The chief steward requested a health check for favourite Admire Rakti before the Melbourne Cup was run yesterday.
Admire Rakti who died suddenly from a heart failure condition after yesterday’s 3200m race.
The horse’s death has caused a public outcry and RSPCA Australia has called for the Australian Racing Board to ban the whip in next year’s race.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Racing Victoria’s chief veterinarian Dr Brian Stewart checked the horse yesterday morning and found him to be healthy.
He described the check, which was done at the request of chief steward Terry Bailey, as nothing more than “chief steward paranoia”.
Mr Bailey agreed that he wanted the horse checked merely as a matter of best practice.
“I just felt it was our role – and duty bound – to make sure the public of Australia were protected. After all it was the favourite in the Cup, to just make doubly, triply make sure that the horse is OK,” he said.
The initial autopsy confirmed that horse died of a heart failure condition, which Dr Stewart said that was not uncommon and difficult to predict.
He also said that Admire Rakti probably didn’t feel much pain when he died, more likely the horse felt a “fainting” sensation.
What we previously reported:
This is the reality of professional horse-racing.
One of the geldings that ran in the Melbourne Cup this afternoon has died and another is fighting for its life.
Melbourne Cup favourite horse Admire Rakti has collapsed and passed away, five minutes after he finished last in the Melbourne Cup earlier today. He is believed to have suffered a heart attack and internal bleeding, though an autopsy is yet to be conducted.
Rakti was visibly weak and hobbling to the finish line during the race.
“Obviously there will have to be an autopsy done and the vets are with it now. He collapsed while they were unsaddling him back at the stalls,” Racing Victoria Chief Steward Terry Bailey said.
Another horse, Araldo, has shattered a cannon bone in his leg after a little boy waved a white flag in the horses face, causing him to jump the steel rail.
Araldo’s trainer Mike Moroney said veterinary surgeons are trying to save the horse’s life by inserting screws to mend the injury.
This will be the second year a horse has died following the Melbourne Cup.
While we’ve been drinking champagne, entering office sweepstakes, and yelling at pub TVs around the country – one animal has lost his life and another is in a critical condition.