Northern Meteor, leading first-crop sire in Australia, died suddenly July 30 from a "swift and fatal attack of colic," according to a release from Widden Stud on their website.

The 8-year-old son of Australian sire Encosta de LagoExplosive, by Fappiano raced as a homebred for Gooree Park Stud. He retired from racing to stand at Widden in 2009.

According to the statement by Widden's owner, Anthony Thompson, "Northern Meteor suffered a severe bout of colic requiring surgery 18 months ago, but has been in perfect health since then, so this has come completely out of left field.

"It came on very quickly this time at about 9 p.m. (July 30) and despite the very best of veterinary care, he died shortly after."

A group I winner of the 2008 Coolmore Stud Ascot Vale Stakes at Flemington, the Gai Waterhouse-trained Northern Meteor preceded that victory with record-setting performances at Australia's Randwick and Canterbury race courses. 

"He was a strong and noble horse that made a lasting impression on all who knew him and to say that we are shattered would be an understatement. It's devastating for Mr. Cojuangco (of Gooree), the team at Gooree, and everyone at Widden," added Thompson.

At the time of Northern Meteor's passing, his first crop of racing age had produced 18 winners with cumulative earnings of more than  Aus$1.8 million (about $1.6 million in U.S. funds). Among his exceptional crop he also counts three graded stakes winners: Romantic Touch, winner of the Patinack Farm J. J. Atkins T. J. Smith Stakes (Aus-I); Zoustar, who captured the Al Basti Equiworld BRC Sires Produce Stakes (Aus-II); and The Voice, who triumphed in the Sportingbet South Australian Sires Produce Stakes (Aus-III). 

On July 31, the last day of the racing year in the Southern Hemisphere, the freshman sire added another winner to his crop when 2-year-old Tarangower won his maiden at 1,400 meters (about seven furlongs). And to begin the new racing calendar as he completed the previous one, Northern Meteor was represented by a 20th winner in One Step Beyond, who captured his maiden victory in the Aug. 1 Tab.Com.Au Maiden Plate at 1,100 meters (about 5.5 furlongs).
 
But the victories are bittersweet as Thompson explains, "At a time when we expected to be sharing and celebrating his success and achievements as champion first season sire...we are instead mourning his death and wondering what might have been."

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