‘Cost can’t be a dead horse’
VETERAN sportscaster Gerard Whateley has weighed in on the Melbourne Cup as the heated debate surrounding the concerning death of The Cliffsofmoher continues.
The Irish stallion was put down trackside after breaking down 600m into the great race, leaving an ugly stain on Australian racing's biggest day.
The Cliffsofmoher was the sixth horse to be euthanised at the Melbourne Cup since 2013, a number far too high according to Whateley.
"The cost of running the Melbourne Cup each year can't be a dead horse," he said on SEN Wednesday morning.
"There are problems with yesterday. There are real issues out of yesterday's Melbourne Cup. It drains the enjoyment out of it immediately for me, even during the race. I don't have any easy answers, I can't be any more honest than that. There are no easy answers."
Racing Victoria Integrity chief Jamie Stier said he "wasn't worried" about the amount of deaths over the past six races, insisting track officials have adequate resources to take care of horses and dealt with Tuesday's tragedy under the spotlight well.
"I'm confident that we have the right resources in place to address the risks that confront us," he said on Whateley.
"I think that's one thing may well be lost on several people out there, is that the manner in which yesterday's incident was dealt with.
"We have a highly skilled expert team at Racing Victoria led by Grace Forbes, and I think the manner in which they dealt with The Cliffsofmoher incident yesterday in front of a big field, and a big field of people as well is to their credit."
Racing form analysis account TheProfits said the pre-race vetting procedure used to stamp out horses needed a complete review in itself.
The account, run by PuntingForm.com.au, also referenced the death of Hamada, who suffered a hind leg fracture in Melbourne earlier in the year. The Godolphin mare was on track to race at the Melbourne Cup and was the first of two horses to die this year.
Stier confirmed Racing Victoria would be conducting a full review as social media continued its plea for less horse deaths.
"We look at all the circumstances surrounding each fatality, and often they're very different," Stier continued.
"But regardless of that we'll continue to strive and identify any risks that we're aware of, to minimise those as part of our overall look at the carnival.
"But equally importantly, we're away from the Melbourne Cup itself, looking at the overall welfare of our horses."
WHY HORSES HAVE TO BE PUT DOWN
After breaking a bone while racing, horses can go on to develop laminitis, an inflammation of the foot that is extremely painful and causes instability.
Celebrity vet Dr Chris Brown said if forces came from a strange angle or a stress fracture was already present, the bone did not just gently break, it tragically exploded.
"Multiple, misshapen bone fragments are then left behind," he said.
"Fragments that then can't be pinned or plated back into place.
"The other issue is rest. Unlike a dog or cat, horses struggle to cope on three legs while one is mending. Nor can they lie down or be suspended on slings.
"That big body of theirs becomes susceptible to circulation problems and pressure sores if they're doing anything but standing on all four legs with their weight evenly supported."
- with Stephanie Bedo