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The story of Subzero, one of the most popular horses in Australian history.

The story of Subzero, one of the most popular horses in Australian history.

This is more than a racing story. Sure, there is the breeder who took a punt on an untried stallion, the owners who thought they were buying a fast two-year-old, the trainer who was breaking records and the jockey whose career was resurrected by the promise of a young grey stayer.

However, his Melbourne Cup victory became secondary after he formed an endearing partnership with veteran clerk of the course Graham Salisbury. Subzero was reinvented under Graham’s care, leading the horse to become a versatile community ambassador, and ultimately to his induction into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame. He has attended primary schools, visited children in hospital beds, socialised in aged-care facilities and even shared drinks with publicans in licensed establishments. He has become a celebrity in his own right, mixing with world leaders, pop stars and actors.

This is also a story of the love that a man has for his best friend, who happens to have four legs and a tail, and answers to the name Subbie.

Subzero’s name was etched into history as a sporting champion, but his achievements off the racecourse are what make him legendary. Subzero is truly more than a Melbourne Cup hero.

Formats & editions

  • Trade Paperback


    October 31, 2016

    Ebury Australia

    304 pages

    RRP $34.99

    Online retailers

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    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook


    October 31, 2016

    Random House Australia

    304 pages

    Online retailers

    • Amazon Kindle AU
    • iBooks
    • Google Play EBook AU
    • Kobo Ebook
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    • eBooks


The morning of Monday 26 September 1988 was cool and crisp in Scone, a country town about a three-hour drive north of Sydney. It was early spring and the breeding season was in full swing. At Wakefield Stud, a 700-acre parcel of land less than five minutes’ drive from the centre of town, there was plenty of activity. Staff numbers swelled to capacity at that time of the year.

In the misty air, not long after sunrise, newcomer John Doherty was finishing the morning feed round to the resident stallions. At just 23 years of age, Doherty was on his first excursion outside of Tipperary in Ireland, where he had worked for the Coolmore empire, one of the world’s largest breeders of thoroughbreds. He was two weeks into his first stint away from home.

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