Day At The Track

Scotch Tar - an $1100 superstar bargain

10:37 PM 15 Dec 2008 NZDT
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Scotch Tar Scotch Tar
Scotch Tar - Slim Dykman hit the jackpot when he bought Scotch Tar
Photo courtesy of A Salute to Trotting
Scotch Tar - In 4:11.6, easily an Australasian record
Photo coutesy of A Salute to Trotting

Following his outstanding and colourful form of the late 1970s, Scotch Tar continued his spectacular highs and lows in the early 1980. So well did he win twice at Addington in August 1980 and then the Ordeal Cup there the next month that owner-trainer slim Dykman - now his regular driver - announced he was interested in having a crack at the New Zealand Cup.

Failing against the pacers on the grass in the Ashburton Flying Stakes, he was impressively fifth after a slow start at Wyndham when Trevira posted national record of 3:03.5 for 2400 metres mobile.

Back to trotting events, Scotch Tar was unplaced on the first two night of the Auckland October meeting, but overcame a break at a critical stage to win the $15,000 Benson and Hedges Challenge Stakes by a head from Thriller Dee. On the way back south he started from 100 metres in a loose-class trot at the Otaki meeting at Hutt Park, winning in a jog by 10 lengths in 3:09.1 - well inside Davey's Jill's national mark of 3:11 for 2400 metres.

Because there were ample open-class pacers eligible for the 1980 New Zealand Cup, Scotch Tar did not make the field. Instead he lined up on 25 metres in the Worthy Queen Handicap, and over the New 2600 - metre distance of this race won by five lengths from No Response, Sure Mart and Pointer Hanover in 3:21.1. Well inside Nigel Craig's previous best of 3:23.4 set in 1976, this was faster even then No Response's mobile record of 3:21.9, set when beating Scotch Tar on Interdominion Pacers' Grand Final day at Addington in 1979.

On Show Day 1980 Scotch Tar tackled the top pacers in the $18,000 Benson and Hedges Free-for-all. First out of the gate, he flew the opening 400 metres in 26.8 seconds and reached the reached the half in 58.8. He led his rivals to the 1600 metres in 1:57.4 - easily faster than any trotter had gone in New Zealand before. Still clear 200 metres out; Scotch Tar understandably blew out from that point, finishing seventh as grand stayer Hands Down came on to win from Lord Module in 2:29.3.

Four nights later Scotch Tar clocked 1:58.9, a tenth of a second from Nigel Craig's national time trial mark, in a special attempt against time at Addington. Four nights later he blitzed his opposition in winning his second Dominion Handicap. From 10 metres Scotch Tar displaced Stormy Morn (front) in the lead 1800 metres out and won untested in 4:16.6 Stormy Morn almost as easily beat the dear-heaters for third, Game Way and No Response.

Scotch Tar was then eased. He resumed in March but after being soundly beaten into third behind rising star Sir Castleton (to whom he gave 85 metres at 3200 metres) at Forbury Park, he disappointed from four further starts and was eased again. At this point Scotch Tar was only $1070 off Easton Light's national record earnings of $132,270.

The following August, Scotch Tar briefly held the record for earnings after winning from 35 metres at Addington, but he disappointed for the remainder of the season and his tally at the end of 1981/82 was 79 starts, 27 wins, 15 placing and $135,850.

By now Scotch Tar's earnings had been bettered by Stormy Morn; but there was still some racing in him.

Ron BISMAN

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