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- Profile of a Champion
starts with his sire Musket who was lucky to survive as a young horse. Bred in England in
1867 Musket was owned by Lord Glasgow who ordered his horses shot if they failed his
standards and refused to ever sell a horse. Musket was one of those that failed to meet
Lord Glasgow's standards and was ordered to be shot. His trainer pleaded Musket's case and
asked for the horse to be tried again after some more time to develop. Before that time
came Lord Glasgow died and Musket fell under the ownership of General Peel and George
Payne. In a career spanning 14 starts Musket won 9 races including 7 of his 9 starts at 3
years. In 1872 Musket was retired to Lord Glasgow's Enfield Stud standing for 30 guineas.
He was unpopular due to his bloodlines as his grandsire Longbow was a roarer and his sire
Toxophilite (second in the English Derby) was a bleeder. During his English career he only
sired 65 foals in 6 years and was placed on the market. He was soon purchased by New
Zealand interests for £500 and stood his first season in 1879.
Musket's first crop produced the Melbourne winner Martini-Henry while his second produced Trenton (champion sire) and he died in early October 1885. Despite his sireline Musket was a well known source of stock that were 'sound of wind' at the time. He was the leading Australian sire three times from his seven crops.
Mersey was foaled in England in 1874 at Royal Stud. She did not impressive her owners and was unraced. She commenced her broodmare career when she slipped her first foal in 1880 and then missed the following year. Soon after she was also sold to New Zealand interests. Sent to Musket she produced a filly called Lady Walmsley before missing in 1883. The following year Mersey foaled another filly called Lady Mersey and then foaled Carbine. She missed the next two seasons before producing Lady Carbine to Nordenfeldt (by Musket) in 1888. A filly was born dead in 1889 before foaling Carnage in 1890. Another filly followed but died as a weaning. Mersey was then sent to Trenton but missed in 1892 and 1893 before producing Mersey's Daughter to English time in early 1895. Mersey slipped the following year before dying in 1897 while foaling to Bill of Portland (the foal also died). Apart from Carbine Mersey's most notable foals were Lady Walmsley who won the AuRC Railway Hcp before being sent to Australia as a broodmare while Carnage was a classy racehorse with his wins including the VRC Derby. He later stood at stud in Australia before being sent to England with Trenton and finally being sold to stud in Germany.
Carbine was foaled on September 18 1885 at Sylvia Park Stud in Auckland New Zealand. He was sold for 620 guineas on January 5th 1887 in a dispersal sale of Sylvia Park yearlings to Dan O'Brien. Other prospective owners shied away from his straight forelegs and upright pasterns and remarked on his lack of solid bone. Carbine was originally named Mauser but as Carbine he made his name in racing history.
Carbine was a light coloured bay, unlike many other Musket progeny which were generally darker, standing 16 ¼ hh. He always had a long economic action and was very quiet in nature but was known for dropping unfamiliar riders and for his likelihood of biting strangers around the stable. Throughout his career he often had to be coaxed onto the track with a handler, jockey and trainer all needed to convince him to head to the start. When he decide to go he would head off at a brisk trot but if something in the crowd caught his eye he was known to stop and stare. Carbine also hated rain on his ears and nose and later in his career in Australia he was found hiding in a shed after being caught outside in a storm.
After early gallops his trainer Dan O'Brien was unimpressed with Carbine's efforts and only sent stablehand Jack Vincent to accompany the horse to his first few races meetings (keeping updated via telegram) and this was how Carbine came across his stable name of Old Jack. Carbine had his first start on December 16 1887 in the Hopeful Stakes at Canterbury New Zealand. Over the 1000m his missed the start badly but caught the field by the home turn to win by a length from Ravenswing.
In the three weeks to his next start the Hopeful Stakes over 1200m he injured his near fore in training and appeared in the mounting yard with a protective boot over the foot. Again he missed the start then made up ground to race away to victory from Ravenswing with Manton (who later won a NZ Derby) third.
Dan O'Brien finally decided to watch the colt race at his third start in the Champagne Stakes at Dunedin. This start he jumped with the field and shared the lead with Vandal. In the straight he raced clear to win eased up by three lengths to Manton. It was two months until Carbine raced again and in preparation for the race he was again sore in trackwork. On raceday on heading out for the Champagne Stakes at Canterbury it was obvious the colt was still not fully recovered. Starting well Carbine took the lead but the effect of the injury was evident as Sommeil joined and headed him in the straight. Inside the final 200m Carbine responded to B Derretts urgings to run on and went on to win by ¾ of a length. A day later he backed up in the Challenge Stakes and met a similar field. Carbine missed the start and chsed Sommeil throughout only gaiing the upper hand in the final stages to win by a neck. Carbine was then sent for a spell after five starts for five victories and was regarded as the best of the New Zealand 2yos. In the spring connections had a new target the VRC Spring Carnival.
On arriving in Melbourne Carbine was housed at Caulfield and impressed all locals that saw him in trackwork. Carbine went into the VRC Derby without a lead up run but was expected to dominate the race. The race itself was a slowly run event and Carbine did not hit the front until well into the home straight. He looked home and B Derrett began to ease the horse as Ensign who looked beaten was ridden hard for the line by Tom Hales. B Derrett realised his mistake but all too late for Carbine to pick up again and Ensign crossed the line in front by a head. With the conjecture that Tom Hales had outridden B Derrett it was proposed that a match race be held between the two colts in the future but it never happened as Ensign broke a fetlock during the Melbourne Cup only three days later.
Meanwhile Carbine returned to the track on Oaks Day for the 1400m WFA Flying Hcp (better known in recent times as the Linlithgow) and was the only older horse to take part. It was felt that 2yo gained a huge advantage under WFA and few tried to take them on. After settling off the pace Carbine joined the leader around the turn before racing clear to score by a length from Pippo. Two days later on the final of the four day carnival Carbine lined up in the Foal Stakes carrying 60kg. At 5/2 on he travelled in second place in running before racing after the leader Melos in the straight. By the 200m he raced clear to win well from Wycombe. That was to be his final start for Dan O'Brien. On November 12 Carbine went through the sales ring and was ultimately sold for 3000 guineas to Walter Hickenbotham on behalf of Donald Wallace.
His first start for his new connections was in March 1889 in the Newmarket Handicap. Carbine raced on the pace and he and Lochiel came away to fight it out. Over the final stages neither was a match for Sedition who powered home over the top to win from Lochiel with Carbine a neck away third.
Two days later Carbine went into the Australian Cup over 3600m. Lochiel led and despite finished hard Carbine couldn't catch the frontrunner with Lochiel winning by ¾ of a length. Carbine may have been defeated in his two runs but his main target was the Champion Stakes run two days after the Australian Cup. The 4800m race was run at a slow pace with Carbine in front early but Abercorn taking over at the 800m. Into the straight Carbine gave chase before hitting the front and drawing away by two lengths. In running he had split his near fore heel but was set for both the All Aged Stakes (1600m race 1) and the Loch Plate (3200m race 5) on the final day of the carnival two days later. Carbine defeated 2yo Rudolph in the All Aged Stakes easily and after checking the heel was given the go ahead for the Loch Plate. Lochiel was sent out favourite and took up the led from the outset. Into the straight Carbine chased hard to join Lochiel past the 200m. The pair settled down to fight it out and went stride for stride to the line. On the post Carbine was declared the victor by a half head but when returning to scale was limping badly on his sore foot.
A six week break followed in preparation for the four day Sydney carnival. First up was the Autumn Stakes over 2400m. Cranbrook led early but turning for home Carbine charged to the front but into the straight he was challenged by the late finishing Abercorn. In the run to the line Abercorn proved stronger winning by a neck with eight lengths back to the third horse. Two days later they had a rematch in the Sydney Cup. Carbine again settled off the pace and started his run passing the 800m soon after he met with interference from Lady Lyon who was tiring and dropped back to last. Balanced again he started to run on again as Melos gained the upper hand over Abercorn in the front. Only a few strides from the post Carbine rushed up to Melos to hit the front and win from Melos with Abercorn between them in third. Carbine had won the race in 3.31 which was an Australiasian record for the 2 miles.
The next day Carbine fronted up for two races In the All Aged Stakes (race 2 1600m) he again he met the 2yo Rudolph. Rudolph set a fast pace but Carbine ran down the young horse to win by a neck. The Cumberland Stakes (race 5 3200m) only attracted a small field and was run at a slow pace with Lochiel in front. By the 1000m Lochiel's rider sprinted for home and put a 10 length gap on the two other runners. By the 800m Carbine started to chase but was still three lengths behind with 100m left. With a final charge he came at Lochiel to win by a half head and was timed to run his final 800m in 47.5.
Carbine's final start for the carnival and his 3yo season was the AJC Plate over 4800m only two days later. Taking on his high class rivals in Lochiel, Abercorn and Melos Carbine was at his peak winning hard held by a half length from Abercorn.
Despite his growing following there were some doubts that Carbine would continue to run well as he entered his four year old season. The Musket breed was thought to not train on after 3 years and if they did they became increasingly hard to handle. When Carbine returned to training he didn't seem to have the usual enthusiasm which worried his connections. Doubts continued when he returned in the Caulfield Stakes in mid October. After proving difficult to head out to the start Carbine was never a threat as 3yo Dreadnought raced home two lengths clear. Just as his career was looking in doubt Carbine started to pick up in training but then only three days before the Melbourne Stakes he split his heel again.
Fitted with a bar shoe Carbine again proved difficult to encourage to the start of the race. After jumping Sinecure and Antaeus led the field at a solid pace until the home straight where Carbine challenged in company with Abercorn. By the 200m Carbine was in front but Abercorn fought strongly with Melos making a run. In the run to the line Abercorn proved the strongest winning by a short head from Melos with Carbine a half neck away third. Despite the split heel Carbine was sent out for the Melbourne Cup carrying 63.5kg and was again stubborn on heading out. After the start Carbine was well back in the 20 horse field. Carbine started to make ground approaching the home turn and hit the front in the straight from Chicago and Melos but Bravo was starting to run on late. In the final stages Carbine couldn't hold off Bravo's late run as the latter raced to victory by a length with a half neck to Melos third.
Two days later Carbine again took on Dreadnought in the Flying Stakes. Turning from home Carbine raced clear from Dreadnought and Boz but soon 2yo filly Wilga was challenging as Dreadnought came again. Carbine fought back strongly to pass the post a half head in front of Dreadnought with Wilga a neck away third.
Carbine started in the Canterbury Plate only two days later despite heavy taping on the injured foot. Only three others took him on as Sinecure settled in front. With 1600m left Sinecure went for home as Carbine started to chase from Abercorn and Melos. Around the turn Sinecure led Abercorn as Carbine started to lose ground. Past the post Abercorn won by a neck from Sinecure with four lengths to Melos and Carbine tailed off in a distressed condition. It was found that the binding had worked loose and the wound had burst during the run. Carbine was given a spell until March.
Returning in the 2100m Essendon Stakes Carbine and Melos disputed the lead throughout with Carbine finally gaining the upper hand in the straight. With Carbine in front Singapore began to run on strongly but failed to catch Carbine by half lengths with Melos a further neck away third. Five days later Carbine took on three others in the Champion Stakes on a bog track. Rudolph took the lead and set a fast pace but turning for home Dreadnought hit the front with Carbine running on and Melos making his challenge. In the straight Melos finished the best to win by 1 ¼ lengths from Dreadnought with Carbine a half length away third as Rudolph tailed off.
On the final day of the VRC autumn carnival Carbine lined up in two races as he did in 1889. The field of two year olds in the All Aged Stakes were no match for Carbine as he cruised home by four lengths. A small field of three faced the starter in the Loch Plate and it was run at a slow pace with Carbine and Singapore racing together from Fishwife. As they sprinted for the post Carbine proved the stronger of the pair winning by a short neck.
A month later Carbine headed to the Sydney carnival where he was due to race five times in the seven days. First was the Autumn Stakes where Federation led before before Chintz took over until the home turn. Melos, Dreadnought and Carbine swept to the front and battled it out for the length of the straight. On the post Carbine was judged the winner by a nose with Melos and Dreadnought deadheating for second. On Easter Monday Carbine ran in the Sydney Cup which was run at a slow pace. On the home turn Eveline led but soon dropped out as Bonnie Spec, Antaeus and Sir William took over. By the 200m Mantilla and Muriel had hit the front with Carbine making his run. In the shadows of the post Carbine took the lead to win by a length from Mantilla with Muriel third and Sir William fourth. On the third day of the carnival Carbine again lined up in two races. Only two 2yos opposed Carbine in the All Aged Stakes where Prelude was well clear in the straight but Carbine finished strongly to win by a half length with four lengths to Correze third.
The wet conditions resulted in only four lining up in the Cumberland Stakes with Federation making a fast pace early before Melos took over. On straightening Melos was clear but Carbine and Dreadnought soon raced passed to fight it out. Carbine gained the upper hand to draw away and win by 11/4 lengths with Melos 10 lengths away third.
Two days later the trio met again in the AJC Plate of 4800m. Carbine led to the 800m where Melos challenged with a gap to Dreadnought. In the run to the line Carbine kicked away again to win by ¾ length from Melos with Dreadnought a neck away third.
Carbine started his 5yo season with two runs in Sydney in September. First up in the Spring Stakes Argos led with Carbine close behind. Passing the 200m Carbine was too good racing well clear to win by four lengths from Melos, Sir William and Gresford who dead heated for second.
Five days later he took on three others in the Craven Plate with Megaphone leading Carbine and they spaced Cuirassier and Cardigan. By the 600m Carbine drew alongside Megaphone and they went stride for stride on straightening. Inside the final 200m Carbine drew away to win by ¾ length from Megaphone with Cuirassier 20 lengths away third. In winning Carbine had recorded an Australian record for the 2000m but his heel had split open again.
A six week break followed before Carbine raced in the Melbourne Stakes in preparation for the Melbourne Cup. Carbine jumped to the lead and despite Loyal Stone challenging by the 800m he held the front. In the run for home Carbine easily held the challenges of Gresford and Melos to win by two lengths.
In the Melbourne Cup three days later Carbine was to face 38 other starters and was attempting to set a weight carrying record in the race of 66.5kg. At the start Carbine was 33rd in line near the outside. He settled well back as Gatling led. By the 1400m Carbine had worked up to 7th and held his position to the home turn as Enuc led Melos and highborn followed by The Admiral. Into the straight Carbine moved to the outside to chase the leaders. Carbine soon cruised to the front under hands and heels as Highborn chased from Melos. Despite ducking to the rails Carbine had the race well in his keeping to win by 2 ½ len from Highborn with Correze third and Enuc fourth. In winning Carbine had not just carried the highest weight against the biggest field but recorded a record time of 3.28 ¼ which stood for a further 15 years.
The crowd erupted as racing's hero had done what was thought impossible. On returning to scale the crowd closed around trying to get pieces of his mane and tail for souvenirs as Carbine stood quietly recovering for his effort. In winning the Cup Carbine heel had split open and Carbine was extremely sore. In the days after the win the wound had to be lanced to clear the infection and Carbine was confined to his box for four days.
Spelled until the autumn Carbine returned in the Essendon Stakes and a rematch with Megaphone. Megaphone led early but was soon joined by Carbine and the pair matched strides into the straight. Over the concluding stages Carbine proved stronger to win by ¾ length with Granite well back in third. Carbine only had two opponents in the Champion Stakes five days later, the three year olds The Admiral and Whimbrel. Carbine jumped to lead at a slow pace for the first mile then quicken for the remainder. A class above the others Carbine passed the post eight lengths in front of The Admiral with Whimbrel distanced. In the All Aged Stakes only 3 opponents all 2yos took on Carbine. Yarran led and raced away with a huge lead as Carbine dwelt slightly at the start. Around the turn Carbine joined Yarran but Penance was putting in a claim to join them. By the 200m Penance was in front but Carbine fought back strongly to win by a half length with four lengths to Yarran third. Carbine was scratched from the Loch Plate later that day and stablemate Megaphone strolled to victory.
Back to Sydney for the four day Easter carnival. In his first start there in the Autumn Stakes he was only opposed by Highborn. Both horses went slowly early with Carbine the first to sprint for home leaving Highborn flatfooted. In the run to the line Highborn got within a length but Carbine extended his lead to win by two lengths.
The wet weather closed in again for the third day of the carnival where Carbine was due to run in two races. In the All Aged Stakes Carbine came out for the race with a canvas cover on his head due to the rain. He jumped to the front and raced wide around the home turn but was not happy in the conditions. Marvel was going well and made his challenge on straightening. In the run to the line Marvel did the better to win by four lengths from Carbine. This race was the end of Carbine's 15 race winning streak. Many opinions surfaced on what had gone wrong with the most likely that Carbine had raced without shoes while Marvel was wearing tips which stopped him slipping. On returning to scale Carbine tried to savage the clerk of the course when Marvel was led back first.
Later that afternoon both horses renewed their rivalry in the two mile Cumberland Stakes. This time Carbine wore plates and settled in behind marvel who was pulling hard in front. With 600m left started to chase and drew level by the 400m. On straightening Carbine hit the front but Marvel fought back until the early effort told on his stamina. Carbine crossed the line seven lengths ahead and returned to scale in his usual calm manner as the crowd swamped him. Two days later Carbine faced only two opponents in the AJC Plate of 4800m. Greygown led at a slow rate from Correze and Carbine. By the halfway mark Correze had taken over from Greygown with Carbine still biding his time. Approaching the home turn Carbine started to make ground on Correze and soon joined him. In the run to the line Carbine raced clear to win by 2 ¼ len with 20 lengths back to Greygown. Carbine then went for a spell with betting support for the 1891 Melbourne Cup despite being allocated 70kg for the race.
While preparing for his spring return Carbine not only re injured his hoof but also strained a ligament in his front leg. He was advertised for stud with plans to return to racing in the autumn. With a fee of 200 guineas many were shocked (the next closest fee was 60 guineas for the proven St Albans) and he only attracted three mares. Fishwife produced a foal that raced as Cohort and was ultimately sent to Tasmania, St Odille produced a colt that later died and Melodious produced a colt that was named Wallace and proved Carbine's best Australian progeny on track and at stud.
During that spring Donald Wallace was offered £20,000 for Carbine by US interests as a stud proposition but refused with the hope of still returning to the track and he wanted the horse to remain in Australia. In the autumn Carbine didn't return to the track as veterinary opinion recommended retirement.
Carbine stood for four seasons in Australia at Donald Wallace's Lerderberg Park Stud near Bacchus Marsh, Victoria. During that time he sired the winners of 208 races and was second to Trenton in the 1895-96 premiership then second to Lochiel in 1897-98 and third to Lochiel and Bill of Portland in 1899-1900.
Carbine's stakeswinners include Amberite (1897 VRC Derby, 1897 AJC Derby, 1897 Caulfield Cup,etc), Carbineer (1900 Perth Cup), Charge (1896 AJC Derby), Flintlock (1901 Perth Cup, 1899 Hobart Cup, 1899 Launceston Cup), La Carabine (1900 Australian Cup, 1900 Sydney Cup, 1901 & 1902 AJC Plate, etc), Mural (1899 Perth Cup) and Wallace who won 8 stakes races including the 1895 VRC Derby, 1896 Sydney Cup, 1895 Caulfield Guineas, 1894 Flying Stakes, 1896 AJC St Leger, 1896 Champion Stakes, etc.
Donald Wallace was badly affected by the severe downturn in the economy and ultimately in early 1895 he made the decision to sell his horses by auction in March 1895. Before the auction took place the Duke of Portland purchased Carbine for 13,000 guineas which was the highest price by far paid for a stallion in Australiasia. Soon it was arranged for Carbine to be sent to England travelling on the RMS Orizaba.
Despite attempts to avoid a public turnout Many came out to see Carbine loaded on board. He walked to the Bacchus Marsh railway station before travelling in a horse box to Port Melbourne. Around 300 to 400 waited to see Carbine loaded on board accompanied by his attendant Jack Cunningham who was to travel to England. The Orizaba set sail the next day on 13 April 1895 as up to 10,000 came to farewell Carbine.
During the trip Carbine became unwell and on reaching Colombo it was decided to operate. Despite taking a piece out of his attendant the surgery was successful though Carbine was still weak on arriving at Tilburn. When he had fully recovered his new owner invited members of the press to see Carbine. Described as lazy Carbine's calm temperament was thought the perfect cross for the Duke of Portland's St Simon mares. A device had been sent with Carbine to keep the rain off his ears but Carbine wasn't sure about snow the first time he saw it. After stepping out onto the snow and taking a bite he rolled and never had a further problem.
Carbine began his UK stud career in 1896 with a fee of 200 guineas and served three full books. By 1900 though he had fallen out of favour and his fee dropped to 100 guineas then 50 guineas before jumping up in 1906 to 200 guineas due to Spearmint winning the Derby but it soon dropped and was finally £48 as an old horse. He ultimately sired 138 winners in the UK and they earned close to £120,000.
Two of his UK bred progeny were imported back top Australia being Playaway (1905 Newmarket, 1904 Futurity) and Defence (1918 Australian Cup, 1917 Easter Cup, 1915 Hobart Cup). He was amongst the 20 leading sires in the UK on 5 times but only as high as 4th in 1902 and 1906.
Through Spearmint's daughters Carbine appears in the pedigrees of Ribot, Star Kingdom, Never Bend and Wolver Hollow and appears numerous times in the ancestors of Australian legend Kingston Town.
Carbines first successful foal in England was Wargrave and this impressed Sir James Duke who then sent a half sister to be served by Carbine. It was this union that produced Spearmint. Spearmint won the 1906 Epsom Derby and was extremely successful at stud siring 93 winners including future sire and Epsom Derby winner Spion Kop. Spearmint also sired two very influential broodmares one was Catnip who produced Nogara the dam of Nearco (sire of Nasrullah) and all Northern Dancer line horses trace back to Carbine through this mare. The other was Plucky Liege who went on to become one of the greatest ever broodmares producing Sir Gallahad III, Admiral Drake, Bulldog and Bois Rousell amongst her 7 colt foals.
Carbine also had three other sons returned to Australia who were Pistol who stood in South Australia and sired 26 stakeswinners, Mousqueton and Sir Whitton.
Spearmint lived to 21 while Wallace lived to 24 but Carbine made it to 29 when, on 10 June 1914, he was found collapsed in his box. He was diagnosed as having had a brain haemorrhage and he was soon put down using chloroform. The Duke of Portland had earlier made arrangements for Carbine's skeleton to go to the Melbourne Museum and it arrived in 1920. It was displayed there until damaged by vandals in the 1950s. The skeleton is now on display at the Australian Racing Museum at Caulfield racecourse.
Carbine's hide was sent to Auckland New Zealand to be stuffed and mounted but was so badly damaged in transit that only his head was viable to be stuffed and mounted with his tail. The usable pieces of hide were used to cover a chair used by the Chairman of the Auckland racing club. All these items were on temporary display at the Australian Racing museum despite their advancing age. Other pieces of hide were made into tobacco pouches while his hooves were made into inkstands with one remaining at Government house in Wellington New Zealand from Lord Galway's posting from England as the Governor-General. At Flemington racecourse Carbine's box is on permanent display located near the horse stalls and birdcage.