Arapaho – one of the great Kiwi pacers of the 1970’s…



A winner over two miles in 4.19 as a 3-year-old, Arapaho brought himself into light harness racing prominence as a 4-year-old when he won the New Brighton Stars Travel Mile at the Addington track. Starting from a second row barrier and running against the elite of NZ pacers, Arapaho ran the distance in 1:59 in conditions that were anything but favourable. Arapaho defeated the Australian Bay Foyle, who ran second and also had to contend with a second row barrier draw, Robalan and Radiant Globe.

Arapaho became the first of his sire, Bachelor Hanover’s progeny to enter the two-minute list.

Arapaho won 10 races, was second twice and third twice as a 4-year-old for prizemoney, $31,740 to be the leading NZ stakewinner in 1971-2. Arapaho was subsequently voted the NZ Harness Horse-of-the-Year in 1972.

In February, 1973, Arapaho set a world record in winning the Dunedin Festival Cup. He ran the 11 furlongs from a standing start in 2:48 3/5, a mile rate of 2:02 3/5. This clipped 1 3/5 off the world record set by Johnny Globe, in 1955. Following his success in the Dunedin Festival Cup, Arapaho raced in Sydney in the 1973 Inter-Dominion Championship series. He was defeated into second placing by the championship winner, Hondo Grattan, in the first heat he contested but won the next heat. He qualified for the final, but ran unplaced from the 12 yard mark.

During the 1973-4 season Arapaho was again the leading stake-earner in NZ with earnings of $69,375 for the season. This followed wins in the prestigious NZ Cup and the Auckland Cup in 1973.

Arapaho was sold to Canadian owners and left NZ late in 1974.

Credit: Ron Jenkins: Great Trotters

YEAR: 1973


Doubts that Arapaho would see out a solidly run 3200 metres against such talented opposition were completely dispelled when he raced away with the $40,000 NZ Cup.

Not only did Arapaho win the Cup, but he did so by five lengths in the brilliant time of 4:08.6 for the 3200 metres, which compares favourably with False Step’s 4:09 recorded in winning his third NZ Cup in 1960 when the distance was two miles. The fastest time recorded in the Cup over two miles was Johnny Globe’s 4:07.6 in 1954. This was a world record which stood until 1969 when Dainty’s Daughter recorded 4:07 in Western Australia.

Arapaho, who at the start of the season was under option to an American buyer for $100,000 but remained in New Zealand when the sale fell through, proved by far the best stayer in the field. Dunsandel owner Mr Laurie Forde has now won 23 races both here and in Australia with Arapaho who took his stake earnings to $90,270 with the $24,000 first prize.

Arapaho was given a dream run by trainer-driver Jack Smolenski. Sixth early he had a turn in front at the 2100 metre mark as the early lead changed frequently, and was then three back on the rails when first Vanadium then Rauka Lad took the lead. Rauka Lad made the pace from the 1800 metres when Young Quinn was shot into a handy lead by Bob Cameron. Vanadium and Arapaho moved to be second and third on the home turn, but Arapaho proved too strong for Young Quinn and went on to win by five lengths.

Last year’s Cup winner Globe Bay went another good race for second. He improved along the rails to be in fifth place on the turn and finished determinedly to edge Young Quinn out of second by half a neck. Young Quinn, the youngest horse in the race at four, made a game attempt to beat his older rivals. He was one of several to have a turn in front early when he led briefly at the 2600 metre mark, but at the 1600 he was well placed in the fourth line on the outside of Fab. Cameron sent him passed the tiring Rauka Lad at the 600 metre mark and he turned for home with a handy advantage. He could not maintain it, but his third in such a fast-run race was a good effort for a young horse.

Robalan third in the race last year, gained another placing when he battled on for fourth though four lengths back. He drifted to the rear after 800 metres and then had to go very wide when improving from the 700 metre mark. He was sixth, but very wide out turning for home. Royal Ascot did best of the three horse bracket which include Manaroa and Manawaru. He finished fifth, but never looked like paying a dividend. He had only Manaroa and Robalan behind him at the 800 metre mark and then had to go three, then four wide round Noble Lord at the 400 metres. He was a length back fifth at the line. Vanadium, who trailed Rauka Lad from the 1800 metres, wilted to sixth a length back and a nose in front of Lightsey who ran on well after breaking at the start.

Scottish Charm just battled away in the middle of the field two lengths back with a gap of five lengths back to Noble Lord who made a brief forward move at the 800 metres, but was struggling at the 400 metre mark. Manawaru, who was under pressure to maintain his position at the 800 metres, was a further four lengths back ahead of Bomber Bill, Fab, Manaroa, who broke badly at the start, and Rauka Lad. Rauka Lad stopped badly after going up fast to lead at the 1800 metre mark.

Credit: ‘Lookout’ writing in NZ Trotguide

YEAR: 1973


Robalan won his second successive New Zealand Free-For-All and gave driver Denis Nyhan his fourth win in the event when he raced away for a five and a half lengths win. Robalan strode to the lead after 450 metres and from then on he was travelling too well. He cracked the pace on at the 800 metres and drew right away in the straight.

New Zealand Cup winner Arapaho, after breaking at the start, had a battle with Globe Bay before working off the fence with 1200 metres to go and though he ran on determinedly, he had to be content with second, half a head in front of Bomber Bill, who tracked Robalan all the way.

Young Quinn finished brilliantly but late to get fourth, only another half-head back, with a neck to Young Cardigan, who fought on well from three back on the fence and looked as though he may pay a dividend at the 100 metres mark. Rauka Lad, who ran wide in the straight, was next ahead of Royal Ascot and Lightsey.

Credit: ‘Lookout’ writing in NZ Trotguide

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