This 1983 film was made in honour of Phar Lap, a chestnut thoroughbred gelding, a champion racehorse who became a much loved national icon in Australia where he was trained and raced, and in New Zealand where he was foaled. At the height of his powers, bookmakers offered very short odds on him, even refusing to accept any bets on some races. Standing 17.1 hands, he was sometimes called “Australia’s wonder horse” in that country. He was also called “The Red Terror”, “Bobby” and “Big Red”. In the three races that he did not win, he ran second on two occasions, beaten by a short head and a neck, and in the 1931 Melbourne Cup he finished eighth when carrying 10 st 10 lb (68 kg). For his final race in 1932, Phar Lap’s owner shipped him by boat to Agua Caliente Racetrack, Mexico, to compete in the Agua Caliente Handicap, which was offering the largest purse ever raced for in North America. Phar Lap won in track-record time while carrying 129 pounds (58.5 kg). Early on 5 April 1932, the horse’s strapper for the North American visit, Tommy Woodcock, found him in severe pain and carrying a high temperature. Within a few hours, Phar Lap hemorrhaged to death. Much speculation ensued, and when a necropsy revealed that the horse’s stomach and intestines were inflamed, many believed the horse had been deliberately poisoned. Phar Lap’s heart is preserved at the National Museum of Australia. His skeleton was donated to the New Zealand’s National Museum in Wellington, and his his stuffed
Video Rating: 4 / 5

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