Popular Alm

Last updated
Popular Alm
Breed Standardbred
SireSovereign Adios
GrandsireGolden Adios
DamDirect Design
Maternal grandsireTruant Hanover
Sex Stallion
Foaled1 September 1976
Died2000
Country Australia
Colour Bay
BreederArthur Pearce
OwnerDon Carrazza, John Green, Ken Grivec, Morris Kasses, Greg Pardo, Jack Taggart and Patricia Taggart
TrainerBob Knight
Record
62: 49-7-3
Earnings
A$710,883
Major wins
Winfield Cup (1982 & 1983)
Miracle Mile Pace (1983)
A G Hunter Cup (1983)
Australian Pacing Championship (1983)
Craven Filter Sprint (1983)
Spring Cup (1982)
Awards
1982/3 Aged Pacer of the Year & Australian Harness Horse of the Year
Honours
World record, 1:53.2f
Australasian Mile Record
Australian Mile Record (twice)
Popular Alm Free For All
Victorian Harness Racing Media Association Hall of Fame
Last updated on: 29 July 2011.

Popular Alm (1976-2000) was an Australian bred Standardbred pacer. He was one of the fastest pacers Australia has produced, running exceptional times over many distances. Popular Alm set a world record for a mile time trial at Moonee Valley on 13 May 1983, running 1:53.2. He raced 62 times over seven seasons for 49 wins, seven seconds and three thirds for stake earnings of $710,883. He was known as "Poppy".

Contents

He was bred by Arthur Pearce and foaled in 1976 at Bendigo, Victoria. Popular Alm was by Sovereign Adios from Direct Design, a daughter of Truant Hanover. He was inbred to Adios in the third generation (3x3) of his pedigree. [1]

Early life

Making his racing debut as a two-year-old Popular Alm had raced only five times before being sold for $40,000 to clients of Kilmore-based trainer Bob Knight. [2] Making his debut for Knight in the 1980 South Australian Pacing Derby at Globe Derby Park, Popular Alm was the subject of a betting plunge. He was backed from 33/1 to 9/4 but finished second behind fellow Victorian Gammalite. [3]

Poppy was driven by Bob Knight's son Vincent (Vin, Vinny) John Knight who died in April 1991.

After suffering an injury upon returning to Victoria he was sent for a spell and did not race again until August 1980. Progressing quickly through his classes Popular Alm won 15 consecutive races including the 1981 Kilmore Cup and a track and Australian record breaking win in 1:55.9 over the mile at Harold Park in Sydney in the Golden Mile. It was the fastest mile ever recorded in Australia to that time. [4] The winning sequence came to an end when he finished second in the 1982 Ballarat Cup off a 25 metre handicap. After an unsuccessful Inter Dominion campaign in Perth when he finished third in the final, Popular Alm was given a spell before beginning the 1982/83 season which saw him become Australian Harness Horse of the Year. [3]

1982/83 season

During 1982/83 he won his second Kilmore Cup from a 35m handicap and the Winfield Cup (later known as the Victoria Cup) at Moonee Valley in October. He then equalled his 1.55.9 track record at Harold Park from the previous year [5] and won three other features in Sydney including the Bankstown Cup and Harold Park Spring Cup where he started at odds of 1/14. [6]

In January he won the Ballarat Cup before returning to Sydney for the Miracle Mile Pace on February 4. In the Miracle Mile at Harold Park where he was previously unbeaten in four starts he won in 1.57.7 after he raced outside Gammalite for the last lap. [7] Later in the month he won the A G Hunter Cup reducing the track record of 2.01.7 by Pure Steel to 1.59.4. No pacer had ever recorded a mile rate of better than two minutes for such a long distance. [8]

Travelling to Auckland for the 1983 Inter Dominion Popular Alm won a heat but found the clockwise track difficult and in the final ran off on the final corner and finished second behind Gammalite in the final. [9] Returning to Melbourne he won the Marathon at Moonee Valley before sweeping all three legs of the Tasman Challenge series where his rivals included Gammalite and the New Zealand pacers Delightful Lady and Hands Down. The series win earned him the unofficial Horse of the Hemisphere title and his career earnings passed $500,000, the only previous horses to have reached the milestone in Australian harness racing being Gammalite, Koala King, Pure Steel and Paleface Adios. [10]

In May he time trialled at Moonee Valley and by running quarters of 27.1, 27.9, 28.6 and 29.6 he ran in mile 1.53.2. It was the fastest mile in Australia or New Zealand and by an Australian or New Zealand bred pacer anywhere in the world. Popular Alm also broke the world record held by Storm Damage for the fastest mile on a five eighths mile (1000m) track. [3] [11] By breaking the previous Australian mile record by 1.7 seconds, he reduced the record by more than any horse since Walla Walla in 1933. [12] For the season he raced 22 times for 18 wins 1 second and 1 third and was named Australian Harness Horse of the Year.

1983/84 season

Early in the 1983/4 season Popular Alm won the Craven Filter Sprint (now known as the Queensland Pacing Championship) on the opening night of the new Albion Park track in 1:55.8. He won six consecutive races at Albion Park including setting a new Australian record time for a race mile of 1.54.5. [13] A win in the Australian Pacing Championship was also part of the winning sequence. [3] On 29 October 1983, Popular Alm became the shortest priced favourite in Australian harness racing history when winning at Brisbane’s Albion Park. [14] In Melbourne he won the Winfield Cup for the second time beating Gammalite by 14 metres before suffering a serious injury. 'Poppy' as he had become known, had broken a bone in his leg during trackwork and did not race for nearly a year. During his recovery he received get well cards from children. [15]

Popular Alm was able to return to racing in preparation for Melbourne's 1985 Inter Dominion Championships. Although winning his only two starts after returning to racing late in 1984 he never regained full fitness and was retired to stud.

In 2009 he was elected to the Victorian Harness Racing Media Association Hall of Fame in its first year of operation. [16]

Stud record

His notable progeny includes:

Popular Alm died aged 24 in South Australia after suffering the effects of a crippling spinal disease caused by a spur-like calcification on a vertebra in his neck.

He has had a race, the Popular Alm Free For All, named after him since the 1996/7 season. This race has been an important lead-up to the Victoria Cup one of Victoria's premier harness races.

Related Research Articles

Cardigan Bay (horse) New Zealand Standardbred racehorse

Cardigan Bay was a New Zealand harness racing pacer foaled 1 September 1956. Affectionately known as "Cardy", he was the first Standardbred to win US$1 million in prize money in North America. He was the ninth horse worldwide to win one million dollars,. Cardigan Bay won races in New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the United States.

Paleface Adios Australian Standardbred racehorse

Paleface Adios (1969–1989) was an Australian harness racing horse which competed as a pacer throughout the 1970s and early 1980s. He raced from 1972 to 1981, when there was top competition from the likes of the Hondo Grattan and Pure Steel.

Pure Steel is the only pacer to win the A G Hunter Cup, a race over 3,050 metres and the richest handicap race for pacers in the world, three times, in 1977, 1978, and 1980. He was the first Standardbred horse to win A$500,000 in Australia. Pure Steel also won the WA Benson & Hedges Cup four times. Affectionately known as Steelo, he raced from 1974 until 1983 and won just under $1 million, at a time when competition was strong, with the great horses Paleface Adios and Hondo Grattan as competitors.

Harness racing in Australia

Harness racing, also colloquially known as trotting or the trots, is a spectator sport in Australia, with significant amounts of money wagered annually with bookmakers and the Totalisator Agency Board (TAB). In Australia there are 90 harness racing tracks, which hold over 1,900 meetings annually. There are approximately 2,900 drivers and 4,000 trainers with about 5,000 Standardbred horses foaled and registered each year.

The Victoria Cup is the premier middle distance harness race of Australia. Conducted over 2575m, rather than the staying distance of over 3000m or the sprint distance of under 2000m, the Victoria Cup was run at the Melbourne Showgrounds up until 1975, when it was shifted to Moonee Valley. In 2009 the SEW Eurodrive Victoria Cup will be run at Harness Racing Victoria's new venue, Tabcorp Park at Melton. The race has been part of the Australasian Grand Circuit since 1987. Conducted in February from 1987 to 2003, the race is now conducted over two nights in December, alongside the Australasian Trotting Grand Prix.

Maoris Idol Australian Standardbred racehorse

Maori's Idol was an Australian Standardbred racehorse. He was the first Australian trotter to break two minutes with a time of 1:59.3 on 19 November 1977 at Moonee Valley. Maori's Idol became one of Australia's greatest trotters, with a record 24 successive race victories before placing third in the 1978 Melbourne Inter-Dominion Final. He is still the trotting record holder with 22 wins in a season. He was so superior to his rivals that he may have gone through his career unbeaten had he been placed to advantage by his connections.

San Simeon is a Standardbred pacer from Western Australia best known for his Australasian record winning sequence of 29 races from his first start as a two-year-old until his defeat by Michael Frost during the 1981 Interdominion series in Hobart, Tasmania. He also won three consecutive Australian Harness Horse of the Year awards.

Hondo Grattan Australian Standardbred racehorse

Hondo Grattan was a Standardbred pacer from Bathurst, New South Wales known as the "Bathurst Bulldog". He won the Inter Dominion Pacing Championship in both 1973 and 1974, becoming the first horse to successfully defend an Inter Dominion title. Hondo Grattan was the first horse in Australia to win (AUD)$200,000 and also the first horse to win 21 races at Harold Park Paceway. He was a winner at a time of top competition, that included horses such as Pure Steel and Paleface Adios. He was inducted into the Inter Dominion Hall of Fame.

Scotch Notch

Scotch Notch (1977-1990) is an Australian Standardbred mare, the current world record holder for the Trotters One Mile Time Trial set 3 September or 9 March 1985 at Moonee Valley, Victoria, Australia. She won the 1983 and 1985 Inter Dominion Trotting Championship. Scotch Notch was named “Australian Trotter of the Year” in 1983 1984 and 1985. She was inducted into the Inter Dominion Hall of Fame.

Harold Park Paceway was a harness racing track in Forest Lodge, New South Wales, in use from 1890 to 2010. It was a half-mile track but was just 739 metres in circumference until some changes in its later years. Races at the track were run over distances of 1,760m, 2,160m, 2,565m and occasionally 2,965m. Before its configuration, events were run over one mile, 9 furlongs and 170 yards, 11 and three quarter furlongs, 13 furlongs and 98 yards and 15 furlongs and 92 yards - these distances were all for standing starts. For mobile racing, the distances were one mile, 9 and a half furlongs and 11 and a half furlongs.

Blacks A Fake is a brown Standardbred gelding that won the 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2010 Inter Dominion Championships, making him the only four-time winner of Australasia's premier harness race. He finished second, beaten by a long neck, in the 2009 Inter Dominion to Mr Feelgood (USA). His other achievements include wins in the Victoria Cup and Hunter Cup and three Australian Horse of the Year titles. He is Australasia's highest earning Standardbred, and was the world's highest earning pacer.He also was inducted into the Inter Dominion Hall of Fame.

Flashing Red is a brown Australia bred Standardbred racehorse that was foaled in 1997. He is notable in that he won both the Auckland Pacing Cup and two New Zealand Trotting Cups. These races are the richest harness races in New Zealand. He was victorious in every harness racing state of Australia and New Zealand and earned over $2,000,000 during his racing career.

Gammalite Australian Standardbred racehorse

Gammalite was an Australian bred Standardbred racehorse who was the first Standardbred to win A$1 million in Australia. He was regarded as one of Australia's most successful pacers with 16 Group one wins. He won the Inter Dominion Championship twice and was inducted into the Inter Dominion Hall of Fame.

Inter Dominion

The Inter Dominion is a harness racing competition that has been contested since 1936 in Australia and New Zealand.

Koala King was a former champion Australian Standardbred pacing horse of the 1970s and 80s who won a host of Australasian Pacers Grand Circuit and feature races including the 1980 Inter Dominion Pacing Championship at Harold Park Paceway and the 1981 A G Hunter Cup. He won a record 40 races at the old Harold Park Paceway prior to its closure. Koala King won a total of seventy eight races.

Halwes was a Tasmanian pacer foaled in 1959 and is notable for his win in the 1968 Miracle Mile Pace, an Australian record time trial, and his dramatic late scratching at the 1968 Inter Dominion.

Preux Chevalier was a pacer foaled in New Zealand but notable for his racing successes in Australia in 1984 and 1985 including wins in the Inter Dominion Pacing Championship, Miracle Mile Pace and A G Hunter Cup.

Village Kid was an Australian champion standardbred race horse bred in New Zealand. He was twice awarded the title of Australian Harness Horse of the Year and was known as "Willie".

Smoken Up Australian champion Standardbred race horse bred in New Zealand

Smoken Up is an Australian champion Standardbred race horse bred in New Zealand. He was the first pacer outside North America to record a mile in under 1:50. He was known as Trigger.

Westburn Grant was an Australian champion Standardbred race horse notable for being a three time Australian Harness Horse of the Year.

References

  1. Classic Families: Popular Alm Retrieved 2010-5-18
  2. Agnew, Max, "Silks & Sulkies – The Complete Book of Australian and New Zealand Harness Racing", Doubleday, Sydney, 1986, ISBN   0-86824-245-4
  3. 1 2 3 4 Cain, Robert (1988). Kilmore - The Cup That Grew ISBN   0 7316 4147 7
  4. Popular Alm blasts record, Sydney Morning Herald, 7 November 1981
  5. "Easy for Popular Alm". The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995) . ACT: National Library of Australia. 6 November 1982. p. 41. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  6. 'Popular' earns spell, Sydney Morning Herald, 20 November 1982
  7. Cain R & Georgiou A, The Magic Of The Harold Park Miracle Miles [ permanent dead link ]
  8. NZ jinx no barrier for Popular Alm The Age, February 28, 1983 Retrieved on January 16, 2016
  9. "Inter Dominion Hall Of Fame, Gammalite". Archived from the original on 2011-08-22. Retrieved 2016-01-16.
  10. Popular Alm tops $500,000, Sydney Morning Herald, 7 May 1982
  11. Poppy Cracks Record, The Age, 14 May 1983
  12. Australian Harness Racing Guide (1991), Australian Harness Racing Council
  13. "Popular Aim sets record". The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995) . ACT: National Library of Australia. 31 October 1983. p. 18. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  14. Just Racing Archived 2010-04-23 at the Wayback Machine
  15. Harness Racing Greats, Stanza Productions
  16. VHRMA Hall Of Fame, www.hrv.org.au, Retrieved 27 January 2016
  17. "Popular Alm: offspring". Pepper tree Farm. Syntax Software Pty Ltd. Retrieved 29 July 2011.