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World Champion Sprinter Bivouac retired

Mike Hedge

Bivouac, the best southern hemisphere son of the world's best juvenile sire Exceed And Excel, retires from a successful racing career a ‘happy and sound horse’, celebrating a career which spanned three seasons. He accumulated seven Stakes victories, including three G1s and was named World Champion Sprinter of 2020 plus crowned Champion three-year-old.

While his place as the highest-rated short-course runner of the year on the official world rankings is a suitable honour, numbers alone fail to capture the greatness of a horse whose best performances were breathtakingly dominant.

Neither do they demonstrate the toughness of a horse who ended his career in last Saturday’s G1 TJ Smith Stakes as sound as he was when he finished second in his first start in a Randwick two-year-old event in October 2018.

Two runs after his debut, Bivouac opened his winning account in the Listed Lonhro Plate at Warwick Farm, scoring the first of his seven wins and setting him on a path that reaped three G1 victories and A$5.6 million in prize money.

A son of Darley’s inimitable Exceed And Excel, Bivouac retires as the best by a sire who has had more than 1,500 winners and is the world’s leading producer of two-year-olds.

Bivouac followed his Warwick Farm win with fourth in the G2 Todman Stakes, before landing the G3 Kindergarten, beating the very good filly Libertini and stablemate Athiri in a style that was to become familiar.

Trainer James Cummings duly sent the colt for a winter spell, bringing him back to run in the G3 Vain Stakes at Caulfield, a race which confirmed he was to become something special.

Bivouac won the Caulfield race by four and a quarter lengths, showing a scintillating turn of foot that put the result beyond doubt in a couple of strides.

Two weeks later he was back in Sydney for the G3 San Domenico Stakes in which another Exceed And Excel colt, Exceedance handled the heavy track best with Bivouac finishing in second place.

That was the beginning of a rivalry that continued for three more starts.

The first Bivouac-Exceedance rematch came in the G2 Run To The Rose with the Godolphin colt consigning his adversary into third place, with subsequent Everest winner Yes Yes Yes splitting the pair.

Bivouac repeated the dose in the G1 Golden Rose, again beating Yes Yes Yes and Exceedance..

Returning to racing as an autumn three-year-old, Bivouac was set for Australia’s best handicap sprint, the G1 Newmarket Handicap, and he won it in a style as dominant as had been seen in decades. In winning this great race, Bivouac was also emulating his outstanding sire, who took the Newmarket Handicap himself at three.

But the horse Cummings declared to be the best he’d trained wasn’t done with.

The trainer set Bivouac for a brief spring campaign that was to include the world’s richest race on turf, The Everest at Randwick, and the G1 Darley Sprint Classic over the Flemington “straight six”.

In The Everest he ran into Classique Legend, a horse who came to Randwick that day in October in extraordinary form  -  Bivouac was the only horse capable of making a race of it.

Finishing behind Bivouac were high-class performers such as stablemate Trekking, Santa Ana Lane, Gytrash and Nature Strip - all G1 winners – as well subsequent G1 winner Eduardo.

Revenge for that defeat was to be swift as Bivouac returned to the scene of his previous G1 win at Flemington for the G1 Darley Sprint Classic.

Again, he faced off against a field of immense class, and again he trounced them. Bivouac put in a carbon copy of his Newmarket win, bounding clear to win by three and a quarterlengths from Nature Strip and Libertini.

That was to be his final victory with the decision to retire the four-year-old coming after his TJ Smith run last Saturday.

“He’s telling us that he’s now ready to head off to stud,” said trainer James Cummings who on Monday described Bivouac as retiring “a sound and happy horse”.

“We can now look back on his huge performances, like the easy victories he had over those same horses in the spring of last year.”

“Everything that he achieved is the hallmark of an absolute superstar and I think he’s capable of following in the footsteps of Exceed And Excel himself,” he said.

“He was his best son on the racetrack and hopefully he will become his best son at stud.”

Bivouac will be one of four new stallions joining Darley’s Australian roster for 2021, along with the European trio and fellow Godolphin Champions Ghaiyyath, Pinatubo and Earthlight.