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The Amazing Story of Phar Lap Racing Horse

Horse racing is not always an easy subject for filmmakers to tackle. It takes something special to make the story interesting, and there are a few attempts that make it worth your while. Hol-lywood has the Secretariat and Seabiscuit to remember, but we have the famous Phar Lap.

Perhaps the sport has been established for the longest time in Great Britain, with the origins going back a few centuries. But in Australia, too, horse racing history began with early set-tlements in the country. It now generates billions in revenue, plays a big part on the betting sites, such as the .au version of Unibet, and attracts many spectators. No wonder the discipline is rooted deeply in the Aussie sporting spirit alongside football and rugby. Sports bring out emotions and generate memorable moments, and some of them are likely to be immortalized in a moving picture.

There are few noteworthy Australian sports films, but as far as horse racing goes, there ha-ven’t been too many. The most commonly recalled is “The Cup” from 2011, depicting the events of the 2002 Melbourne Cup race, and “Phar Lap.” While the first film may not be as highly appraised, the second is a true classic. The main reason being the story involved. Phar Lap was a thoroughbred racing horse foaled in New Zealand and trained in Australia where he started his successful career during the time of the Great Depression. His many impressive wins included first place in the AJC Derby, Victoria Derby, Melbourne Cup, as well as two Cox Plates and other prestigious races. Not everyone was pleased with such a turn of events. Although the details have never been pinpointed so far, numerous examinations revealed trac-es of arsenic in the horse’s system.

The 1983 movie, although it does not say it out loud, hints at the idea of foul play as well, considering the possibility of criminal activities in the horse racing business. The film focuses on the beginnings of this award-winning horse, and his overall accomplishments. Despite mixed reviews from the critics, it was well received by audiences and remains one of the most important sports movies in Australia.

Published March 10, 2018

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