The 2018 Melbourne Cup was hit with tragedy just minutes after the main race when a star horse had to be put down by vets following a serious injury on the track.
The CliffsofMoher was seen suddenly veering off and stopping during the high-speed race just 1000m from the starting line due to a fractured right shoulder.
“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,” Racing Victoria’s Executive General Manager – Integrity Services, Jamie Stier, said in a statement.
“The horse received immediate veterinary care, however it was unable to be saved due to the nature of the injury sustained. This was an unfortunate incident that happens infrequently, with Victoria having one of the best safety records in world racing.
“Our sympathies are extended to Coolmore and the Williams family, the owners of The Cliffsofmoher, jockey Ryan Moore, trainer Aidan O’Brien and his staff who cared for the horse and are greatly saddened by their loss.”
RSPCA Australia was one of the first to tweet its shock at the incident, writing on Twitter: “We’re hearing The Cliffsofmoher suffered a fractured right shoulder and was euthanised in track.”
The star Irish galloper collapsed on the track prompting vets and emergency services to immediately attend to both horse and jockey Ryan Moore. Sadly there was nothing they could do for The Cliffsofmoher, but Moore is thought to be uninjured.
Racing.com’s Shane Anderson first shared the news on Twitter, writing: “Horrible news. The Cliffsofmoher suffered a fractured right shoulder when injured in the Melbourne Cup, unfortunately could not be saved. Thoughts with connections.”
Sheets and a tent were immediately put up to protect the horse and the tragic scene from shocked spectators, with some sharing photos online following the tragedy.
The Chairmen and Directors of the Victoria Racing Club (VRC) later extended their sympathies, with Flemington Racecourse tweeting their condolences, “To the Williams family and the connections of The CliffsofMoher, which was euthanised after he went amiss in the Melbourne Cup”.
It comes as the entire racecourse was hit with a downpour of rain on Tuesday, with crowds being forced to seek shelter inside.
While several races were pushed back at the start of the day, the event was able to catch up towards the end of the day.
Cross Counter was the final winner of the Melbourne Cup after a nail-biting final, taking the lead in the very last seconds of the home stretch. Meanwhile, second and third place went to Marmelo and A Prince Of Arran.