Great Winners Of The Sydney Cup : Part 2

After discussing the feats of Carbine and Wakeful in part 1 of this historical piece, it is going to be hard to find any subsequent winners of the Sydney Cup that can compare with them. However there are another four winners that deserve a mention.

Galilee won the Sydney Cup in 1967 after winning the Melbourne Cup in 1966. In 1966 Galilee also won the Caulfield Cup. Therefore Galilee remains the only horse to ever win the so called ‘Triple Crown’ for stayers in one season. Now Bart will not confirm or deny this, but it is commonly reported through the annals of history that Galilee broke down with 6 furlongs to run in the Sydney Cup. There is no doubt he was injured sometime during the run because he did not run for 18 months after this race. It was a bone splint in Galilee’s foreleg that was the injury. The injury virtually ended Galilee’s career. Let’s assume the champ did hurt his leg with 1200m to run in the 1967 Sydney Cup as is widely thought. Galilee still managed to win the race by 6 lengths while carrying 9.7 (60.5kg). Can you imagine the raucous that would be generated if say It’s A Dundeel next year as a four-year-old won the Caulfield Cup, then the Melbourne Cup then came back to the Sydney autumn and won the Sydney Cup by 6 with 60.5kg. He just might actually, and if he does he would have equalled the record of Galilee. Winning a 3200m race with over 60kg by 6 lengths is a remarkable feat. But to do it with a suspected bone splint is truly remarkable. A magnificent achievement and one that is unlikely to ever be matched.

Before Black Caviar and Makybe Diva, the five best horses to ever run in Australia were considered to be the five original inductees into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame. Phar Lap, Carbine, Bernborough, Tulloch and Kingston Town were these five inductees. It was not that long ago, but we seem to forget how good Kingston Town was. Yes, we all have seen his Cox Plate wins, but he was also the best three-year-old Australia had seen since Tulloch. As a three-year-old in Sydney in the autumn of 1980 the King won the 1200m Expressway first up, the 1500m Heritage, the 2000m Rosehill Guineas, the 2400m BMW (then the Tancred), the 2400m AJC Derby, the 3200m Sydney Cup. Then Kingston Town went to to Brisbane and won the 2200m Grand Prix Stakes and the 2400m Queensland Derby. That is 8 wins in a row as a three-year-old including matching Carbine by winning the Sydney Cup as a three-year-old.

From the outside barrier Malcolm Johnston managed to get Kingston Town across the field into first place by the first turn. However in a slowly run race, Kingston Town was shuffled back into fifth place for the majority of the race. With 1200m to race the King sped up to sit outside the leader and shortly after turning, Malcolm Johnston let the hand brake off and Kingston Town exploded to win by 3.5 lengths from the previous year’s Sydney Cup winner Double Century. As well as jumping from the outside barrier, he was also asked to carry 1kg over WFA and he had won the AJC Derby just six days previous. It was a stunning win and proof that the immortal three-year-olds can win over two miles in a handicap.

Tie The Knot won back to back Sydney Cups in 1998 and 1999 thus emulating the Barb and Carbine. Winning the race twice in a row seems almost impossible as it has only been done by (as mentioned) the Barb in 1868 and 1869 and Carbine in 1889 and 1890. This was 123 years ago! Mosaic won back to back Sydney Cups in 1939 and 1940 when Australia’s eyes and minds were not on racing but on the future of the world due to WWII. Veiled Threat is the only other horse to win multiple Sydney Cups (before Tie The Knot). He did it in 1942 and 1944 during a time when Australian racing was suffering restrictions due to the threat of Japanese invasion and WWII  taking all the country’s attention.

In Tie The Knot’s first Sydney Cup in 1998 he beat an aging Doriemus and he was a three-year-old. In Tie The Knot’s second Sydney Cup win in 1999 he beat a moderate field as an odds on favourite by 6 lengths. Tie The knot sits happily in 7th place on Australia’s all-time leading money earners list. He, Takeover Target and Black Caviar are the only horses in Australian racing history to have earned over 6 million dollars without winning either a Cox Plate, Caulfield Cup or Melbourne Cup. In fact Tie The Knot is the only horse in the top ten to have won over a mile or more yet not won one of the above mentioned classics. This shows that he did not bring his best to Melbourne, but every autumn in all the Sydney Weight for Age Classics and even the odd handicap he was a force to be reckoned with.

Makybe Diva’s Sydney Cup win in 2004 was not really anything special. She was a moral considering she was carrying 55.5kg and the track was suitably wet. The only reason this win gets in this list of great wins is because only Makybe Diva and Carbine have won the Sydney Cup and the Melbourne Cup in the same calendar year. Makybe Diva of course won her second Melbourne Cup in the spring following her 2004 Sydney Cup win. There has been 147 chances for a horse to win the Sydney Cup then the Melbourne Cup in the same calendar year, yet only two immortal champions have done it. It must be hard! Carbine and Makybe Diva are both legends and two of the best stayers ever. This does not bode well for any of this week’s Sydney Cup runners whose connections harbour ambitions of winning the Melbourne Cup later this year.

By Zeb Armstrong

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