Auction News ......
Celebrations of Phar Lap's Melbourne Cup win
Phar Lap is of mythical proportions - the biggest heart, huge frame,
circular hooves, turf and dirt track records, intense
life - and untimely death. While many legends are not true, Phar Lap's
is. Big Red's deeds on the turf during the Depression years was really
a balm for the battler's needs, he did carry those enormous weights
to win, he was trained and ridden intensely and did beat the cream of
American racing on his first dirt track start in record time.
Phar Lap's success
story from 1930 came at a time when Australians were measuring up against
the mother country, with Don Bradman setting batting records in England,
Kingsford-Smith setting records in dare-devil flying from London to
Sydney and back. Jim Pike's winning ride on Phar Lap in November capped
off a year demanding sporting brilliance and luck.
Phar Lap's win
at Agua Caliente in 1932 came a few weeks after the dramatics of the
Bodyline Tests. The sudden death of Phar Lap showed how quickly success
can be cruelly snatched away, leaving all involved bare and vulnerable,
wondering, disbelieving. Racewatchers were relieved to see Phar Lap's
"Lucky" saddle take jockey Gene Woolf into racing history
on Seabiscuit and Man of War.
Phar Lap was really
everything that has been written about him, as close to a mythical beast
that any racing horse could be. For Australians, Phar Lap's win against
all odds in the 1930 Melbourne Cup was truly inspirational, the efforts
to win, were ours. Those efforts are worth remembering every Cup day.
Phar Lap bronze souvenir 1931
a bronze free-standing image of Phar Lap with jockey up, with name etched
into "turf", approximately 12 cm wide and 11 cm high. Most
A Tin of Carbine c1895 a large metal tin, 37 x 47 x 10 cm deep, with
an image of Carbine (16 cm high) embossed with the following details:
'Australian Veterinary Supply Co./ CARBINE/ REMEDIES/ HorseSheep and
Cattle', with locking mechanism, and sections sections complete within.
Carbine won the Melbourne Cup in 1890, and was Phar Lap's great-great-grandfather.
A Framed Poster of Phar Lap 1931 a coloured chromolith by Stuart Reid
of Phar Lap, with Jim Pike up, wearing the partnership colours of red
and green, 30 x 34 cm, in light frame.
AJC Racebook for the Cumberland Stakes 1930 an original stapled AJC
racebook, 8.3 cm wide by 13.1 cm long, published by Ross Brothers, Sydney
for the Autumn Meeting, All-Aged Stakes Day 23rd April 1930. A little
discolouration to the cover, and within from
contemporary ink annotations, otherwise good condition. Contains details
of The Cumberland Stakes, noting Phar Lap winning with Elliott up in
just under 2 minutes 59 seconds. Importantly it notes an earlier race,
The All-Aged Stakes which Pike won on Amounis over Nightmarch, with
Phar Lap being a late scratching. Rare.
Phar Lap's racing saddle used by Jim Pike 1930, a racing saddle, with
full strapping and nickle-plated stirrups, as used by Jim Pike on Phar
Lap over the seasons 1929-1931, including the 1930 Melbourne Cup. As
Phar Lap's success pushed ever heavier handicaps, Pike's original light
racing saddle for Phar Lap was dispensed with. In good condition, and
not used from 1931, this was Jim Pike's 'Lucky' providing more than
half of his 27 winning rides with Australia's greatest horse. Provenance:
Mrs Olga Pike.
Tattersall's Club Racebook 1930 A Tattersall's Club Racebook, 8.1 x
13.4 cm, produced by Ross Brothers for the September 13 1930 race meeting,
bound in blue leather with gold blocking for the Tattersall's club member,
T. Hannan. Booklet adrift from stapled spine, but in very good condition
otherwise, this includes full details with contemporary annotations
in pencil for Phar Lap's first placing in the Chelsford Stakes, beating
A racing saddle used by Jim Pike on Phar Lap, a light racing saddle
owned by Jim Pike, and first used by him to win on Phar Lap in 1929.
distressed condition, having suffered much in the weather, and little
use from mid-1930, this has been overhauled by saddler Neil Begg at
Graham Begg Stables, Randwick. Provenance: Mrs Olga Pike.
Phar Lap framed with original 1930 Racebook a black and white photo
of Phar Lap showing Elliott up, wearing Telford's colours, in a training
run at Agua Caliente, 28cm x 33cm, framed with an original St.Georges
Stakes day racebook dated 15th. feb. 1930, in which Phar Lap ran third.
Neatly mounted framed size 56cm x 46cm. Good.
Jim Pike's riding boots, a pair of two-tone leather riding boots, as
used by Jim Pike throughout his Phar Lap career, winning 27 times on
Red. In good condition. Provenance: Mrs Olga Pike.
Phar Lap with Jim Pike up a colour image of Phar Lap with Jim Pike taken
from the famous round biscuit tin, image size approximately 38cm x 27cm,
frame in dark wood with gold insert under non-reflective glass. Scarce.
Pike's racing bridle for Phar Lap, a racing bridle as used by jockey
Jim Pike on Phar Lap in the 1930 Melbourne Cup, and more than half of
his 27 winners with Big Red. About 190 cm long, with two 10 cm metal-ringed
bit, the actual strapped reins are rather race-worn, as it
was Pike's custom to ride high and tight to Phar Lap's mane. Provenance:
Mrs Olga Pike.
Phar Lap 1931 a framed colour contemporary print published in New Zealand
showing a study of Phar Lap with famous white racing bridle standing
in the paddock, labelled underneath, image approx: 40cm x 31cm , mounted
and framed. Very scarce.
Jim Pike's skull cap. The great jockey's skull cap, as used throughout
career, 21 x 15 cm wide, by 10 cm deep. Not much protection under his
red cap, but worn throughout his time with Big Red. Pike was born in
1892 and died in 1969, when this item and others were passed to Mrs
Lap Glass Trophy 1932 an amber glass trophy of Phar Lap's head, 13.2
cm high on an oval base 8.2 cm x 11.7 cm, with raised letters 'PHAR
LAP' and '1928-1932' on one side: '37 wins from 51 starts' on the other.
In fine condition. One of only eight known to have been crafted by Pop
Weisell for Australian Glassworks in 1932, this one in perfect condition
and a gift to the bookmaker Joe Taylor. Provenance: Joe Taylor, then
Two Phar Lap Bookends in Bronze a bronze head of Phar Lap, 11 cm high
on a base 9 x 12 cm, modelled from the amber glass trophy, and split
to create bookends. Produced in small numbers in 1932. Scarce.
Lap's racing bridle as used by Jim Pike, a racing bridle as used on
Phar Lap 1929-31, approx 194 cm long, being 47 cm to strapped 6.5 cm
ringed-metal bit, with a further 142 cm light reins. With Phar Lap requiring
heavier weights, it was Pike's custom to use the heavier reins
on the powerful horse, and thus this one has seen less wear and tear.
Provenance: Mrs Olga Pike.
A Racing bit as used by Jim Pike on Phar Lap, this spare racing bit,
as used Phar Lap 1929-30, being 10 cm diameter metal ringed bit is exactly
the same size and style as the on the bridle used for Pike's Melbourne
A racing bit as raced on Phar Lap by Jim Pike 1931, This spare racing
bit, as used by Pike on Phar Lap in 1931, has silvered metal Ds (27
end to end). Provenance: Mrs Olga Pike.
Jim Pike's whip as raced with Phar Lap, Pike's whip, as raced with Phar
Lap. 70 cm long, with dulled brown plastic "cap" with leather
stringed handle, it has a barely used leather strap, as Pike preference
was to "tap" and not to "whip" the great horse.
Provenance: Mrs Olga Pike.
Four Photographs of Phar Lap's Last Race, 1932 four original sepia photographs,
each approximately 16.4 x 12 cm, pasted down on card, each numbered
and dated in the plate "3.20.32 A.C. Handicap - 50,000 Added"
showing scenes from Phar Lap's last race. The first shows the start
of the race (Phar Lap is number 9), the second shows "Ist time
past stand", the third "Heading for Home", and the last
shows the winning shot, but this one is badly disintegrating, unlike
the first three (4). Provenance: Mrs Bill Eilliot.
Lap racing plate 28-32 with written provenance, a front foot metal racing
plate, 12.5 cm across, with a silver curved metal slip
added and engraved thus: 'PHAR LAP 1928-1932"; together with an
envelope postmarked Mexico City 1944, from Lady Wilford to Mr G Tracy
of Wellington, New Zealand. In the accompanying letter dated November
28 1944, Mrs Wilford states that "the shoe is most certainly one
of Phar Laps, was given to my husband by the blacksmith who shod him
before he left for America... it was quite unlike the average horseshoe
being almost round. I think the blacksmith was Mr Howell but am not
sure." Also enclosed is a small card with Lady Wilford's name printed
to one side (at British Embassy, Mexico City) and to reverse, her handwritten
annotation: "This shoe belonged to the race horse Phar Lap & was
presented to the late Sir Thomas Wilford by the blacksmith who shod
him." Sir Thomas Wilford was the MP for Lower Hutt (1899-1929)
before becoming New Zealand's High Commissioner in London. He coined
the term "the Cradle of Champions' for the Petone area of New Zealand
that has produced so many notable sportsmen and women. Extremely rare
with only four racing plates known, this is the only one with written
PHAR LAP SILKS RACE-WORN BY JIM PIKE & BILL ELLIOT
racing blouse, in Telford's colours of deep red with black and white
armbands, as race-worn by Jim Pike and Bill Elliot in 1929 and 1930.
With some fraying to the silk sections of both lower sleeves, evidence
of mud and some discolouration to the white banding, a few minor holds,
but no tears to the body of the blouse. Following investigations this
is believed to be the only silks raced by all jockeys on Phar Lap, prior
to the creation of the slimline blouse as raced on May 17 1930, and
considering the financial situation for Telford, it would appear that
one set was all he could afford. Race-worn by Pike when first on Phar
Lap in the AJC Derby (5.10.29), the Victoria Derby (2.11.29) and
the VRC St. Leger Stakes (1.3.30), it was handed on to jockey Bill Elliot
who then won the Governor's Plate (6.3.30), the King's Plate (8.3.30)
, the Cumberland Stakes (23.4.30) the AJC Plate (26.4.30) and the Elder
Stakes (10.5.30). The silks were raced for thirteen First placings,
and several minor placings, and in our opinion these were also race-worn
for Phar Lap's 3rd placing in the 1929 Melbourne and Caulfield Cups.
Provenance: Mrs Bill Elliot.
$50,000 - $70,000
Update on Auction
at Cromwells :-
PHAR LAP SILKS
SOLD BY CROMWELLS
Lot 74, the racing
blouse worn by Jim Pike & Billy Elliot when riding Phar Lap in 1929
and 1930 was sold by Cromwell’s for $67,700 (including
buyer’s premium) on Saturday October 22.
Lot 63, Pike’s
saddle as raced on Phar Lap in the 1930 Melbourne Cup sold for $43,600.
Other prices realised
for Jim Pike’s racing gear, as raced with Phar Lap
Lot 65 –
Jim Pike’s boots - $10,600
Lot 66 –
Pike’s racing bridle - $4,490
Lot 67 –
Pike’s skullcap - $5,200
Lot 69 –
a second racing bridle - $2200
Lot 70 & 71
– two Phar Lap racing bits - $1500 each
Lot 72 –
Pike’s whip - $11,800