The Greatest Racehorses - Ever

Monday, July 24, 2006

Giant's Causeway (USA)
"The Iron Horse"
Storm Cat (USA) - Mariah's Storm (USA)
Foaled 1997 Chestnut Stallion
Runs: 13 Wins: 9 Places: 4 Earned: £2,125,230.25
Form: 111 - 1221111122

Crowned European Horse of The Year in 2000

Group Wins

Futurity Stakes Gr 3 7f
Gladness Stakes Gr 3 7f
Prix de la Salamandre Gr 1 7f
St James's Palace Gr 1 1m
Juddmonte International Gr 1 1m 2f
Sussex Stakes Gr 1 1m
Coral Eclipse Gr 1 1m 2f
Irish Champion Stakes Gr 1 1m 2f

Lessons On How To Beat A Street Fighter
There was only ever one way to beat the Iron Horse because you could rarely out battle him onced he'd eyeballed his rival. He'd keep on finding just enough to keep his nose in front almost as if he was taunting his rivals "ha is that all you've got? watch this!" and he'd stick his head out further.

The English 2000 Guineas was the perfect example of the tactics needed to defeat this brave horse. As expect the Iron Horse sat prominently in the field for the first half of the race, a few lengths adrift of the pace setter Primo Valentino. As the leader faded a little over a furlong from home, the Iron Horse found himself at the head of affairs. His jockey called on him for an effort and he started to forge clear, until on the outside King's Best began his late surge for victory, well out of the Iron Horse's line of sight. This enabled King's Best to quickly go clear without a renewed challenge by the Iron Horse who tasted the first defeat of his career. (below The Iron Horse V Kalanisi in the Juddmonte Lockinge at York, one of my favourite pictures of him as you can see just how hard he is trying to win)

Author's note: I don't believe the best horse won that day but I'm sure King's Best supporters will disagree with me.

Coolmore Gets It Right

On his final start of his career the Iron Horse was sent to America to contest the Breeders Cup Classic but this time - you might want to sit down for this - I agreed with the decision. Yeah I know, amazing isn't it?! Why did I agree I hear you cry. Well because there isn't a pedigree in all of equine history better suited to the dirt than the Iron Horses'.

*** NB Any pedigree queries take them up with TJ as she is the expert on horse bloodines. Thank you :D ***

Travelling in mid division for the first half of the race following a slow start which forced him wide into the first turn, he crept up into 3rd place along the back stretch. He was shaken up round the home turn to go after the Albert The Bear and Tiznow in 2nd and 1st place respectively. He made giant strides to nose alongside the mighty Tiznow (blog to follow by Jen I believe) who in turn had just beaten off the attentions of Albert the Bear now weakening into 3rd.

Once again the Iron Horse settled down to fight it out to the wire. Although he tried hard, Tiznow always had the measure of him and even though I was cheering for the Iron Horse I knew in my heart if hearts he'd never over haul the American star, who was simply the stronger on the day. Still, the Iron Horse lost nothing in defeat but simply enhanced his appeal as a future breeding prospect in the States. (below the Iron Horse closing down on Tiznow in the home straight. Breeders Cup Classic 2000)

Co-ed TJ:- It's about time. Though I backed Tiznow as I love the bay with 4 white socks & a stripe (or blaze) thing. Hardly a technical system I know but I don't really follow American racing so have no idea about how good their form is.

Author's Thought

As he was such a lazy horse - regular pilot Mick Kinane once said if you stopped riding him he'd ease up immediately - and had to be driven out to win his races even though they were at Gr 1 level, he still had his critics. Ignorant folk that cannot understand a horse does not have to win a race by 20 lengths to prove he is the best. Giant's Causeway won five Gr 1's on the bounce, 3 of them against his elders, claiming top class scalps such as Sakhee, Fantastic Light (blog by Jen to follow) and Kalanisi (blog also by Jen to follow).

Where Are They Now?

The Iron Horse spent his first season at stud in Ireland at Coolmore to be exact where he sired notable colts Footstepsinthesand winner of the English 2000 Guineas whose career was cut short by a recurring leg injury. He is now at stud at Coolmore Australia & Ireland. And Shamardal a 4 times Gr 1 winner now owned by Godolphin. Then in 2002 he was moved to the Coolmore American base where he has remained ever since. From here he has sired Aragorn a dual Gr 1 dirt winnerm Oonagh MacCool a 4yo filly who is a dual Gr 2 winner and First Samurai an up and coming 3yo star & winner of a Gr 2.

Co-ed TJ:- Don't forget fabulous filly Maid's Causeway also runner up in 2004 1000 Guineas & mirror image of her sire including his battling race style & his off centre stripe.

Ok I won't! ;D

If his offspring continue on their current path we'll be savouring the might of The Iron Horse for generations to come.



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