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Lonhro - The
Lonhro's story begins with his sire the champion Octagonal. By Zabeel and from the wonderful broodmare Eight Carat, Octagonal was purchased in New Zealand by Jack and Bob Ingham of Woodlands Stud. The near black colt started his racing career in December of his 2yo season and went on to win the Todman Slipper Trial from star New Zealander Our Maizcay. After a narrow defeat by Flying Spur in the Golden Slipper Octagonal won the AJC Sires Produce before being run down in the last stride by classy filly Isolda in the Champagne Stakes. As a 3yo he started his preparation in Sydney with a winning the Stan Fox Stakes before heading to Melbourne to run third to Our Maizcay in the Caulfield Guineas. Two weeks later he won the Cox Plate from Mahogany before running out of time to run down Nothin' Leica Dane in the VRC Derby. As an autumn 3yo Octagonal stormed through the Sydney carnival winning the triple crown of the Canterbury Guineas, Rosehill Guineas and AJC Derby in the latter to defeating another champion in Saintly. A week before the Derby he was too good for the older horses in the Mercedes Classic. In the spring he struggled winning only the Underwood Stakes before unplaced runs in the Caulfield Stakes and Cox Plate. In the autumn the champion was back in form with memorable victories in the Chipping Norton Stakes and the Australian Cup, the latter where he stormed home to grab Gold City in the shadows of the post, before heading to Sydney to just grab Arkady on the line to win his second Mercedes Classic and then Octagonal farewelled racing with the Queen Elizabeth Stakes where he failed to run down the classy 3yo Intergaze. Retired to stud the winner of 10 Group 1 races Octagonal's oldest are currently 5yo's with his first crop including Lonhro and stakeswinners Omens, Boreale, Hosannah. He has also sired the star South African racehorse Suntagonal.
By this stage Octagonal had retired to Woodlands and a member of his first book of mares was Shadea. The final foal born of that crop was Lonhro who arrived on December 12 1998. He was described as 'tiny but perfect' and impressed so much that his photo featured on the Woodlands Christmas card that year. Due to the late foaling Shadea was left empty until the following year where she returned to Octagonal producing the colt Niello who has now won 3 Group 1s as a 3yo. The 2yo Spikes was next before a filly called Perfect Eight while Shadea foaled another filly last spring - all by Octagonal and she is again in foal to him.
In November 2000 as the world of racing was being treated to the racing great Sunline stunning her rivals winning the Cox Plate in Melbourne by a record equalling margin before going on to a memorable win in Hong Kong the black colt was making his race debut at Rosehill. By the 800m Lonhro led the favourite Royal Courtship then came Cut for Deal and Prince of War. passing the 400m Lonhro still led but soon Royal Courtship was challenging and the colts went to the line going stride for stride. The photo gave the verdict to Royal Courtship by a nose with a gap to Prince of War in third place. Royal Courtship went on to win the Kindergarten Stakes while Lonhro had a let up to aim at the Blue Diamond in Melbourne.
First up in late January Lonhro lined up over 1100m again at Rosehill. The Jack Denham trained London Eye led past the 800m from Phisto with Lonhro in third. As the field passed the 400m London Eye was going strongly from Lonhro then Phisto followed by Valedict. In the straight Lonhro strode past London Eye going on to win by 2 1/2 lengths with a similar margin to the fast finishing Prince of War third. It was the first time Lonhro started as race favourite. Two weeks later Lonhro was in Melbourne at Caulfield for the Blue Diamond Prelude. The speedy Obadele led by the 800m from Calhoun with Cafe Strip next followed by Lonhro then boom colt Sheraton. By the 400m Obadele was still in front of Calhoun with Lonhro moving up to third. In the straight Lonhro impressed the Melbourne crowd by striding well clear to win by two lengths from fast finishing Neiwand with Tosamba third.
It was then to the Blue
Diamond Stakes where Spectatorial settled in front from La Lagune an True
Jewels then Neiwand, Langoustine and Faiza with a break to Titanic Rose
followed by Lonhro with Ebony Night and Obadele at the rear. Little
changed to the turn where Spectatorial led La Lagune with True Jewels on the
rails as Lonhro started making ground but very wide. By the 200m True
Jewels ran on between Spectatorial and La Lagune with Faiza further back and
Lonhro running on out wide. In the run to the line True Jewels did the
best of the leading trio to win by a neck from La Lagune with Spectorial
third and Lonhro still making ground for fourth just 1 1/2 lengths from the
winner in the leader dominated race. Instead of pressing on to the
Sydney carnival Lonhro was spelled as another near black Woodlands colt
called Viscount won the AJC Sires Produce and Champagne Stakes.
Back to his own age group in the Ming Dynasty Quality Lonhro was sent out a very short priced favourite which was run on the inner track at Randwick while the main course was undergoing refurbishment. Lonhro settled in second place ahead of Prince of Play followed by Perfect Crime with a gap to Sircarn Damon. By the 600m Lonhro joined the leader with Prince of Play three wide from Perfect Crime and Sircarn Damon with Viking Ruler running on. By the 200m Lonhro strode to the front with Prince of Play giving chase well clear of Viking Ruler. In the run to the line Lonhro held off a determined challenge from Prince of Play to win by a head with two lengths to Viking Ruler then a gap to Prince of War fourth. The race had been run a wet track with a surface similar to Moonee Valley and probably gave a hint to what was ahead much later in his career.
The Heritage Stakes was next as Lonhro dropped back in distance to 1200m and by the 800m Dolce Veloce led from Jai's Jump then Time Out followed by Magic Hatter and Fair Embrace with Lonhro next. Passing the 400m the leading pair held their spot from Magic Hatter and Time Out from Fair Embrace followed by Perfect Crime and Lonhro. In the straight Lonhro sprinted from the rear with Perfect Crime and the pair soon claimed the leader. In the final stages Lonhro raced away to win easily by over 2 1/2 lengths from Perfect Crime with Time Out third just ahead of Fair Embrace. The Stan Fox Stakes was next with a small but quality field. Magic Hatter settled in front from Grandiser then Ehorse from Lonhro inside Magic Albert with Stylish Lass next. In a slowly run race Magic Hatter led Grandiser then Magic Albert outside Ehorse and Lonhro who was now on the outside of Stylish Lass. In the straight Grandiser joined Magic Hatter with Ehorse on the rails as Stylish Lass went between them from Magic Albert and Lonhro a clear last. By the 200m Stylish Lass hit the front with Magic Albert and Lonhro charging down the outside. Inside the final 50m Lonhro was finishing the best and came away to win by 1 1/2 lengths from Magic Albert with Stylish Lass third.
Lonhro then headed to Melbourne for the Caulfield Guineas but he was not the Hawkes stable favoured runner. That honour went to the multiple Group 1 winner Viscount who had started his spring campaign in Sydney and had recorded victory in the George Main Stakes where he had defeated Shogun Lodge. The boom colts Ustinov and Viking Ruler also lined up along with New Zealander Pure Theatre, Dash for Cash and Magic Albert. Magic Hatter settled in front from Magic Albert then Dash For Cash followed by Viscount with Classic Cut moving forward out wide with Lonhro three wide at the rear around Ustinov and Viking Ruler. Passing the 800m Classic Cut shared the lead with Magic Hatter followed by Magic Albert and Dash For Cash with Ebony Night three wide and Lonhro still well back. Around the turn Ebony Night hit the front from Magic Hatter with Magic Albert and Tully Dane next then Viking Ruler running on near the rail, Ustinov weaving through and Lonhro pulled out wide to the centre of the track to start his run. By the 200m Ebony Night was in front with Pure Theatre challenging from Ustinov as Lonhro started to fly down the outside. Inside the final 50m Lonhro swept to the front from Pure Theatre and Ustinov as Viking Ruler ran on near the rails but it was all Lonhro as he came away to win by 1 1/2 lengths from Ustinov with Pure Theatre third.
After the victory ran fans waiting for Lonhro to be announced as a runner in the WS Cox Plate but it was later reported that he has suffered an injury with a minor wrench to a joint and it was felt in his best interests to spell for the autumn. Viscount went to Moonee Valley and was flattened over the final stages when making his charge to the line as Northerly ducked inwards sharply and Sunline drifted away from the rails passing the post in third place. <![if !supportLineBreakNewLine]> <![endif]>
<![if !supportLineBreakNewLine]>The Hobartville was next as Lonhro aimed towards the big targets of the autumn. In dry conditions on the inner track at Randwick Lonhro was the best to begin but on settling shared the lead with Another Warrior then Athens followed by Chequered Past and Moonflute. By the 800m Another Warrior edged ahead of Lonhro then a gap to Athens and another gap to the others. Little changed to the 200m where Lonhro was asked for his effort and cruised up to Another Warrior with Athens running on down the outside. In the run to the line Athens charged at Lonhro but the black colt responded under hands and heels to come away to win by 1 1/2 lengths with a gap to Moonflute in third.<![endif]>
Then came the news that Lonhro has contracted a virus and the resultant delay in his preparation saw the 3yo spelled for his four year old season. There was also bad news for Viscount who suffered an injury after a successful start to his autumn campaign however unlike Lonhro there would be no comeback and he was retired to stud.
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