Australian Horse Of The Year And Champion Sire Lonhro Dies At 25

Lonhro | Darley Stallions

by TTR AusNZ/Keely Mckitterick

Australian Horse of the Year Lonhro (Aus) (Octagonal {NZ}–Shadea {NZ}, by Straight Strike) has died at the age of 25, Darley Australia announced on Friday. The Woodlands Stud homebred was pensioned in March of 2023.

“A wonderful contributor to the Australian racing and breeding worlds, and as 'the people's champion' Lonhro will be forever remembered for what he was able to achieve on the racetrack,” said Godolphin Australia's Corporate Director, Ross Cole said in a statement. “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. We were honoured to have him as part of our operation.”

Lonhro, born at Woodlands Thursday, Dec. 10, 1998, was a son of champion and 10-time Group 1 winner Octagonal, who won the G1 Cox Plate. Lonhro, the seventh foal of G3 Sweet Embrace S. heroine and MG1SP Shadea, inherited his father's excellence.

Under the guidance of trainer John Hawkes, Lonhro dazzled on the racetrack, earning the moniker “the black flash.” As a juvenile, he demonstrated promise with notable performances in the G3 Blue Diamond Prelude (Colts and Geldings) and a respectable fourth-place finish in the G1 Blue Diamond S.

As a 3-year-old, Lonhro's prowess flourished, capturing the G1 Caulfield Guineas and the G1 George Main S. He swiftly ascended to become one of Australia's premier weight-for-age runners, claiming victories across a spectrum of distances, from 1100 to 2000 metres. Lonhro's illustrious career included triumphs in the G1 Queen Elizabeth S., the G1 Mackinnon S., and the iconic G1 Australian Cup, famously ridden to victory by Darren Beadman.

Lonhro retired with an impressive tally of 26 victories, including 11 elite-level wins and $3,627,727 in earnings. He garnered accolades such as the 2003/04 Australian Horse of the Year, the Champion 3-Year-Old in Australia, and ranked at the top of various classifications and world rankings throughout his career.

After his retirement to the Ingham family's Woodlands Stud, Lonhro came under the ownership of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed in May of 2008. In 2011, he was honoured with the title of champion sire and stood as a Darley stallion until being pensioned last year. The full-brother to MG1SW Niello (Aus) (Octagonal {NZ}) shuttled to Darley American from 2012-2014. Worldwide, Lonhro has sired 97 stakes winners, including 13 individual Group 1 winners. Seven of his stakes winners struck in North America, with GI Awesome Again S. third Isotherm, Holding Gold and War Heroine all finding Grade II success. Gronkowski was second in the GI Belmont S., and Parlor filled that position in the GI Maker's Mark Mile S.

Lonhro's influence extends beyond the racetrack; he is already making a significant impact as a broodmare sire. Notable examples include Zapateo (Aus) (Brazen Beau {Aus}), the victress of the G1 The Galaxy, Gatting (Aus) (Hard Spun), winner of the G1 Makybe Diva S., and Golden Mile (Aus) (Astern {Aus}), who triumphed in the G1 Caulfield Guineas.

His sons have also excelled at stud. Pierro (Aus), one of his notable sire sons and best runners, has sired 36 stakes winners. Other stallion sons include Impending (Aus), Denman (Aus), Encryption (Aus), and Exosphere (Aus).

Darley Australia's Head of Stallions, Alastair Pulford, said, “They say that a stallion is the soul of a stud. That certainly applies to Lonhro. He was a horse that lifted your heart.”

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