Delta Wins Melbourne Cup and Other Top Level Races
The bay stallion was by Midstream (GB) out of Gazza (AUS). He was foaled in 1946 and was purchased by Adolph Basser for £2,665 in 1948 at the Sydney yearling sales.
Delta was immediately put under the watchful eyes of Maurice McCarten, a successful trainer and former jockey. Delta proved his potential to be a champion right from the start.
Major Victories 1949 Season
Delta proved his potential to be a champion right from the start. He scored major victories in the 1949 season, winning the Canterbury Guineas, VRC Derby and WS Cox Plate. His notable wins in 1950 were in the Chelmsford Stakes and Colin Stephen Stakes.
As a four year old, Delta missed most of the season due to injuries in an accident.
He chipped a sliver of bone from a sesamoid during the Chelmsford Stakes at Randwick, one of the fastest victories in his career. Delta was lame for a time and soon after recovering he contracted an eye infection with the risk of blindness setting in.
Melbourne Cup 1951 Winner
During the 1951 season, Delta won several races which included the Mackinnon Stakes, a prelude to his Melbourne Cup victory despite being sandwiched by Comic Court and Dalray. Other wins as a five year old followed in the Chelmsford Stakes, Colin Stephen Stakes, and the Metropolitan Handicap.
During the 1952 season, he picked up his second Chelmsford Stakes, defeating Hydrogen as he set an Australasian record over 1800m. Delta managed to score a Metropolitan-Melbourne Cup double, a feat accomplished by Tim Whiffler way back in 1867. He carried 59.5kg in both races.
Delta was retired to be used as a stallion at Widden Stud in 1953. His stud fee of 300 guineas was a record for an Australian-bred sire.
Owner Adolf Basser was given the right to pick a colt from his first crop bred at Widden Stud. MD of Widden Stud, Mr. Thompson, who was on the AJC committee, reiterated the fact that Delta could have attracted a bigger price if sold in the USA. However, Basser wanted him to remain in Australia, which was part of the deal with Widden Stud.
Delta was undoubtedly a horse with character, docile and obedient when treated properly.
Although he did not get off to a great start, the stallion improved as a three year old and reached his peak at five despite not racing much as a four year old. At the end of his career, Delta ranked fifth in the list of great Australian winners.
41 Starts for 22 Wins
From 41 starts, the stallion’s record stood at 22 wins. He finished second in 5 races and was placed third in two. He won £48,169 in prize money for his connections, with Shannon, Phar Lap, Comic Court, and Amounis the only ones to win more at that time.
Delta’s racing career was cut short due to the fear that he may break down, which also prompted his owners’ decision to sell. He died at Widden Stud in 1960 and was recently inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2013.