Track and stallion star Lonhro has died

By: Scott Mcglynn
21/04/2024
Horse Racing Betting Tips
Horse Racing News
Track and stallion star Lonhro has died

Lonhro was an instantly recognisable star who wowed racing fans with his huge heart and gutsy run style, he was the people’s champion. 

News Insights

  • Lonhro had 35 races, saluting in 26
  • 11 Group 1 victories
  • Became a top sire after a great track career
  • Has sired almost 100 stakes winners

Godolphin made the sad announcement on Friday that one of the most beloved stars of Australian racing in the last couple of decades had passed away. Lonhro was 25 but still maintained that spark of class until the end, he was a true champion. 

Australian horse racing has been very lucky down the years that we have had a string of champion racehorses who have inspired the next generation into the sport. Lonhro was without a question one of those who the public loved but also one that the horse racing bookmakers feared, sent off as the favourite in 25 straight starts! 

Lonhro from the beginning

While he was a decent enough two-year-old, the very first signs were not of the star that he would become. Three defeats in his first five career starts included the only back-to-back defeats he suffered when 4th in the Blue Diamond Stakes and 3rd in the Missile Stakes. 
 
Coming back bigger and stronger as a three-year-old, he would go unbeaten through the season, winning the Caulfield Guineas for his first Group 1 victory. It was also the only Group 1 that he would contest that season so while he was a solid performer at this stage, it would have been a bold prediction that this decent three-year-old would take off in quite the way he did. 

Superstardom and 11 Group 1 wins 

Despite there being 26 wins and 11 Group 1s to choose from, there is little doubt that when pressed, most horse racing fans would say that the 2004 Australian Cup win was the moment that they will remember most when it comes to the career of Lonhro.  
 
It is also one of the most famous pieces of commentary when he was checked in his run, having to be reined back to come around the outside of the leaders but still finding enough to force his head in front where it matters. 
 
There would be five Group 1 wins in both his four-year-old and five-year-old seasons. He would double up in the George Main Stakes, Caulfield Stakes and George Ryder Stakes in those campaigns and was known for his adaptability. 
 
After winning the MacKinnon Stakes over 2000m at Flemington in November 2002, he was spelled until February when he reappeared to salute in the Expressway Stakes at Randwick over 1200m.  
 
The Expressway is only a Group 2 but for a horse who made his name winning over longer distances, to have the natural speed to win a Group 2 over 1200m as well as Group 1s over 800m further is a testament to his remarkable ability. 

Siring the next generation 

Being an exceptional horse on the track does not always mean that they will produce stars themselves but not only did Lonhro produce them, he stamped them in such a way that watching them walk around before racing, it was easy to tell that they were his. 
 
Some very smart types have come from Lonhro including the likes of Denman and Pierro. He has also become an exceptional damsire, recent Galaxy winner Zapateo is out of the Lonhro mare Jerezana who was a Listed winner herself.   
 
The numbers that have come from Lonhro progeny have been exceptional. More than 1000 of his offspring have saluted in races which include 97 stakes winners with 13 separate Group 1 winners. His last season was covering 33 mares in 2022 so his legacy is going to live on for a while yet on the track. 

It was only March 2023 when Godolphin retired Lonhro from stud duties to allow him to enjoy his retirement. Sadly that time was not as long as anyone would have anticipated with only 13 months between that time and now. Lonhro did so much for racing on and off the track, he will be sorely missed. Vale Lonhro. 

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