- Sire-Dam -
Saxon Warrior was among the top two-year-olds of 2017 when he won all three of his races and he wasted no time making an impact in the 2018 QIPCO British Champions Series – storming to victory in the QIPCO 2000 Guineasuabxwvbbfuzdrayvuadvcfev.
Sent off 3-1 for the first Classic of the year and ridden by trainer’s son Donnacha O’Brien (Ryan Moore being on duty aboard Mendelssohn in the Kentucky Derby), Saxon Warrior was always travelling strongly and won by a length and a half from Tip Two Win.
The winning jockey said: “He travelled beautiful and I thought we were the winner the whole way. I probably got a bit excited at the two pole when I gave him a squeeze a bit early.
“He’s an absolute monster of a horse so you never know, he could improve again. I was very impressed, I thought he was a very good horse even on his homework, we’ve made no secret of it, and I think he’s very, very good.”
A son of Japanese middle-distance champion Deep Impact, out of Galileo mare Maybe, herself was a Group 1 winner for Coolmore, Saxon Warrior had plenty going for him before he even set foot on a racecourse.
And he already had one claim to fame before his 2000 Guineas success – his tenacious victory in the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster providing Aidan O’Brien, his trainer, with his record-breaking 26th Group 1 winner of last year.
There was excited talk of an assault on the Tipe Crown after the Guineas but that dream went out of the window when he could finish only fourth in the Investec Derby when sent off 4-5 favourite.
He looked in trouble some way out but plugged on to be beaten about four and a half lengths. He had finished ahead of Masar, the winner, in the Guineas and had previously twice beaten Roaring Lion, who came third.
“I wouldn’t be making excuses for Saxon Warrior,” O’Brien said. “We’ll take him home and see how he is. He might have just got in awe of everything, but I wouldn’t take anything away from the winner – he just didn’t fire. His next run might tell us a lot.”
That next run came in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby. Saxon Warrior kept on to finish a close third but, again, most had expected more.
Just a week later he ran in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown and he looked the most likely winner when he led a furlong out, only to be overhauled late on by Roaring Lion and beaten a neck. There was a lengthy stewards’ enquiry – the winner had carried Saxon Warrior right late on – but the result was allowed to stand.
Saxon Warrior and Roaring Lion met again – for a fifth time – in the Juddmonte International at York the following month. The latter was a decisive winner, with Saxon Warrior, who had apparently been under the weather in the interim, a one-paced fourth.
The pair met for a sixth and final time in the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes.
It was a compelling encounter, with Saxon Warrior bursting clear only for Roaring Lion to peg him back near the finish and win by a neck.
Saxon Warrior hung in the final stages and the following day his connections revealed he had suffered a tendon injury and had been retired.
“He badly damaged a tendon in the race which was a pity and when he came home last night we wrapped him up,” O’Brien said.
“When we looked at him this morning his tendon wasn’t in a good place. There’s a tear in there and it’s a big pity. He was an amazing horse.”
Before his final success at Town Moor in 2017, at the main expense of Roaring Lion, he had shown a striking turn of foot to win on his debut in a mile maiden at the Curragh before following up in the Group 2 Juddmonte Beresford Stakes at Naas.
BCS Career statistics
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