Tragedy has struck on the eve of the Golden Nugget with 1998 winner Saab dying after a night of severe thunderstorms at the horse’s home at Concorde Park Stud in Victoria.
Although the autopsy was inconclusive, Saab’s owner Terry Ferguson advised that the horse’s death may have been caused by a brain embolism.
The 15 year old was leased to Mick Lombardo and had remained at Concorde Park during his stud years.
With the largest crop of 54 foals from Saab’s first six stud seasons, Ferguson will be selling a number of the horse’s progeny at next year’s WA Yearling Sale.
Ferguson raced Saab in partnership with trainer Ross Olivieri who led the horse to 21 career wins and took home $577,197 in stakes.
Before retiring in December 2001, Saab managed to win several prominent races in the harness racing industry including the Group One Golden Slipper Stakes as a two year old, the WA Derby as a three year old and the Golden Nugget and WA Pacing Cup as a four year old.
Saab remains the only horse to win both the Golden Nugget and the WA Pacing Cup as a four year old and he was also only one of two Golden Nugget winners to be sired by a previous Golden Nugget winner with sire Classic Garry winning the race in 1983.
His best win is undeniably the WA Pacing Cup after Gloucester Park was hit by a storm and almost flooded the entire track.
Saab copped barrier nine and came out from last place in the last lap to beat NSW champion Our Sir Vancelot in terrible racing conditions.
During his stud days, Saab managed to sire a total of 52 winners and his success in producing winning foals is expected to continue despite his death.