Germany’s Protectionist won Australia’s biggest race the Melbourne Cup yesterday, but the event was marred by the deaths of two horses, including Japanese favourite Admire Rakti who came last.
Protectionist, beautifully ridden by English jockey Ryan Moore, beat England’s Red Cadeaux by four lengths, with New Zealand’s Who Shot Thebarman another half-length away in third.
Goldolphin’s Willing Foe came home in fifth with Cavalryman unable to race due to a swollen leg.
There was sadness in the aftermath as Admire Rakti collapsed and died in his stall upon returning from the track and later it was confirmed that another runner Araldo was put down after injuring himself when spooked by a flag being waved in the crowd.
“Our vets are on hand and the horse will undergo an autopsy,” chief race steward Terry Bailey said of Admire Rakti. “Obviously we’ll have to await those results to find out the cause of the death.”
Seventh-placed Araldo kicked out at a fence when returning to the mounting yard and injured a hind leg. Racing Victoria’s head of veterinary and equine welfare Brian Stewart said the horse fractured a unrepairable pastern bone.
The deaths shocked Flemington following Protectionist’s outstanding victory to become the sixth internationally-trained winner of Australia’s iconic race.
The Japanese topweight in the race had been well supported after a storming victory in the Caulfield Cup last month, and was up with the lead for most of the 3,200- metre (two mile) event. But as the seven-year-old galloper rounded the final bend he was noticeably under pressure.
Jockey Zac Purton furiously tried to maintain his position, only to drop back sharply through the field to finish 25 lengths behind the second-last horse.
Moore skilfully manoeuvred Protectionist into the clear about 200 metres from home and the five-year-old charged to the line for an easy victory in the 104th Melbourne Cup.
“He’s won very easily, a very good horse,” said a delighted Moore. “Obviously, it’s very special to win.”
Owner Andreas Wohler was also jubilant. “We’ve had great success all over the world but that’s the biggest of all,” he said.
He (Moore) was so patient. When he came around the last bend I said he just needs to have the right gap and he found it… Ryan is a superstar.
“It’s unbelievable. It’s a moment you won’t forget in your life. It’s a big achievement from our team.”
Purton said he was “just shattered” by the fate of Admire Rakti.
“He gave me such a great thrill there at Caulfield. They don’t deserve this,” he said.
“The whole way through the run I thought I’d win. I didn’t think they’d beat me from where I was,” Purton said.
But with 800 metres to go the horse was not responding and Purton began worrying that all was not well.
“I didn’t know it was as bad as it was,” he added.
It is the second consecutive year in which there was tragedy in the Melbourne Cup.
French mare Verema was put down after snapping a cannon bone in 2013.
The first race of the milestone 20th Dubai World Cup anniversary season gets underway on Thursday November 6 under the sponsorship of long time Meydan pillar partner, Emirates.
Emirates has been associated with the Dubai World Cup since the race was inaugurated in 1996, and the airline traditionally marks the opening meeting of the Meydan season by sponsoring the first card at the iconic track.
Emirates, a well-known supporter of horse racing in the UAE and abroad, also sponsors Super Saturday on March 7, 2015 and will be back at the track for the 20th running of the 10 Million USD Dubai World Cup on Saturday March 28, 2015.
The new dirt track at Meydan will be used for the first time, with all 6 of Thursday’s Thoroughbred races taking place on the recently-installed surface. The meeting is highlighted by two Emirates Airline Handicaps, both worth Dh120,000.
The first is a benchmark 95 contest over 1400m while the second is a benchmark 100 race and run over 1900m. “Emirates has a long and successful history of supporting horseracing which goes back over 20 years. We are the proud partner of the internationally renowned Godolphin Stable – the Maktoum family's private horseracing stable, which has produced some of the world’s highest calibre horses and jockeys.
We sponsor various races across the globe including the Melbourne Cup, The Emirates Singapore Derby and of course the Dubai World Cup,” said Sheikh Majid Al Mualla, Emirates’ Divisional Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations.
“Supporting events, such as the Dubai World Cup, is very important to us as it helps to promote Dubai as a premier sporting, business and tourism destination. We have no doubt that the success of previous years will be repeated as we head into another exciting Meydan racing season,” Sheikh Majid Al Mualla added.
Chairman of the Meydan Racing Committee, Malih Al Basti said: “The 20th season of the Dubai World Cup is a significant event, not only for the Meydan Group and Dubai Racing Club, but also for Dubai as a whole and the wider racing world. Emirates has been a partner of the Dubai World Cup since the 1996 beginnings of this famous race and it is with great pleasure that we welcome the airline back to our track for the start of this landmark season, 20 years later, we are very proud of our connection with this iconic Dubai brand and look forward to working with Emirates during our special anniversary season.”
Since the first flight took to the air in 1985, Emirates has become one of the fastest growing international airlines in the world based in Dubai, it operates a young, state-of-the-art fleet and has earned a reputation for innovation and top quality service, winning more than 500 international awards for excellence across its business operations.
Admission is free to the public areas of Meydan Racecourse, gates open at 5pm and the first race starts at 6:45pm.
For further details please contact: +971 4327 2110 or [email protected] Follow on Twitter via @DRC_Meydan or @DWC_Meydan or like Dubai Racing Club or Dubai World Cup on Facebook pages for behind-the-scenes news and pictures.
Horse racing resumed in the UAE yesterday afternoon with a six-race card at Jebel Ali where owner Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum enjoyed a double, highlighted by the victory of Fityaan in the featured 1,000 metre handicap.
Ridden by Dane O’Neill, the owner’s second retained jockey, the Musabah Al Muhairi-trained Fityaan was always travelling well and demolished his seven opponents.
O’Neill said: “This fellow has run some great races in defeat here at Jebel Ali – including two seconds in the Jebel Ali Sprint – so it was great everything fell right for him today.
“We actually missed the break a bit today but after that I was always happy.”
The jockey went on to complete a double for the owner with victory for the Erwan Charpy-trained Kahruman in the concluding 1,400m handicap.
The season started in perfect fashion for Champion Jockey Tadhg O’Shea, who made virtually all in the opening 1,950m handicap on the Doug Watson-trained Mizbah.
O’Shea said: “I was allowed to dictate the gallop and then he has really responded when I asked him.”
Mizbah’s victory was achieved at the expense of Street Act, seeking to win the first race of the season for the second year running for trainer Ali Rashid Al Rahie and stable jockey Royston Ffrench.
However, the Ffrench and Al Raihe combination wasted little time opening their seasonal account with the victory of Need To Know in a 1,600m handicap.
The other races on the card, a 1,000m maiden and a 1,200m handicap, were won by Marhi, trained by Mohd Ramadan and ridden by Carlos Sanchez, and Glenleven respectively. The latter was trained by Satish Seemar and ridden by stable jockey Richard Mullen.
The action continues at Sharjah this afternoon with a six-race card, including one Thoroughbred contest, a 2,000m handicap for which 12 have been declared.
Local debutant Estifzaaz, trained by Ali Rashid Al Raihe and the mount of Dane O’Neill appear an interesting contender with Shihab and Diwaan perhaps his biggest challengers.