Celtic Swing, Europe’s 1994 champion 2-year-old and a French classic winner the following year, died Sept. 4 in Italy after a bout of colitis, according to the Racing Post. The 18-year-old stallion had stood this year at Allevamento di Besnate in Italy.
As a 2-year-old, Celtic Swing won all three starts by a total of 24 lengths, including the Racing Post Trophy (Eng-I) by a record dozen lengths. Bookmakers quoted odds of 7-4 on him winning the Madagans Two Thousand Guineas (Eng-I) and odds of 3-1 on him capturing the Vodafone Derby Stakes (Eng-I).
Celtic Swing was assigned 130 pounds on the International Classifications. “To put it into context, his rating of 130 compares with the 130 of Holy Bull (North America’s Horse of the Year) and Balanchine (European filly champion), the two top-rated 3-year-olds on two continents,” said Geoffrey Gibbs, senior handicapper for the British Horseracing Board.
Celtic Swing’s 3-year-old season was bittersweet. Celtic Swing lost the Two Thousand Guineas by a nose, and didn’t contest the Derby Stakes, won by Lammtarra, Instead, owner Peter Savill chose to run him in the Prix du Jockey-Club les Emirates Arabes Unis (Fr-I, the French Derby), which he won. Celtic Swing ran once more, finishing unplaced in the Budweiser Irish Derby ((Ire-I), after which it was found that he had torn some ligaments. Attempts were made to return him to racing, but he was retired in the summer of 1996. He was retired with five wins from seven races and earnings of $777,299.
Celtic Swing (Damister--Celtic Ring, by Welsh Pageant) entered stud at the National Stud in England and shuttled to Australia. His 23 stakes winners include Australian and English champion sprinter Takeover Target and French champion Six Perfections, winner of the 2003 Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT).