Great ‘Stayer’ Performances in Australia
Professional sport has been on hiatus but Horse Racing has kept running, albeit without crowds.
The Royal Ascot has even gone ahead without the Queen, for the first time in 68 years!
We’ve decided to show some love to the one live sport that hasn’t stopped by
selecting are our 5 favourite ‘Stayer’ performances Australia’s ever seen!
5. Think Big
On Australia’s biggest Horse Racing day, ‘Think Big’ went big! Winding back to the 1974 Melbourne Cup, trained by Australian Horse Racing household name Bart Cummings ‘Think Big’ came into the race at 12-1 odds to win, also beating stablemate ‘Leilani’ who was a firm favourite and also trained by Bart Cummings. The following year ‘Think Big’ only raced twice, one of the races being the Melbourne Cup.
In 1975 ‘Think Big’ entered the Cup as the defending champion and at even longer odds than 1974 at 33-1 to again be the unlikely winner!
This would be the last time the Melbourne Cup would experience back-to-back victories until 2003. ‘Think Big’ would go on to retire in 1977 with a running record of 9: 2-4-0.
Learn more about the Melbourne Cup.
4. Prince of Penzance/Michelle Payne
2015 saw a 155 year first at the Melbourne Cup, with the first ever female jockey to win ‘The Race that Stops a Nation™’. What made the victory even more ground-breaking was that the Stayer Payne was riding, Prince of Penzance entered the race with very little backing at 100-1 odds. Post victory, Payne notably stated Horse Racing is a “chauvinistic sport” and that she hopes her win “helps female jockeys”. Remarkably Payne sustained injuries that should have ended her career back in 2004, falling heavily and fracturing her skull and bruising her brain.
Payne’s determination to get back on the saddle paved the way to one of the great Australian Horse Racing stories.
Prince of Penzance retired in 2016 with a running record of 29: 7-7-2.
Learn more about Michelle Payne.
3. Makybe Diva
Winning the Melbourne Cup once is difficult enough, how about winning it three times… in a row?! Makybe Diva owned the first Tuesday of November from 2003-05 to complete the only Melbourne Cup 3-peat & don’t forget the W.S. Cox Plate win in 2005 also. Coming into the 2003 Cup, Makybe Diva entered the race at 7-1 odds and won comfortably by 1½ lengths, continuing the astonishing form in the next two Cups. You might’ve wondered how the name ‘Makybe Diva’ was formed? Tony Santic, a tuna fisherman from South Australia named his champion Stayer after five of his employees – Maureen, Kylie, Belinda, Diane and Vanessa, taking the first two letters from each other their names. Makybe Diva’s 3-peat record looks to be safe for now, making her the greatest Stayer performer on Cup day! Makybe Diva retired in 2006 with a running record of 36: 15-4-3.
Learn more about Makybe Diva
Need some Horse Racing events to look forward to?
The W.S. Cox Plate is regarded as ‘The Race Where Legends Are Made’ and as for Winx, this statement couldn’t be truer! Winx completely owned ‘The Valley’s’ famous 2040m race from 2015 winning by 4¾ lengths and recording a new course record time of 2:02.98. From there Winx wouldn’t give an inch at the W.S. Cox Plate, winning an astonishing four in a row! Winx would go on to retire in 2019 with running record of 43: 37-3-0 – of the 37 wins, 33 were consecutive until retirement!
Learn more about Winx
1. Phar Lap
There are only three horses that have achieved wins at both the W.S. Cox Plate and the Melbourne Cup, Might and Power (not featured but deserves an honourable mention), Makybe Diva and of course Phar Lap. Phar Lap is arguably the greatest we’ve seen in Australian Horse Racing history, winning the W.S. Cox Plate twice and the Melbourne Cup once. Aside from Phar Lap’s incredible performances on Australia’s biggest stages, what made him so special and loved was his role as a hero during the Great Depression. Strugglers throughout the tough time would be inspired by Phar Lap’s battler spirit, not only beating the best horses in the world, but obliterating the field sometimes by up to 20 lengths!
Phar Lap would finish a special career sadly passing away untimely & controversially with a phenomenal running record of 51: 37-3-2.
Learn more about Phar Lap.