Posted on 16. Sep, 2010 in Victoria

Deputy Premier and Minister for Racing Rob Hulls today unveiled the skeleton of Australia’s greatest racehorse as part of the150th Melbourne Cup celebrations.

Mr Hulls said the skeleton of the champion racehorse would be one of the highlights of this year’s Spring Racing Carnival and was expected to attract 350,000 visitors to the Melbourne Museum.

“Phar Lap may be a New Zealand bred horse but for most of his career he carried the hopes and hearts of all Australians in every race,” Mr Hulls said.

“The story of Phar Lap and his triumph against adversity to become a world-class champion is an enduring one and this exhibition reunites his skeleton with the display here at Melbourne Museum.

“To have this exhibition coincide with the 150th birthday celebrations of the running of the Melbourne Cup and 80 years after Phar Lap won the race is a timely and fantastic treat for the state.”

The skeleton is on loan from Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand until January.

The bones were flown to Melbourne in two custom built crates lined with shock absorbing foam to ensure the skeleton was stable during the journey from New Zealand.

Mr Hulls said the Government had contributed $95,150 to the staging and transporting of the exhibition, which would be a drawcard for Victorians as well as interstate and international visitors who travelled to Melbourne for the Spring Racing Carnival.

“When Phar Lap died in mysterious circumstances in 1932 in California, owner David Davis sent his hide to Victoria, his 14 pound heart to the National Museum in Canberra and his skeleton to New Zealand,” he said.

“This champion horse is already one of the most popular exhibits at Melbourne Museum and this is the first time Phar Lap’s skeleton has left New Zealand since 1933. Racegoers and the community in general will find this a fascinating exhibit.”

Phar Lap was bought for 160 guineas by trainer Harry Telford on behalf of American owner David Davis. He went on to win 37 of his 51 starts and started outright favourite in three successive Melbourne Cups, the only horse in the long history of Australia’s most famous race accorded that distinction.

In 1930, he won a race on each of the four days of the Flemington spring carnival, including the Melbourne Cup with 6.8 kilograms, above weight-for-age.

The Phar Lap Exhibit will run at the Melbourne Museum from today until January 30, 2011.


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