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DID YOU KNOW THESE HARNESS RACING FACTS?

By Phil Purser
15/10/2009
Quamby's Pride won the 1980 Queensland Derby at this track - Brisbane's Albion Park.
Goulburn pacer Gundary Flyer received a standing ovation from the huge crowd that packed Penrith track on 12/11/1980 when he won the Provincial Pacers’ Derby Final at that track. It wasn’t the fact that the horse won that stirred the emotions of the on-course attendees – moreover it was the way the youngster won. Facing the starter for only the fourth time in his life, Gundary Flyer, driven by his trainer/driver Michael Day missed the start by 50 metres through galloping away in the 2450 metres race. Gundary Flyer eventually caught the field, got posted three wide between the 1200 and the 600, before winning in a close photo from Ali Toliver (John Binskin). Incredibly Gundary Flyer had also broken a seven-year race record when he won the Derby. His time of 3.14.0 beat the previous race record of Jason Hanover (3.14.60). In later life Gundary Flyer showed his remarkable effort at his fourth race start was no fluke by winning the 1981 NSW Sires Produce, the 1981 Australian Pacing Derby at Gloucester Park in Western Australia and the 1982 Miracle Mile at Harold Park, when he defeated Frosty Imp and Double Agent.
 
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The 1980 Kilmore Cup winner Lena Vale Lad started at 50/1. Driven by Brian Gath, Lena Vale Lad beat the sensationally backed champion pacer Pure Steel by one metre. Pure Steel’s second prizemoney cheque in the $35,950 race took his prizemoney earnings to $831,882. At the time, Pure Steel’s earnings were the second highest across both codes of thoroughbreds and standardbreds. The only horse that had earned more than him was champion thoroughbred Kingston Town.
 
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In 1980, Australia lost two top standardbred stallions, long before their time when Koala Frost and Quamby’s Pride both died prematurely. Koala Frost died at Springdale Stud, Canowindra, a fortnight after becoming sick. He’d finished second in the Australian sires list of 1979/80 behind Thor Hanover. Koala Frost’s son Koala King won a stack of top races and ironically won the 1980 Inter Dominion, beating Locarno and Pure Steel in the year of his sire’s passing.
 
 
For his part Quamby’s Pride (Deep Adios ex Lady Bangeroo) who was considered a great stallion prospect, died late in October 1980 from a mysterious virus where he was being trained by former Parkes identity Henry McDermott. Quamby’s Pride had won the 1980 Queensland Pacers Derby, run second in the Victoria Derby and third in the New South Wales Derby.
 
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New South Wales pacer Lawn Derby was the first pacer to break the two-minute barrier. He achieved the feat in 1938 at the Addington track in New Zealand when he recorded 1.59.4.
 
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Mackay pacer Cane Smoke holds the pacers record in Australia for the most number of wins in a season at 34. Maori’s Idol holds the trotter’s record of 22 wins in a season.
 
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The record number of starts by a pacer in a single racing season is held by the Queensland pacer Max Express. He started 86 times in the 1967/68 season, recording eight wins.

The Manzelmann family from Mackay trained the wonderful North Queensland pacer Cane Smoke that is mentioned in this text. Would you believe there are nine Manzelmann children in the Brisbane based Queensland Junior Harness Racing Association at present. This is a file photo of now 10-year-old Georgie, and she is related to the Mackay Manzelmann's.

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