought we might get back to Melbourne, where she won two Hunter Cups. But we have had a fantastic run, with marvellous memories. Derek has done a marvellous job, swimming her a lot, rubbing her leg every day," he said.
Prepared for a start by Stephen Doody, Blossom Lady went on to win 43 races - most of them in the hands of regular driver Anthony Butt - and earn $1,334,800 from 155 starts.
Her major wins were the 1992 NZ Cup and NZ Free-For-All, the 1991 Easter Cup, two Hunter Cups, six Inter-Dominion heats, the Monsanto Free-For-All, three NZ Standardbred Breeders Stakes, an Inter-Dominion consolation race and the Ashburton Cup. 'Bloss' won 35 races in NZ and eight in Australia. Eight of her NZ wins were sub 2:00 - 1:56 (1m), 1:58.9 (2000 mob), 1:58.6 (2400 mob), 1: 59.1, 1:57, 1:57.3, 1:58.7, 1:56.8 and 1:58.9 (all 2000m mobile).
She was much travelled and was renowned for her need to absorb an enormous amount of work. Her racing was characterised by a willingness to look the enemy in the eye whenever there was a softening of the pace.
"She was the sort of horse an owner dreams of having," said Kermode. "She was so honest. She would never run a bad race. She had bad luck, but you'd always know she would perform. In many races, she would take to race to the opposition, although it did not always pay off. The most spine-tingling moment for me was in the Easter Cup that Chokin won when she led for the last mile and took off down the back straight, and my only disappointment was that she didn't meet up more with Franco Ice who had a similar style of racing," he said.
Credit: Mike Grainger writing in HRWeekly 10Jan96
Chiola Cola gave nothing else a chance in the $100,000 DB Draught Dominion Handicap, adding to the Air New Zealand Trotting Free-For-All he won on the track a week earlier.
After setting all the pace, he pulled away to win by more than two lengths from back marker Pride of Petite, with a length back to Diedre's Pride.
The black entire son of Chiola Hanover was ably rated by Shane Hayes, who trains the 8-year-old for his father Don Hayes, and Harold and Iris Harowitz of New York.
Chiola Cola wasn't up to the class in Scandinavia last season but he came through his quarantine in Malmoin good shape to resume work. He tied up in his first race but he has improved with each race since the addition of half blinds followed his eighth at Ashburton on Labour Day where he went off stride soon after the start. Pride of Petite had no luck in the early running, but tried hard till the end.
The win gave Chiola Hanover his first Dominion winner, as well as cementing his place on the top of the sires premiership for trotters.
It was the 15th win for Chiola Cola, who ran third in the Dominion last year. He has been an honest campaigner, thoroughly reliable, and now recognised for the genuine big-time competitor that he is.
Credit: Mike Grainger writing in NZHR Weekly
Mark Purdon won the $125,000 Smokefree New Zealand Derby, but not with the horse most expected. After Sharp And Telford had dominated the first two legs of the Triple Crown series, there was some doubt whether stablemate The Court Owl could pick himself up sufficiently to make a race of it in the Derby. Purdon was one who held that opinion. "I thought he was below his best on the first two nights," said Purdon. "And I said to Bill (part-owner Bill Kircher) that he may be feeling the effects of his racing," he said.
However, there was no evidence of any dullness on the track, as The Court Owl stole the show after an enterprising drive by Purdon, notably at the 1400 metres when he swooped forward during a slow patch of the race to take the lead off Sharp And Telford. "He is a good stayer and I like to drive him like one," said Purdon. "He felt keen once I got him to the front," he said. Sharp And Telford, who might have been feeling the effects of a kick on the off side knee delivered by The Court Owl during the week, did not take the final turn with complete comfort, and by then Purdon had made the most of it and skipped well clear. "I knew if I waited at the corner, he would gobble me up," said Purdon. As it turned out, Sharp And Telford cut the deficit down attractively, but never with any hope of swapping second for first.
Mon Poppy Day, the West Autralian colt, made ground late for third, ahead of Captain Rufus and Bionic Fella, who outclassed the others. Mon Poppy Day, who failed to settle during his stay, will meet The Court Owl next in the New South Wales Derby, where trainer Rod Chambers expects him to be more competitive. As Purdon is likely to stay in Auckland and drive at the Premier meeting there, Darren Hancock will be the likely driver of The Court Owl at Harold Park. Captain Rufus is another likely to head to Australia, with the Queensland Derby as his mission. Ken Tarrant's Carterton colt performed with great credit considering his travelling arrangements did not assist his preparation.
Credit: Mike Grainger writing in the NZHR Weekly
Il Vicolo, take a king-size bow. Take one, too, John Seaton and Mark Purdon. They returned graciously on Tuesday to the scene of their 1995 DB Draught NZ Cup win with Il Vicolo and did it again. Seaton even claimed that he brought the same notes with the same words on to use for his victory speech. Whether he did or not, Seaton accepted the Cup in his usual humble style, and if he wasn't a speechmaker a year ago he's certainly made some ground up since then. "I didn't have a bet on the horse," said Seaton. "But I looked at the tote...the public seem to know," he said.
Il Vicolo won the $350,000 classic in much the same manner as he did a year ago, with the grunt of a big V8. For much of the latter part of the race, Purdon had his foot down. The plan was to wait for no-one. "The early part wasn't that quick. That's why I came out. I knew I had to get him into it some time, and I didn't want to run the risk of being down on the fence."
Il Vicolo was the first to gain a good place of those off the 10 metre mark, soon sitting comfortably in midfield five back on the outer. He made his move forward at the 1800m, and as he did Surprise Package, two spot ahead of him, also moved out, ran to the lead which he held briefly, and then snuggled in behind Il Vicolo. "He was always going to be hard to beat from there," reported Purdon.
But we have gone ahead a little quickly here: the early order was Anvil's Star who made an excellent beginning, stablemate Anvil Vance and Surprise Package; Grinaldi broke and lost five lengths, and Hoppy's Jet did the same in midfield after 300 metres.
Il Vicolo's arrival at the summit, triggered off a wave of new blood coming forward, notably Victor Supreme, Master Musician, Hoppy's Jet, Burlington Bertie and Grinaldi, who actually levelled with Il Vicolo at the 800 metres. "He missed away," said driver Brent Mangos, "but he has gone a super race until battling on the turn. I am sure if he had have stepped we could have been in the first three." Trainer Geoff Small wasn't surprised at the mistake. "I could tell he knew it was a big occasion taking him into the birdcage," said Small.
Heading into the last 600 metres, Il Vicolo was pumping hard. Purdon knew he had Surprise Package on his back, though that wasn't his main worry. He was more concerned with something arriving as though it had just joined in, a horse that had missed the hurly-burly, much the same as Just Royce did when running him to a neck in '95. This time it was Anvil's Star, the rank outsider - Just Royce was the 13th favourite - who emerged with a wet sail from the ruck, jinking his way past tired runners in the straight. Even as close as 50 metres out, Anvil's Star was determined to beat Il Vicolo for the Cup, but then the run ended, leaving Il Vicolo safe, secure, $210,000 ahead, by three-quarters of a length. Anvil's Star was that margin better than Surprise Package, and the same ahead of Anvil Vance, who trailed, lost his place and was back on the inner beginning the last lap, and Desperate Comment, who was level last at the 600 metres, met a check at the 400m where it became tight and messy, and did remarkably well to make up the ground he did.
Purdon said this was a tougher race for Il Vicolo than it was a year ago. "I could tell he wasn't liking the last part," he said, "but he really is a champion. It is a great thrill to win it again. It is the race of the year, and he was ready for it." If Purdon had a slight concern it was whether his preparation was quite tight enough. "Last year, he was ready a lot earlier because we came down for the Super Stars in September. I was just a bit hard on him last year. He'd had two trials before we came down here, but there were only three in them," he said.
There were some tales of disappointment from those beaten, noteable being Master Musician, Prince Rashad, Desperate Comment and Burlington Bertie. They got caught up in the backwash, which was always going to be a risk in a field that while even also had its vulnerable ones.
Robert Dunn, the driver of Master Musician, said the race didn't go his way over the last lap. "The first time I decide not to make my own luck, this happens," he said, referring to being badly held up and knocked out of it when Burlington Bertie went off stride near the 500 metres. "'Bertie' was cruising, but what surprised me was Glen Wolfenden handing up on Victor Supreme at the 1200 metres after she went round." Wolfenden said: "I had a nice cart round but I wanted cover to get round round that bend. She had her chance and I've got no excuse," he said.
The collect for Seaton and Purdon was $210,000, which in round figures takes Il Vicolo just past $1,500,000. He has won a phenomenal 29 of his 44 starts. This is the horse Seaton bought as a yearling at Karaka for $21,000, had it broken in by Gary Hillier, and then gave Purdon a half share in the horse after Hillier phoned him five months later and said he was getting out of the game. Seaton has been a great campaigner at the yearling sales for many years, and while Il Vicolo was dear he is not his dearest. "That was Malakula who cost $26,000 and won three," he said. Il Vicolo is something Malakula could never be. He is something very special: eventually a stallion of immense value.
John Seaton is talking about racing him in America's Meadowlands Pace. Purdon says John is thinking of a holiday for himself and his wife, Anne. The reality may not be America, but sadly it may not be New Zealand either. Il Vicolo will soon be off to Sydney for the Miracle Mile, a race he finished second in last June.
Some great horses have won the Cup. Not since False Step in the 60's has a horse won the race in successive years. Not since Lordship, in 1962 and 1966, has a horse won two New Zealand Cups.
Il Vicolo take another bow.
Credit: Mike Grainger writing in HR Weekly
In Greek mythology, Hercules was a hero of superhuman strength. Son of the god Zeus, and of Alcamene, a mortal woman, Hercules was set 12 impossible tasks to to gain his freedom. Miraculously, he did so.
On Show Day at Addington, racegoers had the devine pleasure of witnessing the Hercules of modern day harness racing, his name - Iraklis. Pronounced I-rark-lees, the name is Greek for Hercules, and part owner Kypros Kotzikas could not have given this amazing animal a more appropriate title. Son of Vance Hanover, himself a "god" amongst pacing stallions prior to his demise, Iraklis stunned the harness racing public during the running of the $100,000 Air New Zealand Free-For-All. The event on Show Day had everything.
From the moment Iraklis slaughtered a high-class field in New Zealand Record time on Cup Day, the build up began. Trainer Bob Cameron stated his intention to take on the "best" pacers in New Zealand via Friday's Free-For-All. But then the NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club's field selection committee seemingly tried to stop, placing Iraklis second on the ballot. The pendulum swung back towards the Iraklis camp though, with the scratching of Vic's Vance, another defection would enable Iraklis to take his place in the field. Cameron and Kotzikas decided to scratch Anvil's Star from the Free-For-All, a predicament made easier only because of the fact Anvil's Star had "lightened up" since his run for second in the Cup.
So it was all on, Iraklis would get the chance to prove himself after all. The buzz amongst the crowd prior to Show Day's event was electric. Even in the Press Room there were some noted harness racing scribes who thought Iraklis couldn't do it; some did though. Just minutes before the race during an interview with Trackside's Sheldon Murtha, Cameron, not known for revealing everything on his mind, was asked how he felt about Iraklis taking on the Cup winner, Il Vicolo. His reply: "We'll give him one helluva fright today". How right he was.
Anvil Vance took the early lead until Bee Bee Cee went round him. Iraklis, guided through beautifully by Ricky May, settling three back on the outer. Surprise Package kept the tempo sizzling, forging to the front after 700m, and as the challenges came around, Iraklis was shuffled back. Rounding the showgrounds bend, the 4-year-old was surrounded by a wall of horses and towards the tail of the 14-horse field, albeit off the rail. May followed Desperate Comment all the way down the back straight. Rounding the home turn, he pulled Iraklis out to challenge, but they were still a good two lengths from Surprise Package, with Il Vicolo eyeballing the leader. Once straightened though, May asked Iraklis to go and that he did, zooming to the front with ease. The race was over in seconds, Iraklis coasting to the line to win by nearly two lengths from Brabham, Whale Of A Tale and Hoppy's Jet, who were the only ones to make any impression down the straight.
Those who do not already think that Iraklis is a champion, will have to one day change their way of thinking. Sure he hasn't won any major Cups, or even two consequtive New Zealand Cups which in itself is an amazing achievement, but he hasn't had the chance to either. Who could have believed that a horse, just a 4-year-old with a mere 21 starts under his belt, would dish out such a comprehensive beating to the country's best pacers - and do it with simplistic ease. And as ominous as it sounds, Cameron remains adamant that we won't see the best of Iraklis until he is five or six.
Bypassing the Monsanto Mile, on the 1996/7 list for Iraklis is the $400,000 Sydney Miracle Mile on December 6; the $250,000 Victoria Cup in Melbourne on February 1; the $450,000 A G Hunter Cup, also at Moonee Valley, on February 15; and the Adelaide Inter-Dominions in March.
Many of the 12 tasks given to the mythological Hercules involved the capture or killing of certain animals. Rest assured though, the only capturing the 1990s Hercules will do will relate to Cups, titles and record times. And there will be no bloodshed as Iraklis continues to slaughter his rivals on the race-track.
Credit: John Robinson writing in NZHR Weekly
There was no-one more appropriate than Wayne Francis to step up and receive the trophy for the Nevele R Stud New Zealand Oaks.
One of the doyens of the New Zealand breeding industry, Francis won the race with his Holmes Hanover filly There's A Franco, who came from behind Highland Park and Party Party to win pulling away. As co-proprietor with Bob McArdle of Nevele R Stud, Francis sponsored the race, a Group race he won earlier with Preferred, a Boyden Hanover filly Malcolm Shinn raced with him.
His second winner was driven by John Hay, a very capable horseman he employed as private trainer at Spreydon Lodge nearly two years ago. He knew that Hay would take time to get the results he was hoping for. "When he came, he really had to start from scratch. They were foals and yearlings, and There's A Franco was one of those he has brought through from a yearling. There have been others, like Franco Hat Trick, who we just sold for big money, and No Way Franco who had more natural ability and more speed but got a virus, bled and will go to stud next season. We could actually have been in the nice situation of having two top runners in the Sires' Stakes Final and the DB Fillies final, but we have only the filly. I'm looking for a super horse, like everyone else, but I also have to apply commercial judgement and this is what I did in the case of selling Franco Hat Trick. I have the mother, and I have her daughters," he said.
For Francis, winning the Oaks was a thrill. In terms of prestige, it falls short of winning the New Zealand Cup and Inter-Dominion Grand Final, which he did with Stanley Rio, but owning the sire and dam gave him a different satisfaction this time. Tango Franco, a daughter of the grand racemare Tempest Tiger, earlier left This Time Franco, also by Holmes Hanover, who won the DB Fillies Final after finishing second in the Oaks a week earlier. Tango Franco was one of 20 mares Francis sent to the stud's new import Falcon Seelster this stud season. As pleased as he is with the combination so far, the conservative Francis predicts brighter days ahead..."this time next year, I'd be surprised if we can't look back and be pretty happy with the results."
The race itself was a tight, testing event, with some drivers electing to go for the penalty as they rejected the push-out rule outside the 1000 metres. Greg Hope was fined $500 for this, and it cost Barry Purdon, who followed him out, $350. The main sufferer was Impact, one of the favourites, who instead of improving three wide, had to do it four-wide. Talking on those tactics, driver Ricky May said tersely: "Sheer incompetence, that's all it was."
Hay was fortunate to escape injury in a smash in the race after the Oaks. He had blurred vision which prevented him for driving in the latter races, but the Oaks and a win earlier behind the Geoff Dunn- trained Never Going Holme in a Sires' Stakes heat minimised the seriousness of the mishap for him.
Credit: Mike Grainger writing in NZHR Weekly