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: 1986 Bay Gelding by Yankee Jolter out of Robyn Evander
Bred by: Nigel and Marianne Sim
Raced by: Southland Standardbred Number Two Syndicate
Trained by: Allan Beck, Roy and Barry Purdon, Mark Purdon, Neil Cavallaro and Patrick O’Reilly
Race record: 150 starts, 33 wins, 29 seconds, 20 thirds for $536,607 in stakes.
Best season: As a 7 year old 19 starts, 7 wins, 4 seconds and 2 thirds for $212,480
Successful trainers with wins: Roy and Barry Purdon (12), Allan Beck (8), Mark Purdon (6), Neil Cavallaro (5) and Patrick O’Reilly (2). (33)
Successful driver with wins: Tony Herlihy (15), Allan Beck (7), Paul Cavallaro (4), Mark Purdon (3), Patrick O’Reilly (2), Al Chapman (1) and Kirk Larsen (1). (33)
New Zealand Records:
- 11/05/1996 Auckland TC 2200 metre stand 2-48.8
- 04/05/1996 Auckland TC 2700 metre stand 3-26.6
- 18/03/1995 New Zealand Metropolitan TC 2000 metre mobile 2-29.3 NB: This record stood for 16 years before being bettered by I Can Doosit 2-25.0.
- 1994 FAI Rowe Cup (Group One) $90,000 OC Handicap Trot 3200 metres.
- 1994 Interdominion Trotting Championship at Harold Park
- 1996 FAI City of Sails FFA Trot (Group Two) M5 and faster 2200 metres.
- 1993 Air New Zealand New Zealand Trotting Free For All (Group Two) OC FFA Mobile 2600 metres
- 1993 Radio Pacific Challenge Stakes (Group Two) C5 and faster FFA Mobile 2700 metres
- 1995 Firestone Firehawk New Zealand Trotting Championship (Group Three)
Diamond Field (8) beating David Moss (12) in the 1993 New Zealand Trotting FFA
- 2nd 1993 Dominion Trotting Handicap (Group One)
- 2nd 1993 Rowe Cup (Group One)
- 3rd 1997 V.L. Dullard Trotters Cup
- 1996 Waikato Times Flying Mile (Group Two)
- 1995 New Zealand Trotting FFA (Group Two)
- 1994 National Trotting FFA (Group Two)
- 1997 EB Cochran Trotters Cup
- 1993 New Zealand Trotting Championship (Group Three)
- 1993 Canterbury Park Trotting Cup (Group Three)
Australian form: 28 starts, 9 wins, 7 seconds and 4 thirds for $153,178 in stakes.
Note: Diamond Field started in five Interdominion Championship Finals finishing 4th (1993), 1st (1994), 3rd (1995), 6th (1996) and 6th (1997).
Southland trainer Allan Beck developed Diamond Field and remembers him well.
“He was quite flighty. He was more like a thoroughbred than a standardbred,” he said.
As a yearling Diamond Field was destined for the Sales in Christchurch. And although he made it to the sales complex, he never made the sales ring.
“They couldn’t plait his main so they got the vet to come round and tranquilise him. But after a tranquiliser they still couldn’t do it so he never went through the ring.”
Beck was then given the task of training the Yankee Jolter gelding which owner Grant Sim syndicated.
“When you were on the track he’d spot anything 200 metres away and he’d shy and get off gait. That’s why it took longer to get him moulded. The only time he got a bit of a fright was the first day he went to the workouts. He drew the outside and the tape went from the inside to the outside. When the tape was released it hit the outside running rail and that woke him up a bit.”
At one point Beck, who was training a large team at the time was starting to struggle with the flighty trotter.
“I said to Grant ‘look he’s going to take a bit of time and he may be better with a trainer with a smaller team.’ But he said the syndicate wanted him to stay with me. We got him going and he won his first start as a three year old. As time went by he did relax. But even when he won the Interdominion he had a break in the run.”
Diamond Field ended up winning eight races for the Winton trainer before he was transferred to Roy and Barry Purdon’s stable.
“He had a great engine and that always stood to him.”
Diamond Field in the birdcage at Ascot Park with Allan Beck in October 2016.