Copyright: Artist: Percy Brinkworth, Australian Racing Museum Collection

Carbine won the 1890 Melbourne Cup carrying a record weight of 10st 5lbs (66kg) in a record field of 39.


TRAINER: Dan O'Brien, Walter Hickenbotham

OWNERS: Dan O'Brien, Donald Wallace

RACE RECORD/STAKE MONEY: 43 starts: 33 wins, 6 seconds, 3 thirds/£26, 626

Major Wins 

  • Melbourne Cup
  • Sydney Cup (twice)
  • VRC Champion stakes (twice)
  • VRC All-Aged Stakes (tree times)
  • VRC Melbourne Stakes
  • AJC All-Aged Stakes
  • AJC Cumberland Stakes (three times)
  • AJC Plate (three times)


Carbine had all the qualities of a champion racehorse. He had a superb action, and combined staying power with sprinting ability to an exceptional degree. He was equally at home in handicap and weight for age races, and could handle a fast or muddling pace without difficulty. His courage and determination were a byword; many times he overcame the pain of a severe, recurring heel injury to achieve victory.

His trainer, Walter Hickenbotham, spoke often of his intelligence and sensitivity. A contemporary writer put it this way: "Carbine ran his own race. He seized his own opportunities, and took an opening on his own initiative when he saw it… And he recognised a winning post as well as he knew his manger. He was determined to win, and he was perfectly well aware when a supreme effort was necessary".

Affectionately known as "Old Jack", Carbine's prowess as a racehorse and his personality captured the hearts and imagination of the nation. His best known trick was to freeze stock-still before a crowd, apparently enjoying the cheers and applause that this antic provoked. Old timers swore that "Old Jack" stopped near the betting ring to hear if he was favourite.

Injury obliged Donald Wallace to retire Carbine to stud in 1891. In 1895 he was sold to the Duke of Portland who bought him to stand alongside his champion stallion, St Simon, at Welbeck Abbey. Carbine's most notable progeny was Spearmint, winner of the 1906 Epsom Derby.

Carbine was inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2001. He was awarded Legend status in 2013.

Image Source: Australian Racing Museum Collection, Artist: Percy Brinkworth