Breeding: SIRE: Temlee DAM: Pengala

Whelped : May 1976

Trainer : Joe Hili

Owners : Frank Appleby, Ray Read

Career Race Record : 57 starts, 19 wins, 28 placings

Career Prizemoney : $93,165


Winner 1978 Group 1 Melbourne Cup

  • Winner 1980 Group 1 Australian Cup
  • Runner-up in 1979 Group 1 Australian Cup


Tangaloa is revered for his feat of winning the 1978 Melbourne Cup, before finishing 2nd in the 1979 Australian Cup, and then going on to win the 1980 Australian Cup at the unthinkable odds of 33/1.

Both of the abovementioned wins were extremely special to trainer Joe Hili, and for different reasons.


“He entered the 1978 Melbourne Cup series after only having had five starts for five wins. I’m told he initially missed out on getting a run in the [Melbourne Cup] heats, but [GRV Hall of Fame inductee] Paul Hogan, who was on the Sandown Committee, argued that with five starts for five wins Tangaloa had earned his place in the series”, Hili said.


“Paul was a gentleman and everyone respected his opinion. He got his way because the fields were redrawn, and Tangaloa got a start and he ended up winning the whole series.”

Hili explained why winning the Australian Cup almost 18 months later was an incredible feat.


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“He had almost 12 months off racing going into the Australian Cup series in 1980. During that time he recovered from a broken hock, served 27 bitches and some people thought I was crazy bringing him back to race.”

“He had broken his tail going into the Australian Cup heats but still ran second and had qualified for the final after only two starts since that long spell.”


“One female trainer, who I won’t name, said to me prior to the race on Australian Cup night that I was silly racing him again.”


“She also had a runner in the final and I said that until your greyhound beats mine don’t talk to me about it.”


“Not only did Tangaloa beat that lady’s dog, but he also gave a greyhound named [former champion and race favourite] Tempix a five lengths head start that night, and got up and won.”


Another fond memory for Joe came when he travelled to NSW to race Tangaloa.


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The word from those in the know, including the bookies, was that Victorian dogs couldn’t win at Richmond without at least trialling at the track first, which Tangaloa hadn’t done.


“Tangaloa came out and won easily, running just one length off the track record”, Hili said.


At one stage a huge offer of $80,000 came for Tangaloa from America, but Joe advised owners Frank Appleby and Robert Read that they would make a lot more from him at stud, and he was right.


Tangaloa had 725 matings, serving up until the age of 15.


He produced many champions including Eaglehawk Star, Rustic Venture, Pretty Short, Tangairn and Kid Campbell to name just a few.