Day At The Track

Part 180 of a Salute to Trotting

12:17 AM 07 Mar 2008 NZDT
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A Salute to Trotting

Young Quinn returns home - A few days later Young Quinn became lame while jogging. The lameness recurred. Experts were called in and the trouble was diagnosed as the old hind-leg check ligament in jury, for which the only treatment that could be prescribed was time and rest.

It was then decided to ship Young Quinn home.

Looking fit and well, Young Quinn made exhibition appearances at Cambridge and Alexandra Park in August 1979.

In mid-September he began a course of swimming and jogging, and by late November he began warming up in his trackwork.

Plans to launch his New Zealand comeback in the Cambridge Flying Mile on 2 January 1980 were abandoned when Young Quinn blew hard after an exhibition appearance at Rotorua on New Year’s Day.

On 10 January, from 40 metres in the 2600-metre main event at a Morrisville trials meeting at Cambridge, Young Quinn was taken to the front after 1000 meters by driver Barry Anderson and then lasted to win by a nose from Surprise Lady in 3:23 8.

On the strength of that win, the Young Quinn camp decided to race him in the Northland Flying Mile at Ruakaka on 29 January and next at the February carnival at Alexandra Park, with him main goal another Auckland Cup to add to the one he had won as a five-year-old five years earlier.

Drawing the ‘pole’ in the Ruakaka event, the rather rusty Young Quinn had to be sooled along by Hunter to hold the trailing position behind the well-seasoned five-year-old Trevira (Peter Wolfenden).

After sprinting the first half in 59 seconds Wolfenden slowed the pace right down, then shot Trevira to a three-length lead rounding the home turn. With a 27.6 final quarter he gave Young Quinn no chance, beating him by 2 1/2 lengths in 1:59.6 in Ruakaka’s first two-minute mile.

Hunter was well pleased with Young Quinn’s effort, but Auckland hopes were dashed when Young Quinn, having a sand-roll after the Ruakaka event, hit a rail with a leg and bruised himself badly.

It forced Young Quinn's withdrawal from opening night of the Auckland carnival and meant he had to tackle star performers Lord Module and Delightful Lady in the big event with a lead-up of only one race.

Second-last of 14 starters with just over a lap of the 1000-metre Alexandra Park oval to go, Young Quinn worked hard around the field, seldom closer than three sulky-widths from the rail, and fought on all the way to the post for fourth placing.

With a good passage Delightful Lady won in New Zealand record time for 2700 metres mobile of 3:25.1 (2:02.3 rate).

Pacemaker Lord Module was second and the 1979 Auckland Cup winner Sapling, who was at the rear at the bell with Young Quinn but found racing room along the rail in the final stages, was third. The margins were 1 3/4 lengths, 1 3/4 lengths and half a length.

So impressive was Young Quinn that the New South Wales Trotting Club immediately invited him to contest its 1980 Craven Miracle Mile, the event he had won in 1975. But just as plans were being made to fly him to Sydney the injury he sustained at Ruakaka flared again and the trip was abandoned.

The announcement of Young Quinn’s retirement came three months later in May 1980.

‘Garbage’ (as he was nick-named by the Baynes family because of his habit as a youngster of eating everything in sight including his bed) went home to enjoy again the particularly lush pastures of the area of a few square miles near Wyndham in which three great New Zealand pacers of more recent times – Cardigan Bay, Robin Dundee and Young Quinn – were all reared.

Young Quinn’s sire Young Charles was top son of U. Scott who from limited opportunities at stud sired more that 150 individual winners.

He served mares until he was 33 and died aged 35 in September 1981. Bred and raced by Canterbury owner Bob Mayne, who paid £65 from his dam Auries’ Star, Young Charles overcame unsoundness to win 11 races from Colin Berkett’s stable and run third in Van Dieman’s 1951 New Zealand Cup and second in Johnny Globe’s 1954 Cup.

Apart from Young Quinn he sired 20 other two-minute pacers and another Auckland Cup winner and top performer, Sapling.

Young Quinn's dam Loyal Trick was by Hal Tryax from Quick Trick, by Grattan Loyal from Holly Potts, by Jack Potts from Wildchild, by Wildwood Junior from Lady Child, by Rothschild from Ptarmigan, by Young Irvington from The Brat, whose pedigree was not known.

The family descending from The Brat has produced some 200 winners, but nothing to approach Young Quinn.

Charlie Hunter in 1958 cut short an accountancy career to assist his father Jack and brother Ian in training a public stable at Upper Hutt.

After Jack had topped the trainers’ list in 1963/64, he and Charlie in partnership won the premiership in 1966/67.

Jack then retired and Charlie topped the list in 1967/68 and 1973/74 and the following season dead-heated with Auckland’s Roy Purdon, each with a record 67 wins. Since then Hunter, despite his extensive overseas operations, has more often than not finished closest to Purdon who has dominated the trainers’ premiership.

With former school chum in Wellington, Brian Meale, Hunter formed the Central Standardbred Agency, specialising in buying good New Zealand pacers and trotters, showing them off in America and selling them.

Through the 1970s this operation grew greatly in stature, making the agency the leader in its field. Central Standardbred Agency exports now tally many hundreds, with an admirably high success rate.

Ian Hunter branched out on his own, setting up in training at Morrinsville in 1977, and has enjoyed fair success with a small team since them.

John Langdon launched his career in trotting with three years under top trainer Cecil Donald at Belfast, starting in 1965.

Then followed a two-year-stint with Neil White at Cambridge, during which he became, with six winners, New Zealand's leading probationary reinsman for 1969/70.

For a time private trainer to the Baker family of Mangere, he joined Hunter in 1972 and after a few seasons as his right-hand man became his partner starting the 1975/76 season, when Hunter was 41 and Langdon 27.

In the season of his 1975 Interdominion ‘grand slam’ Langdon, with 44 wins, was second to Wolfenden in the reinsmen's premiership. With 50 wins the following season he shared second place with Peter Jones behind Wolfenden, and he has ranked consistently high since.

Langdon went out on his won in February 1976 decided when Hunter decided to quit public training and concentrate on Central Standarbred Agency horses plus a few for his long-time patron Roy McKenzie.

Since then Langdon has figured consistently high on the trainers’ list and has been usually second or third behind Roy Purdon among North Island trainers.

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