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Sotheby’s Australia to auction the 1964 Melbourne Cup won by Polo Prince (NZ)
09 Oct 2017 | Sotheby’s Australia 

Sotheby’s Australia has been entrusted with the sale of the 1964 Melbourne Cup won by New Zealand horse Polo Prince (NZ). Held in a private Queensland collection since 1999, the 1964 Melbourne Cup was presented by the Governor General, William Sidney, 1st Viscount De L'Isle, to Mrs Edna Davis, co-owner of Polo Prince. The Cup will be auctioned by Sotheby’s Australia on 24 October 2017 in Sydney with an estimate of $70,000-90,000.

A crowd of 85,000 braved bleak weather conditions to watch Polo Prince win the 1964 Melbourne Cup; onlookers included Dawn Fraser, who had won gold at the Olympics of the same year in Tokyo. Polo Prince entered the race at odds of 12/1, though in the lead up to Cup eve, punters backed him at over 20/1.

It was an outstanding victory, as the gelding won by a length-and-a-quarter and was within
a tenth-of-a-second of breaking the race record. Polo Prince became the eighth New Zealand horse in the previous thirteen years to win the Melbourne Cup.

Originally destined to be a hurdler due to his temperament, Polo Prince’s trainer, John Carter, saw potential for flat races. Carter, encouraged by the six-year-old’s performance during the two mile Auckland Cup in January 1964, decided to prepare Polo Prince for the Melbourne Cup of the same year. Polo Prince’s co-owner, Laurie Davis was known as ‘Lucky’ due to an extremely successful TAB bet, a lottery win, and his overall good fortune on the racecourse. He bred Polo Prince on a small property outside of Auckland that he had acquired with winnings from his TAB wager. Laurie’s wife, Edna Davis, who received the Cup from the Governor General, was reputed to be the fourth female owner to win the Melbourne Cup.

Geoffrey Smith, Chairman of Sotheby’s Australia commented: "Throughout history there has been a level of healthy rivalry between Australia and New Zealand. During the 1950's and 1960's New Zealand was gaining a reputation for the quality and success of its race horses.

"In the history of the Melbourne Cup Polo Prince was the eighteenth horse from New Zealand to win, and the eighth in thirteen years. While the Melbourne Cup is Australian, its ownership and prestige is truly international."

Recent sales of Melbourne Cups by Sotheby’s Australia include;

o The 1985 Foster's Melbourne Cup won by What A Nuisance, 18ct gold, Fortuanato Rocca for
Hardy Brothers. Sold for $109,800 October 2016.
o The 1899 Melbourne Cup Trophy won by Merriwee, comprising a silver presentation tray
together with a tea and coffee service, Walter, Michael, John, Stanley Barnard with Robert
Dubock, tray London 1896 and service London, 1898. Sold for $103,700 April 2016.
o The 1867 Melbourne Cup and the 1867 Queen's Plate Trophy won by Tim Whiffler, the
Melbourne Cup by Thomas Smily, London 1866, the Queen's Plate by William Edwards,
Melbourne, 1866. Sold for $720,000 October 2011. Purchased by the National Museum of
Australia, Canberra.




The 1964 Melbourne Cup won by Polo Prince, 9ct gold,
James Steeth & Son for William Drummond & Co. Ltd
840 gms, 29.9 cm high, 37 cm high (with base), picture Sotherbys


 
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