SHEIKH Fahad Al Thani’s Qatar Racing has been dealt a cruel blow with the news that its multiple Group 1 winner Roaring Lion was put down yesterday in New Zealand.
The four-year-old by Kitten’s Joy recently completed his first northern hemisphere stud season and was about to start his southern hemisphere season when he suffered a bout of colic at the end of July. He underwent surgery twice in the following days and, against the odds, appeared to be making a recovery.
However, yesterday his condition deteriorated. A statement issued by Tweenhills Stud owner and Qatar Racing manager David Redvers said: “We are absolutely devastated to have to announce the death of Roaring Lion who has been put to sleep after suffering another bout of colic in New Zealand.
“At approximately midday today [GMT] Roaring Lion was observed to be uncomfortable in his stable at Cambridge Stud. On examination by stud vet Rob Hitchcock, Roaring Lion was admitted to Cambridge Equine hospital.
“There, operating surgeons Dr Alanna Zantingh and Dr Greg Quinn performed ultrasound examination and at 2.45pm [GMT] the decision was made on welfare grounds to put Roaring Lion to sleep.
“Sheikh Fahad and all the team at Qatar Racing, Tweenhills, Cambridge Stud and Clarehaven have lost a true champion who fought and fought and fought.”
Purchased by David Redvers at Keeneland for $160,000, Roaring Lion enjoyed victories in three Group 1 contests over 10 furlongs last year - the Eclipse at Sandown, the International at York and the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown before adding another when dropped down in distance to a mile for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot.
After the colt was named Horse of the Year at the Cartier Awards, Sheikh Fahad said: “By a long way, Roaring Lion has given me my best times in the sport. This means a lot for everyone in racing and these are the awards everyone wants to win. To have a Cartier Horse Of The Year is an unbelievable achievement by the whole team.
“John is an unbelievable trainer and a master of his art. I remember standing at the Craven and he said to me ‘this might be a little bit scary but don’t be disappointed and wait until the end the year.’ It was absolutely true.”