Kingston Town Champion Racehorse
Kingston Town True Champion Of Australian Horse Racing History
His record on the track is all the more phenomenal when consideration is given to the fact that he was literally hobbled by leg injuries throughout his career, yet he still managed to win 30 races from 41 starts.
So legendary is this horse’s status that he was without hesitation inducted into the inaugural class of horses of Australia’s Racing Hally of Fame, sharing honours with Bernborough, Carbine, Phar Lap and Tulloch.
Racing Hall Of Fame Naturally
He is the only horse ever to have won the Cox Plate three times, those consecutively in 1980, ’81, and ’82.
It could legitimately be said that trainer T.J. Smith and his primary rider, Malcolm Johnston, owe much of their reputations to Kingston Town, and it is highly doubtful that either man would have raised a dispute to the assertion.
Kingston Town was foaled in 1976 by sire Bletchingly, two time Group 1 winner of The Galaxy, and Australian Champion sire three times consecutively from 1979 to 1982, and dam Ada Hunter, an unraced broodmare of Germanic origins.
Kingston Town finished dead last in his first start as a two-year-old colt, the consequences of which found him being gelded. He returned at the end of the season to win a minor race at Rosehill for which he rewarded his backers with a 33-1 payday.
His participation as a three-year-old saw him beginning to exert the dominance for which he is remembered.
Wins Six Races In A Row
He won six races in a row. The first of these was his first Group 1 win, the Spring Champion Stakes at Randwick over 2000 metres at set weights. It was also the first year for the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes, having previously been run as a principal race called the Australasian Champion Stakes that had been a part of the autumn carnival.
He also took his first Cox Plate in 1980, his first victory in the city of Melbourne where he never fared nearly so well as he did in Sydney.
Kingston Town would win an additional 11 races for that season, and after the dust had settled, his record stood at 14 wins from 18 starts.
He was held out of the autumn portion of the season with leg problems and returned for the spring to win seven consecutive, including his second Cox Plate.
He ran in the Melbourne Cup, where it was clear that he was hampered by his inability to perform at Flemington in anything resembling the capability he displayed in Sydney, and to be fair, the 3200 metre length of the race was double his comfort zone.
Kingston Town’s leg problems resulted in his missing the better part of the following year.
He would return in the spring of 1982 for his last campaign, the highlight of which was his third consecutive win in the W.S. Cox Plate. Kingston Town would again try the Melbourne Cup, but he came in second to Gurner’s Lane. Twenty five days later found him in Western Australia, where he won for the final time, this one the Group 1 Western Mail Classic at 1800 metres.
Kingston Town 30 Wins From 41 Starts
Only three of those wins took place outside of Sydney, and if it is possible o declare a horse as a homer, it would certainly be fair to apply that term to him. Kingston Town retired as the leading stakes earner to that point in Australian racing history with just over $1.6 million to his credit.
Kingston Town was subsequently sent to race in the United States, unsuccessfully. He returned to live out his days, which were tragically brief. He was injured whilst playing with his favourite mate; surgery to save him failed, and the decision was made to go the humane euthanasia route in March of 1991, when he was but 14 years old.
It is tempting to speculate what “The King” might have accomplished had he not had the leg problems that held him out on so many occasions.
It is likewise tempting to wonder if he could have achieved what he did had he remained intact, or what he could have produced in terms of offspring.
Nevertheless, what he did accomplish was far beyond astounding, and anyone who ever declared, “Kingston Town can’t win,” as race caller Bill Collins so famously declared on the occasion of that third Cox Plate victory, would have found themselves emphatically proved inaccurate.