Ten racetracks, three Australian states, four countries, fifty–one starts and thirty-seven wins, Phar Lap's career was full of drama and colour.
In the spring of 1929 Harry Telford employed Aaron Treve Woodcock as full–time strapper to Phar Lap. 'Tommy' Woodcock was to become the most important person in the horse's short life.
The bond between horse and strapper was legendary. Woodcock was on call for 'Bobby', as he nicknamed him, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Often he would sleep just outside the stable. As big races approached this pattern was adhered to religiously.
Woodcock and Phar Lap made for a remarkable partnership. Between 1929 and 1931 Phar Lap dominated Australia's racing industry, at one stage winning fourteen races straight. His string of five wins in the 1930 Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival has never been beaten. He broke time records on the AJC Derby and the VRC Derby.
Phar Lap was the only odds–on favourite in a Melbourne Cup and the only horse to be favourite in three consecutive Cups. Although he was known as a stayer—a horse that performs well in races over a long distance—he was equally successful at sprint races.
He was so dominant in the early 1930s that the VRC altered the conditions of some weight–for–age races. Additional penalties and allowances were added to such races as the Melbourne Cup. It is widely accepted that the rules were changed to curb Phar Lap's winning streak.
Dotted amongst his 37 wins are some remarkable performances. The 1931 Futurity Stakes at Caulfield is often cited as his greatest achievement. Phar Lap carried 10 stone 3 pounds, the maximum allowed for the race; the track was heavy with rain; and Phar Lap gave his opponents a 91 metre head start. Yet he won.