The racing world suffered a huge blow this Sunday when two of this season’s classic winners were retired within minutes of each other.
The two horses in question were 2000 Guineas winner Saxon Warrior and Irish 1000 winner Alpha Centauri. They were trained in Ireland by Aidan O’Brien and Jessica Harrington respectively. Both horses picked up injuries whilst racing at the Leopardstown in Group Ones on Saturday and the true extent of their injuries were announced on Sunday afternoon.
First announced was Saxon Warrior. The son of Deep Impact injured his tendon when finishing a close second to Roaring Lion in the Champion Stakes. In his career, he won the Beresford Stakes, the Racing Post Trophy and the 2000 Guineas. He was stepped up in trip dramatically from that race to run in the Derby and ended up finishing fourth. He was then third in the Irish Derby. Since then, he has been beaten three times by Roaring Lion including when he sustained the injury that would end his career. Speaking about the horse, his trainer, Aidan O’Brien, said, “It’s a big pity that we’ve had to retire him. He was a brilliant horse and put up his best performance when winning the 2000 Guineas.”
Eleven minutes after that news was announced, the Racing Post tweeted that Alpha Centauri had also been retired. Twitter went into turmoil. Beaten on just four of her nine starts, she has been a star of the season after landing the Irish 1000 Guineas in convincing style for Colm O’Donoghue, Jessie Harrington and the Niarchos Family. She backed that up with a six length win in the Coronation Stakes beating the English and French 1000 Guineas. She proved just how good she was when beating the boys in the Jaques Le Marois Stakes. She was 3/10 favourite to land Saturday’s Matron Stakes but could only manage second behind Laurens. It was suspected that something was amiss and that was confirmed by Alan Cooper, racing manager to the Niarchos Family, he said, “She got a chip in her right front fetlock and following discussions with the vets and with Jessie [Harrington, her trainer] the decision was made to retire her.”
They will leave a gaping hole in the racing scene as many fans were extremely excited to see what they would achieve later on in the season especially as Saxon Warrior was set to go back to a mile. He will be a welcomed edition to the stallion ranks as he is out of a Galileo mare and by Deep Impact. Alpha Centauri’s foals are sure to make a decent price at the sales as she has a nice pedigree being by Mastercraftsman and has won so many top races on the track.
The last thing to say is- happy retirement!