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STROP racehorse 19th Century Champion

LAUNCESTON CUP WINNER 1866, 1869, 1874, 1876 / HOBART CUP WINNER 1876.

You probably have never heard of Strop. But, wow, what a story!

I first noticed Strop's name when researching past Launceston Cup winners. His name appeared 4 times - the first in 1866 (he won it as a maiden at his first start) and won it for the fourth and last time in 1876 as 16 year old. Yes - you read correctly!

The "old bloke" died in 1891 aged 31. Perhaps the most interesting description of Strop was that he was "an honest horse of an honest owner".

The following (with notations and additions) is an extract from The Hobart Mercury, dated June 13 1891.   Read.    Enjoy!

From Launceston comes the news of the death of the racehorse Strop, perhaps the death of the racehorse Strop, perhaps the most popular equine that ever carried colours in Tasmania. Strop was bred by the late Mr. William Field, of Enfield, and was by Panic, from a Little John (imp.) mare.

Foaled in 1861, the gelding (for he was " added to the list " as a youngster) made his first appearance in the Launceston Champion Cup of 1866, for which "Honest" John Taib's Volunteer started favourite. Strop won easily, the peculiar-coloured Ben Bolt running second, and Rose of Denmark dam of Horatio) third.

At the Launceston Champion meet of 1867, Strop ran fourth in the Champion Cup, won by Fishhook ; second to Volunteer in the Tasmanian Handicap, and third in the Queen's Plate, also won by Volunteer.

Sent to Melbourne in the spring of that year, the son of Panic started in several races at Flemington (including Tim Whiffler's Melbourne Cup) without success, and, kept in training over there, was a runner at the V R C special meet held in honour of the visit of the Duke of Edinburgh to Victoria. The race in which he started was the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes, won by the Melbourne Cup hero with 10st 1lb (64 kgs) on his back.

At the V R C New Year's Day meet of 1868, Strop ran third in the Port Phillip Stakes, a three mile race, secured by the "demon", "The Barb".

Returned to Tasmania, the late respected squire of Enfield's bay gelding was awarded the Great Metropolitan Champion Handicap on the old course at New Town, on account of being wilfully crossed by Cowra in the straight, the latter mare being disqualified.

(Starting) a couple of days later in the Prince Alfred Handicap, the "peoples idol" carried off that event, and there are those interested in the turf at the present day who remember the trivial protest entered by the Cowra party, who were smarting under their previous defeat.

Running third in the Champion Cup at Launceston in 1868, Strop won the Tasmanian Handicap, was Glencoe's nearest attendant at the finish for the Melbourne Cup of 1868, and the following year repeated his initial victory by winning the Launceston Champion Cup from five others, also the Tavern Plate.

(He) ran without success in Warriors Melbourne Cup, and also in the Spring Handicap and Queens Plate, getting third in the last named event.

Taken up to Ballarat, the horse ran in the Ballarat Cup, 2½ miles 42 yards (3600 metres) with 10st.10lb. (68 kgs) in the saddle, the winner only carrying 6st. 7lb (41kgs)

At the V.R.C. New Year's Day meet, 1870, (he) won the three-mile Manners-Sutton Stakes, 9st. 10lb up, (61.5 kgs) covering the distance in 5min.50sec.

(He) ran unplaced in the Geelong Handicap and Criterion Handicap the same year; but won easily the Town Plate at V.R.C. autumn (meeting), won a race at Launceston prior to winning the Launceston Cup in 1874, and was just beaten by Blue Peter at the finish for the T.T.C. Handicap.

At the Launceston meet of 1875 the gelding ran second in the Launceston Cup to Ella; unplaced in the T.T.C. Handicap, and second in the Forced Handicap. On the occasion of the second meet held at Elwick, the " old fellow " (he was then in his fifteenth year) surprised even his friends by winning the Hobart Cup from his stable mate, Bella, and five others.

The latter could have won, but " declarations " were in Vogue in those days.

That beautiful mare Southern Cross beat him in the Tasmanian Handicap but the veteran simply romped home in his second Launceston Cup of 1876.

Again figuring on Victorian soil, the son of Panic ran nowhere in Richmond's Australian Cup. At the T.T.C. summer meet of 1877, Strop ran fifth in the Launceston Cup ; and occupied about the same position at the end of the T.T.C. Handicap.

Twelve months later he ran unplaced in the Launceston Gold Cup ; but won the Miners' Gift at the meet in a canter, ran fourth in the Tamar Plate, but perhaps made the worst show of his career at that in the T.T.C. Handicap.

Strop's last appearance as a contestant was at (the) Carrick Boxing Day meet of 1880, when he ran fifth in a 'field of 10 (in the) West Coast's Carrick Plate, and third, in the Welter Handicap, when Mr. Parr rode him.

At the Carrick December meet of 1888, his owner, who was then alive, sent the old equine hero down to the course, where, bedecked in blue ribbons, the aged racer was the cynosure of eyes, some who had seen his deeds on the (track) and others who had but read of them.

Truly Strop was an honest horse of an honest owner, and if one instance were needed of the wear and tear the produce of Panic could be subjected to, it could be found in the recently-defunct racer.

Like Commotion of a few years back, or Carbine of the present day, Strop was as popular as an equine possibly could be, and it is more than probable that the older generation of turfites will recall interesting memories when news of the horse's death reaches them.