Irish horse The Cliffsofmoher has been euthanased on the Flemington track after sustaining an injury to its shoulder during the Melbourne Cup.
It suffered the injury early in the race and quickly fell behind the field, failing to finish. As the remaining 23 horses passed the post, The Cliffsofmoher received medical attention before vets determined it was “unable to be saved”.
“This was an unfortunate incident that happens infrequently, with Victoria having one of the best safety records in world racing,” a Racing Victoria statement read.
“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.”
The horse’s trainer, Aidan O’Brien, said he was relieved jokey Moore was unharmed.
“Unfortunately these things can happen to a horse galloping around the field at home,” he said.
“It’s very sad. It could have been worse, Ryan [Moore] could have taken a fall off him, someone could have been seriously injured.”
The news sparked an instant and angry reaction from animal welfare organisations and protesters alike.
RSPCA tweet: The Cliffsofmoher becomes the 6th horse to die as a result of the #melbournecup since 2013. Highlights the very real risks to horses from racing.
Animals Australia tweet: The CliffsofMoher’s shoulder broke early on in the race. He was killed on the track. RIP to another beautiful horse. He was 5 years old. #MelbourneCup #LoveHorsesNotracing #NuptotheCup #HorseRacingKills
The Cliffsofmoher is the latest horse to have died on Melbourne Cup day in recent years, joining Verema (euthanased on track in 2013), Admire Rakti (suffered a heart attack in his stall in 2014), Araldo (euthanased after breaking his leg post-race in 2014), Red Cadeaux (euthanased two weeks after falling in 2015) and Regal Monarch (euthanased after a fall in Race Four of 2017).