Kingston Town: First Million Dollar Horse

Kingston Town is one of Australia's most successful racehorses.

He is the only horse to win the Cox Plate three times. Kingston Town won 30 races from 41 starts and retired with prize money totalling in excess of $1.6 in the 1980's.

An inaugural inductee into horse racing's Hall Of Fame Kingston Town had serious leg injuries for much of his career, and only raced during the Spring in Melbourne during his last three years of racing.

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.

Kingston Town Champion Australian Racehorse

Trained Tommy Smith & Ridden In 25 Of His 30 Wins By Malcolm Johnston

Kingston Town made his debut as a two-year-old, and, in his only start as a colt, ran last.

But Kingston Town returned as a gelding in the final weeks of the season to win the Round Table Handicap at Rosehill at odds of 33/1." Read More about Kingston Town as quoted by Wikipedia.

Kingston Town 's dam, Ada Hunter was purchased in Germany by golfing legend, Norman von Nida who was a close friend of David Hains, a leading Australian businessman whose family ran Kingston Park Stud in Victoria.

Hains was developing an impressive collection of racing and breeding stock during this period of Australian racing. Ada Hunter was mated with leading Australian stallion, Bletchingly to give us Kingston Town who was foaled in 1976.

Haines Family

The horse was far from impressive early, failing to meet a modest reserve of $8000 when offered for sale.

Retained by the Haines family, and raced in partnership with Mr and Mrs Monsborough, Kingston Town also started his career in less than spectacular fashion, running an inglorious last.

TJ "Tommy" Smith

Trained by the great TJ "Tommy" Smith, Kingston Town was gelded and returned to racing after a break as a new horse.

He was to win his next six starts culminating in his victory in the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes. Kingston Town next tasted defeat at his first attempt in the Melbourne direction, running third in the Caulfield Guineas. He was then fourth in the Caulfield Cup, and then second in the VRC Derby, all at Group 1 level.

"The King," as he was affectionately known, returned to Sydney where he again dominated, winning his next 11 starts including a stint in Queensland for the winter carnival.

The following year, Kingston Town, who his trainer rated some three lengths inferior in Melbourne, returned to that city and again tasted defeat being placed in both the Caulfield Stakes and Caulfield Cup.

Cox Plate

He then won the 1980 Cox Plate, his first victory in Melbourne, and the first of three consecutive Plates that was to stamp him as a wonder horse.

After missing the Autumn in Sydney with leg problems, Kingston Town returned to racing the following Spring with a string of seven victories including his second Cox Plate. He then finished second in the Mackinnon Stakes and ran poorly in the 1981 Melbourne Cup, his first abject failure since his inglorious racetrack debut.

Again leg problems were to keep The King away from racing for almost a year, and he returned in the Spring of 1982 for his last campaign.

He created history by winning his third Cox Plate in a race that is famous not only for this incredible feat, but for legendary race caller Bill Collins saying, approaching the final turn, that "Kingston Town can't win." Like a true champion, the King was to prove him wrong.

Kingston Town went on to run a gallant second in the Melbourne Cup at his second last racetrack appearance.

Kingston Towns Final Start

His final start was a victory in Perth in the Group 1 Western Mail Classic over 1800m, only 25 days after his Melbourne Cup effort.

In all, Kingston Town had 30 wins from 41 starts. Significantly, he won 22 of his 25 starts in Sydney. Malcolm Johnston was to ride him for 25 wins out of 30 rides, but curiously The King was ridden by a different jockey for each of his Cox Plate wins. Both Ron Quinton and Peter Cook also guided the champion to victory in that race.

Kingston Town retired with over $1.6 million in prize money, and the leading stakes earner in Australian racing history.

After a failed attempt to race the horse in the US, Kingston Town retired to the Hains' family property on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria. He was to be humanely euthanized after failing to recover from surgery following a paddock accident in March, 1991 as only a 14yo.

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