Racing: Career over for Darci Brahma

By Mike Dillon

The shock announcement came late yesterday only a couple of hours after the multi-million dollar stallion's ownership management announced that a hock infection had ruled out the horse's immediate racing programme, but he would almost certainly be racing on.

Earlier it was discovered Darci Brahma had a small cut on a hock, which had become infected.

"The injury itself is of no consequence, but it has ruled out the Otaki Maori weight-for-age race on Saturday week and the Chipping Norton Stakes in Sydney," said the horse's manager David Ellis.

Ellis added that the options were the All Aged Stakes in Sydney after Easter, the Brisbane carnival, an English campaign or retirement.

Two hours later it was retirement.

"Mark (trainer Mark Walker) and I have had a long talk about it and we've decided retirement is the best option," said Ellis.

"He certainly could have kept racing, but he's such a valuable horse from such a wonderful family. This way he goes out on a win after beginning his career with a win."

With five group ones safely on the scoreboard there was not a lot more to prove with Darci Brahma.

A major upside would have been a group one victory in England, which would have opened the way for a dual hemisphere shuttle stallion career.

Officials from Newmarket, Royal Ascot and York this week made approaches to get Darci Brahma to England for their major sprint races.

In recent years those races have been plundered by Australian sprinters Choisir, Exceed And Excel and last year Takeover Target.

"We believe he is the only horse in the world, certainly that we're aware of, that was a sales topper that went on to be the highest rated horse in his country as a 2-year-old, again as a 3-year-old and won at group one level at four," said Ellis.

Darci Brahma cost $1.1 million as a yearling at the Karaka sales.

"He's been a great horse to the syndicate," said Ellis.

"Each of the 10 $110,000 original shares has returned $125,000 in stakemoney and two of those shares changed hands only weeks ago for $1 million each. He's been a wonderful investment."

Darci Brahma will stand at stud this coming spring at The Oaks at Cambridge, which was one of the original 10 shareholders in the horse and who is vying for the two shares under a pre-emptive agreement option.

Ellis paid tribute to Walker.

"We are in awe of the way this horse has been trained. Every time he has gone to the races it has been a huge pressure for a young trainer."

The five group one wins were in the T J Smith Stakes in Brisbane as a 2-year-old, the 2000 Guineas, Otaki Maori WFA, Telegraph Handicap and last Saturday's Waikato Draught Sprint.

"He was either first or second in every one of his New Zealand starts."

Ellis said he could not imagine a more enjoyable syndicate of owners, mostly breeders looking for a breeding investment.

Ellis said he has been embarrassed by the number of breeders and broodmare owners looking to gain access to Darci Brahma since the stallion won the Telegraph Handicap with an explosive sprinting performance at Trentham.

"The demand for his service will far exceed the supply. Him standing in here will stop a lot of broodmares going to Australia."

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