Grand Lodge (GB) - Pride of Tahnee
Shogun Lodge was unlucky to not have a far more impressive record than what initially reads on paper. Although he has now won the George Main Stakes, the Epsom Handicap and the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Group 1 level, he's run second on no less than 10 occasions in Group 1 races. A nice looking chestnut gelding, with the same sire as English champion 3yo Sinndar (who won the Arc and the Epsom Derby) and Grandera (3rd to Northerly in the 2002 Cox Plate), Shogun Lodge always tended to get back in his races, and therefore needed a decent pace and some luck in running to win. He's was hoverer one of the most honest horses I've had the pleasure of photographing, but his racing style cost him more big races than it won him. He always possessed a brilliant turn of foot, but really needed a firm track to produce his best, with his trainer Bob Thomsen finally being left in the unfortunate circumstance of eventually having to withdraw the horse if it rained.
As a 2 year old he won the Pago Pago Stakes, and was third in the Golden Slipper. As a 3 year old he won the George Main Stakes (defeating the great Sunline), and the Tulloch Stakes, but then was second in the VRC and AJC Derby. As a 4 year old he was considered a real chance in the Cox Plate, and looked right on track after winning the Epsom Handicap, and then running second to Sky Heights in the Caulfield Stakes, but he struck a track that did not suit him at all, and ran one of the worst races of his life, finishing at the tail of the field, with fellow abject failures Tie the Knot and Sky Heights. The Cox Plate that year was won by Sunline by an astounding 7 lengths! Shogun Lodge also travelled to Hong Kong, but while Sunline covered herself in glory in the mile, the gelding performed courageously, but found the top level gallopers just a bit beyond him.
In the autumn of 2001 he ran some good races, including an excellent second to the 3 year old Assertive Lad in the Doncaster Handicap, before finally winning another long overdue Group 1 race in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes. His 2001 spring campaign was cut short by a minor injury, but he did again travel to Hong Kong. In the autumn of 2002 he was again been the Group 1 bridesmaid, with a head second to Lord Essex in the George Ryder, and again he found Sunline too good when he failed by a head to reel in the mare in the Doncaster Handicap. He was expected to win the Queen Elizabeth Stakes, but ran at the tail of the field, and apparently had an irregular heart reading, which proved to be an ominous warning of what was to follow..
Shogun Lodge was not really on the scene again until the spring of 2003 when he resumed very late in the season with an exhilarating performance to win first up at Randwick. He then came to Melbourne and ran a close 3rd in the last race on Derby Day before he tragically collapsed and died during the running of the Group 1 Emirates Stakes on the final day of the VRC's Melbourne Cup carnival. He had won a staggering $4.6m, 3 Group 1s, and was 2nd in more than 10 Group 1 races. It was a tragic end to a truly courageous little horse, and one that I felt keenly. I will endeavour to go through my library to put some more photographs up of the horse, as 4 photographs definitely does not do him justice.
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