The 2011 Interdominion Trotting Championship at northern harness racing headquarters - Alexandra Park - has been given a huge shot in the arm thanks to the inclusion of Victorian stablemates and Series favourites Sundon's Gift and Let Me Thru.
However the two champion squaregaiters would never have existed had it not been for Franklin breeder and former trainer Trevor Allingham and his wonderful old black mare Landora's Pride (Game Pride-Landora).
The now 31-year-old former Rowe Cup (1987), Dominion Handicap ((1988) and Interdominion heat winner is the grand-dam of the two Chris Lang trained Aussie champions.
The former New Zealand Trotter-of-the-Year, who was trained by Allingham and driven by John Langdon and the late Vin Knight, won 34 of her 120 starts and placed 40 times for $472,842.
She left nine foals including 1997filly Landoras Dream, who won six races (one in New Zealand) and $23,678 for Australians K.M. and L.F Fleming.
But it's Landora's Pride's 'grandchildren' that are really firing on all cylinders.
's Gift, the winner of 39 of his 71 starts and $1.4m, has been the most successful of her progeny. The 9-year-old son of Chiola Hanover, who has won two Inter Dominion grand finals (2009 and 2010) and the 2010 Rowe Cup. He is out of Landora's Pride's second foal Landora's Gift - who won four races in New Zealand and $35,805, and is the last (and only winner) of the two foals that Landora's Gift left.
But's Gift ($5) is not the favourite for this year's Inter Dominion grand final at Alexandra Park. That honour belongs to his Nagambie stablemate - 5-year-old Muscles Yankee gelding Let Me Thru ($4) - an impressive first-up winner in last Friday's (March 4) City Of Sails Trot at ‘The Park'.
Let Me Thru is out of Landora's Pride eighth foal -mare, Invasion's Pride, who won six of her 20 Australian starts and $36,765.
Let Me Thru, has so far won 17 of his 24 starts and $479,656 including the Australasian Trotters Championship and the Breeders Crown - both in 2010. He is the only foal out of that mare.
Landora's Pride stopped breeding in 2000 when she slipped anfoal.
Allingham, who lives just out of Pukekohe, said his grand old mare was a bit bony these days but was still in good spirits living on his Harrisville Road property.
"She's seen better days and her feet are a bit suspect but she still seems well. I look after her. She has always been a bit special. I bought her mother - Landora for $3,000 off John Burrows from Christchurch back in the 1970s. She was a Goodland - Dora Counsel (Meadow Chief) mare and Landora's Pride was her third foal and only winner," Allingham said.
Now 81, Allingham said he was merely a spectator these days but still enjoyed watching the races.
"I haven't trained since the 2002-2003 season but Landora's Pride gave me and my late wife so many happy times. The happiest times of my career. She took us to Australia and we won the two biggest trotting races here in New Zealand.
"I'll never forget what she did for us. The public loved to come up and pat her because she was a beautiful looking black horse.
"My wife had to stay close to her though because the mare used to get fed up with all the people wanting to pat her - and she sometimes tried to bite them," Allingham said.
She was the exact opposite to that when Harnesslink visited Allingham and Landora's Pride on Tuesday. She was as placid as ever and hardly noticed the camera. You could tell she felt safe when her lifetime buddy - Trevor Allingham - was near.
By Duane RANGER (editor)
's Gift winning the 2010 Inter Dominion Grand Final:
Let Me Thru winning the City Of Sails Trot: