Phar Lap Statue For His Birthplace in NZ

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18th September 2006

Phar Lap Statue For His Birthplace in NZ

A $300,000 bronze statue of great New Zealand bred galloper Phar Lap (NZ) (Night Raid)X Entreaty by Winkie) is to be erected in his birthplace of Timaru, New Zealand.

A trust has been formed, known as the Phar Lap Charitable Trust, to raise the money required to fund a life-sized bronze memorial of the champion racehorse in full gallop, ridden by his regular jockey Jim Pike and demonstrating his impressive 22 feet gallop stride.

Phar Lap will be galloping over a map of New Zealand with his front hoof placed squarely over Timaru as a reminder of the great horse’s South Canterbury heritage.

Project trustee Derek Mayne said the statue will create an impressive presence by giving the beholder the perception of size, sound and movement.

“It will be cast in bronze on a marble base,” Mayne said. “The statue will be carefully crafted with extreme attention to detail of the equine and human anatomy, ensuring a recognizable likeness to the great partnership of horse and jockey,” he said.

“The base of the statue will be a water fountain which will bring the statue to life with the sound of water emulating galloping hoof beats,” Mayne said.

Joanne Sullivan-Gessier has been commissioned as the sculptor and project manager for the overall completion of the statue. Sullivan-Gessier, who lives in Auckland and is formerly from South Africa, is an international sculptor of 20 years with a string of prestigious commissions to her name. Joanne’s works have been exhibited in six American Academy of Equine Art International Museum exhibitions. Only a very small number of equine artists worldwide are invited to exhibit by the academy annually.

The trust is hoping to secure a Timaru based professional to create the fountain and base for the statue.

The plan is to have the official opening of the statue in October, 2008 which marks the 150th anniversary of the Timaru Racing Club and also the commemoration of the birthday of Phar Lap.

It is felt the statue will become a tourist attraction and the likelihood is that a cafeteria may be opened near its mounting place which will be at the northern entrance to Timaru, a small township in the central South Island with a population of 28,000 people.

Key Facts on Phar Lap (NZ)

  • He was born in Timaru, New Zealand on October 4 in 1926
  • His sire was Night Raid (UK)
  • His dam was Entreaty (NZ)
  • Purchased by Harry Telford at the Trentham Yearling sales in 1928
  • The name Phar Lap derives from the shared Zhuag and Thai word for lightning
  • In his four years of racing he won 37 of his 51 races including 14 wins in succession. He won the 1930 Melbourne Cup
  • He died in California on April 5, 1932 after he hemorrhaged
  • His heart was donated to the Institute of Anatomy in Canberra and his skeleton to the Te Papa NZ National Museum in Wellington. After preparations of the hide by a New York City taxidermist, his stuffed body was placed in the Australia Gallery at Melbourne Museum. His heart was remarkable for its size, weighing some 6.2kg, compared with a normal horse’s heart at 3.5kg.

Was Phar Lap Secretariat’s Equal?

Although he is “retired” from Sports Illustrated magazine author Bill Nack is anything but retired. The multiple Eclipse Award-winning Turf writer resently joined the set where the ESPN made-for-TV movie about the great filly Ruffian is being filmed. Nack is an advisor on the project.

An authority on the great racehorse Secretariat, Nack wrote Secretariat: The Making of a Champion voted by many good judges as the best book written about any horse.

Bill Nack recalls asking the New York Steward, Francis Dunne, “Who’s the greatest racehorse you’ve ever seen, Man O’War or Secretariat?”

“Neither,” said Dunne. “I saw Phar Lap”.

Source: Phar Lap Charitable Trust New Release