OUR MEMORIES
LIBERTY BAY


 

Winning Streak; Unbeaten Straight

 

 

 

26 Winning Streak; 6 Perfect Seasons

 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

A “Z Class” Hybrid Hong Kong Record Holder with 26 successive wins and un-defeated for 6 years.

 

 

BACKGROUND

 

LIBERTY BAY had won from 5 Furlong to one mile and a half.
Most likely with easily ahead of 5 to 7 length.
LIBERTY BAY’s total earnings in stake money (1932-1938) were $39,148,
For his first win in 1932 he paid $6.20, for his second win $5.90 and his third $5.30.
Thereafter all that his backers collected were:
$5.10, $5.20, $5.50, $5.10, $5.10, $5.30, $5.10, $5.30, $5.10, $5.10, $5.10……

 

 

HIGHLIGHTS

 

1932
The Dunbar sensation of 1932, however, was LIBERTY BAY (14.1 hands),
1932-02-21 The pony won the Derby and was unbeaten in four starts.
He was said to have been the last of the “Typical Z Class crossbreds”.
1932-02-22, LIBERTY BAY, owned by L Dunbar and ridden by W Hill won the 60th Derby, set up a new China pony record, 3.02 for 1 1/2 miles

 

1933
Five of the China pony records were broken again —
four by Dunbar ponies and three of these by the great LIBERTY BAY.
1933-02-22 Annual Meeting, Mr Hill won the Champions Stake on LIBERTY BAY,
Carrying 161 lbs. at weight for inches, his performances were:—
1 1/4 miles, 2.24.0; 1 1/2 miles, 3.01.2; and 1 3/4 miles, 3.32.4.

 

1934
Only two of the China ponies broke records:
TRENTBRIDGE, 14.1hands, owned by Mrs Pearce, doing five furlongs in 1.10.3 ;
LIBERTY BAY 1 1/2 miles in 2.56.3.
LIBERTY BAY had five wins, including the Champions and Challenge Cup.

 

1935
Stewards decided — and Dunbar courteously agreed — that the pony’s name must no longer be shown on the pari mutuel.
It never again was. In any subsequent race LIBERTY BAY ran in, winning odds went to the second pony.
Annual Race Meeting and onwards, LIBERTY BAY was barred from the betting, but continued to race.
Of the old warriors, LIBERTY BAY won another seven races.

 

In a roll for the past 3 years of 1933, 1934 and 1935, LIBERTY BAY won every time he started.
Having repeatedly walked home many lengths in front, after the fourteenth exhibition of his superiority, carrying 161 lbs. at weight for inches.

 

1936
Of the veterans, LIBERTY BAY in four starts, including the China Pony Champions, was unbeaten.

 

1937
LIBERTY BAY was entered but did not start.

 

1938
LIBERTY BAY and DIANA BAY were both entered — and for the first time in his career the wonderful LIBERTY BAY failed.
1938-02-19 the first day of the Annual, with Mr Maitland up he won the Race 12 New Stables Plate by many lengths.
1938-02-21 then the challenger was Eric Moller‘s SILKYLIGHT,ridden by his son Ralph “Budgie” Moller,after winning the 66th Derby triumph.
1938-02-22 came an unexpected news about LIBERTY BAY could be an non-starter in the next day Champions Stakes.
1938-02-23 Champions Stakes, still barred from the betting, in a field of three he was beaten by a length into second place by the Moller phenomenon, SILKYLIGHT.
That Annual Meeting set the last appearance of both of the Dunbar champions.
Lambert Dunbar was said to have been deeply upset.
He withdrew LIBERTY BAY, and never allowed him to race again.
In fact, such was the glamour surrounding the pony, there was no alternative.

 

 

SUMMARY

 

The Champions Stakes race was run in 2 minutes 24 and two-fifths seconds, and this on a somewhat heavy course with shoes on.
It so happens that the foregoing is the only discoverable description of a China race given by a winning owner.
By a happy fortuity it was one of the most important races ever run in Hong Kong.
More has probably been written about it than about any other China race.
Years later — after the Second World War — accounts of it, mainly Chinese, given by those who remembered it and were there, accord with private English accounts putting Buffy Maitland’s defeat down to overconfidence.
It may have been; but from Eric Moller’s description it does not sound like it, as in his own words:
“On this occasion, in my opinion, the February Champions was won at the gate —
because those two lengths which we gained from the very start were an invaluable asset at the finish, which indeed was a mighty and glorious one.”

 

 

REFERENCE

 

HKJC guarantees to the successful bettor a profit of at least 10 cents; and this has occasionally left the Club paying out more than is in the net pool —
as when that great unbeatable, LIBERTY BAY, was racing.

 

Z Class Pony Hybrids were Mongolian mares cross-bred to warhorses left behind by the so-called “Army of Eight-Nation Alliance”.
1900-08-14 the troops invaded and,1901-09-07 the forces were dismissed, while warhorses were later bred to pony for China races including Hong Kong.
Z Class Ponies were higher and larger than China ponies, separated races were held for each type.

 

SILENT WITNESS, therefore might NOT hold the record for the most consecutive wins in Hong Kong.

 

 

EXTERNAL LINK

 

DUNBAR

 

FROST, Leo G

 

DIANA BAY 1930-1938

 

SILKYLIGHT

 

1938-02-23 Champions Stakes SILKYLIGHT vs LIBERTY BAY

 

 

 

 


 

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