Talk:Phar Lap

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I wasn't intending to demean Phar Lap when I changed "considered" to "considered by many", but in North America I think the general view is that he may have been one of the greatest but was denied a chance to prove it. He didn't get a shot at whupping the best American horses, in particular the mighty Equipoise. I don't think the Agua Caliente field was particularly strong that year. Trontonian 22:54, 7 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Hmmmm. Irrelevant. This one-eyed kiwi feels compelled to remind you he carried 58.5 kg to a Agua Caliente track record. ): Moriori 23:18, Apr 7, 2004 (UTC)

Equipoise set a world record for the mile the same year (carrying a similar weight, I would think, since he tended to be assigned huge weights, and anyway I think 129 is standard weight for a four-year-old), and in 1933 won the Metropolitan carrying 26 pounds more than the runner-up. A match race between him and Phar Lap would probably have been spectacular. I do have a bit of an agenda, though – I think the best race horse out of New Zealand is Cardigan Bay. He got a chance to beat the best and he did. But difference of opinion is what makes horse races, eh? I must also admit that recently my skills at judging the local horseflesh have been a little deficient. Trontonian 23:25, 7 Apr 2004 (UTC)

The New York Times publication Mid-Week Pictorial (April 2, 1932, with Phar Lap the full cover page) says Phar Lap got off to a terrible start in the Aqua Caliente, was back in last place, and still set a track record. Many Phar Lap records stood for over 30 years, and some of those were set with the horse carrying a big load on his back.

In 1999 The Blood-Horse produced a list of the Top 100 Racehorses of the 20th Century. They got a panel of seven writers to do the voting. As the Wikipedia entry says, Phar Lap was ranked #22. However, it is instructive to read the forward to this book, written by editor William R. Nack. Mr Nack writes: "And what to do about Phar Lap (No. 22)? After Secretariat’s triumph in the Triple Crown, the writer asked the elderly Francis Dunne, then a steward in New York, whether Man o’ War or Secretariat was the greatest horse that he had ever seen. "Neither," said Francis. "I saw Phar Lap."

Similarly, Charlie Whittingham, who trained Ferdinand, Sunday Silence, and Exceller, saw many great horses in his lifetime. He was at the 1932 Aqua Caliente Handicap and later wrote, "I never got to see Man o' War. But he'd have to be a helluva horse to be better than Phar Lap."

Much of what you say about Phar Lap can be said of Equipoise, especially the huge weights. Equipoise faced stronger fields, too. He was left in the gate in the Pimlico and still beat Twenty Grand and Mate while wearing only two shoes. Yes, Phar Lap may have been a greater horse than Equipoise (ranked #21, as I recall), but then again he may not have been. A great horse wins grade 1 and group I stakes races. That Phar Lap never had the opportunity to prove he could do that is the tragedy. Looking at it another way, I'm a Canadian and so I greatly admire Northern Dancer. But if he'd died right after producing Nijinsky II I couldn't say he was the greatest sire of his era. John FitzGerald 01:38, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I doubt that Phar Lap could have taken Equipoise on home territory. Equipoise was considered to be a freak. The greatest NZ racehorse is possibly Horlicks. She beat the best horses in the world from America, Asia and Europe, and also won the Japan Cup in World Record time over 2400 meters, in 2.22!! Of course Australians would say she was an Australian racehorse, as she raced in Australia (just like Phar Lap). Wallie 07:00, 25 September 2005 (UTC)
I think it's interesting that the Museum Victoria compares Phar Lap, not to Equipoise, but to Carbine. They point out similar performances, and say that at the time, there was a rivalry of sorts, but Carbine has been largely forgotten, while Phar Lap got lots of press. You can't really compare the statistics of weights and times, because horses don't race against a stopwatch so much as they race against each other. Give a good horse a highly competitive field to race against, and he'll race harder; give him a field of mediocre horses, and he'll run more slowly. Come to think of it, people behave pretty much in the same way: they rise to a challenge. ClairSamoht 09:47, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

Phar Lap did break the track record. It was a pity that Equipoise didn't race him - he was entered for the race. As for Northern Dancer, you can't compare them. Northern Dancer is certainly more well known, though. Phar Lap was also gelded. Phar Lap was "cut short in his prime". Wallie (talk) 14:09, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

Can someone go through this article and make the weights consistent? At least one is in stones & pounds, while another is in pounds only. I've got no idea how many pounds are in a stone, or I'd do it myself.

Yes, the article says Phar Lap was born and bred in New Zealand, but it then goes on to celebrate his supposed Australian citizenship - even including a quote by the Aussie cyclist who seems to think Phar Lap was an Aussie horse. I guess I dont have a problem with the article, however I hope all who read it will take umbrage, as I did, at how obviously Australia wants to claim him. Nope. He was ours. Born and rasied in NZ. Sorry.

Any Kiwi who takes umbrage at the suggestion Phar Lap was an Aussie horse is very likely a victim of Kiwi media propaganda. Phar Lap is, for all intents and purposes, an Aussie. End of story. Phar Lap captured the imagination of the Australian public during the great depression and holds a central position in Australian cultural history. A comparison can be made with the great American race horse Seabiscuit. Any Kiwi claim to Phar Lap can be correctly interpreted as a retrospective rewrite of history by which the impact of Phar Lap on Kiwi society at the time is highly overstated. And therein lies the crux of the matter. Although Kiwis may technically be able to claim Phar Lap's place of birth, they can never claim his soul. That belongs in Australia. (c) Ernest the Sheep

Hi. I put in this bit in the article... "Although Phar Lap was bred in New Zealand, he was very much a part of the Australian racing scene during his long and distinguished career.". I hope it sums things up. The story of Phar Lap belongs to both Australia and New Zealand. Isn't this what the ANZAC spirit is all about? You can say "Phar Lap" was an Australian horse. You can also say "Phar Lap" was a New Zealand horse. Both statements are equally true. The same applies to the great horses Gloaming and Nightmarch that older people also mention from the same period. Wallie 18:21, 16 April 2006 (UTC)

Difference though is that unlike Phar Lap, both Gloaming and Nightmarch had racing careers in New Zealand. A fact also overlooked by the kiwi reviewer of the book about Phar Lap mentioned in the external links. I also note in the sections of the article dealing with Phar Lap's untimely demise and his cultural significance, that there is very little information given concerning the New Zealand experience. I'm guessing that this is due to the fact that the literature on the subject is of Australian origin and hence gives the Australian perspective. Perhaps you could do some research yourself by visiting your local library where hopefully they can provide you with the newspapers of the time. Then you might be able to include evidence in the article proving that Phar Lap also had a significant impact on everyday life in New Zealand. Otherwise it could be argued that New Zealand claims on Phar Lap are nothing more than a retrospective grab for glory.Ernest the Sheep 11:10, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

I changed the phrase "In 2006 it was revealed by the Australian Synchrotron Research Program that he was poisoned with a large dose of arsenic", because it is not of absolute certainty that it was that that killed him. The study thus far has only proved that there was a high level of arsenic in his system, which can be explained away.

Aussies Have Identity Issues[edit]

Look! It's a kiwi! From New Zealand. Just like Phar Lap!

"Phar Lap captured the imagination of the Australian public during the great depression and holds a central position in Australian cultural history." Okay, great. No-one seems to have mentioned that it did the same in New Zealand. Everyone was thrilled that a Kiwi horse won the Melbourne Cup. Perhaps Australasian, or ANZAC may be more accurate? It may be prudent to note the number of horses that are New Zealand born in Australia. Australians, as far as I am aware, are not so keen to claim those. I wonder why they might want to claim a successful horse? Furthermore: "Although Kiwis may technically be able to claim Phar Lap's place of birth..." I would say there is nothing technical about it - as far as I am aware, Timaru is in New Zealand, unless it has changed recently. This person is trying to belittle the New Zealand aspect to Phar Lap. And the statement "they can never claim his soul. That belongs in Australia" is also aimed at being provocative. (As far as I am concerned, you guys can have the soul, we'll have the skeleton. Hope you enjoy that soul.) The article is also seems to refer to Phar Lap as having Australian citizenship - that reminds me, must get some photos taken of my cat and apply for a passport. I think the attitude of some of the above people is crazy, and not very friendly at all... Although most of my comments havn't been very friendly either... However, I agree with the person directly above me - that Phar Lap is and will forever be part of ANZAC, (If you like, AUSTRALASIAN) culture. This is something that will never be resolved. But of course, I am pro-NZ, so I will state that: There is one definite fact, and that is that Phar Lap was born in New Zealand.

Hi. It's Ernie here. I made the comment about Phar Lap capturing the imagination of the Australian public during the great depression in order to try and emphasize the importance not only of Phar Lap's achievements, but also how important Phar Lap's influence on the social climate of the time is to his legend. A point lost on most New Zealanders. Yes, I'm quite sure there was a certain amount of pride in New Zealand that a "Kiwi" horse had won the Melbourne cup. Just as I'm sure there was some pride in circles in the UK following Makybe Diva's recent threepeat in that race. However I some how doubt that the Poms will still be whinning on about the fact 50 years from now. That is because they are a proud nation with a rich culture and history of their own to celebrate. Unlike New Zealand it would seem, who seem rather desperate to appropriate a piece of Australian sporting folklore as their own. Presumably because it appears to be so much more appealing and exciting than any of their own, at least through the eyes of insecure Kiwis. It's all just another symptom of the Kiwi inferiority complex and issues of national identity that Kiwis are struggling with. The fact is the NZ component of the Phar Lap story pretty much ends when he is brought over to Australia.

I'm not meaning to be provocative with any of the above comments, rather I'm just stating it the way it is. The sooner Kiwis realise the farcical nature of their obsession with Phar Lap, and indeed all things Australian in general, the quicker they will be able to establish a national identity for themselves.

Just thought i'd throw in my two cents. I work at Te Papa and on a daily basis get to watch as proud NZers look at the skeleton of Phar-Lap. Particularly older NZers who had the privilage of witnessing the amazing story of this horse. NZ is a small country and does not have (and especially did not at the time) the population to do justice to a great horse, or musician, or actor etc. The reason our greatest in all these fields spent a good portion of their career in Australia is because of the larger population, economy etc. It would be fool-hardy for us to keep a horse of Phar-Laps calibre in New Zealand because of national pride (what good is having a great horse if it can't achieve great things) Australia is a stepping stone for many NZ artists and talents (Just like Phar Lap) to achieve greatness. That does not take away form the fact that these great Kiwi icons are from NZ. I understand that Phar-Lap was a big hit in Australia and you were all proud of him (So were we, Indeed a look into historical NZ papers will reveal this to anyone willing to look). Maybe NZers do have an inferiority complex, it is not hard to see why when there are Australians (like you Ernest the Sheep and you unsigned writer) thumping on at us about being unreasonable when we try to retain some semblence of our small countries great achievements. It also does not help that the voice of these Australians is (populationally) akin to that of an air horn vs a squeeking mouse. The amount of NZ bashing in this talk page is incredible. It is worth asking who has the worse inferiority complex when they have to try to claim other countries great achievements as their own (Speaking merely of individuals on this talk page, not of Australians in general). Yes Phar-Lap made these great achievements in Australia, Yes he was an Australian icon (So is Neil Finn), But no, He was not an Australian Horse, He was a New Zealand Horse. I challenge you to provide a coherent argument that he is not. And if you do take that challenge, please try to steer clear of abstract concepts like souls, that doesn't convince or impress anyone. And people let's try to stay friendly.Guavafruit 01:32, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

This just in dude. Phar Lap was a horse, not a person. So it really is ridiculous of you to attempt to compare him with the likes of Neil Finn, who you have rather oddly described as being an Australian icon. Why not add Ed Hillary while you're at it?. Indeed if you are a Kiwi (as I am, btw) then you will well remember the (feigned) outrage and indignation there was here over that book by Peter FitzSimons that supposedly made such a claim. Of course it was mostly exaggerated nonsense on the part of the NZ media. I do find it rather amusing though just how often such incidents occur. I'm forever reading contrived pieces in the press here starting along the lines of "First it was Phar Lap, Pavlova, Split Enz ....., now those Aussies are claiming such and such a Kiwi" (who if truth be told the majority of Aussies would have probably never heard of). C'mon dude you know it's true! Kiwis have this desperate need to believe that the Aussies are trying to steal their supposed icons or stars. I'm not sure of the exact psychological reason behind this, but I suspect it has something to to with the Kiwi chip-on-the-shoulder mentality, and a need to believe that Australians are jealous of them, when the opposite is closer to the truth. As for your challenge to provide a coherent argument that Phar Lap was A Kiwi and not an Aussie horse, well I can only conclude that the arguments that I have presented previously on this page went over your head. I can't see much point in me repeating it all again. You clearly fail to understand the true nature of Phar Lap's legend.Ernest the Sheep 23:25, 27 March 2007 (UTC)


Has anyone got measures on Pharlap's stride. A horse's heart size, lung capacity, spleen size, and stride can contribute towards analyzing a winner. It might be instructive to study the statistics of the top 25 horses (distance, extra weighting, time, track conditions, temperature, times of other horses, heart weight or size, stride length, etc.) to simulate a horse race much as they do with computer football and basketball and boxing. Stride length can be measured looking at the old Movietone newsreels.

I reckon some computer simulations, ala "Rocky Balboa" should be preformed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:11, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

To the "My Horse, no my horse" argument..[edit]

Holy hell what a typically Australian view, i am talking about the convict remnant harping on about "all things Australian" you take it as if Kiwis are systematically and obsessively stealing Australian icons, like we ant to be recognised with such backwardness. Please don't get it twisted, were trying to preserve value and honor by distancing great things from Australian ownership so as to not taint them by proxy.. Yes I'm joking, no i'm not serious, but is this argument? Its a Horse and if anything more a representation of hope and strength, does that really need to be claimed to a certain geographic local? Its as if this were the Lindsay Lohan article and your trying to say she was west side and not east.. ahhhh get over it. Oh, btw. Just to be clear, we don't want Russel Crowe, the Aussie's can have him, but by god if i hear that Pavlova argument... =P p.s a-la disclaimer: All ribbing (joking, joshing, towel cracking or leg pulling) is done in the time honored and traditional tradition and spirit of the "Sheep Jokes and Underarm Bowling" relationship, its a special and unique relationship that outsiders may not quite understand but is completely positive *cough*. Please don't flame me. =)

Dude. Ernie here. I'm a Kiwi. Was born here. Have lived most of my life here. But thanks for asking anyway, you big goose. Now, ignoring all the fluff in your above little diatribe, which would appear to be most of it, the point you seem to be making is that Phar Lap was *only* a horse. Which kind of says it all really. Like most Kiwis you miss the point. Phar Lap was much *more* than just a horse. How else could his legend be accounted for if it were otherwise? His myth is inextricably linked with the Australia of the depression era. A connection in time, place, and in the national psyche. You just can't share these sorts of things. So I find it curious that a lot of Kiwis seem to want to.

Now is it the race that stops a nation, or as is often said here in NZ, is it the race that stops two nations? Australians don't seem to mind. Yet Kiwis can be oddly possessive. Rusty Crowe? Pavlova? Definitely Kiwi. Indeed a great deal of research has been put into confirming the later. Obviously an important component for the Kiwi psyche. Aussies don't appear to care as much. Or perhaps they're just more generous. Enter the name of Australia's greatest war heroine Nancy Wake into the google search engine. The first hit is a Kiwi website proclaiming her to be a Kiwi hero. I don't know about you dude, but I find it just a tad embarrassing that the names of people who hardly spent any time living in NZ can be bandied about as being famous NZers, or NZ heroes. I blame it on the Kiwi inferiority complex. The national insecurity. The need for outside affirmation.

Yes dude, it might be a *unique* relationship, but the truth is that Kiwis pay a great deal more attention to Australians than the reverse.

Ernie... Dude... Pull ya head in pal —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:18, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

I wish Australia and New Zealand would just sleep together already. They're obviously crazy in love or they wouldn't bicker like they do. --Tysto (talk) 05:23, 8 December 2008 (UTC)
That is untrue. Often Australians claim anything with a remotely Australian connection as being Australian. Australians broadcast it so often, that people begin to believe it. New Zealanders are beginning to wake up to the fact that there won't be anything much left that is New Zealand, if Australia claim their icons. As for Australia's greatest war hero being Nancy Wake. What a huge laugh. No one there had heard of her until recently. Ever heard of Albert Jacka? The only reason why Australians try to claim Nancy Wake is because she is someone else's, and they made a film about her. The problem that I see is that Australians want their own icons, and also try to grab as many foreign icons too. Wallie (talk) 09:47, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

Again you demonstrate your ignorance. Nancy Wake well known in Australia shortly after the war. In fact the first book about her was published way back in 1956. On the other hand she was pretty much unknown in NZ until as recently as a decade ago. Ernest the Sheep (talk) 08:06, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

Phar Lap statue[edit]

Hey people, I'm the one who started the Dutch article about Phar Lap and have to say: what a beautifull article. When I've got the time, I'm surely going to translate some of your stuff into our one. But in the meantime: your article tells about the bronze statue they are going to create in Timaru, but on my travels through NZ, I already found one at the farm he was born, a photo of it is on our Dutch article. It's made out of Oamaru white-stone. Cheers, Cyriellie 16:28, 7 August 2006 (UTC)


How big ís the horse: the article says that he's both: "was a giant chestnut gelding, standing 17.1 hands," and "Phar Lap stannding at 12hands high making him the smallest racehorse ever. Phar Lap was competing with horses standing 17hands high" ( 08:39, 5 June 2007 (UTC))

  • The statements you read were vandalism, and have now been reverted. - Gobeirne 09:15, 5 June 2007 (UTC)

Racing Record[edit]

Hey is it possible for someone to put a heading row on the tables in this section.. I'm not sure what some of those columns refer to. Thanks! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:52, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

What does this mean exactly ?[edit]

"Although syndicating a winning racehorse can be quite lucrative, Telford gelded Phar Lap anyway, hoping that the colt would concentrate on racing."

This sentence and the reference to gelding , means it would be about the horse's potential post-racing career as a stud. However thats not what "syndicating" means. Syndicating means selling part-ownership shares in the horse to investors. I think this sentence needs to be changed. Eregli bob 03:54, 13 November 2007 (UTC)

It does need to be changed. Syndicating is sharing the burden of cost for an equal reward of remaining prize money after Jockey and Trainer commissions and race day expenses. The correct terminology is "Standing". A stallion 'Stands' at stud to service mares - which is indeed lucrative for both major racing winning stallions, and stallions whose progeny have been major race winners. --Inflexus (talk) 00:02, 28 October 2008 (UTC)

anti semitism???[edit]

on the sleve for the vhs version of this movie it is claimed that pharlap's success was impeded by the racing comission because pharlaps trainer was jewish and the racing comission was anti-semetic. what? there is little reference to dave davis being jewish and anti-semetism had nothing to do with the commissions grudge against pharlap. pharlap won and won and won. nobody wanted to put their horses against him and the bookmakers wouldnt take any bets for pharlap because he always won. why do people inject this type of crap into the sleve of a movie? does the myth of antisemetism need to be spread that badly?Ethmegdav (talk) 05:09, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

Date of foaling[edit]

According to most sources, Phar Lap was born 4 October 1926 – e.g. [1]. But this says it was 26 October 1926. Is the latter date incorrect? -- JackofOz (talk) 08:39, 29 April 2008 (UTC)

Here's another one which gives the date as 28 October [2]. If the NewZealand Stud Book has the date recorded as 4 October I think we should accept that, rather than the sales catalogue.- Cuddy Wifter (talk) 23:01, 29 April 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. Phar Lap being born in 1926, it's a simple error to put 26 October rather than 4 October. I guess that could lead to mis-reading and hence we get variations on an error, such as 28 October. I'll put the 4 October date into the article. I can't believe it's not already there. -- JackofOz (talk) 00:01, 30 April 2008 (UTC)

Phar Lap a New Zealand national icon?[edit]

This claim is made in the article, yet there is no evidence provided to substantiate it. While on the other hand plenty of evidence is available to back up the assertion that Phar Lap is indeed a much loved Aussie national icon. From the reaction of the public at the time of his untimely demise, preserved by the newspapers of the day, as well as an extensive literature which includes coverage of Phar Lap's impact on Australian culture, to a song and even a movie. Where's the discussion of Phar Lap's impact on the New Zealand culture? There is none, because the claim that Phar Lap is a New Zealand icon is a fabrication of history, an invention if you like. If Phar Lap is a New Zealand icon then it is only as a symbol of New Zealand's insecurity and inferiority complex. There is no genuine love or fascination with the Phar Lap story within the general New Zealand public. If this claim of Phar Lap being a New Zealand national icon cannot be backed up by evidence then it should be removed in accordance with Wikipedia policy.Ernest the Sheep (talk) 07:53, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

When in New Zealand, people told me, that "Phar Lap was anothor thing the ozzies stole from the kiwi's" (sic). I do think the kiwi's are proud of him, illustrated by for instance statues and roads named after him. Ciell (talk) 21:11, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
Well that can't be right, it clearly states in the article that the colt was purchased at auction.Ernest the Sheep (talk) 12:11, 18 May 2008 (UTC)
Well, I'm a New Zealander with no particular axe to grind on this issue, due to the fact I'm not interested in racing or gambling. But I can confirm that Phar Lap is something of an NZ icon. I became aware of the horse at a very young age. Most primary-school children in NZ know about Phar Lap. The reason NZ hasn't produced a movie or a bundle of books about the old nag is that NZ has a population smaller than Sydney's, and produces only one-fifth as many books and movies as Australia, proportional to the population difference. Personally, I think it's stupid of my countrymen to be saying "it's our horse bro - you Aussies stole it off us", and equally stupid for Australians to be saying "It's not a Kiwi horse, even though it was born and bred there, because it won most of its races in Oz." —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:38, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
Don't be silly. Of course Phar Lap is a NZ icon. I think you know it too. Phar Lap is also an Australian icon. If you said that kiwis called Kylie Minogue a NZ icon, you might have a point. Wallie (talk) 12:43, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

I attended school in NZ and I have no recollection of being taught the story of the great NZ racehorse Phar Lap. Perhaps I've forgotten, but I think that is unlikely. Perhaps primary school kids in NZ might know of Phar Lap, but I would very much doubt they know much about Phar Lap, other than he was famous in Australia, and of course that the Aussies stole him off us, along with pavlova, Crowded House, Sir Ed, Rachel Hunter, Split Enz ... Ernest the Sheep (talk) 07:52, 10 April 2009 (UTC)

Yer right. By the way, how many children in Australia or NZ would know what Phar Lap was? Probably about one percent. Wallie (talk) 12:49, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
Well I, for one, learned of Phar Lap as "New Zealand's Greatest Racehorse" - My mum would have been a child at when he was racing, and had relatives involved in racing. dramatic (talk) 01:21, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
I think that Phar Lap has gained profile as he went to North America, and because Australia lays claim to him too (competition). In my family Cardigan Bay was always bigger than Phar Lap, and had a much higher profile in NZ at the time. I think Kingston Town was also well known in Australia. Wallie (talk) 08:18, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
Why is Phar Lap "New Zealand's Greatest Racehorse"? Why not Carbine? Ernest the Sheep (talk) 08:21, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

How to handle this?[edit]

I tried to create a neutral intro for this article, but got reverted by User:Ernest the Sheep. I think my intro is as neutral as anyone can make it, and believe the sheep's change is not only POV, but unverifiable POV at that. OK, check out the two versions, mine, then his.

Phar Lap, a giant chestnut thoroughbred gelding, was a champion racehorse who became a much loved national icon in New Zealand where he was born, and in Australia where he was trained and raced.
Phar Lap, a giant chestnut thoroughbred gelding, was a champion racehorse who became a much loved national icon in Australia where he was trained and raced, and to a lesser extent in New Zealand, where he was foaled.

I have restored my version. Can editors of this page give opinions, or should I take it to RfC? Kaiwhakahaere (talk) 20:59, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

That Phar Lap is "a much loved national in New Zealand" is POV I would maintain. I also suspect you are being just a little disingenuous with your claim that you have attempted to create a neutral introduction. Ernest the Sheep (talk) 21:13, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
I might have a COI here as I am from New Zealand but someone has to do it and i'm trying to act in the least way biased I can, and I support Kaiwhakahaeres revision based on the facts, not because it puts New Zealand first in the list (which seems a very childish thing to complain about). It is to more of a neutral point of view in my eyes, and judging by Ernest the Sheep's contributions he seems to have a significant biased towards Australia in the past. I personally have not seen that he is any less of an icon here than in Australian. Ernest seems to just blindly revert to his favourite revision without taking into account this discussion and i'm sure he's breaking WP:3RR even if he hasn't performed 3 reverts in 24 hours. If he has a problem with New Zealand being included before Australia then I propose we list things chronologically (NZ born, Aus raced) as it does make more sense to the reader. If he continues to blindy revert then i'd suggest reporting him to WP:AN3. If he wishes to discuss his changes first here and how he believes they are more neutral then everyone wins. Regards, Matty (talk) 08:00, 21 October 2008 (UTC)
If the article were to be truly neutral Phar Lap would simply be described as an Australian racehorse. The wording which I propose would seem to be a very generous concession towards New Zealand. There is no correct chronological order. I grew up in New Zealand and can confirm that Phar Lap was never much on an icon, let alone a much loved one. That is pure revisionism, plain and simple. Read the Wikipedia article, where else does New Zealand get mentioned other than as Phar Lap's place of birth? But I am willing to be swayed by evidence to the contrary if and when it is presented.Ernest the Sheep (talk) 19:09, 21 October 2008 (UTC)
Matty, the reason for Wikipedia having an article on Phar Lap is because of his racing record on the racecourse. His place of birth is of no consequence to his notablity - except to some NZers, and breeders. As a Pom, who has lived in Australia for the past 40 years, I am aware of Phar Lap's importance in Australian history. I have never understood some Kiwi Wikipedians seemimg obsession with wanting to claim Phar Lap as a "New Zealand Racehorse". Maybe Ernest is right and it is pure modern revisionism. I was not in New Zealand in the 1930s so have no idea how he was regarded by the media and general public at that time. A recent equivalent to Phar Lap would be Makybe Diva, who was foaled in Great Briain, and was trained and raced in Australia. I have yet to read an article anywhere which claims Makybe Diva as a "British Racehorse". On the same tack, and to stir the possum a little, could someone explain why Eight Carat, Gloaming, Musket, Sir Tristram and Zamazaan, all of which were NOT foaled in New Zealand, are in Category:New Zealand racehorses. - Cuddy Wifter (talk) 20:56, 21 October 2008 (UTC)
Wouldn't it make more sense to have the lead follow a chronological order with the rest of the article? New Zealand born, Australian raced makes more sense. I am a little insulted that you imply I have an obsession with wanting to claim Phar Lap as a New Zealand racehorse, if you'll read through my last message again you'll see that I am not here to push any agenda (which might I add by your statements would seem that you are indeed trying to push one) but simply improve readability. There is no power play involved in stating New Zealand first (and I would rather not call it that at all as it is not simply about being mentioned first) as he was foaled in New Zealand and then moved to Australia? Can you suggest any encyclopedic reason, other than of course importance, why Australia should be mentioned first? It does make a difference to readibility to have New Zealand come first, please try and keep an open mind and see where I am coming from here. This has nothing to do with trying to push a pro-New Zealand stance here. I will not revert your changes because I would rather have a discussion and come to an agreement then engage in an edit war, and would urge you to do the same if anyone reverts yours. Matty (talk) 21:23, 21 October 2008 (UTC)
Matty, perhaps I should have made it clearer, but only the first two sentences were a reply to your comment ie. the importance of his racecourse performances. My apologies to you. The rest of my comments were more about the many previous remarks on this page in regard to Phar Lap and his heritage. I have kept out of this debate until now, but since it was recently revived, and Kaiwhakahaere asked for opinions I decided it was time to express my views. - Cuddy Wifter (talk) 22:31, 21 October 2008 (UTC)
Cuddly Wifter. Gloaming is a personal favorite of mine. Ask any New Zealander. The greatest heroes for older racegoers in NZ were Gloaming and Nightmarch. However, no New Zealander would say Gloaming was a New Zealand racehorse. Everyone knows he is from Australia. The same applies to Phar Lap. He is a hero in Australia, but everyone knows he is from New Zealand. If he is in the Category Australian racehorses, that's fine, as the category implies also horses connected with Australia. If you called him Phar Lap (Australia), that would be incorrect. He is Phar Lap (New Zealand). Gloaming is Gloaming (Australia). Wallie (talk) 12:39, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
At least Gloaming did have a race career in Australia, although I note on checking the Wikipedia article that the change to Gloaming (Australia) was made only very recently, by you, just before your recent edits to the Phar Lap article. Ernest the Sheep (talk) 20:06, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
That is correct. Gloaming is Gloaming (Aus) just as Phar Lap is Phar Lap (NZ). You know that too. Wallie (talk) 17:48, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
If Gloaming is so unquestionably Australian, why did you include him in the list of New Zealand racehorses on the Horse racing article? Ernest the Sheep (talk) 08:38, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

Heart Size part[edit]

Is it absolutely necessary to mention Secretariat's heart size? At no time in the article is there a claim of the largest heart - only that it was remarkable, which is true. This is an entry about Phar lap, not Secretariat, who has his own page. TBH, it reads like blatant social climbing. "My horses heart is bigger than your horses heart". Seriously, Phar Laps page seems to have enough of that with the Kiwi/Aussie argument. --Inflexus (talk) 00:09, 28 October 2008 (UTC)

Seeing how it appears there is no objections, I shall go ahead and remove the information on Sec's heart and Equipoise from the Death section for the reason stated above - this is a page about Phar Lap - they have their own pages for people to go bragging on. Inflexus (talk) 08:35, 4 November 2008 (UTC)

Perhaps we can say he is an American racehorse, as he was owned by an American and a Mexican racehorse as he raced in Mexico. :) Wallie (talk) 12:52, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
Australian is okay, it would be in line with other Wikipedia articles on race horses who were not bred in Australia, but whose careers were almost entirely based there e.g. Makybe Diva, Efficient. Or perhaps you would like to correct all those articles too? Good luck. Ernest the Sheep (talk) 20:26, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
Australian is not OK. Wallie (talk) 08:43, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
Well, Australian would be in line with other Wikipedia articles. But I've long since given up hope that you will ever adequately respond to any argument that contradicts your own very narrow viewpoint. Ernest the Sheep (talk) 10:36, 15 April 2009 (UTC)


Please stick to the facts.

  • Bred - New Zealand
  • Raced - Australia and Mexico
  • Owned - United States
  • Trained - Australia

Wallie (talk) 08:41, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

All those facts are in the article. Read it. Ernest the Sheep (talk) 10:23, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

They are not. The whole article is highly biased towards Australia. This is a problem with many of the racehorse articles, with foreign bred horses racing in Australia. Wallie (talk) 11:37, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

They are. Ernest the Sheep (talk) 12:40, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

Look, to everyone following, this article is beginning to get out of control. While I agree that the article has issues in its current state, whenever attempts are made to straighten it out things always end in a conflict. If anyone here has a problem with how the article is worded or how information is displayed (or not displayed), instead of bickering and participating in edit/revert wars, you need to take it to the formal mediation committee to let everyone interested present a case to an unbiased mediator. Almost everyone involved has shown that they are unable to come to a consensus before editing which is not on and is a breach of policy. This is not directed at anyone even though it may seem like it, but please everyone follow WP:3RR and remember to breach it you do not need to make more than three reverts. If you decide to edit war, you will end up being blocked. Discussing your changes in the edit summary just doesn't cut it - take it to the talk page before changing the article or take it to disputes resolution. Matty (talk) 12:45, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
Right then, i'll get us started. Ernest, would you care to explain how this is a silly edit? According to Willie, he did race in Mexico. How is this not valid? I also agree that if we mention he was raced in Australia twice in a row its perfectly logical to mention he was raised in New Zealand twice in a row as well. Matty (talk) 12:49, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
Okay Matty, I'll elaborate, even though most of what I've raised on this talk page has gone unanswered so far. Yes Phar Lap did race once outside Australia, it is of course mentioned in the article. Does this justify the mention of Mexico once, let alone twice in the lead paragraph? Unfortunately, and I really don't want to say it, but some of the recent edits here reflect a basic lack of comprehension. To say that Phar Lap was a champion racehorse in Australia makes perfect sense. It's where he raced. To say that he was a champion racehorse in Mexico rings a little odd to my ears. Was Makybe Diva a champion racehorse in Japan? As far as I can tell it is only mentioned once that Phar Lap was raced in Australia. I suspect certain editors might be attaching a lot more significance to particular words or phrases than is warranted. Ernest the Sheep (talk) 13:40, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
It doesn't mention the Mexican race twice. No one is saying he is a champion race horse in Mexico and if they are I don't really agree with that. I'm sure there is no doubt between anyone that that race was his most crucial and important, and therefore should be at least mentioned once. What I want to know is why it is silly and unneeded to state the same fact about New Zealand twice in a row, while the same fact about him being raced in Australia is still mentioned twice in a row. Thats all that I have a issue about with that edit there, although per my suggestion below I do think it is necessary to mention his biggest race in the lead. Matty (talk) 14:49, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
It certainly does, first it claims Phar Lap was a champion racehorse in Mexico, then it claims that he was trained and raced in Mexico. Very poor writing, in my opinion. Ernest the Sheep (talk)

I have removed the fact that he was a champion in Australia. He was a champion. period. Wallie (talk) 13:08, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

And now the rest of the sentence doesn't make sense. Did you not read a thing I said? That change is obviously going to be controversial, and yet you disregarded my attempt to try and sort this out without reverting to edit warring. Ernest cannot revert your edit or else he's in breach of WP:3RR, so i'm asking you to revert it. You don't have consensus and you are being disruptive. Please stop and try and collaborate like i'm suggesting, OK? Matty (talk) 13:16, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
That he was a champion in Australia implies in this context, I would have thought, that we was a champion of the racing scene there.Ernest the Sheep (talk) 13:51, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
That is exactly what I mean. That is so POV. He was a champion elsewhere too. Can you not see how insulting that is to non-Australians? In fact the word champion is very POV. Even Tiger Woods doesn't rate that accolade in Wikipedia. Wallie (talk) 13:58, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
I have no bloody idea what you mean mate. Perhaps it's time you took another short break from editing? I think you need it. Ernest the Sheep (talk) 14:03, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
No personal attacks please. Wallie (talk) 14:11, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
Sorry mate, but it feels like I'm banging my head against a brick wall here. My impression is that the term champion is more common in the horse racing lexicon, not so much in golf. Ernest the Sheep (talk) 14:24, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
It also doesn't help your case that you state the thing you removed was a fact =P. Here is my contribution to the lead (keep in mind this is just for format and it's also late) - "Phar Lap, a chestnut thoroughbred gelding, was a champion racehorse. Phar Lap was foaled in New Zealand, where he was then shipped to Australia to be trained and raced successfully from 1928 to 1931, before being shipped to Mexico in 1932 where he won his final race, the Agua Caliente Handicap". Any comments? Matty (talk) 13:29, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
Mostly OK. Most horses say first where they are foaled, the date of foaling and then the breeding. After that comes the race history. All patriotic (POV) references should be removed. Wallie (talk) 13:54, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
Probably don't need quite that much detail in a lead paragraph. Reads more like short encyclopaedic entry written with space limitations in mind. Ernest the Sheep (talk) 13:59, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
Per WP:LEAD thats exactly what it should be.. The main problem with them as they are generally too small, I think the amount of detail is just right. I'm sure we could remove the dates though. Matty (talk) 14:42, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
Since there has been no objections i'm assuming that my change is alright? Matty (talk) 06:18, 16 April 2009 (UTC)
Yes it is. Please go ahead and put it in. Wallie (talk) 12:14, 16 April 2009 (UTC)
NO Matty! Don't put it in. Don't be Wallie's dupe. Ernest the Sheep (talk) 20:08, 16 April 2009 (UTC)
Feel free to present a reason why not, or else i'll consider the discussion over and add it. Matty (talk) 05:09, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

A better example[edit]

from Northern Dancer - this is more like a racehorse article should be.

Northern Dancer (May 27, 1961 - November 16, 1990) was a Canadian-bred Thoroughbred racehorse and the most successful sire of the 20th Century. The National Thoroughbred Racing Association calls him "one of the most influential sires in Thoroughbred history".
A bay colt, Northern Dancer was by Nearctic-Natalma, by Native Dancer. In 1952, Edward P. Taylor, Canadian business magnate and owner of Windfields Farm, had attended the December sale at Newmarket, England where he purchased Lady Angela, a mare in foal to Nearco. Two years later she was bred again with Nearco, producing a colt named Nearctic who was voted the 1958 Sovereign Award for Horse of the Year. From Nearctic and the mare Natalma, a daughter of the great Native Dancer, came Northern Dancer...

Many of the horse racing articles are like this. Note the lack of patriotism and use of words like champion etc. It details what people want to know - where he was born, when, breeding and what he did. This horse was foaled in Canada and raced in the United States.

There are plenty of other good examples, like Dancing Brave.

Please comment. Thanks. Wallie (talk) 17:44, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

As I've already stated a number of times here, you miss the point. Phar Lap's notability far exceeds his accomplishments on the race track. Perhaps he is indeed the best race horse Australasia has seen, but that's a question for experts to debate. His victories on the race track made did him a champion of the time. But other factors contributed to making him the icon that he is today. The time and place in which he raced were important. There were many other race horses who were heroes of their time but who are now all but forgotten, except by those with a keen interest in racing history. A far better comparison to Phar Lap would be the American race horse Seabiscuit. Ernest the Sheep (talk) 20:56, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
I do not miss the point. Try telling Canadians or Americans that. Racing people would have a good laugh. Northern Dancer is certainly an icon. Wallie (talk) 06:01, 16 April 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps racing people would have a good laugh, I don't know. What I do know is that racing people aren't the target audience for this particular Wikipedia article. Northern Dancer may well be an 'icon', but I do not believe he enjoys the same status in Canada/America as Phar Lap does in Australasia. Sir Tristram might be a closer Australasian comparison to Northern Dancer. Ernest the Sheep (talk) 11:15, 16 April 2009 (UTC)
Why this fixation with "Australiasia"? The main audience for this article IS racing people. Wallie (talk) 12:12, 16 April 2009 (UTC)
I was trying not to antagonise you further, so used "Australasia" rather than Australia. The target audience for this article is NOT racing people, it is people who have little if any prior knowledge of the subject and would like to know a little more. Ernest the Sheep (talk) 20:15, 16 April 2009 (UTC)

The Wonder Horse[edit]

Phar lap was not called "Australia's Wonder Horse" by the Americans. He was called "The Wonder Horse". [3].

Please comment. Thanks. Wallie (talk) 20:21, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

Phar Lap was variously called a "Wonder horse", or "Australia's wonder horse". Check the google news archives, there are a number of hits from American newspapers of the time. I don't think Phar Lap was widely called "Bobby", that was a name used by his strapper Woodcock. Ernest the Sheep (talk) 21:02, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

Well what name are we gonna use? I think we should use the more neutral one as they pretty much mean the same thing, but I really don't think just the three of us can reach consensus for this alone. We do need more input. Matty (talk) 22:59, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
I agree. There is far too much nationalism in this article. Wallie (talk) 05:48, 16 April 2009 (UTC)

I suggest that Australia's Wonder Horse be changed to The Wonder Horse. The latter is relaibly referenced. Wallie (talk) 12:15, 16 April 2009 (UTC)

Why change it, he was indeed widely known as "Australia's wonder horse" at the time? Ernest the Sheep (talk) 21:47, 19 April 2009 (UTC)


This article is clearly not neutral for all the reasons above. Please dicuss. Wallie (talk) 07:54, 16 April 2009 (UTC)

Tagging seems appropriate, no problems there. Do you have anything to comment about the revised lead? I realise it's poor prose but that can be rewritten. I'm assuming Ernest is ok with it since the only concern he brought up is addressed by WP:LEAD. It seems that his importance to Australia seems to trump worldwide importance in this article as well. I agree it is rather "patriotic". Hopefully now that we are discussing the changes that we'll be able to move this article forward once and for all instead of dawdling over silly claims. Matty (talk) 08:41, 16 April 2009 (UTC)
I have to say I'm surprised this article has been tagged. The only recent changes made have been improvements to the lead paragraph. The previous edit hardly did the subject justice. Perhaps the person making the claim that it lacks neutrality could go through it word by word and point out the problem, because I can't see it myself. Ernest the Sheep (talk) 11:23, 16 April 2009 (UTC)
If they're improvements, why did you revert them all? Please don't play dumb Ernest. Matty (talk) 11:56, 16 April 2009 (UTC)
I was referring to my recent edits only. Ernest the Sheep (talk) 20:18, 16 April 2009 (UTC)

I think it is better now. Will remove tag. :) Wallie (talk) 17:46, 19 April 2009 (UTC)

Balance please[edit]

In this article, the horse should be given equal prominence from both the Australian and New Zealand perspectives. Both countries feel equal association with the horse, and that is what is important. Would everyone agree? Wallie (talk) 09:37, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

I would agree that Phar Lap is historically and culturally significant in both countries, and that simply stating that without comparitors is the fairest way to go. Getting upset about the order the countries are mentioned in is just nitpicky. Put Australia first and we satisfy Alphabetical order (if not chronological order). But suggested phrases like "and to a lesser extent" are PoV and one that I would challenge - it would need an explicit source backed by some real research. dramatic (talk) 03:04, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
It is better now. I have also removed the tag. Wallie (talk) 17:47, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
Whether New Zealand feels an equal assocation with Phar Lap is irrelevant to how the article should be written. The facts should be left to speak for themselves. Ernest the Sheep (talk) 21:42, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
Of course it is relevant. You know it too. Wallie (talk) 08:20, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

Both countries[edit]

I don't understand this. Both countries have an equal claim over this horse. If one or the other tries to monopolize the horse, then the other will object (naturally). Surely both counties have their heroes, which belong to them and them alone. Australia has the mighty Kingston Town, Peter Pan and Ajax. New Zealand has Kindergarten, Desert Gold and Carbine. On the other side, Australia has Hondo Grattan, Paleface Adios and Pure Steel, with New Zealand, Johnny Globe, Cardigan Bay and Young Quinn. Anyone would be proud to possess any of these fine animals. Wallie (talk) 19:03, 19 April 2009 (UTC)

Again you demonstrate that you completely fail to comprehend the reasons why Phar Lap is so notable. Ernest the Sheep (talk) 22:07, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
Go on. Tell me. Why is Phar Lap notable? Wallie (talk) 08:23, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

As I’ve already said to you, Phar Lap’s notability far exceeds his accomplishments on the racetrack. The time and place in which he raced were important. His unlikely beginnings, the stories of the people associated with him. His untimely demise at the peak of his powers. It was the time of the Great Depression, he was seen as a symbol of hope, a sure bet to win money in hard times. It was also the beginning of a revolution in communications. For the first time people could see film of his races, and listen to live coverage on the radio. It is all of those factors that have contributed to his notability, not just his record on the racetrack. Ernest the Sheep (talk) 07:56, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

A dog’s breakfast[edit]

Unfortunately I am forced to revert the Phar Lap article back to a previous version. The present version is poorly written, biased and ambiguous. So much for collaboration and cooperation. There has been an absence of any meaningful debate on the topic. One editor in particular has been both mischievous and less than cooperative. If debate on any topic is to be of any value then it must be two way. So far I have not been accorded the courtesy of a single meaningful response to any of the concerns I have raised over the article. Again, there is one particular editor who appears to have a lot to say on the issue, but when confronted on any particular point of issue consistently fails to give a direct response. Ernest the Sheep (talk) 21:19, 19 April 2009 (UTC)

I think that the current intro is perfect, and that if there is any feeling of imbalance remaining, then the solution is to add more (adequately sourced) info on the cultural impact in New Zealand rather than removing any Australian material. dramatic (talk) 00:18, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
You have been, you just choose to ignore it. I'd ask you to revert yourself as you seem unwilling to discuss anything at all. As far as I can see, all your points have been adequately rebutted. You just choose to ignore the comments and accuse others of not having anything meaningful to say. Could you please point out how it is poorly written and biased? Matty (talk) 05:12, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
I've added in certain helpful cited elements that got reverted in your blanket revert. Please be more careful in picking out what you don't approve of. I see what you mean about it being poorly worded, but I am assuming you only meant that about the mourning section. The rest looks fine. Matty (talk) 05:24, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
Thing is Matty, I attempted special care with the wording because I know some Kiwis are hypersensitive when it comes to Phar Lap. Hence the wording "Phar Lap was a champion horse in Australia and New Zealand", when technically he never ran a single race in NZ. But I reckoned that the fudging of the issue was somewhat alleviated by the next line "Foaled in NZ, BUT trained and raced in Aus". However having made such an allowance to NZ sensitivities it is very disappointing to find that I have been allowed nothing in return. The fact that Phar Lap was owned by an American is hardly worthy of inclusion in the lead section. Anyone who believes that it is should not be editing this article. Phar Lap was indeed known as "Australia's wonder horse" by the media of the time. [4]. Contrary to what you say none of my points of concern have been adequately rebutted. In particular the reasons for Phar Lap's notabililty appear to be difficult for some Kiwis to accept, presumably because it makes the NZ claim to him look just a little silly. Ernest the Sheep (talk) 06:50, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
You haven't even read anything you just included in that cite did you? None of those say "Australia's wonder horse". Just "Wonder Horse" or "Wonder Horse of Australia". If you're going for a direct quote, get it right. Your personal opinions are well noted Ernest. You admit yourself that the introduction is wrong, saying that he was a champion racehorse in NZ, so why did you re add them when you reverted again? The current intro is correct. Oh yes, who owned him certainly isn't worth of inclusion in the lead. Be reasonable man, we are presenting a fair and balanced intro now instead of the biased one you continue to revert to. Discuss future changes, you have had no input for the last few days apart from reverting the constructive edits of various users. Matty (talk) 07:05, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
Yes it does, look again. Ernest the Sheep (talk) 07:20, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
I'm not going to pay to view. From what I can see per previews, one article mentions it once in its title. Many more call Phar Lap simply the "Wonder Horse" or even "Wonder Horse of Australia". You have also removed fully cited material. It seems that "Wonder Horse" is much more neutral and is more widely cited. There are a few websites that call him "Australia's Wonder Horse", but you haven't cited any of them. Matty (talk) 07:25, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
You don't have to view them to get the point, nor is it an issue of neutrality. Ernest the Sheep (talk) 07:32, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

You are directly quoting a nickname in a news article. You should get the quote right, or at the very least not remove fully cited material with uncited weasel worded stuff. You have also been warned for WP:3RR by me, it is getting very problematic that you make changes first and then on some occasions discuss them after. Matty (talk) 07:35, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

It was discussed. I also said that I would change it, and gave quite a lot of time. Wallie (talk) 08:12, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
They are not weasel words, it is merely factual. In fact Matty if you go back to a much older edit you will find that it also states that Phar Lap was known as "Australia's wonder horse". Ernest the Sheep (talk) 07:41, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
"Sometimes" is a weasel word per WP:AWW. You have also removed properly cited material with uncited material, which is the difference between the older revision and the new one that you reverted. Matty (talk) 07:49, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
Not in the context it is being used here. Where are the citings for him also being called "The Red Terror", "Bobby" and "Big Red"? Ernest the Sheep (talk) 07:55, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

Please. I say again. Phar lap was not called "Australia's Wonder Horse" by the Americans. He was called "The Wonder Horse". [5]. This article is from a very official Australian source. "Australia's Wonder Horse" is slanting a quote by the Americans. This should not come anywhere near Wikipedia. Wallie (talk) 07:58, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

Yes he was. Check the google news archives. Selective use of citations proves nothing. Ernest the Sheep (talk) 08:03, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
This is an official Australian source. The horse was called "The Wonder Horse" by the Americans. Wallie (talk) 08:35, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

The only reason there are no cites for the other nicknames is because no one is disputing them. It looks like its been added anyway though, which is good. Sometimes called seems pretty weasel wordy to me, but more or less its an awkward sentence. You can't accuse people of selectively using citations when you yourself are doing so. Could you please direct me to where he is called the "Australian Wonder Horse"? I have no problem leaving it there, but it seems he is more often than not called the "Wonder Horse from Australia". Seems trivial, but we are striving for factual information here. Also, it is controversial because you are editing against consensus and you do not seem to understand that we all must discuss changes we don't like before reverting, as edit warring does nothing but cause problems. Discuss first, change with consensus, no problems (unless someone chooses to edit war). Matty (talk) 10:06, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

Very important[edit]

This article has to be even handed. It has been allowed to drift away, and become very biased towards Australia. This must stop, and the article needs to be NPOV. Wallie (talk) 08:12, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

Nicknames and Citations[edit]

Current version:

Standing 17.1 hands, he was called the "Wonder Horse" by the Americans. He was also called the "Red Terror", "Bobby" and "Big Red" (the latter nickname was also given to two of the greatest US racehorses, Man o' War and Secretariat). [1] [2] He was sometimes called "Australia's wonder horse"[who?].

Wonder Horse[edit]

Reference supplied: the "Wonder Horse".

Red Terror[edit]

Reference supplied: the "Wonder Horse".


Reference supplied: Called Bobby round the stables

Big Red[edit]

Reference supplied: the "Wonder Horse".


Big Red is clearly mentioned in the main Secretariat article.

Man o' War[edit]

Big Red is clearly mentioned in the main Man o' War article.

Australia's wonder horse[edit]

This nickname seems to come from an unspecified source.

Wallie (talk) 09:26, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

From a website already mentioned in the sources.

Reference: "Australia's wonder horse"

BTW, I didn't really expect you to provide references. I was just wondering why you expected me to provide them when you hadn't. Anyway I removed your embedded links from the article, they're unnecessary. Ernest the Sheep (talk) 12:34, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

Well, I did provide references, and want them put back. You asked for them, and I gave them. You had no right removing them. Wallie (talk) 14:58, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
I don't think we need to put those references back in, they only add unnecessary clutter. Ernest the Sheep (talk) 08:34, 21 April 2009 (UTC)


Due to the recent edit warring this page has been protected for 3 days. Please use the time to discuss the matter here and come to a consensus on what should and shouldn't be included on the page. If an urgent edit needs to be made during the protection, please place the template {{editprotected}} here with details of the edit that needs to be made and justification for the edit, and an administrator will come by to make the edit. If you have agreed and resolved the dispute before the expiry of the protection, please make a listing at requests for unprotection. While it is also possible to make such requests on my talk page, it would be quicker for you to use those previous methods. Thank you. Stifle (talk) 12:54, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

Now that article has finally been locked so a certain editor is forced to discuss changes, I am proposing a version of the article to which we should revert to when we have consensus and the lock is lifted. This diff ,before Willie's addition of the "also a New Zealand Horse" and Ernests reverts to a "superior lead" (which is factually lacking and POV, and as Ernest has said himself incorrect) and his placement of unsourced material over sourced material which obviously has conflicting sources. I would like Ernest to point out where, apart from the one source he has presented above, a news source calls Phar Lap the "Australian Wonder Horse" here. I see "Wonder Horse" and "Wonder Horse of Australia" but not Australia Wonder Horse as claimed. This is a rather trivial fact, but we are aiming for correct factual edits. I am not disputing that some media of the time may have called him this, I just can't find it. I would also ask that we word the sentence better, as the "sometimes" doesn't really make sense and is a weasel word as it does not explain exactly when or how he is called this at one time and not at another. I would also suggest we change the "owned by an American," to "owned by American Businessman David J. Davis" in accordance with WP:LEAD. This fact is not trivial and insignificant by any standards, he was the owner of the horse. If anyone has any valid concerns that they wish to bring up about my proposal, please bring them up in a clear and concise way (ie; not running around what the problem is and addressing it directly or accusing others of blame). I also hope we can continue to improve this article as we have been doing lately. We have three days, lets try and do something constructive that we can call consensus from now on. Matty (talk) 13:57, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
I also propose we take the nickname section out of the lead. It makes it a tiny bit too long, and is much more irrelevant than some of the facts that have already been omitted. It's sad to see this article having to be protected, especially on such a muddled up revision. Matty (talk) 21:01, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

Anybody? Matty (talk) 05:24, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

You sure do go on, Matty. In my opinion it would have been a far more muddled version if not for my last edit. How about we start the article with a lead of "Phar Lap was an American racehorse". That might calm things down a bit. Ernest the Sheep (talk) 08:27, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
Please be aware that articles are always protected on the Wrong Version. Stifle (talk) 09:24, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
Yes. You did protect it on the wrong version (Australia's). This has become a scholars debate of the first order. Phar Lap is probably more contentious than articles, say, on Adolf Hitler, Joan of Arc or Napoleon. I think you may have to protect the article for ever. Wallie (talk) 10:56, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
So Ernest am I to assume that you have no valid concerns? Your sarcasm is appreciated, but it's a run around because you seem to have no argument anymore. Of course in your opinion your edits helped the article - you wouldn't have made them if you didn't. The fact of the matter is that they don't, and you continue to ignore all policy. Stifle, some people here aren't going to realise the joke. Matty (talk) 11:06, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

I was being serious Matty, that was one of the previous edits I found when I was perusing the edit history of the Phar Lap article. I believe it was submitted by Wallie. I also noted that the reference to Phar Lap being called "Australia's wonder horse" had lasted for a couple of years uncontested. Which is why I am a little baffled that is has suddenly taken on such importance. Here are a few of the concerns I have. When the Phar Lap article is back up and running as normal I will contest the following:

  • Phar Lap captured the public's imagination in NZ in a comparable way to Australia. I will want to see verification of this. For example was the level of excitement in NZ over Phar Lap any more than the excitement generated by Rising Fast?
  • Phar Lap is a national icon in NZ, let alone a much loved one. I think this also requires verification. There is too much "in NZ too" content in the article.
There is love in New Zealand - just more understated (genuine). The culture of the two countries is different. Wallie (talk) 13:45, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
There is certainly genuine affection for Phar Lap in Australia, however in New Zealand the so called love comes across as just a little bit fake. [6] Ernest the Sheep (talk) 10:49, 22 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Impact of Phar Lap in NZ, socially and culturally. It's not good enough to say something like "People in NZ were sad too". Let the facts speak for themselves.

I might add more later, but this is a start. Ernest the Sheep (talk) 11:35, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

Well it's only recently come to light that it's wrong, and that he was never really called this apart from in one reliable citation. It might as well stay in the article though, I just thought we should get it right I would agree that saying the way he captured the publics imagination in NZ was the same as it was in Aus is unprovable really due to the lack of news sources back in the late 20's. The reason this article has been under question today is that instead of saying the facts straight up its turned into a patriotic article (and i'm not talking about not enough mention of New Zealand, but practically no mention of anywhere but Australia). Exactly what statement would you like cited? I'll try and dig up one, and if I can't we can change it/remove it. In your reply to Wallie you linked to a blogish post, which has no real bearing here, although it is an interesting read all the same. Matty (talk) 03:07, 24 April 2009 (UTC)


For too long, Australians have had it their way. They said that Phar Lap was an Australian horse. They repeated this right from the time he raced in North America, continually harping on about this to the American media. If you mention it, market it enough, it must be true - or so they believed. No!! No!!! Phar Lap is a New Zealand horse, and was mentioned as PHAR LAP (NZ) on official documentation. This is now becoming a scholars debate and this should be highlighted on Wikipedia. Phar Lap was definitely a true New Zealander. The debate is whether he be considered an Australian too. Wallie (talk) 10:49, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

PHAR LAP (NZ) indicates the he was bred in NZ. It is standard horse racing lingo. Another example is PRINCESS COUP (AUS), indicating she was bred in Aus. Ernest the Sheep (talk) 11:51, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
Correct. I have updated the article for PRINCESS COUP (AUS). She is definitely an Australian horse, just as PHAR LAP (NZ) was a New Zealand horse. As you say "standard racing lingo". Wallie (talk) 13:33, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
I was not referring to you, I was referring to Ernest. Matty (talk) 13:06, 21 April 2009 (UTC) (re: I queried Matty if I was the disruptive editor Wallie (talk) 13:19, 21 April 2009 (UTC))
Don't be such a wimp Matty. You were quite correct to take Wallie to task. I'm even beginning to tire of his constant whining and complaining, it certainly does nothing to advance matters. Ernest the Sheep (talk) 10:58, 22 April 2009 (UTC)

The article lead contains the following references to New Zealand - foaled in NZ ( 2 mentions), the precise place of his foaling, the fact that he was a half brother to a NZ horse Nightmarch and the place in NZ where he was purchased. All these mentions in the lead paragraph are to a horse who NEVER raced in New Zealand, but had 50 race starts in Australia and won 36, most of them major races on the Australian turf. Not a mention of any of this is in the article lead. Has anyone bothered to read the WHOLE article. I think the major edit required to the article is to expand the "Racing Life" section to give more details on his achievements on the race track. Cuddy Wifter (talk) 22:45, 22 April 2009 (UTC)

The lead is supposed to be a summary or overview of the article. I think some of the information that is in the lead, for instance, the entire second paragraph needs to be moved into the 'Slow start' section. The third paragraph of the lead seems more appropriate for the 'Name' section. The biggest section of the article is the section on his controversial death and that is not even mentioned in the lead. He had a short but fabulous racing career and yet it is barely mentioned in the article so I agree the 'Racing life' section should be expanded. I do not think the article is biased. (I'm American BTW) Yes, the horse was born in New Zealand, but sold as a yearling so he spent most of his life and almost his entire racing career in Australia. - Josette (talk) 02:45, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
Seabiscuit would be the American equivalent of Phar Lap. Ernest the Sheep (talk) 10:44, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
Good. At least you mention that Nightmarch is a NZ horse! You mentioned that you are from the UK. In the UK, Irish horses do their racing in England, but are still called Irish horses. Don't ever say Red Rum is an English horse! 12:09, 23 April 2009 (UTC)

half brother to Melbourne Cup winner Nightmarch[edit]

It is wrong to say that Phar Lap was a half brother to Nightmarch. He was by the same sire, not a half brother! Cgoodwin (talk) 02:25, 23 April 2009 (UTC)

You need to explain how two horses with the same father are not half brothers. Is it a racing thing?Kaiwhakahaere (talk) 03:17, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
No, it is not a racing "thing", it applies to all horses. [3] SeeGlossary of Australian and New Zealand punting Cgoodwin (talk) 03:44, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
The term "half-brothers" or "half-sisters" only applies to horses which have the same dam (mother) but a different sire (father). There is no implied sibling relationship if horses share the same sire but the not the same dam. So in the case of Phar Lap and Nightmarch you would just say they share the same sire (Night Raid). - Josette (talk) 04:35, 23 April 2009 (UTC)

i have a suggested lead[edit]

Phar Lap was a champion thoroughbred racehorse who was foaled in New Zealand, trained in Australia, raced in Australia and Mexico and was American owned, whose mounted hide is displayed in Melbourne, whose skeleton is displayed at Wellington in New Zealand, whose heart is displayed at the National Museum in Canberra, who is considered to be a national icon in New Zealand, and in Australia where his ghost is often seen on the Overflow cantering around and around Clancy's grave with the colt from old Regret, and who died mysteriously according to the Australians, except that it was no mystery because for dinner every night he was fed the Australian version of New Zealand's wonderful invention, the Pavlova, and the Australian version could kill a horse. Fancy that. Kaiwhakahaere (talk) 03:54, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

My recent changes[edit]

Copied from User talk:Ernest the Sheep, it's relevant here as well

Please understand that it was a mistake when I reverted your edits, I started editing before you made your changes and by the time you were done I saved it. I also incorporated some of your changes, as well as explaining what happened in my next edit summary. Just because I did though does not give you the right to revert my fully sourced improvements at all - you have reverted parts of the article you were not even editing.

Here you go - ill substantiate my edits:

I added information on his owners in the lead. This is perfectly acceptable, fully sourced, and much more relevant than some of the stuff in there.

I removed the "but was trained in Australia" part, because the "but" was unneeded.

I added a citation for his Agua Caliente Handicap win.

The {{who}} tag stays as the sentence contains weasel words, sometimes implies that he is occasionally called it and occasionally not with no rationale as to why.

I elaborated further on his trip to America and what happened with his ownership, once again fully sourced.

I changed "When news of Phar Lap's death reached Australia and New Zealand, many grieved." to " When news of Phar Lap's death was reported by the media, his supporters grieved." This should be an acceptable compromise. I understand it doesn't mean your particular point of view but to say that only Australians grieved is incorrect, not every Australian grieved. It was his supporters, and he had many from many countries - he was an international horse that had just won the biggest race of his life.

It seems acceptable to mention other inductees into both countries hall of fames, but if you really need to remove this then the sentences no longer make sense (but you did fix this in a future edit, albeit without rationale).

The see also section is relevant.

I hope you try and understand that these edits were not an attempt to blatantly revert you but were in fact improvements to the article. If you revert my fully sourced edits again, I will bring this to an administrators attention and they can decide who is in the wrong. Matty (talk) 06:39, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

Matty. You have no need to explain yourself. Blanket reverting is just not on for obvious reasons. Wallie (talk) 06:53, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
Ernest. Please discuss the issues one at a time. By making wholesale reverts, it just complicates matters. Other contributors have no choice but to reverse these types of reverts. If you made a whole lot of changes, and someone else reverted all your work because they wanted to go back to an old version, you wouldn't like it either. Thanks. Wallie (talk) 06:53, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
Wallie, I have tried to be conciliatory and respectful. Did you see my comment on the Nancy Wake talk page? I am happy to debate the issue. But it appears that you are either unwilling, or incapable, of conducting a coherent logical discussion. Ernest the Sheep (talk) 07:24, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
Of course I am willing to discuss things. The Nancy Wake article currently reflects your viewpoint. Back to Phar Lap. One issue at a time. :) Wallie (talk) 07:35, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

Fanatical Kiwi editors[edit]

Just to be clear, I'm a born and bred New Zealander. I believe I am relatively fair minded. Unfortunately other New Zealand editors are behaving in a fanatical, and dishonest way. I have the following concerns

  • There in no need to state the Phar Lap was American owned in the lead. In fact he was owned by an American businessman in Australia. The ownership is dealt with in appropriate detail later in the article. Note also the frantic rewording following my observation that Telford was also a part owner.
Usually the horse's ownership is in the lede. Take Makybe Diva as an example. Wallie (talk) 07:44, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
The ownership is indeed important to the lead. The only reason you are opposed to it is because the owner is an American (and lets not start about the nationality of the horses owner, that would be getting ridiculous). That "frantic rewording" was an edit I had been researching this afternoon. When you decided to bring up that Phar Lap's trainer was part owner, I incorporated this into the lead as well as it is notable. The lead is a summary of the article, and per WP:LEAD this should be included. The ownership part of the article is very underdeveloped and therefore I expanded it, with reliable sources as well. There was no need to revert my additions in the main article towards the owner at all. Matty (talk) 08:09, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Another editor, Matty, reverted all my edits without explanation. When I reverted back he posted a message on my user page explaining it was a mistake on his part. But he then threatened to take the matter to an administrator. He has posted a number of such threats on my user page.
Lets move forward. If we try to go back to an old version, it becomes too complicated. You can discuss changes you want, topic by topic, and they can be put in, if suitable. Wallie (talk) 07:44, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
I posted it here as well. It was a mistake for my edits to be put over yours so I did not have a chance to explain why I reverted your edits. It was not a mistake to replace the information however. You cannot replace fully sourced neutral material with unsourced POV material. I have tried many times to collaborate with you but in the end you resort to reverting everyones changes if things dont go your way. I have extended good faith to you in the past and have many times that you do not blanket revert edits without explaining them. I did take it to an adminstrator, which should not be taken as a threat. If you have done nothing wrong there will be no action taken. Instead he decided (like the last admin did a very short time ago) that you were edit warring and did block you. You need to review WP:3RR seriously - although you think you are right it doesn't give you the right to breach that policy continuously. Matty (talk) 08:09, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
  • I removed the list of other inductees to the Australian and New Zealand halls of fame because there are links provided, it is clearly not necessary to name them all in the article.
Lets not make Phar Lap "special". All other racehorses in the inaugural halls of fame have the other inaugural inductees listed in their articles.
You are probably right here, there is no need to mention the other horses inducted at the same time. If no one has a problem I will remove this from all the articles that list the other horses in this way, but it doesn't seem like that big a deal to be honest. Matty (talk) 08:09, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
OK. Changed my mind. You could make a special case for Phar Lap. I would really like to see the list appear in the other inaugural inductees, though. You could remove them for Phar Lap. Wallie (talk) 10:06, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
Action I have now removed them to match Ernest's recommendations for Phar Lap. Wallie (talk) 10:45, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

I believe the article now has far too many embedded links, especially as it is not that long. Many of these links are of dubious value and should be removed. Ernest the Sheep (talk) 07:19, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

Which ones? One at a time, please. Wallie (talk) 07:44, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
You might be right about this part, i'll have a look. Matty (talk) 08:09, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
Note: Ernest has been blocked for 55 hours for edit warring. There was no threat - you were editing in contrast to a policy you are obviously familiar with. Matty (talk) 07:54, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
Seems I missed it (edit warring). I will try and help out but my ADSL died (Thanks for a short blackout) just a few minutes after I made a few edits to the article trying to help out with the sourcing. Bidgee (talk) 16:36, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
That's a pity. However, the article will still be around then. I have no doubt it will continue to... (improve maybe?). Wallie (talk) 10:37, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
With all these edits why does the lede still say Phar Lap was foaled in New Zealand in both the 1st and 2nd paragraphs? All of the details in the 2nd and 3rd paragraphs need to be moved out of the lede and into the other sections of the article. Also the 55 hour block seems a bit excessive since Ernest was not the only one edit warring. - Josette (talk) 15:17, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
Well... You have the power. You could issue a Presidential Pardon. :) Wallie (talk) 17:40, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

I removed the last paragraph of the death section. Not sufficiently relevant. Whats up with "A $500,000 life-sized bronze memorial to Phar Lap"? From 2006, did this happen? If not, lose it. We don't make predictions. - Josette (talk) 15:48, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

Just because other people were involved does not immediately mean they are edit warring. He was being unconstructive, he has blatantly violated WP:3RR 3 times recently (i'd put the time frame at under 2 weeks) and has blanket reverting without reason. He also has a long history of edit warring and being uncivil. I think the length of the block is a little lenient as I have no doubt when he comes back he will resume what he's always done. Matty (talk) 03:03, 25 April 2009 (UTC)

clean up[edit]

I cleaned up the lede and moved some stuff around. All the information is still in the article just moved around a bit. See what you think. If you don't approve, feel free to revert. - Josette (talk) 18:59, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

Josette, thanks for your input, the lede is much improved. Wallie and Matty, please stop inserting your comments within other peoples posts. You have completely vandalised Ernest's last post and made it very difficult to follow the discussion. Cuddy Wifter (talk) 21:43, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
Vandalising is defined as intentionally making unnconstructive edits. As this is clearly not the case, we were not vandalising at all - it was a mere mistake. Please read WP:VANDAL before you start accusing people left and right. That said, I was just responding to his points one by one in the same form that Wallie did. If you find it hard to read I give you permission to move my posts, but I find it easier that way. It is clear they are no the same comments as they are indented. That said, the new lead is much better. Matty (talk) 02:59, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
Cuddy Wifter. You comments are not really helpful. You could be a little more diplomatic. I will not comment further until Ernest comes back. Wallie (talk) 07:15, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
Folks, I am neutral on this, I'm just a Yank with an unsolicited need to stick my nose in a fight that's not mine, (grin) but I think that everyone needs to chill out on the nationalism thing. The article can fairly reflect the horse's origins and fan club base, but just like people, sometimes a nationalized citizen gets adopted and claimed by a nation that is not the nation of one's birth. Thus, to note a parallel, Mel Gibson is an Australian, even if he was born in the states and currently lives there now. (And we'd really just as soon send him back to Australia, actually, at the moment...) Noogies at all of you! Montanabw(talk) 03:26, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
I see Mel as a boomerang, he's returned, and is yours to keep! Cuddy Wifter (talk) 03:59, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
That's a good one! LOL :) - Josette (talk) 04:30, 27 April 2009 (UTC)

It is the right of any editor to insist on citations[edit]

Anyone disagree? Ernest the Sheep (talk) 23:28, 27 April 2009 (UTC)

When it becomes a dispute then the right to ask for them (citations) should be taken to the talk page. Bidgee (talk) 23:38, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
Are you really disputing my right to insist on citations? Ernest the Sheep (talk) 23:40, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
Ernest, you are changing the wording. It took some time to get the absurd lead into something readable. Please leave the wording the way it is, unless you plan to actually improve it. This wording "Foaled in New Zealand, but trained and raced in Australia, Phar Lap is considered to be a national icon in both Australia[3][4][5][6] and New Zealand[citation needed]." is not an improvement. - Josette (talk) 23:50, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
I had to change the wording a little to separate out Aus and NZ. At present they are grouped, along with a list of associated citations which I don't think are all that relevant for the NZ side of the claim. I think the wording as it stands disguises this controversy. Perhaps the entire thing needs rewording. If you believe my wording is really that bad then perhaps you could just edit it a little, rather than reversing my entire edit. Anyway concerns like that should not be used as an excuse to avoid addressing the real issues. Ernest the Sheep (talk) 00:06, 28 April 2009 (UTC)
" is not meant to be taken that seriously....."ETS. Popele with a POV might think that. But people without a POV might think that
Please leave the wording the way it is. It actually reads well. If you feel another citation is needed to prove the NZ claim then I will add one. Will that satisfy you? We have all been working together and now this article is much improved, I would hope you would agree. - Josette (talk) 00:26, 28 April 2009 (UTC)
No, sorry, but I cannot agree. I would like to see some quality citations that add good support to the assertions they are alleged to be supporting. You should be able to tell from my last edit, before it was reversed, what my particular areas of concern are. Ernest the Sheep (talk) 00:40, 28 April 2009 (UTC)
I have no idea why you feel there is a problem. Maybe someone else should give their opinion. - Josette (talk) 00:54, 28 April 2009 (UTC)
I'm not so sure that ETS is not using calls for citations to camouflage his edit preferences. ETS, what is your opinion on the article using all relevant info contained in a current citation. For instance, this currently used source says the following -- "There is always argument over who 'owned' Phar Lap, Australia or New Zealand. In effect it was both." That's the Australian High Commission! Should be in the article! OK? Kaiwhakahaere (talk) 01:43, 28 April 2009 (UTC)
I don't see how that particular article serves as any sort of reference for the proposition that Phar Lap is a national icon in NZ. Also judging by the style in which the article is written (OZkids?) it is not meant to be taken that seriously. Dale Davis? Ernest the Sheep (talk) 02:45, 28 April 2009 (UTC)
" is not meant to be taken that seriously.....". Well, people with a POV might claim that. But people without a POV might instead think that a Australian High Commission website is a reasonable source. Kaiwhakahaere (talk) 03:05, 28 April 2009 (UTC)
I also fail to see how referencing the Phar Lap Trust website supports the assertion that Phar Lap is a national icon in NZ. Their self promotional video featuring Winston Peters is hardly convincing evidence. Ernest the Sheep (talk) 02:51, 28 April 2009 (UTC)
Nothing will ever be convincing to you, unless it fits your POV. You know what, a few people have had a go at this intro and a few times got it near reasonable shape, but each time you came along with POV reverts and we went back to rubbish. Proud of yourself? No, don't bother. Kaiwhakahaere (talk) 03:05, 28 April 2009 (UTC)
There is no need to pack a sad over it. The article in its present form could hardly be called scholarly anyway. All I am asking is for a couple of good citations. One to support the claim that Phar Lap captured the public's imagination in NZ. I'm sure the first moon landings also captured the public imagination in NZ. I want to know how the excitement Phar Lap caused in NZ is notable. I also want to see good citations for the claim that Phar Lap is a national icon in NZ. It's hardly a lot to ask, I would have thought. Ernest the Sheep (talk) 03:52, 28 April 2009 (UTC)
(Edit conflict, so pop it in here). People in glass houses.....! You want to see good citations for the claim that Phar Lap is a national icon in NZ. I want to see good citations for the claim that Phar Lap is a national icon in Australia. There are three sources given regarding the phrase "a national icon in both countries" which appears in the intro. Three of them are about New Zealand. None of them are about Australia. You were saying? Kaiwhakahaere (talk) 04:15, 28 April 2009 (UTC)
Given what is available out there, it has to be said that some of the choices of citations are a little bizarre. I wonder why that is? Ernest the Sheep (talk) 06:58, 28 April 2009 (UTC)
Don't pretend to care about citations at all - you reverted all my fully cited changes 4 times in our last conflict, and you didn't get the message until you were blocked. Why have you changed your mind now? I don't disagree that we need to find citations as they're obviously pretty touchy sentences (apparently they've already been found though), but it seems laughable that you come back and pretend to care about whats cited and whats not after your history. I've found a few news sources saying that he's a New Zealand icon as well as an Australian one which seems to back up the lead, so i'll add those in when I can be bothered. On a side note, it's very interesting to see after going through a lot of news articles on Phar Lap just how much of the article we have is plagiarised. A substantial amount of the article is just a straight copy-paste. Luckily though recent rewordings have fixed this, but its still not good. Matty (talk) 04:23, 28 April 2009 (UTC)

Maybe the icon stuff should not be in the lead. This could be the new lead:
"Phar Lap was a champion Thoroughbred racehorse whose achievements captured the public's imagination during the early years of the Great Depression. Foaled in New Zealand, he was trained and raced in Australia. Phar Lap dominated the Australian racing scene during a distinguished racing career, winning a Melbourne Cup, two Cox Plates and 19 other weight for age races.He then won the Agua Caliente Handicap in Tijuana, Mexico in track-record time in his final race. After a sudden and mysterious illness, Phar Lap died in 1932. At the time, he was the third highest stake-winner in the world."
- Josette (talk) 04:33, 28 April 2009 (UTC)

Almost. "Phar Lap was a champion (Australian) Thoroughbred racehorse (in Australia) whose achievements captured the public's imagination during the early years of the Great Depression". Remove one of the bracketed word(s) and I'd certainly go along with it. Ernest the Sheep (talk) 06:19, 28 April 2009 (UTC)
Josette. Now you are cooking with gas! But can I amend it to the following:
"Phar Lap was a champion thoroughbred racehorse who captured the public's imagination during the early years of the Great Depression. Foaled in New Zealand, and trained and raced in Australia, Phar Lap dominated the Australian racing scene when winning a Melbourne Cup, two Cox Plates and 19 other weight for age races. He then won the Agua Caliente Handicap in Tijuana, Mexico, in track-record time in his final race. After a sudden mysterious illness, Phar Lap died in 1932 when he was the then third highest stake-winner in the world."
Succinct and informative and not saturated with POV like the dreadful suggestion by ETS in the previous paragraph -- "(Australian) Thoroughbred racehorse (in Australia)". Not sure what you intended to wikilink, but throughbred shouldn't be capped. Cheers Kaiwhakahaere (talk) 06:40, 28 April 2009 (UTC)
As a side note, I would like to remove "Phar Lap was initially owned by American businessman David J. Davis who eventually sold joint-ownership to Sydney trainer Harry Telford who had leased the horse for three years." from the lead. I just don't think it needs to be there. Does anyone agree? - Josette (talk) 05:08, 28 April 2009 (UTC)
That was one of my suggestions, before I got banned. Ernest the Sheep (talk) 06:11, 28 April 2009 (UTC)
Agreed Josette. Slot it slightly further down into the text. Kaiwhakahaere (talk) 06:40, 28 April 2009 (UTC)
Are the owners of the horse suddenly not important? Matty (talk) 07:24, 28 April 2009 (UTC)
Of course they are. I can see I didn't word that very well, and I'm sure Josette didn't mean it should be poked down at the tail of the article or whatever. Of course, ownership is important as are a lot of other points, but they can't all be put in the first three sentences and don't deserve to be. The problem is, a suggested rewrite -- showing the suggested structure of the whole article -- would be a waste of effort, instantly hacked and attacked by POVers. What would you say to the first three sentences I suggested, then followed by other information in order of logical descending relevance, much like a good article would be constructed. Kaiwhakahaere (talk) 08:09, 28 April 2009 (UTC)

Josette. Your independent viewpoint has certainly improved the article a lot. Often an outside party has a clearer overview of what should be presented. Thank you very much for your efforts to date. I guess there will be more. :) Wallie (talk) 14:01, 28 April 2009 (UTC)

A problem with veracity of a citation[edit]

I have a few concerns over this particular source article [7]. It appears to be a rewording of this article [8]. Any thoughts? Ernest the Sheep (talk) 06:46, 28 April 2009 (UTC)

Bwahahahahahaha. Same author, same article, and worth citing regardless of where her opus was published or edited. You've had your little bit of fun playing games, how about you now let others build this into an encyclopedic article. Kaiwhakahaere (talk) 07:00, 28 April 2009 (UTC)
No, there are a few subtle differences between them. Did you not notice? One appears to have been doctored. Which one I wonder? The point is that it illustrates how stupid it is to use contemporary news items as sources for historic articles. Sure, if there is some recent development that is relevant to the subject of an article then include it. But recent news items should not be used as sources for blanket statements. Some can be misleading, or deliberately dishonest, especially if they are of New Zealand origin. I suggest that the Phar Lap article should only be referenced by newspaper articles of the time. Books written by reputable authors can also be used, and a few credible websites could also be used as sources. Ernest the Sheep (talk) 07:57, 28 April 2009 (UTC)
"Some can be misleading, or deliberately dishonest, especially if they are of New Zealand origin." Excuse me? Anything that does not suit you doesn't mean that doesn't meet the reliable source policy. It's clear that anything that you don't agree with you want gone. I'm Australian who isn't using a POV but a neutral point of view. For all we know the Independent may have excluded some content where as the NZ Herald didn't. Bidgee (talk) 08:10, 28 April 2009 (UTC)
Thanks, Bidgee for this NPOV, especially since you are from Australia. Wallie (talk) 14:00, 28 April 2009 (UTC)
Ernest. (on your first post, not the reply) You are probably correct. Some New Zealand newspapers can be biased (or is that nationalistic?)- but so are the some Australian ones. The museums are not as bad, although they are capable of showing bias also, emphasizing their own countries. The fact is that people were upset in Australia and New Zealand about Phar Lap's death, and you know it as well. I'm sure they were in the United States too. I know that people in New Zealand were very upset for the people when the Hindenberg disaster happened (1930s also) and they were Germans. Wallie (talk) 12:26, 28 April 2009 (UTC)
I think I found an article that should appease everyone, from The Literary Digest, published by Funk and Wagnalls, April 23 1932, titled How Nations Morn A Great Horse, page 40, "His end came like the lightning his name implied, for Phar Lap, we read, is Sengalese ... by the side of the consternation felt in Australia and New Zealand." [9] - Josette (talk) 18:01, 28 April 2009 (UTC)
The book Famous horses of the American turf from 1933 , pages 171- 172, he is referred to as "the gallant New Zealand gelding" [10] - Josette (talk) 18:20, 28 April 2009 (UTC)
Well done, Josette. The truth is always out there, if you look hard enough for it. All we now have to do is present the article in an NPOV way. I believe it is pretty close to that already. Wallie (talk) 19:23, 28 April 2009 (UTC)
Josette, I do appreciate that you have gone to some efforts to find reliable sources, but the happenings of the last week or so have only confirmed my belief that all is not right here. It should not be such a struggle to find sources for what, on the face of it, would appear to be verysimple propositions. Either they are true or not, and if they are then you would expect to find a wealth of corroborative sources. That article from the Literary Digest would appear to about Phar Lap being preserved by taxidermists, and his skeleton going to NZ. Hence the title. But I cannot see how that can be used as a source for the claims that Phar Lap "captured the public imagination" or that Phar Lap is a "national icon" in NZ. I noted it mentioned in the Wikipedia discussion of reliable sources which Bidgee pointed me to, that some news organisations use Wikipedia articles as sources for their work. Hence I believe it is doubly important to get things right. Here is a recent example of just such an occurrence [11]. The wording looked familiar, and by checking with version dates recorded on the Phar Lap history page, I believe that the author might have borrowed from a previous version of the Wikipedia Phar Lap article. Ernest the Sheep (talk) 20:58, 28 April 2009 (UTC)
It wasn't a struggle. I just looked under google books, took me about 3 minutes. It is so obvious to me that both countries claimed his body parts when he died because they both felt like he was "theirs", that is enough for me. We now have proof of that. But either way using words like "captured the public imagination" and "national icon" is just a bunch of crap that someone else wrote in some other book or article. That doesn't mean we need to use or prove those words here. We need to end the pissing contest. The lead should read:
"Phar Lap was a champion Thoroughbred racehorse beloved by horse lovers the world over during the early years of the Great Depression. Foaled in New Zealand, he was trained and raced in Australia. Phar Lap dominated the Australian racing scene during a distinguished racing career, winning a Melbourne Cup, two Cox Plates and 19 other weight for age races.He then won the Agua Caliente Handicap in Tijuana, Mexico in track-record time in his final race. After a sudden and mysterious illness, Phar Lap died in 1932. At the time, he was the third highest stake-winner in the world."
or something very similar. As for the icon stuff, it belongs in the "Cultural impact" section. - Josette (talk) 21:46, 28 April 2009 (UTC)
That is one way out of this predicament, maybe the only way. Although it is a pity, because the lead should include why Phar Lap is so notable, and it not solely because of his racing record. The Seabiscuit article includes such an observation in its lead. I suspect that even if we agree to leave it out of the lead, the fanatical Kiwi editors are still going to fight tooth and nail over it, where ever it is included. Ernest the Sheep (talk) 21:57, 28 April 2009 (UTC)
I find it rather bad faith and uncivil to call anyone who sources information in which you don't agree with "fanatical Kiwi editors". I'm a person who isn't using nationalism and I'm not a fan of nationalism. Infact I walked out of my history class in high school (Years ago) which showed a Phar Lap film which was focus on Australia with New Zealand not getting one bit in the film. That film (title) I will not give since it will be used by POV pushers to push there POV. Bidgee (talk) 08:28, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
What makes you think I was referring to you? I thought you said you were an Aussie anyway? That's an amusing little story you tell about walking out of your history class. Don't really know what to make of it, to tell you the truth. Ernest the Sheep (talk) 11:25, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
I do. Intelligent people get tired of nationalstic films which distort history. Even if it is a good story, people do not like meaningless boasting. I would probably have fallen asleep rather than walked out. Wallie (talk) 10:56, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
There is room for more detail in other sections of the article, probably room for both countries. - Josette (talk) 22:06, 28 April 2009 (UTC)
Thanks again, Josette. I agree entirely. It is a "bunch of crap" as you say. That is why the film Phar Lap was not a big success, as it went in for all this hype, which people know is fake. People like to see films about a horse or a human interest. They get sick of all this phoney nationalism. Wallie (talk) 08:18, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
That said, it is also true that the most notable part of his life was spent in Australia except for his last race which was in Mexico. I think the lead now clearly reflects that. - Josette (talk) 14:43, 29 April 2009 (UTC)

Phar Lap is a citizen of the world and he now belongs to the ages (swell heroic Wagnerian music now...). (grin) I believe I can find a reliable source somewhere on the internet, where EVERYTHING is true, that verifies that he was faster than a speeding bullet and could leap tall buildings in a single bound. ( running, ducking and laughing) Furthermore, I think there is a claim on him by the citizens of Micronesia, because the ship that took him to America HAD to stop for fuel and supplies somewhere along the way, right??? (LOL!) OK, now that I've contributed absolutely nothing of value, I'm going back to my popcorn and watching this entertaining show... Montanabw(talk) 16:30, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

Useless but interesting[edit]

I spent the last couple of days asking random strangers "What's the first name that comes to mind when I say 'New Zealand's greatest ever racehorse'"?. 16 people answered "Phar Lap", and I got single entries for Cardigan Bay, Kiwi and Balmerino. Maybe we should apply to have it as a census question ;-) dramatic (talk) 18:48, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

Too bad you guys haven't chosen a horse that actually did something notable in your own country. - Josette (talk) 23:52, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
We much prefer winning the Melbourne Cup. - its worth more! dramatic (talk) 01:56, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
Dramatic, People are ignorant. Josette, Horses like Cardigan Bay (horse) and Caduceus (horse) did far more than Phar Lap. Caduceus was a champion racing all over Canada and the US, and Australia/New Zealand. 50,000 people crammed into tiny Harold Park to see him in Sydney, a world record. Cardigan Bay is to my mind New Zealand's greatest horse, and was well known in the United States and appeared on the [Ed Sullivan show]], which was big then (now the David Letterman show). The thing is that New Zealand doesn't boast. What annoys New Zealanders is that Australians call Phar Lap an Australian horse. It just isn't so. The fact is that Australian horses have not done well in North America. As far as notability is concerned, New Zealand considers it significant if you do something overseas, not at home. Jack Lovelock is notable, as he won a big race race in Germany in 1936 in the same games as Jesse Owens, not because he won races in New Zealand. Dramatic, the Melbourne Cup is not "worth more". Cardigan Bay earned over $1 million dollars around 1965. He would have had to win about 40 Melbourne Cups to do that in the 1960s. Wallie (talk) 06:13, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
Wallie, I was trying to show that the fact that Phar Lap is still well known by a condiserable number of people 75 years on supports the assertion that he had "iconic status" here (or was "legendary" if you like. I recall asking about Cardigan Bay as a kid because I got a stamp for my collection which shoed him - but his fame hasn't lasted as well. Maybe the relationship between Australia and New Zealand does have something to do with it, but I am one kiwi who does not get annoyed at him being called an Australian horse. You are correct to say that we were once a society who only thought you had achieved something if we achieved it overseas. Another example is Ngaio Marsh, most famous for her novels, most of which were set in Britain, but what she did for New Zealand theatre was a far greater achievement, though much less widely known.
And the Melbourne Cup is worth more (in both $ and prestige) than any New Zealand race - US races don't come into it. dramatic (talk) 09:20, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
Some of what you say is correct. You can guarantee that if Cardigan Bay was called an Australian horse as he raced there, the horse would suddenly become famous. US races DO come into it. That is why Phar Lap is famous, as he went to the US to race there. I think he was the only horse with anything remotely to do with Australia there. Its OK if they love the horse. They can never call it "Australian" though. That is definitely not on. As the NZ PM said "Hands off, he's ours".Wallie (talk) 10:52, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
Well done Wallie. Completely ignor Josette's suggestion and bring up a whole shoal of "red herrings" about a Standardbred on a page about a Thoroughbred. Cuddy Wifter (talk) 08:42, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
These are not red herrings. Josette was responding to Dramatic asking about 'New Zealand's greatest ever racehorse'. Cardigan Bay was a standardbred horse, and also a racehorse. Just because standardbred horses aren't important in the UK (explains your POV)... They are important in other places! Wallie (talk) 08:52, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
Personally, I was impressed with the mare Sunline. - Josette (talk) 12:37, 1 May 2009 (UTC)

"Rare newspaper photos of the great New Zealand racehorse Phar Lap have emerged"[edit]

An article distributed by the New Zealand Press Association got coverage this morning. The article said "Rare newspaper photos of the great New Zealand racehorse Phar Lap have emerged in a fan's scrapbook. The scrapbook that West Coaster Eddie Cameron compiled from newspaper clippings on the New Zealand-bred legend has been donated to the Phar Lap Charitable Trust and replicated into 400 copies the trust is offering for sale". The replica scrapbook has a foreword by Bart Cummings and hopefully has new information which can help improve this article. Apparently there are lots of hitherto unseen photos, including one of Phar Lap on board the ship before leaving New Zealand for the US. Looking forward to reading it. Kaiwhakahaere (talk) 23:40, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

Yes, he was actually [12] stabled at Trentham Racecourse in New Zealand before being shipped to the Americas. Too bad they didn't take the time to enter him in a race or two while he was there, then it might have been notable. - Josette (talk) 00:05, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
Might not have been able to win. Beating the hacks in Oz was easy peasy, but taking on the wonderful super horses in his Aotearoa homeland would have been a different kettle of fish. Did you know that our article is wrong where it gives the meaning of the name Phar Lap? It's actually a Maori phrase which means "Ima Kiwi". Dinkum. Kaiwhakahaere (talk) 00:24, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
I'm all for losing the "name" section. - Josette (talk) 00:39, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
Michael Phelps did not win many medals in the US. He won a lot of medals in Melbourne. That doesn't make him an Australian. It is where you are from that counts, not where you win the championships. Wallie (talk) 09:02, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
Sorry Wallie, it's not the same. I feel if Phelps had left the US at a young age, lived, trained, and competed in another country, say New Zealand, won medals for New Zealand, then I would consider him a New Zealander. We will have to agree to disagree on the fundamentals. - Josette (talk) 15:09, 1 May 2009 (UTC)

note: when phar lap was sold it was in a poor condition...... after the new zealanders sold it so how can they claim someting they didnt look after?

Self referencing[edit]

See this [13]. Note the wording, and date of article. Now look at this older version of the Phar Lap article. [14]. Should we delete this as a source? Ernest the Sheep (talk) 07:16, 1 May 2009 (UTC)

Good catch, I think you should delete it. - Josette (talk) 13:07, 1 May 2009 (UTC)

Issues with the lead[edit]

I removed both countries claiming that Phar Lar captured their "public's imagination" from the lead, as was discussed further up on the talk page. It can be argued (and sourced) that Phar Lap captured the public's imagination all over the world! A better way to show how the people of Australia and New Zealand were affected by the horse would be to write a section describing his impact. Actually two sections, one for each country, would be preferable. - Josette (talk) 03:25, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

I think this problem arose, as the earlier versions of this article implied that only Australia was affected. You are quite correct in saying that Phar Lap captured the public's imagination all over the world. People tend to see things only from their country's point of view. Obviously there was a lot of interest in Phar Lap in the US too. People were upset when Ruffian died too, and not just in the US. Great horses belong to the world. Wallie (talk) 07:48, 17 May 2009 (UTC)
I agree with Wallie in that there is a special ongoing affection for the horse in both Australia and New Zealand that exceeded anything in the rest of the world, and that this is worthy of note in the article. After all, you are not going to find any other countries still using Phar Lap in a television advertisement in 2006...[15]. dramatic (talk) 08:52, 17 May 2009 (UTC)
Which is why I suggest someone write an entire section or two on Phar Lap's impact on the respective countries, or maybe his lasting impact deserves it's own article. - Josette (talk) 16:31, 17 May 2009 (UTC)

New External Link added[edit]

I moderate the Culture Victoria website and have added an external link to images and link to the story of Phar Lap at Museum Victoria.Eleworth (talk) 23:39, 17 August 2010 (UTC)


The "country" refers to the place where the horse was foaled and is permanent. For instance Gallant Man's country was Ireland. Benny the Dip's country was United States. Where they were trained is irrelevant. Phar Lap was foaled in New Zealand. That's his country. We can't have one rule for him and one for every other Tb article. The lead should clearly state however where the horse was bred and trained rather than assigning a nationalty. For example X was and Irish-bred, British-trained racehorse. Tigerboy1966 (talk) 19:50, 22 January 2012 (UTC)

Did his heart weigh 14 pounds?[edit]

Phar Lap comes up in a lot of discussions about X-factor, and while that's controversial, I've read that his heart was weighed after death at 14 pounds and is displayed in a glass case in Australia. Is there is a reason this is not currently mentioned in the article? Vesuvius Dogg (talk) 03:27, 7 December 2015 (UTC)

  1. ^ the "Wonder Horse".
  2. ^ Phar Lap called Bobby round the stables
  3. ^ Summerhayes, RS, Encyclopaedia for Horsemen, Warnes & Co, London & New York, 1966