M is for Master
Why feature one Master when you can highlight three?
Master Mood was twice named New Zealand Horse of the Year in the mid to late 1980s.
The first juvenile to beat two minutes in a race in Australasia (1984) and the son of Noodlum won nine races in a row as a four-year-old.
A year later in 1986 he won the New Zealand Cup at odds of 16-1, after a masterful front-running drive by his part owner and trainer Kevin Williams.
Luxury Liner was second, and favourite Skipper Dale third.
Three days later he completed the Free-For-All double and then took out the Miracle Mile against such Australian stars as Village Kid and My Lightning Blue, in a then race record of 1:56.1.
The 1987 Auckland Cup was also among his 27 victories from 96 starts, amassing more than $800,000 in stakes.
He died in 2009 with Williams once saying he “was the size of a pony but had the heart of a lion”.
Unlike Master Mood, Master Musician couldn’t win a New Zealand Cup, but was placed three times. He was second behind Chokin (1993) and Bee Bee Cee (1994) and third in Il Vicolo’s victory in 1995.
He did win an Auckland Cup though in 1992 in a career that spanned eight seasons. His last race was as a 10-year-old in 1997.
He first raced as a two-year-old and it was a lucrative one too, with nine wins from 11 starts.
“The Master” as trainer-driver Robert Dunn liked to call him won 34 from 109, banking over $1.9m. He died aged 27 in 2014.
Another giant – this time quite literally – was Master Lavros, bred and raced by well-known businessman Kypros Kotzikas, and trained and driven by Mark Jones.
His career highlights included dual Dominion Handicap success and victory in the Rowe Cup, earning him the title of “Trotter of the Year” in 2014.
The Sundon gelding always had soundness issues because of his sheer size and was retired in 2017 with a career record of 20 wins from 53 starts.
Between the three Masters they won more than 80 races and banked close on two and a half million dollars.
(And then there was 16-race winner Master Dean, with trainer Alec Purdon and driver Mike De Filippi combining to win the Cup week Free-For-All at Addington in 1976.
But that’s another story …..