Sir Castleton (NZ) - Standardbred

Patricia Howitt

Kaeo, New Zealand

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Sir Castleton, Standardbred – one of New Zealand’s all-time top trotters.

I met him and his owner/breeder Mawson Macpherson and his wife Margaret when they were campaigning in Cambridge, and they asked me to do a couple of head studies. This one was done from photos I took while he was training on the Cambridge Racetrack, and the fired-up look of the horse in this drawing is an indication of his spirit.

When he bowed out due to arthritis in 1985, Sir Castleton was NZ’s greatest stakes-winning trotter. The son of Game Pride and the 1982-83 Broodmare of the Year, Castleton Queen, he raced in NZ 96 times for 39 wins and 34 placings for earnings of $255,902. He earned an additional $46,250 in two campaigns in Australia giving him a combined total of NZ$302,152 (Addington Raceway Timeline).

He stood at only 14 hands, but he had an uncanny ability to come from near the back towards the end of a race and blitz the field out wide for a win. Amazing horse.

His regular drivers were Patrick O’Reilly Jr and Paddy Timmins. Another well-known driver “Doody Townley, who drove Sir Castleton in nine of his wins in latter years, rated him the greatest trotter he had driven. ‘He was the best alright – he never knew he was beaten and had such terrific speed,’ said the successful horseman.” – Credit: Jeff Scott writing in 1986 Trotting Annual.

If you’re interested, check out these videos:

1983 NZ Trotting Championship. Sir Castleton led all the way in this one and had plenty in reserve at the end. I love to see him tossing his head and spitting foam (always a good sign) at the finish:

Interdominion heats 1983 – Sir Castleton wins from behind:

Graphite on Arches paper – not the best reproduction because all I have is a 1980s photocopy. But thought I’d put it up to honor this great horse.

The second study I did was of his head when ‘off duty’ in the paddock. I have no copy of that one, but may do it again, as I still have all my photos of him.

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