Sung to the tune Wearing of the Green
Phar Lap was a champion thoroughbred racehorse who has become an Aussie icon. He dominated Australian racing, winning the Melbourne Cup and other premiere races. He travelled overseas and on March 20, 1932, Phar Lap won the the Agua Caliente Handicap in Mexico. It was the world’s richest horse race at $US 50,000 and he won it in track-record time.
This achievement came within 24 hours of the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Together they were hailed in newspapers as Australian success stories.
Phar Lap was foaled on 4 October 1926 in New Zealand. Phar Lap was purchased for only 160 guineas ($US 336.00) by American owner Dave Davis. Trainer Harry Telford brought Phar Lap to Australia as a two year old where he was trained and started his distinguished racing career.
After a sudden and mysterious illness, Phar Lap died in America in 5 April 1932. There has been much speculation at the time and continues today, over whether Phar Lap was purposely poisoned. At the time of his death, he was the third highest steaks-winner in the world.
Phar Lap’s remarkable heart now resides at the National Museum of Australia in the nation’s capital, Canberra. His heart was 6.2 kg (13.7 lbs.) compared to a normal horse’s heart of 3.2 kg
(7 lbs). His hide was mounted and put on display at the Melbourne Museum in Victoria. His skeleton can be seen at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.
You all know a mighty racehorse,
And how he won his fame;
He was the wonder of the turf,
And Phar Lap was his name.
With that well-known jockey,
Jim Pike upon his back,
You’d say goodnight, it’s quite all right
When Phar Lap’s on the track.
No doubt he was a wonder —
The best we’ve ever seen,
In any land or any clime,
In or off the green.
And when he crossed the ocean
He made Australia’s name;
With Billy Elliott on his back,
They surely played the game.
There’s no doubt that all we Aussies
Are proud of this great horse.
There never was a better steed
That ever took the course.
Tom Woodcock should be mentioned,
The one who trained this mount
To win so many thousands,
It was getting hard to count.
But what about the owners —
The way they nursed their pet?
He was the Daddy of them all,
They’ve never beat him yet!
I was talking to a friend of mine
I met the other day,
He said to me, “Well, did you see
Where Phar Lap’s passed away?”
“Well, I really can’t believe it,”
I then unto him said.
“It must be quite a joke, that’s all,
Why, Phar Lap isn’t dead!”
When Australia heard the news
She sadly shook her head;
We really can’t believe it yet
That Phar Lap’s lying dead.
Now that we have lost him,
Our champion’s gone to rest,
We bless the day he went away,
His owners thought it best.
We got the news in Melbourne,
And all felt pretty sad
To hear of Phar Lap’s sudden death,
It really was too bad.
But, along with dear old Carbine,
His history cannot die,
As if he’d lived to tell the tale
They’d know the reason why!
Well, I trust that all who loved him
Just wish the same as I —
God bless our hero of the turf,
Goodbye, Phar Lap, Goodbye!