Vain Champion Racehorse
Vain Stood At Widden Stud Where He Sired More Than 300 Winners
One of the greatest sprinters of all time was a chestnut stallion named Vain. Even though he raced only 14 times, he posted 12 wins and two second-place finishes, some by margins bordering on the absurd, especially when the short distances at which he competed are taken into account.
Vain was foaled in 1966 at the operation of Johnson brothers Walter, Fred and George.
His sire was the French champion Wilkes, that although he raced only three times, passed his blood to some of the greatest racers in Australian horse racing history to such an extent that he was declared Champion Australian Sire three times and Champion Sire of two-year-olds four times.
Vain’s dam was Elated, a worthy runner that posted 13 wins out of her 26 starts.
Vain's career was limited to his two-year-old and three-year-old seasons. A leg injury forced his early retirement in 1970.
He was undefeated in both the spring and autumn Melbourne Racing Carnival’s in 1968 and 1969, where he won the Maribyrnong Plate and the Victoria Racing Club’s sire Produce stakes.
He followed that with a trip to Sydney to win the Sydney Turf Club’s Golden slipper Stakes by four lengths before taking on the AJC Champagne Stakes, which he won by ten lengths, almost incomprehensible for a 1200 m race.
Vain returned for his three-year-old season, again destroying the field by three lengths in the Caulfield Guineas. In the Victoria Racing Club Spring Carnival, he won the Craven-A Stakes, Linlithgow Stakes and George Adams Handicap, all by considerable margins despite attempts to slow him down with heavy burdens in his weight for age races.
His prowess as a sprinter naturally invites comparisons betwixt him and recent phenomena Black Caviar. Vain’s jockey, Pat Hyland, is often the target of queries regarding which of the two horses he thinks is superior.
Hyland often make the observation that the two had close blood ties on both sides of their pedigrees. He also said the two were similar for the fact that both did no loitering in the process of establishing their dominance in any of their races.
He goes on to note that both were front runners with the ability to lift to another gear at the mere suggestion of any threat coming from behind them.
Once he retired from racing, Vain stood at Widden Stud where he sired more than 300 winners that produced nearly 1800 wins.
He was recognized with Australian Champion Racehorse of the Year honours for the 1969-70 season. Leading Sire in Australia accolades came along for 1983-84. Two of his progeny, Sir Dapper and Inspired produced victories in the Golden Slipper Stakes.
Racing Hall Of Fame
Vain was inducted into the Australian racing Hall of Fame in 2003. He left o legacy of racing and breeding success which, now that she is retired Black Caviar is unlikely to match, one of the few areas where the mares and fillies will never enjoy true equality with the stallions.