Racing: Zafonic retires to stud

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THE heat's off - if it was ever on - Brigadier Gerard, writes Ian Davies.

The 1971 2,000 Guineas winner saw off another pretender to his crown as the greatest post-war miler when Khalid Abdullah's racing manager, Grant Pritchard- Gordon, announced at Deauville yesterday that Zafonic will not appear on the racecourse again. 'No decision has as yet been made about his stud career,' he said.

Brigadier Gerard made toast out of Mill Reef and My Swallow in an epic renewal of the first colts' classic 22 years ago and the search has been on for another glimpse of his like ever since.

El Gran Senor was briefly mentioned in the same breath in 1984, only to get beaten in a poor Derby and retired after his next race. Zafonic has gone pretty much the same way.

A superb two-year-old, winner of the Prix Morny, Prix de la Salamandre and Dewhurst Stakes last year, Zafonic looked the real article when running away with the 2,000 Guineas back in May.

However, since then, after missing a Royal Ascot engagement, because connections felt ground conditions were not entirely in his favour - this 'superhorse' was only 'super' on fast ground - Zafonic disappointed behind Bigstone in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood and was later found to have bled internally.

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