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: 1983 Bay Gelding
Dam: Proud Countess (Hickory Pride)
Breeder: Captain Oddvar Andersen.
Owner: Estate of Harry Cox and Captain Oddvar Andersen.
Trainers: John Cox, Robert Cameron, Clive Herbert and Bob Mellsop.
First win: Northern Southland Trotting Club at Ascot Park – February 1990.
Biggest New Zealand wins:
- 1993 New Zealand Trotting Championship (G2)
- 1993 Anngow Motors Mazda Trot (G3)
- 1993 Rowe Cup (G1) (Southland owned trotters finished first, second and third in the 1993 Rowe Cup with David Moss winning, Diamond Field ran second and Night Allowance third).
- 1993 Dominion Handicap (G1)
- 1993 New Zealand National Mobile Trot (G2)
- 1994 New Zealand Trotting Championship (G3)
- 1994 Dominion Handicap (G1) in a track and New Zealand record of 4-06.6
David Moss had four starts in Australia winning three. His wins included the Australasian Trotters Championship Final and the V.L.Dullard Cup both at Moonee Valley.
- Southland Horse of the Year 1991 and 1993
- New Zealand Trotter of the Year: 1992/1993 season and 1993/1994 season.
Lifetime record: 89 starts 31 wins, nine seconds and 4 thirds for $490,275.
David Moss and Maurice McKendry winning the Firestone Free For All at Addington
By French sire Gekoj David Moss with his giant frame was always going to take time.
David Moss was out of Hickory Pride mare Proud Countess and was bred by Captain Oddvar Andersen of Oslo who came to New Zealand in the 1960’s to supervise Scandinavian shipping. He met the Cox family while in Southland.
“He was down in Bluff looking at the facilities and was with someone from Wrights Stevenson’s. He said he had horses back in Norway and he’d like to go and see a stable somewhere. The agent knew Dad. He ended up at our place and it went from there.”
Cox says Andersen became Norwegian Console General in New Zealand and had always been keen on racing, particularly trotters.
“He had mares and stallions and loved his racing. I haven’t been talking to him in the last 12 months. A friend of mine that lives in Norway said he’s starting to fail now but he’s in his mid-90s.”
Early on Andersen brought French stallions to New Zealand including Beau Nonantais, Inter Du Pas and the sire of David Moss, Gekoj.
Andersen and Harry Cox formed a common bond and Cox received a half share in David Moss.
“He was broken in by Keith Norman I think and then he came to our place. He was just jogged for two or three years. He got a bit of fast work. We had him in the jog cart and tied a couple of horses on the side and another couple off him” said Cox.
David Moss didn’t start racing until he was a 6-year-old.
“I remember before Dad passed away. He’d had a few heart turns but always tried to get out and do the horses. He said he (David Moss) wouldn’t be much good until he was four or five as the French breed didn’t go early. He just kept pottering away with him and said ‘don’t worry about him boy, he’ll be okay one day.”
And so it proved to be. Harry wasn’t around to see it but John Cox, who took over the training of the massive trotter knew he had a future star on his hands.
David Moss qualified at Ascot Park as a six year old and was lightly raced in his first season, having just four starts for two wins.
The following season as a seven year old he started to turn heads winning nine races including a forty one length victory at Ascot Park in September 1990 in a C2 and faster trot over 2700 metres.
“Dad always said a good driver never looks back so I let him trot as he liked. It wasn’t until I was pulling up that I realized the rest weren’t there. When you set him alight you knew you had something in front of you that’s for sure,” said John Cox who drove him that day.
Another impressive win that season was at Forbury Park in October.
“My brother in-law Clarrie Woodward drove him that night. He was back a bit and in the last 400 he was out about five or six wide. It was just a phenomenal run. I was talking to Ray Jenkins afterwards. He said he could tell my horse was coming because he could hear the crowd starting to cheer. My horse just got up and beat Ray (The Expatriate) in the last few strides (neck).”
Cox trained him for the majority of his career, winning twenty six races with him. He also had stints with Clive Herbert and Bob Mellsop who trained him to win three races including the 1993 National Trot and the 1994 New Zealand Trotting Championship. He was also with Robert Cameron for a short period and he trained him to win two races including the 1993 Dominion Handicap.
“He had the speed of a pacer. I remember driving him at a trial at Ashburton getting ready for the Dominion. I was sitting three back and he came home and he was just jogged it running a quarter in 28 which you’re expect the pacers to do then. He was just a bloody good big plain horse,” said Cameron.
Cox also trained him to win three from four starts in Australia including the 1994 Australasian Trotters’ Championship at Moonee Valley in Melbourne when driven by Maurice McKendry.
“Maurice was three wide for a long time and just got up in the last few strides. It was a phenomenal run. Maurice said it was a great run and he could hear the Aussie drivers talking when he was going forward. He said they said ‘here he comes now’ and they just kept bumping him out one and they weren’t going anywhere.”
Cox says the only thing missing on the horse’s CV is an Interdominion Finals win.
“He won four heats and ran a second and a fourth. At Christchurch when he ran fourth (in the final) it was wet and he wasn’t as good in the wet as he was on the hard going.”
There are plenty of great memories for the Cox family from a truly great Southern Bred Southern Reared Trotter David Moss.
“It always helps to have a good horse to get you around the country, that’s for sure.”