• Remembering racing figures who died this week
Sakhee, 24 European champion six-length Arc winner
GB: Sakhee, who was put down on Friday [August 20] aged 24 owing to the infirmities of old age, represented both Sheikh Hamdan and Godolphin with rare distinction, the highlight of a wonderful career being a dominant six-length victory in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in 2001.
A son of Bahri, Sakhee was homebred by the late Sheikh Hamdan’s Shadwell operation and carried the sheikh’s silks for his fist two seasons on the track, when he was trained by John Dunlop. He won both the Sandown Classic Trial and Dante Stakes before finishing a length second to Sinndar for the Arundel trainer in the Derby.
Switched to Saeed Bin Suroor after suffering a muscular injury in the Eclipse, he was to blossom as an older horse, routing his Juddmonte International opponents in a seven-length victory under Frankie Dettori before going to Longchamp, where unbeaten filly Aquarelliste was left trailing in his wake.
What followed was a never-to-be-forgotten effort in defeat in the Breeders’ Cup Classic on dirt at Belmont Park, where he was touched off by the courageous US star Tiznow.
Retired to Shadwell, the best of his progeny at stud were July Cup winner Sakhee’s Secret and renowned globetrotter Presvis.
Juan Arias, 83 Trainer of ‘Caracas Cannonball’ Canonero II
Venezuela: Juan Arias, who has died at the age of 83, is regarded as the greatest trainer in the history of racing in Venezuela. However, his exploits would never have resonated on a wider stage were it not for Canonero II, who stunned the racing world by winning the first two legs of the US Triple Crown in 1971.
Having grown up in poverty on a farm in central Venezuela, Arias worked for a local trainer before taking out his own licence at La Rinconada in Caracas in 1959 at the beginning of a career that was to span 60 years.
His name will always be associated with Canonero, the $1,200 blue-collar hero who became known as the ‘Caracas Cannonball’ in 1971. His Kentucky Derby victory was the stuff of rags-to-riches fairytales as he closed from well behind under jockey Gustavo Avila to win at Churchill Downs before breaking the stakes-record time for the Preakness at Pimlico.
Suffering from a swollen hock, he was fourth in the Belmont – but he had already imprinted his name, and that of his trainer, on US racing history.
B Wayne Hughes, 87 Visionary owner of Spendthrift Farm
USA: B Wayne Hughes, who died on August 18 aged 87, was the billionaire owner of Spendthrift Farm and a pioneering figure in the US bloodstock world.
Hughes founded Public Storage, the leading self-storage company in the States, before retiring from his role as chief executive to concentrate on 700-acre Spendthrift, which he bought in 2004.
Among the farm’s major successes were superstar racemare Beholder, a four-time champion who numbered three successes at the Breeders’ Cup among a multitude of G1 victories in the Spendthrift colours.
Ohio-born Hughes also won the Kentucky Derby in 2020 with Authentic, who was named Horse of the Year after adding the Breeders’ Cup Classic to his laurels. Authentic is a son of Into Mischief, Spendthrift’s leading stallion.
Silvano, 25 Global star who became SA champion sire
South Africa: Silvano, who has been put down after a serious bout of colic in South Africa, was a noted globetrotter who won Group races on three continents before becoming a multiple champion sire.
Trained in Germany by Andreas Wohler for the Jacobs’ Gestut Fahrhof, the son of Lomitas left his mark on the international stage with victories in the Singapore Cup, Queen Elizabeth II Cup in Hong Kong and Arlington Million.
A G2 winner at home in Germany, Silvano also also made the frame in the Dubai Sheema Classic, Man o’War Stakes and Cox Plate before going to stud. He was to be Germany’s champion sire in 1999 before making the move to South Africa, where he is a five-time champion for Maine Chance Farms.
• Read more at the Maine Chance website