Remember? 1986 – At Talaq

1986 was a bit of a quiet year, with more focus on the sensational Cox Plate than the arguably lacklustre Melbourne Cup.

The Early Betting

Early betting was dominated by AJC Derby winner Bonecrusher, although he was quickly ruled out with connections aiming towards the Cox Plate. A couple of horses then emerged at the top of the markets – VRC and QLD Derby winner Handy Proverb, Sydney Cup winner Marooned and 1985 Melbourne Cup favourite Our Sophia. Of these, only Our Sophia actually made it to the race.

The Lead Up Races

Bonecrusher and Our Waverley Star were the two stars of the 1986 Spring Carnival.

Bonecrusher won three Group 1s – the Underwood Stakes, Caulfield Stakes and Cox Plate, while Our Waverley Star ran second in the Cox Plate.

The 1986 Cox Plate remains one of the most memorable on record, with Bonecrusher and Our Waverley Star drawing away to fight it out. Third in the race was The Filbert, who was a sensational late scratching on Melbourne Cup morning.

However, neither Bonecrusher nor Our Waverley Star was to be seen in the Melbourne Cup.

The Caulfield Cup was won by Adelaide Cup winner Mr. Lomondy at 33-1, defeating At Talaq and Our Sophia.

The Moonee Valley Cup was won by another outsider, Reckless Tradition, at 20-1. He defeated Cattivo and Joal.

The traditional last lead up, the Mackinnon Stakes, was won by import At Talaq.


Caulfield Cup winner Mr. Lomondy was nowhere near 33-1 for the Melbourne Cup, starting as an easing favourite in a poor rendition of the race.

The only other horse under double figures was The Metropolitan winner Born To Be Queen.

5/1 fav             Mr Lomondy

8/1                   Born To Be Queen

10/1                 At Talaq, Samasaan

11/1                 Mister Mint

14/1                 Our Sophia, Empire Rose

15/1                 Kiwi, Reckless Tradition

20/1                 Just Now, Sea Legend

25/1                 Joal

33/1                 Black Knight

50/1                 Rising Fear, My Tristram’s Belle, Fil de Roi, Final Advance

66/1                 Fordyce, Indian Raj

125/1               Dark Intruder

140/1               Enchanteur

200/1               Waratah Bay

The Replay

The Winner

At Talaq was Colin Hayes’ second winner, and the first for Sheikh Hamdan (who would later win with Jeune in 1994).

He had originally raced in Europe, recording a victory in the Group 1 Grand Prix De Paris (3000m).

After 10 starts in Europe, At Talaq joined the Colin Hayes stables.

Perfectly peaking for the race, At Talaq had run cracking races in the Craiglee Stakes, Underwood Stakes and Caulfield Cup but he recorded his first win in the Mackinnon Stakes three days before the Cup.

Given a gun ride by Michael Clarke, he was ridden close to the lead, pouncing at the right time to claim the lead with 400m to go. Although he weakened a little late, he still had too much on Rising Fear, with Sea Legend third and 1983 Cup winner Kiwi steaming home into fourth. Also close up was 1988 Cup winner, who finished fifth.

At Talaq had five more runs after the Melbourne Cup, winning the C.F. Orr Stakes and finishing 2nd in the Australian Cup behind Cox Plate winner Bonecrusher in another thrilling encounter. He was retired to stud after finishing 4th in the 1987 Tancred Stakes.

Written by Andrew Hawkins

29 Jul 2010

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