• Remembering racing figures who died this week
Arazi, 32 Breeders’ Cup legend
Australia: Arazi, who died last week in Australia at the age of 32, went down in racing folklore for what is generally accepted as the most spectacular performance in the history of the Breeders’ Cup.
Trained by Francois Boutin, the little chestnut’s explosive victory on the dirt in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile of 1991 at Churchill Downs is still talked about in terms of awe after he swept aside America’s dirt specialists with a jaw-dropping display beneath the Twin Spires.
Having been fully 15 lengths adrift of the pace on the back stretch, the famous son of Blushing Groom made a dramatic move in the second half of the race under Pat Valenzuela to rout his rivals in a never-to-be-forgotten effort.
Arazi was capping a brilliant seven-race unbeaten two-year-old campaign in which he had already flashed his talents with a string of sensational displays at home in France.
Asked if Arazi was the best he’d ever owned, original owner Allen Paulson famously replied: “Arazi is not just the best horse I have ever owned – he’s the best horse anyone has ever owned!”
Arazi was never the same again after knee surgery and had only a patchy stud career before living out his days at Stockwell Stud in Victoria, where his death was announced last week from age-related infirmities.
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Eric Eldin, 88 40-year career as jockey and trainer
GB: Eric Eldin, who died on Sunday [July 4], rode nearly 900 winners in Britain and 300 more oveseas before turning to training.
A popular figure in Newmarket, Eldin’s 40-year career began as an apprentice to Ryan Jarvis aged 14 in 1947; he had his first winner on Penfair at Leicester in May 1950.
After a stint in India, he went on to partner Jarvis-trained Lomond to win the Princess of Wales’s Stakes in 1965 and 1966, when he also won the Ebor on the same horse. Eldin also enjoyed Classic success in the Irish 1,000 Guineas triumph with Jarvis-trained Front Row in 1968.
He rode the Jack Waugh-trained filly Lucasland to victory in the July Cup and Diadem Stakes but perhaps his highest-profile win came on recalcitrant Knockroe, a horse Lester Piggott turned down, aboard whom he broke the track record on the Derby course in a handicap two days after the blue riband in 1973.
He was also stable jockey to Sir Mark Prescott and Doug Smith, and won Derbys in India and the Netherlands. According to Racing Post historian John Randall, he rode approximately 1,200 winners worldwide.
As a trainer, Eldin’s most notable successes came via Prowess Prince (Molecomb 1981) and Grand Unit (Bessborough 1983). After a period as an instructor at the Singapore apprentice academy, he returned to Newmarket to act as a guide for the National Horseracing Museum’s minibus tours of the town.