Rogan Josh

From obscurity to spring carnival champion

We take a look back over the career of 1999 Melbourne Cup winner and Living Legend, Rogan Josh.

West Australian gelding Rogan Josh went from obscurity to national prominence in the spring of 1999, culminating in a victory in the Melbourne Cup. 

Purchased for $13,000 by owner Wendy Green after he didn’t reach his reserve price at the yearling sales, he began his racing career in Western Australia where he won four of his first five starts.

As a five-year-old under trainer Colin Webster, Rogan Josh recorded another four wins in Perth before heading to the 1998 Pinjarra Cup, which he won by a nose. This was followed by a win in the Group 3 Bunbury Cup. After a narrow loss in the 1999 Perth Cup followed by an equally narrow loss in the 1999 Bunbury Cup, Rogan Josh was transferred to the Cups’ King, Bart Cummings, and set on the Cups’ trail. Cummings liked the fact that Rogan Josh was lightly raced even though he was now a seven-year-old.

Rogan Josh ran a bold fourth to Sky Heights in the 1999 Caulfield Cup with Chris Munce on board.

Ridden by John Marshall in the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes on AAMI Victoria Derby Day 1999, Rogan Josh caused an upset with a strong victory. This elevated him to second favourite for the Melbourne Cup where again with John Marshall aboard, he proved too strong for Godolphin’s Central Park and gave Bart an historic 11th Melbourne Cup victory.

After winning the Melbourne Cup, owner Wendy Green drove home to Darwin with the Cup in the boot of her car, stopping off along the way to share the iconic trophy with many people. Her impromptu ‘tour’ captured the special spirit of the race, spreading it far and wide. 

Remembered as a country galloper who took on the best weight-for-age and handicap horses in the eastern states and succeeded, Rogan Josh was retired in the autumn of 2000, moving to Living Legends in 2006.