Better Loosen Up was an enigma. Said David Hayes: "He's a terribly lazy horse. Before the Japan Cup, he ran the worst final gallop of any of the runners. Yet he came out and ran the second fastest time ever, and beat the strongest field ever".


TRAINER: Les Theodore, Bart Cummings, Colin Hayes, David Hayes

OWNERS: First syndicate: D.J. Phillips, H.J. and Mrs. J.R. Martin, Mr. and Mrs. D.J. Trevethan, Mrs. G. Theodore. Second syndicate: L. Koumi, L. Fink, "Gabe" Farrah, Mesdames J. and L. Farrah

RACE RECORD/STAKE MONEY: 45 starts: 17 wins, 9 seconds, 3 thirds/$4,773,970

Major Wins 

  • Japan Cup
  • W.S. Cox Plate
  • Australian Cup
  • WATC Winfield Stakes
  • WATC Railway Stakes
  • Rawson Stakes
  • L.K.S. Mackinnon Stakes


Better Loosen Up was the epitome of the late developing racehorse. As a three and four-year-old he won a few races in mediocre company. As a five and six-year-old he beat the best in Australia and the best in the world.

The transition of Better Loosen Up from duffer to superstar began when he was transferred to the Hayes' stable in the 1989-90 season. In the spring he embarked on a dramatic series of Group 1 wins commencing with the Honda Stakes at Flemington, and then the Winfield and Railway Stakes at Ascot, Western Australia. In 1990-91 he registered seven consecutive wins, including the Mackinnon Stakes, a record equalling triumph in the W.S. Cox Plate, and the Australian Cup.

Invited to run in the 1990 Japan Cup, Better Loosen Up became the first, and only, Australian horse to win the race, coming from the rear of the field with a withering burst to claim victory on the line.

Better Loosen Up's career was cut prematurely short by a leg Injury and he was retired.

Better Loosen Up was inducted into the Australian Hall of Fame in 2004.

Image Source: Copyright: Bruce Postle