Turf Monthly

November 2021

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.

Turf Monthly
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in this issue

1 min
editor’s letter

With the Melbourne Cup just about upon us, what better time to reflect on one of the truly great racing spectacles across the world. The Melbourne Cup is one of those events that transcends sport. It is a part of our folklore; of who we are as a country. Irrespective of your views on the race, that is indisputable. The Melbourne Cup has shaped our nation for better or worse. A nation has cheered as one when Phar Lap won the Cup, and if that sounds like ancient history, we rose again as one when Makybe Diva won her third Cup in 2005. Since then, the world has joined in the spectacle as we see more and more overseas horses making the trek to take on our best handicappers in…

6 min
makybe diva

Makybe Diva will always be remembered for her three Melbourne Cup victories. She is also the only of our Hall Of Fame entrants to be born in the Northern Hemisphere. She came to Australia in February 2000, just before her first birthday along with her dam, Tugela who had not been served that season. It took some time for the overseas filly to mature into a racehorse suited to local conditions. Her first race start did not come until 29 July 2002, almost the last day of her official 3yo season in the Southern Hemisphere. Makybe Diva’s debut was at a humble maiden at Benalla over 1200m, where she ran 4th, beaten almost five lengths. Two weeks later she stepped up to 1600m at Wangaratta as a 4yo, and her…

4 min
might and power

Might And Power was one of our most publicized horses due to the very public figure of its owner, Nick Moraitis. The 1997 Melbourne Cup winner regularly paraded not only on a farewell tour, but also at a range of other events for many years following his retirement such was his popularity. The gelding’s bold front running style, reminiscent of Vo Rogue a few years before was another part of the attraction of the horse for the public. Although some will vehemently disagree, it is this popularity that had a significant impact in his being included in the Hall Of Fame. Few horses win seven Group 1 races, so he was a great racehorse of which there is no doubt. It is the extent of his greatness that perhaps raises…

14 min

Archer is the horse who is synonymous with the original Melbourne Cup. The stallion won the first two runnings of the event and is surrounded by legend, not all of them true. The most enduring legend is that of Archer walking from NSW to Victoria to contest the first Cup. While it sounds a good story it is at best an exaggeration. But before we get to the legend of Archer let us start at the beginning. Archer was a son of imported sire William Tell by Touchstone from Maid of the Oaks by Vagabond. Both sire and dam had been owned by Thomas Molyneux "Tom" Royds of Ballalaba, NSW. Royds formed a breeding partnership with his uncle-in-law Andrew Badgery and the horses were kept on the Badgery managed Exeter Farm…

12 min
a morbid connection

As we have seen, the legend of Archer has grown since his two Melbourne Cup wins. It is hard to imagine how popular the horse was in Australian folklore, and with fame brings strange bedfellows. Two particular coincidences struck me while researching the career of the champion. Archer quite remarkably is the surname of two men hanged in Australia. George William Martin Archer was hanged at Darlinghurst Gaol in Sydney in 1893, while Alfred Archer was executed in Melbourne in 1898. There was a little more than just a sharing of their surname with the great horse that make both stories remarkable. George Archer had been born at Cootamundra, NSW, in 1865. When 3 years old the boy and his mother removed to Adelong, and he attended the Adelong public school…

5 min
cutty sark

Cutty Sark is considered one of the foundation mares of the Australian thoroughbred and is seen as the mare that gave us the Bruce Lowe colonial number 7 family. There was considerable doubt about her pedigree, although much more is known than modern history will tell. The mare arrived in Australia aboard the Prince Regent under the control of Captain John Lamb on 22 March 1826. According to newspaper reports the ship carried the stallion Peter Fin, who was unloaded in Van Diemen’s Land, and the mare Spaewife by Soothsayer. Spaewife was to found the line that gave us Shannon hence the origins of these mares was again raised when that wonderful horse was exported to the US causing more than a little discussion at the time. Interestingly the passenger…