Heart attack claims Highest Honor

Highest Honor, one of the most successful French sires of recent times, has died after suffering a heart attack at the Haras du Quesnay.  He was 26.

The son of Kenmare had stood at Alec Head’s Normandy operation for the entirety of his stud career, and was retired from covering duties last year.  He was crowned champion French sire in 1995 and 2000.

A top-class performer on the track, he was trained by Pascal Bary for owner Issam Fares to win the Prix d’Ispahan at four.  He also finished runner-up in the French 2000 Guineas, Prix Jean Prat and Prix de la Foret.

His stud career got off to a flying start when his first crop yielded the Group 2 Prix Vicomtesse Vigier winner Dadarissime and Group 3 scorer Take Risks, and they were later joined by the Group 1 winners Dedication, Reve D’Oscar, Marotta, Admise, Medaaly, Royal Honor and Sagacity.

He has helped boost the fortunes of the Grey Sovereign sire line, which had suffered a downturn in fortunes following various exports and premature deaths, by leaving a legacy of successful stallion sons.

Chief among them is Verglas, a Coventry Stakes winner who was initially retired to stud in France at a lowly fee, who has compiled an impressive progeny record, headed by this year’s French 1000 Guineas winner Silver Frost.

Verglas also sired numerous Western Australian winners after three southern seasons at Alwyn Park Stud.  Medaaly was less successful during a short stint shuttling to Inverness Stud in NSW.

Highest Honor also has a fine record as a broodmare sire, with his daughters producing the likes of Derby Italiano winner Groom Tesse, high-class miler Vahorimix, top stayer Geordieland and recent Royal Ascot scorer Perfect Stride.