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The Assyrian Hobart and Melbourne Cup winner

The Assyrian racehorseracehorse The Assyrian was a bright bay horse, by Countryman out of Tinfinder, both of whom were imported. He stood about 15.3 hands high, and was described by journalists of the day as “combined with great quality, has any amount of substance.”

The Assyrian was bred in South Australia, and was owned by a well-known theatrical manager, (C S Agnew - purchased after the Melbourne Cup win), his trainer being Mr. Saville, “a gentleman well known in racing circles”.

Previous to his win in the Melbourne Cup, The Assyrian won the Duke's Handicap at the Adelaide Racing Club's Winter Meeting in August, the Royal Handicap at the same meeting and was second for the Exhibition Handicap at the Adelaide Racing Park meeting in September, 1881

He was second in the Spring Handicap, carrying 10st. 2 lb., at the S.A.J.C. Spring Meeting but was not placed in the Van Yean Stakes at the Cup meeting the previous year nor in the Cup Handicap at the S.A.J.C meeting in June.

He was made an clear cut favorite for the Caulfield Cup, but was very disappointing and really never prominent.

His first appearance at the 1882 V.R.C. carnival was in the Melbourne Stakes on the Derby day, but he was easily beaten.

The Assyrian was a sensational horse for the bookmaking ring, who were saved from a terrible financial blow by his victory, and at the conclusion of the Melbourne Cup race “they showed their appreciation of his win by frantic expressions of delight”.

Ridden by C Hutchins, he drew clear in the final stages to defeat Stockwell by half a length and the plunge horse, Gudarz, in to third place.

Sold to C S Agnew, son of Sir James Agnew, he went on to win the Hobart Cup in 1883. Agnew won the Hobart Cup another three times – again in 1889 with Chaldean, with Macquarie in 1890 and Dundas in 1891.

Interestingly, Agnew died in rather unusual circumstances – having a warm bath on board the SS Coogee en route from Launceston to Melbourne when he had an epileptic fit while bathing.

The feat of winning both the Hobart Cup and Melbourne Cup has only ever been achieved on one other occasion by Piping Lane in the mid 1970s.

Career Highlights:

At 2
 
 
 
7-May-80
2nd
6 ran
3-1
T Hales
8.10
Morphettville
7 fur
SA Stakes
1:35.0
At 3
 
 
 
24-Sep-80
Won
3 ran
R Wyman
8.10
Morphettville
12 fur
SA Derby
2:48.0
3-May-81
3rd
6 ran
R Wyman
8.7
Morphettville
10 fur
Sturt Stakes
2:13.0
5-May-81
2nd
10 ran
Quinn
6.9
Morphettville
16 fur
Adelaide Cup
3:37.2
7-May-81
3rd
6 ran
5-4 f
R Wyman
7.9
Morphettville
14 fur
SAJC Hcp
3:14.0
At 4
 
 
 
6-Aug-81
Won
8 ran
5-2 f
Campbell
8.5
Adelaide RC
12 fur
Dukes Hcp
2:51.0
8-Aug-81
Won
8 ran
1-2 f
Campbell
9.1
Adelaide RC
8 fur
Royal Hcp
1:51.0
12-Sep-81
2nd
16 ran
7-4 f
Campbell
9.4
Adelaide RC
8 fur
Exhibition Hcp
1:44.0
24-Sep-81
2nd
9 ran
7-4 f
Campbell
9.2
Morphettville
10 fur
Spring Hcp
2:12.0
At 5
 
 
 
2-Aug-82
Won
8 ran
5-1
T Enderson
9.0
Adelaide RC
12 fur
Dukes Hcp
2:52.0
7-Aug-82
4th
7 ran
3-1
T Enderson
9.9
Adelaide RC
10 fur
Royal Hcp
2:21.0
31-Oct-82
Won
25 ran
33-1
Hutchins
7.13
Flemington
16 fur
Melbourne Cup
3:40.0
2-Nov-82
2nd
19 ran
Hutchins
9.0
Flemington
12 fur
Veteran Stakes
2:38.7
16-Feb-83
2nd
7 ran
2-1 f
R Batty
9.5
Mowbray
14 fur
Launceston Cup
3:10.0
20-Feb-83
Won
5 ran
3-1
R Batty
10.7
Elwick
14 fur
Hobart Cup
3:12.0
22-Feb-83
Won
5 ran
7-4
R Batty
11.0
Elwick
12 fur
Derwent Plate
2:44.0
17-Mar-83
Won
4 ran
5-2
Mr C S Agnew
13.6
Caulfield
8 fur
Welter
1:50.0
26-Mar-83
Won
8 ran
10-1
Batty
9.3
Randwick
12 fur
Autumn Stakes
2:40.5
30-Mar-83
3rd
3 ran
2-1
Batty
9.4
Randwick
16 fur
Cumberland Stakes
3:38.0