1993 Melbourne Cup winner and influential stayer Vintage Crophas passed away at the age of 27.
Vintage Crop made his racing debut in 1991 under the care of leading Irish trainer Dermot Weld and showed that he had plenty of potential by winning his first race start at Thurles by an impressive eight lengths.
The Rousillon gelding score two wins over jumps in the second and third starts of his career and he maintained that winning form when he took out the Mountain Ash Handicap at Gowran Park in 1992.
Vintage Crop suffered the first defeat of his career when he finished third behind stablemate Sharp Review in the Old Vic Series Handicap at Leopardstown, but he returned to winning form in the Carling Gold Cup Handicap before making his Group 1 debut with a fifth place finished behind Mashaallah in the 1992 edition of the Irish St Leger.
The tough stayer scored a dominant eight lengths win in the 1992 Cesarewitch Handicap at Newmarket and he returned to jumps racing with a credible sixth place finish in the 1993 Champion Hurdle during the Cheltenham Festival.
Vintage Crop returned to Group 1 level with a sixth place finish behind Drum Taps in the 1993 edition of the Gold Cup at the Royal Ascot Meeting and finally broke through for his maiden win at the highest level of racing in the 1993 Irish St Leger.
Weld opted to take the, at the time, unusual step of bringing Vintage Crop to Australia for the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) and it proved a masterstroke when he stormed clear from the rest of the field in the final stages of the race to become the first European-trained horse in history to win ‘the race that stops a nation’.
Vintage Crop recorded his second straight win in the Irish St Leger and returned to Australia for another crack at the Melbourne Cup in 1994 and he was well-backed in the lead-up to the race, but could finish no better than seventh behind Jeune with the top-weight on his back.
He was unable to add a third Irish St Leger title to his name when he finished fourth in the 1995 edition of the race, but he returned to Flemington for another crack at the Melbourne Cup and was able to finish an extremely tough third behind Doriemus and Nothin’ Leica Dane.
Vintage Crop was retired after running in the 1995 Melbourne Cup and he spent the rest of his days as the most popular member of the Living Legends attraction at the Irish National Stud.
The Melbourne Cup field is now dominated by European-trained horses and the success of Vintage Crop in our most popular race was one of the triggers for the Melbourne Cup becoming the global event that it is today.