Friday, October 30, 2009

Melbourne Cup Day

Just got home from work and thought it was time for a pre-weekend blog.

"Thank God It's Friday" is a term that is so true after a long week at work - I should be pleased to be so busy, it means that our business is successful. Things are good in OZ with a strong dollar and the country's finances in better shape than many other countries.

Melbournites are taking an extra long weekend with Melbourne Cup Day on Tuesday.
Many take the Monday from annual leave to have four days to relax. Some, actually thousands attend the historic Melbourne Cup Day horse race at Flemington racecource.
We will be attending the many backyard BBQs around Melbourne homes with friends - but more about that in another blog in a few days.

There have been many champion horses that have won this race but none so well known as Phar Lap.

The following little article comes from the WWW with a link of Phar Lap winning the Melbourne Cup if you want more.

On the Saturday before the 1930 Melbourne Cup, there came an unpleasant reminder that racing can attract men with rotten intentions.
In a quiet suburban street next to Caulfield racecourse, as Tom Woodcock walked the champion back to his stable after a morning gallop, a car rounded the corner and a masked man in the back seat shot at Phar Lap.

The crowds in their thousands at Flemington Raceway - No TV in those days.

Amazingly, Phar Lap still ran that afternoon in Derby Day at Flemington. And he won. But to leave it at that is to miss the point: he beat them, he humiliated them, he streeted them. His winning margin in the Melbourne Stakes was ten lengths, making it clear that the shooting incident had not affected him at all.
Further, it showed that Phar Lap was very much in contention for Tuesday's Melbourne Cup. But Harry Telford was taking no chances with the champion. He quietly shifted him in the dead of night all the way to a friend's property near Geelong.
Not until just a few hours before the Melbourne Cup was due to start was Phar Lap loaded onto a float for the journey to Flemington. But the best–laid plans often come to grief. The float would not start. All manner of tinkering and swearing and pushing was tried before it eventually spluttered into life and they got moving. The float arrived at Flemington with a police escort and with only one hour to spare before the race.
After such a hectic couple of days the race seemed like the easy part. The 1930 Melbourne Cup was the first to be captured on 'talkie' film. It shows that Phar Lap won easily—very easily. Despite the huge weight given to him by the handicapper (9 stone 12 pounds), Phar Lap was able to move right away from the field at the top of the straight and come away to win by three lengths.
To use the popular phrase of the period, it was another example of 'Phar Lap first, daylight second.'

This link shows some historic footage of the race.

Hope this works for you - see you in a few day.


  1. I'm not really into the 'Jeejees' but the name Far Lap sounds familiar. Wasn't this the poorly looking horse that was turned into a champion by its jockey? And wasn't there a movie made that tells the story of the horse and its way to glory? Martine

  2. I remember Phar Lap too from a movie I think.
    I read yesterday in "connextion" magazine that you guys have a Costco in Melbourne. I go there every week. It is a dangerous place where canned pineapples end up costing you $250(because I never end up paying only one thing).
    I am happy for all of you that your economy is doing well and the dollar is strong. Can't say the same about the US unfortunately.

  3. Hi Nadege,
    Yes, Costco has just come to Melbourne. I'm a bit undecided. It costs $AU60 for the privilege of shopping there and what if I don't like what they have? Also I don't cook for the hoards any longer and don't really want to buy in bulk. I could be wrong. I would like to know whether Costco is the same here as in the US. I tend to think not, as our market is so small comparatively. Wish I could just go and have a look.

    Yes there was a movie on Phar Lap. He was New Zealand born and purchased by an American investor on the advise of an Australian trainer. He infact was originally a scrawny horse with a very good pedigree. His strapper Tommy Woodcock was from our local area and formed a close relationship with the horse. Phar Lap's body was preserved and takes pride of place in our Melbourne museum. His heart, the largest in any horse is in the National Museum in the Australian Capital Territory, home of the Australian Parliament.


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