Day At The Track

2019 WA Racing Hall Of Fame #13 - Norms Daughter

06:49 PM 23 Feb 2019 NZDT
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Norms Daughter,Harness racing
Norms Daughter

Foaled in 1990 and bred by Sadie Palmer (wife of Collie identity Norm Palmer) Norms Daughter was raced by Norm and Sadie Palmer’s son Dave Palmer.

Dave Palmer inherited a number of horses after the death of his parents and Aeroflight and her filly (later to be named Norms Daughter) were among only three horses that Dave Palmer kept out of a sentimental commitment to his father.

Broken in by Collie trainer Dennis Morton, Norms Daughter proved to be a handful, frequently throwing herself down and a decision was made to send the filly to the knackery even though her biggest attribute was her toughness.

“I rang the knackery but the bloke couldn’t pick her up for a week and in the meantime Dave was talking to Bunbury trainer Neil Lloyd in the Prince Of Wales hotel which Palmer owned”, Dennis Morton recalled recently.

Lloyd offered to try the cantankerous filly and Palmer gave her a reprieve. Norms Daughter took some time to develop into a competitive pacer as she showed a propensity to trot which, when coupled with her temperamental nature and small frame hardly made her an attractive addition to the Lloyd stable.

Her smallness of stature was fittingly recognised with the stable name of Dot.

So slow to develop and mature was Norms Daughter that Dave Palmer again suggested the knackery as a destination. It was only a plea by Neil Lloyd for a further six weeks after changing the filly’s shoeing that saw a fairytale emerge.

Her first educational trial as a 3yo at Bunbury saw Norms Daughter rate 2:00 for the mile and she rated a similar time in her racetrack debut at the same track when she sat outside the odds-on favourite OK Holmes and won by 10 metres.

She repeated the dose at her next start and after galloping hopelessly at her third race start she made it three wins from four runs when she rated 1:58 over 1750 metres at Harvey and won by a conservative 50 metres covering her final mile in 1:56.7.

Still very problematic in terms of race manners, Norms Daughter had unlimited raw ability and her final two races prior to the 1994 WA Oaks saw her come from tailed off last to win.

Victorian trainer Ted Demmler brought the star Victorian filly My Cherie to Perth for the 1994 WA Oaks and she was plunged from 6/4 into 4/6 favouritism. Demmler and My Cherie were shattered when Norms Daughter overcame an early bubble to race on their outside and win in a race and track record for a 3yo filly of 1:58.5 over 2100 metres.

Norms Daughter was a luckless fourth to Trunkey Maseratti in the 1994 WA Derby and was then sent for a spell. Despite her waywardness Norms Daughter still won six of her 10 starts as a 3yo.

Her 4yo season saw her win a further six races (from 15 starts) including the McInerney Ford 4yo Pace and the WA Four & Five Year Old Championship and was photo-finished out of first in the 1995 WA Golden Nugget Championship won by the Victorian trained Slick Vance.

Norms Daughter’s performance that night was remarkable in light of her being trapped three wide from barrier nine before racing outside the leader. She had been backed into favouritism despite her horror draw.

That performance earned Norms Daughter a trip to New Zealand for the Inter Dominion Championship but she failed to live up to the expectations that year and failed to qualify for the final.

Resuming as a 5yo in October 1995, and with a new driver in Kellie Kersley, Norms Daughter was now racing solely in fast class and after being nosed out by Admirals Ecstasy in the Parliamentarians Cup she beat Sir Lektor and Admirals Ecstasy in a standing start FFA before finishing fourth in the Fremantle Cup won by John Albert after a tough run from the outside of the 10 metres horses.

A brilliant win in a prelude of the 1996 WA Pacing Cup saw Norms Daughter qualify for the final and an extreme outside draw and severe interference in running saw her finish sixth to Sunshine Band in the State’s premier race.

She won her second WA Four & Five Year Old championship at her next start before a trip to Victoria where she surprised Victorians when she finished third to Desperate Comment and Burlington Bertie in the 1996 Victoria Cup after being driven with a sit.

The first two sets of heats of the 1996 Inter Dominion at Gloucester Park also saw the mare driven with a sit and the tactics failed badly with two unplaced runs.

Driven aggressively in the final round of heats Norms Daughter sat outside Our Sir Vancelot before forging to the lead in the straight lowering the Village Kid’s State Record for 2100 metres to 1:56.0. Triple Inter Dominion winner Our Sir Vancelot was second.

Norms Daughter ran a gallant fifth in the 1996 Inter Dominion final after being three wide early and then racing outside the leader Young Mister Charles who went on to win.

After a let-up Norms Daughter was taken to Sydney where, after placings in the NSW Four & Five Year Old Championship and Ladyship Mile, she won the Qantas Sprint in a track record 1:55.6 to gain a start in the Miracle Mile held in June 1996.

With Kellie Kersley at the reins driving desperately into the notoriously tight first corner at Harold Park, Norms Daughter took the early lead and again rated 1:55.6 over the 1760 metres to beat Il Vicolo and Beefy T in the Miracle Mile.

Not only did Norms Daughter become just the second mare to win a Miracle Mile (Robin Dundee was the first) but she gave Kellie Kersley the honour of becoming the first woman to win a Grand Circuit race in Australia.

Norms Daughter won 8 of 22 starts that season as she assumed the mantle of the best mare in Australia. 

She was in fact voted Australian Pacing Mare of the Year in both 1996 and 1997 by the harness racing media from across the nation in addition to being the fastest mare in the country both years.

Resuming as a 6yo in November 1996, Norms Daughter won first up in the FHRC Members Sprint before heading back to Sydney where a fortnight later she beat Sabilize in the Ladyship Mile and earned a second start in the Miracle Mile.

The track record was shattered in the November 1996 Miracle Mile as Norms Daughter finish just 11 metres from the winner Iraklis with Il Vicolo second and Sabilize third in a remarkable 1:54.2.

Norms Daughter was also a close up third to Our Sir Vancelot and Late Bid in the Treuer Memorial at Bankstown at her next start before returning to Perth where she finished second to Our Sir Vancelot in the 1997 WA Pacing Cup.

That was her last start in Western Australia as she again headed East for a campaign which took in the Victoria and Hunter Cups and the 1997 Adelaide Inter Dominions.

After winning her opening night heat Norms Daughter finished last in the second round of heats and pulled up sore – she never raced again.

Norms Daughter was retired to stud with a career record of 59 starts for 24 wins, 8 seconds and 3 thirds.

Alan Parker

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