Monday 16 December 2019

Kinane's tribute to 'iconic' Vintage Crop

Former jockey Mick Kinane said Vintage Crop was an 'iconic stayer'. Photo: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE
Former jockey Mick Kinane said Vintage Crop was an 'iconic stayer'. Photo: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE

Thomas Kelly

Mick Kinane has led the tributes to Dermot Weld's history-making stayer Vintage Crop after the Melbourne Cup hero passed away at the age of 27.

The popular Michael Smurfit-owned chestnut became the first northern hemisphere-based horse to win the Flemington showpiece in 1993, recording a convincing win in the 'race that stops a nation' in the hands of Kinane.

Vintage Crop also won the Irish St Leger in 1993 and 1994 and the Cesarewitch at Newmarket in 1992, as well as finishing sixth in the 1993 Champion Hurdle.

Kinane, who guided him to victory in Melbourne, heaped praise on his former equine parnter.

"He was an iconic stayer and we created history, so he'll always have a special place in my heart – he was a very tough and genuine horse and also very talented," said the former champion jockey.

"He won the Melbourne Cup, two Irish St Legers and the Cesarewitch. He didn't manage to win the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot. He just didn't stay well enough. We were pretty confident going into the Melbourne Cup. He'd won the Irish Leger, the rain came, we were expecting a big performance and he produced."

Vintage Crop was retired to the Irish National Stud in Kildare after finishing a very respectable third in the 1995 Melbourne Cup.

The stud's CEO, John Osborne, stated: "Vintage Crop was a true equine celebrity, a horse who pioneered the concept of truly global competition when he travelled from the Curragh to Flemington to win the Melbourne Cup, the richest race in Australia.

"The scale of that achievement is revealed by the number of horses who have since tried and come up short.

"He was a great feature of our visitor experience here at the Irish National Stud, his story was told to hundreds of thousands, who saw him as a true warrior.

"He was lovingly cared for here by Annette Boland, Fiona Doggett and Leona Harmon and will be missed by us all."

News of Vintage Crop's passing came on the day it was announced that another former Melbourne hero, Dunaden, is to retire after suffering a training setback. The eight-year-old, which ran under Sheikh Fahad's Pearl Bloodstock banner, enjoyed his finest hour in the 2011 renewal, beating Ed Dunlop's Red Cadeaux by a nose in the hands of Christophe Lemaire.

Across the water, a hat-trick for Tom Scudamore stole the show from Tony McCoy at Newton Abbot as the champion jockey's wait to reach Martin Pipe's phenomenal record goes on.

The Antrim native was very much the headline act at the Devon circuit, requiring just one winner from a book of four rides to draw level with Pipe's total of 4,191 career winners, a personal target set by the incomparable jockey when he passed the 4,000 mark at Towcester last November.

He was widely expected to get the job done at the first time of asking as he partnered prolific mare and 3/10 favourite Supreme Present in the opening opening novices' hurdle, but she could only manage a disappointing third as Scudamore struck aboard David Bridgwater's hurdling debutant Collodi (8/1).

McCoy was also out of luck on his three subsequent rides and with no National Hunt racing taking place in England today, his next appearance in the saddle is likely to come at Uttoxeter tomorrow.

Scudamore, meanwhile, went on to partner the David Pipe-trained Franklin Roosevelt (7/2) to victory in the staying handicap hurdle, before completing his treble aboard Bridgwater's Tempuran (7/2) in the concluding novices' handicap Hurdle.

PA Media

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