'Heartbroken': Racing world rocked after defending champ's death

·Sports Reporter
Glen Boss (pictured) riding Sir Dragonet.
Horse Sir Dragonet died after track work ahead of Mooney Valley. (Getty Images)

The 2020 Cox Plate winner Sir Dragonet has died after a track work injury one week out from defending his crown.

One of the stars of the Australian turf since arriving from Ireland for last year's spring carnival, Sir Dragonet broke down during an early morning gallop at Moonee Valley.

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The valuable entire was having his final piece of serious work heading into a defence of his Cox Plate crown at the racetrack next week.

"It is with great sadness to report that Cox Plate champion Sir Dragonet has been euthanised after tragically breaking down in a track gallop this morning," the Moonee Valley Racing Club confirmed in a statement.

Ben Allen riding Sir Dragonet during a warm up gallop before breaking down during a trackwork session at Moonee Valley Racecourse on October 16, 2021.
Ben Allen riding Sir Dragonet during a warm up gallop before breaking down during a trackwork session at Moonee Valley Racecourse on October 16, 2021. (Photo by Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images)

Co-trainer Ciaron Maher released a statement confirming the 'heartbreaking' news.

“We‘re heartbroken to announce that Sir Dragonet has broken down during a piece of work at Moonee Valley this morning and was euthanised on course,” Ciaron Maher Racing said in a statement.

“In the year that the Dragon has been in our care, he has won our hearts with his exploits both on and off the track.

“Our condolences go out to his owners, connections and all who cared for this wonderful horse.

“It has left a hole in our hearts but we‘re forever thankful for our time with him and he will forever remain a Cox Plate champion.”

Sir Dragonet's Cox Plate win

Maher was at Moonee Valley as Sir Dragonet was one of 18 horses scheduled to go through their paces ahead of the Cox Plate carnival.

The horse reportedly faltered 800m into his gallop.

Sir Dragonet started his racing career in Ireland out of the all-conquering stable of Aiden O'Brien before his sale to an Australian ownership group last year.

The syndicate struck immediate pay dirt when Sir Dragonet won the $5 million Cox Plate at his first Australian start for Maher and his training partner David Eustace.

Sir Dragonet ran sixth in the Melbourne Cup at his next outing and returned in the autumn to win a Group One race in Sydney.

He was on target to run well again in the Cox Plate after two lead-in races when finishing close-up each time behind boom horse Incentivise.

with AAP

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