Melbourne Cup avoids major incident as disturbing image of horse comes to light

Racing Victoria stewards have confirmed that all 23 horses who took part in the Melbourne Cup are fine.

The Sam Freedman-trained Rejuvenated, pictured here before the Melbourne Cup.
The Sam Freedman-trained Rejuvenated died at Flemington just days before the Melbourne Cup. Image: Getty/Supplied

Stewards have confirmed that all 23 horsed who took part in the Melbourne Cup have escaped serious injury, however a devastating photo has come to light of a horse that died at Flemington just days prior. There were concerns after Tuesday's race for Right You Are and Gold Trip, with the former failing to finish the 3200m event.

Both were reported to have pulled up lame, as did Alenquer, but all three horses are said to be fine. Jockey John Allen, who rode Right You Are, revealed he pulled the horse up and jumped off before the end of the race because he knew something wasn't right.

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“We settled in a nice spot but we were struggling from a long way out and I pulled him up because he lost his action turning into the straight," he said. "I felt he may have just choked down. He was struggling to breathe but I jumped off him and once he got his breath back he walked off OK, so hopefully he’s OK.”

Gold Trip, who won the Melbourne Cup last year, reportedly struggled on the firm track but was also fine. Damien Radcliffe of The Age reported after the race: “All 23 horses have got around safely, despite the race being strongly-run in warm conditions. There were also no whip breaches or instances of interference in the race.”

Photo comes to light after horse dies at Flemington

However the same can't be said of two-year-old horse Rejuvenated, who died on the track at Flemington last week - just days before the Melbourne Cup carnival began. The Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses posted a photo of Rejuvenated "lying lifeless" on the track after it collapsed during a 'jump out' practice run.

The Coalition had been sent the photo by a person watching the incident from their apartment nearby. "They tended to the jockey first and he walked to the ambulance," the person said. "The horse ran on a little after the jockey had come off then collapsed and didn't move. I was shocked to see how quickly they took his body away and the [jump outs] continued."

On Tuesday, Racing Victoria confirmed Rejuvenated's death. “The filly was attended to by veterinarians, however she was unable to be saved due to the nature of the injury she sustained," a spokesperson said.

"Her rider was cleared of any serious injuries. RV extends its condolences to the owners of Rejuvenated, trainers Anthony and Sam Freedman, and their stable staff who cared for the horse.”

Rejuvenated on the track at Flemington.
Rejuvenated collapsed and died during a jump out at Flemington. Image: Supplied

According to the Coalition, 168 horses have died during or after races this year. Seven horses have died on Melbourne Cup day in the last 10 years, although the last three iterations have been incident free.

Racing Victoria has increased safety and screening measures in recent years to ensure horses with any sort of niggle aren't allowed to race. According to a statement on the Victoria Racing Club website: “Equine welfare always has and always will be paramount to the VRC. The safety of the horses, along with all racing participants and racegoers, is our absolute number one priority.

“The VRC and the broader racing community continues to make significant investments in research and technology to advance safety and reductions in injuries in training and races. In 2021 we worked in conjunction with Racing Victoria to announce 41 new measures for the Spring Racing Carnival and the Melbourne Cup, including some of the world’s most stringent pre-travel and pre-race veterinary screening processes. These have been revised and extended and will continue to be reviewed to ensure that Victoria sets the global bar for safety in horse racing.”

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