Redcraze Champion Racehorse
Redcraze And Jockey Arthur Ward Impressive Combination
One of the most remarkable thoroughbreds to ever grace the Australasian turf, winning first in New Zealand and then going on to even greater conquests in Australia, was a gelding named Redcraze.
Even though he was often burdened with a severe weight disadvantage compared to his competitors, he managed to win many of the most prestigious races in both his native country and Australia, beat some of the most formidable thoroughbreds of his day, and set an earnings record at the conclusion of his spectacular racing career.
Redcraze was foaled in 1950 by the British sire Red Mars. His dam was Myarion and his grandsire with the legendary Hyperion. The sire from the previous generation of that line was Gainsborough.
Redcraze Begins As A 3YO
Redcraze began his racing career rather late in the life of a thoroughbred, he did not race as a two-year-old, and had little to show other than two average wins out of 14 opportunities in New Zealand.
He began to improve as a four-year-old, winning 11 times in an extended campaign that featured 22 starts. This ability to start frequently, run in staying events, and carry the high weights that were often his lot were characteristics of stamina and endurance that served to define a champion that truly did not come into his own initially, but nevertheless was still able to compete as a seven-year-old.
When he was close to six years old, he switched from New Zealand trainer Syd Brown to the T.J. Smith operation. His fortunes were to improve dramatically after that switch.
He made his first starts in Australia during the Spring Racing Carnival of 1955 and soon drew the attention of racing fans when he handed Rising Fast a defeat in the weight for age Turnbull Stakes. He then returned to New Zealand for a spell, coming back to participate in the Brisbane Winter Carnival, where he promptly won the P.J. O’Shea Stakes and the Brisbane Cup.
Those races were mere warm-ups for Redcraze’s phenomenal Spring Racing Carnival of 1956. He notched victories in the Hill Stakes, the Collin Stephen Stakes, the Metropolitan and the Caulfield Stakes.
Redcraze Wins Caulfield Cup
He saved his best for the Caulfield Cup that soon followed where he carried 63 kg to win what is often been described as the finest edition ever of that prestigious event. Soon afterwards, he was given 65 kg to transport over the 3200 m of Flemington racecourse that signify the Melbourne Cup.
It appeared he had the race won only to be caught by the champion mare Evening Peal which had a 14 kg advantage over Redcraze. He finished out that season winning six more weight for age races, finishing the year with 11 wins and four placings from his 18 starts.
He continued to be a winner in 1957 adding the St. George Stakes, the Rawson Stakes and the W. S. Cox Plate to his resume. This brought his career total to 32 victories and made him Australian horse racing’s all-time earnings leader.
Redcraze’s most famous rider, Arthur Ward, had nothing other than lavish praise for the horse.
Given that Ward rode horses of such caliber as Tulloch, Rising Fast, Prince Darius, and Hydrogen, his opinion, as a jockey whose name is mentioned in the same breath with Darby Munro, Jim Pike, and Scobie Breasly, carries considerable weight. According to Ward, Redcraze was better than Tulloch, but not the equal of Phar Lap.
Combination Of Champion Jockey - Champion Horse
Arthur Ward rode Redcraze 24 times, recording 14 wins, 5 seconds and two thirds, including Redcraze’s last race, the 1957 Melbourne Cup, where 64 ½ kg proved too much for the aging champion.
Ward was also instrumental in advising Smith to have a special shoe fashioned for Redcraze’s nearside for hoof, which had been injured in a barrier trial at Eagle Farm.
Hall Of Fame
Redcraze was inducted into the Australian racing Hall of Fame in 2012.
He died in 1967 just 10 years after the conclusion of his remarkable racing career. He will forever be remembered for his duels with Rising Fast and for winning what has been generally considered the greatest Caulfield Cup of all time.