02/25/2013 4:09PM

Hernando, European classic winner and sire, dies at 23


European classic winner and sire Hernando died Friday of a heart attack at Lanwades Stud in Newmarket, England. He was 23.

The French-bred son of Niniski was a multiple Group 1 winner in France, and was graded or group stakes-placed in Ireland, Japan, and the U.S. during his three-year racing career, when he won seven of 20 starts for earnings of $2,081,978. His biggest victories came in the Group 1 Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby) and the Prix Lupin, both in 1993.

Homebred by the Niarchos family, Hernando was out of the Group 3-winning Miswaki mare Whakilyric, and was a half-brother to Group 1 winner and Grade 2 winner Johann Quatz, Grade 3-placed stakes winner Res Judicata, and stakes winners Walter Willy and Adnaan.

Hernando sired 16 crops during his stallion career, with 361 lifetime winners, 55 stakes winners, and 22 graded or group stakes winners through February 25 for total earnings of $33,366,260.

His top progeny are led by Sulamani, a Grade/Group 1 winner in the U.S., England, France, Canada, and the United Arab Emirates, who racked up lifetime earnings of $5,252,368 and went on to be a global Group 1-producing sire in his own right.

Other leading runners include Group 1 winners Casual Conquest, Look Here, Holding Court, and Rainbow Peak, and the sire also had success with several accomplished steeplechase horses. One of Hernando’s last performers on the world stage, Gitano Hernando, captured the Grade 1 Goodwood Stakes at Santa Anita in 2009 and subsequently won the Group 1 Singapore Airlines International Cup in 2011.

"Hernando had been retired from his stud duties since the close of the 2011 stud season and his final produce are now yearlings,” Kirsten Rausing of Lanwades Stud told Racing Post. “He was a most charming character, always kind and co-operative, and he is very sadly missed by us all at Lanwades.”

Hernando was buried at Lanwades next to another of the farm’s top international sires, Selkirk, who died in January.