A pair of shoes once worn by the famous racehorse Phar Lap has fetched $A25,000 at auction in Australia.
The shoes were among 56 items from the Phar Lap collection of Dario Dicarla of Melbourne, which were sold in Abacus Auction’s sale of sporting memorabilia and collectibles on May 19.
Phar Lap (October 4, 1926 – April 5, 1932) was a champion thoroughbred racehorse whose achievements captured the Australian public’s imagination during the early years of the Great Depression. Foaled in New Zealand, he was trained and raced in Australia by Harry Telford.
Phar Lap dominated Australian racing during a distinguished career, winning a Melbourne Cup, two Cox Plates, an AJC Derby, and 19 other weight-for-age races. He then won the Agua Caliente Handicap in Tijuana, Mexico, in track-record time in his final race. After a sudden and mysterious illness, Phar Lap died in 1932 in California, USA. At the time, he was the third highest stakes-winner in the world.
His mounted hide is displayed at the Melbourne Museum, his skeleton at the Museum of New Zealand and his heart is on display at the National Museum of Australia, Canberra.
The shoes that fetched $25,000 were an archivally mounted pair, one front, other hind, from Tommy Woodcock. Shoes are steel alloy, both inscribed ‘Wood’s/ Bolton Eng/ Pt 12609’, ‘8H’ & ‘Brookes’ (who was the only farrier who shod Phar Lap in Sydney). The lot includes the original frame with a picture of Tommy Woodcock holding the front shoe, a letter of authenticity from master farrier Dick Bell, and a CD of Tommy Woodcock talking about the shoes in 1982. The lot was bought by Dario Dicarla at Mossgreen auctions in 2015 for $24,400.
The bridle used by Jim Pike on Phar Lap during the 1930-31 season sold for $9000. The archivally framed piece included a background photo of Phar Lap with Jim Pike up. Originally in the ownership of Mrs Olga Pike, it was sold with the rest of Jim Pike’s gear through the Trading Post to John East in 1975.
In 1998 it sold through Scott’s auctions of Dandenong to Reg Howarth of Tahoma Stud. Sold in Cromwells auction to Scott Strahan in 2005, and displayed as Lot 17 at the State Library of NSW Australian Icons show in 2006.
Another race programme also fetched a good price, with the 1930 Melbourne Cup featuring Phar Lap’s 34th race selling for $12,500.
Other racing items sold at the Abacus Auction sale included a Carbine display, comprising Carbine’s horse-shoe, ex Auckland Museum, and a piece from Carbine’s saddle strap, window mounted
with a photograph of Carbine, archivally framed. It sold for $4400, after being estimated to bring in $2500. Carbine started 43 times for 33 wins, 6 seconds and 3 thirds. He was a leading sire in Australia, and was then bought by the Duke of Portland for 13,000 guineas. More than half of the 65 Melbourne Cup winners from 1914 to 1978 were descendants of Carbine, including Comic Court, Phar Lap, Rising Fast, Rain Lover and Think Big.
A set of VATC silks with signatures of 33 Melbourne Cup winning jockeys who have won 46 Melbourne Cups sold for $1350, after being estimated at only $400. Signatures on the silks include those of Roy Higgins, Mel Schumacher, Ray Selkrig, Jim Johnson, Midge Didham, Bob Skelton, Jim Cassidy, Pat Hyland, Darren Beadman, Greg Hall, Kerrin McEvoy, Corey Brown, Glen Boss, Yasunari Iwata, Michael Rodd, and Blake Shinn.