The Top 5 Greatest Australian Racehorses of All Time

by | 8 Apr 2022

Over the past two decades, Australia has produced some of the most exceptional and magnificent racehorses. Not only have these horses won some of the most prestigious races in history, but they have also captured the hearts of many Australians and fans around the world.

Many of these horses have become legends in their own right and will be remembered for years to come. For this reason, it is only fitting that we rank the top five greatest Australian racehorses of all time.

1. Winx

Winx is a retired champion Australian Thoroughbred racehorse who broke several records and won prestigious races during her career. Winx won 33 races in a row, breaking the Australian horse-racing record held by Black Caviar of 25 wins in a row. She also won over distances ranging from 1100m to 2200m.

Currently, she remains the only four-time winner of the W.S. Cox Plate. Additionally, Winx also still sits on the top of the list of racehorse prizemoney earners in Australian thoroughbred racing history with total earnings of $26,451,175!

On 13 April 2019, she ended her racing career by winning the Queen Elizabeth Stakes for a third time at the Royal Randwick Racecourse. Since then, Winx is enjoying motherhood in retirement and enjoying time with her beautiful Pierro filly.

2. Black Caviar

Black Caviar is a retired champion Australian  Thoroughbred racehorse who was previously undefeated in 25 races. She won the Newmarket Handicap, the Lightning Stakes—now known as Black Caviar’s Lightning after she won it three times—the TJ Smith, and many more.

During her career, she was named World Champion Sprinter (2010) and Australian Champion Racehorse of the Year (2011). On the 21st of February 2013, Black Caviar was already inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame while still a competitor.

On 17 April 2013, it was announced that Black Caviar was officially retired from racing. Following the development, a statue was made for her in the town of Nagambie, Australia. Since then, she foaled four foals namely: Oscietra, Prince of Caviar, Out of Caviar, and Persian Caviar. 

3. Makybe Diva

Makybe Diva is also an Australian Thoroughbred racehorse that achieved unparalleled success by winning three consecutive Melbourne Cups, making her the only horse to accomplish this feat. Her journey to greatness began with victories in provincial tracks and notable wins in the Werribee Cup and the Queen Elizabeth Stakes in 2002.

In the following years, she continued her dominance with triumphs in races like the Australian Cup, BMW Stakes, Memsie Stakes, Turnbull Stakes, Cox Plate, and an unprecedented third consecutive Melbourne Cup. This solidified her status as a world-class racehorse.

In recognition of her remarkable career, Makybe Diva was rightfully inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2006 and later honoured as a legend in 2010. Her legacy as a three-time Melbourne Cup winner and a top-rated filly/mare worldwide became a testament to her exceptional talent and enduring impact on Australian horse racing.

Related: Punters presents: Living Legends horse profiles – life after racing

4. Phar Lap

Phar Lap was an Australian Thoroughbred racehorse that many people consider to be New Zealand’s greatest horse ever. His humble origins resonated with the Australian public, inspiring them during the difficult times of the Depression as an underdog. 

With an impressive record of 37 victories out of 51 races, Phar Lap’s journey was a testament to his resilience. In a memorable feat, he triumphed in the Agua Caliente Handicap in Mexico by setting a track record and overcoming a bad start when he split his hoof during the race. 

Unfortunately, Phar Lap died on April 5, 1932, due to the inflammation of his stomach and intestines which sparked many conspiracies about how he died. Despite Phar Lap’s tragic death, Phar Lap’s legacy lives on through his remains displayed in prominent museums and in a film called Phar Lap: Heart of a Nation. 

5. Carbine

Carbine was a champion Thoroughbred racehorse known as “Old Jack.” He achieved great success in his races, earning him a place in both the New Zealand and Australian Racing Halls of Fame. Carbine boasted an impressive track record of 33 wins out of 43 starts, with only one race missed due to a split hoof.

Throughout his career, he displayed remarkable consistency, winning 17 out of 18 races as a four- and five-year-old. This included a historic Melbourne Cup victory where he carried significantly heavier weight compared to the second-place horse.

Carbine’s impact extended beyond his racing days, as his descendants included notable horses such as Deep Impact, Makybe Diva, and Sunline, who achieved extraordinary success in stakes wins. After his passing in 1914, Carbine’s skeleton was gifted to the Melbourne Museum and is now on display at the Australian Racing Museum and Hall of Fame. 

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