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Gloucester Park (GP) entertained its fourth Interdominion carnival in 1953, six years after the previous one in 1947.


This was the first Perth Interdominion where the winner of the Grand Final would be declared overall champion. In the three previous Perth Interdominions (ID’s), the Grand Champion had been determined by overall points gained through heats and a final. These championships were determined over three heats of 12 furlongs, 14 furlongs and 2 miles with the Grand Final over 13 furlongs for a prize of £10,000, and a gold cup valued at £300. The ID heats were run on Wednesday 18, Saturday 21 and Wednesday 25 with the Grand Final on Saturday 28 February 1953. Total stakes of £30,600 were offered to the thirty one competitors made up of fifteen local West Australians, six from NSW and three each from New Zealand, Victoria and South Australia and one from Tasmania.


Subsidies were payable to owners of Eastern state and New Zealand horses provided they started in at least two heats and failed to earn stake money equal to the subsidy – New Zealand £400, Queensland £200, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania £150 and South Australia £100. A maximum of four horses per state were eligible, having to commence their return journey from Perth within 30 days of the conclusion of the carnival. There were 61 horses in the initial round of entries received for the 1953 Perth Interdominions.

Captain Sandy


The first two time and oldest ever (ten year old) Interdominion winner was to triumph as well as the first non-Tasmanian Interdominion Grand Champion in Perth (Evicus (1936), Logan Derby (1940) and Bandbox (1947). Captain Sandy, representing South Australia, owned and trained by Adelaide resident, former West Australian Dinny (DJ) Nolan (born in South Africa), driven by young Western Australian reinsman Bob (R) Pollock, had previously won the 1950 series held at the Melbourne Showgrounds when representing New Zealand.

Beau Don with vet


Opening night included West Australian records for 12 furlongs, first by Blue Mist winning her heat in 3:13½ (2:07¾) with Captain Sandy running into fourth. Blue Mist’s time was later beaten when Avian Derby finished third in his heat recording a 2:07¼MR. Other effortless first night heat winners were pre post four year old ID favourites in Ribands (12 yds, 2:07¼) and Beau Don (scr, 2:08¼). The opening night crowd was reported as being 40,000 patrons.

Avian Derby


Second night victories over 14 furlongs went the way of Ribands (2:14.0) from Captain Sandy and Bruce Hall after which Ribands was installed as outright ID favourite; Blue Mist again coasted home in 2:08½ and Recovered off 12 yards setting a new state record of 2:06¾ breaking the old record by 1½ seconds (Kellett and Victory Globe lost their drivers soon after the start of this heat). The second night crowd totalled 35,000.

Blue Mist


Inevitably, every Interdominion has its sensation and Perth 1953 was no different, coming in the second round of heats. The sixth heat in all won by Ribands, Beau Don driven by Bill Foy led early before slowing the field up in front. Ribands (Perc Hall) after galloping away at the start and adding 48 yards to his handicap proceeded to circle the field and take the lead after two furlongs. Captain Sandy (Freeman Holmes) sat outside Beau Don while Bruce Hall (Harold Mazoudier) also helped pocket Beau Don who was severely hampered but managed to finish fourth. Shortly after the winning post Foy gave Beau Don his head and he climbed into the back of Ribands cart with both horses crashing to the track. Luckily neither horses nor drivers sustained any serious injuries.

Drivers – Hall, Holmes, Mazoudier, Foy


It was reported that the crowd considered Freeman Holmes (Captain Sandy) the guilty party, booing both him, Ribands driver Perc Hall and Harold Mazoudier. The crowd protested loudly and kept vigil whilst the stewards considered their verdict which was delayed until a day later. Police protection was sought by Ribands connections with the crowd surrounding his stall after the race; in fact Ribands was placed under armed guard by his connections to ensure he wasn’t poisoned as had happened in a recent case in Adelaide. The steward’s decision was that Bill Foy was the guilty party, being fined £20, informed a repeat performance would result in loss of licence and that he was being treated somewhat leniently due to the Championships  being in progress.


Ribands completed a hat trick of heat wins on the third night taking out his two mile heat in 4:17¼ (2:08.6), another state record beating Para Derby’s record set three years earlier by 1¾ seconds. Captain Sandy finished second followed in by Recovered and Blue Mist. Kellett (2:10.0) won his heat but only by a yard from Dainty Rose who lost 100 yards at the start. Local favourite Beau Don managed his second easy heat win in the slowest MR of the evening, 2:12¼.

Beau Don


Heat winners (night 1, 12 furlongs) : Blue Mist (NZ, 2:07¾), Beau Don (WA, 2:08¼), Ribands (NSW, 2:07¼)

Heat winners (night 2, 14 furlongs) : Recovered (WA, 2:06¾), Blue Mist (NZ, 2:08½), Ribands (NSW 2:14.0)

Heat winners (night 3, 2 miles) : Kellett (WA, 2:10.0), Beau Don (WA, 2:12¼), Ribands (NSW, 2:08.6)



Leading points scorers to qualify for the Grand Final were : Ribands (12), Avian Derby (11), Blue Mist (11), Captain Sandy (10), Recovered (10), Kellett (8), Beau Don (8), Bruce Hall (4), Dainty Rose (4), Expensive (3), Tennessee Sky (2) –  these were the top eleven points scorers even prior to the final round of heats and they were joined by Floodlight to make up the Grand Final field of twelve.

Grand Final finish


The Grand Final on 28 February 1953 was run before the largest crowd to attend an Australasian trotting meeting – 57,000. Pre post favouritism rested with Ribands (6/4) and Beau Don (cast a shoe in his warm-up) but both broke at the start or not long after. Ribands recovered swiftly to be in front after a furlong maintaining a solid clip throughout. Captain Sandy (33/1) from 24 yards made his normal perfect beginning settling seventh, one out and three lengths from Ribands after a furlong. This is where he remained until moving through a gap to be three lengths from Ribands and Kellett turning for home. Captain Sandy responded to a vigorous drive from Pollock and overtook Ribands 45 yards from the winning post holding on to win by a yard and a half from Ribands and Kellett a yard further back. Again a track record of 3:26½/2:05¾ for 13 furlongs had been established.  Bob Pollock became the youngest ID winning driver to that time. This win took Captain Sandy’s earnings past £35,000. It is almost unbelievable that Captain Sandy with two seconds and a fourth in the heats, albeit a ten year old, could be allowed to start at 33/1 or pay nearly £12 on the tote.


Of the beaten brigade, Ribands had diminished his chances by pulling hard, Recovered finished fourth after dragging a buckled wheel for most of the last lap and Blue Mist fifth after being checked twice in the running including two furlongs from the finish.


Final (13 furlongs) :


1st : 10g CAPTAIN SANDY (SA), Sandydale/Waikaura, by Guy Parrish, family of Rosebud by Tempest (A231); 24 yds, Dinny Nolan (owner/tr), Bob Pollock (dr), Bob Ludemann (Oamaru, NZ). Won by 1.5 yards by 1 yard, 3:26½/2:05¾MR


2nd : Ribands (NSW), 12 yds, Perc J Hall (tr/dr)

3rd : Kellett (WA), 12 yds, Fred Kersley Snr (dr), Cliff Clarke (tr)

Other starters in finishing order : Recovered (WA), Blue Mist (NZ), Bruce Hall (NSW), Floodlight (TAS), Tennessee Sky (WA), Beau Don (WA), Avian Derby (VIC), Dainty Rose (VIC), Expensive (NSW)


Dividends : Captain Sandy – £11 13s 6d, £1 6s 6d; Ribands, 7s 6d; Kellett, 15s 6d


Consolations :

1st heat : Victory Globe (NZ), 12 yds, 2:11¼, Freeman Holmes (dr)

2nd heat : Avondale (VIC), scr, 2:09.0 Syl Bray (dr)


Notable points from the championship;


  1. a) West Australian Kersley brothers Frank (tr/dr Tennessee Sky, eighth) and Fred Snr (dr Kellett, third) both drove in the Grand Final
  2. b) past and future Grand Finalist winners at these Perth ID’s were Avian Derby (1952 Sydney) and Tennessee Sky (Adelaide 1954)

Avian Derby 1952 ID


  1. c) Edgar Tatlow’s influence continued with the Globe Derby line represented with two finalists (Recovered, Floodlight) having him as their dam sire together with influence in pedigrees of Ribands and Avian Derby – total of four of nine heat winners having Globe Derby influence. Tallow’s replacement stallion for Globe Derby in Raider exerted his influence being sire of Kellett and Floodlight with his sons siring Tennessee Sky and Dainty Rose – one heat winner in Kellett
  2. d) Bob Pollock got the drive on Captain Sandy only when it became obvious that Freeman Holmes would be driving Blue Mist in the final (Holmes reined Captain Sandy to fourth and second in his first two heats). Pollock got to drive Captain Sandy in a winning trial before the third round of heats and was engaged to drive him thereafter
  3. e) On arrival in Australia, Captain Sandy raced around Sydney up to a month before Perth ID‘s. He was then floated to Melbourne, boarded a one horse truck/trailer to Adelaide and then took a further seven days from Adelaide to reach Perth (1800 miles). Some of his competitors had arrived on the first horse flight to Perth, landing at Guildford aerodrome on board a Bristol freighter were 1952 ID champion Avian Derby, his stable mates Avondale and Star Music and New Zealand mare Blue Mist.


A number of notable performances followed closely after the completion of the Perth Interdominions. On the Monday following the Grand Final , Captain Sandy  time trialled a 1:59.0 mile at Gloucester Park and another two nights later  (Wednesday) on Bunbury’s half mile track time trialled in a sensational 1:57½. Neither time was approved officially by United States Trotting Association as the pacemaker headed the horse making the record attempt, which was not permitted. On the same night at Bunbury, Blue Mist driven also by Bob Pollock paced a world record 1½m in 3:03¼, a time not beaten until Overtrick clocked 3:02 3/5 in North America in 1969.


Captain Sandy – Grand Final winner –


CAPTAIN SANDY (1940g Sandydale/Waikaura, family of Rosebud by Tempest), 2:02.0TT (Whyalla, SA, 2 June 1953), £43.712, wins included Auckland Cup (twice), Hannon Memorial, ID Pacing Grand Final (twice), number of feature races in NZ, Melbourne and Sydney, leading stake earner NZ 1948/49 £10,729, retired highest ever NZ stake earner, NZ Hall of Fame inductee


Captain Sandy was by leading imported son of Abbedale in Sandydale (Abbedale/Ioleen McKinney), bred by Bob Ludemann, Kauru Hill, Oamaru and originally leased by him to Oamaru trainer Jock Bain. Following the 1951 Addington Interdominions Bain returned Captain Sandy to Ludemann who tried him with Wes Butt and George Benny for whom he recorded a couple of placings, After Benny returned him to his owner in mid 1952 (June), Dinny Nolan managed to purchase him nine months before the Perth ID’s for 525 guineas following a recommendation from Sandydale’s owner John Johnston of Oamaru. Johnston had first leased then purchased Sandydale off Gore breeder George Youngson. Dinny Nolan was later killed in a car accident near Menangle.

Captain Sandy with Dinny Nolan


Sandydale (1933, 2:01¾US) was bred by the Village Farm, Pennsylvania and imported to New Zealand by George Youngson in 1937. Youngson had some insight as among his many imported stallions were Adioo Guy (sire of Grand Mogul 1940 Perth ID), Hal Tryax (Cardigan Bay, 1963 Adelaide ID; Robin Dundee, dead heated with Jay Ar, 1965 Dunedin ID), Dillon Hall who he bred to the filly Rustic Maid leaving 1950 NZ Cup winner Chamfer, sire of 1966 Sydney ID winner Chamfers Star who made a clean sweep of three heats and Grand Final.


Sandydale who died in 1957, as a sire left 185 winners (154 pacers, 31 trotters) including Beaudale (Fremantle Cup), Heliopolis (Otahuhu Cup), Invicta (NZ Cup), Navigate (Hannon Memorial) and as a broodmare sire he featured with Cardinal King (see next paragraph), Holy Hal (NZ Derby, two ID heats), champion pacer and sire Johnny Globe (NZ/GN Derbies, NZ Cup, NZFFA twice), Waitaki Hanover (GN Derby, Auckland Cup, NZFFA, Hunter Cup, ID Consolation/heat).


Captain Sandy’s dam was unraced Guy Parrish mare Waikaura from Misty Morn tracing back to Australian mare Ella G, a daughter of Vancleve and Andrew Town’s Childe Harold stallion Tempest. Waikaura was one of nine filly foals left by Misty Morn. Purchased for 13 guineas at auction in the early 1930’s by Bob Ludemann, Waikaura produced nothing of note until Captain Sandy, refusing outright to allow her newly born foal to suckle although eventually permitting him to drink.


Captain Sandy’s full sister, the unraced Information (due to wind problem) left his “nephew” the speedy First Lord (competed in 1951 Addington ID’s) gelding Cardinal King (2:01.1US, $202,662), a participant in Marty Tananbaum’s Yorkers international Series in 1967 which he made a clean sweep of. Cardinal King, trained by Jack Behrns was the winner of a number of feature races in NZ before being sold for $40k to clients of Stanley Dancer. In North America he won the open class paces US National Championship, Dan Patch FFA, International and Good Time Paces. Waikaura can therefore be accorded high status as either matron or grand matron of two fine performers although she herself was a fiery customer.


Captain Sandy commenced racing in NZ from the stable of Jock Bain who drove him in his early NZ races. Winning his first start for Bain as a four year old at the Winton Jockey Club meeting in February 1947 with a further five placings in another fifteen four year old starts. At five, he won three races and placed on seven occasions for stakes of £2,150.

Captain Sandy 1948 Alexandra Park with James Bryre jnr


At this stage Bain engaged James Bryce jnr (attended 1925 Australasian Championship in Perth with Great Hope and Taraire) to drive Captain Sandy. They combined for eleven wins and six placings from seventeen starts (£10,729) over the next two seasons including the Auckland Cups of 1948 and 1949 and a second to Loyal Nurse in her 1949 NZ Cup success. Bryce’s 1949 Auckland Cup (last of four Auckland Cups – others with Shadow Maid and Sea Born) success was the eleventh and final Auckland Cup victory for the Bryce family, starting with Cathedral Chimes in 1915 for trainer/driver Scotty Bryce.

Captain Sandy 1949 AK Cup


Regular pilot James Bryce jnr, incurred a three month suspension in Auckland robbing him of the opportunity to drive Captain Sandy at the 1950 Melbourne ID’s. Instead Freeman (FG) Holmes did the driving in Melbourne, at least for the three heats. Captain Sandy only just made the final field after finishing fourth, seventh and third with fastest time in third heat. Holmes was suspended after the third night for three months for alleged interference to Claude Derby, on appeal to drive in the final, his suspension was doubled to six months. Leading Sydney driver Jack Watts drove Captain Sandy to win the 1950 Melbourne Showgrounds ID Grand Final.


Racing off long marks with no wins for two seasons in NZ after the 1950 ID’s, Captain Sandy qualified for 1951 ID Grand Final in Christchurch after placing second and fourth in heats but unplaced off 36 yards in the final for driver Tubby Gray. Captain Sandy didn’t contest the 1952 Sydney ID’s. The 1953 Perth ID’s were his third Interdominion championships and remarkably he contested two more – in Adelaide in 1954 where he finished a creditable fourth in the Grand Final and his fifth and final ID as a twelve year old in Auckland in 1955 where he was never in contention finishing well back in both of his heats.


In total, Captain Sandy won 15 races in New Zealand (£18,804) and numerous Australian feature paces prior to retirement after 1955 Auckland Interdominions.  For longevity, toughness and an ability to compete at the highest level both in NZ and Australia (raced in every state where trotting conducted) where he was placed in most major Cups and FFA’s, tough NZ bred gelding Captain Sandy stood tall in the late nineteen forties to mid nineteen fifties.






Peter Craig


21 November 2017




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