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Sunday 17 December 2017

Longevity of horses like Sizing will always win day over top colts

What a difference a week makes. Last Saturday week we had a dramatic climax to the PWC Champion Chase at Gowran where old Sizing Europe (pictured) rallied late and won the race for a fourth time by gunning down Galway Plate winner Road To Riches in the closing stages.

On Saturday just gone we were informed that Australia, the dual Derby winner of 2014, had been retired to stud.

If ever there was evidence as to why you will get thousands more to Leopardstown and Punchestown for Grade One jump meeting than you will to Leopardstown and the Curragh for Champions Weekend, we had it in the tale of two Saturdays.

Of course you are dealing with very different characters in a Flat horse and a National Hunt horse but the long and the short of it is that the gelding that goes on to grace our racecouses for four, five, six years, or even longer in Sizing Europe's case, will always be more popular with the general public than the colt who has all his bits still intact and therefore is commercially way more attractive to those in the breeding industry.

Take Sole Power, for example. A leading light of the Flat game for the last couple of seasons, he has been around the world and isn't finished yet as Eddie Lynam has done a terrific job in placing the horse and the horse himself has done a terrific job in repaying him.

Sole Power is a gelding, though, and therefore when his racing days are over, he will have given plenty of fond memories but won't be adding to the retirement package.

On the other hand we have his stable companion Slade Power who, all being well, will go to Australia next month and be crowned the greatest sprinter in the world when he takes in the Spring Carnival in Melbourne. That race, win, lose, or draw, will be his last hurrah, though, as being a colt still he will take up residence with Darley and begin his new career just as the general public are really getting to warm to him.

Now of course, these stallions are what make the world of racing go round. Galileo has proven to be one of the best we will ever see and Coolmore will be hoping that his son Australia will now follow a similar suit, but it is such a shame that we lose most of them at three and the majority of the rest by four.

Australia was touted as being the best that Aidan O'Brien has ever trained. What a statement that is and just because he was beaten in a messy Irish Champion Stakes doesn't make it a lie. The problem is, to the general Joe Bloggs, he will now never go on to prove that.

Of course, we also lost Sea The Stars to the breeding sheds at three but even though he needed to do nothing more to bolster his reputation and standing, we did get to see Frankel as a four-year-old and what an enjoyable summer that was.

There was some better news on Saturday though as is was revealed that for the second time in her career, Treve is going to come out of retirement and try and rewrite the history books and win a third Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

By all accounts, it was already decided who she was going to visit at stud but all that is on hold now and what a sporting gesture that is by all concerned.

We undoubtedly won't see much of her in races prior to Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe weekend next year, twice probably at most, but at least she will be a big star worth waiting for.

The Grey Gatsby and Kingston Hill too are both staying in training as well and as proven Group One performers they'll ensure there is still plenty to enjoy next year, not to mention the plethora of Ballydoyle three-year-olds that will wow us by the looks of things. All that said, though, the longevity of the auld jump horse like Sizing Europe or Hurricane Fly will always warm the cockles of the heart more than the much more valuable but less seen colt who, as we found out this year, could be one of the best we've ever seen. Unfortunately, 'could' is the big word in there.

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