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Pharlap

Pharlap is probably the best known and most revered racehorse in Australian history. In his brief life he repeatedly overcame apparently insurmountable odds to win 37 of 51 races. He was an exceptionally large horse of 17 hands and was of a chestnut colour. PharLap was bred in New Zealand, son of Night Raid, from the broken down mare Entreaty. He was sold for 160 guineas at a sale ring, a price reserved for ungainly looking horses, which PharLap was. In his first four starts, he was unplaced but won his fifth race in a minor event at Rosehill in Sydney.

Pharlap
Phar Lap with jockey Jim Pike riding at Flemington race track

By his third year he won the Rosehill Guineas, the AJC Derby, the AJC Craven Plate and the VRC Derby at successive starts. Between 1 March 1930 and 7 March 1931 PharLap won 22 successive starts, including the Melbourne Cup by three lengths carrying 63.5 kilos. He went to America in 1932 and won the Agua Caliente Handicap at Tijuana, Mexico in record time by two lengths. His mysterious death shortly afterwards has been debated ever since but most have accepted that his death may have been attributed to eating grass sprayed with poisonous weed killer.


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