One of Australia’s biggest sporting and cultural events, the Melbourne Cup, has been marred by the deaths of two horses that raced in the world-famous event yesterday.
Admire Rakti, the Japanese-owned horse that was the pre-race favourite to win, pulled up in the final turn and died in the stalls soon after the race.
Hours later another horse, Araldo, was euthanised after breaking its leg in a freak accident just after the race, in which the horse was startled by a racegoer waving a flag and the animal got itself caught in a fence, breaking its leg.
The animal was taken to a veterinary hospital for treatment but was later put down. Araldo’s trainer Michael Moroney described the incident as a “tragic accident”.
“It’s shattering for my owners, my staff and myself. We have just lost a great young stayer who was lightly raced and had just run seventh in the Cup. My staff are shattered. Everyone here is sticking together. We don’t blame anyone,” he said.
Terry Bailey, Racing Victoria chief steward, said Admire Rakti died after collapsing on returning to the stalls.
“Obviously there will have to be an autopsy done and the vets are with it now,” Bailey said.
“The autopsy will tell the story. It will be done at Werribee. That’s the normal procedure for any horse. We’ll see what that brings up and whether that’s natural causes.”
Admire Rakti was the $6 favourite to win when the race got underway.
There have now been three horse deaths in two years at the world-famous event, which carried prize money of $6 million this year and is known as “the race that stops the nation”.
Last year, cup runner Verema was put down after breaking a leg during the race.
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