The Barb- Champion Race Horse

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					Foaled in 1863 at Leeholme, near Bathurst, New South Wales, The Barb was one of
the invincible Australian Thoroughbred racehorses to take home most of the
prestigious cups in Australian racing. Bred by George Lee, The Barb was by Sir
Hercules, out of Fair Ellen. Sir Hercules was among the best colonial sires who sired
18 stakes winners, with The Barb becoming one of his greatest progenies. During his
time as a foal at foot, bushrangers stole the stallion from Leeholme, where he was
later recovered further south in the Monaro district.

Sold for 200 guineas as a yearling to Honest John Tait, it didn't take long for The Barb
to prove himself even though he seemed to be temperamental in his first few outings,
throwing his rider off and bolting in his very first race. Earlier Tait had owned and
trained Glencoe, The Pearl, and The Quack, all doing him proud in the Melbourne
Cup. However, he wasn't too sure of The Barb's qualities early on. The Barb's
notoriety soon earned him the nickname 'Black Demon'. His career as a two-year old
came to a close with a third place in his first official race, despite missing the kick,
after which he blossomed as a three-year old.

The Barb came back to win the Nursery Stakes after which he went for a spell. On his
return, the AJC Derby was all too simple, winning by a margin of two lengths.
Starting as favourite in the 1866 Melbourne Cup, the stallion went on to oblige
punters winning by a short head. His temperamental nature got the better of him two
days later in the All Aged Stakes, where after playing up at the start he went on to
finish second. The Australasian Champion Stakes, the premier weight-for-age event
was next on the cards with an easy victory for The Barb, reaffirming his owner's
belief in his abilities.

Owner John Tait was the first to commercialize horse racing in Australia, whose
success continued with The Barb as a four-year-old. The Port Phillip Stakes and the
Launceston Town Plate confirmed the stallion's status as a champion. Next was the
Sydney Cup, which he won with a record weight of 67 kgs., a record that stands still
today. Much of John Tait's fortunes depended on the winning of many races, which he
why he closely supervised the training sessions of his horses. In 1868, The Barb
obliged with the Metropolitan and then the Queen's Plate where he defeated Tim
Whiffler, but weighed in 2 lbs. lighter resulting in a disqualification. The Barb won
his second Sydney Cup in 1869.

Becoming champion race horse also comes at a price, where The Barb was given a 73
kg handicap in the 1869 Melbourne Cup, which proved to be too much for Tait to risk,
who then sold the stallion to Charles Reynolds, where The Barb continued his duties
as a stud in Hunter Valley.

The 'Black Demon' finished his racing career with 16 wins from 23 starts, which
included a Sydney Cup double, earning him a place in the Australian Racing Hall of
Fame in 2004.

				
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posted:1/25/2011
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