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PHAR LAP MEMORIES: No. 12. ATTEMPTED SHOOTING On Derby Day
The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954) Saturday 31 October 1936, page 6
Article ILLUSTRATED
ChangedByOld LinesNew Lines
2010-07-22 21:39:07.0user:public:jhempenstallISHUDDER even now when I
that I am telling a fib when I Bay
T WAS suspicious ot my own shadow
round every.corner.
to a.motor-çar standing in a street off
Glenhuntly.B.d. The number plate was
whitewashed or chalked, and this bad
mo on guard immediately.
Usually I left tho course hy way of
Rosebery Grove, but on thlB particular
morning I; went-home via Manchester
Grovo. Í came up behind the car, :
whose occupants no doubt were looking i
down towards Rosebery Grove, expect- i
ing to see Phar Lap cross Glenhuntly j
Rd. from this direction. .
As I ' passed I ' caught sight of
the man In the back seat. The
driver buried his face In a paper.
Their presence, the chalked car ;
number, and their anxiety to dodge be- j
ing seen had me alarmed. i
When I passed over the Glenhuntly ;
Rd. tram track and wus a short diB- j
lance from them I heard the car being j
started up. I looked round, and on i
finding that they were coming in my :
direction, I dig my heels into the pony i
I was riding and trotted Phar Lap round .
:>. corner where I got him against the ;
fence and waited to see what would i
happen. '
With the horn tooling loudly, the i
driver, seeing us standing, tried to' :
swerve into us. The car, however, :
had too müch momentum.
. Phar Lap became excited, reared up :
double .barrelled shot gun and .
fired point blank. The peliets "
were embedded in the picket fence :.
The shooter, had the ; lower portion
chief, but' it dropped, as. he fired, and
I got :a second view , of him. . I could
pick him out of a. million.
I nearly dropped In my tracks
It was all'over In a second. They
didn't stop to fire a second shot The
shooting took: place at 5.40 o.m., and
with the ^report of the gun and the
honking of the' horn it was not long be-
direction pf Elsternwick, and I doubt if
How thoy must have cursed them-
when they: saw the handsome gelding
The owner ot Phar Lap, Mr. D. J.
made to injure the horse before th«
/two policemen were stationed within a
field on the. Saturday night after tba
Mr. H..G. Raymond, o£ the Victorian
when be offered to make his property,
< St. Albans, near Geelong, available as
lover of horses and clean sport he waB
anxious to'see the hottest Melbourne
Cup favourite ou record get his chance
the heavy impost of 9.13. The offer
J. Cripps nt Caulfield. Shadowy forma
flitted about the stables as bags full ol
straw were thrown on the ground tc
deaden the sound of Phar Lap and hie
companion moving out of the yard. \
Only Mr. Cripps and his foreman, L
with. Harry Telford they stood in th«
shadows at the street corner after thc
which I was to drive, but Stan. Boy
den, who always drove Phar Lap to th«
races, was trusted implicitly, and wc
decided that it was one man's job t<
look after Phar Lap without havln)
the responsibility of handling a strang«
We were all nervy and "Jumpy,1
and when Telford handed Boydet
and me pistols, we looked at ead
other In amazement.
side us. Tommy," said Boyden in ¡
ing thafc morning, but Boyden can al
ways get a laugh out of me when wi
Few kney? that Phar Lap was take!
away from Caulfield, and (ewer stll
The lovable creature must have wor
dered at his nocturnal ride and I thin!
his backers for the big race on the to
lowing Tuesday would have been pei
turbed If they bad known that the Cu
favourite was speeding past the G.P.C
Melbourne at 2 a.m., headed in th
With the aid of lumps of sugar I wa
able to take Phar Lap's mind con
pletely off the trip. By showing hil
a piece of lump sugar I could tease hil
for hours. He would put his tongue ot
and I would grab it Then he woul
try to nip me, but ho knew that I kej
up the foolery all the longer if he hui
mo.
But while playing with my big bat
pal I Tia's as "windy" as could be.
I bad imaginitts badly and could n<
settle down to a comfortable trip. Ever
shadow seemed to me like a fl gui
When on the lonely road pal
Werribee a man stood in the midd
of the road and hailed us, I thougl
the worst had happened. Instant
S Pliar Lap
= And
js Tommy Woodcock
:IIUUIIUIIIIIIUUIIUIItlllllllllll(lllllllll||||||tllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll¿
E IT seems incredible that anyone in a civilised country should want s
§ I to destroy such a noble beast as Phar Lap. All of you no doubt Ej
E remember the shooting episode enacted on the morning of the 1930 5
§ Victoria Derby. As Phar Lap was being taken home after his morning 5
= exercises at Caulfield a car that had been standing in the vicinity for 2
E some time bore down upon him. A shot rang out. Phar Lap, luckily, Ej
¡j swung round out of the line of fire. 5
E No more dramatic incident has ever occurred in the history of 2
§ Australian racing. Tommy Woodcock, who was in charge of Phar Lap, EJ
Ë plainly saw the man who fired the shot and recognised him some months 2
E later when he walked on to one of the metropolitan racecourses. "I Ej
= nearly dropped dead in my tracks when I saw him and found out who 2
Ë he was," says the great thoroughbred's devoted attendant. §
-.??iimiiiitiilllliliiiiiimiiimiiiiiiiiiiillliiiillliliilMiliir^
i Boyden and. I dived into our pockets
: for the firearms, but we were not
I ' the slickest on the draw and I must
' had the drop on us.
l us'was only looking for a lift. He
ment enabled him to atlapt himself to
morning dash from Melbourne to Sti
In one of the paddocks till lunch time.
slightest Bound.
A little walking and trotting exerciße
round the old track on the propertj
Siled In Monday and another unevent
ful night passed, the silence beini
broken only by the hourly visits of Mr
Raymond, who was making sure tha>
his promise of immunity for Phar La]
On Cup morning I took Phar Lap ii
?through the back gate on to the Gee
long racecourse, and wi Ut R. Parker li
which I rode. Returning to St Alban
I dressed the champion for the day am
then rested until the float came at 1
We had plenty of time, but it was
nightmare ride for me. I had vision
of the float breaking down or comin
into collision with some other vehiclf
As convoy, we had two police moto
cycle patrols, one in front and th
patrol car also, joined in to make sur
Tho V.R.C.' committee gave permis-
sion.for the float to enter the course by
procession arrived intact and iu goori
time to allow Phar Lap to get his lau(i
legs.' .'
While Phar Lap and I were rustical
ing at St Albans all sorts bf rumours-!
him, and I toole his attention by show-
ing him a lump of BUgar and then put-
ting it back in my pocket I heard one
ket; he knew that I kept a stock ot
for I am sur*, now that lt any individual
Lap on the course that afternoon lie
would have been torn limb from limb
crime whichever way you look at lt
No one is In a better position than
A Substitute-But Not a Twin
If we saw only the serious side ot
?real comedy in the spiriting away ol
when he went to St. Albans anothei
horse of Telford's was to take Phai
Lap'B place, and a big chestnut nameil
Old Ming was selected tor the job.
On the Monday morning clothed ls
Phar Lap's -well-known rugs and wear
¡?"????"".".""?""""?"??I
! By Tommy Woodcock-Exclusive J
! to "The Mercury" in Tasmania. ¡
. - Copyright » .
lug heavy bandages, Old Ming was led
on to the,track, and after doing light
exercise, such as would bo cxpéctëd
from ono who had raced on tho Satur-
day, the horse pulled up at the . exact
sport where wo (tho groy.pony and my-
self) always met "Bobby." If auyoue
present had any doubt it was dispel
lod when they saw thc horse getting
illustrious stablemate did. Old'Ming
waB being made of him.
aa Phar Lap, as it made them.look fool-
Phar Lap had an easy task that morn;
lng. i
following tho shooting incident , and
when shown the horse deputising foi
Answered. "But if that horse lives tc
bf a hundred he'll never be able, to.-rmi
¡even furlongs as fast as Phar Lap
mn run a mile." ?
That statement must have :béen; c
, ¿hock to some ot the people presem
who thought Old Ming was Phar Lap.,
[ Telford, in my opinion, was justifiée
in adopting any means at all .for the
I safety ol the horse that was entrüstet
with so much public money. .. ?
I Well, the Cup was won and the im
mediate connections of Phar Lap wert
overjoyed. None more so than Jin
Pike. Jim had landed the coveted raci
after 14 attempts and I venture to sa;
that to win on a horse that travelled 5i
The Cup was worth £9,229 and ¡
As Harry Telford had Phar Lap.oi
lease, and was the nominator of th
horse, he became the owner of the valu
Before Phar Lap's 1930 Melbourn
Cup the racing authorities becam
Beared of the gang who showed so HUI
regard for valuable racehorses tha
they brought in a rule making it ii
cumbent on trainers to have an a
tendant with their horses all the tim
Several persons had the impresslo
that the shooting at Phar Lap was jut
a scare story. English papers put
lished that It was a publicity 3tun
Strangely enough, the "Spori
lng Globe's" track representt
tive at Caulfield, Mr. Jil
Creed.'saw the car while on his way I
the track, and, becoming suspiclou
took a note of the painted numbi
plates. He remarked to his pals c
arrival at the course that he would n<
bc surprised to hear that someone ht
had a crack at the safes at the bank i
picture theatre in Glenhuntly Rd. th
morning. Little did he think at tl
time that the car was dwelling on tl
Idol ot the Australian turf.
ford bought a half share7In Phar
, Lap.
I SHUDDER even now when I
that I am telling a fib when I say
I WAS suspicious ot my own shadow
round every corner.
to a motor-car standing in a street off
Glenhuntly Rd. The number plate was
whitewashed or chalked, and this had
me on guard immediately.
Usually I left the course by way of
Rosebery Grove, but on this particular
morning I went home via Manchester
Grove. I came up behind the car,
whose occupants no doubt were looking
down towards Rosebery Grove, expect-
ing to see Phar Lap cross Glenhuntly
Rd. from this direction.
As I passed I caught sight of
the man in the back seat. The
driver buried his face in a paper.
Their presence, the chalked car
number, and their anxiety to dodge be-
ing seen had me alarmed.
When I passed over the Glenhuntly
Rd. tram track and wus a short dis-
tance from them I heard the car being
started up. I looked round, and on
finding that they were coming in my
direction, I dig my heels into the pony
I was riding and trotted Phar Lap round
a corner where I got him against the
fence and waited to see what would
happen.
With the horn tooting loudly, the
driver, seeing us standing, tried to
swerve into us. The car, however,
had too much momentum.
Phar Lap became excited, reared up
double barrelled shot gun and
fired point blank. The pellets
were embedded in the picket fence
The shooter had the lower portion
chief, but it dropped as he fired, and
I got a second view of him. I could
pick him out of a million.
I nearly dropped in my tracks
It was all over in a second. They
didn't stop to fire a second shot. The
shooting took place at 5.40 a.m., and
with the report of the gun and the
honking of the horn it was not long be-
direction of Elsternwick, and I doubt if
How they must have cursed them-
when they saw the handsome gelding
The owner of Phar Lap, Mr. D. J.
made to injure the horse before the
two policemen were stationed within a
field on the Saturday night after the
Mr. H. G. Raymond, of the Victorian
when he offered to make his property,
St. Albans, near Geelong, available as
lover of horses and clean sport he was
anxious to see the hottest Melbourne
Cup favourite on record get his chance
the heavy impost of 9.12. The offer
J. Cripps at Caulfield. Shadowy forms
flitted about the stables as bags full of
straw were thrown on the ground to
deaden the sound of Phar Lap and his
companion moving out of the yard.
Only Mr. Cripps and his foreman, L.
with. Harry Telford they stood in the
shadows at the street corner after the
which I was to drive, but Stan. Boy-
den, who always drove Phar Lap to the
races, was trusted implicitly, and we
decided that it was one man's job to
look after Phar Lap without having
the responsibility of handling a strange
We were all nervy and "jumpy,"
and when Telford handed Boyden
and me pistols, we looked at each
other in amazement.
side us, Tommy," said Boyden in a
ing that morning, but Boyden can al-
ways get a laugh out of me when we
Few knew that Phar Lap was taken
away from Caulfield, and fewer still
The lovable creature must have won-
dered at his nocturnal ride and I think
his backers for the big race on the fol-
lowing Tuesday would have been per-
turbed if they had known that the Cup
favourite was speeding past the G.P.O.
Melbourne at 2 a.m., headed in the
With the aid of lumps of sugar I was
able to take Phar Lap's mind com-
pletely off the trip. By showing him
a piece of lump sugar I could tease him
for hours. He would put his tongue out
and I would grab it. Then he would
try to nip me, but he knew that I kept
up the foolery all the longer if he hurt
me.
But while playing with my big baby
pal I was as "windy" as could be.
I had imaginitis badly and could not
settle down to a comfortable trip. Every
shadow seemed to me like a figure
When on the lonely road past
Werribee a man stood in the middle
of the road and hailed us, I thought
the worst had happened. Instantly
Phar Lap
And
Tommy Woodcock

IT seems incredible that anyone in a civilised country should want
to destroy such a noble beast as Phar Lap. All of you no doubt
remember the shooting episode enacted on the morning of the 1930
Victoria Derby. As Phar Lap was being taken home after his morning
exercises at Caulfield a car that had been standing in the vicinity for
some time bore down upon him. A shot rang out. Phar Lap, luckily,
swung round out of the line of fire.
No more dramatic incident has ever occurred in the history of
Australian racing. Tommy Woodcock, who was in charge of Phar Lap,
plainly saw the man who fired the shot and recognised him some months
later when he walked on to one of the metropolitan racecourses. "I
nearly dropped dead in my tracks when I saw him and found out who
he was," says the great thoroughbred's devoted attendant.

Boyden and I dived into our pockets
for the firearms, but we were not
the slickest on the draw and I must
had the drop on us.
us was only looking for a lift. He
ment enabled him to adapt himself to
morning dash from Melbourne to St.
in one of the paddocks till lunch time.
slightest sound.
A little walking and trotting exercise
round the old track on the property
filled in Monday and another unevent-
ful night passed, the silence being
broken only by the hourly visits of Mr.
Raymond, who was making sure that
his promise of immunity for Phar Lap
On Cup morning I took Phar Lap
through the back gate on to the Gee-
long racecourse, and with R. Parker in
which I rode. Returning to St. Albans
I dressed the champion for the day and
then rested until the float came at 11
We had plenty of time, but it was a
nightmare ride for me. I had visions
of the float breaking down or coming
into collision with some other vehicle.
As convoy, we had two police motor
cycle patrols, one in front and the
patrol car also joined in to make sure
The V.R.C. committee gave permis-
sion for the float to enter the course by
procession arrived intact and in good
time to allow Phar Lap to get his land
legs.
While Phar Lap and I were rusticat-
ing at St. Albans all sorts of rumours
him, and I took his attention by show-
ing him a lump of sugar and then put-
ting it back in my pocket. I heard one
ket; he knew that I kept a stock of
for I am sure now that lt any individual
Lap on the course that afternoon he
would have been torn limb from limb.
crime whichever way you look at it.
No one is in a better position than
A Substitute—But Not a Twin
If we saw only the serious side of
real comedy in the spiriting away of
when he went to St. Albans another
horse of Telford's was to take Phar
Lap's place, and a big chestnut named
Old Ming was selected for the job.
On the Monday morning clothed in
Phar Lap's well-known rugs and wear-

By Tommy Woodcock—Exclusive
to "The Mercury" in Tasmania.
— Copyright
ing heavy bandages, Old Ming was led
on to the track, and after doing light
exercise, such as would be expected
from one who had raced on the Satur-
day, the horse pulled up at the exact
sport where we (the grey pony and my-
self) always met "Bobby." If anyone
present had any doubt it was dispel-
led when they saw the horse getting
illustrious stablemate did. Old Ming
was being made of him.
as Phar Lap, as it made them look fool-
Phar Lap had an easy task that morn-
ing.
following the shooting incident and
when shown the horse deputising for
answered. "But if that horse lives to
be a hundred he'll never be able to run
seven furlongs as fast as Phar Lap
can run a mile."
That statement must have been a
shock to some of the people present
who thought Old Ming was Phar Lap.
Telford, in my opinion, was justified
in adopting any means at all for the
safety of the horse that was entrusted
with so much public money.
Well, the Cup was won and the im-
mediate connections of Phar Lap were
overjoyed. None more so than Jim
Pike. Jim had landed the coveted race
after 14 attempts and I venture to say
that to win on a horse that travelled 50
The Cup was worth £9,229 and a
As Harry Telford had Phar Lap on
lease, and was the nominator of the
horse, he became the owner of the valu-
Before Phar Lap's 1930 Melbourne
Cup the racing authorities became
scared of the gang who showed so little
regard for valuable racehorses that
they brought in a rule making it in-
cumbent on trainers to have an at-
tendant with their horses all the time
Several persons had the impression
that the shooting at Phar Lap was just
a scare story. English papers pub-
lished that it was a publicity stunt.
Strangely enough, the "Sport-
ing Globe's" track representa-
tive at Caulfield, Mr. Jim
Creed, saw the car while on his way to
the track, and, becoming suspicious
took a note of the painted number
plates. He remarked to his pals on
arrival at the course that he would not
be surprised to hear that someone had
had a crack at the safes at the bank or
picture theatre in Glenhuntly Rd. that
morning. Little did he think at the
time that the car was dwelling on the
idol of the Australian turf.
ford bought a half share in Phar
Lap.

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