The life of four time Group 1 champion Sky Heights has come to an end with the fifteen-year-old put down this week.
The horse that won the 1999 Caulfield Cup and started favourite in two Melbourne Cups was trained by Colin Alderson and his daughter spoke fondly of a special horse.
“He won four Group Ones including the AJC (Australian) Derby and Caulfield Cup which are pretty special races on the calendar,” Cindy Alderson said.
“He was a special horse, probably not even for his galloping ability but he was just such a tough on-pacer.
“He was a real warrior.”
Sky Heights was always destined for greatness after bursting onto the scene as a three-year-old and finishing second to Arena in the 1998 Victoria Derby.
When Autumn came around he really started to hit peak form though winning the Rosehill Guineas and the Australian Derby.
As a four-year-old in 1999 he had his best spring ever winning the Craiglee Stakes, Turnbull Stakes and the Caulfield Cup.
He came agonisingly close to repeating the glory when beaten a nose by Ethereal two years later.
His Melbourne Cups were perhaps his biggest let downs though, starting in 1999 and 2001 as favourite but finishing 17th and eighth respectively.
He performed valiantly in the Cox Plate as well finishing third in 1999 only beaten by the great Sunline and Tie The Knot.
His on track performances earned him a spot stabled at the Living Legends among some of Australia’s best ever chapions.
After a year though he moved home to the Alderson family property at Cranbourne where he had been ever since.
The gelding had to be put down after struggling with the hoof disease laminitis for some time.
He leaves behind a career record that will live on forever though with 42 starts for 11 wins and 9 places winning total prize money of $4,212,990.
Incredibly nine of his wins came at Group level and included the:
- Group 1 Australian Derby 1999
- Group 1 Rosehill Guineas 1999
- Group 1 VATC Caulfield Cup 1999
- Group 1 Yalumba Stakes 2000
- Group 2 Craiglee Stakes 1999
- Group 2 Turnbull Stakes 1999
- Group 2 St Leger Stakes 2001
- Group 2 Sandown Classic 2001
- Group 3 BTC Labour Day Cup 2001