where the horse is always the hero
Article Item
Posted 2018-04-17 23:36:10  
Iron Horse, the great Giant Passes

Aidan O’Brien hailed Giant’s Causeway as ‘incredible, brave and tough’ as he saluted the life of the champion dubbed the ‘Iron Horse’, who has died aged 21.

So named for the battling qualities which carried him to five Group 1 wins during a remarkable three-year-old campaign, Giant's Causeway, later a leading sire in North America, died on Monday night at Ashford Stud, his Kentucky birthplace.

O'Brien, who trained the son of Storm Cat through a 13-race career in which he never finished out of the first two and raked in more than £2 million in prize-money, said: "He was an incredible horse, really.

"He was brave and consistent and he just loved a battle. He's a great sire of broodmares and he puts that toughness that he had into all of his progeny.

"He was a true champion and such a solid horse who raced at the top level and gave it his all each time. He really was incredible."

Legendary season

Unbeaten as a two-year-old, Giant's Causeway finished second in both the 2,000 Guineas and Irish 2,000 Guineas before a remarkable run of five straight Group 1 wins that were the bedrock of his legendary status.

It was not just the wins but the manner of them that helped sear his status into racing’s collective consciousness.

In a glorious summer, victory in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot under Mick Kinane was followed by success in the Eclipse, when ridden for the only time by George Duffield.

In both Giant’s Causeway refused to be beaten as he was headed and then battled back to beat Valentino a head at Ascot and Kalanisi by the same margin in the Eclipse at Sandown.

Victory in the Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood by three-quarters of a length was his most emphatic of the five and foreshadowed further successes in the International at York and the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown.

His second in the QEII at Ascot heralded a trip to the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs where he lost by a neck to Tiznow.

Named Cartier Horse Of The Year in 2000, he retired to stud at the end of his three-year-old season, standing with Coolmore in Ireland before transferring to their Australian and then American units.

Footstepsinthesand and Ghanaati, winners of the 2,000 Guineas and 1,000 Guineas, were among his progeny and he was leading sire in North America in 2009, 2010 and 2012.

Once-in-a-lifetime horse

Coolmore America manager Dermot Ryan said: "To foal, raise and race a horse of Giant's Causeway's calibre is every owner/breeder's dream, so for him to stand as a stallion at his birthplace, and go on to be a three-time champion sire is nothing short of sensational.

"Giant's Causeway was a once-in-a-lifetime horse, and I would like to thank the owners, the Magnier and Tabor families, for entrusting us with his stud career.

"I would also like to extend my gratitude to all of the stallion handlers at Ashford past and present for providing the highest level of care for Giant, in particular Blaise Benjamin and Richard Barry. He will be a huge loss not just to us, but to the industry as a whole." 

Racing Post
Email link to a friend | Printable Version
  • International
    Displaying 10 ResultsSee All
    herholdt doubles up in korea2018-11-30

    It hasn’t taken globetrotting Fransie Herholdt long to get his feet under the table since taki...

    View | Add Comment
    winx, cracksman, world's best2018-11-10

    As the result of his powerful performance in the QIPCO Champion Stakes (G1) on British Champions Day...

    View | Add Comment
    malaysian jockey dies in saddling ring incident 2018-10-15

    Tragic Demise of Jockey Md Zairi With deep regret, the Perak Turf Club wishes to announce the tragi...

    View | Add Comment
    insight into the horse racing lucky 152018-06-18

    Of all the various terms used in horse racing, none are quite as hard for newcomers to understand as...

    View | Add Comment
    arc summary, successful korean event 2018-05-18

    Asian Racing Conference closes in Seoul as Cape Town, South Africa identified as host for 38th Asian...

    View | Add Comment
    herbert leaves role at al shaqab (qatar) 2018-03-26

    HARRY Herbert will be leaving is post as racing adviser to Sheikh Joaan Al Thani and Al Shaqab Racin...

    View | Add Comment
    record 4 saf horses in world's top 122018-03-16

    The LONGINES World's Best Racehorse Rankings (for 3yos and upwards which raced between 1st January 2...

    View | Add Comment
    dettori contract halved 2018-01-30

    Frankie Dettori has become the latest casualty of the financial problems engulfing Al Shaqab Racing,...

    View | Add Comment
    massive international interest for h.h. the emir’s sword festival2018-01-29

    Preliminary entries for the top races at H.H. The Emir’s Sword Festival have been announced ...

    View | Add Comment
    arrogate crowned the longines world's best racehorse2018-01-23

    Longines and the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) were proud to distingui...

    View | Add Comment