Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Mighty Conqueror: Phar Lap the wonder horse 2014

Its been a sad racing season with two horses dying after the running of the Melbourne Cup. Many Australians can trace their attachment to horses and to racing through the generations. Every small country town it seems, once boasted a track. The story of Phar Lap has a hold over many in a way that is difficult for those out side to grasp. Something to do with the Irish in us, the period of time between WW1 and WW2, a depression and a flu epidemic... Into this despair came a beautiful animal with an exceptional nature, a strapper, a jockey and a trainer -  all of enormous talent.

I was in the Melbourne Museum yesterday and visited the evocative and melancholy space where Phar Lap's hide is exhibited along with some artefacts and a film that tells it all.

Top to bottom: Harry Telford (trainer), Jim Pike (jockey), (Tommy Woodcock (strapper and trainer), Phar Lap (or 'Bob' as Tommy called him).

And if you didn't know already, I've written  a book about Phar Lap. You can hear me reading it HERE.

I too am saddened by our continued exploitation of animals. The past is a strange place and its hard for people to let go of the racing legacy when there is so much money involved. One day we'll grow up ...?

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