This photograph, depicting Phar Lap's jockey, vet and track jockey, was one of three with accompanied a letter sent by Phar Lap's strapper Tommy Woodcock to the donor's aunt on 18th March 1932, just two days before the running of the Agua Caliente Handicap. It was in response to a fan letter she had recently sent to the horse.

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Phar Lap's jockey Bill Elliot, vet Dr Nielsen and track jockey A. Martin in Agua Caliente.


These objects are an important addition to the Phar Lap Collection. Phar Lap's life worked toward a climax, winning the Agua Caliente Handicap and dying 17 days later, and these objects are from that crucial period. The letter is dated 18th March, 1932, two days before Phar Lap won the Agua Caliente. The letter and photo are also interesting for what they say about the development of fame and celebrity in that era. Both are standard responses to a fan letter. The photograph is one of a multiple of prints that were (presumably) run off by a local photographer at the expense of the Phar Lap camp. Note that the negative has been inscribed for multiple production with the names of the three figures that appear in it. Woodcock's letter is perhaps more literate than one might expect. The composition, grammar and spelling belie the fact that he was poorly educated and that in many subsequent stories that detailed the life of Phar Lap he was presented as a bit of a hayseed.

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