24 Apr 2015

Bidders step up for Phar Lap's shoes

8:19 am on 24 April 2015

A pair of horseshoes worn by legendary Australian racehorse Phar Lap has been sold for $25,000, including fees, at an auction in Melbourne.

The steel alloy shoes, one worn on the front hoof, the other the hind, originally belonged to the horse's handler Tommy Woodcock.

A pair of horseshoes worn by Australia's most famous racehorse Phar Lap.

A pair of horseshoes worn by Australia's most famous racehorse Phar Lap. Photo: AAP

They were inscribed by the shoes' maker, who was the only farrier in Sydney that shod Phar Lap during its illustrious career.

They were sold mounted in a frame including a picture of Woodcock holding the front shoe, along with a cassette tape of him from 1982 talking about the shoes.

Previously auctioned in 2000, the frame has since been on display at Caulfield Racecourse.

A spokesman from auction house Mossgreen, Max Williamson, said it was a good result for the buyer, a collector of sporting memorabilia, who wanted to remain anonymous.

"I was on the phone with the winning bidder so he was very excited to buy them. He said 'Oh, I'd better not tell my wife'," Mr Williamson said.

"He was surprised because I think he honestly thought someone would outbid him."

Mr Williamson said Phar Lap memorabilia is very rare.

"We've been selling sport now for 20 years and in all that time we've had his saddle, we've had one single horse shoe before, we've had his bridle, but that's all," he said.

"It's only about every five years we get something really decent of Phar Lap's for auction."

Phar Lap lived from 1926 to 1932 and provided some respite and joy to a nation struggling through the Great Depression.

The horse won 37 races from 51 starts, including two Cox Plates and the 1930 Melbourne Cup.

An undated handout photo of legend racehorse Phar Lap.

An undated handout photo of Phar Lap. Photo: AAP

In its final race Phar Lap won the Agua Caliente Handicap in track-record time at Tijuana, Mexico, which was the richest prize in North American racing at the time.

But Phar Lap died in mysterious circumstances in the United States shortly after.

A 2008 an investigation found that the horse had died after a massive dose of arsenic, but it is still not known how he came to ingest it.


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