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Rausing pays tribute after death of Niniski.

KIRSTEN Rausing, owner of Lanwades Stud in Newmarket, yesterday paid tribute to Niniski following the announcement that the dual Classic winner, champion first-season sire and successful sire of sires has been put down.

Niniski spent his entire stud career at Lanwades, which is now home to his son Hernando.

Rausing said: "It is entirely to Niniski that I owe the success of Lanwades Stud. I will be forever grateful to him."

A $90,000 yearling purchase at Saratoga in 1977, Niniski was by Nijinsky out of the Tom Rolfe mare Virginia Hills.

On his arrival in this country he nearly died of pneumonia and was late going into training with Dick Hern, meaning he managed just one outing as a juvenile.

It was a different story as a three-year-old, with Niniski carrying Lady Beaverbrook's colours to victory in the Group 2 Geoffrey Freer Stakes before his Classic double in the Irish St Leger and the Prix Royal-Oak.

As a four-year-old he added wins in the Group 2 John Porter Stakes and Group 3 Ormonde Stakes.

Niniski was partially syndicated towards the end of 1980, with Lady Beaverbrook retaining a majority interest and Kirsten Rausing taking a quarter share.

In 1984, to the surprise of most people, he overcame the opposition of such stallions as Kris, Ela-Mana-Mou, Thatching and Final Straw to head the list of first-season sires, a feat which he accomplished with the assistance of Dewhurst Stakes victor Kala Dancer and the smart Petoski, a Listed winner first time out.

Petoski went on to King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes glory the following year, beating Oh So Sharp, Law Society and Rainbow Quest, respectively winners of the fillies' Triple Crown, the Irish Derby, and the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. Niniski's stud fee, which had been pounds 5,000 initially, rose to pounds 40,000.

Although his opportunities were restricted by Lady Beaverbrook's reluctance to let him cover more than 51 mares in a season, Niniski got further celebrities in Hernando (Prix du Jockey-Club), Minster Son (St Leger), Lomitas (Grosser Preis von Baden, Preis von Europa), Caitano (Gran Premio del Jockey Club), Louis Cyphre (Mervyn LeRoy Handicap) and Assessor (Prix Royal-Oak).

Hernando was the leading commercial first-season sire at Europe's 1998 yearling sales, while Lomitas is the sire of Sumitas, runaway German champion two-year-old of 1998.

Niniski has been buried at Lanwades, beside his half-lifesize bronze likeness by Philip Blacker.

Hern called Niniski "as game and genuine as any horse I ever handled," and reflected: "He was also very sound and easy to train."
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Title Annotation:Sports
Author:Morris, Tony
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Feb 19, 1999
Previous Article:Top stallion Thatching put down.
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