Day At The Track


03:07 AM 17 May 2006 NZST
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A Salute To Trotting - Ron Bisman

Johnny Globe…Addington’s Idol. (May 17, 2006)

Among a number of American mares imported (with great over-all success) to New Zealand by John McKenzie, was Slapfast, who came as a two-year old in 1926 boasting a yearling record in her homeland of 2:22 ¼. She was by Trampfast, a male-line descendant of one of Hambletonian 10’s most influential sons, George Wilkes.

A pony of less than 15 hands, Slapfast had no success in her early years as a matron from McKenzie, and was sent up for auction at Tattersalls in Christchurch as an 11-year-old in 1935. Her buyer, for a mere 12 guineas, was long-time New Zealand Trotting Calendar manager-editor Karl Scott, who subsequently sold the mare cheaply to Pahiatua breeder F. E. Ward.

For Ward, Slapfast, to imported Rey de Oro, first produced Gold Flight, winner of six races. Karl Scott then persuaded Ward to breed Slapfast to Sandydayle, whom he and his brother had on lease for one season. The filly foal from this mating was Sandfast.

In 1941, Ward asked Don Nyhan to train Sandfast for him. Born in Petone, near Hutt Park, Don had trotting in his blood. His father, Dan Nyhan, was a familiar name in the sport, having won the 1909 Auckland Cup with his own horse Havoc and taken the 1913 edition of that race driving Jewel Chimes.

When, as a two-year-old, Sandfast trialled over a mile at Hutt Park in 2:10, Don Nyhan knew he had something good. He decided to give her time to strengthen. Soon after, Sandfast got out of her yard and into a bog. It took Nyhan and several young boys a considerable time to rope her and get her out. She almost died. Nursed back to apparent health and recommissioned, it was found she had been strained by the mishap. She was no longer the beautifully gaited pacer she had been.

After one unsuccessful race, Sandfast was returned to her owner at Pahiatua. Ward mated her with the Jack Potts horse Conflagrate, but Sandfast killed the colt foal soon after it was born. Her next consort was the grand Globe Derby horse Logan Derby, standing in the Manawatu area at the time. The colt foal resulting from this mating was Johnny Globe.

After the death of his wife Ward decided to return to his homeland, England. He sent for Nyhan to discuss what to do with Sandfast and her colt foal. Nyhan was completely unimpressed by the small and weedy Johnny Globe, but his wife Doris prevailed upon him to spend the £50 they had saved for a fur coat for Doris to buy the youngster. Ward gave Nyhan a half-share in Sandfast, and on Ward’s death Nyhan purchased the other half from the estate for 100 guineas.

Nyhan subsequently sold Sandfast, in foal the Highland Fling’s trotting full-brother Highland Kilt, for 900 guineas at the national sales in 1951. The buyer was none the other than Edgar Tatlow, who had bred Logan Derby.

Nyhan decided to build up Johnny Globe sufficiently to make a profit on the fur coat money by selling him at auction. When Johnny Globe showed him a half-mile in 1:06, he pulled him out of the sale. Moving to West Melton in Canterbury, Nyhan produced Johnny Globe as a two-year-old, and first-up won the 1950 Timaru Nursery. Bad feet contributed to four subsequent defeats at two, and the filly Vivanti was acclaimed the cream of that crop.

Johnny Globe came back with a vengeance at three to win the New Zealand and Great Northern Derbies, the former in a race-record 3:15 and the latter by 22 lengths, and three other races. Winning the Metropolitan Challenge Stakes he beat Yankiwi by seven lengths, with nine to Flight Commander, and set a New Zealand three-year-old record for a mile and a quarter of 2:37 3/5. In March the same term he clocked 2:37 1/5 when second to On Approval against older rivals at Addington.

Johnny Globe’s like as a four-year-old was never before seen on New Zealand tracks. That season, 1951/52, he was the leading stake-winner with £9360. He won eight races and was a close second between Van Dieman and Young Charles in the New Zealand Cup; only the third four-year-old to start in the event after Acron (second in 1923) and Native Chief (unplaced in 1926). His wins included the All-Aged Stakes off 36 yards at Ashburton by five lengths from Fallacy with seven lengths to Tactician; the Champion Free-for-all at Forbury Park; New Zealand Metropolitan Challenge Stakes and Hannon Memorial Handicap at Oamaru.

At five, Johnny Globe, starting favourite in the New Zealand Cup, collapsed dramatically soon after the start and took no serious part in the race. He was found to be suffering from respiratory trouble and did not race again at the carnival. Despite this, he had 22 outings as a five-year-old for five wins (including free-for-alls at Addington, Forbury Park and Hutt Park), two seconds, a third and two fourths.

At six, Johnny Globe won the Ashburton All-Aged Stakes for the second time and on his way to placing fourth in the Oamaru Hannon Memorial became tangled in the starting barrier – an episode which led to nervousness at the start for several months and was costly both to him and his army of ‘financial supporters’.

Nevertheless, he had five wins, four seconds and a fourth and was the unluckiest of runners-up in Adorian’s New Zealand Cup. Losing 60 yards at the start when he collided with Tactics in a skirmish, Johnny Globe still made second in 4:13. He beat Adorian in 2:35 3/5 in the New Zealand Free-for-all and also (by 10 lengths) in the Metropolitan Flying Sprint. He clocked 2:01 1/5 for a mile from a standing start in the latter event, still a record at the end of 1981/82. Van Dieman had to go 4:11 2/5 to beat Johnny Globe in the Ollivier Free-for-all. Later that term, from 42 yards, Johnny Globe won the Metropolitan Rattray Handicap, beating Petite Yvonne and Tactician, in 4:12 4/5.

Seven was a big year for Johnny Globe. Winning the Hannon Memorial from 30 yards, he broke the long hoodoo on the Hannon – New Zealand Cup double by winning the Cup from 48 yards with a terrific performance. With Tactician forcing a sizzling pace (first mile and a quarter in 2:37), Johnny Globe followed Young Charles around the field going down the back the last time, and straightened for home behind Tactician and Young Charles, with Rupee, Our Roger, Adorian and Au Revoir all in close attendance. Young Charles took the measure of Tactician soon after, then was quickly challenged by Johnny Globe. The pair waged a dour struggle, with Johnny Globe staying on a shade the better.

It was a wonderful finish to a great race, with many of the 20,000-plus on the course roaring ‘Come on, Johnny!’ when it was apparent that his gallant attempts to win the Cup were finally to be rewarded.

Johnny Globe’s 4:07 3/5 for the two miles shattered the world record of 4:10 3/5 held by Highland Fling. From post to post, he paced the two miles in 4:05 3/5 – two fifths of a second inside the fastest two miles recorded by a standardbred, the 4:06 time-trial clocking by famed American trotter Greyhound in 1939.

Johnny Globe’s mark was to stand until 1969, when West Australian mare Dainty’s Daughter won in 4:07 at Gloucester Park.

This was also the season of Johnny Globe’s one-and-only tilt at Interdominion honours. He beat Laureldale, Margaret’s Own, Petite Yvonne and company in an Interdominion Free-for-all on the grass at Thames (in 2:36 3/5) just prior to the Auckland carnival, but was afflicted by neuritis after a fourth on the first day of the Auckland carnival.

He was permitted to stand down on the second day, and, his fastest time from opening day having scraped him into the final, he was nursed along by Nyhan, who got him to the post wondering if he was fit for the job. Badly checked 4 ½ furlongs out, Johnny Globe came storming home in the straight, but failed by a head to catch Tactician. For his runner-up placing he paced his final half-mile in 57 3/5 seconds.

Johnny Globe’s toilings that season earned £10,105, making him top stake-earner, a title he had taken as a four-year-old. At eight he bypassed the New Zealand Cup but still had six wins and four placings worth £5967 10s, while at nine, his last season of racing, he had two seconds and two fourths from five attempts. He retired with earnings of £42,887 10s, the largest amount for a standardbred or thoroughbred solely in New Zealand and exceeded only within Australasia by Captain Sandy’s £43,712.

He retired boasting 34 wins in 99 starts and four world records: two miles in 4:07 3/5; 11 furlongs in 2:50 1/5; a mile in 2:01 1/5 (all from a stand); and a mile against time on grass at Epsom in 1:59 4/5. He won 15 free-for-alls, the greatest number credited to any horse in his homeland, and he also held the New Zealand winning record for a three-year-old at a mile and a quarter of 2:37 3/5.

Johnny Globe was officially fare welled at a New Brighton meeting at Addington in December 1956, the huge crowd cheering emotionally as he paraded to the accompaniment of the band playing ‘When Johnny Comes Marching Home’. In eulogy to him, Allan Matson, president of the trotting Conference, said: ‘I am sure it is the fervent wish of everyone here that Johnny Globe produces one equal to himself.’ And, of course, he would do just that.

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