Madigan, by Joshua Dancer (USA), owned by John Koumides, trained by Kirk Swanson, and ridden in his heyday by Quinton Riddle, won the Triple Crown in 2012 – the last of Zimbabwe’s Triple Crown winners, to date.
He raced until he was 10, and his 11 victories also included the Ipi Tombe Stakes. Truly one of Borrowdale Park’s super troupers, and still going strong.
Madigan was part of the first group of horses Kirk bought off the Two-Year-Old Sale in Johannesburg.
“He showed he was something special from early on but didn’t win his maiden straight away, as we had hoped. In hindsight, he met Control Freak who was very precocious and did very well over the sprint distances. Madigan came into himself as a three-year-old. We gelded him when he was a two-year-old and opted to race him once the rains had come in his three-year-old career.
“Of the Triple Crown races the hardest race for him was the Guineas. I was away at my best friend’s wedding, where I was his best man. Debs held the fort for me and Madigan duly obliged.
“He won the second leg very well, despite a few cat and mouse tactics from some of the opposition.
“Then came the Derby and judging by the local opposition we thought it would be a walk in the park, only to see at nomination stage that Lisa had imported two new horses. One of these was Alula Borealis and the other Eurosilver.
“The race was sponsored by FBC Bank that year and we were very excited at the prospect of having a Triple Crown winner. Then a curved ball was thrown in our direction as Madigan got a skin disease on his girth prior to the race. We had to try and clear this up and, at the same time, keep him in work.
RACING KEEPS YOU HUMBLE
“Quinton, who rode him, was a great horseman and always very confident which always helps as a trainer. Race day came and of course you always have nerves, despite knowing you have a good horse. Horse racing has a great way of keeping you humble.
“The race was run as we planned. Quinton positioned him mid-field and Madigan always settled well in a race. I can remember him turning into the straight a few lengths behind the leaders. Quinton set him alight and the result was never in doubt. He quickly reeled in the leaders and we were celebrating.
“Madigan won by 2.5 lengths, beating Thatwasblazing. I think I almost jumped on top of JK that day in my excitement. Quinton passed the post standing up in the irons and waving to the crowd. Madigan had won us the Triple Crown.”
Kirk has a Derby runner this year. Three To Tango was placed in both the Guineas and the Zimbabwe 2000 and will carry the stable’s hopes on Sunday.
Madigan remains in the Swanson yard, overseeing things probably, and hacking with Laura Kelly, to whom he is leased.