The Greatest Racehorses - Ever

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Hawk Wing
Woodman (USA) - La Lorgnette
Foaled 1999 Bay Stallion
Runs: 12 Wins: 5 Places: 5 Earned: £1,056,738
Form: 1211 - 221227 - 17
Timeform Rating: 136

Notable Races Won:
Juddmonte Lockinge Gr 1 Newbury
Coral Eclipse Gr 1 Sandown (record winning margin of 11 L)
National Stakes Gr 1 Curragh (broke track record)
Futurity Stakes Gr 1 Curragh

Author's Note: Both myself (Jez) & TJ are jointly reviewing HW as we both have a lot of respect for him & both wanted to do his blog so instead of fighting it out we are joining forces for what I suspect won't be the only time.

Luck of The Draw
We'll start with Hawk Wing's first run in the 2000 (English) Guineas in what was to be quite a busy 2002 campaign. Both myself & TJ witnessed the race first hand although you really don't see all that much when at the races themselves so we subsequently watched the race recording once back home.

HW had been touted as the "wonder horse" of the year, a term I hate to hear as it sets the unfortunate individual up for comparative failure. Unluckily for HW he did just that on his seasonal reappearance for he was drawn on the stands side; his main adversary Rock of Gibraltar (his blog will follow at a later date) drawn on the far side where the known quicker ground was. Rocky was kicked on to lead the far side group a furlong from home, HW meanwhile had been making up ground since two furlongs out until now also at the furlong marker he led his group on the stands side but over two lengths down on Rocky such was the differance in the ground - Jez.

I never gave up hope of HW winning and once he hit the dip he seemed to sprout wings and fly, closing down on Rocky with every stride but the post came in time for Rocky and HW had been denied the race by a neck. I have no doubt in my mind whatsoever that the ground was the reason for his regretable defeat - TJ

The Great US Mistake
Once again Ballydoyle made the same completely wrong decision as they went on to do with Leo (see previous blog) by sending HW over to America to contest the Breeders Cup Classic, which is a nigh on impossible task for a 3 year old against older more experience rivals. What is the obsession with Coolmore / Ballydoyle / Magnier with that damn race?! If they want to win it then they should invest in American dirt bred & trained horses instead of sending the best turf performers of their generation to race on a surface they don't like & a style of racing they can't handle. - Jez

TJ - On the plus side I won a small fortune as I backed the race winner Volponi at 40-1. Hehe :D

Not helping my mood babe. For the record HW missed the break and never got into the race at any stage, always sitting at the back of the field. He ran on one paced past horses more tired than himself to finish a lowly seventh, beaten 26 lengths. To redeem themselves for such a catastrophic bad decision Magnier et al declared HW would be kept in training as a 4 year old where he proved how great he was once and for all. (Hawk Wing during a working at Arlington racetrack prior to his BC defeat) - Jez

Juddgement Day

TJ - Very slick title hon :D

Thanks babe! To my mind on this day in 2003 HW put up the single greatest performance either of us have physically seen by a racehorse. We were lucky enough to bare witness to the moment when HW made history by annihilating admittidly what was a weak field in the Juddmonte Lockinge by a record breaking 11 lengths - Jez

Yeah the only dampener of the day was the weather - it rained something terrible & nearly ruined my suit. I agree the field wasn't as strong as it usually is but even so he could have been ridden with mind to winning only a couple of lengths not by 11 so it was still a breathtaking performance especially on such muddy ground which won't have suited him (below HW looking somewhat bedraggled winning the Lockinge).

Sadly this was the last time we'd see him at his best as in his final start at Royal Ascot in the Gr 1 Queen Anne Stakes he finished a well beaten 7th behind Godolphin's Dubai Destination. It transpired he was lame upon finishing the race which would explain his lack lustre performance that day or perhaps the effort of his previous win in such bad ground had taken its toll. We'll never know forsure. - TJ
Everyone's A Critic
The thing that always gets my goat regarding HW is that he constantly got slated by the media who were the ones that hyped him up to be a wonder horse in the first place. He finished second in the best races of his generation as a 3 year old with valid reasons for each defeat. For example in the Epsom Derby where he was beaten by stablemate High Chapparal who went on to be a good horse over distances of 1m 4f - HW was a miler. Believe me those extra 4 furlongs make a heck of a difference. Even when he retired to stud in 2003 he was critisied for winning less than half of his races, the same hack writing the piece failing to take into account all of his places at Gr 1 level. - TJ

Jez - I often thought that guy didn't know FA about horses.

Where Are They Now?
Naturally enough HW now stands as a stallion at Coolmore Ireland. His first crop of foals were born in 2005 and we eagerly await their appearance on the racecourses of England in 2007.

I sincerley believe HW will probably turn out to be one of those horses whose brilliance won't be truly appreciated by the racing world until after his death which I hope is a long time in coming. - Jez

Below is HW posing for his offical stud pic at Coolmore Ireland.

God he is one good looking horse! - TJ


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