Race program issued for the Victorian Racing Club Derby Day Meeting, held at Flemington Racecourse on 1st November, 1930. Phar Lap ran in, and won, the Melbourne Stakes, with prize money of 1000 pounds. This program belonged to a freelance press photographer, and has been annotated with details of the photographs he took that day, including details relating to the increased security surrounding Phar Lap after the attempted shooting at Caulfield that morning.

Physical Description

Rectagular booklet with light brown card cover and 76 printed pages inside attached with two metal staples along the spine. Cover is printed with details of the race meeting, a map of the course and train travel details for the Spring racing carnival. Pencilled notations have been handwritten on a number of pages. Cover and several pages have pen scribble on them (a later addition.)


Although at first sight this programme may seem unimpressive, particularly in relation to its well-used condition, it is in fact a fascinating and possibly unique artefact from Phar Lap's racing career. Programmes from his races are difficult enough to source but the fact that this copy belonged to a press photographer and was used during his most successful campaign, the 1930 Spring Racing Carnival, where he won his races on all four days of the Carnival (Derby Day, Cup Day, Oaks Day and Stakes Day) a result made more impressive by the attempted shooting of Phar Lap, near Caulfield racecourse,on the early morning of Derby Day. Security around the horse was intense during the race meeting, and is alluded to in the programme by notations referring to photographs taken of `Phar Lap going home with 2 policemen' and `Phar Lap with police etc.' This is the collection' first acquisition which relates to the memorable events of that day.

It is also an important acquisition in relation to Phar Lap's status as one of Australia's first media stars. The 1920s had been a period of great change in relation to newspapers and their traditional layout. New technology enabled bold headlines and photographs to be used to a much greater extent so, by 1930, photographs of events such as Phar Lap's races would have been in hot demand. Whilst the larger publications would have had their own photographers on staff, smaller publications relied on the services of freelance photographers, such as the person who used this programme. Notes have been made relating to photographs for Melbourne's Argus newspaper and Sydney's Labour Daily newspaper. Unfortunately his name is unknown at this stage (published photographs were never accredited) but it is possible that further research may reveal this. Even so, it is a intriguing artefact from one of the most notorious days of Phar Lap's four year career.

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