By Julio Guimaraes
He is indestructible and well on his way to becoming a legend. That’s Miriñaque as his owner Alberto ‘Tatino’ Ibañez would have him defined. The South American bred 6yo full son of Hurricane Cat is the most international horse on the continent. Jetsetting around the world in aeroplanes is part of his life and he has secured thousands of air miles already - in kilometres that’s actually more than 65,000, which is more than any other racehorse.
MORE TO COME?
A good looking grey, Miriñaque has run in four countries apart from his native Argentina. He’s done two trips to Saudi Arabia for its prestigious Saudi Cup meeting and to make a bid for the Red Sea Turf Handicap, competed at four different race tracks - Gulfstream Park, Aqueduct, Keeneland and Del Mar - in the United States, he made an appearance at Meydan Racecourse as well in March for the Group 2 Dubai Gold Cup and has also run in neighbouring Uruguay at Maronas.
But there could be more to come from him, especially in the international arena with his connections keen to ship him as they seek a global prize now that he has won the Grade 1 Gran Premio Dardo Rocha over a mile and a half trip.What’s notable about this particular victory is that it was gained in a race against much younger rivals and with Miriñaque stepping into the gates with the odds stacked massively against him.
A close second in the race last year, he placed the runner up yet again in the Grade 1 Gran Premio Carlos Pellegrini at an Isidro before travelling to Riyadh’s King Abdulaziz Racecourse for his second attempt at the Group 3 Red Sea Turf Handicap over a mile and seven furlongs, which ended up with him finishing sixth in a field of 14.
NO MEYDAN LUCK
He didn’t find much luck at Meydan when bidding for the Group 2 Dubai Gold Cup and ran in 11th among the 13 that lined up. Miriñaque has been a different horse since returning home and has won four races on the bounce now, including two Grade 1s. Last week’s success in the Gran Premio Dardo Rocha was his second top level triumph after his victory in the Gran Premio General San Martin at Palermo in September.
His trainer Maria Cristina Muñoz wants to continue crossing borders with him and his Brazilian partner in the saddle, Fernandez Gonçalves will be only too happy to link up with him overseas particularly since he’s starting to show truly good and enduring form. Fernandez carried the whip merely as decoration during the Dardo Rocha and never ended up using it. Lagarto Boy was at the helm of affairs when Miriñaque made his bid for success.
They had already gone 10 furlongs in 30° heat with the real feel of the track making conditions even more testing, but La Plata’s long straight running up to the finish aided Miriñaque and he finished with four lengths to spare from Lagarto Boy. It was Fernandez’s third straight victory in the race.
And he said: “At the turn, I was scared because Miriñaque was overtaken by other horses, but as soon as I asked him for an effort he advanced with great force.” Miriñaque was bestowed with the 2019 Horse of the Year Award for his achievements in Argentina and is considered a horse of the people, with his fan base swelling since his famous victory in the 2019 Argentine Derby and his twice runner-up finish in the Grade 1 Carlos Pellegrini, the most important race in South America.
So many things have happened in the life of Miriñaque that it is hard to believe he is only six. Muñoz has managed to keep him at his most competitive for a long time and was justly awarded the ‘Best Trainer’ title in 2019. Coincidentally that happens to be one of the most vital years in the career of Miriñaque. They do indeed owe each other a lot.