Lonhro - one of the most talented horses to who have graced the Australian Turf in living memory.
Lonhro is a rare thoroughbred, who not only blazed the race tracks but became a champion sire too.
Nicknamed “Black Flash”, Lonhro belonged to the first crop of the champion Octagonal out of the Group One-placed Shadea (by Straight Strike). Niello, the Group 1 winner also belongs to this crop (a younger, full-brother to Lonhro).
This stallion was bred and owned by Woodlands stud. Foaled in 1998, was trained by John Hawkes.
Australia's leading racehorse stood at Woodlands Stud (his birthplace) next to his own sire, Octagonal at the beginning of his career.
Woodlands stud was later bought out by His Highness Sheikh Mohammad in Rashid Al Maktoum's Darley Stud. Lonhro was then transferred to Darley's Aberdeen NSW base, where he now stands alongside his son, Denman, for a fee of $88,000. London Rhodesian Mining and Land Company, LONRHO, The stock exchange code is the base for Lonhro's name. This arose from his foaling description as "tiny but perfect".
Lonhro achieved Group 3 success as a two year old and then went on to win several stakes races, making his connections richer by $5.7 million by the end of his career. His first test of the race track was at Rosehill finishing second in a listed race.
He upped the tempo in his next outing, winning by 2 ½ lengths in a 1100m sprint race at the same track. Lonhro warmed up for the Blue Diamond Stakes with a brilliant win in the Blue Diamond Prelude at Caulfield from Neiwand.
However, he only managed a fourth place with his next start followed by a spell, which was the turning point in his career. The brown stallion never looked back, wining almost every race over his long and glorious career.
While Lonhro had to be content to playing second fiddle to Viscount, also from Hawke's stable and one of his favourites, he was determined to show off his prowess with major wins in Group races including the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas and Group 2 Stan Fox Stakes. Nothing could stop Lonhro from becoming a crowd favourite, albeit an injury and a viral illness that forced him to return for spells.
However, he kept coming back to win and place well with Darren Beadman in the saddle. He got the better of his major rival Sunline in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes at Caulfield, after losing in the 1600m Group 1 George Main Stakes.
Rumors of retirement as a 5 year old were quashed in August 2003, when Lonhro came back to win the AJC Warwick Stakes, Chelmsford Stakes and finished his career with back-to-back victories in the Caulfield Stakes.
In 2004, the stallion proved his place in the top rankings in Australian horse racing history beating the likes of Makybe Diva in the Group 1 Australian Cup at Flemington. Lonhro's career ended with a second place in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes, finishing with an impassable record of 26 wins from just 35 starts.
Lonhro has raced from the age of two to five years and has won 26 of 35 races and earned $5,790,510 (Australian dollars). This includes 25 stakes races, ranging in distance from 1,100 to 2,000 metres. His 11 group I wins came at ages 2 through 5. Twenty-four of his wins came in group stakes.
Lonhro's racing career concluded with titles as Australia 's Horse of the Year and champion miler for the 2003-04 season.
Lonhro received the “Australian Racehorse of the Year” and “Australian Middle Distance Champion” awards in 2004.
In 2002, the “Australian Champion Three Year Old” and in 2011, the “Leading sire in Australia ” awards were bagged by Lonhro.
In 2004, Lonhro received the “World Champion Miler” honour.
Lonhro, a real asset to the breeders, will be shifting to Darley's stallion farm at Jonabell in Lexington , Kentucky for the 2012 northern hemisphere breeding season.
Lonhro, a great-looking horse has already proved perfect in the Southern Hemisphere and no doubt will be perfect for mares in the Northern Hemisphere as well!