Lonhro: An Australian Success Story for Darley
On his right shoulder Lonhro is branded with the number 344.
The figures signify that he was the 344th foal of around 400 to be born at Woodlands Stud in 1998.
In truth, Lonhro was the No.1 foal to arrive at Woodlands that year, and probably the best ever born there.
And the horse whose foaling sheet records him as being “tiny but perfectly formed” has proved it time-after-time, whether as a racehorse or a stallion.
Lonhro was Australia’s Champion Three-Year-Old and Champion Miler. He won 26 of his 35 starts, 11 of them at G1 level, only once had a losing sequence of more than one race and was the first Australian Horse of the Year to also become the country’s Champion Sire.
Twenty years later, Lonhro still holds an exalted place in the Australian thoroughbred breeding industry, maintaining his position among the top 10 on the General Sires’ list and boasting an almost 72 per cent ratio of winners-to-runners.
As Lonhro prepared for his 15th season at stud in 2018, his sons and daughters provided a series of notable updates to his story.
In the autumn his three-year-old son Kementari became Lonhro’s 10th G1 winner when he gained some consolation for his narrow defeat in the G1 Caulfield Guineas by storming to victory in the Randwick Guineas.
Kementari is also Lonhro’s best performer for the season with three Group wins and two G1 placings.
Later in the season his wonderfully-credentialed colt Impending added a second G1 win to his record in the G1 Kingsford Smith Stakes at Doomben and was narrowly beaten in the G1 Doomben 10,000. Impending is a son of the multiple G1-winning filly Mnemosyne who has also produced his sister Epidemic who is a stakes winner this season.
These significant successes preceded the effort of Lonhro’s US-bred son Gronkowski to finish second to the Triple Crown champion Justify in the G1 Belmont Stakes in New York in June, a performance that may yet mean more for his sire.
Impending joins the firm of “Lonhro & Sons” on Darley Australia’s 2018 roster. He will stand at Northwood Park in Victoria with Lonhro’s G1 Golden Rose winners Exosphere and Denman standing alongside their sire at Kelvinside, NSW.
It has also been an outstanding year for Lonhro’s G1 Golden Slipper-winning son Pierro.
As well as being his sire’s best performer, so far, on the racetrack where he won five G1s, Pierro is Lonhro’s best performer at stud where he has produced this season’s classic winners Levendi (G1 Australian Derby) and Pinot (G1 VRC Oaks).
While the junior members of the dynasty will eventually prove worthy replacements for their sire, it is still the old man who sets the standard.
Lonhro has sired more than 160 individual winners in 16 countries in the period corresponding to the 2017-2018 Australian season.
Among them were stakes winners in the United States, Canada, Britain and South Africa, as well as Australia.
Approaching the end of the current season, Lonhro has a winners-to-runners ratio of 71.6 per cent and his progeny overall have won some 2450 races and around A$101 million.
He is also the only stallion among the top 10 on the Australian General Sires table with a son (Pierro) also in the top 10.