Absolute Champion put down
Absolute Champion, Hong Kong's world champion sprinter in 2006, broke down hopelessly in the early stages of last night's KrisFlyer Sprint in Singapore and was put down by vets.
The David Hall-trained sprinter took a prominent position in the early stages of the S$1 million (HK$5.6 million) event but went back through the field abruptly after 200 metres, with jockey Brett Prebble pulling him up as quickly as possible.
Singapore Turf Club veterinary surgeon Eugene Reynders said nothing could have been done to save the multiple Group One winner.
'He completely smashed his right front fetlock joint, a terrible injury,' Reynders said. 'It's a real tragedy, a terrible shame, but there was nothing else we could do but put him down.'
The breakdown and subsequent death of the 2006 Cathay Pacific Sprint hero cast a pall over the excellent win of the fairytale Australian sprinter Takeover Target, who defeated fellow Aussie Magnus by a half length.
It also took the gloss off the brilliant, late-closing performance of the Caspar Fownes-trained Sanziro, who rocketed home from last to finish third, a mere nose off Magnus.
'It's been a fantastic run, and we are really proud of him, but it's hard to generate much enthusiasm at the moment after watching what happened to David's horse,' Fownes said. 'He's been racing out of his skin and we thought this was a good opportunity to test him in the international arena. He's run another blinder and I'm very proud of him. That's it for him this season - he's done a great job.'
Hall was a shattered man, scarcely able to believe the horse that gave him his biggest moment in Hong Kong racing was gone. 'It's impossible to believe at the moment,' Hall said. 'At least Brett was able to ease him out of the race and he [Prebble] is OK.'
Reynders said the injury to Absolute Champion was 'just a freak accident' unrelated to the gelding's well-publicised battle to overcome a niggling foot injury in recent weeks.