Octagonal, Australia’s 1996 Horse of the Year and 10-time Group 1 winner, has been put down at Godolphin Woodlands.
The Big O was still bright and alert mentally but, at 24, was struggling physically.
“It is a sad day as Octagonal is an old favourite of everyone and he will be sorely missed,” said Woodlands General Manager John Sunderland. “He was such a lovely horse to deal with and such a big part of Woodlands.”
Octagonal was bred at Cambridge Stud in New Zealand and was from the first crop of Champion sire Zabeel. Purchased by Jack and Bob Ingham, he was trained for his entire career by John Hawkes at Crown Lodge.
Next Saturday marks the 21st anniversary of Octagonal’s stirring victory over Mahogany as a spring 3yo in the G1 Cox Plate. The following autumn he won the three-year-old Triple Crown of the Canterbury Guineas, Rosehill Guineas and Australian Derby.
Octagonal quickly developed a cult following and was revered for his ability to continually prevail in close finishes. As a five-year-old, he recorded his 10th Group 1 win in the Mercedes Classic, a victory that saw him become the highest-earning horse in Australian racing history at the time.
Retired to stud in 1997, Octagonal made the perfect start to his new career, siring Horse of the Year Lonhro in his first crop. An 11-time Group 1 winner, Lonhro is the only Australian Horse of the Year to go on and become a Champion stallion.
Octagonal will be buried at Woodlands, where he has spent the majority of the past 16 years, alongside his old mate Canny Lad.