Better Loosen Up

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Better Loosen Up
Sire Loosen Up (USA)
Grandsire Never Bend
Dam Better Fantasy
Damsire Better Boy (IRE)
Sex Gelding
Foaled 29 August 1985
Country Australia
Colour Bay
Breeder Howard Martin
Owner L. & G. Theodore, Mrs L. Koumi, L. Fink, G.+ J.+ I. Farrah
Trainer Les Theodore (at 2)
Bart Cummings (at 3)
Colin Hayes (at 4)
David Hayes (from 5 to 7)
Record 45: 17–9–3[1]
Earnings A$4,773,970[1]
Major wins

Honda Stakes (1989)
Railway Stakes (1989)
Winfield Stakes (1989)
Cox Plate (1990)
Segenhoe Stakes (1990)
LKS MacKinnon Stakes (1990)
J F Feehan Stakes (1990)
Blamey Stakes (1990, 1991)
Turnbull Stakes (1990)
Australian Cup (1991)

International race wins:
Japan Cup (1990)
Australian Horse of the Year (1991)
Australian Racing Hall of Fame (2004)
Last updated on 13 June 2011

Better Loosen Up (foaled 29 August 1985 – died 15 March 2016[2]) was an Australian Thoroughbred racehorse that won the Japan Cup in 1990[3] and was named Australia's champion racehorse in 1991. He campaigned from two to seven years of age, and won 17 of his 45 starts,[4] including eight Group One races.[5] In 2004, he was inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame.[6]

Better Loosen Up was a small bay gelding, by Loosen Up (USA) out of Better Fantasy by Better Boy (IRE). He was bred by Howard Martin and foaled in Berrigan, New South Wales. Loosen Up won the French Prix de l' Avre and was the sire of six stakes-winners in Australia with Better Loosen Up being the best one. Better Fantasy was the dam of 13 named foals, but Better Loosen Up was her only stakes-winner.[7]

Racing career[edit]

Under the care of Les Theodore, won one of his four starts as two-year-old, a maiden at Bendigo on 28 April 1988. At three, he was transferred to the Sydney stables of Bart Cummings, where he won four races and was runner-up in the Canterbury Guineas. At season's end, his record stood at a relatively unprepossessing five wins from 16 starts, although Les Theodore claims to have told the staff at Lindsay Park that the horse was a 'champion'.[8]

Now trained by Colin Hayes, Better Loosen Up resumed late in the spring of 1989, on Caulfield Cup day, with a close second, and finished the year with three Group One wins in as many starts, in the Honda Stakes, the Winfield Stakes, and the Railway Stakes. In the new year, he defeated Super Impose and Vo Rogue in the Blamey and the Segenhoe Stakes, and was runner-up to Vo Rogue in the Australian Cup in between. In his final starts for the season, he was defeated by Sydeston on heavy tracks in the Mercedes Classic and Queen Elizabeth Stakes. At five, under the care of David Hayes (Colin Hayes had retired at the end of the 1989–1990 season), Better Loosen Up was better again. After a first-up defeat in the Liston Stakes, he was undefeated for the rest of the season, and, in successive races, took out the Feehan Stakes, the Turnbull Stakes, the Cox Plate, the Mackinnon Stakes, the Japan Cup, and, in the new year, the Blamey Stakes and the Australian Cup. In the Cox Plate, Better Loosen Up had come from an estimated 30 lengths off the lead to win in course-record time; in the Mackinnon Stakes, on Derby Day, he was one of a 'world record' six Group winners for his trainer;[9] in the Japan Cup, he scored a thrilling win to racecaller Bryan Martin's cry of 'Better Loosen Up has won for Australia',[8] and remains the only Australian horse to do so; in the Australian Cup, he defeated Vo Rogue by five-and-a-half lengths. Following this season, Better Loosen Up was named Australia's champion racehorse in 1991.

A leg injury, which had cut short his autumn campaign, restricted him to just 12 further starts, at six and seven, and he failed to reach the same heights. His best performance came in the Cox Plate of 1992, where he was beaten just over a length by Super Impose, and successfully protested against Let's Elope, that was second past-the-post. He was retired in February 1993, within days of Super Impose, with which he would star on 'Super Better Best'[8] – the story of how two geldings rose from obscurity to amass a '$10 million fortune'.

In retirement[edit]

Better Loosen Up lived at Living Legends, The International Home of Rest for Champion Horses in the Melbourne suburb of Greenvale before his death in 2016.[10]


Pedigree of Better Loosen Up (AUS), bay gelding, 1985
Loosen Up (USA)
Br. 1973
Never Bend
Nasrullah Nearco
Mumtaz Begum
Lalun Djeddah
Be Faithful
Dancing Hostess
Sword Dancer Sunglow
Highland Fling
Your Hostess Alibhai
Better Fantasy
Br or bl. 1975
Better Boy (IRE)
My Babu Djebel
Better So Mieuxce
Pure Fantasy
Niksar Le Haar
Alecon Dalray
Boot Maid (Family: 7-d)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Better Loosen Up's racing record
  2. ^ The Australian, Better Loosen Up, champion gelding, dies at 30
  3. ^ [1] List of Japan Cup winners
  4. ^ [2] Better Loosen Up's career record (Note: While the races contested by Better Loosen Up and his finishing positions appear correct, in many cases the other placegetters are not correct)
  5. ^ ASB – Race wins Retrieved on 26 July 2009
  6. ^ Better Loosen Up in limelight again
  7. ^ "Better Fantasy (AUS)". Australian Stud Book. Australian Turf Club Limited and Victoria Racing Club Limited. Retrieved 13 June 2011. 
  8. ^ a b c Crawley, Steve (1993) 'Super Better Best', Raceplay, 87–93 Thislethwaite Street, South Melbourne, Victoria, 3205, VHS cassette/DVD
  9. ^ Racecaller Bryan Martin's web site
  10. ^ Living Legends Retrieved on 26 July 2009

External links[edit]