Champion French mare Moonlight Cloud has been officially retired and will now stand as a broodmare for owner George Strawbridge.
There was a great deal of speculation that Moonlight Cloud would be retired following her sixth place finish in the Group 1 Hong Kong Mile (1600m) at Sha Tin on December 8 but Strawbridge elected to delay making his decision.
Trainer Freddie Head said that the decision to retire Moonlight Cloud was a tough one for Strawbridge and confirmed that the Invincible Spirit mare will be served by Galileo at stud during the Northern Hemisphere breeding season.
“Monsieur Strawbridge thought that would be it in Hong Kong but he took some time to reflect back in America,” Head said in a statement.
“He always favoured sending her to stud at this stage and I think he was a little worried that, as she was already six, she might not be able to perform quite so brilliantly in the future.
“She’s a great mare with a lot of class and is also very gentle and kind.
“She is really a sweetheart of a horse.”
Moonlight Cloud made her racing debut in August of 2010 and stamped herself as a filly to watch with a win in the Group 3 Prix Imprudence (1400m) at Maisons-Laffitte before finishing a disappointing seventh in the Group 1 1000 Guineas Stakes (1609m) at Newmarket.
She recorded her maiden win at Group 1 level with a dominant victory in the 2011 Prix Maurcie De Gheest (1300m) at Deauville before finishing her 2011 season with a fifth place finish in the Group 2 British Champions Sprint Stakes (1207m).
Moonlight Cloud garnered worldwide attention when she was narrowly beaten by equine superstar Black Caviar in the 2012 Diamond Jubilee Stakes (1207m) at Royal Ascot and added to her racing resume with dominant victories in the 2012 Prix Maurice De Gheest and the Group 1 Prix Du Moulin De Longchamp (1600m) before failing to fire in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (1609m) at Santa Anita.
The six-year-old started her final racing campaign with a win in the Group 3 Prix De La Porte Maillot (1400m) and won the Prix Maurice De Gheest, Group 1 Prix Du Haras De Fresnay-Le-Buffard (1600m) and the Group 1 Prix De La Foret (1400m) before her disappointing defeat in the Hong Kong Mile.
Moonlight Cloud finishes her racing career with twelve wins from twenty starts, including six Group 1 victories, and accumulated just under 2 million Euros in total prizemoney.