Phar Lap, known as the “Red Terror” was Australasia’s greatest racehorse. Among his greatest wins was the 1930 Melbourne Cup. He started 51 races and won 37 times. So dominant in races was Phar Lap, that he was forced to carry a massive handicap weight – and still won. His last race won and in record time was the Aguas Caliente Handicap in the USA. Phar Lap died haemorrhaging in the arms of his trainer Tommy Woodcock under mysterious circumstances.

Although an autopsy failed to reveal the cause of death, it is widely believed that he was poisoned in the USA. His heart was 1.5 times the size of a normal thoroughbred’s, and veterinary surgeons claimed that this was the reason for Phar Lap’s extraordinary strength and valour. The expression “a heart as big as Phar Lap’s” remains an Australian accolade for a human or animal with more than its share of courage. Phar Lap’s extraordinarily massive heart can today be seen at the Museum of Australia in Canberra.