Australian Cup: Memorable moments
The move from handicap to weight-for-age in 1979 (except between 1983 and 1986) re-invigorated the Australian Cup, which has had a glittering ‘who’s who’ of the best racehorses in recent years.
Makybe Diva, Northerly, Octagonal, Saintly, Better Loosen Up and Dulcify – who ran down Manikato in an epic race – were legendary modern-era winners.
Standouts, arguably, were Bonecrusher, Vo Rogue and Lonhro.
The most memorable aspect of Bonecrusher’s lunging win over At Talaq in 1987 was the great Bill Collins’ call. He was indeed the accurate one, labelling Bonecrusher, who dived late, the winner despite most punters fearing the champion had been nosed out.
No horse has stamped itself on the Australian Cup like Vo Rogue, who won back-to-back in 1989 and 1990 and was second in the Dandy Andy ‘boilover’ in 1988, and also to Better Loosen Up in 1991. His relentless front-running wins, staving off the likes of Better Loosen Up and Super Impose, established him as a legend.
Lonhro’s win in 2004 was one of the most courageous, and if you weren’t a Lonhro fan before the 2004 Darley Australian Cup, you probably were after it. Ridden by dual Melbourne Cup-winning jockey, Darren Beadman, the son of Octagonal started an even-money ($2) favourite. Hopelessly pocketed inside the clock tower, Beadman was running out of options to get the entire into clear space. Easing off the heels of all runners, Lonhro found his way to the outside and seemingly took over proceedings to show an extraordinary turn of foot and get up by a neck over three-year-old Delzao and Caulfield Cup winner, Elvstroem. Beadman would openly admit, if not for the extraordinary qualities of the horse, he would not have won. Some would suggest it was the epitome of The Great Escape. The racecourse was a sea of cerise flags and banners, with the reception for the Ingham brothers-owned champion among the warmest in Australian Cup history.
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