Home » ‘Shock’ as beloved champion dies: ‘It’s a very sad day’

‘Shock’ as beloved champion dies: ‘It’s a very sad day’

Lonhro, one of Australia’s most popular horses of the 21st century, has died.

Godolphin broke the news on Friday afternoon, detailing that the 25-year-old had died at its Kelvinside property that he called home for the length of his decorated stallion career.

Lonhro won 26 of 35 starts, 11 of them at Group 1 level.

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“Lonhro had a huge and well-earned following, and he earnt the admiration and respect of everyone within our Godolphin teams over his years as a Darley Stallion and in his retirement,” Godolphin Australia’s corporate director Ross Cole said.

“We were honoured to have him as part of our operation.”

Lonhro’s haul included two Caulfield Stakes, two George Ryder Stakes, an Australian Cup, Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Caulfield Guineas, Mackinnon Stakes, George Main Stakes, Chipping Norton Stakes and C F Orr Stakes.

While the majority of his stallion career was carried out under the Godolphin/Darley banner, his racing career, which was overseen by John Hawkes, was before Sheikh Mohammed bought the Woodlands operation from Jack and Bob Ingham.

Darren Beadman was the rider most readily associated with Lonhro.

He maintained a connection with him through his employment at Godolphin after his riding career finished and he was full of praise for the horse on Friday.

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“People still approach me in 2024 to discuss the Australian Cup, it’s a testament to how he captured so many people’s imagination, which speaks volumes about his career,” Beadman said.

“It’s a very sad day. It was a shock when Ross (Cole) rang and told me. It brought a tear to my eye.

“It’s a very, very sad day, but we must reflect on what he has achieved.”

In addition to his glittering racing career, Lonhro was an elite stallion and in 2010/11 won the Australian Champion Sire award.

He sired 13 individual Group 1 winners, headlined by Pierro, who won six Group 1 races including the Sydney 2YO Triple Crown.

Impending, Exosphere, Kementari and Denman are all Group 1-winning sons of Lonhro who at one stage held a place on the Darley stallion roster, while Lyre, Aristia and Beaded are among his high-achieving female progeny.

Lonhro was the son of Octagonal — a Cox Plate and Australian Cup winner — and Shadea.