Every thoroughbred in Australia turns one year older today and some of the most popular horses in the history of Australian racing are celebrating milestone birthdays.
Horse racing fans will remember Might And Power’s memorable victory in the 1997 Melbourne Cup like it was yesterday, but the equine superstar is today celebrating his 21st birthday at the Living Legends Centre for champion racehorses in Melbourne.
Might And Power recorded seven Group 1 victories during his racing career and was the most popular horse of his generation due to his strong, front-running style that saw him lead all the way to win the 1997 Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup.
The Zabeel gelding was named World Champion Stayer in 1997 and Australian Horse Of The Year in both 1998 and 1999 before he was retired after failing to fire in the 2000 edition of the Group 2 Shannon Stakes (1500m).
Another prolific Group 1 winner celebrating milestone is Lonhro, who is sure to be having a wild sweet 16th birthday bash with the other Darley stallions at their Aberdeen base in New South Wales.
Lonhro won 11 Group 1 races, including the 2004 Australian Cup, during his racing career that spanned from 2000 to 2004 and he was named Australia Horse Of The Year and World Champion Miler in 2004.
The Octagonal entire has since gone on to achieve a great deal of success at stud and his progeny, such as Denman, Pierro and Mental, have gone on to win a number of Group 1 races, while he was named the leading sire in Australia in 2011.
Weekend Hussler and Littorio headline the many quality racehorses that have entered double figures for the first time today.
Weekend Hussler was the star three-year-old of his generation and he won the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m), Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m), Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m), Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m), Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) and Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) during the 2007/2008 racing season – equaling Kingston Town’s Australian record for the most Group 1 victories in a single season.
The Hussonet gelded added victory in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) to his racing resume during the 2008 Spring Racing Carnival, but he failed to fire in both the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) and Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) and was never able to return to the form that he showed as a three-year-old.
Littorio was never able to reach the heights of Weekend Hussler, but he scored an upset victory over the equine superstar in in the 2008 Turnbull Stakes and his fast-finishing victory in the 2011 Group 2 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m), his first race start in over a year, is one of the most memorable in recent Australia racing history.
Champion mare Let’s Elope is celebrating her 27th birthday and is now the oldest living Melbourne Cup winner in history, following the passing of Vintage Crop last month, while the always popular Subzero has reached his 26th birthday after recovering from a health scare last year.
Triple Melbourne Cup winner Makybe Diva has reached her 15th birthday and is currently in foal to All Too Hard, while equine superstar Black Caviar is celebrating her eighth birthday ahead of the expected birth of her foal to Exceed And Excel in October.
Veteran gelding Ollie Vollie has not been seen at the races since he took out the Gold Coast Stakes (1200m) at the Gold Coast on March 15, but the now 12-year-old is expected to return to racing for another campaign and is the oldest horse in Australia still competing at black type level, while champion jumper Bashboy is celebrating his 11th birthday in the spelling paddock after his tough second place finish in the Grand National Steeplechase (4500m) last Sunday.