Forty-five minutes before race time it was still uncertain whether the horse would line up in the field. With time ticking away Minuteman underwent a last-ditch veterinary exam by the Trotting Control Board’s surgeon. A roar echoed around the Melbourne Showgrounds when the message came over the loudspeakers that Minuteman would run.
A crowd of 48,788 rolled up to the iconic track to watch the Inter Dominion decider. Second to Cardigan Bay in his opening heat and a winner over Robin Dundee of the second night, Minuteman was scratched from the 2800m third heat, suffering from arthritis in the near fetlock combined with laminitis. Constant applications of ice by his trainer-driver Eric Hurley and plenty of visits to the beach gradually helped Minuteman recover. He arrived at the Showgrounds with the Hurley family hoping they had done enough to get him on track.
Once he was harnessed up, Minuteman looked spritely and lined up in a pole position at the barrier, ready for the race of his life. He began brilliantly piloting the first lap of the 4.6 circles in 44.2 seconds. With three laps to race-Hurley had Minuteman humming and the stylish pacer controlled the tempo while the New Zealand champion Cardigan Bay, off the back mark, was positioned to run at the tail. With a perfect transit in front, no other finalist could match Minuteman’s speed or stamina and he led throughout to win by 1.8m from Angelique (Gordon Rothacker) with 3.6m to Tactile (Robert Cameron). Smoke Cloud was fourth.
The overall mile rate of 2.08.6 broke his track record and underlined the herculean task Cardigan Bay faced. The NZér ran 2.07.2, coming off 45m behind. Joint favourite Robin Dundee settled back in second last place with only Cardigan Bay behind him. Both were still back at the rear with a circuit to run. Robin Dundee tried valiantly to make ground tracking Smoke Cloud forward and Cardigan Bay got in its slipstream searching for a ride home. With 100m to travel, Cardigan Bay’s driver looked for gaps behind an equine wall, but couldn’t find one.
Robin Dundee finished fifth followed home by Cardigan Bay. Pipriki, Le George, Red Adios, and Little Maori were among the also-rans.
Minuteman (Field Battery – Adistar) continued the dominance of the Globe Derby family in the great event becoming the 10th from the male line to win in 23 Inter Dominion editions starting with Evicus in 1936, then Springfield Globe, Logan Derby, Bandbox, Avian Derby, Tactian, Gentleman John, Radiant Venture and Young Pedro. Raced by Eric, Jim & Phyllis Hurley, Minuteman’s Inter Dominion win at 4yrs was his 18th success. He also won two AG Hunter Cups and a SA Cup and went on to win 30 races in 8 seasons, making a remarkable comeback after stud duties to win races at age 10.
This article was taken from David Aldred LinkedIn page