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Turf Monthly

Turf Monthly

November 2020

Turf Monthly was an integral part of the Australian racing tradition. For over half a century the magazine was a must read for anyone with an interest in racing. It gave insights into the horses and people who made racing such an important part of life. Now it is back on the shelf and will again bring to life the history and heritage of the turf. Relive the great moments, the champion horses, jockeys, and trainers, and those characters behind the scenes that give racing such a colourful history. Turf Monthly wants to bring the champions of the past into the modern era so they become more than just a name in a pedigree.

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Turf Monthly
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12 Issues

in this issue

3 min.
editor’s letter

November means only one thing to a majority of Australian racing fans. Everyone knows that the first Tuesday in November shares a significant part of our heritage. It is a lot more than another date on the calendar. By the time most read this, the 2020 Melbourne Cup will have been run and won. This year marked 100 years since a wonderful racehorse, considered by many one of the best of his time, Poitrel won the Cup. We honour this marvellous horse on the anniversary of his great triumph. We continue to look at Australia’s racing heritiage and some of the wonderful people and horses who have made our racing, and our thoroughbed what it is. This month we look at more of the new stallions standing at stud this season.…

9 min.
100 years on poitrel

On 2 November 1920, the great Sydney horse Poitrel proved that he was the equal to any horse in Australia by winning the Melbourne Cup. It was his third and last start in Melbourne where he was only beaten once by the great Eurythmic. But this was close to the end of the mighty Poitrel’s career, so we are getting ahead of ourselves. Poitrel was by St Alwyne by Poinard. He was a quality stallion siring some 22 stakes winners over a long career although none better than Poitrel. Among his stakes winners were 1918 Melbourne Cup winner, Night March, Sydney Cup winner, Moorilla, Caulfield Cup winner, Lady Medallist and Hotham Handicap and dual Moonee Valley Cup winner, Gladwyn. St Alwyne was also notable as the damsire of the great Peter…

3 min.
first family of the melbourne cup

One reason that the Melbourne Cup has lost some of its relevance to the Australian thoroughbred is that the race has reduced influence in the sales ring. Having a Melbourne Cup victory on your resume does not assure stud success like it did in days gone by. This was not always the case, and Cup winners were often among our most highly sought-after families, and these lines had a huge impact on the Australian breed. There are two different categories here. Firstly, we have the stallions and while we have seen a growing number of entires winning the Cup in the last 20 years or so, their impact at stud have been mixed. We have seen one of our leading stallions in So You Think placed in the Cup, but the…

7 min.
comedy king

Comedy King was the first Northern Hemisphere bred horse to win the Melbourne Cup. He won the 1910 edition known as the Jubilee Cup, celebrating the reign of King George V. The crowd exceeded 100,000 and, for the first time, the VRC introduced a “motor paddock” which held around 400 cars. Two firemen were on duty to prevent anyone from smoking in the area among the combination of fuel and expensive upholstery. Owner Sol Green, the leviathan bookmaker of Melbourne, had purchased his dam Tragedy Queen with a Persimmon foal at foot in England for 1700 guineas. The foal was to later be known as Comedy King. They arrived on the White Star liner, Afric. Comedy King made his first racetrack appearance in the Standish Handicap at Flemington on New Year’s Day…

7 min.
sister olive

Despite Sister Olive beating champion and favourite Eurythmic in the 1921 Melbourne Cup, the filly was a popular winner. Like a lot of Cup runners, it was sentiment that led to a steady flow of money on Sister Olive. The story of her unusual name was well reported and made her popular with racegoers. Sister Olive was bred by Sol Green at his Shipley Stud near Warrnambool. She was by Red Dennis out of Jubilee Queen. Jubilee Queen was born in 1909, so her name is also of interest. She is by Green’s foundation sire Positano by St Simon out of Tragedy Queen by Gallinule, the dam of Comedy King. That stallion we know was to win the Melbourne Cup in 1910, a race roundly known as the “Jubilee Cup.” A…

9 min.
comedy king

It is relatively easy to still find Comedy King in modern pedigrees, though of course his influence is fading back in time. We have spoken of some of his sons and rather oddly he only ever produced two stakes winning daughters. Ormolu, out of an All Black mare, won the 1931 Williamstown Easter Cup but Stagegirl, out of a Stepniak mare, was by far his best. She won the Adelaide Guineas and beat the colts in the South Australian Derby but is best remembered for her win in the 1918 VRC Oaks Stakes. At stud she produced the Toorak winner, The Gay Mutineer by Lucknow. Seven sons of Comedy King went to stud, but none matched the success of their wonderful sire. There is always of course the question as to what…