The racing world was in mourning on Wednesday after four-time Group 1 winning champion Sky Heights had to be put down.
Most famous for his 1999 win in the Caulfield Cup, Zabeel gelding Sky Heights was prepared by Cranbourne-based trainer Colin Alderson and will always be remembered as a special horse.
“He won four Group Ones including the AJC (Australian) Derby and Caulfield Cup which are pretty special races on the calendar,” Alderson’s daughter Cindy said.
“He was a special horse, probably not even for his galloping ability but he was just such a tough on-pacer.
“He was a real warrior.”
Over his 15 years Sky Heights started 42 times for 11 wins and nine minor placings.
A versatile galloper winning races of varying distance from 1000m to 2600, Sky Heights earned over $4.2 million in career prize money.
His first taste of near-Group 1 glory came in the 1998 Victoria Derby where he finished second to Arena before he broke his maiden elite-level status in the autumn of that year winning the Rosehill Guineas / AJC Australian Derby double.
As a four-year-old Sky Heights reached great heights during the spring winning a trio of Group races with success in the Craiglee Stakes, Turnbull Stakes and Caulfield Cup.
The star came within a nose of becoming a dual Caulfield Cup winner when narrowly defeated by Ethereal in the 2001 edition.
After retiring from racing in April of 2004, Sky Heights spent over a year at the famous Living Legends in Greenvale, Melbourne before heading home to the Alderson’s property at Cranbourne.
This was where he unfortunately had to be put down having suffered from the hoof disease laminitis for some time.
Group Wins – Sky Heights
- 1999 Group 1 AJC Australian Derby (2400m)
- 1999 Group 1 STC Rosehill Guineas (2000m)
- 1999 Group 1 VATC Caulfield Cup (2400m)
- 2000 Group 1 VATC Yalumba Stakes (2000m)
- 1999 Group 2 VRC Craiglee Stakes (1600m)
- 1999 Group 2 VRC Turnbull Stakes (2000m)
- 2001 Group 2 AJC St Leger Stakes (2600m)
- 20001 Group 2 VATC Sandown Classic (2400m)
- 2001 Group 3 BTC Labour Day Cup (2040m)