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Saturday, 29 August 2020

'He's just given up': Melbourne Cup-winning champion racehorse Subzero dies of a broken heart just months after his long-term carer dies from cancer

  • Grey gelding Subzero has died at Bendigo Equine Hospital at the age of 32 
  • The racehorse became a household name after winning 1992 Melbourne Cup 
  • In his later years Subzero brought joy to hundreds as a racing ambassador 
  • His long-term carer Graham Sailsbury tragically died from cancer in June
Legendary Melbourne Cup-winning racehorse Subzero has died aged 32 just months after the tragic death of his long-term carer.
Vets at Bendigo Equine Hospital euthanised the grey gelding on Saturday after the thoroughbred suffered heart failure.  
Subzero became a household name after beating favourite Veandercross to win the 1992 Melbourne Cup in heavy conditions.  
In a striking coincidence, Subzero died at exactly the same time of day as his long time carer, Graham Sailsbury, who passed way on June 20 from cancer.
Legendary Melbourne Cup-winning racehorse Subzero has died aged 32 just months after the tragic death of his long-term carer Graham Salisbury (pictured together)
Legendary Melbourne Cup-winning racehorse Subzero has died aged 32 just months after the tragic death of his long-term carer Graham Salisbury (pictured together)
Mr Salisbury's daughter Nicole said Subzero had a peaceful end. 
'He died at 2.38pm. The same time as dad did, on a Saturday as well. Technically, it was sudden onset (of) heart failure,' she told the Herald Sun.  
'He just went to sleep.'
Former trainer Richard Freedman described Subzero as 'one of a kind' and a 'freak of nature'.
Mr Freedman said the death of Subzero's long-term carer caused the former champion a lot of stress and anxiety.
Subzero became a household name after beating favourite Veandercross to win the 1992 Melbourne Cup in heavy conditions (pictured: Subzero licks the Melbourne Cup trophy in 2013 alongside carer Graham Salisbury)
Subzero became a household name after beating favourite Veandercross to win the 1992 Melbourne Cup in heavy conditions (pictured: Subzero licks the Melbourne Cup trophy in 2013 alongside carer Graham Salisbury)
In his later years Subzero brought joy to hundreds as a racing ambassador (pictured with lifelong carer Graham Salisbury at the 10th annual blessing of the animals, a festival for St Francis in 2003)
In his later years Subzero brought joy to hundreds as a racing ambassador (pictured with lifelong carer Graham Salisbury at the 10th annual blessing of the animals, a festival for St Francis in 2003)
'It just goes to show you when his mate went, he didn't last long,' Freedman told the Sydney Morning Herald.
'He would have been so bonded to Graham and fretting so badly for Graham since Graham died, about two or three months ago, he's just given up.'
Graham Salisbury died at age 76 surrounded by friends and family at the Bendigo Hospital after a long battle with prostate cancer.  
Just two months later the racing stalwart was joined by his closest companion Subzero. 
Victoria Racing Club chair Amanda Elliott said Subzero transcended horse racing.
'There can be no better example of the friendship and love between a man and horse than Graham Salisbury and Subzero,' Mrs Elliott said.
'Together they brought joy and happiness to so many, from racing fans of all ages to the wider general public who had never even seen Subbie race.
Subzero died at 2.38pm, exactly the same time as his life-long carer Graham Salisbury (pictured) on June 20 this year
Subzero died at 2.38pm, exactly the same time as his life-long carer Graham Salisbury (pictured) on June 20 this year
'Sadly we lost Graham a few months ago and there is no doubt in my mind that Subbie, at the ripe old age of 32 years old, wanted to be where Graham is.'
Racing Victoria's Chief Executive Giles Thompson said the horse's passing marked an 'incredibly sad day' for the racing industry.
'Subbie's contribution to the sport on and off the track was incredible and thoroughbred racing will forever be indebted to a horse that touched the hearts of both racing fans and everyday Australians,' he said. 
'As a Melbourne Cup winner he became a household name, but it was his work in retirement that earned him legendary status.' 
Subzero had a stellar year in 1992, winning the Adelaide Cup, South Australian Derby and the Melbourne Cup.
Over his career he won six out of 48 starts, but his victory at the 1992 Melbourne Cup was sadly to be his last. 
Former Victorian Premier, Denis Napthine poses with Subzero at Flemington Racecourse on September 9, 2013 in Melbourne
Former Victorian Premier, Denis Napthine poses with Subzero at Flemington Racecourse on September 9, 2013 in Melbourne
After his retirement Subzero became a racing ambassador, visiting Victorian nursing homes, schools and hospitals. 
Photographs on social media show the gentle horse interacting with the sick, the elderly and delighted schoolchildren. 
Commentators and horse racing fans have taken to social media to mourn the loss of a legend. 
'He touched more hearts and simply did more good than what most people could comprehend, let alone try to replicate,' Racing.com's Shane Anderson wrote.
'Great sadness to hear of the passing of the wonderful racehorse Subzero today. Aged 32. 1992 Melbourne Cup winner and racing's finest ambassador over 25 years. Farewell Subbie #RacingIcon,' Race Caller Bryan Martin wrote.    
The son of trainer Richard Freedman, William Freedman also shared a touching tribute on social media.
'Quite an emotional day. Subzero you were a saint to racing and to the community. You deserved to be honoured and remembered,' he wrote.  
After his retirement Subzero kept busy visiting Victorian nursing homes, schools and hospitals (Pictured: the 1992 Melbourne Cup winner is seen at Flemington Racecourse in November 2019)
After his retirement Subzero kept busy visiting Victorian nursing homes, schools and hospitals (Pictured: the 1992 Melbourne Cup winner is seen at Flemington Racecourse in November 2019)

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