Abercorn had the best record of any of his contemporaries in racing against the champion Carbine. Abeercorn and Carbine met on seven occasions, with Abercorn winning three of the contests - the AJC Autumn Stakes, VRC Melbourne Stakes, VRC Canterbury Plate.
Trainer Michael Fennelly, Tom Payten
Owners James White
Race record/Stake money 35 wins: 21 firsts, 8 seconds, 4 thirds/£10,424
- VRC Sires' Produce Stakes (03 Mar 1887)
- AJC Sires' Produce Stakes (09 Apr 1887)
- AJC Derby (17 Sep 1887)
- AJC St Leger (31 Mar 1888)
- VRC St Leger (03 Mar 1888)
- AJC Metropolitan (24 Sep 1889)
- AJC Craven Plate (twice) (27 Sep 1888, 26 Sep 1889)
- AJC Spring Stakes (21 Sep 1899)
Abercorn was one of the greatest Australian horses of the late 19th century. One contemporary observer commented, ‘there have probably never been so many good horses on the turf in Australia at the one time as during the seasons Abercorn ran’. His great rival was Carbine, a year his junior. The chestnut Abercorn was bred and raced by the leading owner of the period, the Hon. James White, and was trained at his Newmarket, Randwick stables first by Martin Fennelly, then by Tom Payten. White had also bred his sire Chester, winner of the 1877 Victoria Derby and Melbourne Cup. Payten insisted Abercorn was a better stayer than the mighty Carbine. Of his seven encounters with Carbine, Abercorn won three. Carbine beat him in the 1889 Sydney Cup.
At two years, Abercorn won the VRC and AJC Sires’ Produce Stakes; as a three-year-old the AJC Derby, the AJC and VRC St Legers and the AJC Champion Stakes; and at four the AJC Craven Plate and VRC Essendon Stakes. In his final year of racing as a five-year-old, he won all six of his starts including the AJC Metropolitan with 60.5 kg, the AJC Craven Plate again, and the Randwick Plate, the VRC Melbourne Stakes and VRC Canterbury Stakes. After winning the 1889 Metropolitan, Abercorn was penalised 14 pounds (6.3 kg), raising his Melbourne Cup handicap weight to 10 stone 10 pounds (68 kg). White would not let him start under that burden, but Payten always believed Abercorn could have beaten the eventual winner Bravo.
On retirement from racing in 1891 Abercorn had started 35 times for 21 wins, and was unplaced only twice. His stake winnings totalled ₤12,731, an Australian record that Carbine soon eclipsed. White now sent Abercorn to his Kirkham Stud near Camden. His best foals were all sons of the Robinson Crusoe mare, Copra: between them they won the VATC Caulfield Guineas, Caulfield Stakes, AJC St Leger, Victoria Derby, Oakleigh Plate and Australian Cup. Cocos (foaled 1895) was third to The Grafter in the 1898 Melbourne Cup. After White’s death in 1898, Abercorn was exported to England, later to Ireland. Although applauded as ‘the handsomest horse that has been sent from the colonies’, he was not able to replicate his Australian success at stud. He died in 1905. Payten mourned his loss: ‘He could go further, at top speed, than any other horse I have known’.
Abercorn had the best record of any of his contemporaries in racing against the champion Carbine. Abeercorn and Carbine met on seven occasions, with Abercorn winning three of the contests - the AJC Autumn Stakes, VRC Melbourne Stakes, VRC Canterbury Plate
“Abercorn is undoubtedly the greatest racehorse in Australia, and Australians believe that means the greatest racehorse in the world.” (Sydney Morning Herald, 8 March 1890)