Special Melbourne Cup to go on display in exhibition

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Phar Lap, with Jimmy Pike and Tommy Woodcock in 1930.
Phar Lap, with Jimmy Pike and Tommy Woodcock in 1930. © Museum Victoria

Phar Lap’s long lost 1930 Melbourne Cup will be the centrepiece in an Australian art exhibition about to open in Victoria.

The free exhibition, celebrating the role of horses in the development of human civilisation, will open at the National Art Gallery of Victoria on August 14.

The Horse will run daily until November 8.

Gallery officials describe the exhibition as playful and enlightening.

The works are drawn from the holdings of each department within the gallery’s collection, presenting an array of works tracing depictions and celebrations of the horse spanning 3000 years.

But the Melbourne Cup is sure to be of particular interest to horse lovers.

The fate of the 1930 Cup had been a mystery for decades. But a remarkable piece of historical detective work in recent years by independent historian Dr Andrew Lemon all but completed the puzzle and produced compelling evidence that the cup belonged to socialite Lady Susan Renouf.

The evidence points to Phar Lap’s Cup being repurposed and presented to the winner of the 1953 Melbourne Cup. It was then repurposed again for the running of the race in 1980.

Lady Renouf was then Susan Sangster, wife of well-known English thoroughbred owner and breeder Robert Sangster, whose stallion, Beldale Ball, claimed the cup victory that year.

You can read more about Dr Lemon’s detective work here.

The National Gallery of Victoria is said to have about 1500 horse-related artworks in its collection.

 

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