PG | | Biography, Drama, Family
The true story of an Australian racehorse that became a champion, with the help of a local stableboy.
Tommy Woodcock went on to become a horse trainer. One of his greatest success was Reckless, a horse which won the Sydney, Adelaide and Brisbane Cups and finished second in the Melbourne Cup in 1977. Tommy was respected for his training methods and his great love for horses. Tommy and his wife, Emma, had no children but their home was always open to the apprentices that Tommy trained. Tommy Woodcock trained horses until he was 78. He donated several of his personal mementoes of Phar Lap to the Museum of Victoria to go with the Museum's exhibit of Phar Lap's hide.
He wasn't just a horse. He was the best.
Early in the film, in early 1928, Phar Lap's trainer Harry Telford (Martin Vaughan) insists that the horse's name must contain seven letters, because the names of the last four Melbourne Cup winners had contained seven letters. In fact, only one of the previous four Melbourne Cup winners in the period in question, 1924-27, had seven letters in its name - Windbag, in 1925. The other winners in that period were Backwood (1924), Spearfelt (1926) and Trivalve (1927). Nor did the subsequent 1928 winner, Statesman, nor the 1929 winner, Nightmarch (to whom Phar Lap ran third), have seven letters in their names.
The original release opens with Phar Lap's death, with the rest of the film told in flashback. For it's American release where the story of Phar Lap is less known, the opening was removed, making Phar Lap's unexpected death more dramatic.