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Fulham Gardens SA
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Lonhro - The
Sadly Lonhro's part owner Mr Jack Ingham passed away after a long battle with illness during the winter as Lonhro prepared to return to racing.
After winning a barrier trial at Hawkesbury Lonhro started his racing preparation in the AJC Warwick Stakes over 1400m. On settling Shags led Wyangan Pines then Excellerator followed by Defier then Lonhro outside Bedouin. Little changed until they raced around the home turn where Wyangan Pines raced up to Shags then Excellerator as Lonhro made ground around Defier. Wyangan Pines edged ahead but Defier and Lonhro were closing. Inside the final 150m Lonhro hit the front from Wyangan Pines as Defier went for the inside run with Clangalang and Republic Lass running on late. Under hands and heels Lonhro slowly drew away in the wet conditions to win by 3/4 length from Clangalang with a half length to Defier third.
Two weeks later it was on to the Chelmsford Stakes where Platinum Scissors led Lonhro in the early stages. Mon Mekki took over on settling from Platinum Scissors with Excellerator wide on the track and Lonhro close up then Half Hennessy. By the 1000m Mon Mekki and Excellerator shared the lead from Platinum Scissors and Lonhro followed by Bedouin inside Half Hennessy who was racing ungenerously then Carnegie Express with Clangalang at the rear. Around the home turn Excellerator edged ahead of Mon Mekki with Lonhro making ground around them followed wider by Half Hennessy and Clangalang. Under his own steam Lonhro cruised up to join Excellerator with Platinum Scissors running on along the inside with Clangalang and Carnegie Express wider out. Asked to accelerate Lonhro bounded away to win by 1 3/4 lengths from Platinum Scissors with Excellerator third.
The George Main over 1600m at Randwick and a re match with Grand Armee was next. Archave led Dress Circle and Grand Armee then Platinum Scissors with Lonhro followed by Half Hennessy and Defier. In a slowly run race Archave held his position from Dress Circle followed by Grand Armee with Platinum Scissors and Lonhro next. On straightening Archave was soon challenged by Dress Circle with Grand Armee running on from Lonhro then Defier. By the 200m Grand Armee hit the front with Lonhro challenging on the outside. Under hands and heels Lonhro soon swept past Grand Armee to race away winning by three lengths with Defier running on late for third.
It was then to Melbourne where the critics still found reasons against the horse unlike the racegoing public who knew a champion when they saw one. Back to Caulfield for the third successive Guineas day and the Caulfield Stakes. On a track favouring front runners on the day Platinum Scissors led Helenus then Archave with a gap to Mummify and Defier then Hail with Lonhro well back and Distinctly Secret last. By the 1200m the pace slackened and the field bunched as Platinum Scissors led Helenus with Lonhro and Distinctly Secret at the rear. Little changed to the 600m where Archave made a run at Platinum Scissors with Mummify running on near the rails and Lonhro improving around the field. On straightening Archave and and Platinum Scissors led with Mummify on the rails, Defier four wide and Lonhro the widest of all. Mummify hit the front with 200m left as Lonhro hit top speed from Defier. In a stride or two Lonhro took over and raced well clear under hands and heels going on to win by two lengths from Mummify with two lengths to Defier third.
In winning Lonhro became the first horse to win successive Caulfield Stakes since Kingston Town in 1981 and 1982.
Two weeks later Lonhro looked invincible in the Cox Plate with recent stars Sunline and Northerly missing and only Defier and Fields of Omagh joining Lonhro from the 2002 field. There were tiny doubts over Lonhro handling the Moonee Valley surface but his class was expected to overcome any problems. Then in the 40 minutes before the race it poured with rain and the the rain continued for the race itself. Sprinting mare Paraca led from Shower of Roses then Fields of Omagh followed by Defier with Clangalang next followed by Lonhro with Zagalia and Natural Blitz at the tail as the field strung out behind the imported mare. By the 1200m Paraca led by a couple of lengths to Shower of Roses then another huge break to Fields of Omagh a similar margin to Defier followed by Clangalang and Lonhro who was a long way out of his ground on the greasy surface. With 700m left Shower of Roses took over as Fields of Omagh slowly made ground over three lengths away then a further four lengths to Defier and Clangalang as Lonhro lost ground. With 500m left Fields of Omagh cruised up behind Shower of Roses with Defier going up on his outside and Lonhro starting to make ground again but still nearly two lengths behind Defier and on the wrong leg. The South Australian Fields of Omagh hit the lead around the turn as Defier challenged and Lonhro lost ground trying to balance up for the straight. In the straight Fields of Omagh refused to give in to Defier with Lonhro charging down the outside. But it was too late as Fields of Omagh crossed the line to win by a long neck from Defier with Lonhro a half length away third as the rest of the field came in at intervals behind them. It was to be Lonhro's final of only three defeats in Melbourne.
After a spell Lonhro returned for his final preparation with a trial at Randwick. In that trial he came around the turn in fourth a fair way from the leader. Tessamo was going strongly in front with Lonhro running on nicely under a hold and looked like taking second place but inside the final 30m Lonhro grabbed the bit and extended his stride to win going away by a length.
After it appeared he would be starting his racing in Sydney Lonhro was a surprise entry in the Orr Stakes run only 8 days after the trial. A field of 10 lined up for the race over 1400m at Caulfield where Super Elegant settled in front from St Elmo's Fire then Vocabulary with Sound Action three wide and Lonhro between them followed by Mummify. Passing the 900m St Elmo's Fire had hit the front and was well clear from Super Elegant with Sound Action next around Vocabulary and Mummify made ground along the fence and Lonhro next. Around the home turn Super Elegant and Sound Action had drawn alongside St Elmo's Fire with Lonhro going wide around them with Vocabulary next. With 300m left Super Elegant led St Elmo's Fire then Sound Action with Lonhro winding up down the outside and Vocabulary pocketed. Soon after Vocabulary swerved out sharply and heavily bumped with Lonhro but within a stride the champ was re balanced for his final charge. Inside the final 100m Lonhro swept up on the outside to hit the front from Sound Action and Super Elegant as Vocabulary took a narrow run between them. Vocabulary lunged at Lonhro but he was too good winning by half head with Sound Action third.
Two weeks later a similar field was back for the St George Stakes over 1800m. Zazzman led Mummify then a break to Lonhro followed by Sound Action. Passing the 1200m Zazzman was clear of Mummify then a gap to The Jewel and Lonhro followed by Sound Action outside tully Thunder with Pentastic and Natural Blitz at the rear. Little changed to the 600m where Zazzman led Mummify as the field bunched with Lonhro making ground as Pentastic went four deep followed by Sound Action. On straightening Mummify headed Zazzman with Lonhro striding up on the outside from Natural Blitz, Sound Action and Pentastic. Inside the final 200m Lonhro raced away winning eased up by 1 1/2 lengths from Sound Action then Mummify and Pentastic.