Aussie equine hero Subzero dies at age 31

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Subzero, who has died at the age of 31.
Subzero (Sept 26, 1988 – Aug 29, 2020), who has died at the age of 31. © EgoBOX at the English Wikipedia / CC BY-SA

Australian racing hero Subzero has died at the grand old age of 31, succumbing to old age only two months after his long-time handler Graham Salisbury died of cancer.

Known affectionately as ‘Subbie’, the 1992 Melbourne Cup winner was euthanised on Saturday, August 29, at home at Heathcote after suffering from heart failure. He was only a month short of his 32nd birthday.

Subzero on a school visit.
Subzero on a school visit.

Subzero won $A2 million from 42 starts with four wins, five seconds and five thirds. His last race was the Brisbane Cup on June 13, 1994. He

Subbie then became a Clerk of the Course horse for 15 years, retiring in June 2008. He continued as an ambassador for Racing Victoria, visiting about 50 primary and secondary schools each year, giving students the unique opportunity of meeting a Melbourne Cup winner.

He even had a product line that includes lunch bags, hats, T-shirts, pencils and drink bottles. Subbie and Salisbury helped to raise funds for charities each year.

Racing Victoria Chief Executive, Giles Thompson, said it was another incredibly sad day for all within the Victorian 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.

“As a Melbourne Cup winner he became a household name, but it was his work in retirement that earned him legendary status.

“Subbie was racing’s most famous equine ambassador and we were privileged to have had him headline our ‘Subzero Goes to School’ program for many years travelling to every corner of the state and beyond.

Graham Salisbury and Subzero with Nana Patricia McPeak after her mercy dash from the US to bring arthritis product Equine SuperFlex to Subzero in 2009.

“Many youngsters have grown up having only had the chance to meet and pat one horse. That horse was Subbie and the laughter that emanated from those kids when Subbie nodded his head to a question of whether he had a girlfriend is something that will live long with many of us.

“From school children to the elderly, those battling ill health to Hollywood A-listers, Subbie and Graham did plenty to bring joy to their lives whilst promoting the sport of thoroughbred racing at the same time.”

Thompson said that when the time was right, Racing Victoria would talk with the Salisbury family about an appropriate tribute to Subzero.

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