Catalogue for the Annual New Zealand Thoroughbred Yearling Sales, 1928, at which Phar Lap was sold. The original owner of the catalogue has annotated the listing for Lot 41 (later known as Phar Lap) with the words 'Good Walker, Great Shoulder, Very Strong Made Colt' and the result 'H. Telford, 160 Guineas'.

Physical Description

Seventy two page booklet bound with heavy cream card covers. Cover is printed in a portrait format with details of the auction, as well as a photograph of a horse (NOT Phar Lap.) Inside is printed with extensive black text, detailing the lots in the auction. Pencil annotations have been made next to many of the entries.


The 1928 Annual New Zealand Thoroughbred Yearling Sales catalogue is a significant addition to the Museum's Phar Lap collection as it arguably represents the genesis of the Phar Lap legend. It was a catalogue like this that horse trainer Harry Telford pored over late in 1927, finally setting his sights on Lot 41 which was a chestnut colt foaled in October, 1926. What drew him to this horse is not recorded, but it is likely he was impressed by its pedigree, which included such illustrious champions as St Simon, Musket and the 1890 Melbourne Cup winner Carbine (whose skeleton resides in the Museum's collection.)

Desperate for a champion, after years of meagre successes, Telford was unable to afford to purchase the horse by himself, so he persuaded one of his clients, David Davis, to purchase the horse, with himself as trainer. Telford arranged his brother Hugh, who was a horse trainer in New Zealand, to purchase the horse on his behalf and arrange for it to be shipped to Australia. The horse sold for what Telford considered to be the bargain price of 160 Guineas (Hugh was authorised to bid up to 190 Guineas.) Even though it sold for a low price, it seems that Telford was not the only one to spot the horse's potential. The original owner of this catalogue has annotated Lot 41 with the words `Good Walker, Great Shoulder, Very Strong Made Colt', as well as the result `H.Telford, 160 Guineas.'

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