Southland produced the big Cup winners of 1978/79, Trusty Scot taking the Addington event and Sapling prevailing at Alexandra Park. Like Sole Command, Trusty Scot was by the 1959 Auckland Cup winner Scottish Command.
His New Zealand Cup win was a triumph for the gelding's 58-year-old Edendale owner Adam Hunter and his 27-year-old son Henderson Hunter, who prepared him for his big assignment on the Ohoka (North Canterbury) property of his father-in-law Bill Bagrie, of Orbiter fame.
Trusty Scot's dam Fledgeling was by the successful importation Flying Song (Volomite – Evensong, by Nelson Dillon).
She was from the unraced Ardent, by Dillon Hall – Fervent, by Quite Sure – Logan’s Mission, by Bellman – Regina, by Berlin. Trusty Scot's third dam Fervent was a half-sister to Grand Mogul, who won the 1940 Interdominion Grand Final in Perth.
Fledgling was bred at Winton by Martin Duffy, nephew of James Duffy, one of Southland's pioneer breeders who established his most famous family with Regina.
For all her breeding, Fledgling showed no talent when trained by Clem Scott. She was sold off in 1961 by the Duffy family as a replacement 'farm pony' to John Morton, of Seaward Downs, Southland.
In 1967 Adam Hunter saw his first New Zealand Cup starter Viking Water (a descendant of the Hunter family's famous matron First Water) break down with Peter Wolfenden driving.
Taking Viking Water home to use as a stud sire, Hunter obligingly took him to Seaward Downs to serve Fledgeling. While at Morton's property Hunter admired the Scottish Command – Fledgeling yearling he saw tethered in a yard there, and persuaded Morton to lease the youngster to him with a right of purchase.
A non-winner at two, Trusty Scot in a busy three-year-old campaign won five races, including the Stan Andrews at Addington in May 1976 in 1:59.9. At four Trusty Scot had seven New Zealand wins and won a heat of the Brisbane Interdominions, only to collide with Sole Command at the start of the Grand Final.
At five, after four starts without return, Trusty Scot underwent an operation to remove a chip from a sesamoid in a hind leg. He came back into work under Henderson Hunter at Ohoka in June 1978.
Leading up to the 1978 New Zealand Cup Trusty Scot won the Ashburton Flying Stakes and Kaikoura Cup.
In the big Addington race he began well and trailed when Sapling took over fairly early. Sapling (Henry Skinner) set a moderate pace then stormed in from the 800m in 58.4. Trusty Scot had sufficient punch to run him down and beat him by a half-length in 4:12.8.
On Show Day, Trusty Scot, at the peak of his form, won the New Zealand Free-for-all in 2:29.1.
Unluckily fourth in the New Brighton Miracle Mile won by Sapling in 1:59.2, he was then taken to Perth for the rich Christmas carnival at Gloucester Park.
There he beat all but champion Pure Steel at 1900 metres on opening night, was fourth and third in his subsequent heats and sixth after an overland trip in the final of the $100,000 Benson and Hedges Cup, won by Pure Steel.
Trusty Scot was subsequently found to have suffered a stone-bruise on the trip; and this was complicated when he injured a hoof on the air trip from Melbourne to Auckland late in January.
It forced him out of the Auckland Cup.
Resuming at the 1979 Addington Interdominions – but not fully fit – Trusty Scot placed third, seventh and fifth in the heats and finished well into fifth in the Grand Final after being locked up in running. He ended the season winning the G. J. Barton Memorial at Forbury in April.
Trusty Scot was unable to reproduce his fine form of 1978/79. He won two races at Forbury as a seven-year-old and an invitation at Gore the following term, retiring to stud under Henderson Hunter at Edendale with a record of 98 starts, 21 wins and 29 placings for $132,547.