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Sad loss for the WA breeding industry – Champion sire Blackfriars has died

In a sad loss for the WA breeding industry, champion sire Blackfriars has died at Scenic Lodge.

The 21 year-old son of Danehill shattered a shoulder after colic surgery on Friday night.  “He was a true gentleman and loved by all,” Scenic Lodge’s Jeremy Smith said.  “We are all in shock.”

Blackfriars has been a dominant force in Western Australia winning the last 7 sires’ premierships.  His 400th individual winner arrived at Bunbury last Sunday and they have won over 1300 races.  Among them are a WA-record 36 stakes winners headed by current-day star Black Heart Bart.

A Swettenham Stud homebred, Blackfriars won a top-class renewal of the G1 Victoria Derby in 1999 defeating Shogun Lodge and Diatribe.  And in a deal that proved to be a massive coup for the local industry, Scenic Lodge bought him from Robert Sangster to join former Swettenham sire Scenic (Ire) in Muchea.

“He’s been part of the place for 17 years,” Smith said.  “He was in such good health and was never an ounce of trouble.

“He did it the hard way.  We had to get right behind him and, apart from being a champion, he was also just a lovely horse.”

Blackfriars will be buried alongside Scenic.  He covered over 90 mares at Scenic Lodge this season and there are 62 foals on the ground from his penultimate book.  He has 24 yearlings catalogued for the 2018 Perth Magic Millions and his young sire-sons Playing God (Mungrup Stud) and God Has Spoken (Rivercrest Park) are also represented at the February Sale.