Jump to: navigation, search

Carbine (horse)

Sire Musket (GB)
Dam Mersey (GB)
Grandsire Toxophilite
Damsire Knowsley
Gender Stallion
Foaled 1885
Country New Zealand
Color Bay
Breeder N. Z. Stud Co.
Owner Donald Wallace
Trainer Walter S. Hickenbotham
Record 43: 33-6-1
Earnings ₤29,626[1] US$147,380 (equivalent)
Carbine is a thoroughbred racehorse out of Mersey (GB) by Musket (GB). He was born around 1885 in New Zealand, and was bred by N. Z. Stud Co..
Major wins
Cumberland Stakes (1888)
Sydney Cup (1889, 1890)
All Aged Stakes (1889, 1890)
AJC Plate (1889, 1890, 1891)
Melbourne Stakes (1890)
Craven Plate (1890)
Melbourne Cup (1890)
AJC Spring Stakes (1890)
Australian Racing Hall of Fame
New Zealand Racing Hall of Fame (2006)
Horse (Equus ferus caballus)
Last updated on 8 May 2009

Carbine (1885-1914), was an outstanding New Zealand Thoroughbred racehorse, who competed in New Zealand and later Australia. 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.



Carbine was born at Sylvia Park Stud near Auckland, New Zealand on 18 September 1885. 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 in-bred to Brown Bess in the third and fourth generations.[2] He was a half-brother to the stakes winning stallion, Carnage, winner of the VRC Victoria Derby, AJC Champagne Stakes, VRC Spring Stakes and VRC Essendon Stakes. When fully mature, Carbine stood about 16.1 hands in height, possessed good conformation and temperament, although he had some foibles.[3]

Racing career

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.[4] 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.[5] One highlight that year was his win in the AJC Sydney Cup of 2 miles (3,220 metres) 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.[6]

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.

Stud career

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.[6] 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.[7]

In 1895, the Duke of Portland purchased Carbine for 13,000 guineas.[6] 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. A son of Carbine, Greatorex, was a minor race winner in England before he was exported to South Africa, where he became a leading sire on ten occasions and had an impact on bloodlines there. Carbine sired Spearmint, the 1906 Epsom Derby winner.[7] 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.[6] 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. Spearmint was the sire of American three-year-old champion, Johren, foaled in 1915 in England and exported to America as a yearling. Johren was the winner of the 1918 Belmont Stakes and was awarded the American Eclipse Award for Horse of the Year.[8]

Over half of the 65 Melbourne Cup winners from 1914 to 1978 were descendants of Carbine.[9] 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[10] 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.[11] Carbine's combined record of documented success as both a racehorse and an international sire is possibly unequalled by any other Australasian Thoroughbred.[6]

Carbine had his portrait painted by the noted equine artist, Martin Stainforth and it was reproduced in Racehorses in Australia.[12]

See also

  • List of notable Thoroughbred racehorses


  1. NZ Racing Retrieved on 10 May 2009
  2. TesioPower 2000, Stallions of the World
  3. Barrie, Douglas M., The Australian Bloodhorse, Angus & Robertson, Sydney, 1956
  4. Profile of a Champion
  5. Pring, Peter; "Analysis of Champion Racehorses", The Thoroughbred Press, Sydney, 1977, ISBN 0-908133-00-6
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Ahnert, Rainer L. (Ed. in Chief), “Thoroughbred Breeding of the World”, Pozdun Publishing, Germany, 1970
  7. 7.0 7.1 Cavanough, Maurice, “The Melbourne Cup”, Jack Pollard P/L, North Sydney, 1976
  8. Thoroughbred Heritage Spearmint Retrieved 2010-5-11
  9. de Bourg, Ross, “The Australian and New Zealand Thoroughbred”, Nelson, West Melbourne, 1980, ISBN 0 17 005860 3
  10. TesioPower 2000, Stallions of the World
  11. Permanent Exhibition Retrieved on 29 April 2009
  12. Painting of Carbine by Martin Stainforth Retrieved 2010-2-28

  • Carbine by Grania Poliness, published by Waterloo Press, Sydney, 1985

External links


Premier Equine Classifieds


Subscribe to our newsletter and keep abreast of the latest news, articles and information delivered directly to your inbox.

Did You Know?

Modern horse breeds developed in response to a need for "form to function", the necessity to develop certain physical characteristics in order to perform a certain type of work... More...

The Gypsy Cob was originally bred to be a wagon horse and pulled wagons or caravans known as Vardos; a type of covered wagon that people lived in... More...

Archaeological evidence indicates that the Arabian horse bloodline dates back 4,500 years. Throughout history, Arabian horses spread around the world by both war and trade.... More...

That the term "Sporthorse" is a term used to describe a type of horse rather than any particular breed... More...