Phar Lap

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The movie Phar Lap tells the story of one of Australia’s most famous thoroughbred racehorses. It chronicles his life and racing career, beginning with his rather ungainly existence as a foal, and progressing through his racing years and ultimately, his death. The movie captures the spirit which existed between Phar Lap and those who knew him best and were always with him, his trainer and groomer. Although many thought there was little, if any, hope that Phar Lap would ever be a successful racehorse, his trainer kept him in preparation for the races, and with a little time and a great deal of effort, the horse came into his own and excelled at the sport of horse racing. Throughout the entire film, his groomer was constantly by his side, believing in the horse’s abilities when most others were prepared to write him off. The relationship between the two of them was so important that Phar Lap’s groomer gave him a nickname, Bobby, and referred to him as such throughout the horse’s entire life.

As Phar Lap became more and more successful, there were attempts made by important people within the Australian horse racing industry to keep him from winning so often, first by imposing extreme high weights on him for each of his races, and later, through more desperate methods. As the horse continued to win, there were attempts made on his life, as certain individuals felt that a horse that won so often was not healthy for the sport as a whole.

As the attempts to kill Phar Lap continued, the decision was made to race him in California. He arrived in the United States and began training for the race. All indications were that he was well prepared and ready to run. On the day of the race, Phar Lap did not disappoint, winning his debut race in America.

Sadly, this would be Phar Lap’s last race. Shortly after its completion, he became very ill. In a great deal of distress, his groomer took him from his stall and began walking him until his trainer could arrive back with help. Phar Lap could eventually walk no more, and he collapsed and died with his groomer at his side.

| 1983 | 1 hr 47 min | 7.3/10 | 55/100
Tom Burlinson, Martin Vaughan, Judy Morris, Celia De Burgh
Simon Wincer
Produced By
John Sexton
Phar Lap
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