Before the majestic mare Black Caviar there was another ‘Black Flash’ on the Australian racing scene, former champion racehorse turned champion stallion Lonhro now on the brink of claiming the 2010-11 Australian Sire of the Year award.
Following the Stradbroke Handicap Day results at Eagle Farm last Saturday, Lonhro looks to easily have won the race for Australian Sire of the Year honours for the first time since retiring to stud seven years ago.
On Stradbroke Day, two-year-old Lonhro colt Benfica from the stables of Peter Snowden enjoyed a break-through Group 1 win in the $500,000 T.J. Smith (1600m).
This was the second elite level success for Lonhro in the space of two weeks after his daughter, the fellow Snowden-trained Beaded, scored a gritty final-stride victory in the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m) on May 28.
Beaded and Benfica join Denman as the three Group 1 winners for Lonhro, the prolific sire also having produced a trio of both Group 2 and Group 3 winners.
While Beaded failed to score successive Group 1 wins when she ran a brave second to gun colt Sincero in the $1 million Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) last Saturday, her second place earnings were enough to boost Lonhro’s progeny prize money earnings for this season to nearly $7.5 million.
Prior to Saturday, other stallions in the running for the Sire of the Year award included High Chaparral and Redoute’s Choice, but the pair hold little chance of catching Lonhro with the sole Group 1 race of the season being the $500,000 Winter Stakes at Eagle Farm on June 25.
A winner of 26 of his 35 starts during his impressive track career including 11 Group 1 victories, the former John Hawkes-trained Octagonal horse Lonhro never lost more than two races on the trot and since retiring to serve at stud has been able to produce similarly sensational results off the turf.
Originally standing at his place of birth, Woodlands Stud, beside his sire Octagonal, Lonhro’s opening service fee was $66,000 – a local record for a stallion’s first season.
After Woodlands was sold out to Sheikh Mohammad’s Darley Stud, Lonhro has been based at their Aberdeen base in New South Wales were he serves alongside his well-performing son from his second crop, 2009 Golden Rose winner Denman.
This spring Lonhro will stand at a greater fee of $77,000 (inc. GST) following his stand-out results this season, which officially ends on July 31, 2011.