Lammtarra's brief and brilliant career is over. The chestnut colt who has compiled a racing record equalled only by the great Mill Reef was yesterday retired to stud.
The three-year-old is to stand at Newmarket's Dalham Hall Stud, but what is British breeders' gain is very much the punters' loss. Lammtarra has had the shortest career (9min 5.38sec) of any champion racehorse. After winning his only start at two, he captured the hallowed treble of the Derby, the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe on his only three starts this season. He was expected to prove his powers further in the Breeders' Cup Turf at Belmont Park later this month but yesterday that plan was abandoned. "He had a hard race in the Arc and the view we have taken is that the Breeders' Cup is going to come too soon for him," Simon Crisford, the racing manager of Godolphin, under whose banner Lammtarra ran, said.
"Of course it is a shame he won't be racing again for the people. They won't get the opportunity to see more of him, but he really did not have that much more to prove. He won the three best races in the world and he beat all the best horses around. In his work and races he gave everything he had. He was a willing horse."
As the season progressed, however, tales of Lammtarra's increasing intractability began to emerge from Newmarket. Some flesh was put on these rumours when the colt behaved erratically before the Arc. Godolphin insisted, though, that this has little to do with the horse's retirement. "His temperament did not come into the equation," Crisford said.
Lammtarra's breeding is not suspect though. His sire was Nijinsky, a son of the legendary stallion Northern Dancer, and his dam was Snow Bride, who won the Oaks. He will command a substantial fee to consort with around 50 of the world's choicest broodmares next spring. By comparison, Nashwan, the 1989 Derby winner, has a pounds 40,000 fee and Sadler's Wells, the most expensive stallion in Europe, costs upwards of pounds 100,000.
But only five per cent of horses, no matter how well-bred or talented, make it as stallions and Lammtarra will have to start from scratch in his new career.
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