This simple blanket is one of the most significant and moving items in the museum’s collection. It’s the actual blanket that the champion racehorse Phar Lap was wearing when he passed away in California in April 1932. He’d gone to America to race in the world’s richest horse race - The Agua Caliente in Mexico.
His strapper, Tommy Woodcock, loved the horse so much that he kept everything associated with Phar Lap in a suitcase for almost 50 years.
In 1979, Tommy brought the suitcase in to hand over its precious contents to the museum for its collection. Museum staff record that Tommy was visibly moved, and there was a tear in his eye as he unpacked this blanket from the case. Maybe he was recalling that day, almost 50 years ago, when he cradled Phar Lap’s head in his arms as the horse passed away.