Racing’s Best of the Best

The Winning Post, in conjunction with TVN, have started a competition to name the 50 greatest racehorses in Australia from the last 50 years. The past 50 years have been broken down into 3 eras – 1960s/70s, 1980s/90s and 2000s.
This week’s Winning Post focusses on the era from 1962-1979 and they have assigned Bruce Clark, Shane Templeton, Michael Sharkie, Greg Carpenter aand Adrian Dunn with the task of selecting their top 5 horses from each era. There is a comprehensive 4 page liftout identifying 17 horses from which to choose the best 5 of this era. Those named, in alphabetical order, are:


We have plenty of knowledgeable (and opinionated) Almanackers and I would be interested in getting their thoughts on the top 5 in order for this era this week. Feel free to nominate some from outside of the list provided. I was thinking that such horses as Tulloch, Todman and Lord might have fallen into the era but they were just before. So come on, give us your best!


  1. Elvis can start up a separate comp for the best WA horses.

  2. So Manikato is eligible for 70s and 80s?

  3. Did surprise me to see him in 70s but he did win the Diamond / Slipper in 78 then Ascot Vale, Caulfield Guineas, etc as 3yo. Only allowed in 1 era but safe to assume that overall record can be taken into account.

  4. lee donovan says

    Have to leave some good ones out but I would go with Dulcify, Gunsynd,Manikato,Surround and Taj Rossi

  5. Skip of Skipton says

    Lee, where’s Vain? Maybe Mahal? Luskin Star? Ming Dynasty?

    This is ridiculous, subjective, and all too hard!

    I say we have a crack at the five best West Australian horses from each era, just to get some feel for this kind of thing.

  6. Skip of Skipton says

    Budge, Manikato’s 2nd (beaten a half-head) by Dulcify, after leading all the way in the ’79 Australian Cup is worthy of mention. They both had 52.5kg. Old stager Family of Man was third with 58kg.

    I doubt too many folk remember him doing that.

  7. Manikato tops my best ever seen list, by a whisker from Kington Town. So he beats this lot by 5 lengths.
    Tobin Bronze is probably second of these though before my time.
    Dulcify’s Cox Plate was extraordinary, but he was tragically cut down soon after. Could have been anything, but we never got to see enough of him.
    Luskin Star and Vain were very very good.
    I think Surround peaked at 3, and I don’t remember her as an older horse. Always had the feeling Geoff Murphy’s had one or two great preps, but never great careers. Could have been the Bombers syndrome.

  8. OK, I’ll go with:

    Pretty happy with those!

  9. Budge,

    WA gallopers aside, I am with you in the main.


  10. David Walker says

    Manikato is the best sprinter Australia has ever seen,Black Caviar has nothing on him

  11. Jock and Oges, give me your best 5 in order from this era.
    And you, Cowshedend!!

  12. David Downer says

    Foaled in 1976 myself, I’ll wait for the next decade’s instalment to contribute!

  13. Skip of Skipton says

    They’re in bed Budge, so I will have a go. In the 2000s era:

    Black Caviar
    Makybe Diva

    In the 90s:

    Let’s Elope
    Super Impose
    Clan O’Sullivan

  14. Pressure on here Budge
    Agree on all but not in your order I need to put in Crisp- any horse that can do what he did in the Grand National at Aintree deserves to be there
    So I am putting him in instead of Dulcify
    Tobin Bronze

  15. Skip – what about top 5 from those in the list (60/70s)?

  16. Budge,what a tuffy this is,already had some great gets, particularly Crisp,who gave Red Rum a weight pull equivalent to a small Japanese car.
    Tobin Bronze
    If you could chuck one in out of left field, how about one that won two races, both in France,but had the greatest influence on our racing for the next 3 decades, Sir Tristram

  17. The ones I thought were stiff not to be included were Baguette and Balmerino. Baguette won the Triple Crown as a 2YO and came back to win the Newmarket at 3. Crisp gets a guernsey based on a glorious loss, Balmerino did run 2nd in an Arc behind Alleged.

  18. Think Shane Templeton might have been the one to push for Sobar? .
    Not much respect shown for Wenona Girl so far. An amazing record!

  19. Oges,
    You’re a disgwace to the wegiment!
    Putting a jumps placegetter ahead of a 7 length winner of the Cox Plate!

  20. As a Private during Nasho there is not much lower you can go mate -my “logic” is that if BC had have been beaten by a small margin in the UK this year she still would have been labelled a Superstar and Crisp was that -just beaten in the Grand National having taken all before him in Oz
    Its nice being the Senior Cit amongst the boys because all of the horses mentioned filled the racing pages before the advent of tv replays and bought back many memories of horses I had forgotten about

  21. Fair enough, Oges. But BC is a superstar because she keeps winning, though 1 loss wouldn’t have dented her reputation completely. Crisp is famous not for what he won but for what he didn’t – glorious loss notwithstanding!

  22. Manikato
    Tobin Bronze

  23. lee donovan says

    I’d love to own any of these but Crisp was just a hurdler/steeplechaser .Vain and Luskin Star were brilliant but only over short courses. My reasoning is the horse needs to have won over a range of distances and to have won the big group races . Taj Rossi won 4 group ones in the spring of 1973 including the cox plate .
    Higgins reckons he’s possibly the best he has ridden .

  24. No problems with your assessment, Lee. Think any of them could be pretty easy to promote a positive argument. The other side to the Taj Rossi argument is that he really only performed to that extremely high level for one (albeit glorious) campaign. Vain, Galilee and others came back and did it again.

  25. OK, I’ll have a go. I’m sure I’ll miss a few out

    60/70’s; Looks like Bart dominates for me
    Manikato: his 2 and 3yo seansons I think
    Tobin Bronze
    Dayana: I rate 4 derbies, that will never happen again

    80/90’s: oddly I had some great results on the punt when a few of these got beaten
    Let’s Elope
    Kingston Town
    Better Loosen Up
    Placid Ark…this one’s for you Elvis

    2000’s plus: first 2 pick themselves, was a matter of choosing 3 more
    Black Caviar
    Makybe Diva
    Choisir..I know this will be an odd selection to some but paved the way for Aussie sprinters in the UK and should have also won the July Cup which would have made the 3 key sprints ..unheard of.

  26. Thanks Jock. You’ve managed to pluck one out that wasn’t in the list but that’s OK. I can just imagine S. Templeton pumping up Sobar at Dayana’s expense. I’ll lock away your 60/70s selections but leave you open on the others. Winning Post will be providing a short list this week of contenders for 80/90s and the week after for 2000s both of which I will publish on this site.
    A few 80/90s contenders not mentioned by you that may be considered are Super Impose, Saintly, Vo Rogue, Might And Power, Shaftesbury Avenue, Bonecrusher and Octagonal, Sure I’ve missed some others but I’ll start up a new thread for those decades.

  27. The votes are in and the Knackers have selected their top 5 for the 60s & 70s as follows:

    2. VAIN
    =3. GALILEE
    5. DULCIFY

    Manikato was a clear winner and Vain was a clear 2nd. The next 3 were separated by only 1 point with a gap to the rest.
    I will start a new thread for the 80s/90s once I get this week’s Winning Post with their nominations. A few more from that era that crossed my mind are Myocard, Beau Zam, Red Anchor, Sir Dapper and Emancipation. It’s going to be very tough!

  28. If you reckon it was hard to sort out this lot, wait til you see the nominations for 80s & 90s! What an era. I’ll post something tomorrow with the Winning Post’s nominations and leave it for you to vote your top 5 in order. Good luck!

  29. Peter Flynn says

    (1) Vain

    (2) Manikato

    (3) Dulcify

    (4) Tobin Bronze

    (5) Galilee

  30. How do we measure a champion? GUNSYND
    Perform over many distance – Gunsynd won first 2YO feature for his season (Meyninck?), ran 4th in Golden Slipper, best miler in history, placed in Derby, third in Melbourne Cup on heart alone, won 1000 m to 2400 m;
    Won on all track conditions – fast to heavy;
    Won on multiple tracks – pretty sure only horse to win on all east coast metropolitan tracks (Doomben, Eagle Farm, Warwick farm, Canterbury, Rosehill, Randwick, Sandown, Caulfield, Flemington, Moonee Valley);
    Won features – Cox Plate, Doncaster, Epsom, Toorak, George Adams (only horse to win all 4 major miles);
    Won over many seasons – 2YO to 6YO
    BTW Grand sire of Emancipation who was grand dam of Railings.
    Raced in champion era (went down by a head to a great miler Triton conceding massive weight) – best crop in History – Baguette, Dual Choice, Royal Show, Triton, Gay Icarus, Silver Sharpe (won 3 derbies & not in top 6 of his year), & in same era Tauto…….
    Black Caviar – sprints only; Makybe Diva – 2000 – 3200 only; others no wet, no variety of tracks etc – Gunsynd must rate near very top.

  31. Skip of Skipton says

    I would love to boot Makybe Diva off the top 5 and include Gunsynd, John. The fact is she won three Melbourne Cups. And a Cox Plate, Tancred Stakes, Sydney Cup, Australian Cup etc

  32. peterboland says

    Sobar was better than dayana but was unsound in comparison
    Tobin bronze was good but in 66/67 galilee made him look like a second rater
    Vain well he was just vain unreal
    Later super impose on his day COULD NOT BE BEATEN
    northerly /sunline /makbe diva

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