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Profile of a Champion
By Decies From Sweet Candy
Page 2

Next was the controversial AJC Derby.  In the final stages Double Century hit the front passing the 200m but Dulcify was storming home out wide on the track.  As Dulcify drew level with Double Century the latter started to veer out sharply causing Brent Thomson on Dulcify to stop riding and change course.  It gave Double Century a slight lead which he held to the post.  The protest soon followed with Double Century’s rider claiming he shied at something inside the rail but it was to no avail and the race was soon awarded to Dulcify.  At the time many wondered if it was the right decision with Double Century going on to win the Sydney Cup as a 3yo while Dulcify went for a spell.

Returning as a 4yo Dulcify started first up over the straight 1000m at Victoria Park carrying 62.5kg and was unplaced.  It was then to Melbourne and the Craiglee Stakes.  Around the turn Dulcify was well back but starting to take runs between horses.  Moving wide past the 400m Dulcify started to fly home under his own steam.  He hit the front 200m from home with Arbre Chene and slowly gained the upper hand coming away to win with Valley of George holding off Double Century for third.

He was then third in the Underwood Stakes before back to Flemington for the Turnbull Stakes.  Valley of Georgia hit the front on straightening as Dulcify was waiting for gaps in the second half of the field.  Karaman loomed up to the leaders as Dulcify finally got clear and started to run on.  Karaman was in the lead by the 200m but was no match for the finishing speed of Dulcify who cruised away under hands and heels to win easily from Karaman with a gap to Kankama third.

It was then onto the Cox Plate.  By the 1000m Dulcify started to move forward from midfield.  By the 600m he was 3 wide and up to fourth but under a hold and was soon urged forward.  Sprinting to the lead well before the turn the race was as good as over as the rest struggled to keep up.  Dulcify came up the straight in a race of his own charging to the line to win by seven lengths – a record margin only equalled by the champion Sunline in 2000.  By now  the superlatives were everywhere and Dulcify was the headline horse of the spring.  Favourite for the Melbourne Cup he had his final lead up in the Mackinnon Stakes.  Around the turn Minuetto led Haulberk with Dulcify 3 wide followed by Shivaree.  By the 400m Dulcify had cruised up to Minuetto but Shivaree soon challenged.  Shivaree hit the front as Minuetto fought back and Dulcify had a battle to keep his Flemington record intact.  Inside the final 200m Dulcify started to fight back strongly and eventually pushed ahead of Shivaree to hold a neck advantage to the line.  It was a hard run and Dulcify didn’t eat up the next day and lay in his yard.

However by Tuesday he was ready to take his place in Australia’s famous race.  Sent out favourite at 3/1 he was expected to add the Melbourne Cup to his list of wins.  It was a slowly run race and Dulcify settled in eighth position with all going well til the halfway mark.  At this stage directly behind Dulcify was Hyperno who was known for his unruly racing style and as the pace slowed slightly Hyperno connected with Dulcify’s hind legs.  Unknown at that moment but later it was found that Dulcify had been stripped behind and the chestnuts on his hind legs had been torn off but worse was to follow.  By the 800m Dulcify was carting the field after the leading group and still going strongly but within a few strides he stumbled and Brent Thomson quickly pulled him up.  As Hyperno went on to win narrowly from Salamander all eyes were on the favourite who was now halted at the top of the Flemington straight. 

Connections quickly arrived but on course vets had only bad news to tell them – Dulcify had badly broken his pelvis.  The VRC vets recommended Dulcify be put down immediately but Colin Hayes wanted to ensure every avenue had been pursued first and ordered that the horse be floated back to the Lindsay Park stables at the back of the track to be inspected by their own vet.  If the side of the pelvis is fractured it can sometimes be repaired and there are stories of horses that have even returned to the track but in Dulcify’s case it had broken in the middle and internal organs had been damaged.  The horse was in so much pain he couldn’t even be removed from the float.  There was no alternative and Dulcify was put down at 5.40pm on November 6 1979.   

Dulcfy raced on 21 occasions for 10 wins 3 seconds and 2 thirds with stakes earnings of $558,743 and was the first horse to win four $100,000+ races in a season.               

Please note all photos used in this article were from various newspaper & magazine clippings and photographers are unknown. 

For photos of Dulcify please contact Martin King Sportpix.

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