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Arctic Owl

Arctic Owl: the Irish St Leger winner was sired by Most Welcome

  PICTURE: Martin Lynch  

Lockinge hero and Group 1 sire Most Welcome dies

TRAINER Geoff Wragg has paid tribute to 1989 Lockinge Stakes winner Most Welcome, who died on Sunday in Sweden at the age of 25.

Most Welcome suffered a suspected fracture to his off-hind pastern and, rather than force him to endure weeks of box rest, the decision was taken to put him down.

Wragg, who saddled the son of Be My Guest to finish third in the 1987 Derby and win the Lockinge Stakes (then a Group 2) two years later, said: "He was a wonderful horse – a little on the small side, but had he not run so wide at Epsom he could have won the Derby.

"Plus, in the 1989 Breeders' CupMile he was stopped twice on the bend but managed to finish third, beaten just under two lengths by Steinlen."

Most Welcome hailed from a successful family for Mollers Racing, his dam Topsy winning the Sun Chariot Stakes and her half-brother Teenoso winning the Derby carrying the family's famous chocolate and gold silks.

He ran well in top-flight company from two to five, though a Group 1 victory eluded him.

He won a maiden and a valuable nursery before finishing fifth in the Middle Park Stakes at two, and at three, besides winning the Select Stakes, he was third past the post behind Don't Forget Me in the 2,000 Guineas (though he was disqualified in the stewards' room for causing interference), and runner-up to Reference Point in the Derby and to Triptych in the Champion Stakes, before which he was sold privately to Sir Philip Oppenheimer.

Though he failed to win at four, he acquitted himself well when third to Warning in the Sussex Stakes, while at five he beat Warning and Reprimand to land the Lockinge Stakes, and also finished third in the Breeders' Cup Mile.

Most Welcome was originally retired to stand at Meddler Stud near Newmarket in 1990. He sired the winners of more than 830 races and in excess of £7.4 million in prize-money, including Group 1 winners Arctic Owl, Suances and Sasuru.

He has also made his mark as a broodmare sire, with his daughters producing the likes of this year's ill-fated Duke of York Stakes scorer Utmost Respect and Group 1-winning sprint brothers Goodricke and Pastoral Pursuits.

In 2004 Most Welcome was exported to stand at Ravdansen Stud in Sweden. His first crop there made an immediate impact, with his son Arcus winning the Breeders' Trophy Juvenile in 2007 and the Swedish 2,000 Guineas in the following year.





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