Phar Lap: The Legend
The Story: Hope to those Left Behind
After The Great War, many countries fell into a depression. Australia, still such a new country, got hit the hardest. Countless young lives had been lost during the war, lost and nothing much gained. People were without work, food and hope. Then Phar Lap came and brought the hope Australians needed.
He came of a fine pedigree so for a low price trainer Harry Telford convinced David Davis to buy him. When Phar Lap arrived in Australia, they both got a shock. The colt walked awkwardly and his face had warts all over it. Only Telford believed in him. So Telford became a part owner and commenced to train the ugly but fine pedigreed horse.
Phar Lap lost his first race. He continued unplaced until April 1929 when he won the Maiden Juvenile Handicap. He didn’t place in the next few, but ran well, then a second and another winning streak. The horse that seemed so unlikely, so hopeless to begin with now captured the public’s eye. Everyone watched as he won race after race and otherwise got second or third place.
An attempt was made on Phar Lap’s life, just before he won the 1930 Melbourne Cup. It failed. Having won renown in Australia, David Davis took Phar Lap to America. Phar Lap proved himself in the Agua Caliente Handicap, winning his first and regretfully his only international race. Now called one of the handsomest horses ever seen on an American track, he became the world wide star of racing.
Tragically only a few days after the race, Tommy Woodcock -Phar Lap’s strapper- found Phar Lap, with tremendously high temperatures, obviously in great pain. Nothing they did helped. Though they tried all Phar Lap passed away on the fifth day of April 1932. Though his life is gone, he left behind his great story and fighting spirit. So the Legend of Phar Lap continues to bring hope to those left behind.
If you do not wish to read the short report (Above) that does not really do justice to the great horse, here is an even shorter version of the Phar Lap saga.
The Poem: Phar Lap: Never Really Gone
Truly the horse, raced with all his heart
Though at the beginning, he had a hard start
Gangly, with warts upon his face
Then on his first appearance he took last place
His trainer, Telford became a laughing-stock
Till one day, when everyone got a shock
Never before had Phar Lap even placed
But now he had won, the fifth time he raced
He won stakes, derbies, The Craven Plate
Now he had to carry a very great weight
He raced across the Australian hearts
He battled to the front in nearly all of his starts
An attempt on his life in November 1930
Whatever the reason it was dirty
Still he continued, and won the Melbourne cup
This wonder horse could truly gallop
Gallop he did, off into history
The truth of how he died, forever a mystery
Some say t’was arsenic, a poisonous thing
Phar Laps death much sadness did bring
But his tale lives, forever on
And his story shall be retold, so he’s never really gone