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    Remembering 'machine' Harchibald
Remembering 'machine' Harchibald
Harchibald. Source: geegeez.co.uk

Remembering 'machine' Harchibald

Paul Carberry, who paid tribute to Noel Meade's hurdling great after his death at the age of 25, described Harchibald as "a total machine of a horse."

Some would argue that Harchibald and his devoted pilot were a match made in heaven, with Carberry's cool demeanour and impeccable style enhancing the son of Perugino's eccentric nature and undeniable talent.

Although none of them would go on to become well-known racing personalities in their own right, their friendship lasted the course of time as they hooked up 28 times together on the racetrack and made nine trips back to the winner's enclosure.

When Meade heard of Harchibald's passing, he said that the horse was his favourite. Carberry, who has the utmost regard for his former steed, has concurred.

“He was a serious horse and my favourite horse as well I suppose,” said Carberry. “Noel said he was his favourite horse, but he was my favourite too. He was a quirky character but a total machine of a horse. He had so much ability and his quirkiness meant he was the type of horse I liked to ride. He was one you had to land on the line and you couldn’t go too soon on him. His jumping was also very good and he was the best hurdler I ever rode – he was very fast and I suppose that is what made him pretty special.”

Together, Harchibald and Carberry scored five times at the Grade One level. The Irish duo's excursions to the UK paid off, as they won the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle twice and Kempton's Christmas Hurdle twice.

Although they had a lot of wonderful times together, they could always be most remembered for the 2005 Champion Hurdle, when loss appeared to be just around the corner.

Carberry was sitting still until the run-in, but in the end, he lost to Hardy Eustace, losing by a neck to Brave Inca, who finished third the same distance away.

Carberry continued: “We had some great days and I think he is the horse I rode the most Grade One wins on. We had some very good days and also one particularly bad day. I think people probably remember that day more than any other day. I think that day he was just a bit unlucky, he got gaps when I probably didn’t need them and he just got there too soon. It was a fair horse that beat him as well so you can’t really complain too much.”

Carberry added: “I always knew he was giving me his best, but nobody else knew that. He would always give his best and give all he could give, that was just the way he was. You just had to know how to time it right to get the best out of him, go slow at the start then finish fast. I don’t think he really stayed two miles, he was more of a one-mile-six horse and you just needed to regulate that a little bit to get the best out of him. I rode a lot of good horses but he was definitely my favourite.”

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