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No Mean City triumphs over adversity

You won't have heard of him and, to be honest, the six-year-old son of Star Board and Jigtime (by Amazing Dancer) wasn't exactly famous here either before he won the Otaki-Maori RC Auto Auctions WFA 1400m G1 at Trentham on 21 February. A close look at his record of six wins and six placings from 15 starts indicates a very talented horse whose career has been limited by a sequence of injuries and unsoundness.

His list of setbacks includes a broken pelvis & two bone chip operations which delayed his debut until he was four. He won his first start, and two more races, then had three starts in NSW, winning at Newcastle before breaking down again at Warwick Farm. He returned to racing late last year and has won two of his five starts since then.
Owner-breeder Eddie Aitken is the man who has paid the bills and kept faith with the accident-prone horse through this long saga of setbacks.

Trainer John Kiernan has shared that faith and, with a regime of beach training, has enabled him finally to display his ability on the track. John is now planning a trip to Melbourne, with the VRC Blamey S. 1600m G2 on 16 March a possible target, and the carnivals in Sydney, Adelaide and Queensland to be considered after that.

John's history in racing is even more interesting than that of No Mean City. Originally a highly regarded farrier in New Zealand, he spent 20 years overseas including stints with Australian trainers Syd Brown, Terry Millard and Bart Cummings during the 1970s. He returned to New Zealand in 1993 and met Eddie when he did No Mean City's feet as a foal. He says of the horse "He'd have won a million by now if I'd been able to train him as a young horse."
He has only two other horses in training, a five-year-old half-sister to No Mean City named Coochiecoochie Coo (by Touching Wood), and the cheekily named named Pillage 'n Plunder, a four-year-old gelding by Victory Dance from a half-sister to Veandercross.


- Susan Archer