Born in 1848 Walter Hickenbotham started in his turf career working for renowned Sydney owner/trainer, John Tait. Following a successful career as a jockey he turned his hand to training and took out a licence with the VRC in 1886.
Hickenbotham formed an association with owner, Donald Wallace, for whom he trained Mentor to win the 1888 Melbourne Cup. With his winnings, Wallace bought Carbine, whom he also entrusted to Hickenbotham. Carbine then went on to win the 1890 Melbourne Cup and almost every other race in which he was entered. Hickenbotham achieved two further Melbourne Cups, with Newhaven in 1896 and Blue Spec in 1905, as well as numerous wins in other major handicap and weight-for-age races – 136 feature races in all including seven Champion Stakes, three Sydney Cups, six Goodwood Handicaps, three VRC Oaks, two Newmarket Handicaps, the Adelaide Cup, Victoria Derby and Grand National Hurdle.
Hickenbotham was known as ‘The Prince of Trainers', a man completely devoted to his horses. On the night of Carbine's Melbourne Cup win, instead of celebrating with friends, he spent it tending Carbine's injured hoof.
Hickenbotham was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003.