Darren Gauci at the revamped Australian Sports Museum

Stars of the turf celebrated as the Australian Sports Museum officially reopens

Following a $17 million refurbishment, the Australian Sports Museum at the MCG, featuring the revamped Horse Racing Gallery, will officially open to the public tomorrow (Saturday, 29 February).

The Horse Racing Gallery has undergone a complete makeover and now includes several items generously loaned by the connections of Winx, who retired last year after dominating Australian racing.    

The silks worn by jockey Hugh Bowman in the wonder mare’s historic fourth Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) win are proudly on display, together with the famous blue and white dress created by milliner, fashion designer and huge Winx fan, Angela Menz.

The jockey silks worn by Luke Nolen in one of his wins on another former queen of the turf, Peter Moody’s undefeated mare Black Caviar, sit proudly on display alongside the Winx souvenirs. 

Australian Racing Museum Chairman, Greg Carpenter, attended this morning’s official launch alongside several racing participants including trainer Udyta Clarke, apprentice jockey Carleen Hefel and former champion hoop Darren Gauci. Carpenter said he was proud that the Australian Racing Museum (ARM) team had worked closely with the ARM and the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) on the curation process for the Horse Racing Gallery.

“It is vitally important that racing is being shown in a new light and reaches new audiences, whilst at the same time engaging and satisfying the needs of our existing fans,” said Carpenter.

“The revamped Horse Racing Gallery does that perfectly, and we would like to thank Jed Smith, the MCC's Museum and Services Manager, and his team for their commitment to a landmark project that engages all ages and reaches beyond our hardcore racing audience to share an insight into the sport we all love.

“The new space features several interactive displays and the gallery also captures the passion and commitment to racing of many people including current trainers Udyta Clarke and Saab Hasan, the great Reg Fleming, champion jockey Darren Gauci, Racing Victoria’s head vet Grace Forbes, fashion designer Angela Menz, and the connections of Black Caviar and Melbourne Cup winner Prince of Penzance.”

Gauci, who is responsible for producing the future stars of the saddle in his role as Racing Victoria’s Apprentice Jockey Coach, said it was an honour to be included in the revamped museum.

“It’s a thrill to see some old mementoes, including my favourite saddle which was used on board Lonhro in the Caulfield Guineas, being displayed alongside other greats of the turf including Winx and Black Caviar,” he said.

Other notable items on display include a vest worn by Clarke when Rich Charm won the Group 2 TAB Multiplier Stakes (1200m) on Derby Day at Flemington in 2017, as well as the Cranbourne Horse of the Year trophy awarded to the same horse and Clarke’s hat from when she won the Listed italktravel Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield with her stable star.