TO pinch a line from noted sporting raconteur H.G. Nelson, Graham Salisbury, the former clerk of the course of Victoria, and now trainer, is “as tough as bird poo on the car roof”.
Most Salisbury sentences start with “Listen, I’ll tell ya something.” And ya’ll listen and he’ll tell you something and it will be as straight as the long roads he has travelled with his mate Subbie—the 1992 Melbourne Cup hero Subzero—in the past 20 years.
And that something might at times verge over the line of political correctness (he won’t care), or stand on a few toes (he still won’t care). Salisbury is an old-fashioned horseman with a helluva horse. A man’s man in fact and in deed.
Eight years ago he was told he had six months to live with prostate issues. That was nothing; (well, not really nothing—he got second opinions, endured four months of chemo and is still telling ya something, mostly about Subbie.
And of Subbie, he says: “He’s like a son to me, he’d follow me anywhere, walk through a fire”. It looked like Subbie, now 27 years young, had reached the final finishing line earlier this year, but Graham knew he and the old marvel would walk through that ‘fire’ too.
They did (with a bit of help from American rice bran pioneer “Rice” Patty McPeak) and are back doing what Australian racing’s most enduring popular hors...