The photograph of four-year-old The Cliffs of Moher, lying on his back, was shared following his premature death at approximately 3:30pm on a Tuesday afternoon, almost exactly one year ago today.
Agitated before the race even began, Seven commentator Richard Freedman remarked that he was “melting like an ice-cream, really sweating up badly”.
But when the gates flung open, he ran. Just like he’d been trained to.
He only made it to the first turn before he ‘broke down’, shattering his shoulder and collapsing before 100,000 spectators at Flemington Racecourse.
While some might have yelled, held their head in the hands for a moment and then flung their ticket across the stalls muttering ‘what a waste of money that was’, others knew exactly what this meant.
Veterinarians rushed to erect green tarp around the fallen horse, desperately trying to save him. But The Cliffs of Moher was never going to get better. He died at four years old, 15 years before his life expectancy.
The story, though somewhat predictable given the loss of six racehorses in six years at the Melbourne Cup, was widely shared among Australians who find the celebration barbaric.
Many publications, including this one, used one of the most recent photos of the horse to tell the story of what happened to him. But to many, it looks as though the photo was taken in The Cliffs of Moher's last moments, when he was injured and in pain.