‘The Greatest Everest That Never Was’ is a selection of the best sprinters Australian racing has ever seen. The imposing group of 12 champions are listed below and it’s now the job of the punters to decide the order in which they would finish.
1. Tulloch Record: 53:36-12-4 Foaled: 1954 Breeding: Khorassan x Florida Trainer: Tommy Smith Jockey: George Moore
One of the most versatile gallopers Australian racing has ever seen, this New Zealand-bred legend won from 1000m out to two miles. He won 14 of his 16 starts as a three-year-old before being struck down with a virus which kept him sidelines for two-year-olds. He returned as a five-year-old to win 15 of his last 24 starts.
2. Todman Record: 12:10:1-0 Foaled: 1954 Breeding: Star Kingdom x Oceana Trainer: Maurice McCarten Jockey: Neville Sellwood
Todman was a brilliant sprinter evidenced by the fact that he seven of his 10 wins he ran record times. He won the first running of the Golden Slipper in 1957 and did so by eight lengths before taking out the Champagne Stakes in equally dominant fashion where he beat Tulloch. His legacy as a sire was just as impressive as his on track feats.
3. Takeover Target Record: 41:21-6-4 Foaled: 1999 Breeding: Celtic Swing x Shady Stream Trainer: Joe Janiak Jockey: Jay Ford
Don’t let the romance of Takeover Target’s story take away from the fact that he was an exceptional sprinter winning eight Group One races one of which was in Japan and another in Singapore. He was also a frequent flyer to the UK where he won the King's Stand Stakes (when is was a Group Two) and placed in three Group Ones. Bought for just $1,250 Takeover Target earned over $6 million in prizemoney.
4. Manikato Record: 47:29-8-5 Foaled: 1975 Breeding: Manihi x Markato Trainer: Bon and Bob Hoysted Jockey: Gary Willets
As fast as he was courageous, Manikato finished his career with 11 Group Ones but many of the races he won have since been upgraded which would bring his tally to 20. He took out the Blue Diamond-Golden Slipper double as a two-year-old, broke a number of track records and was the second Australian horse, after Kingston Town, to win $1 million in stakes.
5. Vain Record: 14:12-2-0 Foaled: 1966 Breeding: Wilkes x Elated Trainer: Jim Moloney Jockey: Pat Hyland
Vain was a speed machine. His Golden Slipper romp was a show of “sheer and sustained brilliance” according to his regular jockey Pat Hyland. Couple his blistering speed with a devastating turn of foot and you have a formidable race horse. In 1969 he won three times over Melbourne Cup week taking out races over 1200, 1400m and then the mile. Interestingly, he is the great-great grand-sire of Black Caviar on the dam side.
6. Luskin Star Record: 17:13-3-0 Foaled: 1974 Breeding: Karou Star x Promising Trainer: Max Lees Jockey: John Wade
Luskin Star lays claim to being the best two-year-old Australian racing has ever seen. He made headlines from his very first outing in the 1976 Breeders’ Plate, winning by 12 lengths, before winning the Silver Slipper, Todman and then the triple crown of the Golden Slipper, Sire’s Produce and Champagne Stakes. He would return as a three-year-old to win the 1977 Caulfield Guineas and 1978 The Galaxy.
7. Hareeba Record: 26:10-6-0 Foaled: 1990 Breeding: Al Hareb x Headford Lass Trainer: Ken Newman Jockey: Simon Marshall
At his best Hareeba was a sensation. Armed with power and speed, when right, few sprinters could match his ability. Unfortunately, we never got to see his best as his career was dogged by injuries but his wins in the 1995 Australia Made Stakes and then the Stanley Wootton Stakes, where he defeated Mahogany and Schillaci showcased his unquestionable talent. Trainer Ken Newman said of Hareeba, “You could rest a glass of water on his head and he wouldn’t spill a drop, just a beautifully balanced horse.”
8. Schillaci Record: 36:16-5-5 Foaled: 1988 Breeding: Salieri x Biscarina Trainer: Lee Freedman Jockey: Damien Oliver
This hulking grey gelding wasn’t only popular because of his looks but also because for his champion status as a sprinter. He claimed eight Group Ones over his career, the first of which came at just his fourth start. In fact, by the time he had six starts he’d already won the Lightning Stakes, Oakleigh Plate and Newmarket Handicap. As a four-year-old he won another six races but failed to reach those heights again as an older horses with Freedman saying “he was never quite right.”
9. Zeditave Record: 17:14-0-0 Foaled: 1985 Breeding: The Judge x Summoned Trainer: Angus Armanasco Jockey: Greg Hall
This five-time Group One winner was, like Luskin Star, an utterly dominant two-year-old. After claiming the Blue Diamond, Angus Armanasco set his sights on Sydney and after taking out the Pago Pago he lined up as favourite in the Golden Slipper but a wide draw and wet track put pay to his chances. He would go on to beat Vo Rogue and Special in the William Reid before then winning the Lightning Stakes. Greg Hall later sung the praise of Zeditive in suggesting that “he was as good as anything I ever rode.”
10. Placid Ark Record: 21:14-2-1 Foaled: 1983 Breeding: Arkenstone x Northern Queen Trainer: Wally Mitchell Jockey: John Scorse
Placid Ark was the first horse to ever complete the Lightning Stakes, Oakleigh Plate and Newmarket Handicap same-season treble. This resulted in him being named the joint 1986-87 Horse Of The Year, along with Bonecrusher. The Western Australian-trained speedster, who Tommy Smith once described as the fastest horse he had ever seen, also enjoyed success in Sydney, claiming the 1987 Canterbury Stakes where he equalled Manikato’s race record.
11. Black Caviar Record: 25:25-0-0 Foaled: 2006 Breeding: Bel Esprit x Helsinge Trainer: Peter Moody Jockey: Luke Nolen
A freak in every sense of the word. Black Caviar competed at the elite level for her entire career with only three of her victories coming outside of Group company. She retired with 15 Group Ones to her name and with the exception of her Royal Ascot victory where she bravely scrambled home injured, the rest were recorded with nonchalant ease. Black Caviar possessed a cruising speed we’ve never seen before and may never see again. She simply broke her rivals hearts.
12. Miss Andretti Record: 31:19-3-2 Foaled: 2001 Breeding: Ihtiram x Peggie’s Bid Trainer: Lee Freedman Jockey: Craig Newitt
It’s a fair claim to fame being the only horse in thoroughbred racing history to simultaneously hold five track records across two countries. After starting her career in Western Australia with trainer David Mueller, she found herself with Freedman who claimed five Group Ones sprints with her. Among those was her King’s Stand Stakes triumph at Royal Ascot shattering the 1000m track record, where Magnus ran second and Takeover Target fourth.