It's billed as 'a race that stops a nation'. It's one of those sports events you simply have to have on your bucket list. But this year The Melbourne Cup is tinged with sadness for Aidan O'Brien.
Sheikh Mohammed's Cross Counter - trained in Newmarket by Charlie Appleby under Kerrin McEvoy - won the 158th running of Australia's famous race. But The Cliffsofmoher, trained in Ballydoyle County Tipperary by Aidan O'Brien, suffered a fatal injury when breaking down early on.
It's never good when you see scenes like this.
— Jase Kemp (@jasetaylorkemp) November 6, 2018
The five-year-old Irish stallion , ridden by the English jockey Ryan Moore for Lloyd Williams, pulled up inside the first 600 metres after suffering a fractured shoulder.
— Racing.com (@Racing) November 6, 2018
Vets quickly attended to the Irish runner but nothing could be done to save the five-year-old stallion.
In a statement released by Victoria Racing, the sad news was confirmed.
“It is with sadness that we confirm that The Cliffsofmoher had to be humanely euthanised after sustaining a fractured right shoulder during the running of the Melbourne Cup at Flemington,” Executive General Manager Jamie Stier said.
“The horse received immediate veterinary care, however it was unable to be saved due to the nature of the injury sustained.''
The sixth horse to suffer that fate since 2013.
The RSPCA in Australia expressed it's sadness at the news.
“The tragedy is a stark reminder of the risks these horses face every time they run, and highlights that behind the gloss and glamour of Cup celebrations there is a dark reality,”
In the parade ring, Aidan's son Joseph told local media 'this is an accident that could have occured in a field at home.'
Cross Counter won the famous cup, the Charlie Appleby-trained stayer handing Australian jockey Kerrin McEvoy his third Cup triumph.
After turning into the straight among the tail-enders, Cross Counter finished with a withering burst down the outside to record a stunning win, outlasting another UK star, Marmelo. A Prince of Arran finished third making it a British 123.
— 7HorseRacing ðŸŽ (@7horseracing) November 6, 2018
There was no joy for O'Brien's 2 other horses in the race.
Rostropovich finished 5th and Yucutan came home 11th.
The Irish have had some great days at Flemington through Dermot Weld and the world being enraptured by the father and son battle there 12 months ago when Joseph landed the famous trophy.
A year ago his Dad's Johannes Vermeer was beaten just half a length into second place by Rekindling, trained by O’Brien’s son, Joseph.
That is why you need to savour those special days. In sport as in life there are no guarantees.