The Melbourne Cup has been rocked by tragedy with the news that David Elsworth’s Wunderwood has been put down after a training mishap at Mornington racecourse in Melbourne.
The seven-year-old, formerly in the care of Lady Herries, sustained a serious injury to his near pastern while warming up for a gallop and the decision was made to put the horse down.
“Wunderwood went for a gallop at Mornington racecourse, (and) just in the warm-up he faltered and unfortunately broke his near pastern, multiple fractures,” said Racing Victoria director of racing operations Leigh Jordan.
“I have spoken to David (Elsworth) and just basically he said it was multiple fractures, the horse was in a lot of pain, the right decision was to put the horse down.”
Elsworth was understandably distraught and told www.racingvictoria.net.au:
“I hoped he’d pulled a shoe off at the time but we were fearful that it was something worse and I’m afraid it was,”
“It’s the worst kind of thing that can happen,” said Elsworth. “We live with these horses and we get very close to them. It’s upsetting and it’s like losing a friend or a member of the family.”
Jordan dismissed suggestions that overnight rain in Melbourne, which is currently in the grip of a dry spell, had contributed to the mishap.
“The trainer had a look at the track yesterday, it had a great grass cover. There are local horses galloping there as there normally are. There’s no problem with the track condition. It’s just one of those things that happen.”
The incident is a sad postscript for connections, who Jordan estimated had spent close to A 150,000 in their quest to win the Cup with Wunderwood.
“They’ve come a long way from overseas. They’ve spent a lot of money to come here to run in a Melbourne Cup so it’s pretty disappointing,” Jordan said.
“As a horse trainer those sorts of things happen a lot. He (Elsworth) is extremely disappointed.”
Wunderwood was among a record 50 horses vying for a place in Australia’s richest and most famous race following the third round of acceptances.
The final field of 24 hoses will be decided after Saturday’s last qualifying race at Flemington.