Skip to main content

Carbine and the 1890 Melbourne Cup


The racehorse Carbine, photographed in England around 1900, probably at Welbeck Stud. The monogrammed saddle rug carries the initial of the horse’s then owner, the Duke of Portland.

Modern-day fields in the Melbourne Cup are limited to 24 horses. When Carbine won in 1890 he was in a field of 39. Carbine set a new race record despite carrying 66 kg, the most weight ever carried by a winner. Carbine was inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame.

Carbine introduced New Zealand horses to the world, running second in the 1889 Melbourne Cup before winning an emphatic victory a year later. In his career he raced 43 times for 33 wins and was unplaced only once.

At the Randwick Autumn Carnival of 1890 he won five top-class races in eight days over distances ranging from 1 mile to 3 miles.

On retirement Carbine stood four seasons at stud in Australia before being sold to the Duke of Portland in 1895. He sired English Derby winner Spearmint. The 1930 Melbourne Cup winner, Phar Lap, is a direct descendant.


Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: 1/2-002304-F
Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Matauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image. 

How to cite this page

Carbine and the 1890 Melbourne Cup, URL:, (Manatū Taonga — Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated