Australasian Grand Circuit
Stories:  Trotters 2003/2004 Season
2003/2004 Grand Circuit Trotters Series   2003/2004Results   Points
Take A Moment NZ - Grand Circuit Champion
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The domination by Take A Moment NZ of the early Grand Circuit events created an unassailable lead for this Kiwi star to being crowned Grand Circuit Champion for 2004 despite missing the final three Group 1 races through injury.  

The Tim Butt trained and Anthony Butt-driven son of Armbro Invasion USA won four of its five appearances on the Grand Circuit to finish with 21 points, from Victoria’s Sumthingaboutmaori 15, then Lyell Creek NZ 5 and Martina H NZ 4. 

When Take A Moment NZ missed the Inter Dominion series in Melbourne because of injury, it encouraged the efforts of the Butt stable (Canterbury) to bring former champion Lyell Creek NZ back to racing.  The much travelled gelding’s victory in the Rowe Cup in Auckland on April 30 has capped a remarkable career for New Zealand’s finest trotter of the past 20 years. 

The Grand Circuit for trotters was first introduced in 1999/2000. Lyell Creek NZ easily won the first two titles, then was sent to race successfully in Europe against many of the world’s best. The gelding then moved on to the USA where he did Australasia proud in two seasons of racing. When the now 10YO was returned to New Zealand after winning its last start in North America in Canada in July, retirement did seem the favoured option. 

The sidelining of Take A Moment NZ changed the thinking of the Butt stable who to then had been undecided on whether it should bring the aging gelding back to racing.   

After two moderate efforts on the comeback trail, many fans of the former champion considered he was well and truly past his best. However, the gelding’s stunning win in the Rowe Cup at its third outing now has the stable considering having the horse set for the Dominion Handicap in November. 

Lyell Creek NZ now has a record of 99 starts for 54 wins, 12 seconds, seven thirds, winning stakemoney of around $3 million. This has been earned in a number of countries. Meanwhile, plans to race Take A Moment NZ overseas in coming months have been put on hold because of its enforced spell in the paddock. 


Take A Moment NZ

While the Kiwi trotters took the main honours on the Grand Circuit, there was much to like about the improved efforts of Australia’s two leading contenders – Sumthingaboutmaori, a member of our most famous family descending from Maori Miss, and Sydney’s Sophocles, by the successful pacing sire Panorama USA. 

Sumthingaboutmaori did not contest the first two Grand Circuit races and then finished only a moderate seventh to Take A Moment NZ in the Bill Collins Mile at Moonee Valley. It then came out and won the Australian Grand Prix on this same track, bringing to an end the unbeaten sequence of wins by Take A Moment NZ. 

The Gavin Lang-driven Sumthingaboutmaori then captured the South Australian Trotters Cup and the prestigious Inter Dominion Grand Final off 10m. The mare is the result of breeding a member of the family that gave us the great Maori’s Idol to the American-based Pine Chip (US) using imported frozen semen. 

Owner-trainer Bryan Healy bred two foals that year to be among the first in Australia to use imported semen. The other was a colt that Healy regarded as an even better prospect than Sumthingaboutmaori. Unfortunately, Wind Cries Maori was injured. It could not race and now stands at stud in Victoria. 

Sophocles was bred to be a pacer, but in the hands of leading trotting trainer Peter Carson has developed into one of the best two-milers in Australasia. It was third in the Inter Dominion Grand Final and third to Lyell Creek NZ in the Rowe Cup, driven by Catherine Carson in both races. 

Much is expected of both Sophocles and Sumthingaboutmaori on next season’s Grand Circuit.    


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