Poseidon Champion Thoroughbred Racehorse
Poseidon: Throughout the history of horse racing in Australia, there have been many cases of horses that were either exceptional sprinters capable of winning at distances of up to 1600 metres, or stayers that needed 200 metres or more to summon their best effort.
A few of the great champions were remarkable for being dominant at all distances, and perhaps no other thoroughbred displayed this quality to the extent presented by Poseidon.
Poseidon First Win At Randwick Over 1000 Metres
His first win was a 1000 metres affair at Randwick. His connections gradually moved him up to longer distances until he managed to prevail in the 1908 AJC Queen’s Plate, now known as the Queen Elizabeth Stakes, at the distance almost incomprehensible by today’s standards, 24 furlongs (4800 metres).
He was often burdened to give his competitors a fighting chance, giving weight advantages to formidable contemporaries such as Melodrama, Dividend and Antonius.
Poseidon failed to place in only seven of his races. His career winnings were a laughable $98,000 dollars, less than what many a current nag makes for winning a Group 3 event, but in today’s reckoning that sum would be the equivalent of $2.5 million dollars.
He was sired in August of 1903 by British Positano, a horse that never produced anything significant on the track beyond a dead heat with a horse named Bundook. Positano did, however gain great recognition for his stud services by siring a record four Melbourne Cup winners, in addition to Poseidon those being Piatre, Lord Cardigan and Lord Nolan. Poseidon’s dam was from Australia and carried the name of Jacinth.
His origin was Neotsfield Stud in New South Wales, an operation that failed soon after Poseidon was foaled, resulting in he and his dam being sold to the Moses brothers, who had no interest in the foal and turned right around and sold him as a yearling to Sir Hugh Denison.
As a two-year-old, Poseidon had an abbreviated season of only six starts, with nothing of major significance to show; just one win and one third in low quality races.
Poseidon 3YO With 14 Starts - 11 Wins
His career blossomed, if that adjective is adequate, the following season. As a three-year-old, he ran to 11 wins from 14 starts and posted seconds in the other three events. He won the Caulfield and the Melbourne Cup for a Cups double, rare in and of itself, but gilded that accomplishment with the AJC and VRC Derbys, something that has never been matched.
In one brief four race span, he produced a racing resume that no horse, owner or trainer would be ashamed to call an entire career.
Five of the other seven wins from that remarkable campaign were also of a prestigious nature, including the VRC and the AJC versions of the St. Leger Stakes.
If it were to be appropriate to call winning a second Caulfield Cup, the Rawson Plate and five other races a decline in ability, that could be said of Poseidon’s results as a four-year-old, but only the circumstances of the previous season could possibly justify such a description. Four of his wins early in the Spring Racing Carnival resulted in his being allotted 65 kg for that year’s Melbourne Cup, where he finished unplaced. He returned to the track to put the exclamation point on his career by winning the aforementioned AJC Queen’s Plate at Randwick, where he ran the equivalent distance of Melbourne Cup with an extra mile tacked on to the end.
As a five-year-old, Poseidon raced only once. A leg injury from the previous season that did not receive the proper attention returned to cause him to run unplaced in the Rawson Stakes.
Hall Of Fame
He was set to stud immediately thereafter, and he did sire some stakes winners before he died in 1930, but there was nothing coming even close to what he produced on the track.
An interesting sidelight to the story of Poseidon is offered in the tale of Jimmy Poon, an Asian market gardener who turned an initial stake of $100 into a considerable fortune by backing Poseidon in every race in which he ever won in the 1906/07 season whilst avoiding wagering on any of the races in which Poseidon finished second.
Poseidon was inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2004. His exploits on the turf at Caulfield and Flemington are the true stuff of legend, legend that continues to expand as time progresses.