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Mick Kinane recalled fond memories of a “wonderful horse” after the death was announced of Giant’s Causeway at the age of 21.

Kinane, who rode Vintage Crop to Melbourne Cup success in 1993, knew the former Aidan O’Brien inmate better than anyone, having been at the helm for 12 of his 13 career starts in an extraordinary career.

He told Press Association Sport: “He loved racing, and he loved getting in a scrap.

“It’s a sad day, but I’ve got some great memories of him. He was such a good horse and as tough as nails.

“He was called the ‘Iron Horse’ for a reason. They certainly named him right. It was on the money.”

Giant’s Causeway died on Monday night at his Kentucky birthplace, Ashford Stud. He had been suffering from “a brief illness”, Coolmore said in a statement.

The brilliant six-time Group One winner was never out of the first two in his racing career, and went unbeaten as a juvenile in 1999.

Even better was to come as he rattled off five consecutive Group One triumphs – in the St James’s Palace Stakes, the Coral-Eclipse, the Sussex Stakes, the Juddmonte International and the Irish Champion Stakes – as a three-year-old.

His final outing came in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs when, on what his first start on dirt, he was agonisingly denied by Tiznow in an epic encounter.

Kinane said: “At the time, that was tough to take, but Tiznow did the same thing the following year in the race, when he looked like he was beaten and battled back.”

The former jockey added: “Aidan had a phenomenal bunch of horses, with the likes of Galileo and Rock Of Gibraltar, but he was a wonderful horse and a hell of a sire.”

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