Coolmore announce death of the Iron Horse, Giant's Causeway, after brief illness
The son of Storm Cat and sire of Shamardal was 21
Giant's Causeway, whose toughness as a three-year-old earned him the moniker of the Iron Horse, died after a brief illness on Monday night at his Kentucky birthplace, Ashford Stud. He was 21.
Trained by Aidan O'Brien at Ballydoyle and widely regarded as the best son of Storm Cat, Giant's Causeway was an unbeaten Group 1 winner at two and won five straight Group 1s in Europe as a three-year-old.
His final start, and only one on dirt, came in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Churchill Downs where he again showed his never-say-die attitude in a marvellous tussle with Tiznow, ending his career having never finished outside of the first two in his 13 starts.
Giant's Causeway stood one season at Coolmore Ireland before unprecedented demand from US breeders saw him relocate to Ashford. He made an immediate impact with that first crop which included Europe champion two-year-old Shamardal, unbeaten 2,000 Guineas winner Footstepsinthesand, Coronation Stakes winner Maids Causeway and North American Grade 1 winners Aragorn and My Typhoon.
This spectacular success continued with his Ashford crops, resulting in him becoming the first horse since Danzig to top the general sires' list on three occasions.
Throughout his 18 years at stud, Giant's Causeway sired 31 Group/Grade 1 winners worldwide, and will leave behind a long-lasting legacy as a successful sire of sires and top broodmare sire.
"To foal, raise and race a horse of Giant's Causeway's caliber is every owner-breeder's dream, so for him to stand as a stallion at his birthplace, and go on to be a three-time champion sire is nothing short of sensational," said Coolmore America manager Dermot Ryan.
"Giant's Causeway was a once-in-a-lifetime horse, and I would like to thank the owners, the Magnier and Tabor families, for entrusting us with his stud career. I would also like to extend my gratitude to all of the stallion handlers at Ashford past and present for providing the highest level of care for Giant, in particular Blaise Benjamin and Richard Barry. He will be a huge loss not just to us, but to the industry as a whole."
Giant's Causeway: stallion career in numbers
323 black-type performers
178 stakes winners
104 Group / Graded winners
31 Group / Grade 1 winners as a sire
16 Group / Grade 1 winners as a broodmare sire
3 champion sire titles in North America - 2009, 2010, 2012
Top five performers by Giant's Causeway on Racing Post Ratings
Name, damsire, RPR
Shamardal Machiavellian 127
Aragorn Mr Prospector 127
Eskendereya Seattle Slew 126
Await The Dawn Dixieland Band 125
Heatseeker Defensive Play 123