'Tough to watch': Melbourne Cup rocked by devastating tragedy

Andrew Reid
·5-min read
Seen here, Anthony Van Dyck could be seen pulling up lame towards the end of the race.
Anthony Van Dyck pulled up lame towards the end of the Melbourne Cup. Pic: Racing.com

The Melbourne Cup has been rocked after one of the pre-race favourites had to be put down in a horrific aftermath to the race.

Twilight Payment gave owner Lloyd Williams a seventh triumph in the Race That Stops a Nation after finishing first ahead of Tiger Moth and Prince of Arran.

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However, attention soon turned to Anthony Van Dyck after the race after it emerged that the horse broke down with what appeared to be a broken leg.

The Epsom Derby winner went into the Melbourne Cup as the top-rated horse in the field but things took a grim turn in the final few hundred metres.

Jockeyed by Aussie great Hugh Bowman, the horse pulled up lame on the final stretch and had to be loaded into an ambulance at the track.

It emerged afterward that the horse was humanely euthanised after sustaining a fracture to his fetlock.

The tragic death is the second time trainer Aiden O'Brien has experienced such horrific scenes, with the Cliffsofmoher euthanised after an incident in the 2018 Cup.

Users on social media were left devastated by the awful news.

Nick Williams, a part-owner of the winner Twilight Payment, said he was devastated to learn that Anthony Van Dyck, owned by global thoroughbred power Coolmore, couldn't be saved.

"I want to send send out all my sympathies to the team Coolmore," he told Racing.com.

"They put a huge amount of money into out sport.

"They take their best horses everywhere in the world and they've had this bad luck with such a great horse Anthony Van Dyck today.

"I just feel terrible for them. It's a shocking thing to happen at anytime."

Anthony Van Dyck raced 19 times in five countries and collected five other wins to go alongside his English Derby triumph.

Anthony Van Dyck is seen here after winning the Epsom Derby.
The Epsom Derby winner went into the Melbourne Cup at top weight. Pic: Getty

Cup day rocked by latest death

Racing Victoria's integrity chief Jamie Stier confirmed the tragic turn of events in a statement shortly after the race.

"It is with sadness that we confirm that Anthony Van Dyck had to be humanely euthanised after sustaining a fractured fetlock during the running of the Melbourne Cup at Flemington," Stier said.

"The horse received immediate veterinary care, however he was unable to be saved due to the nature of the injury sustained.

"Our sympathies are extended to the owners of Anthony Van Dyck, trainer Aidan O'Brien and all his staff who cared for the horse and are greatly saddened by their loss."

Stier admitted that an investigation would be conducted into the horse's death by the Integrity Services team.

"The fatality report gives consideration to the circumstances of the incident and any potential learnings to assist in the prevention of similar injuries in the future," he said.

The report will include the findings of a post-mortem which will now be conducted by the University of Melbourne Veterinary Clinic and we expect it will be several weeks before we have a completed report for consideration."

Anthony Van Dycks's death is the latest in a growing list of tragedies to rock the Melbourne Cup over the last decade.

The international stayer is the seventh horse to have died on race day since 2013, with all of them foreign gallopers.

RECENT MELBOURNE CUP DEATHS

2013: Verema (France)

2014: Admire Rakti (Japan), Araldo (Great Britain)

2015: Red Cadeaux (Great Britain)

2017: Regal Monarch (Great Britain) - died in Race 4 on Cup Day

2018: The Cliffsofmoher (Ireland)

2020: Anthony Van Dyck (Ireland)

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