When you head out to the track, it’s important to understand the long traditions of the sport. If you’re not up to speed with all the history, here are few great racing moments to commit to memory as nominated by Lindsay Murphy, the ATC’s General Manager of Racecourses with nearly four decades of service under his belt. Not only that, he also had a race named after him in honour of his 60th birthday.
Acceleration you’ll never see again at the 1977 Golden Slipper
“It was the most explosive win I’ve ever seen,” says Murphy. “There was a capacity crowd at Rosehill for the fledging race that was only 20 years old at that time. Luskin Star from Newcastle had won a couple previously but then he came out and won by seven lengths. It was amazing seeing the acceleration and turn of foot.”
One of the best finishes in history at the 1973 AJC Derby
“Earlier in the year, an odds-on favourite, Imagele had fallen in the Golden Slipper and broken a few ribs and got pretty bruised. But he came back in the AJC Derby later that year and was one of three horses, along with Leica Lover and Grand Cidium, to hit the line together. He was that tough and strong, he poked his nose out on the line to win. I haven’t seen one recover from a fall and tough out a race like that.”
A last ever flag start? At the 1984 Missile Stakes.
“It had been pouring all day and we’d been moving the barriers successfully. Then, moments before the Missile Stakes were due to run, they got bogged completely. So the steward said, ‘Have you got a flag? We’ll have a flag start.’ We didn’t but the starter used his jacket. The horses all stood up like they did back in the 1920s and 1930s and got away without a problem. And it would have been fine except a 200-1 long shot got up, the only race he ever won, so it raised the ire of a lot of people. If the favourite had won, I’m sure a lot of people would have thought it was a great idea! It’s the only time I’ve seen a flag start and I don’t think we’ll see it again.”
Super Impose wins an impossible double-double at the 1991 Epsom Handicap
“Two of our greatest races are the Doncaster Handicap and the Epsom Handicap— they’re famous mile races and handicaps which are the epitome of racing. And it was pretty incredible when Super Impose won both in 1990. But after seeing him win the Doncaster in 1991 and then come from being at the back of the field in the Epsom in 1991, get a rail run to win in the last stride, was quite electric. He was an amazing horse and that sort of thing in handicap racing is something you don’t see in racing these days.”
Octagonal’s act of God at the 1997 BMW Australian Derby
“It was day of drama the day Octagonal won the BMW. First, Guineas won the Golden Slipper when he shouldn’t have. Then, in front of a full house, Octagonal, was behind a stride before the post and behind a stride after the post but somehow he put his head down to win right on the post. It was an amazing day and all the spectators lifted the roof off the place.”
Singo shouts the bar at the 2000 Golden Slipper
“The famous day after John Singleton shouted the bar in 2000 at Rosehill after his horse, Belle Du Jour, won the Golden Slipper, is certainly memorable. It captured the imagination of the crowd and they all stood to a person, cheering him. It had happened in the 1960s when the horse of a colourful racing character won a race, and started throwing pound notes into the crowd. They went mad then too!”
A champion’s final race at the 2013 TJ Smith Stakes
“When Black Caviar lined up in the TJ Smith Stakes, the course was packed and were people lined up on Alison Road (the road which runs along the racecourse), peering through the fence hoping to catch a glimpse of the race. I’ve never seen anything like it. And there was so much emotion and theatre, you just hoped that this wasn’t the day that she’d lose. But as the energy built up to a crescendo and she did the right thing to win her 25th race from 25 starts, it was absolutely amazing to be in the centre of it all.”