Poet’s Word has run his last race of the season, while bth Saxon Warrior and Alpha Centauri have sadly been retired having sustained injuries during last weekend’s Irish Champions meeting.
The Sir Michael Stoute-trained Poet’s Word, winner of this summer’s Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot and the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes at the same course five weeks later, has sustained an injury and will not run again this term. It remains to be seen whether or not the five-year-old last seen chasing home Roaring Lion in the Juddmonte International Stakes at York four weeks ago, will race again.
“He’s a determined and tough horse, and doesn’t know when to give in,” said Philip Robinson, representing owned Saeed Suhail. “He’s a real fighter and they’re the horses who get the injuries as they give it all they’ve got.”
Poet’s Word had been prominent in the ante-post betting for the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot last month, and his absence together with Roaring Lion’s stunning winning effort in the Irish Champion Stakes has seen John Gosden’s colt shorten to a top priced 9/4 with Sky Bet, but other firms now make the star three-year-old as short as 11/8. Last year’s winner Cracksman, also trained by Gosden, has been cut to a best priced 7/2 with William Hill.
It was in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on saturday that the gallant runner-up Saxon Warrior, winner of the Qipco 2000 Guineas earlier this seem, sustained an injury that has forced the retirement of the imposing son of Deep Impact. As well as his Classic success, Aidan O’Brien’s colt won last year’s Group 1 Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster, and was runner-up to his old foe Roaring Lion in the Eclipse Stakes, as well as finishing fourth in the Derby and third in the Irish Derby.
On the same card Jessica Harrington’s star filly Alpha Centauri, bidding for a fifth successive Group 1 success, failed to peg back the game front-runner Laurens, after which is was revealed that she too had suffered a career-ending injury and will not race again.
“I’ve had an amazing summer with her,” said Harrington. “She gave me my first Classic winner, my first Royal Ascot winner, my first French winner – she’s done an awful lot of firsts for me. I can’t thank the Niarchos family [owners] enough. Now we’ve got to try and find another. She was an incredible filly. She didn’t just beat them, she annihilated them. She broke horses’ hearts and she’s been immense for my career. It was a privilege to be associated with her.”
Written by Paul Alster
Paul Alster has been part of the British and international racing media for more than three decades working as a race commentator, TV/radio presenter, journalist, betting correspondent, SP returner, and form analyst. He’s always sought out overpriced runners in handicap races, a quest that excites him as much now as it did at the start of his career.