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Carbine racehorse Melbourne Cup 1890

CarbineCarbine (1885-1914), was a New Zealand Thoroughbred racehorse, who competed in New Zealand and later Australia. He was a bay stallion by the English Ascot Stakes-winner and successful sire Musket out of the imported mare Mersey by Knowsley. Carbine was born at Sylvia Park Stud near Auckland, New Zealand on 18 September 1885. He was in-bred to Brown Bess in the third and fourth generations.
When fully mature, he stood about 16.1 hands in height, possessed good conformation and temperament, although he had some foibles. Owing to his performance on the track and his subsequent achievements as a sire, he became one of five inaugural inductees into both the New Zealand Racing Hall of Fame and the Australian Racing Hall of Fame.

During his career on the race track, Carbine started 43 times for 33 wins, six seconds and three thirds, failing to place only once due to a badly split hoof. He was popular with racing fans, and sporting commentators of the day praised him for his gameness, versatility, stamina and weight-carrying ability, as well as for his speed.

Carbine, nicknamed "Old Jack," was unbeaten in five starts in top-class races as a two-year-old in New Zealand. He then was taken to Australia, where he won nine of 13 starts as a three-year-old.

One highlight that year was his win in the AJC Sydney Cup of 2 miles (3.22 km) carrying 12 lb (5.5 kg) over weight-for-age. Despite suffering interference at the half-mile post and being buffeted back to last place, Carbine won by a head in a record time of 3 min 31 s. (Race times were slower in Carbine's era than now due, among other factors, to the rough state of tracks and the upright posture in the saddle assumed by 19th-century jockeys.)
At the end of his three-year-old racing season, Carbine was sold by his owner-trainer Dan O'Brien for 3,000 guineas and prepared by his new owners for racing in Sydney and Melbourne.

As a four- and five-year-old, Carbine won 17 of what would prove to be his last 18 races. On four occasions Carbine won twice on the same day. His victory in the 1890 Melbourne Cup was noteworthy. He set a weight-carrying record of 10 st 5 lb (66 kg) in the Cup, beating a field of 39 starters and setting a record time for the race. He carried 53 lb (24 kg) more than the second-place horse, Highborn.

Carbine was owned for most of his Australian career by Donald Wallace, a wealthy horse-breeder, investor, and Member of the Victorian Parliament. Walter Hickenbotham, a prominent Melbourne-based horseman, trained him. Wallace and Hickenbotham planned to enter Carbine in the 1891 Melbourne Cup and other major events of that year's turf calendar but a chronic heel injury thwarted their intentions, and Carbine was retired to Wallace's stud.

Carbine proved his potential as a sire the following year, 1892, by siring a colt named Wallace, who went on to become an outstanding racehorse and sire. Wallace was considered the best of Carbine's Australian-bred progeny. He won several important races and despite limited stud opportunities was the leading sire of the 1915/16 Australian season. Wallace also finished three times second and three times third on the sires' table. During Carbine’s short Australian stud career he sired the winners of 203½ races worth £48,624, including the multiple stakes winners, Amberite and La Carabine.

In 1895, the Duke of Portland purchased Carbine for 13,000 guineas. He was shipped from Melbourne to the Duke's English stud at Welbeck Abbey where he was the second stud sire to the outstanding St. Simon, who covered the best mares. In spite of this Carbine went on to sire Spearmint, the 1906 Epsom Derby winner. Spearmint in turn sired Spion Kop, who also won the Derby. Spion Kop's offspring included another Derby winner, Felstead. Felstead's son, The Buzzard, later stood at stud in Australia. The wheel of history turned full circle when two of The Buzzard's offspring, Old Rowley and Rainbird, each won the Melbourne Cup, in 1940 and 1945, respectively.
Carbine was also the grandsire of American champion Johren, the winner of the 1918 Belmont Stakes. Johren received the honor of being given the American Eclipse Award for Horse of the Year.

Statistics and contemporary assessments indicate that he was a dominant Antipodean racehorse of the 19th century, and he still ranks with such 20th-century Thoroughbreds as such as his descendants Nearco, Northern Dancer, Secretariat, Seattle Slew, Ballymoss, Shergar, Arkle, Never Say Die, Mr. Prospector, Nasrullah, Nijinsky II (winner of the UK Triple Crown), Royal Palace, Fort Marcy, Better Loosen Up, Sir Ivor, Invasor, Phar Lap, Tulloch, Kingston Town and Bernborough in terms of renown among turf historians.

Other post-World War Two horses with Carbine figuring in their pedigrees have included the Melbourne Cup winners Rising Fast, Comic Court, Rain Lover and Think Big. Modern-day descendants of Carbine are the New Zealand mare Sunline and the British bred Makybe Diva, winner of three Melbourne Cups. Modern day competitors Mine That Bird and Rachel Alexandra have the pedigrees from Carbine on both their sire and dam sides.

Carbine died at Welbeck on 10 June 1914. He had suffered a stroke and was put down with a drug to end his suffering, according to the horse's 'biographer', Grania Polliness. The Duke of Portland gave his skeleton to the Melbourne Museum. Today it is displayed at the Australian Racing Museum and Hall of Fame in Melbourne. Carbine's combined record of documented success as both a racehorse and an international sire is possibly unequalled by any other Australasian Thoroughbred.

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Race Record For Carbine

WON   16-Dec-1887    Canterbury (NZ) Hopeful Stakes    5 f.
WON   1-Jan-1888       Canterbury (NZ) Middle Park Stakes   6 f.
WON   22-Feb-1888    Dunedin (NZ) Champagne Stakes   6 f.
WON   2-Apr-1888       Canterbury (NZ) Champagne Stakes    6 f.
WON   3-Apr-1888       Canterbury (NZ) Challenge Stakes    6 f.
WON   8-Nov-1888      Flemington Flying Stakes    7 f.
WON   10-Nov-1888    Flemington Foal Stakes    10 f.
WON   7-Mar-1889      Flemington Champion Stakes    24 f.
WON   9-Mar-1889      Flemington All Aged Stakes    8 f.
WON   9-Mar-1889      Flemington Loch Plate    16 f.
WON   24-Apr-1889    Randwick Sydney Cup    16 f.
WON   25-Apr-1889    Randwick All-Aged Stakes   8 f.
WON   25-Apr-1889    Randwick Cumberland Stakes    16 f.
WON   27-Apr-1889    Randwick AJC Plate   24 f.
WON   7-Nov-1889     Flemington Flying Stakes   7 f.
WON   1-Mar-1890     Flemington Essendon Stakes   10-1/2 f.
WON   8-Mar-1890     Flemington All-Aged Stakes   8 f.
WON   8-Mar-1890     Flemington Loch Plate    16 f.
WON   5-Apr-1890      Randwick Autumn Stakes    12 f.
WON   7-Apr-1890      Randwick Sydney Cup   16 f.
WON   10-Apr-1890    Randwick All-Aged Stakes   8 f.
WON   10-Apr-1890    Randwick Cumberland Stakes    16 f.
WON   12-Apr-1890    Randwick AJC Plate   24 f.
WON   13-Set-1890    Randwick Spring Stakes   12 f.
WON   18-Set-1890    Randwick Craven Plate    10 f.
WON   1-Nov-1890     Flemington Melbourne Stakes    10 f.
WON   4-Nov-1890     Flemington Melbourne Cup   16 f.
WON   28-Feb-1891   Flemington Essendon Stakes    10-1/2 f.
WON   5-Mar-1891      Flemington Champion Stakes    24 f.
WON   7-Mar-1891      Flemington All-Aged Stakes  8 f.
WON   28-Mar-1891    Randwick Autumn Stakes   12 f.
WON   2-Apr-1891       Randwick Cumberland Stakes   16 f.
WON   4-Apr-1891       Randwick AJC Plate   24 f.

Breeder : the Auckland Stud Company, Sylvia Park, Auckland, NZ
Owner : Dan O'Brien (NZ)
then Donald Wallace
Trainer : Dan O'Brien (NZ), then
Walter Hickenbotham
Jockeys (wins): Mick O'Brien (16) Bob Ramage (10) Bob Derritt (5) and White (2)