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Leading Australian Sire, U.S. Shuttler Lonhro Pensioned

Lonhro was 2004 Australian Horse of the Year and became leading sire in 2010-11.

Lonhro at Darley Stallions at Jonabell Farm in 2012

Lonhro at Darley Stallions at Jonabell Farm in 2012

Tom Hall

Godolphin Australia announced March 23 the retirement of leading Australian sire Lonhro from stud duty. The 24-year-old son of Octagonal and 2004 Australian Horse of the Year will remain in residence at Kelvinside Stud in the Hunter Valley of New South Wales, not far from where he was born and bred at Woodlands Stud, where his day-to-day team and routine can continue.

"It's important to us that the horse retires on his terms and to all who have supported Lonhro throughout his career," said Vin Cox, Godolphin Australia's managing director.

"Most importantly, Lonhro retires from the Darley roster sound, happy, healthy, and will remain in residence at Kelvinside," he continued. "The stallion team, led by Barley Ward-Thomas and Yev Kovalov, plus Lonhro's long-time mate Deen Griesheimer and all other handlers who have contributed within our stallion barn, have done a wonderful job caring for this Australian icon for over a decade, and who will continue to do so."

The seventh foal out of group 1-placed, group 3 winner Shadea, Lonhro might have been named "Tiny," had the name not already been taken, according to Suzanne Philcox, who named many horses for Jack and Bob Ingham's Woodlands Stud.

"Lonhro's foaling sheet described him as 'tiny but perfect'", Philcox told Racenet in an earlier interview. "At the time I was reading a magazine called Private Eye, which had stories about a businessman called Tiny Rowland, and he was described as 'tiny but perfect.' I tried to get 'Tiny' and 'Rowland' for the colt, but they weren't available. Tiny Rowland was the CEO of the London Rhodesia Mining Company, so I used his company's stock exchange code LONRHO and made a deliberate mistake with the spelling."

Lonhro lived up to the early expectations surrounding him by winning 26 of his 35 career starts and capturing 24 group stakes, which included 11 group 1 wins. He skimmed the cream of Australian racing with victories in the Caulfield Guineas (G1), Yalumba Stakes (G1, twice), Mackinnon Stakes (G1), Chipping Norton Stakes (G1), George Ryder Stakes (G1, twice), Queen Elizabeth Stakes (G1), C.F. Orr Stakes (G1), and George Main Stakes (G1).

Arguably his most stunning performance came in the 2004 Australian Cup (G1) at Flemington where he was pocketed until the final 200 meters but still managed to get up to beat multiple group winner Delzao and five-time group 1 winner Elvstroem.

Lonhro was honored as Horse of the Year and champion miler in 2004 and was retired with AU$5,790,510 (US$3,627,727) in earnings. He returned to Woodlands for stud duty in 2004. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum acquired the bloodstock operations of Ingham Enterprises in May 2008, and the stallion remained on the Darley roster since.

Godolphin shuttled Lonhro to its Darley Stallions at Jonabell Farm in Kentucky for three seasons in 2012-14. He sired 164 Northern Hemisphere-bred winners that included 11 black-type stakes winners, of which six won graded/group stakes. His most successful North American runners include multi-millionaire Gronkowski, who was second in the 2018 Belmont Stakes (G1); and multiple graded stakes winners Isotherm  and Shakhimat.

Worldwide Lonhro has sired 95 black-type winners that include 57 graded/group winners and two champions. Lonhro became leading Australian sire and leading sire of winning Australian 3-year-olds in 2010-11, the top Australian sire of 2-year-olds in 2011-12, and the leading Australian sire of winners in 2013-14 and 2014-15.

Lonhro sired his 1,000th individual winner March 11 when David Jolly's 3-year-old gelding Lake Agawam won his third career start at Morphettville. To date, his total progeny earnings exceed AU$147.1 million.

Godolphin Australia's head of stallions Alastair Pulford helped plan and steer the sire's career for 15 seasons.

"He went on to be an amazing racehorse, the Horse of the Year, who then became champion sire, leading broodmare sire, and now has sons at stud who will carry on his name," he said. "He was one of the keys behind the purchase of the Ingham racing operation all those years ago and a lot of the success of that deal relied on him. He's certainly got an aura about him; even at his age he's still so fondly remembered by so many people."