U is for U Scott
As a horse U Scott was compact, handsome and black, as a sire he produced two of the modern day greats Caduceus and Highland Fling.
Foaled in 1932 the American-bred was imported to New Zealand as a three-year-old and had 11 wins in 30 starts including an Interdominion Heat success when driven by Freeman Holmes in 1938. Throughout his racing days though he was troubled by an internal abscess in a foot. Not only did it hinder his performance it also made him cantankerous at times and hard to manage.
His constant companion was Sandy Stewart, a man who was said to be an authority on U Scott and his progeny.
His two most famous pacing sons were Caduceus and Highland Fling.
Caduceus or the “Mighty Atom”, as he was known, was a legendary performer, both here and in the United States. The Jack Litten-trained pacer’s crowning achievement was the 1960 Interdominions at Harold Park in Sydney. Starting of a handicap of 36 yards (33 metres) he won in front of a world record crowd of more than 50,000.
The irony is that U Scott was second choice as the sire. The owners had sent their mare initially to Light Brigade but she didn’t get into foal. Named in his honour, the Group One Caduceus Club Fillies Classic for the two-year-olds is raced every April.
Among all his feats Caduceus never won a New Zealand Cup, finishing third to Thunder in 1956, and then second and third to three-time winner False Step in 1958 and 59.
It was a different outcome for Highland Fling. He won the Cup twice, firstly for Colin Berkett in 1947, and then for his father (and trainer) Leo Berkett a year later.
The 1948 triumph is particularly notable because the horse started off a 60 yard handicap (55 metres), bobbled at the start and still won by three lengths in a new world record time (4:10.6) for the distance (2 miles/3200m).
He also passed Gloaming as the leading earner in New Zealand for any horse, both Standardbreds and Thoroughbreds.
U Scott died in 1962, his minder Sandy Stewart a year later.