BENDIGO has a special place in the heart of Melbourne Cup-winner Subzero and owner Graham Salisbury.
The Heathcote-based horse had a renal issue at the start of the year where his spleen became entangled with his bowel.
Opting out of exploratory surgery, Mr Salisbury took Subzero to the Bendigo Equine Hospital where Irish vet Tommy Russell saved the champion.
"He put a camera up his backside, saw the problem and reached in there and fixed the problem," Mr Salisbury said.
"Within three hours he was back on track again. If not for Tommy, he wouldn't be here today."
Subzero took his first tour as a hall-of-fame horse yesterday when he visited Catholic College Bendigo and Victoria Heights Residential Care.
Both groups of people were excited to see Subzero whose calm and friendly demeanor is popular with students and the elderly.
"He loves getting out and about," Mr Salisbury said.
"He was inducted into the hall of fame on Sunday night and we came back from Canberra yesterday and it's his first day out as an inductee.
"If he has a couple of days sitting at home in the paddock and sees me drive out with the float on he wants to know where I'm going."
"He's always wanting to come out."
Subzero was inducted into the hall of fame not just for his racing prowess but for his duties as a clerk of the course for 16 years and his charity work.
"He was the clerk for 16 Melbourne Cups, Caufield Cups and Cox Plates," Mr Salisbury said.
"When I retired him from that four or five years ago and now he visits schools and retirement villages."
In the last few years, Subzero has also battled arthritis.
"The medication came from the US and he couldn't walk two steps. But within a fortnight he was trotting around the paddock," Mr Salisbury said.
Mr Salisbury said he was proud of his mate's achievements.
"He's been in the family for 22 years," he said.
"It's a great thing to have him and we have definitely bonded over the years."