Champions of the Australian Turf, many who have won races such as the Melbourne Cup, Caulfield Cup, Golden Slipper, Cox Plate and other Group Races.
Thoroughbreds are deeply ingrained in Australia's collective psyche, unlike other countries where few individuals would be able to name more than two significant racing events, let alone name horses who have assumed a historical place in the minds of the inhabitants of that country.
Horses took on significance in Australia essentially from the initial days that pioneers first landed on the continent. Valuable at first for their versatility in terms of human transportation and ability to perform labor, they soon evolved to encompass much more. The first races between two or more horses closely followed their arrival. It is not difficult in any way to imagine the times when a horse may have spent the morning pulling a plough and the afternoon competing for prizes.
Contrast that with the level of science and technology that today produces sprint specialists, stayers and everything between for the enjoyment of the world's most knowledgeable racing fans, and you can see how the Australian's average knowledge of thoroughbreds and racing would be considered expert knowledge by the standards of most other countries.
We hope you enjoy these brief histories, listings of accomplishments and stories of the legendary thoroughbreds that have graced the track, whether rising from humble beginnings to achieve dominance in the case of some, or achieving infamy via connections that sought an unfair advantage by whatever means necessary in the quest for money and glory.
Ajax: Champion Racehorse
A Remarkable Champion Australian Thoroughbred. Searching for the pedigree of a horse named Ajax revealed that it is a popular equestrian name. There are no fewer than 14 with the name, spanning time and the globe.
Amounis Champion Racehorse
Amounis was foaled at the Kia Ora Stud of Percy Miller in New South Wales in 1922, near the town of Scone, just under 300 kilometres north of Sydney. Amounis was inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2006.
Archer: First Melbourne Cup Winner
Little did trainer de Mestre know that Archer, a Thoroughbred racehorse with an unusually big body bring him fame and fortune by winning the first two Melbourne Cups. The formidable racehorse went on to win many races despite being plagued with injuries, setting many records on the way on the race tracks in Sydney and Melbourne.
Better Loosen Up Racehorse
Better Loosen Up was named Australian Horse of the Year at the conclusion on the 1990 – 91 season. He was inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2004, and he recently turned 30 years of age at Living Legends near Tullamarine Airport in Melbourne.
Big Philou: Racing Thoroughbred
This is the story of Big Philou and how money, fear and greed combined to deprive him of the opportunity to establish his place in history. Trained by Bart Cummings and often ridden by champion jockey Roy Higgins.
Black Caviar Champion Undefeated
Black Caviar, an Australian thoroughbred is a horse that means business. The brown mare has already found favour with the IFHA as the number one rated sprinter of all time in the World Thoroughbred Rankings.
Carbine: Champion Thoroughbred
Carbine, his success as racehorse and as an international sire has become history. He was much revered in his life time. He was so successful on and off the track that his skeleton has been displayed at the museum in Australia and New Zealand.
Comic Court Champion Racehorse
Comic Court made eight starts as a two-year-old in the 1947 – 48 season. He was trained by the father of Bart Cummings, Jim Cummings, who had sold his sire and dam for 150 pounds as the result of racing being cancelled in Adelaide during World War II.
Dulcify: The Horse That Stopped The Nation
Australian thoroughbred race horse Dulcify was known as the horse that stopped the nation. A short but electrifying career saw the thoroughbred do his owner and trainer Colin Hayes proud.
Emancipation: Champion Race Horse
Emancipation was a top sprint specialist that stood out at major metro tracks during the early 1980s. Unraced as a two-year-old, the grey filly competed only as a three and four-year-old, yet managed to win 19 times
Flight Champion Thoroughbred Racehorse
Flight was foaled in 1940 and purchased at the 1942 Sydney yearling sales by future AJC chairman Brian Crowley for the incredible bargain price of 60 guineas, less than what was paid for Phar Lap.
Gloaming Champion Racehorse
Gloaming, foaled in 1915, established a record of 45 seconds for four furlongs that as of 2015, has remained intact for 100 years. He at one time held the record for consecutive wins, until a certain very lightly raced filly overtook him in 2013.
Gunsynd: Champion Australian Thoroughbred
Comparing horses from different eras on the basis of prize money is nigh well impossible given inflation and the general escalation of purses. One more valid criterion, however, that transcends the era is simply the racing record. By this standard, Gunsynd is one of the most prolific winners to ever grace the turf.
Heroic Champion Racehorse
Heroic was inducted alongside Malua, Peter Pan, Tobin Bronze and Vain. Heroic's ancestors from the five previous generations were all British. His sire was Valais. This horse raced just seven times, all in England, winning once and finishing second once.
Kingston Town: Australian Champion
Any talk of Australasia 's greatest racehorses will always see the wonderful black horse, Kingston Town at the forefront of any discussion. One of the original five inductees into Australian Horse Racing's Hall Of Fame, Kingston Town won 30 races, including 14 Group 1 events, and was the first million dollar earner of the Australian turf.
Leilani: New Zealand Thoroughbred
Leilani was one of trainer Bart Cummings most successful horses albeit a short racing career. The New Zealand-foaled Thoroughbred co-owned by Australian politician Andrew Peacock, was Australian Champion Racehorse of the Year in 1975.
Let's Elope Champion Racehorse
Let’s Elope could be said to have picked her spots such that she had an outsized influence on Australian racing and is thus a legitimate Hall of Fame horse.
Lonhro: Highly Talented Thoroughbred
Lonhro achieved Group 3 success as a two year old and then went on to win several stakes races, making his connections richer by $5.7 million by the end of his career.
Makybe Diva: 3 Time Melbourne Cup Winner
Makybe Diva's story begins in England, where she was born 21 March 1999. Failing to attract buyers at the 1999 Tatts Newmarket sale, Makybe Diva remained in England until August 2000 when she and her dam Tugela were shipped to Australia.
Malua: Champion Thoroughbred
It is often pointed out as a case of thoroughbred versatility when a horse is capable of performing well in sprints, miles and staying events, and this is true in many regards.
Manikato: Racing Legend
When the subject turns to sprinters, one noteworthy example is supplied by an Australian native, Manikato. Along with being named Australian Horse of the Year for the 1978-79 season, he was the second Australian horse to produce over $1 million in stakes money.
Might And Power: Champion Thoroughbred
Might and Power Along with half brother Octagonal, Might and Power was another of the colts to be produced in New Zealand by the productive sire Zabeel.
Northerly: Australian Thoroughbred
Like many of his Aussie human counterparts, a champion Bay gelding known as Northerly did not let his mostly foreign ancestry prohibit him from achieving greatness on Australian soil. Though lacking Aussie blood prior to dam North Bell and hailing from beyond the Outback, Northerly won the hearts and captured imaginations both East and West
Octagonal: True Champion Racehorse
One of New Zealand's recent contributions to the Sport of Kings, Octagonal, is one of the instances where racing success and good results as a progenitor of successful thoroughbreds comes together. Foaled in 1992, Octagonal's sire was Zabeel. The bloodline on that side contains some genuine luminaries of the track, names such as Ireland's Sir Tristam and Canadians Northern Dancer and Nearctic to name a few
Peter Pan: Hero To Punters
The Wall Street Crash of 1929 that led to the Great Depression and the world-wide economic hardships that lasted nearly to the beginning of WW II affected almost everyone. People desperate for escape of any kind looked for heroes to provide at least a temporary sense of relief. For Australian horse racing fans, this hero took the form of a chestnut Thoroughbred stallion named Peter Pan
Phar Lap: Champion Race Horse
The remarkable tale of Phar Lap, one of Australian horse racing history's most dramatic, is a story that combines all the elements necessary to make it an all time favourite: a Thoroughbred horse with inauspicious beginnings that almost never got the chance to race
Pinker Pinker: A Tribute To A Great Thoroughbred
Australian thoroughbred race horse, Pinker Pinker, the daughter of Reset, a son of the mighty Zabeel, may not have had the perfect start to her racing career but soon proved she was a top liner with the ability to run extended distances.
Poseidon: Hall Of Famer
Some Thoroughbreds thrive on the sprints, running well up to about 1600 metres and others, the stayers, perform best at 2000 metres and up. Very rarely, a horse will be deemed exceptional due to the ability to win at all distances, and no thoroughbred exemplified that ability more so than Poseidon
Rain Lover Champion Racehorse
Rain Lover was inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2014, having endured a wait of 44 years beyond his retirement in 1970 for the Hall to recognise him.
Rising Fast: New Zealand Thoroughbred
Rising Fast's claim to fame was the singular feat of winning the Melbourne Cup, the Caulfield Cup and the W. S. Cox Plate in the same season. Rising Fast was foaled in 1949 at Frank Robertson's Platform Lodge farm at Greytown, New Zealand.
Shannon Champion Racehorse
Shannon was foaled in 1941 at St. Albans Stud. His sire, the British horse Midstream, seems to have only the Criterion Stakes to his credit as a racer, but as a sire he accounted for 39 horses that produced stakes winners that won well over a hundred stakes races. The Grandsire was Blandford, a decent racer and like Midstream, a prodigious sire.
Sky High Champion Racehorse
Having been foaled in 1957, there are a couple of interesting aspects in the breeding of Sky High.
First, the horses in his lines represent something of a Who’s Who of racing royalty. There is his sire, Star Kingdom of Ireland, with Hyperion of Great Britain as a grandsire to Star Kingdom.
So You Think / Americain
When Americain overtook So You Think to win the 2010 Melbourne Cup, Australia and Australians were disappointed that their national champion was defeated, but even seriously committed horse racing fans are not aware of the various connections the two horses share.
Star Kingdom Champion Racehorse
Star Kingdom was foaled in Ireland in 1946 by breeder Richard Ball. He was known at that time and throughout his racing in England as Star King. His sire was the British horse Stardust.
Storm Queen: Champion Racehorse
Storm Queen was a bay filly trained by Bart Cummings who blazed the Australian racetracks in her first year of racing, winning eight races in a row. 1966 was the best year for the filly who went on to win most of the major stake races with jockey Roy Higgins in the saddle.
Strawberry Road Champion Racehorse
Strawberry Road was foaled in 1979. His sire was U.S. horse Whiskey Road that only ran four times for one win. The U.S. breeders of Whiskey Road pulled off something of a coup when they sold him at the age of one to Irish buyers who paid $225,000 for him.
Sunline: New Zealand Bred Champion
Any debate surrounding all time great Thoroughbreds, of any gender or era, would need to include a Bay mare that went by the name of Sunline.
Super Impose: Hall Of Famer
One notable thoroughbred that graced the Australian turf in the late 80s and early 90s was a chestnut gelding that went by the name of Super Impose. Along with his substantial achievements on the track, he was something of an anomaly among thoroughbreds for his competitive longevity. He is best remembered for his incomparable feat of winning the W. S. Cox Plate in 1992 as an eight-year-old.
Takeover Target: Travelled Far And Wide
One of the best sprinters in Australian horse racing history, Takeover Target, travelled far and wide, winning sprint races all over the globe. In a career that spanned six seasons, the formidable colt won eight Group 1 races and accumulated over $6,000,000 in prize money. From 41 starts, Takeover Target won 21 races in spite of being plagued ever so often by injuries during his career.
The Barb: Australian Thoroughbred
Thousands of Thoroughbreds have competed in Australia, but fewer than 50 have been successful enough to merit induction into the Australian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. Some of these are fresh in the minds of punters, having achieved Hall of Fame worthy results in recent times. Others, however, date to earlier times. Their exploits were equally remarkable and to prove this we need look no further than a black stallion known as The Barb.
Tobin Bronze: Champion Racehorse
Even when all you look at is a photograph, Tobin Bronze looked fast. Well, when he got out on a racecourse, he confirmed that appearance.
Todman: Champion Thoroughbred Racehorse
When we recently went back and looked at something we had posted on another site concerning horses that had been somewhat undistinguished save for making a big splash on one or two occasions
Tulloch: Hero To A Nation
One of the most notable horses in Australian racing history was a colt named Tulloch after the Scottish town where the mother of owner E.J. Haley was born. Foaled in 1954, Tulloch was a hero to the nation renowned for its love of punting. He broke many records, and established a legacy that only a few Thoroughbred horses have equalled or surpassed.
Vain: Champion Australian Racehorse
Vain: He retired to stud after his remarkable three-year-old season. As a two and three-year-old, he made 14 starts, winning 12, and finishing second on the two occasions where he did not win.
Wakeful: Champion Thoroughbred Racehorse
When the Australian Racing Hall of Fame announced its 2002 class of thoroughbreds, some of the most significant names in the history of Australian horse racing were recognized.