Better Loosen Up

Better Loosen Up at Living Legends


Better Loosen Up has been rated as one of Australia’s top thoroughbreds over the past 25 years. He is the only Australian thoroughbred ever to win the Japan Cup (in 1990). This win followed a win in the Cox Plate when Better Loosen Up equalled the course record time. He also won the Australia Cup in 1991, defeating the gallant Vo Rogue, trying for three wins in a row.

Better Loosen Up was the epitome of the late developing racehorse. As a three and four-year-old he won a few races in mediocre company. As a five and six-year-old he beat the best in Australia and the best in the world.

The transition of Better Loosen Up from duffer to superstar began when he was transferred to the Hayes’ stable in the 1989-90 season. In the spring he embarked on a dramatic series of Group 1 wins commencing with the Honda Stakes at Flemington, and then the Winfield and Railway Stakes at Ascot, Western Australia.

In 1990-91 he registered seven consecutive wins, including the Mackinnon Stakes, a record equalling triumph in the W.S. Cox Plate, and the Australian Cup.

Invited to run in the 1990 Japan Cup, Better Loosen Up became the first, and only, Australian horse to win the race, coming from the rear of the field with a withering burst to claim victory on the line.

Better Loosen Up was named Australia’s champion racehorse in 1991.

Better Loosen Up’s career was cut prematurely short by a leg Injury and he was retired.

Better Loosen Up was the star guest at the 2004 Australian Racing Hall of Fame Awards where he was inducted to join immortals like Phar Lap and Octagonal.

Better Loosen Up at Living Legends

Better Loosen Up at Living Legends

Interesting Fact
Better Loosen Up was an enigma. Said David Hayes: “He’s a terribly lazy horse. Before the Japan Cup, he ran the worst final gallop of any of the runners. Yet he came out and ran the second fastest time ever, and beat the strongest field ever”.



Date of Birth: 29/08/1985

Sex: Gelding     Colour: Bay

Sire: Loosen Up (USA)     Dam: Better Fantasy
Grand Sire: Better Boy (IRE)

Trainers: Les Theodore (at 2), Bart Cummings (at 3), Colin Hayes (at 4), David Hayes (from 5 to 7)

Breeder: Howard Martin

First syndicate: D.J. Phillips, H.J. and Mrs. J.R. Martin, Mr. and Mrs. D.J. Trevethan, Mrs. G. Theodore.
Second syndicate: L. Koumi, L. Fink, “Gabe” Farrah, Mesdames J. and L. Farrah

Colours: White, Green Sash, Black Sleeves and Cap


Career Record

Prize Money: $4,773,970
Starts: 45       Wins: 17       2nds: 9       3rds: 3

Better Loosen Up racing to victory

Better Loosen Up racing to victory

Major Wins:

  • Japan Cup (1990)
  • W.S. Cox Plate (1990)
  • Australian Cup (1991)
  • WATC Winfield Stakes (1989)
  • WATC Railway Stakes (1989)
  • Rawson Stakes
  • L.K.S. Mackinnon Stakes (1990)


Date Venue Track Distance Race
11/03/1991 FLEM Good 2000 AUST CUP
16/02/1991 FLEM Fast 1600 BLAMEY
25/11/1990 FHCU Good 2400 JAPAN CUP
03/11/1990 FLEM Fast 2000 MACKINNON
27/10/1990 M V Fast 2040 COX PLATE
06/10/1990 FLEM Good 2000 TURNBULL
15/09/1990 M V Good 1600 FEEHAN-WFA
24/03/1990 RHIL Dead 2000 SEGENHOE
17/02/1990 FLEM Fast 1600 BLAMEY
30/12/1989 ASCT Fast 1600 RAILWAY
25/11/1989 ASCT Fast 1800 WINFIELD
11/11/1989 FLEM Fast 1600 HONDA STKS
04/02/1989 CANT Fast 1550 WELTER
21/01/1989 RAND Good 1600 3YO HCP
02/01/1989 RAND Dead 1600 3YO HCP
26/10/1988 CANT Good 1250 3YOC&G-NMW
28/04/1988 BDGO Dead 1100 2Y HCP

Australian Horse of the Year (1991)

Australian Racing Hall of Fame (2004)



Video: Better Loosen Up — 1990 Japan Cup

Video: 1992 Match Race Lets Elope vs Better Loosen Up


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