"When other horses have won and lost, when other trainers are retired and replaced, Telford's legacy, the creation of an Australian legend, goes on”. (Bill Allen)
In 1927 a 50-year-old, battling Sydney trainer, Harry Telford, studied the catalogue for the yearling sales at Trentham, New Zealand. As a keen student of thoroughbred breeding, he was attracted to a colt by Night Raid out of Entreaty. Acting for owner David Davis, Telford secured him for a bargain 160 guineas, but when Davis saw the dangling colt he refused to take him. Instead he leased the colt to Telford, who thus became the owner/trainer of the mighty Phar Lap.
Telford had faith in his immature charge, and nursed him through his first four unplaced runs. His tenacity and training ability developed the brilliant qualities that were inherent in Phar Lap, and with wins in the 1929 AJC and VRC Derbies, he set Phar Lap on the road to stardom. At four-years-old Telford trained Phar Lap to 14 successive wins, including the W. S. Cox Plate, Melbourne Cup, Linlithgow Stakes, C. B. Fisher Plate, and King’s Plate. At five he won a further eight successive races, including a second Cox Plate, before his failure in the 1931 Melbourne Cup. His last race was in distant Mexico where he confirmed his champion status on the international stage.
After Phar Lap’s death in California in 1932 Telford continued to train for some years at the complex he had established at Braeside south of Melbourne. He then returned to Sydney, finally retiring from racing in 1957.
Image Source: National Library of Australia