26 Nov 2009

Phar Lap sculpture unveiled in Timaru

10:50 am on 26 November 2009

A life-size statue of Phar Lap has been unveiled in Timaru, where the champion racehorse was born more than 80 years ago.

The bronze statue is poised at the entrance to the Phar Lap raceway, just north of Timaru, and not far from the paddock where the horse was born.

The sculpture shows the racehorse frozen in full gallop, with jockey Jim Pike, who rode Phar Lap for 27 wins and two second places, in the saddle.

Some of the hundreds of people who turned out for the unveiling described the statue as "fantastic" and "mighty".

Eddie Telford, 87, the nephew of Phar Lap's trainer Harry Telford, was eight when the horse won the 1930 Melbourne cup.

Sculptor Joanne Sullivan-Gessler was asked to make the statue when Phar Lap trustees met her at the Karaka yearling sales in 2006.

She said designing the sculpture to stand on one foot was an engineering challenge, not least because of a requirement that it is able to withstand earthquakes.

Trustees at the unveiling said Phar Lap was a symbol of hope for both Australians and New Zealanders during the dark years of the depression.