Third bleeding attack is a sorry end for Racing Club's Young Elite

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 02 February, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 02 February, 2011, 12:00am

Young Elite's compulsory departure from the racing scene following his third bleeding attack on the weekend is a sorry end for a horse who had Group One ability and never was able to reach those heights because of internal issues.

Were Young Elite owned under the usual arrangements, the owner might ship him off to the United States where drug rules are considerably more accommodating than those in place here.

With the application of the drug furosemide, under its trade name lasix, horses in the US with bleeding problems are able to race successfully.

Lasix is a diuretic that helps the horse expel fluids locked in its tissues, lowering the horse's blood pressure and helping the internal issues involved in exercise-induced pulmonary haemorrhage, a condition estimated to occur to varying extents in most horses during the exertion of racing.

In Hong Kong, treatment with lasix is not permitted, correctly in our view, but its use or not has been a subject of debate all over the world during the past 40 years.

It is clear to see who has won the debate in the US and a horse like Young Elite may be able to realise his A-grade potential by racing there, and could prove an advertisement for the quality of Hong Kong racing, but we can't see that happening despite trainer Caspar Fownes' plea on the weekend.

Where the whole story gets tricky is in the ownership of horses raced by The Racing Club. Perhaps if it was a decision for The Racing Club members themselves, under whose banner the horse races, they might want to roll the dice and send Young Elite to the US in hope of further stake money returns.

But Racing Club ownership is a convoluted matter. The Racing Club membership owns the horses, yet, under its rules, prize money is not distributed among the members but ploughed back into the club's activities.

All matters involving the Racing Club's ownership of its horses are overseen by a three-man management committee appointed by the Jockey Club and the horses are purchased by the Club, albeit, we imagine, money consisting of Racing Club members' subscriptions.

So, with this thick, grey layer of management across the Racing Club's operations, we don't expect there will be any impetus to relocate Young Elite under the Racing Club name or to sell to an outside owner to, in turn, relocate him to the US.

Politically, it is just too much to think the club would give approval to resort to a course which it categorically bans within its own jurisdiction, regardless of any financial or promotional benefits that might accrue.

The reality of horse racing bites hard at times. Young Elite is hardly the first talented horse to fail to reach great heights due to his metabolism and he will not be the last but his career is now finished.