SBSR – Trotting Legend- Poupette

SBSR – Trotting Legend- Poupette

In this series sponsored by Southern Bred Southern Reared, Bruce Stewart looks back on some of the great racing stock that’s come out of the Southern region.

Whilst last year he profiled horses from the south that have become millionaires, this series is about other pacers and trotters that that were bred, reared and raced for part of career in Southland, and made an impact in the Harness Racing industry.


Age: 1956 black mare

Sire: Johnny Globe

Breeder: Jim McHugh

Dam: Marionette (Dillion Hall)

Owner: Jim McHugh

Trainer: Harry Cox

John Cox was only ten when Poupette trained by his father trained won the 1961 Interdominion Trotters Final at Forbury Park.

“I was staying with Dad’s mum and day. I woke in the morning and they said they’d heard the race on the radio and that she won,” he said.

In the heats she’d finished third on the first night, eleventh on the second night and sixth of the third night.

But the eight year old mare amassed enough points to make the final where the favourite was visiting Australian champion Gramel. Gramel was also by Johnny Globe and she’d won her three heats in sensational fashion. But the three nights of hard racing took its toll in the final where she weakened to finish fourth.

Poupette won the 3,000 pound final at odds of 12 to 1 beating Snow Globe by three quarters of a length.

In the 10,000 pound pacers final on the same night another Southland mare Robin Dundee dead heated with Jay Ar.

Poupette won her first race as a four year old at Invercargill in February 1961 when driven by her trainer Harry Cox. She beat Donnybrook and Scorcola. She won again later that season at Wyndham once again beating Donnybrook.

“She was a small filly. I remember when Dad was breaking her in he said she could pace as good as she could trot. Every now and then when she trotting she’d go into a pace. He thought she’d be better trotting so he just stuck to that. She could be a wee bitch at times but that what all good fillies are.”

As a five year old she recorded her best season winning five races – three at Invercargill and two at Forbury Park.

At six and seven she was raced sparingly winning once in each season.

One of her wins that season was at the Dunedin Festival Championship Meeting at Forbury Park in January 1964. That night there were sixteen races with four qualifying heats of the Dunedin Festival Cup. The final of the cup was won by Great Credit.

She raced for another two seasons winning twice as a nine year old and finished her career at ten winless from fifteen starts.

Poupette was often used by her Winton owner Jim McHugh as a hack to round up his cattle

Her career record was 94 starts for 13 wins, 15 seconds and four thirds for 22,895 pounds.

She was beaten twice in the New Zealand Trotting Finals – by Mighty Chief in 1966 and Asia Minor in 1967.

“I was there. The horse were across the track and Dad thought he had it won but a horse snuck up on the fence and beat her.”

She was accidently shot in 1972 after leaving two foals at stud.

“The Rabbit Board were out shooting one night from memory. It was accidental. They didn’t see the horses in the paddock when they were shooting rabbits. She had to get put down in the finish.”