Casa Grande put down to end piroplasmosis scare

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 28 March, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 28 March, 2000, 12:00am

Casa Grande, the gelding who sparked the piroplasmosis scare, has been put down in Australia.

The South African import is understood to have left his home country with the potentially fatal tick-borne disease which causes listlessness, anaemia, fever, lack of exercise tolerance and colic.

He then passed a screening test in America while positive to the disease and though the results of tests conducted here were positive, two Hong Kong Jockey Club vets and one vet from the Agricultural, Fisheries and Conservation department all cleared him to be exported and retired to Australia.

It was only once Casa Grande arrived in Australia that the unbelievable blunder was discovered and it was finally grasped that Casa Grande had been positive to piroplasmosis in three different countries before sent to one of the few piroplasmosis-free regions in the world.

The 1998 Hong Kong Derby hero Johan Cruyff was on the same flight to Australia as Casa Grande. But the Jockey Club's director of racing, Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, confirmed yesterday he had not been infected.

'He was tested before he left and he's been tested again down there and he is negative,' Engelbrecht-Bresges said. 'But he will have to stay another couple of weeks in quarantine because of this.' Johan Cruyff is due to go to Bruce McLachlan's Thornhill Park training grounds in Queensland where the plan is to try and win a Group race with him before he retires to stud.

In other piroplasmosis news, the first batch of blood tests - 232 out of a total of 1,562 taken - have returned negative.