07/31/2013 10:36AM

Leading Australian freshman sire Northern Meteor dead


Leading Australian freshman sire Northern Meteor died Tuesday at Widden Stud in New South Wales following a severe bout of colic, Racing Post reports.

The 7-year-old Encosta De Lago horse was set to be crowned Australia's champion freshman sire for the season, which concludes July 31.

"We're all still in a state of shock," Widden Stud owner Antony Thompson said. "Northern Meteor suffered a severe bout of colic that required surgery 18 months ago, but has been in perfect health since then, so this has come completely out of left field.

From his first crop, Northern Meteor sired 18 winners, including three stakes winners and five stakes-placed runners, for progeny earnings of $1,841,626 through July 30. His crowning accomplishment of the season came on June 8, as his son Romantic Touch outlasted previously undefeated Zoustar to capture the Group 1 J.J. Atkins Stakes (previously the T.J. Smith), giving their sire a one-two finish.

Northern Meteor, who raced as a homebred for Gooree Stud, won three of nine career starts, including the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Ascot Vale Stakes. Out of the stakes-placed Fappiano mare Explosive, he was a half-brother to two stakes winners.