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09 January 2021

The French champion race-mare Goldikova has passed away at the age of 16. The expertly campaigned daughter of Anabaa was allowed a stellar five-season career by owner-breeders Alain and Gerard Wertheimer. Excellently handled by master-trainer Freddy Head, she became the first horse to win the same Breeders' Cup race three times when landing the Mile in 2008, 2009 and 2010 and subsequently inducted into the US Racing Hall of Fame.  

The super-mare produced a staggering fourteen Group and Grade One victories during her career with the highlights including a six-length romp in the 2009 renewal of the G1 Prix Jacques le Marois (1600m), a gutsy neck success over Cirrus Des Aigles in the 2011 G1 Prix D'Ispahan (1800m) and a same margin victory in the 2010 G1 Queen Anne Stakes (1600m) at Royal Ascot.  

Goldikova forged a special bond with jockey Olivier Peslier and he partnered the mare for all twenty-seven starts. The pair were a winning combination with Peslier’s cool patient riding style and Goldikova’s electric turn of foot proving a potent combination.  

The French mare quickly became a public treasure with arguably her most devastating performance coming in the 2009 G1 Prix Jacques le Marois (1600m). The nine strong field included the winners of the G1 Poule d’Essai des Poulains (1600m), G1 Lockinge Stakes (1600m) [UK] and G1 Prix d'Ispahan (1800m). Settling behind the pacemaker One Green, and once eased out Goldikova produced her noted turn of foot in what was undeniably one of the greatest 1600m performances of the modern era.  

Five French G1 successes followed, the last a cosy neck victory in the 2011 renewal of the G1 Prix Rothschild (1600m) at Deauville, a race she had made her own winning four successive years (2008-11). This was the final occasion Freddy Head’s stable star was to be unleashed on home soil and she did not disappoint. She was greeted with cheers and excitement on return to the parade ring and saluted as a national racing heroine.  

A fourth G1 Breeders’ Cup Mile (1600m) wasn’t meant to be although the mare lost nothing in defeat finishing third. A breeding career beckoned, and she was retired shortly after.  

Following a stellar career on the track, it would always be a tough task to replicate such achievements in a different role and many successful race mares have failed to do so. Of the seven foals produced, the G3 Prix Cleopatre (2100m) winner Terrakova stands out. Although not in foal this year, Goldikova will be represented in upcoming seasons by the yet-raced Carlos Laffon-Parias trained pair Goldistyle (Dubawi) and Lehman (Galileo) where her legacy could continue.