Fred Moses had started breeding and racing horses in partnership with Will Moses, his brother, when they had a property near Moree.
They later moved to the Hunter Valley and set up Arrowfield Stud about 1910 and it was here that one of their stallions sired Poitrel. Poitrel failed to reach his reserve of 300 guineas as a yearling at a sale in 1916 and the Moses brothers ended up keeping the horse, which was another piece of luck because it wasn’t until he was three years old that Poitrel showed his true potential.
Four years after the 1916 sale the Moses brother were at Flemington on the first Tuesday in November in 1920, where their six-year-old chestnut, with jockey Ken Bracken aboard, was ready for the two mile race.
Bracken was a relation of Hugh Bracken, a policeman, who had been the only officer on duty in Glenrowan when the Kelly Gang rode into the Victorian town in June 1880. The gang held residents hostage ahead of their final shootout with police.
Hugh was a fine horseman and it ran in the family. Ken is reported to have been one of the most accomplished jockeys in Australia and a great rider in weight-forage races.
In 1932, the year that Poitrel died while on stud duty in Brisbane, The Sydney Mail voted the cup winner as the best stayer for the previous 50 years.
According to the paper, from a mile and a half upwards Poitrel raced with the best finishing efforts.
In fact, Poitrel was never beaten at weight for age when the race was run over a mile and a quarter or longer.
The 1920 Melbourne Cup was no different. Poitrel carried 10 stone to beat stablemate Erasmus, who had been in front until the last half furlong before Poitrel shot through to win the cup and £9,252 prizemoney. Trainer Harry Robinson had scored the quinella.
Only two other Melbourne Cup winners, Archer in 1862 and Carbine in 1890, had previously carried 10 stone and won. No horse has managed it since.
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