Death of Vintage Crop

Melbourne Cup winner leaves an undenied legacy

The death of the historic 1993 Melbourne Cup winner Vintage Crop is headline news in Australia with the star Irish stayer headlined in one media outlet as the "Horse Which Changed The Cup Forever".

Vintage Crop died at the ripe old age of 27 at the Irish National Stud where he spent his retirement as part of the "Living Legends" attraction alongside other well-known ex-racehorses.

Owned by Michael Smurfit, and trained throughout his career by Dermot Weld, Vintage Crop also twice won the Irish St Leger and an English Cesarewitch. However his Melbourne Cup success is still regarded as a benchmark moment in international racing, especially down under.

"Weld was clearly a genius, Vintage Crop was a legend, and their dramatic appearance in 1993 significantly sped up the global ambition we had for the Melbourne Cup," Greg Nicholls, the former general manager of Racing Victoria, told the Sydney Morning Herald yesterday.


“Let’s not forget Vintage Crop was also a skilled and brilliant jumper, and it’s something that most Europeans will always remember about him because it is no slight on him to be a good jumper like it is often here in Australia,” he added.

Vintage Crop was sixth in the 1993 Champion Hurdle but it was his association with legendary flat jockey Mick Kinane that made the biggest impact worldwide.

“He was an iconic stayer and we created history so he’ll always have a special place in my heart. He was very tough and genuine and also very talented,” Kinane said. “We were pretty confident going into the Melbourne Cup. He’d won the Irish Leger, the rain came, we were expecting a big performance, and he produced.”

Vintage Crop ran twice more in the “Race that stops a Nation”. He finished seventh in 1994, and was third a year later in what was his final career start.

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor is the racing correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Tipping Point column