(CNN)One of racing's greatest rivalries met for the last time at the Irish Champion Stakes on Saturday, ending in a thrilling head-to-head showdown as Roaring Lion edged out Saxon Warrior and claimed victory.
Roaring Lion claims victory at Irish Champion Stakes
It was the pair's sixth meeting -- with Roaring Lion the favorite to win the 10-furlong feature on day one of Longines Irish Champions Weekend.
Prior to the race, Saxon Warrior's jockey Ryan Moore was forced to dash across the track at Leopardstown with only minutes to spare after flying in by helicopter from Yorkshire, England to Ireland after securing victory with Kew Gardens at the St Leger Stakes in Doncaster.
Saxon Warrior got off to a flying start but Roaring Lion jockey Oisin Murphy kicked the three-year-old colt into gear and narrowed the gap between the two with just 200 yards to go.
Roaring Lion eventually crossed the winning line by a neck, totaling the score to four wins out of six against Saxon Warrior.
It was Murphy's first success at an Irish Group One race and he told reporters much of Saturday was "learning on the job."
"I had the right horse and this win in my home country means the world to me," he said. "The complexion of the race changed a few times. Saxon Warrior had first run on us but once my horse balanced out after the bend I always thought I'd get there."
The race turned out to be Saxon Warrior's last, after trainer Aiden O'Brien confirmed the three-year-old colt was retiring after badly damaging a tendon during the race on Saturday.
O'Brien told RTE Racing that there was a "significant tear" in the colt's core tendon.
"It's a big pity," O'Brien said of the thoroughbred's retirement. "Coming in this year, I thought he was a horse that had a chance of winning the Triple Crown."
Saxon Warrior's career has been a successful one, after winning the 2,000 Guineas earlier this year and both the Beresford Stakes and Racing Post Trophy in 2017.
Both colts have been hailed the best in their field, with Roaring Lion named the top-rated British-trained two-year-old colt of 2017 and Saxon Warrior one of the best colts of his generation in Europe.
Next month, the world's richest race on turf takes place at the Prix de l'Arc de Triomph, a highlight of France's sporting and cultural calendar.
British and Irish-trained horses have dominated previous years, with Roaring Lion's British trainer, John Gosden winning the the Arc in 2017 with Enable and 2015 with Golden Horn and Saxon Warrior's Irish trainer, O'Brien, leading Found to victory in 2016.