Phar Lap's greatest triumphs remembered at Melbourne auction
Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 3rd October, 2019
Nothing like the onset of Australia’s spring racing season to remember a true champion of the Australian turf – none other than the iconic Phar Lap who not only won the 1930 Melbourne Cup but every other major race of his day.
Tragically, Phar Lap died shortly after winning the 1932 Agua Caliente Handicap – one of America’s greatest races – in record time.
The official Agua Caliente Jockey Club program (lot 338) from that fateful day, Sunday March 20, will be auctioned from 11am Sunday October 20 by Abacus Auctions at 19A Hampshire Road, Glen Waverley – along with several other Phar Lap memorabilia items as part of the auction house’s Coins & Banknotes Sporting Memorabilia & Collectables sale.
His jockey Bill Elliott sent the program to his brother in Australia with the words “To Bruce with best wishes from Bill” on the front cover, 1st marked against Phar Lap’s name and “Time 2-02 4/5 track record.”
Other Phar Lap items include a photograph of the champion (lot 339) with trainer Tommy Woodcock and Elliott and a table (lot 348) made circa 1931 by Frank Ryan of Queensland timbers carrying the horse’s image and that of Jim Pike, his jockey at the time.
Among the cricket memorabilia on offer is a portrait of England’s captain in the late 19th century W.G. Grace (lot 90) – considered by many to be the game’s greatest ever player.
In 1895, at age 46, he was the sole recipient of the Wisden Cricketers of the Year award – the first of only three times that the company restricted it to a single player.
Another cricketing highlight is Doug Walters 1969 Australian “Baggy Green” Test cap (lot 86). A loveable larrikin, Walters played 74 Tests and 28 one-day internationals for Australia from 1965 to 1981.
During the 1969 tour to India, Walters scored 286 runs at an average of 40.86, helping Australia win the series 3-1. The Doug Walters stand at the Sydney Cricket Ground (opened in 1985 and demolished in 2007) was named after him.
The Olympic Games section of the catalogue includes a group of wooden toys from the 1956 Melbourne Olympics (lot 492) – while under Collectables is an original circa 1910 Great Britain “Votes for Women” sash in the purple colours of the Suffragette Movement (lot 524).
Within the Numismatic section is a 1590 Elizabeth I medallion issued after the defeat of the Spanish Armada.