Light Fingers

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Light Fingers
SireLe Filou
DamsireRed Mars
CountryNew Zealand
BreederV. F. Dawson
OwnerW. J. Broderick
TrainerBart Cummings
Major wins
VRC Oaks (1964)
Wakeful Stakes (1964)
Edward Manifold Stakes (1964)
Sandown Guineas (1964)
AJC Oaks (1965)
Craiglee Stakes (1965)
Melbourne Cup (1965)
Sandown Cup (1966)
St George Stakes (1966)
Australian Racing Hall of Fame
Light Fingers Stakes
Last updated on 9-23-17

Light Fingers was a New Zealand bred thoroughbred racehorse who won the Melbourne Cup in 1965. In 2017 Light Fingers was inducted to the Australian Racing Hall of Fame.[1]


The lightly built chestnut was by the highly successful sire of stayers, Le Filou, from Cuddlesome by Red Mars (GB), by Hyperion (GB). She was originally called Close Embrace in New Zealand, but the Australian registrar wouldn't allow that name to be used.

Trained by Bart Cummings, Light Fingers would become the first of his 12 Melbourne Cup winners. On a visit to New Zealand, Cummimgs had tried to buy the filly, but was unsuccessful. He did however manage to lease the horse, which would go on to carry the greatest weight to victory, by a mare, to that date.

Racing career[edit]

Roy Higgins rode Light Fingers in the majority of her big wins. The mare had the ability to win over 1000m (five furlongs) first-up after a spell, but could run out a strong 3200m (two miles). Roy "the professor" Higgins was quoted as saying after her Melbourne Cup victory, that as Light fingers and her stablemate Ziema worked together leading up to the 65 Cup, Higgins felt that when the mare ranged up alongside the big striding Ziema, he seemed to take a look at her and turn it up.The mare had injury problems in the build-up to the Cup and was only able to run after the vet, Percy Sykes, administered a cortisone injection.[2]

Although Ziema took two lengths off Light Fingers in the last furlong of the Melbourne Cup, he couldn't pass the mare. Higgins went on to state. "In the last few strides, however, she seemed to sense that something extra was needed. I could feel her gathering herself and she fairly dived for the winning post. I only had to wave the whip at her. I didn't want to hit her. She was giving all she had."

Following her Melbourne Cup win, Light Fingers ran second to stablemate Galilee, one of the great stayers of the decade, in that race the following year.


  1. ^ "Australian Racing Hall of Fame - Horses". Racing Victoria. 2017. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  2. ^ Max Presnell (29 October 2009). "Light Fingers, heavy hands as Higgins lifted mare to glory". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2014-02-19.