LIGHTNING Spear will run the final race of a very successful and colourful career when he contests the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Churchill Downs on Saturday.
Qatar Racing’s seven-year-old will compete for the 27th and last time before retiring to stand at Tweenhills Stud for the 2019 breeding season.
A son of Pivotal, he has shown a particular liking for Goodwood where this summer he gave a brilliant display to land the Sussex Stakes.
It was his first victory at Group 1 level and came over the same course and distance that he twice won over in the Group 2 Celebration Mile.
There have been other bold runs, not least when he went down by a short head to Rhododendron in the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes in May. He also gave a fine account of himself in the subsequent Queen Anne Stakes, finishing a close-up third.
Trainer David Simcock added: “He has been such fun – a model of consistency. And he was a project when he arrived, yes.
“But he hasn’t let us down, he has danced every dance. I always say, the twice he has run out of Group 1 company for us he has won Group 2s.
“He has accumulated a lot of prize money. To be so sound and to keep wanting to do it after running in all those races is a credit to the horse.”
David was swift to assess the size of the hole that Lightning Spear’s upcoming absence will leave in the Trillium Place string. “Huge,” is the word he selects.
But he was equally quick to add: “We’ve had it before – we’ve had numerous Group 1 horses that have had to retire at a certain stage.
“It will be sad to see him go. He’s a family horse. My wife rides him every day and the kids love him to bits – and I enjoy watching him every day.
“But it’s great that he has got a new career to look forward to.”
Lightning Spear’s last run was less than two weeks ago when he was a never nearer seventh of 13 in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on British Champions Day.
Less than a week after that he was on a plane across the Atlantic, bound for Churchill Downs where he is drawn 11 for his final assignment.
David said: “Ascot was a non-event, the way the race panned out.
“It’s less than an ideal ‘prep’ going two weeks after that but he has travelled very well and is in great shape.
“He’ll love the fact that there’s a bend – he runs very well with a bend, hence his liking for Goodwood. And it will be very exciting turning up at a Breeders’ Cup with him.”