Racehorse The CliffsofMoher Put Down After Suffering Fractured Shoulder in Melbourne Cup

November 6, 2018 Updated: November 6, 2018

The Irish racehorse The Cliffsofmoher has died after being injured in Australia’s most feted thoroughbred competition, dubbed “the race that stops the nation.”

The stallion was euthanized after fracturing his right shoulder during the first 600 metres of the 2018 Melbourne Cup at Flemington Racecourse on Nov. 6, Australia’s ABC news reported.

The death of the 5-year-old Irish racehorse, ridden by jockey Ryan Moore, cast a shadow over the 157th Melbourne Cup, where English thoroughbred Cross Counter triumphed.

The Irish stallion was the sixth horse to die in the annual event since 2013, according to The Guardian. The other horses included Verema, Admire Rakti, Araldo, Red Cadeaux, and Regal Monarch.

Moore was uninjured in the incident.

Jamie Stier, Racing Victoria’s manager of integrity services, confirmed the news on Tuesday afternoon, The Age reported.

The Cliffsofmoher

“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,” Stier said.

“The horse received immediate veterinary care, however it was unable to be saved due to the nature of the injury sustained,” he added. “This was an unfortunate incident that happens infrequently, with Victoria having one of the best safety records in world racing.”

According to the Daily Mail, The Cliffsofmoher was agitated before the start, with one commentator describing the horse as “melting like an ice cream.”

RSPCA Australia spokeswoman Jane Speechley expressed grief about the horse’s death, according to The Age, and called the incident a tragedy.

“Today’s 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,” said Speechley. “The racing industry has much work to do.”

“Our thoughts are with animal lovers across the country who have been affected by this loss, and confronted by the very real risks posed by racing to the horses involved,” Speechly added. “RSPCA Australia has long voiced its concerns about the welfare of racehorses, including the use of inhumane devices such as whips and tongue ties, as well as the risk to injury and death during races.”

A People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) representative told Daily Mail Australia in a statement that the organization was calling for an investigation into the horse’s death.

“He’s [Cliffsofmoher] the latest in a long line of dead horses,” the representative said, according to the Daily Mail. “Cliffsofmoher was spotted looking very agitated moments before the start and has now been killed after fracturing his right shoulder in the Melbourne Cup.

“Before they’ve even finished maturing, these 500-kilogram [1,102 pounds] animals are forced to race at breakneck speeds while being whipped and pushed past their limits, supported on ankles as small as those of humans.”

Moments after the stallion was injured, veterinarians rushed onto the track. Trainer Adrian O’Brien told the Herald Sun things did not “look good” for the horse after the race.

O’Brien’s son, Joseph, said it was a “shocking thing but unfortunately things can happen to a horse galloping around the field at home. It’s very sad.”

“It could have been worse, Ryan (Moore) could have taken a fall off him [Cliffsofmoher], someone could have been seriously injured,” according to the Daily Mail.

The Cliffofmoher made his racing debut in Ireland two years ago. The stallion had won more than $1.7 million in prize money.

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