Big Red Mystery Solved
Renowned New Zealand-bred gelding Phar Lap, who won 37 of his 51 starts and the 1930 Melbourne Cup was killed by arsenic poisoning in 1932, scientists have confirmed after decades of speculation. A handwritten notebook of homeopathic recipes used by his trainer Harry Telford, auctioned in Melbourne in April, revealed arsenic and strychnine among the ingredients in the tonics and ointments he used on his horses. Forensic results released at Melbourne Museum showed Phar Lap had ingested a large dose of arsenic in the last 30 to 40 hours of his life in California. His skeleton is displayed at Te Papa, his mounted hide at the Melbourne Museum, and his heart at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra.