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26/03/02 Heroes and Warriors - Onkaparinga Cup

The feature race on the flat is the Onkaparinga Cup which was first run in 1876 and was won by Nightingale, who won again in 1877. The next horse to win the race on multiple occasions was Melbolt.

In 1919 Melbolt won his first Onkaparinga Cup when he led throughout to win easily. Two years later Melbolt tried to emulate Nightingale to win the rae for a second time. Carrying 9.4 (59kg) Melbolt was in front in the run for home but couldn't hold off the late challenge from lightweight Telegony. He was back twelve months later and jumped straight to the front. Melbolt held his position throught the run and raced to the post in front by a length from Dependence and Grecian Queen. In 1923 he returned to attempt a third victory in the race. Sent out as the favourite Melbolt again jumped to the lead and traveled well. By the 800m he was in front from Josef but on straightening he began to tire as the challenges appeared. Castleton passed the post first with Melbolt a fighting but tired fourth. Melbolt lined up again in 1924 now five years since his first Onkaparinga Cup win. Again the now aged horse jumped to the front and led for much of the journey but again the younger rivals challenged in the final stages with Amberoid winning as Melbolt again finished in fourth place.

Water Pistol in 1927 and 1928 and Celotex in 1935 and 1936 were the next horses to record dual victories before a long gap to Prince Ming in the 1960s.

Prince Ming was foaled in 1959 sired by Princeki from China Bride. China Bride produced four named foals for two stakeswinners Prince Ming and the Adelaide Cup winner Cheong Sam. Prince Ming had his first run as a two-year-old at Morphettville in February 1962, but was unplaced and headed back to the paddock until later in the year. Resuming as a three-year-old Prince Ming worked his way rapidly through the classes winning his Maiden at Balaklava over six furlongs in early September before then winning an eight furlong Advanced Handicap at Gawler. A fortnight later he won a Novice Handicap over 7 furlongs at a Barossa Valley Race Club meeting before heading to town and taking out a Transition Handicap over 6 furlongs at Morphettville. Prince Ming was then fifth in an Encourage over 8 furlongs at Victoria Park before running fifth in a Trial Hurdle at Cheltenham in early November at Cheltenham.

Spelled until the autumn Prince Ming was unplaced at his first two runs before winning the Glen Osmond Handicap over 8 furlongs at Victoria Park before heading to his first Oakbank carnival. Winning a 7 furlong Three-Year-Old Handicap easily over Easter, Prince Ming returned to Morphettville for a second in the New Guineas Handicap over 9 furlongs at Morphettville. Unplaced over 9 furlongs at Morphettville in early May, Prince Ming backed up a week later in a similar race to win. A week later he was second in a Gawler Welter then second in a 9 furlong Three-Year-Old Handicap at Cheltenham. Given a two week break Prince Ming lined up in the 10 furlong Birthday Handicap which he duly won before staying in the winner's list a week later in the June Handicap over 12 furlongs at Cheltenham. Heading to Melbourne for two runs Prince Ming was second in the 12 furlong Richmond Handicap then won the July Handicap at Flemington.

A short let up followed before the now four-year-old Prince Ming stepped out in a Welter at Victoria Park. His winning form continued before a third at Cheltenham in a Highweight Handicap. Back to Melbourne, Prince Ming embarked on a spring carnival campaign. Sometime was too good in the John F Feehan Stakes where Prince Ming was second before he ran third in the Glenara Handicap a week later, also at Moonee Valley. Prince Ming then backed up another week later to run second to Sometime in the 12 furlong Turnbull Stakes at Flemington. Unplaced 10 days later in the Coongy Handicap Prince Ming found form in running third in the Moonee Valley Cup over 13 furlongs on Cox Plate Day with Gatum Gatum filling fourth position. Prince Ming was then defeated by River Seine in the Hotham Handicap at Flemington and then went for a spell.

Resuming on April 4, 1964 at Victoria Park, Prince Ming won the 5 furlong Lightning Stakes before being unplaced in a Flying at Morphettville. Lining up in the 8 furlong Baker Handicap at Morphettville Prince Ming and All India battled in the run to the line and on the post they couldn't be separated with a dead heat declared. Three days later Prince Ming was unplaced over 10 furlongs at Morphettville before heading to the Brisbane winter carnival. Lining up in the Stradbroke Handicap Prince Ming took on a class field over the 7 furlongs. In the final stages Cele's Image and Prince Ming went to the line locked together with Cele's Image getting the decision by a nose with length back to Heirloom in third. After two further unplaced runs in Brisbane Prince Ming had a short let up before heading to the Melbourne Spring Carnival. Unplaced in the Liston Stakes and the Grange Handicap Prince Ming was fifth in the Feehan Stakes then unplaced in a Welter before heading to the paddock. He returned to racing in the autumn with an unplaced run in the Newmarket Handicap before being unplaced again, this time in the Alister Clark Stakes. Heading back to Adelaide he lined up in the Birthday Cup at Morphettville against an old rival in All India. Again both horses were battling out the finish and on the post again the judge could not separate them, declaring another dead heat. A week later Prince Ming was back at Oakbank where he won the 9 furlong Balhannah Handicap before backing up on the Monday to win the 10 furlong Onkaparinga Cup bringing his Oakbank record to three runs for three wins. Prince Ming was then third over 12 furlongs at Cheltenham and was unplaced in the Adelaide Cup. Ten days later Prince Ming was fifth in the Gawler Cup over 11 furlongs before going for a break. He then returned to racing as a six-year-old for the 1965-66 season and returned to Oakbank at Easter 1966 where John Stocker rode him to a second victory in the Onkaparinga Cup.

Ten years later Little Sam won the Onkaparinga Cup in 1975 and 1976 and was ridden by Bill Sharp in his second victory. Sharp was to write his name in the records as the jockey of the only three time winner of the Onkaparinga Cup the grand galloper Hollinger.

Hollinger sired by Plutus from Just Sue was foaled in 1979 and was trained by Barbara Marshman at Hamilton for a small group of owners. The brown gelding made a promising debut as a three-year-old in April 1983 where he ran second at Edenhope beaten a half length by Holbelle. Hollinger was then third at Hamilton behind Best Player and future champion jumps horse Sir Agrifo. Taken to Penola Hollinger broke his maiden, winning by a length from Great Dream as a 2/1 favourite. Unplaced behind Best Player at Hamilton, Hollinger then travelled to Mount Gambier to win an Improvers Cup over 1400m from May Hem and Great Dream ridden by John Letts who rode him in his next three starts. Hollinger then won over 1600m at Strathalbyn before heading to the city for the first time. Sent out the 22/10 favourite Hollinger won a Graduation over 1800m at Morphettville by 1 lengths from Trisanna with two lengths to Shoot the Lot third. A week later Hollinger missed the start as the 2/1 favourite but steadily made ground to take third place behind Benny The Tzar and Trisanna beaten less than two lengths. Hollinger then won a Graduation at Victoria Park over 1850m from Shoot The Lot as 8/10 favourite ridden by Bill Sharp, before heading for a spell.

Hollinger commenced his four0-year-old career with a win at Penola over 1100m in a Flying Handicap. He was then unplaced at Strathalbyn before finishing well back in the Country Cup at Flemington. Back to Penola Hollinger stormed home to win over 1600m by four lengths from Angudale and Wolunga Star. A week later Hollinger was fourth as the 9/10 favourite at Victoria Park before heading back to the country to win by three lengths at Edenhope. His confidence restored Hollinger stepped up to stakes level in the OJ Smith Challenge Stakes at Victoria Park a week before Christmas. Despite his saddle slipping Hollinger prevailed in a hard fought finish to win by a long neck from Hello Shady with a head to High Drifter third. Two weeks later he lined up in the New Year's Gift over 2000m but pulled hard throughout before finishing at the tail of the field behind Barmax. Hollinger was then seconds over 1600m at Victoria Park, beaten a long neck by Mr Zeisel, before finishing a close seventh to Exemplify at Morphettville. Special To Me was too good by a long neck in the 1800m Brighton Handicap at Morphettville before Hollinger lined up at Naracoorte in the Cup. He duly won by two lengths from Games Over with a further two lengths to Prince of Norodom. Unplaced in two further runs Hollinger ran second by a head to Special Khan in the Hamilton Cup before heading to Oakbank for the Onkaparinga Cup. In a bumping finish Hollinger was too good for Gun For Fun winning by a neck with 1 lengths to Omar third. Hollinger then headed to the Warrnambool Carnival to run second to Gun For Fun in the Warrnambool Cup before returning to Murray Bridge for the Gold Cup where he was third behind Head for Space and Derby Downs. Hollinger had been in work from the Spring until mid May and was now sent for a spell.

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